Miscellaneous Gallery - Friends et al
Sir John Nibbles added.
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This is mostly work done of friends, or of their characters, or inspired by
them. It also holds some self-portraiture and any works I can't really
classify any other way.
Of/For Friends and Family
The Laughing Ogre: This is the mascot of a great
comic shop in Columbus, Ohio (and the place where I get Army Ants, see
above). Here's a picture of the Ogre from their business card. The base toy I used was the Cyclops from Disney's Hercules toy line. Most of
the detail I added was with Milliputt epoxy modeling putty, regular grade
(which I found to be a LOT easier to work with than the fine grade I'd been
using), with the tattered cuffs and hair built from structural paint. I
disabled the toy's spring-action gimmick for two reasons: to get better
sculpt on the torso, and to keep the pillar from whacking off the figure's
newly-added nose. Yes, the toy's supposed to hit itself in the face after
missing Hercules. For that minty green color the Ogre has, I picked up a
bottle of Sage Green (ironic choice of color name) for sixty cents...so what
if I never use the color again? :) After I finished painting, I realized
the buckles were nonfunctional, since the belts didn't actually loop through
them. Oops. Just following the model sheet.... Oh, and while it may not be
obvious in this scan, I used a green wash on the skin and a black wash on the
clothing. The figure's belly doesn't normally glow like that, it's just an
artifact of direct-scanning. 10/27/98. I'm including it here because the
Laughing Ogre has appeared in a small-press comic, namely the Cow-Boy
special, by Jay Hosler.
- Evil Deirdre: This is
mostly just a repaint of the Deirdre figure from the Mystic Knights of Tir na
Nog line, done in "evil" colors as was suggested on
rec.toys.action-figures.discuss. I made two significant physical changes,
however. One, I cut the helmet wings down from bird wings into dragon wings,
and two, I gave her an Interchangeable Action Hand! Woo. The base figure I
used was the first Deirdre I got, where I discovered that the wrist joints
are fragile. REALLY fragile. As in, I broke one. For a while I just pinned
the hand back on with a short length of pin, but when I rebuilt the figure
into Evil Deirdre I cut out the remaining peg inside the wrist. Then I cut
the knob off the stock of her crossbow so that it would fit inside her wrist
hole. Not being one to waste materials, I then glued the left hand onto the
stock bit I'd cut off. To add a third item to her armory, I found that the
flame blast from the Total Chaos Al Simmons figure's flamethrower fit nicely
in the wrist hole, so I gave it to her. The figure's shield clips to her
shoulder and resembles an additional piece of armor, since A) I don't want to
scrape off paint by clipping the shield onto her forearm, and B) her forearms
are too thin to hold the shield on well anyway. Completed 11/9/98.
UPDATE 12/25/99: Now I also have a second
version based on the Deirdre that comes with the Battle Car set. Made
this as a present for a friend named Deirdre.
Dr. Leonard Jossem: An emeritus professor here at
the Ohio State University and part of my research group. He recently turned
80, on the same day that The Phantom Menace hit theaters. Someone joked that
Hasbro should release an action figure of him...so I got a Grand Moff Tarkin
and went to work. I cut down the collar and built up the business suit top
using epoxy putty. I also used putty to add length to the pants. The
glasses were made from a strip of overhead transparency sheet and some
paint. The sheaf of documents was made from gluing some styrene sheeting
together until it was thick enough to be held in the figure's hand. Finally,
to give it some gimmick factor, I cut off one boot heel and replaced it with
a rare earth magnet from Radio Shack. The figure can walk up metal walls
now. Completed 5/31/99 (held off on posting the scan until I could present
the figure to him at a group meeting).
Mecha-Alex: A friend of mine alternately known as
Alex, Squid and "who the heck let HIM in?" is into mecha and stuff with
tentacles, among other things. I happened to have a bunch of spare tentacles
from a recent Doctor Octopus figure (four go onto his motorized gimmick
backpack, the other four can go directly on the figure if you prefer a
classic look). I used a beat up Iron Man figure I picked up at a resale
store as the base, the boots of a Dillfam (Round Vernian model kit) on the
feet, replaced his left hand with a Lego block (which I drilled out so it now
looks like a missile launcher attachment), added various connector pieces
with plastic rods and Lego, filled in shapes with Milliput, etc. For the
head, I sliced down into the skull with my Dremel cutter, then inserted a
piece of styrene sheet for the blade/frill. I covered the face in putty and
added googly eyes (which I then painted over). The boots are filled with
copper BBs for stability, and all 8 tentacles are removable (or, as Alex
would probably prefer to think of them as, independently mobile). The upper
four tentacles work like bendy straws, the lower four are the traditional
wire-in-plastic bendems. The little figure in one of the claws came with my
Iron Giant toy. Completed 11/14/99.
