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Custom figures and dioramas

Discussion in 'Action Figures' started by Dearth, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Those are all great dioramas and scenes! Sorry I haven't seen it before now. Great stuff!
  2. LamangoNumber2

    LamangoNumber2 Well-Known Member

  3. Dearth

    Dearth Well-Known Member

    Not very involved customs, but they're new...

    Fozzie's cousin (right) sports a bowler made of Sculpey and an imbedded craft magnet.

    And I made a regular Beaker with interchangeable heads:



    Plus a modifed head where the hair is removable:


    New diorama to follow...

  4. Dearth

    Dearth Well-Known Member

    Movie Usher Scooter was pretty scene-specific, so I wanted to do something with Chef and Lew to showcase him.

    I grabbed some frames from the film and pasted them together to see how the set looked:


    That partial poster in the background intrigued me. I Googled the name Hurd Hatfield and discovered a match called Chinatown at Midnight:


    I had to resize the top of one 'Attack of the Killer Fish' posters and paste it onto the larger one, so that's why it's a little blurrier at the top. Here are all the cut-and-pasted elements that I printed for the dio:


    So here's the simplified version of the movie environment:


    Some closer shots:



  5. GonzoLover85

    GonzoLover85 Well-Known Member

    These continue to impress.
    I gotta ask, what do you do with all of your diaramas? Have you got them all on display?
    Or do you set them up for pictures then put them in storage?
  6. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Those are fantastic Dearth!

    I was on the team that worked on Usher Scooter and really wanted to get that Killer Fish poster included - even if it had to be printed on the box itself, but it didn't make the cut. There was no source for it and redrawing it up to Palisades' snuff would have taken too much time. Back then I thought they could have made some use of the box in printing quality diorama graphics (like posters and such) on sections of the box's slip-sheet. I think there was some licensor rule preventing that.

    Anyway, great job! ;)
  7. Sam's Ghost

    Sam's Ghost Member

    Great job as usual!
  8. Dearth

    Dearth Well-Known Member

    A little of both, actually. I don't have everything displayed simultaneously, but the entire island of my kitchen is currently dominated by the Muppet backstage, my custom Muppet main stage, the Swinetrek, the Swedish kitchen, and several small vignettes which I change out fairly frequently.

    That's one of the reasons that I design some of my dioramas to fold up flat, for ease of storage.

    It's always awesome to get praise from a former Palisades employee, thanks!

    Yeah, the image that I cut-and-pasted and printed isn't complete at the bottom. You can see some of the movie's on-set props in its foreground, like the upside-down popcorn containers and candy boxes. You can even see a bit of the sleeve of the Chef puppet from one frame.

    But I knew that I would be posing the Chef action figure in front of it, so I didn't bother trying to creatively paint that stuff out.

    When I also decided to make the smaller poster, I just cropped it differently, right above the popcorn boxes.

  9. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I was more of a freelancer for Palisades. I got to work in beautiful San Francisco while emailing my work to Ken on the east coast. :D

    Your Muppet Labs is also wonderful! I tried to do that too. Mixed some old with the new a while back. It's all lost now, but it was a fun little project.

    Man, do I miss seeing all these cool customs.
  10. Nick22

    Nick22 Well-Known Member

    i love seeing your dioramas! i wish i had the time, the skill, the patience, and the money to make customs and dioramas and things.
  11. Dearth

    Dearth Well-Known Member

    Oh wow!

    I don't have time to scan them and get them posted at the moment, but I had a blast from the past when I got home from work... my wife was unpacking some holiday decorations and found a pack of pictures that I hadn't seen since we moved into this house about five years ago.

    Among the photos were some in-progress photos of my first two custom Muppet action figures: "Kerzie the Bog" (aka Kermit and Fozzie's Dad) and my namesake, Dearth Nadir!

    These were taken with a non-digital camera, so the focus isn't as good as what I can do now, but as a record of the stages they underwent, these are irreplaceable. Very cool. I can't wait to convert them to digital files and share them with everyone here.

    Hopefully a little later in the week! Happy holidays!

  12. Fluffets

    Fluffets Well-Known Member

    Happy Holidays to you too, wish you all the best and can't wait to see the pictures when they're done, I'm sure a lot of other people here can't wait for them either.:D
  13. Dearth

    Dearth Well-Known Member

  14. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Best one yet!
  15. Gelfling Girl

    Gelfling Girl Well-Known Member

    LOL, cute.
  16. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Erm, what is it? :confused:
  17. Gelfling Girl

    Gelfling Girl Well-Known Member

    Parody of the new Pixar/Disney film Up!
  18. Dearth

    Dearth Well-Known Member

    Okay, here we go! I scanned all the old photos, and also took some additional pics to illustrate some of the stages.

