Wednesday, October 29, 2014

COBRA Druid - Aspect of the Wolf

"Very little is known about the cabal of mystics Crystal Ball has assembled to assist him in his nefarious sciences. They come from a variety of backgrounds and every corner of the Earth to bring CORPSE their expertise in all things unnatural. In keeping with ancient traditions, they often don animal masks during their rituals to appease the Ancient Spirits of Evil they call upon. The Aspect of the Wolf focuses on the supplication of power and strength from the Old Ones."

I thought I'd seen most of the old GI Joe cartoon. Then I bought the excellent GI Joe Field Manual which collects characters and vehicle production art and discovered there was a treasure trove of episodes I hadn't seen and characters designs to inspire customs. Seeing the art for the original (and very different) ancestral mask for Destro, as well as the McCullen druids, I immediately looked up "Skeletons in the Closet" and was thrilled by the episode. I knew I wanted to try to incorporate the idea of COBRA meddling with a tentacled, mythos-esque monster in my 'Joe verse. Eventually, I've got a diorama set up I want to complete to house these COBRA Mystics, with a few more surprises. I also looked to The Spectre's amazing Cthulhu figures for inspiration on how to approach these druids. The Wolf replaces the somewhat goofy looking Wildcat mask from the cartoon.

Parts Recipe:
Gandalf the Grey - Head
Emperor Palpatine - Base Figure
Monkey Man - Robe and Arms
Cheap Wolf Figurine - Mask

COBRA Druid - Aspect of the Swine

"Very little is known about the cabal of mystics Crystal Ball has assembled to assist him in his nefarious sciences. They come from a variety of backgrounds and every corner of the Earth to bring CORPSE their expertise in all things unnatural. In keeping with ancient traditions, they often don animal masks during their rituals to appease the Ancient Spirits of Evil they call upon. The Aspect of the Swine focuses on the supplication of wealth and pleasure from the Old Ones."

I thought I'd seen most of the old GI Joe cartoon. Then I bought the excellent GI Joe Field Manual which collects characters and vehicle production art and discovered there was a treasure trove of episodes I hadn't seen and characters designs to inspire customs. Seeing the art for the original (and very different) ancestral mask for Destro, as well as the McCullen druids, I immediately looked up "Skeletons in the Closet" and was thrilled by the episode. I knew I wanted to try to incorporate the idea of COBRA meddling with a tentacled, mythos-esque monster in my 'Joe verse. Eventually, I've got a diorama set up I want to complete to house these COBRA Mystics, with a few more surprises. I also looked to The Spectre's amazing Cthulhu figures for inspiration on how to approach these druids.

Parts Recipe:
Snaggletooth - Torso
Dengar - Head
Cairo Henchman - Upper Arms
Duke - Lower Arms
Gandalf the Grey - Lower Robes
Logray - Medicine Pouch
Cheap Boar Figurine - Mask

COBRA Druid - Aspect of the Stag

"Very little is known about the cabal of mystics Crystal Ball has assembled to assist him in his nefarious sciences. They come from a variety of backgrounds and every corner of the Earth to bring CORPSE their expertise in all things unnatural. In keeping with ancient traditions, they often don animal masks during their rituals to appease the Ancient Spirits of Evil they call upon. The Aspect of the Stag focuses on the supplication of immortality and rebirth from the Old Ones."

I thought I'd seen most of the old GI Joe cartoon. Then I bought the excellent GI Joe Field Manual which collects characters and vehicle production art and discovered there was a treasure trove of episodes I hadn't seen and characters designs to inspire customs. Seeing the art for the original (and very different) ancestral mask for Destro, as well as the McCullen druids, I immediately looked up "Skeletons in the Closet" and was thrilled by the episode. I knew I wanted to try to incorporate the idea of COBRA meddling with a tentacled, mythos-esque monster in my 'Joe verse. Eventually, I've got a diorama set up I want to complete to house these COBRA Mystics, with a few more surprises. I also looked to The Spectre's amazing Cthulhu figures for inspiration on how to approach these druids.

Parts Recipe:
Gandalf the Grey - Base Figure
Rex "The Doctor" Lewis - Head
Storm Shadow - Hands
Chewbacca - Satchel
Cheap Deer Figurine - Mask

COBRA Druid - Aspect of the Owl

"Very little is known about the cabal of mystics Crystal Ball has assembled to assist him in his nefarious sciences. They come from a variety of backgrounds and every corner of the Earth to bring CORPSE their expertise in all things unnatural. In keeping with ancient traditions, they often don animal masks during their rituals to appease the Ancient Spirits of Evil they call upon. The Aspect of the Owl focuses on the supplication of wisdom and knowledge from the Old Ones."