Monax: Ellen Kiley's Aberrant character, created
from a Turok-line Adon figure and some putty. Removed
the stupid spurs the Adon figure had, flattened out the collar area and gave
her new hair and a bigger skull (Monax has some Taint). The Team Tomorrow
logo on the collar area isn't too visible in the scans, ah well. Adon's eyes
are just big enough that I was able to not only paint in irises and pupils,
but also the obligatory pinpoint highlights. 4/26/00.
- Wedding Cake Topper: A friend of
mine from Transformers fandom is getting married in 2007, or was married in
2007, depending on when you read this. :) He asked me to customize him a
wedding cake topper reflecting both his fandom and his fiancee's. Her
interest was in the Magic School Bus's Ms. Frizzle, plus turtles. He
supplied an Axer for me to spiff up, the rest is stuff I found.
- The Groom: Actionmaster Axer. All I really did
was repaint it in metallics to represent being all polished up for the
- The Bride: I ended up hacking together two Polly
Pocket figures (one had the right hairstyle more or less, the other had a
magnetic hard plastic dress I could customize). I made the hair a little
frizzier with hot glue. The earrings were made from metal beads and putty,
and I painted turtles on the dress. After toying with a doll base (one of
those metal bar things) I gave up on that and glued a pair of Polly's shoes
to a piece of clear plastic.
- Liz: Optional. I tried making Liz, Ms. Frizzle's
reptilian sidekick, from a toy Triceratops and some BBs. It's a tad
- The Base: A dollar store dollhouse table
spraypainted white and then painted with an oval projection of the world (the
Winkel Triple Projection) on it. The table straddles a turtle, just to work
in more turtles. For a proper Discworld (or ancient real world mythology)
reference I would have needed some elephants too.
- Marah "Peep": My niece
Marah got interested in classic Fisher Price Little People, and calls them
"Peeps". I got a bunch for her on eBay, and at my sister's suggestion
repainted some of the doubles. A little girl with a missing pigtail became
Marah (who is in an only-wears-pink phase). November 2007.
- Phoenix Queen: ZGryphon, an online friend of mine, designed a
spaceship and printed it out on Shapeways,
but he wasn't really happy with just a straight up red (and kinda fuzzy) piece, so
he asked me to clean it up and paint it. I also added a post hole so it could
be mounted on a clear Lego rod. I went through several rounds of seal-and-smooth
to try to get a nicer surface, coating it with Pledge Future and then sanding or filing
it down in an attempt to get a sheer surface. April 2014.
- Nativity Cross repair: While
visiting me in Amarillo, my parents picked up a delicately carved Nativity Cross at
one of the touristy stores in the Route 66 Historical District, and it immediately
broke. So I patched it up and glued it to a piece of model railroading wood planking
sheet so it could survive both the trip home and be hung on the tree. August 2015.
- Brewers Horse: No, not Breyer,
Brewers. My mom started collecting horse figures a few years ago, and has been a
Milwaukee Brewers fan for most of her life, so for her birthday in 2017 I got a
horse figure and painted a classic Brewers uniform on it. So...many...pinstripes.
- Sir John Nibbles: Made as a Christmas
present for my niece Anne. This one gets a full webpage to cover the making-of.
Action Figure: Yep, me. I made an action figure of
myself as a Christmas present for my grandma. I'm pretty sure she's not
online, so it's safe to put this picture up now. The base was a WWF
Superstars Savio Vega, who had the major advantages of being pudgy and
wearing pants. Unfortunately, it turned out that the head and arms are
rubbery plastic, so I decided it would be a bad idea to use putty or Sculpey.
