Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Beast (Red/Blue Costume)

One of the founding X-Men, Dr. Hank McCoy is a mutant possessing animal-like strength and agility. Despite being covered in blue fur and resembling a ferocious beast he possesses an astounding intellect and superb wit. Beast is currently helping Wolverine run the Jean Grey School, while also serving as an Avenger.

He was born in Dunphee, Illinois. Edna and Norton McCoy are his parents. Hank McCoy’s father was exposed to radiation during a meltdown when working at the nuclear power plant. Because of this, it seems to be the reason why Hank was born with unusually large feet and hands and a high I.Q. He had a huge curiosity since childhood, disassembling anything he could so he could understand the function of everything and to create a hypothesis. Because of his irregular proportions, his schoolmates teased him and gave him the nickname of "Magilla Gorilla" and "Beast". Hank only started to come out of his shell when he started tutoring Jennifer Nyles. She started to see the real Hank McCoy, and on the night of the prom she turned up at his place with a rented tuxedo and told him she was taking him to the prom. When some people started to tease them, Jennifer knocked out the leader of the taunters with one punch.

After that Hank and Jennifer were inseparable, and in love with each other, but still not going out. During Hank's teen years, his mutant abilities started to show themselves and allowed him to excel in sports and academics in school. Hank ended up joining the football team after the coach asked him to kick a football and he kicked the skin off it. However, this caused jealousy amongst his classmates.

Sadly, Hank and Jennifer went their separate ways after awhile; she traveled to London to study genetics while Hank stayed in the United States. One day, three masked men robbed the stadium and tried to escape across it. Luckily, Hank was nearby and he managed to knock out all three men. This made it to the news. The villain known only as the Conquistador decided that he could use Hank as a weapon after seeing this report. The Conquistador successfully managed to kidnap Hank and his parents, and told him that he would release them if he stole an experimental nuclear device for him.

When Hank returned, the Conquistador revealed that he would actually keep Hank's parents prisoners indefinitely, until Hank was of no more use to him. Hank tried to escape and was almost killed if it wasn't for Professor Charles Xavier, Cyclops, Iceman and Angel saving Hank, before offering a spot for him in Xavier's school (Xavier Institute for Higher Learning). The school was a haven for mutants and also the headquarters of the mutant team, the X-Men. Hank took advantage of the offer, mainly in order to further his academic intelligence and ended up completing his doctorate in biophysics at Xavier's. There, he received the codename "Beast."

Beast was created by the team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for the first X-Men book in 1963.

For The Beast I wanted a figurine that would reflect him in his pre-blue fur look correctly. A lot of art in the early days had him crouching, not stood up straight. I went for The DC Blackest Night figurine Hawk, which suited the pose I wanted.

To prepare this figurine I had to remove the wing-type-things from his shoulders, and then re-base him on to a Marvel base.

The Hawk figurine is quite slim, so I needed to bulk him out to look more like The Beast's build. To do this I had to build every muscle up, using Milliput, placed on every individual muscle, and then moulded to shape. Once the the shape was correct, I then needed to add his oversized feet, followed by a belt, and finished off with the buckle.

For the paint I used Blood Red, and Midnight Blue for the costume, with Sunburst Yellow for the belt, and Elf Flesh for his skin colour. Shading on the red was achieved by using Blue Ink, and Red Gore, no shading needed on the Midnight Blue, Dwarf Flesh on the skin, and Vermin Brown, and Golden Yellow on the belt.


The Beast

Basic paint stages in creating The Beast



*Click on each photo to see a larger version of each of the images.

*Thank you to Comic Vine for the origin information on The Beast.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Echo

Echo is one of a very few deaf superheroes, as well as being of native American descent. She is the one-time lover of Daredevil and the first person to take the guise of Ronin. She has served as an Avenger and was a one time killer for the Kingpin.

Maya was born deaf. Her father, Willie "Crazy Horse" Lincoln was working with the Kingpin of crime. When she was young, her father was killed by his boss, but ironically, Crazy Horse wanted Fisk to take care of his daughter. As he lay dying, he gave his daughter a bloody hand print over her face. Wilson took Maya to a boarding school for special children, because of her disability. There she discovered that she had the talent of instantly memorizing anything and copying the exact movements of anything she has seen (photographic reflexes, much like the Taskmaster). Wilson then transferred Maya into another school for prodigies, there she became a gifted woman.

One day, when Maya visited the grave of his father, she asked the Kingpin who murdered him and Fisk replied that Daredevil was the one responsible. Kingpin arranged for Maya to meet Matt Murdock to determine his weaknesses. As soon as they met, they fell in love with each other. Maya later developed the guise of Echo, based on her talent to copy movements and painted a hand print over her face in honour of her father. She hunted Daredevil down until the point that she found out that Matt and Daredevil are one person. She also found out that Matt couldn't have murdered her father because he was still a little boy. Matt managed to correct the lies that Kingpin told to Echo and soon Maya was out for revenge for Fisk where she managed to blind him.

Echo first appeared in Daredevil Vol. 2, #9 in December 1999 and was created by David Mack and Joe Quesada.

There are two distinctive looks for Echo, one with her hair tied up, with feathers in her costume, and the other with her hair longer, and no feathers. I prefer the longer hair, which also suits the base figurine, that of Psylocke.