I thought I'd seen most of the old GI Joe cartoon. Then I bought the excellent GI Joe Field Manual which collects characters and vehicle production art and discovered there was a treasure trove of episodes I hadn't seen and characters designs to inspire customs. Seeing the art for the original (and very different) ancestral mask for Destro, as well as the McCullen druids, I immediately looked up "Skeletons in the Closet" and was thrilled by the episode. I knew I wanted to try to incorporate the idea of COBRA meddling with a tentacled, mythos-esque monster in my 'Joe verse. Eventually, I've got a diorama set up I want to complete to house these COBRA Mystics, with a few more surprises. I also looked to The Spectre's amazing Cthulhu figures for inspiration on how to approach these druids. I substituted an Owl for the somewhat silly look Bird (Pigeon!?) mask from the episode.

Parts Recipe:
Mas Amedda - Base Figure
Night Creeper Leader - Head
Gandalf the Grey - Arms
Emperor Palpatine - Hands
Prince of Persia Dastan - Collar
Elis Helrot - Wrap
Cheap Owl Figurine - Mask

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Odion - Sith Lord

Here's another recent commission of a Star Wars comic character who's new to me, Odion. While I still don't know too much about that character, I'm a big fan on his character design and love the way he came out.

I used two techniques here that were new for me. Normally, I prefer plastic capes for my collection, but my client requested a cloth cape. Luckily, I save all the soft-goods (the industry term for cloth accessories) that come with Star Wars figures so I had some on hand to work with. I looked at the way the Imperial Knight figures have their capes attached under a piece of armor and borrowed that idea for Odion's cape. I also used a transparent red paint of silver to obtain the metallic crimson effect for the armor, and I'm pretty pleased with the results.

This is one of my new favorite Star Wars customs, and I'm really happy with how he looks.
Parts Recipe:
Drax the Destroyer - Head
Ivan "Whiplash" Vanko - Armor (heavily modified), Boots, Gauntlets
Savage Opress - Torso, Shoulder Armor
Darth Vader - Arms, Legs, Waist
Hit and Run - Belt Detail

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

GHOSTs - Guardian Hologram / Occult and Supernatural Template

CORPSE (COBRA Occult Research and Paranormal Supremacy Endeavor) uses this advanced holographic technology to generate sentries to dissuade investigation into some of their work sites, including the McCullen ancestral home. The projects generate as much noise and commotion as possible to frighten off interlopers, applying science with supernatural flair typical of CORPSE projects. They couldn't POSSIBLY be actual restless spirits bound to the material plane, doomed to haunt the halls of lineage damned for its dabbling in the dark arts...could they?

Another nod to my new favorite episode of the old cartoon, "Skeletons in the Closet". One of my favorite things about the episode is that when the Joe team storms the castle, Barbeque finds a holographic projector that shows the ghost shown earlier in the episode, suggesting that everything we've seen in Destro's ancestral home is little more than highly advanced fun house props. Except it doesn't explain the giant snake and spider, the skeleton warriors, or the tentacle beast. Such a strange element of the episode, for just one of the scares to be explained away, when the end pretty clearly suggests the beast is a very real threat.


Parts Recipe:
Harry Potter Dementor - Hands, base figure, and figure base
Ghost Rider - Skull
Obi-Wan Kenobi - Arms

Crystal Ball - The Mad Monk of COBRA / CORPSE Leader

Initially, Crystal Ball relied on little more than a basic psychological intuition and some advanced stage magic to cement his role in COBRA. He was able to apply some of Dr. Mindbender's BrainWave technology to holograms, creating a portable, visual version in the form of his "Hypno-Shield". Eventually, his research began to lead to the occult, and seeing an opportunity to cement his role in the COBRA hierarchy, he began to play up his role of mystic and helped established CORPSE (Cobra Occult Research and Paranormal Supremacy Endeavor). This afforded him a unique role in COBRA, playing the part of supernatural adviser to the Commander, but his exposure to the unexplained changed him, and it would seem he has become a devout believer in the supernatural and himself as a conduit of those energies. He believes there is an unstoppable, unspeakable darkness descending upon the world and the only way to avoid being crushed beneath it's weight is to surround himself with mystical power, and through COBRA and CORPSE attain enough influence in the mortal plane to bargain favor with the approaching Dark Ones.

Crystal Ball seemed like a natural choice for this project, but I was stumped on how to approach a redesign. I was already working on incorporating the "Skeletons in the Closet" ideas into this project, when I noticed the one unmasked druid. I was simultaneously thinking about Rasputin's depiction in Hellboy and it all just clicked together, to redesign Crystal Ball as a monk-type character, drawing heavily on Grigori Rasputin for both visual and character inspiration. I remembered the Assassin's Creed plague doctor figure and regretted all the times I passed it up on the shelf, especially when I discovered it's going for $60 and more on ebay. I was disappointed until a search for "plague doctor toy" resulted in a single hit and I snagged one for less than $10. The rest came together almost effortlessly. As I was rummaging through parts for some ideas of what accessories to give him, I found the Gungan weapon and realized the top portion of the Star Wars column would make a great cauldron. I struggled with making hot glue flames for it until I found a perfect Iron Man blast effect.

