Astral Dr. Strange

Get a job, hippie!

Y’know, not for nuthin’, but Dr. Strange has the most comfortable looking costume in comics. He’s basically wearing pajamas AND his cape doubles as a blanket. If his sidekick was Harry the Pillow, we’d all be pledging allegiance to Dormammu right now.

So, this week’s mod is one of them “lite on the customization” jobs. No Frankensteining, just a repaint of the Infinity Challenge Doctor Strange…

White acrylic base and–to break things up–antique white gloves, chest emblem and sash. Some blue highlights, creepy black eyes, a light black wash and a spritz of matte sealant to bring it home. Check out the regular Doc Strange HeroClix dial here, Astral Doc dial here.

So why make this figger? Why, to recreate classic astral Doctor Strange moments like that one time Flash Thompson punched him…

Those kids are so high.

Then there was the time ghost Doc talked sh*t about his Defender buddies when he thought no one was listening…

He’s such a charmer.

Back to the custom: I made astral Doc as a way to make the regular, not-dead-yet Dr. Strange Heroclix a unique piece. See, when the living Dr. Strange figure is KO’d, Casper here enters play at the start of that player’s next turn…

Astral Doc has a decent dial, but he has a weakness. At the end of each of its controller’s turns, it automatically clicks. The soul cannot survive outside the body for long! So yeah, the clock’s running when the haunted Doctor enters play.

Overall I’m okay with how this figure came out, though my shading/layering skills with a brush aren’t as good as they’d need to be to truly capture the look of the character. Plus trying to photograph all-white figures is a pain. I thought White Tiger was a hassle, but man, catching ghost Doc on film almost broke me. I’m done with all-white customs. You hear that, In-Betweener? I’m only modding half of you!

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Random Doc Strange from around the web:

Cosplay madness! We have Cary Elwes as the good Doctor, then Dr. House becomes Dr. Strange and finally Robert Goulet: Sorcerer Supreme.

Some toy stuff, including an old school masked Dr. Strange Mego and a neat piece of Marvel Legend astral photoshop.

And finally, we hit both ends of the cool spectrum. On one end we have possibly the slickest pieces of Doctor Strange art you’ll ever see and waaaay over at the opposite end we have the 1978 Dr. Strange TV movie. Don’t click that last link.

Valkyrie & Aragorn

Based solely on those word balloons, I think I may have briefly dated Valkyrie back in the ’90s. “Don’t you dare change the channel, Murphy Brown is coming on!” Yeah, it didn’t work out.

Anyway, my favorite part of this cover is how it’s a perfect snapshot of Marvel Universe crazy: sometimes a chick riding a winged horse will land on your castle and call you a bitch. Poor Hulk, look at his face; he’s having a hard enough time trying to figure the flying pony, let alone being called a wuss by the Swiss Miss.

But enough of that, let’s get to it. Valkyrie

I built this fig years ago, back before the horseless Valkyrie ‘Clix (Sinister) or the later mounted version (HoT). I’m a sucker for old Defenders comics and the crazy D-listers that filled that book, plus I’m a huge Thor fan. Asgardian Val here fits both bills and…okay, wait, when looking for Valkyrie pics for this post I came across some great images. You think Val’s a bit over-the-top in that Defenders cover up there? Check this out…

HA! I LOVE old school Valkyrie! As far as contentious guest stars go, Namor usually gets the nod for the most in-your-face cover word balloons, but he’s got NUTHIN’ on blondie here.

All this isn’t me making fun, I have genuine affection for the character. Yeah, sometimes she was portrayed in a heavy handed way, but she was at least different from most of the other Marvel heroines. She got in the mix and stirred things up. A’ight, back to the custom…

Ingredients: Val started life as an Invisible Woman (Clobberin’ Time), while I raided my box of Mage Knight figures for that sword-clutching arm and braids. It’s been awhile since I made this bugger, so I can’t be more specific about the Mage Knight parts. Her cape is a piece of index card paper rolled/shaped by hand and then hardened with a few drips of Krazy Glue (use a tissue to soak up the excess). Aragorn–the horse–came courtesy of Moonstar (Fantastic Forces). Some acrylic paint, a spritz of matte and Val was in the books. Custom Valkyrie & Aragorn dial here.

One more pic of this custom in a second, but first…

That may be my favorite of the bunch, I just love that smarmy look on Valkyrie’s face as she STANDS ON GOLIATH’S HEAD AND CALLS HIM A PIG! Haha, AWESOME! And that’s Hawkeye, by the way–Clint Barton–back in his Giant Man-esque days. When he wakes up and sees this picture (you know Valkyrie snapped some photos), he’s gonna lose his sh*t.