    First, an archival pic of the Dearth and 'Kerzie' figures, with production Gonzo and Fozzie for comparison:


    The pinkish areas are unpainted Super Sculpey. You can see that on Dearth's body, I covered the furry Gonzo arms with smooth sleeves. I also cut off the bumps on the chest and smoothed that over, then added the trademark "egg slicer" chestbox.

    To make the helmet, I cut off Gonzo's head and began modifying a Darth Vader PEZ dispenser to become Dearth Nadir's helmet. I removed the nose from the Gonzo head, shaved it down to flat sides and hard edges, and later reattached it to the Dearth face. Here's a pic of that same Gonzo head, which I found in my parts fodder bin all these years later:


    More on the creation of the helmet in a moment, but first, here's a pic of the figure when it was spray-painted with primer grey:


    I wanted to keep the Gonzo hands, so I masked them off, and sprayed the helmet and body separately. Notice that the shoes were removed before painting (breaking one post off in the process, regrettably). The shoes were hand-colored with a Sharpie magic marker, keeping some of the details original while making other areas black.

    Then I sprayed the body matte black and the head gloss, although in this pic the wet matte looks kinda glossy as well:


    The cape was made of black fabric with a piece of elastic hotglued into place. (I first *tried* to dye the existing Gonzo cape black, but the dye slid right off of the metallic threads.)

    Okay, back to the helmet. It was hard to see what all had been changed on the Vader PEZ dispenser, so I took these pics last night:




    As you can see, I greatly elongated the flare in the back (the PEZ hinge was only part of the problem) and also brought the forward edges into a curve. The cheekbones and mouth-grill were modified, the eyelids were added. And the nose was glued back on.

    After it was spray-painted gloss black, I hand-painted the facial areas with an acrylic matte black.

    Now, on to Kerzie...

    More to come!

  19. Dearth

    Dearth Well-Known Member

    If you look at the pic of the unpainted Kerzie, you can see a 'bib' of fur on the front of the chest.

    That's because when you remove the bow of a production Fozzie's tie, you get a big rectangular hole in the sternum:


    In hindsight, I should have used the bare chest of a Vacation Fozzie with the regular Fozzie's limbs, like this more recent 'Fozzie the Bare' custom that I did:


    But, quite simply, this possibility just didn't occur to me five years ago. And, in all honesty, I don't like the way the regular Fozzie shoulders fit in the Vacation Fozzie torso.

    My solution back then was to make a push mold of the fur on Fozzie's back and then place a positive cast onto Fozzie's gaping chest wound, smoothing down the edges and feathering it into the existing fur.

    I added the Kermit-style frill with Super Sculpey and also Sculpey'ed over the eyes so they would be fully smooth, instead of having the raised eyelids.

    Here's another archival pic of Kerzie after he was given a coat of equipment grey primer:


    You can still sort of see the 'patch' of fur (no pun intended) in that pic.

    I gave him a base coat of green acrylic:


    And then I did a dry-brushed lighter green over that, to really accentuate the sculpt of the fur. The frill was painted with a more yellowish version of the green, and the facial details were likewise added by hand.

    So, as a reward for you guys putting up with the blurry old pics, here the two customs are, five years later, in a brand-new focused digital pic:


    The only modifications in the interim were the addition of the 'crypto-anagon transmitter' accessory to Dearth a couple of months back, and I added a glossier sealant to Kerzie's eyes, which seemed a bit dull.

  20. Dearth

    Dearth Well-Known Member

    I recently bought some Muppet stuff on clearance from ToyRocket.com, including some Uncle Deadly's for $2.50 each. I didn't really need the Deadly's, but I did want some more Muppet Ghosts...


    And I got an extra OMGCNFO version of Animal, so now I've got all the extra figures set aside to eventually make the Leprechaun Brothers:


    Beaker will be a hybrid from the turtleneck-sweatered torso of Super Beaker and the hands and legs of a regular Beaker. I will need to create an extension of the arms to bridge the gap between Super Beaker's oven mitt gloves and the long sleeves of the regular Beaker's lab coat.

    Swedish Chef is also a hybrid, from two Chef's that I was using for various projects:


    I had originally planned to use that torso and legs for Dr. Bob, but realized that the cracked torso would work better for the figure who would have a sweater sculpted over it. I also decided to keep the checkered pants for the LepBro Chef, rather than paint over them for Dr. Bob.

    The backdrop for the LepBros is not the same one I posted here previously. I have since re-cut it from green-glitter foamie instead of green-glitter cardstock. In this shot it was only propped up and not glued into place, but I have since glued it and it looks much better.

    The green craft puffballs in the baggie in front of Animal will be glued onto the top of their tams, which will probably also be Sculpey:


    LipsGF4Life likes this.

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