Title: THE THING (FROM ANOTHER WORLD)
Manufacturer: Date unknown; resin copy of Billiken model
Summer 1997 - I purchased this model from Larry DeKay (of Wonderfest fame) at a toy show. I assembled and painted it once; but when I decided to take it to the 1997 IPMS Nationals, I reworked it to bring it up to competition standards.
I had painted the model with green flesh tones, applied with an airbrush, and a purple uniform. Now I went back and did more subtle modeling on the face, this time using artists oils. The eyes came out particularly well, since the longer drying time of the oil paint allowed for more extensive detailing. The thorns on the hands were painted with Testors enamels in shades of yellow and brown.
The uniform was given a black wash. Then I mixed flat red and dark blue to make a muddy purple which I drybrushed over the figure. The purple was lightened with white; this was drybrushed to bring out the highlights. I repeated this step with an even lighter purple, used sparingly. The rips in the clothing were painted with shades of maroon and pink, to contrast with the purple uniform.
The base was a round craft plaque that I had already prepared with a light stain for another model. As time was running short, I made an expensive panic move, and used Milliput to create a snowy effect on top of the plaque, with The Thing molded in raised letters on the side of a small snowdrift. The entire surface of this sculpture was painted white. Then I washed it with light blue for an icy effect, with a little flat black worked in here and there to create depth. The letters were painted in shades of red and yellow, to suggest the burning effect of the movies opening title.
I pinned the figure to the base using 1/4 brass rod and epoxy. Super glue, filled with baking soda, was used to block a few unwanted gaps under the feet. More baking soda, adhered with a spray of Dullcote, replicated snow. I carried the snow up over the Things boots to reinforce the snow blown effect of the base. Next, I masked the gloss coated edges of the plaque, and sprayed the entire model with Dullcote. After this was dry, I used epoxy to make the eyes and teeth realistically glossy. Future floor finish was applied to the thorns for a subtler sheen.
Model and text by Mark McGovern
Title: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
Manufacturer: Aurora 1969 (base), Monogram 1994 re-issue (figure)
This model began as Auroras 1969 "Frightening Lightning" edition. Using Squadron Green putty, I added stone texture to the flat back of the dungeon. This matched the molded detail of the front and sides of the piece. Two-part epoxy putty was sculpted into shoulders for the prisoner.
But I wasnt satisfied with the way the Phantom turned out. While at the International Plastic Modelers Society 1996 Region IV show, I found the Monogram re-issue. So I decided to re-build the figure and cement it to the old base, while attaching the old figure to the new base. This model was given to a horror movie-loving friend.
Assembling the figure was quite straightforward. I left most of the seams untouched, save for those on the sides of the head, upper sides of the arms, and the shoes. The seams I left are those you see on real clothing.
I began painting with the eyes. I started out to make the irises brown, then added a touch of gold for a metallic look that really helps to impart the Phantoms madness. Following the suggested color scheme, and with reference to the original novel, I chose a pale yellowish flesh color. This was built up by drybrushing from a dark brown base coat through the lighter flesh tones to whitish-yellow highlights. Black shadows set off the red-rimmed eyes. The mouth and nails on the hands were carefully detailed. Finally, I painted the hair in pale grays and white, because this model (as well as the original box art) was clearly based on the Phantom as portrayed by James Cagney in Man of a Thousand Faces(1955).
The tuxedo was very hard to paint convincingly; it had been one of my biggest areas of dissatisfaction with the original figure. I finally found that a couple of coats of flat black, shot from the can over a primer coat, provided enough tooth to allow me to drybrush the highlights with dark gray paint.
Heres an important principle when painting black: under most lighting conditions, its really shades of dark gray with black shadows. On this model, with its smooth contours and flat finish, that meant that I needed only to dry-or-air-brush the highlights. Ambient room light does the rest. The opposite holds true for white - its really light grays under most light, with pure white highlights.
The cravat was a deep purplish color, darkened with a black wash. The shirt and vest were sprayed white; the vest was washed with light gray, then drybrushed with more white. After the final finish coat, the shoes were painted with gloss black paint, to simulate patent leather. The mask painted a healthy flesh color with brown hair, per the original box art.
In order to get a nice, satiny appearance to the red lining of the cloak, I airbrushed, going from a red-orange to a wine color. I airbrushed gray highlights on the back of the cloak. The neck cord was drybrushed yellow over a brown base.
Once the paint job on the figure was complete, I overcoated it with Dullcote. I applied five-minute epoxy to the eyes and mouth to make them look wet. The cravat was buffed with my paint rag, to it a satin sheen. Then the cloak was attached to the figure, and the figure to the base, using five-minute epoxy. I appropriated the re-issue rat for my model, placing the old one, with a scratch-built tail, on the re-issue base that went to my friend.
I lost the notes I originally made during the construction of this model, so Im not sure just how much time went into it. So far, it has won two awards.
Model and text by Mark McGovern