June 6th, 2006
Citadel Paint, Marabu Paint,
Character & Intent
It is a generally accepted fact that the 2002 MOTU line
stuffed with He-Man & Skeletor variations that no-one ever
wanted. And it is quite ironic that none of the (very few released)
80s variations were amongst them.
My absolute favorite amongst the latter was the fabled Dragon Blaster Skeletor.
Sure, I was a sucker for figures that doubled as squirt guns (Yes, I did love
Snout Spout, as well), but this guy had more going for him than just a cold
surprise for the sternum. Firstly, he was quite possibly the first action figure
in existence to use an actual, true, real, made-o'-metal chain. Do you
hear that, McFarlane ? You've got nothing on Skeletor !
And more importantly, he had a freakin' dragon chained to his back.
If that doesn't scream "badass of ages", I don't know what does.
More than enough reason enough for me to
try to give him ressurection therapy !
This one, like other recent ones, took quite a while to make.
Mostly because it was a real chore to find both a dragon at the right scale
and a squirting mechanism that would roughly fit the bodily shape. I think that
ultimately, I had a moderate level of success in that regard.
Another difficulty was making use of the Samurai Skeletor body. Originally,
I thought that his bulky armor would fit the bill nicely enough, but it turned out
that it just wasn't compatible enough - So I ended up tearing it all off and sculpting
over the rudimentary torso underneath.
And indeed, tearing the sucker apart was the first step in the
creation of this figure
do you have any idea how much glued-on crap Samurai Skeletor had ? Enough to
warrant burning my fingers several times on the boiling water.
In hindsight, it would probably have a been a good idea to go into
the project with
a clear idea of the design and methods I was going to apply... But that's usually
not how I tackle projects like this. Instead, I use the "rummage-through-the-fodder-
box-curse-and-pull-my-hair" method. It's all the rage in paris.
And as I'm writing this right now, I realize that there really isn't very much to write about,
As soon as I was fortunate enough to find this borderline
ideal dragon at a local
supermarket, I began the tentative assembly. I quickly realized that some re-posing
would be needed for the beast. My first attempt was to boil it, bend it, tie it to the
body and freeze it into holding the position. The result looked more like an complicated
fracture of the spine than like a genuine pose, so I switched to cutting it up, glueing it
back together in a tilted position and sculpting over the huge gap in his back. Better.
Taking Skeletor's torso apart (mostly to remove the annoying and
jerk-off movement action feature) took far more effort than I had anticipated. Again.
I've heard tons of complaints about the quality control on the new (well, now
justnewerthanvintage) MOTU toyline, but I'll be damned if the torsos weren't
I knew that this figure would look far too much like it's
former samurai self if I
had left the loincloth entirely like it was. So I had to come up with a new frontpiece.
But what, for Elder's sakes ? After months of idle experimentation, the solution came
in the fitting form of a 5-inch scaled MOTU knockoff at a local discount store. And
what a weird thing that was. There has never been an action figure of the Skeletor
version seen in the 1987 He-Man life-action movie (and for good reason),
but this was clearly a knockoff of it. A knockoff of a figure that doesn't exist. And
it came with a nifty dragon, complete with well-hidden wing-flapping action feature.
How could I resist ? And the head of this dragon.... to be more precise, a cast
of the top of it, was the answer I had needed for the loincloth dillema.
Still, I needed a bit of time to figure out how to take a mold of the head that
I could fill with liquid latex. I ultimately settled with ceramic, which I will
never, ever recommend for something like this. It took me an hour
to pull the damn head back out of the block of ceramic.
In any case, the result was worth the effort and easy
to put in place with a little glue.
Something else that consumed a lot of time was the attempt of
articulation to good old Skeletor. To my great shame, I have to admit
that none of my efforts in that regard bore any fruit. In fact, I even wrecked
one of his hands in the process. Fortunately enough, this gave me the idea
of replacing it with an armored version (with an embeded magnet to make
him hold on to the chain more effectively) to offer protection from the dragon.
I was playing with the idea of armoring the right arm akin to a falconer,
anyway, and this gave me a reason to pursue that idea further. The armor
on the upper arm as well the shoulder pad on the opposite side (the latter
being a last-minute suggestion by a good friend of mine) came from a
Clayburn Moore-crafted Sarah Pezzini figure. The shoulder of the right
arm actually only received a very thin layer of fimo that I simply over-
heated to create a bumpy surface (a trick that I had wanted to
try for a long time). In order to visually seperate the armor from
the exposed biceps, I simply glued one of those clear plastic
bands that often keep accessories in place in figure
packages onto the area.
Since the wrist guards originally had some samurai armor stuff
glued on, I had to sculpt over the gaps left in those places. This
also gave me the opportunity of immersing a piece of wire in the
left side to create the chain-attachment.. thingy. To make entirely
sure to have a tight fit, I made the wire a little longer and drilled
two fitting holes into the arm. I also put another magnet into the
left wrist, but that didn't end up doing much except making it more
difficult to pull the chain through.
The basic structure of the bulky armor is a rather unspectacular
using fimo and small ammounts of plumper's epoxy. The chest-chain-rail
is the result of much experimentation, the resin cast of a McFarlane
Vandalizer claw and some sculpting. The dragons on the sides are
latex casts of a the handle of a dagger from my fodder box and,
once again, some sculpting.
And, of course, I couldn't possibly make this figure without
of squirting action feature, which delayed completition for quite a while
until I found a novelty squirt prank (the toilet seat variant, in case
you're interested) of the right size. Although the tubing was a little
too thick, I was lucky enough to come up with a simple solution
quite quickly. Remember that weird tube-knotting toy fad a few
years ago ? I had stocked up on two sizes of those plastic tubes,
knowing that they would come in handy someday. And verily,
this glorious day had come when I found out that the larger one
of those two sizes fit perfectly into the tube that of the squirt
prank and the smaller size fit perfectly into the larger size.
Some drilling through the dragon, glueing of the tubes, dremeling
on the figure's back and sculpt modifications on the armor were
all it took to make the feature work. Pretty decently so, I'd like
Finally, the paintjob was somewhat strainious. It was preceded
by another delay as I was out of primer and knew that a figure
that would come into contact with water would certainly need
a strong adherence of paints. Since the brand I previously used
was only available at a specific store chain that I wouldn't get to
visit for an undetermined ammount of time, I broke down and
ordered the product offered by Citadel. Thus far, it seems
like a rather good choice, I have to say.
I also took days trying to find the right mix of tones for juuuust
the right purples for the armor. Previously to the version seen
on here, I had chosen some sort of weird pink for the armor
details - Until the aforementioned good friend pointed out
that it indeed looked like crap and I went with simple
metallic red, instead.
Aaaand that's all. Don't ask for more. Skeletor with
with a Dragon chained to him is more than enough for
anyone. Go now. Shoo.