Parts Recipe:
Assassin's Creed Plague Doctor - Base Figure
Po Nudo - Arms
Gandalf the Grey - Hands
Blackbeard - Head
Iron Man - Blast Effect/Cauldron Flames
Padme Amidala - Arena Column/Cauldron
Gungan Warrior - Atlatl/Crytal Bal
Mutt Williams - Snake/Ambrose the Serpent
Dr. Henry Jones - Grail Diary
Army of Darkness - Necronomicon

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Bio-Vipers Omega - Genetically Engineered Soldiers

In this final form, Bio-Vipers are able to manipulate their Bio-Matter composition into a armor like density and even utilize an advanced form of bio-luminescence which allows them to fire blasts of concentrated energy via chemical reaction.

These amazing advancements demonstrate the versatility of the Bio-Matter genetic compound. CORPSE is eager to begin human trials of a variation of the material designated Compound Z.

Based on the Renegades cartoon. The A-Bomb base was a great start, and initially I planned to just change the head (which ended up just being cut down, turned around, and sanded to remove detail), but noticed the Hulkbuster arms and legs were actually a good match for the animated model in its advanced form. Rather than drilling out the sockets to make the pegs from the new arms and legs fit, I should have cut out the peg piece and replace it with the original blue ones for less paint wear, but I'm otherwise very pleased with the result.

Parts Recipe:
A-Bomb - Base Figure
Hulkbuster Iron Man - Arms and Legs
Specialist Trakker - Chest Armor
Grizzly Gundam - Shoulder Armor

Bio-Vipers Beta - Genetically Engineered Soldiers

The Bio-Viper project continues with this "Beta" form, capable of forming itself into a more defined shape with a rock hard density. Cognitive abilities advance alongside physical definition, with this stage being capable of basic labor and following simple vocal instructions in addition to its direct behavioral programming. Without a true brain, these bio-forms will never be capable of independent thought, but should be able to process and learn information on par with the Battle Android Technology with a physical strength to match. The advantage being that the Bio-Viper can be grown at a fraction of the time and cost of its mechanical counterpart, with expended matter being easily recycled into new grow vats.

The Green Lantern figures come through again as a great step in showing an evolution of the Bio-Vipers' growth. As with the Omega, the Beta just has his head turned around with detail shaved and sanded away.

Parts Recipe:
Green Lantern Kilowag - Base Figure



Bio-Vipers Alpha - Genetically Engineered Soldiers

CORPSE (Cobra Occult Research and Paranormal Supremacy Endeavor) has begun manipulating a strange biological substance into a bipedal form. These "Bio-Vipers" are extremely undeveloped and are only able to maintain a consistency of form somewhere between ballistics gel and day-old Jell-O, and are about half as smart. But they hold the promise of a renewable source of laborers and soldiers for COBRA if the programmable bio-matter process can be perfected.

Initially, I wanted to build some storage tanks large enough for Omega Bio-Vipers, but thought it might be fun to have proto-forms for display purposes. The limited articulation of the Green Lantern figures isn't quite as annoying for what is essentially more of a background prop than a true figure. Still have to make those growing vats, though!

Parts Recipe:
Green Lantern Hannu - Base Figure

Arys "Styx" Takar - Order 66 Survivor

Arys Takar was one of the few young Jedi to escape the Purge, thanks to the sacrifice of her master and the reluctant aid of a Clone Trooper, torn between allegiance to his Jedi general and the Republic. Separated from everyone she's ever known and left to wander the galaxy as a refuge and outlaw, Arys quickly learned to hide her true identity. Cutting off her Padawan braid and shaving her head to pass as a young boy, Arys adopted the name "Styx" and poses and young Bounty Hunter initiate... a disguise that puts hides her in plain sight before many of the hunters who would happily turn her in for the reward if they knew she was a Jedi. Cleverly, Arys uses the connections her Styx persona affords her to track down other rogue Padawans and possible allies.

Arys was a fun, quick figure made for Yakfinities #54 - Order 66 Survivors. I've come to really enjoy the post RotS era thanks to Clone Wars, the Republic Commando novels, and Rebels looks promising as well, and Padawans are a fun subject to tackle.


Parts Recipe:
Anakin Skywalker - Head, Arms, Legs
Cloud Car Pilot - Helmet
El-Les - Tunic