Custom Indy Figures – Palace Dinner Indy

This is my Blog of Rants, whereby I post blogs or rants on whatever issues that interest me every so often, although nowadays making custom Indiana Jones figures is my current passion and I’d like to showcase my creations with the world. So I’ll spread my postings evenly with a blog after every so number of custom figure showcases. And here’s the latest wave of my Indiana Jones customs!

#46: Palace Dinner Indy from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”

Having been invited to the palace dinner, Indiana Jones dresses up by wearing a tweed jacket, and he even tries to look smart by wearing a pair of glasses. Indy seemed quite disaffected when exotic and bizarre dishes such as “snake surprise” were served up at the table, which was rather strange as Indy has an intense fear of snakes. Indy then goes on to offend and insult his hosts by insinuating that the evil Thuggee cult has returned to Pankot Palace. Later in the evening, Indy tries to entice Willie with an apple. He makes it into her chambers.

Head, hands, shoes – RPG Indiana Jones (“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”)
Torso, arms, legs – Templeton “Face” Peck (“The A-Team”)

I almost didn’t get to make this figure. I had wanted to get a “Face” figure so that I can customise Indy from the palace dinner scene, since they were wearing the same jacket suit. However, all the toy shops in Singapore had sold off their stock of “Face”, except for one shop at CSC, and that shop refused to sell “Face” as an single figure but only together as a set of all five “A-Team” figures. As I was unwilling to buy all five figures when I needed only one of them, I decided to wait until I can find “Face” on sale elsewhere, or if that shop decides to change its mind and sell the figures individually. It took nearly a year, and then one day when I visited that shop again, and found that the only remaining “Face” was on clearance sale! Needless to say I bought the figure.

The original “Face” figure.

Epoxy was used to sculpt the collar and jacket pockets. A bowtie was created by pasting a bowtie-shaped piece of paper, and sculpting epoxy over it. Indy’s hands and shoes were transplanted onto the figure. Since Indy was wearing glasses during the dinner scene, I fashioned out a pair of glasses by using clear plastic for the lenses, and paperclip for the bridge and arms.

Close-up of Palace Dinner Indy. There’s a slight inconsistency: in the movie only the top jacket button is fastened, while the figure has both buttons fastened. But I think he looks close enough!

“You can be my palace slave…” (Yes I know, that line does not come until much later.)

Here’s a snapshot of all my custom Indys together. From left: Indy in German soldier disguise (ROTLA), Indy in German officer disguise (TLC), Possessed Indy (TOD), Palace Dinner Indy (TOD), Tuxedo Indy (TOD), and Diving Suit Indy (he’s from an Indiana Jones comic).

Just one more:

Here we have two Indiana Jones from “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. From left: Indiana Jones (KOTCS), and RPG Indiana Jones. Note that in KOTCS, RPG Indy’s sleeves do not fold up to his elbows, but are just straight down, unfolded and unbuttoned. And Indy does not use the rocket-propelled grenade until later in the film, when he already has his jacket back on. RPG Indy has a slightly wider torso than KOTCS Indy, and I have recently noticed that there is a slight difference between the two heads. Compared to RPG Indy, KOTCS Indy has two extra strands of hair on his forehead. Most of my custom Indy heads came from either of these two figures.

The “Opium Song”

Some time back I was walking through a shopping centre, it was during a Chinese festival and an electronics shop was playing on their televisions the MTVs of several Chinese festive songs. It was then I thought I heard a song which mentioned the words “鸦片” (opium). That’s odd, how could there even be song singing about opium, the highly addictive and dangerous drug? And that such a song could actually be allowed to play on Singapore airwaves? Surely the draconian Singaporean entertainment censorship board would have caught such a lapse in censorship and not allow such a song to be broadcast. The very mention of the word “opium” in a song could possibily be perceived as a glorification or promotion of a drug culture, and it would be just as bad as that “rehab song” by the recently dead wine singer. Oh my…

Back home, I asked my Dad if he had heard of the “opium song”, that song sounded rather old so maybe he might have heard it before. My Dad couldn’t figure out what am I talking about, and likewise he seriously doubted that such an “opium song” could be allowed to play in Singapore, the government would have banned it straightaway! He then suggested that I might have heard the song wrongly. Unfortunately, I was not able to remember the tune of the “opium song” such that I could humm it for my Dad to identify. But I resolved to try to remember how the “opium song” sounds like if I ever heard it again, and ask my Dad about it.

It wasn’t easy. At times I actually got to hear the song being played somewhere during the day, only to let its tune slip my mind by the time I returned home. Finally, after several months, during yet another festive season I got to hear the “opium song” being broadcast from a loudspeaker at a temple. I made myself remember its tune by repeating it to myself all day! Returning home, I hummed the tune for my Dad to listen, and he immediately recognised it! He has the song somewhere in his CD collection.

The song in question is entitled “叮嚀” (“Advice”), it’s a 1930s Chinese song famously sung by the singer Zhou Xuan (周璇) and more recently by other singers, it is usually sung as a duet but can also be sung as a single. Its main theme is about a girl’s boyfriend having to go overseas to work, and that she should not get into trouble by becoming addicted to opium. Somehow back then it was quite okay to sing openly about drugs and warn against drugs and other vices. You can listen to the song at the below link.

