Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Custom - Lightside Darth Revan

A few months ago I was contacted by a very nice gentlemen from Australia that went by the name of Elock. He asked me to create a Lightside version of Revan for his son's birthday. While I normally do not take commissions I actually had the right parts on hand and the figure formula in my head as soon as I looked at the reference pictures he sent me:

It was such a compelling email from this kind gentlemen from Australia to make his sons birthday very special by having me create a custom figure that his son really wanted to have. I could not say no to that so I took on the job, afterall I knew right away how to make him so the Force wanted this one to happen. I felt this was a fairly easy custom to knock out and it was, I even had some fun with it by giving him some removable hair to display him cloaked or uncloaked. (FYI - I used the official Revan head which is bald so he needed to have a toupee for him if the hood was removed.) I was very happy with the end result, as mentioned I used official Revan parts that I happened had on hand (For those that do not know he is a very hard and expensive figure to come by!) in combination with some custom soft goods I made to complete the look I wanted to achieve. More importantly my friend Elock and his son were very pleased with this custom, that was the most important aspect for me given the sentimental nature of this particular custom. A father getting his son a custom Star Wars figure for his 20 something son is pretty awesome in my book! Anyway, here are the final result of my one time only Lightside Revan:

As always your feedback comments and hate mail are welcome!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Little Differences - Snowspeeder, Medical Bay Luke Skywalker & Sora Bulq

It's been a little while since my last "Little Differences" segemnt so I thought now would be a good time to post one. This week will focus on 3 figures that will help you make you collection more screen accurate and articulated. Best of all, everything is swap and pop in hot water, no tools required! Let's get started....

"Screen accurate" Snowspeeder Pilot Luke
I know what many of you who are reading this may be thinking: "But Hasbro already nailed this figure". For the most part they did, in fact they executed this figure almost perfectly twice with the Legacy Snowspeeder Luke and the Vintage Dagobah Landing Luke. Despite those two superb figures execution there are some colors that are off from the film, at least on the standard Snowspeeder version. Take a look at the ESB still image below of Luke by his crashed Snowspeeder, notice how the pants are a dark orange and the top coat is the lighter orange.

The Legacy Snowspeeder Luke was molded entirely in the lighter orange, the Dagaobah Landing Luke was molded in a much darker orange that gave it the appearance of being wet. Taking the legs and head from the Vintage Dagaobah Landing Luke and swapping them with the Legacy Snowspeeder Luke's legs and head will allow the OCD driven screen accurate collectors to make the Ultimate Snowspeeder Luke. Place both of them in very warm water to soften the plastic and you will be able to swap the parts. (Disclaimer: Please, do not pull a McDonalds coffee customer move and burn yourself. Fun Fact: Hot water is hot so use some caution and common sense while handling it!) Here is the end result:

Medical Frigate Luke Skywalker
This is a really quick head swap mod to make the Legacy Medical Frigate Luke Skywalker more screen accurate and consistent with the rest of your collection. I am a huge stickler for having the same film era head sculpts on my main heroes. In fact more so than ever as Hasbro has been nailing the main heroes heads like no tomorrow. The head included on the regular Medical Frigate release was pretty nice but pales in comparison to the Dagobah Landing Luke head. That figure sports has, in my opinion, the best ESB Mark Hamil likeness of every single Luke figure created. I attempted to swap heads with an extra Dagobah Luke I had in my cistoms bin and to my surprise the head fit perfectly! Not only that the skin tone matched perfectly as well. I absolutely love the end result and it made me appreciate the Medical Frigate Luke more.

SA Jedi Master Sora Bulq
Over the past few years Hasbro has made super articulation the standard, sometimes to the point of going overboard. Back in 2005-2006 we really saw this transition and an elevated attention to detail. One of my favorite figures from the Saga2 line was Sora Bulq the Weequay Jedi who turns to the Darkside after the Clone Wars begin. (FYI - I have made a lot of Darkside Customs of him and it would be a very easy redeco for Hasbro to make him without new tooling. See below for an example...) Sora's upper body is fantastic and the arms allow him to hold his Lightsaber with both hands better than most other Jedi figures. The sculpt is great and the only flaw would be his preposed legs. Interestingly enough the bulk of Sora Bulq (Pun intended) was reused with the Legacy Tarados Gon but they went back and upgraded the legs to be fully articulated. I do not see Sora being reissued or upgraded any time soon so I took matters into my own hands. When I purchased the new and flawless Vintage Kit Fisto. I sent the 2009 Target Geonosian Arena Kit Fisto to my custom chop shop. The upgraded legs on that figure are pretty close to the looks of Sora's so I decided to experiment and see if I could perform a pop/swap with the legs with zero dremmeling. Well, it worked and looks great! This is a great way to perfect a near perfect figure!

