Saturday, May 31, 2008

Firestorm Hates Captain Atom, part 3

Captain Atom and Firestorm just don't get along. Will the threat posed by the Manhunters in Millennium Week 4 be enough for them to put their differences aside and work together?

Fat chance. It's time for Captain Atom #11, by Bates, Broderick, and Smith.

Making this one more interesting than just your standard Cap/Stormy slap fight, is the fact that this is the 'new' child-like Firestorm who understands very little about the world. His simplistic nature means the Manhunters were able to convince him they were his creators, allowing them to use him to interfere with the good guys. Cap is on a mission to stop a nuclear bomb, but faces a bit of a delay...

The initial skirmish is surprisingly brief. Captain Atom gets in a good first punch, but Firestorm retaliates by encasing him in a metal sphere. Cap tries to blast his way out, but Firestorm is able to regenerate the shell as quickly as it's destroyed, resulting in a stalemate. An effective strategy, which it's fair to say the old Firestorm wouldn't have thought of. Score one for the newbie.

All that's left, is to do what they should've done long ago, and talk.

Cap figures out quickly that the Firestorm he's dealing with isn't too bright (well, moreso than usual, atleast where these two are concerned). Assuming it's the result of brainwashing, he tries to reason with him by using stories from his past. He starts off with his childhood and how his love of flying developed.

He succeeds in showing Stormy that the Manhunters preventing manking from reaching it's full potential would be bad. However, FS still has doubts that the Manhunters would deceive him. Time for a story about Cap's early days...
...where he had to disobey orders to save a couple of soldiers. There's a slight hitch to this plan though. The Manhunters gave Firestorm a full briefing on Captain Atom's history, leading Flame-head to call bullshit on his silver foe.

Liar liar, pants on fire. Or lungs full of nerve gas. Something like that, anyway.

In a last ditch attempt, Cap tells one final story, this time about the real events behind his origin.

...aaaand Firestorm gets the lesson that he should trust his instincts. So he does, and lets Cap go. They race off to stop the nuke from hurting anyone, then it's time for some bonding.

Awwwww, they end up as friends. Yay.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Just a brief addition to my post about body casting. I've filled the leg cast with expanding foam.

The spots of foam bursting through the tape are where I had to cut so I could get the nozzle right through the whole thing. It wound up taking the whole can.

Once I'd filled it, I stuck a cardboard tube (from gift wrap) down it, to make a bit of a gap down the length of the leg. Expanding foam needs air circulation to cure properly, so I thought it might be a good idea to create a void (I didn't leave the tube in there). The foam fully hardened in around 24 hours.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Identity Crisis vs Identity Crisis

...wherein we combine Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer, with Identity Crisis by Kate Donovan, in the hopes of making Identity Crisis (the former) better.

Body Casting For The Simple Man

I've been playing around a bit with costume creation recently. Reading various tutorials on the net, I had a go at doing a bit of the Guyver suit, purely as an experiment to see how it all worked. For a first attempt, having never sculpted with clay, or cast a plaster mould or anything, it came out ok. I just did the forearm gauntlet.

I'm not a big fan of working with harmful chemicals, so I cast it using hot glue rather than fibreglass. Obviously it will require some practise to refine the casting method, but I've seen results on the net that show it's feasable.

I had been planning to post pics of the process I used, but I didn't take any as I went, and I had to destroy the sculpt in order to demould it (the cured (and varnished) clay softened while it was in plaster over night, apparently I did something wrong), so that was that. But, I've started another project, and this time my camera was close by.

For a part to be wearable, you need a cast taken from your body. Every tutorial I read involved using resin bandaging. Problem: toxic vapor. Solution: paper and packing tape instead. I had no idea if it was feasable before I tried it, but it works, and here's how.

The basic idea is to wrap a limb in paper and then reinforce it with packing and duct tape. You need to tape the edges to your skin initially, to stop the paper moving as you apply the packing tape. I don't use any special sort of paper, just some ancient computer rolls I've had lying around for a good 20 years. One layer of paper is enough.

Round and round we go- it's as simple as that. I use duct tape for extra support around critical areas (eg kneecap), and any places that feel like they might be a bit weak. Use plenty of tape, it's all that will be holding the form once it's taken off the limb.

Time to cut it off. I put a strip of duct tape along the line I'll be cutting, to strengthen the edge.

It pays to draw some horizontal lines across the tape, to make it easier to match the pieces up to reasemble the cast. Cut it off, and be careful!

When it's off, you'll be left with this (hopefully blood free):

Then it's just a matter of using the lines to reassemble it.

I made all this up as I went along, so maybe there's a better way to do it, but I think it's a good idea to also duct tape around the ends, and along the join. And there we have it:

It's not perfect, but good enough for the job. The only thing left to do is fill it with something so that you can work with it without it turning to a crumpled mess. After some thought, I came up with the idea of expanding foam (sold in spray cans at hardware shops). It works pretty well, much less time consuming (and cheaper) than trying to use plaster or something. Once cured, it's strong enough to handle pretty much anything.