After filing down or cutting off extraneous details like jewelry and the
too-wide nose, I built up the hair and sleeves with structural paint, which
dries as rubbery as the figure. I built the glasses from a piece of trading
card "clamshell", a short bit of copper wire and some gold paint. I don't
actually own a shirt with the Ohio State block-O on it, but figured it'd help
identify the figure as me in case Grandma doesn't see the likeness. :)
- Stuffed Dave: A branch
of the Hobby Lobby chain recently opened in Columbus, and I found a series of
blank rag dolls there. Grabbing the 24" one for five bucks, I decided to
make it into a version of myself, another present for Grandma. Basically, I
just drew on this with fabric markers. The one I was using for fleshtone
burned out halfway through, and unfortunately the replacement was a lighter
color. Ah well. In despair over his uneven skin tone, the doll tried to commit suicide, but I stopped him. 3/6/00
- "Peep" Dave: A classic
Fisher-Price Little People figure repainted to resemble me, done as a gift
for my niece Marah. November 2007.
- Attacktix Dave: A Pops Racer action figure from the
2008 Speed Racer movie line with a reshaped head, glasses, a watch and PDA.
Placed on the base from Grand Moff Tarkin's Attacktix and given his gun, but
neither is glued on. April 2008.
- Finished figure: 1, 2, 3
- Works in Progress: 1, 2
iPod Shufffle Minimate: I painted an iPod Shuffle
control wheel on the chest of a white "Free Comic Book Day" Mini-Mate
- Scythe: I give a quiz on
physical pendulums each year, and I like to use a scythe as the example.
Unfortunately, a small but significant number of my students don't know what
the word means (either they're hopelessly urban, or don't speak English as a
first language and didn't learn the word yet). So I made one out of styrene
pieces (shaft and blade are 1/4" by 1/8" rectangular rod pieces) and a lot of
Dremeling and filing. Leaving the wood parts rough from the Dremel sander
made it easier to ink wash for a wood grain effect. 11/16/07.
- 1:12 Scale Pizza: I decided
to use the Dvandomtix figure to shoot some video letters for Marah (and Anne,
although she's too young to follow what's happening), and one scene called
for a pizza party. I managed to buy sodas of the right scale, and a table,
but no pizza. So I made some. The "peel" is sheet styrene, the pizza itself
is Apoxie Sculpt. I got the woodgrain effect (albeit in the wrong direction,
oops) by streaking darker brown paint onto wet light brown paint. April
- Flip-up 3D Glasses: Okay,
this didn't really fill a pressing need, but the idea amused me. April
- iPod Stylus Mod: A cheap $1
stylus with the tip reshaped. January 2011.
- Red Prius: A white Tomica
Prius repainted red like the one my sister and brother-in-law own, as a late
anniversary present. January 2012.
- Angle finder: A piece of
2-liter bottle plastic and some trigonometry creates a cheap way to measure
angles in the sky for astronomy. September 2013.
- New Artificial Right Hand Rule: Back in the 90s, I turned
a clear plastic box into a "Right Hand Rule" tool for a quadriplegic student, and
got my first professional publication out of that. More recently (2016) I realized
that this sort of thing could be 3-D printed by my students if they wanted to,
and I made some prototypes. The first one was a bit
iffy, but I gave it to my department chair as a proof of concept. The
second one was much more to my liking, and I continue
to use it in lecture as a demonstration item. February 2016.
- Home Legofication: In 2016 I became a homeowner for the first
time, yay! A previous owner had knocked out the wall between living room and den
to make a larger open space, but part of the wall was loadbearing and the studs were
left up. Not sanded or anything just painted gray. In addition to sanding down various
splinters, I decided to cover the bare studs with Lego plates (studs on studs).
Due to a limited supply of clamps and of baseplates to slice up, this took place in
- Starting the process: I started with just the horizontal
parts, this picture was taken a few weeks before I actually moved in...but days after I
got the keys. The can of bug spray was just being used as a weight to hold down one
of the plate segments. What I did was get standard square baseplates (32 studs by
32 studs) and use a steel ruler and an X-Acto blade to slice them into segments either
11 or 10 studs wide. April 2016.
- First phase done: My initial supply of baseplates that
I already had to spare all sliced up, and a few blindbagged minifigures and a couple
of small sets in place. June 2016.
- Using some more space: Using Command hooks (which turn
out to start falling off after two years) I hung some stuff from the undersides of
studs, and also attached platforms to the sides in a few places. June 2016.
- Going Vertical! I learned that you could put plates
sideways between studs, and this was used for wall displays. This also gave me something
to do with all those blindbag small baseplates. Took a while, and I found that they
no longer made the old green color (maybe shouldn't have cut up the older collectible
ones, oh well). January 2017. I've done some tweaks here and there since then, but
nothing worth a photograph.