Here is one of my Dark Sora Bulq customs in reference to my comment above:

As you can see the "Little Differences" can make a big difference to your figures! Until next time!

Blog update - 100% Collection Room picture over haul!

I have not updated my Collection pictures since March of 2011. There have been massive changes to my collection since then. I have upgraded and literally rebuilt entire key armies to a newer and superior versions of the respective troop builder. As always, new figures, vehicles and even some displays have also been added! I reshot the entire room and replaced every single picture in the page section to reflect my latest set display up.

Some changes include:
  • The phasing out all of my old 2003 era Phase 1 Clonetrooper (Sans some ARCs and the Evolution Clone Pilots). I upgraded my entire Phase 1 army with the new Vintage #45 Clonetrooper! Currently I am up to x55, I will stop around x75. 
  • The Vintage #45 Clonetrooper came with movie accurate two DC-15 guns so I used the leftover ones to upgraded battalions like my x24 Galactic Marines, white CP Galactic Marines, 327th Starcorps, Shocktroopers, Landing Platform clones & Training Clones. 
  • I phased out all of my old AT-RT Drivers with the new Vintage version! 
  • I phased out all of my 30th TAC Tantive BP Stormtooper army of 60 and replaced them with the new Vintage Sandtrooper (sans the gear)! 
  • I phased out all of my old Geonosian Red Battle Droids with the Saga Legends (Small eye) version for consitency! 
  • I created a new hanger bay display that house the new Republic Attack Shuttle, Arc Fighter and more!

Here is a preview of a new set up:

I can go on but it will be more fun for you to look for all of the new details! Enjoy and LMK if you have any questions! WORD!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

New Custom - Old Republic Return Trailer Smuggler "Cad Solo"

Man, the CGI trailers for this upcoming Old Republic video game just keep getting better with each release. I personally would not mind seeing a feature length Star Wars movie in this animation style, it's just breathtaking! (It also has more realistic special effects and acting than all three prequel films!) The action is top notch and the visuals keep you coming back for more. There are so many things featured in these videos that I would love to see translated into the toy line. In all three trailers the various characters featured in them are basically carbon copies of familiar characters that we already know in the Star Wars universe. The interesting part is, at least for me, is that I do not mind it at all as they are all very likeable and have enough uniqueness to them to make them stand out.

In the latest trailer one of the stars is a smuggler that is a cross between Han Solo and Cad Bane. I coined the name "Cad Solo" for him, until they give him a real name that is what I am calling him. "Cad Solo" has a classic 80's hero demeanor about him and like any good smuggler he has a pretty tricked out ship. I love the design of his outfit and his ship a lot! (Even his Astromech Droid is really cool!) They did this character justice as he was so bad ass taking out Sith Troopers, trying to talk his way out of his predicament and in true 80's hero fashion he made the time in between to check out the goods on the Twi'lek Sith Agent as she passes by with such coy style. I really love that he was not politically correct and the design team that produced this trailer actually had the Bantha balls to put it in for the effect of characters persona. How utterly refreshing! That earned extra props from me as you know how much I hate political correctness, AKA control of honest thought. I would happily plunk down my hard earned green for him and his ship, even if the ship was $100+!  (I prefer a new Dash Rendar's Outrider first however.) I had to take a crack at him for my next custom so without further adieu here is my first "Cad Solo" custom figure:

As always your feedback comments and hate mail are welcome! (BTW - Do not look for me to make his ship, I do not do vehicles! Hasbro, please take serious consideration at making it, I think it would be a hit....)

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Custom - Army of Light Ultimate Lord Hoth

Lord Hoth ROCKS!!!
(He rocks so much that his is my third post on him!)