Continued here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Normal Transmission Will Resume Shortly

Erractic posting on this blog is nothing unusual, but this whole "Moments In Death Metal" thing (upcoming: Iron Fist) is taking entirely more effort than I was expecting. Between that, actually reading comics, and watching Ghost In The Shell : SAC, I've been finding little time to actually post content. Things should be a bit more regular shortly (I hope).

Anyway, in the meantime, I've been adding to my toy collection recently, including $140 in purchases today alone. I completed the Iron Man movie series:

The Limited Edition version (far right) had been going for $25 at Toyworld, and there was no way I was paying that for it. Eventually a department store got them in, and I picked it up for $18. That prompted me to buy the Mark 2 and Removeable Armour versions. I don't know why anyone buys things at Toyworld, they're so much more expensive then everywhere else. I'll only go there for the occassional item that noone else is carrying.

At the card shop today, the new JLA figures were in, I got Hawkgirl to add to my JSA lineup.

(sidenote: the sooner she leaves JLA and goes back where she belongs, the better. Better wait until the JSA gets rid of half their roster though, or she'll never get any face time).

Also in at the card shop, the Manga-ised version of Power Girl:

Heeeeeee, it's so cute. Expensive, but cute. As you can see, I've made a little Power Girl shrine.

I've bought a bunch of Hotwheels Batmobiles too, might post pics at a later date.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I'd pay $50 for one

Some absolute legend of a guy has built his own Iron Man suit. Amazing.

(click picture for link)

Friday, May 16, 2008

If It's Worth Doing, It's Worth Overdoing

I've come up with a bit more wall space recently, so it was time to frame another page. I've previously talked about this excellent Blue Beetle page by Casey Jones. After my successful experiment with matting a Birds Of Prey page, I felt like having another go at something unconventional. Pretty quickly I came up with the mad idea of cutting out Beetle's chest emblem into the mat. Yes, it would've been easier to paint it on. No, I don't like easy things. Result, pre-frame.

The first thing I wanted to try was following the panel alignment, which I thought might look cool. I could've done with 1mm or 2 of extra space, it wound up a closer fit than I'd planned, but it works well enough.

Then on to the icon for the black matt. I found a giant image of it via google, resized it to fit, then printed it out. The old-school carbon paper cheat of scribbling pencil on the back was used to transfer the image to the card, then it came to the pain staking task of cutting it all out.

I didn't time it, but I think I spent a little over an hour on this. It was actually pretty straight foward once I got the hang of it, just required a bit of planning before each cut to make sure the edge was sloping the right way, and that I wasn't going to run over another part with the blade.

It initially didn't fit the frame quite right, the top of the icon was obscured. I cut 5mm off the bottom (of the matt, not the art!), and hey presto, it looked perfect.

The finished product hanging on the wall.
Left to right: Vigilante (Todd Smith), Blue Beetle (Casey Jones), Mantra (Robb Phipps), Firestorm (Nicola Scott)

Monday, May 12, 2008

X Marks The Spot... Of DEATH

Continuing on from last week's encounter, where X marked someone for death but they escaped. Thankfully for those of us that like violence, they came back. What will happen?

Let's get it on!

Not long to go now...

Dear god, I love that man.

I feel I should be saying something witty with these pictures, but really, they have it covered on their own.

Incase you were wondering, that was the sound of his neck breaking.

Aaand he's down...

Aaaand now he's dead...

X Omnibus volume 1 by Dark Horse is out this month. It's awesome, buy it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

How Not To Treat Girls, Featuring Firestorm

Special Mother's Day edition!

Ah stepmothers, gotta love 'em.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I..... I Don't Think I'll Sleep Tonight

You can get anything on eBay. Even a Firestorm figure that's been set on fire.

And you can be charged $300 for a figure that is worth $20 in un-burnt condition.

If anyone needs me, I'll be over in the corner, crying silently...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Eye-uhn mahn

I'm totally stealing a post from Chris Haley here. Now, you may've heard about the upcoming release of Iron Man replica helmets cast from those in the movie.

Very awesome, but very expensive. What alternatives might there be on eBay?

For the very cheap among you, there's the cardboard variety.

Then things get a bit more serious (and pricey). Here's an official helmet based on his first appearance:

Another officially licensed helmet (not movie related):

This one's a bit dopey looking:

Then there's an unoffical one with light up eyes

And a homebuilt kit based on the movie. It has no back though, so don't get too excited:

That's pretty close to the sort of thing I'd pick up (see my Guyver helmet). I'll be waiting until the release of those official helmets though, in the hopes someone makes a few casts from one.

Not content with just the mask? Try these:

But hands down the best Iron Man mask on eBay was this:

That's awesome.