Tezuka’s ASTRO BOY (Tetsuwan Atomu)

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Created in 1952 by Osamu Tezuka, Astro Boy (or Mighty Atom) is one of Japan’s most enduring characters of both manga and anime. Astro is a robot boy powered by a “100,000 horsepower” engine whose greatest attribute is his giant heart.

I did this mostly from memory, knowing I was taking a lot of liberties with Tezuka’s design. I wanted to recreate how Astro feels in my memory, not make an exact replica. Tezuka often placed the artificial Astro Boy in natural environments, and I did the same, with man-made detritus (including the arm of an older, ill-fated robot) on the ground; nature reclaiming it.

In Naoki Urasawa’s wonderful manga PLUTO, an updated retelling of Tezuka’s Astro Boy story The Greatest Robot in the World, Atom makes his entrance saving a snail off the sidewalk, and I paid homage to that story with Astro’s little snail pal here.

Astro Boy is 1/6th scale, approximately 8″ high, made of Super Sculpey, and Apoxie Sculpt on an aluminum wire and foil armature. He’s painted with spraypaint, acrylics, and enamel. The base is mostly found materials like dried, used coffee grounds, bits of tubing, and glue. The severed robot arm is scratch-built from wire and styrene plastic, and painted with Tamiya enamels.

SPACE SAMURAI FANG

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SPACE SAMURAI FANG (Supēsu Bushi Fang) aka ROCKET WOLF FANG (aka Roketto Ōkami Fang) is a character I made up when I was a little kid. I wrote a lengthy origin story on the Harvard mainframe (where my mom worked), which garnered me a fan letter. He’s the last survivor of an alien race, whose been recruited by the emperor who killed his people. (I think the plan was that Fang would eventually get revenge: I’ve always been about the long-unfolding plots, I guess.)

This 1/6th scale mini-bust was sculpted with Sculpey Firm, Super Sculpt, and Apoxie, and painted with acrylic paints.

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Here’s a teenage drawing of the character, then a sketch from memory from a week or so ago that lead to the sculpture:

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BATGIRL OF BURNSIDE Redux

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Although I’d posted some pics of this Batgirl before, Tony Martins (@TonyM_Photo) took these much-improved photos. This 1/6th scale figure was sculpted with a mixture of  Sculpey Firm and Apoxie over an aluminum foil armature, primed, and painted with acrylic paints and Cel-Vinyl.

I based this pose on the cover of her first appearance in Detective Comics #359, as drawn by Carmine Infantino, with additional design input by John Vukelic. This was done for the 6th Annual Hub Comics DARK KNIGHT ON A DARK NIGHT Batman art show.

Batgirl was created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino, and redesigned by Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr  (and you can see where Babs Tarr autographed it under the Batgirl logo in that last picture!).

WINTER SOLDIER

WinterSoldier01 WinterSoldier02 WinterSoldier03 WinterSoldier04 WinterSoldier05WINTER SOLIDER for #Watsoncon. Based on actor Sebastian Stan as he appeared in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, this 1/6th scale mini-bust was sculpted with Sculpey Firm over an aluminum foil and Apoxie armature, set on a wood-block base. Photos by Tony Martins Photography (@TonyM_Photo).

Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier) was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

THE TERMINATOR

TERMINATOR00The Terminator mini-bust for Watsoncon. Based on the T800’s appearance in TERMINATOR 2: Judgment Day, this 1/6th scale mini-bust was sculpted with Sculpey Firm over an aluminum foil and apoxie armature, set on a wood-block based (which has been distressed to look like it’s taken gunfire). Photos by Tony Martins Photography.

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PROFESSOR X AND MAGNETO

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Marvel’s Mutant fremenies mini-busts for my friend Kait’s birthday. These were made with Sculpey Firm and Apoxie over an aluminum armature, finished with black matte spray primer and silver and metallic red leaf.  The X emblem in the stand was hand-carved, stained, and polyurethaned. Each bust is about 3″ high.

Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

 

Joss Whedon’s FRAY

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From the comic book series by Joss Whedon and Karl Moline, this is Melaka Fray, Vampire Slayer of the future. Closely tied in with Whedon’s TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fray tells the story of a Slayer disconnected from the lineage of Slayers, in a world that’s forgotten what vampires are.

Fray’s look here is taken from her look in issues #5 and #6 (although artist Karl Moline alternated between giving Melaka a holstered laser gun and omitting it- deadlines!), my favorite of her several looks. I tried to copy the weird glyphs on her t-shirt without having any idea of what they mean. I was amazed when the Scythe, which  first appeared in the FRAY comic book, appeared in live-action on Buffy. In the comics it looked slightly different, so I went with the more finalized, real-world prop’s appearance.

Down at Fray’s feet, you can see a tile floor depicting martyred saint Margaret of Antioch slaying a dragon. Wires, insulation, and machinery have been clumsily threaded through, the future intruding into the past.

Fray was sculpted a 1/6th scale; I made a guess at her height based on Moline’s drawings, but made her taller than Buffy star Sarah Michelle Geller. This turned out to be wrong when Fray and Buffy finally met in Buffy comic books, where Buffy was a bit taller. It was sculpted with Sculpey III, Sculpey Firm, and Apoxie over an aluminum armature. The Scythe was carved wood and a brass rod. These were molded in Smooth On urethane rubber and cast in Smooth Cast 300 resin, primed, and painted with acrylics and Tamiya enamels.

My friend, photographer Patrick Lentz, shot reference photos of a model, Sue, for this piece. I wanted Fray to have a kind of weary but still defiant look here, and I couldn’t have done it without them. Thank you, Pat and Sue.

Grr. Argh.

Frankenstein’s Monster

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How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.

Based on Mary Shelley’s description of the literate, bilingual, articulate monster of her novel, Sean Downey and I designed this piece which I sculpted. It took us a while to finalize this design, which we wanted to be true to Shelley’s description above, but also possess some visual appeal.

The black lips we decided to make a kind of blue-black, like the lips and tongues of bears or Chow Chow dogs, and we extrapolated that his nipples (which, shockingly, Shelly failed to describe) would be, too. Scarring isn’t described in the book, but we utilized the popular idea of the monster being composed of the parts of dead humans as well as animals, which was suggested, hence scars. The scars we did were mostly cosmetic with not a lot of thought given to how they’d actually work (Sean added circular, almost branding-like scars on the shoulders).

We wanted our take on the monster to have a youthful quality, despite looking like he’d racked up a lot of mileage, so we gave him slightly oversized eyes and fine features, including too-small ears and nose set too-high on his head.

His eyes, described as “watery […]that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set” are alternately described as yellow, which seemed contradictory. We decided to make the corneas an unnatural yellow and keep the whites of the eyes white.

The monster is depicted here after having been rejected by Frankenstein and living in the woods for a while.

The sculpture was made with a mixture of Sculpey III, Sculpey Firm, and Apoxie over an aluminum armature. The original was molded in Smooth-On PMC (forgot which number) mold rubber and cast in Smooth-Cast 300, primed, painted with acrylics, and given a loincloth and crepe hair, set with clear fabric glue.