I cannot say it enough, (even for the third time) that he truly is the most kick ass Jedi ever! You can read my previous in depth entries that really describe the characters greatness here and here. There is no need for me to cover that aspect of the character again, I rather talk about the real world lessons that we can learn from the fictional Lord Hoth. I believe the main reason that this character resonates with me so much is because he encompasses the kind of role model hero that I grew up with. It also happens to be, in my opinion, the kind of role model that is severely lacking in modern society - a principled, testosterone filled leader with a moral compass of what's truly right and wrong. (Again, I know he is a fictional character but you can still be inspired by and relate things in the real world from fictional characters.) In our modern society there is just too much "emo-ness" jive running amok, especially among our so called leaders. There is also too much compromise of principle which to me is the true measure of a man. Lord Hoth is principled, he is decisive and does not compromise for the sake of getting along. He sticks to his guns and you always know where he stands whether you agree with him or not. In the end, you respect him (and people like this) for his resilience and confidence. When it comes to right and wrong, evil in particular, he understands that you cannot negotiate or pacify it, it just needs to be defeated. When he makes a mistakes he does not cry about it or try to apologize for it while sobbing in blubbering pathetic tears. He takes responsibility for his actions by dusting himself off and doing the best he can to correct the error. How refreshing would it be to see more of that kind of leader instead of the now standard "I apologize..." crap? Hopefully some of you will understand the point I was making here and appreciate it for what it was. I won't harp on that any longer and I am now ready to move onto my new custom of Lord Hoth....

I have not made a Lord Hoth custom figure in a long time. When I finished my last one I knew that the next one that I would make would have to be my best. I would not make another one until I gathered the right parts to do him justice making him one of my best customs ever. Well, I saved a lot of parts for a long time and I was finally ready to tackle my personal challenge. This may come off the wrong way but I really could not be any happier with the outcome, I hope you will feel the same way. If you do not you know that I love hate mail so fire away and rip it a new one. Enjoy!

As always your feedback comments and hate mail are welcome!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Customs - "F-Rate" Obscure Cantina Patrons: Spacer 1 & Debnoli

When it comes to the Mos Eisley Cantina there just seems to be an endless supply of characters to tap into for future figures. Hasbro has done a really great job at producing the majority of the cantina's patrons throughout the lines 16 year run. They just released Bom Vidam, I already have him and he truly is one of the best figures ever released. Two more patrons are on the way this year that were long overdue resculpts, Dr. Evezan and Ponda Baba. Some cantina patrons are more known and desirable than others. I classify cantina patrons in five categories, A-F. Here are some examples of how I classify some of the patrons:

A-Rate: Greedo, Hammerhead, Walrusman (Ponda Baba), Bith, Muftak, Dr. Evezan and Snaggletooth.

B-Rate: Wuhr, Ellis Helrot, Myo, Miiyoom, Labria, Djas Puhr and Ellors Madok.

C-Rate: Nabrun Lieds, Hrchek Kal Fas, Hem Dezon, Dannik Jerriko, Kabe and Deffel.

D-Rate: Boshek, Leesub Sirln, Kitik Keed'kak, Wisolea, Dice Ibegan, Lak Sivrak and Trinto Duaba.

E-Rate: Danz Borin, Garouf LaFoe, Mosep, Trvizzt, Yerka Mig and Solomahal.

F-Rate: Everyone else.

E and F rate characters have a very low chance of ever being made, but since were are hitting the bottom of the barrel you never know. With so many fans wanting to complete their collection displays with all of the patrons I try to step up to the plate and fill the void of the missing losers. I recently made two F-listers, Spacer 1 and Debnoli.

Spacer 1
Spacer 1 is an interesting cat as he is sporting the same flight suit as Bossk. Actually, Bossk is sporting his flight suit since ANH was made before ESB. You know that during the filming of ESB they were reusing as many props as they can from the first film. They most likely found the suit in their prop box and slapped the rubber alligator mask & gloves on some random stand in for the infamous scene of bounty hunters on the Star Destroyer bridge.(Random fact: IG-88's head was actually part of the bar distillery! So like the flight suit they reused that prop from the cantina) Unfortunately for Spacer 1 he did not get the screen time that Bossk did. In fact, you will struggle to to even find him. Even the still pictures of him have him half covered up by some of the other muppets that were lingering around the bar. I made Spacer 1 before but this time I made him much more accurate with the correct helmet and adjusted the neck strap thingy. I also gave him a human head so he is more realistic and fun to display.