Overall I’m okay with how this figure came out. Not great, but I’ve made worse. Looking back at it I should have used thicker paper for the cape and given it more rolls & folds. The sword could use some work, too. Longer, more ornate. FUN FACT: That sword (Dragonfang) used to belong to the Ancient One, Dr. Strange’s old boss. When the Ancient One died, Doc took it and eventually handed it over to Val when she hooked up with him and the Defenders. Dr. Strange: RE-GIFTER!

Some random Valkyrie from around the web: First up, a Valkyrie figurine. I can’t tell if that’s a fan custom or an actual retail item, either way it’s from a bigger set (here). Next up is a wicked piece of Adam Warren Val art, then a neat fan-made Valkyrie pic. Check out Rebecca Romjin photoshopped as the Norse Goddess and lastly, a Defenders cover gallery. Issue #130 has a great Val cover…not sure if it’s a Sienkiewicz piece, it’s also got a Walt Simonson vibe goin’ on.

The Son of Satan

Satanism, the Antichrist, demonic imagery…you know the most shocking thing on this cover? A twenty-cent price tag. Nowadays you can’t even get a CrossGen back issue for that.*

So yeah, the ’70s Marvel landscape was nuts. “Son of Satan…?” And in case his name was too subtle, that’s a giant silver pentagram on his chest. How does this guy NOT have a ride at Universal Islands of Adventure?

Anyway, Daimon Hellstrom

Hmmm, well, he looks nice and moody/shadowy, but for the sake of inspecting this mod let’s get the flash on the camera cranked up to an eleven…

…there we go.

Ingredients: All parts are swiped from Heroclix figures unless otherwise noted. Base body is Bullseye (Sinister), Quicksilver head (Armor Wars), Dr. Fate cape (unleashed) and a trident from…Black Manta? Namor? It’s gotta be one of those underwater guys. I get the whole Poseidon thing, but enough with giving every Aquaman and Namor toy a trident already. When was the last time Aquaman showed up to a fight with a trident? RANT! RANT! RANT! Y’know, that trident might actually be from a Mage Knight or D&D mini…it’s been a few years since I built this guy, I’m blanking.

The pentagram on Son of Satan’s chest was one of the bigger hurdles to clear. To keep the lines straight, I x-acto’d a small circle from a piece of an index card then gave it a razor-thin edge in the form of a second layer of index card (held in place with a pinprick of Elmer’s). I then laid thin strips of index card in the shape of the pentagram (more Elmer’s) and positioned it on his chest (Elmer’s again). Using sculpting tools, I gently pressed down on the symbol, trying the best I could to get it to follow the contours of his chest. When I was happy with it, a small drip of Krazy Glue locked that sucker in place and hardened the paper. Acrlic paint, some matte spray and TA-DA!, Disney presents the Son of Satan! Custom Son of Satan dial here.

Eh, I’d give myself like a B-, maybe a C on this figure. I built this guy a few years ago and back then I‘d whip up a bunch of customs in one shot to surprise my group. That’s the case with the Son of Satan here…I modded him along with a bunch of other Defender D-listers and–racing the clock–had to cut some corners to have ‘im ready in time. Booo, me. He’s missing the strap for his cloak (or maybe he doesn’t need one: since he’s shirtless, it just sticks to his sweat! ew), plus I should have given him his “horns,’ the wavy cowlicks in his hair. I don’t mod much anymore, but when I do I take my time, no more rush jobs, no more cowlick-less customs outta me. Honest.

Some other Hellstrom stuff from around the web: first up, a custom Mego Son of Satan, then there’s a neat piece of stylized Daimon Hellstrom art, a wicked Son of Satan Mighty Mugg and finally, a Son of Satan cover gallery (scroll down, his adventures start with #12…they should have waited one issue!).

*yes you can

Hellcat

Bright yellow and blue. The color scheme of Hellcat‘s costume always struck me as odd–a yellow and blue cat?–but it wasn’t until I typed the above headline that it occurred to me that it may have been designed that way to avoid a potential legal headache with DC’s Catwoman. Or maybe the editor just liked yellow. Regardless, let’s get to this week’s minimalist modding…

As far as customs go, this may be the least-modded figure I ever tried to take credit for. All I did was take the standard Hellcat figure (Ultimates) and reverse the color scheme to her classic outfit. Custom Hellcat dial here.

Acrylic paint, a light coat of matte sealant and she was in the books. If you’ve ever played with the idea of customizing a miniature but you were hesitant to test the waters, modding Hellcat to her classic look makes for a good trial run. There’s no part-swapping or fine line work (though you can get fancy and use different reds and oranges for the hair). It’d call for minimal investment of time and money so if the process bores you, eh, no biggie. If you dig it, next step is modding a life-size Ego the Living the Planet.

I used an Avengers cover up top, but the team Hellcat’s most associated with are the Defenders, so I gathered some assorted Non-Team stuff from around the web:

Badass Hulk tattoo

Namor pool party

Monkey Defenders

Important PSA (NSFW language