The preparation for this one is quite simple, with just one of her swords to remove. Echo only has the one sword, which she holds in her right hand, so I removed the rear sword to reflect the character correctly. The only issue I came across in removing the sword was it meant losing a thumb, which I recreated using a small amount of Milliput.

To create the costume I first covered her legs in Milliput, giving the loose track-pant effect, then I put Milliput around her waist, which I then carved lines in to, and finally the same effect was used on her arms.

Her costume is basically black, as is her hair, so I used Abaddon Black (Chaos Black). For her skin I used Dwarf Flesh, I wanted to reflect her Indian heritage, with Pink Horror for the skin shade, and her lips, topped off with a dusting of Elf Flesh. The bandaged effect around her stomach, and on her arms needed to have a shiny effect, I covered the black on these areas with some Blue Ink, and a Black Wash. Skull White for her eyes, circle design on her breast, and hand print on her face.

This picture is the what influenced my choice for Echo, it's stunning, and uncanny in its resemblance of the Psylocke figurine.

Echo

Basic paint stages in creating Echo



*Click on each photo to see a larger version of each of the images.

*Thank you to Comic Vine for the origin information on Echo.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Marvel Girl (Jean Grey)

Jean Grey was one of the five original X-Men. An Omega-level mutant telekinetic and telepath, Jean has gained near limitless powers as a recurrent host of the Phoenix Force. She is known for her many returns from death and as the deceased wife of Cyclops.

Jean Grey was born the youngest of two daughters to John and Elaine Grey. Her father was a professor at Bard College History Department in Annandale-on-Hudson. Jean grew up a normal girl born and raised in New York; but while playing with her friend Annie Richardson, Annie was struck by a car. The high emotional stress of the accident caused Jean's mutant powers to manifest well before she reached even pre-pubescence. This is rarely the case for most mutants, whose gifts typically surface in their early teens. This sudden surge in telepathic power linked Jean with her friend causing her to experience Annie's death first hand. She was so traumatized by this event that she slipped into catatonia for the next three years.

When Jean reached age eleven, a psychiatrist referred her parents to Professor Charles Xavier, an expert on mutation, specializing in telepathy. Following the psychiatrist's advice, the Grey's brought their young daughter to Professor Xavier's mansion in Westchester County. After his initial analysis, he informed Jean and her parents that she was a mutant, a possibility that her parents had yet to consider. The Professor recommended she stay in Salem, to attend Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. Here she would learn to harness the massive psionic power dwelling within her. Unbeknownst to John and Elaine, this would also be her first step to becoming a founding member of Professor Xavier's X-Men. This team of young (predominantly mutant) individuals would learn how to utilize their mutant powers for the betterment of all mankind; mutant and non-mutant alike.

Jean Grey was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, first appearing under the code name Marvel Girl in X-Men #1 in 1963. Jean was the first and (initially) only female member of the team, and was a regular part of the team during this run of publication. She began as a character whose sole ability was telekinesis. Years later, writers decided to give her telepathy. The writers explained that this was a suppressed ability that remained dormant (thanks to Xavier's intervention) while she was a teenager.

For this early incarnation of Jean Grey, in her Marvel Girl persona I wanted to use the Eaglemoss version of Jean Grey in her Phoenix guise, so when displayed together you could see the evolution of Jean Grey.

For the preparation on this one I had remove the ends of the waistband, then smooth away the waistband itself. I had to temporarily remove her left arm to reach her head, her very, very, tiny head. Once the arm was removed I then shaved away the front of her hair, around her face, very carefully as not to damage her face.

For the sculpting I started with her skirt, followed by her belt, and buckle, and then the most difficult part, her mask, which proved to be one of the hardest things I've had to do since I started customising figurines. The problem is two-fold, first, her head is really tiny, and very slim, and secondly is surrounded by a huge amount of hair.

I had to sculpt a very thin mask, using Milliput, to the top of her head, which took several attempts for it to take without breaking off, whilst being very careful not to damage the eyes, or take her nose off. Once I'd finally attached the mask I had to then rebuild her hair. The final part was to re-attach her arm, then hide the join with a thin layer of Milliput.

Phew! That was incredibly hard to do! Lot's of words used that should not be uttered in the company of children.

The paint application itself also had it's own problems to overcome, again attached to the mask. The yellow of the mask sitting on top of the light flesh colour doesn't stand out. To overcome this I had to line the edge of the mask with a very thin line of dwarf flesh, to highlight the edges. I also had to use this method to highlight the boot edges, and the eye-holes of the mask. Again Phew!

Paints used were Snot Green for the costume, Sunburst Yellow for the boots, gloves, mask and belt, Blazing Orange for the hair, and Elf Flesh for her skin. For the shade I used Blue Ink, and Dark Angels Green for the costume, Vermin Brown and Golden Yellow for the boots etc, Red Ink and Hot Orange (Vallejo) for the hair, and Dwarf Flesh for the skin. The final paint detail was Skull White for the eyes, and Blood Red, and Chaos Black for the belt buckle.


Marvel Girl

Two basic paint stages in creating Marvel Girl


*Click on each photo to see a larger version of each of the images.

*Thank you to Comic Vine for the origin information on Marvel Girl.