Next up is Debnoli, he actually is a more visible patron in the F-lister category. He was seated near the entrance of the cantina when Luke and the Droids entered. You actually did get a clear shot of his frowning mug as he sat with some dude with a mustache. Debnoli has a real classic 70's look about him but he really does look like the stereotypical disheveled boozer that you would find at your local dive bar. This was my first attempt at Debnoli, next time around I would like to find some better reference on his duds to get it more accurate. For now it's close enough for F-Lister, he should be happy he got this much attention. On top of that he sat his rump at a small table with some guy that had a mustache, that speaks volumes. (Did I mention that already?) I am very happy with the head on this custom, I used the G.I.Joe 25th Serpentor head as the base. From there I sculpted his balding crown making sure to get the uncombed look right. The Serpentor head sculpt really has the same constipated expression as Debnoli so it worked out better than I anticipated. The right amount of paint punches it out.

Rest assured I will be tapping into more E & F listers so stay tuned for more Cantina goodness! (I might even make that guy with the mustache!)  

As always your feedback comments and hate mail are welcome!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Customs - "Store Brand" Sith Lords 2: Rise of the Sith Mimes

I decided to do a sequel to my first "Store Brand" Sith Lords post with some of my more recent generic Darksider customs. Unlike my other batches of Sith Lords, this batch does not have major respiratory issues. There is a catch to this batch however, they are a little heavy on the Sith mime make up! While the Dark side in the Legacy era may be very tempting with all of it's enticing totalitarian power, it really does comes at a high price: You are dyed red and given a lot of "mimeish" tribal tattoos! These Legacy era red florescent fighters are uber sub servant to the cause of the Sith Empire's quest for galactic domination that they are willing to turn into evil red galactic mimes. Everyone hates mimes. Everyone. That really does speak volumes to their principles, it just does not bode well for their wardrobes as they all wear black. They kind of have to, having bright red skin limits your options for the color pallet of your clothing. Lets take a look at this beefy batch of evil (I will end with the two non mime Sith Lords):

Darth Pegwarmious
Based on that alien race of the legendary peg warmer Xizor (He peg warmed horribly in 1996 and on his second run in 2009. You can even still find him on pegs now!) this evil Sith Lord is ready to wait for evil orders from Darth Krayt. He is very patient and is very much used to waiting around.....

Darth Crabbious
Known throughout the galaxy as the most crabby and cynical of Sith Lords, this evil doer is ready to take his bad mood out on the unsuspecting innocent of the galaxy! This front line warrior is heavily armored in an imposing suit of full plate. What most Sith Lords do not know about Darth Crabbious is that he is actually a big softy who loves arts and crafts! He even made his own helmet to go into battle with, the inside lining is made of felt! Legend says that when he was making it it was the only time he was not crabby.

Sith Lord of Darkness v2
Based on my original Sith Lord of Darkness custom, this updated version has a slighly different execution on the head. For this version I used horns that resemble the real Darkness a lot closer than the evil and twisted horns of my first custom. After I finished this custom I realized I forgot to sculpt the ears. I will have to add that next time in my V3 attempt...

Necron, Sith Slayer
This twisted and evil Sith Marauder is the bane to dissidents of the Sith Empire. Sent out to destroy Sith warriors who become a little too ambitious for their Master's tastes, Necron always finds his prey with deadly precision. Having his body severely broken from several battle this Sith Lord is a relentless hunter that will kill his target no matter what. Through the Darkside of the Force he is able to sustain his broken body until his droids repair his body to a functioning vessel.(Like the great Flanneled one I am repeating a similar back story with another character Darth Sion. He is even related to Darth Sion. All Star Wars characters are related to famous ones, it's the rule of the universe!)

Sith Assassin
I am bored of writing bios. The name says it all.

As always your feedback comments and hate mail are welcome! And rest assured more generic JACKOFTRADZE "Store Brand" Sith Lords will grace the blog in a few months in part 3!