The lyrics with the “opium” word happens at 2:19, and it goes: “… 望情妹切莫吸鸦片, 鸦片香烟费金钱…”, which roughly translates to “… think of your girlfriend, must never smoke opium, opium and cigarettes waste money…” Somehow I must have only selectively heard the words: “…吸鸦片, 鸦片香…” which if taken out of context of the song means “smoke opium, opium smells sweet!” No wonder I thought that it was some “opium song” promoting the nasty habit of taking drugs!

You know, this entire episode has inspired me to rewrite the song such that it really is a song that glorifies and promotes smoking opium. Try singing my lyrics to the tune!

“鸦片香, 鸦片甜, 鸦片又香又甜, 快来吸鸦片! …吸鸦片, 鸦片香…”

Now that’s a song that is askin’ to be banned!

Custom Indy Figures – SS Officer

“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” is the third Indiana Jones movie, it returned to the original formula of the first movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in having the Nazis as the principal enemies. Here I showcase one of the characters from “The Last Crusade”.

#45: SS Officer from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”

Indy had arrived at Brunwald Castle in search of his father, who was held captive somewhere in the castle. Indy locates the room and breaks into it, and his dad was quite happy to see him and assume that his Grail diary was in a safe place far away from the Nazis. After some quick catching-up, the two were confronted by the SS Officer and his men, who at gunpoint demanded that Indy hand over the diary from his jacket. Immediately, an argument ensues between Indy and his dad, and the SS guards were sufficiently distracted that Indy was able to snatch the machine gun away from the SS Officer and use it to shoot the SS Officer and the guards.

The whole figure – Came from a Century Soldier German Officer
Belt buckle & totenkopf (death’s head) on the visor cap – Colonel Vogel (“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”)

This is a straightforward custom which involved mostly a repaint of an existing figure, with the addition of a couple of extra features.

The original figure is on the left, and the completed custom is on the right. Vogel’s totenkopf was transplanted to the front of the visor cap. The collar insignias were repainted, with the “SS” insignia on the right collar, and the 4-pips rank on the left collar (It represents the rank of Sturmbannführer, equivalent to the rank of Major.) The eagle insignia originally above the right breast pocket was sliced out and transplanted onto the left shoulder. A black ribbon was painted to the middle shirt button. The belt buckle was replaced with Vogel’s belt buckle. Several pegs holes on the original figure have been filled in with epoxy. A black cuffband was painted on the lower left sleeve. The original figure was bald, so I have painted on the character’s white hair. The shoulder straps were repainted white, and the entire uniform was repainted in an appropiate green color as seen onscreen.

“Doktor Jones, I will take zee book now!”

SS Officer and his boss, Colonel Vogel. Black uniform Vogel is an earlier custom of mine.

Just one more:

Here we have a comparison between Colonel Vogel, and Marvel Universe’s Red Skull, who is part of SDCC 2009 Invaders 4-pack exclusive. Red Skull is a repaint of Vogel’s sculpt, since the Red Skull was a Nazi villian the toy company Hasbro decided to use an existing sculpt of Vogel’s Nazi uniform for the Red Skull, although I have my doubts on whether the Red Skull had ever worn that particular uniform design in the comics.

Custom Indy Figures – Member of the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword

Hi world, here is the latest showcase of my custom Indiana Jones figures!

#44: Member of the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”

The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword is a secret society loyal to the Holy Grail and dedicated to protecting it from discovery and misuse. When the Nazis sent a convoy headed for the Canyon of the Crescent Moon where the Grail Temple was said to be hidden, the Brotherhood made their last stand and launched an attack on the convoy. Unfortunately, the Brotherhood were faced with overwhelming firepower and were ultimately defeated.

Head – Rebel Commando (“Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”)
Arms – German Soldier (Raiders of the Lost Ark”)
Torso and skirt – Cairo Henchman (Raiders of the Lost Ark”)
Legs – Anakin Skywalker (Star Wars: Clone Wars” animated series)
Robe and turban – Map Room Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark”)

Several customisers have showcased their very own Brotherhood followers on the the Indiana Jones forum, and I too have been inspired to make my very own Brotherhood member by following their recipe. However, I decided that I must find the most suitable head to serve as the face for my figure. And that I found in one of the recent Star Wars releases, the rebel commando. I thought that his bad-ass moustache and goatee resembled those of the Brotherhood followers in the film. In fact, someone else on the Indy forum was using the rebel commando’s head for a German officer, which first brought him to my attention. (I have my doubts on whether the Nazis would have tolerated an unshaven Aryan amongst its ranks though.)

The turban was transplanted to the rebel commando’s head, actually in two separate pieces – the headpiece and the hanging chin piece. The legs were leftover custom fodder which, transplanted under the skirt, would not be visible anyway. The bandolier came from a True Heroes army playset, and the cruciform sword insignia is painted on the turban with a gold pen.

Kazim and a Brotherhood member prepare for their holy struggle against the Nazis.

Despite having the element of surprise, the Brotherhood was seriously outmatched by the Nazis.

Donovan, Vogel, and Elsa look upon a fallen Brotherhood member.

Just one more:

[UPDATE – 31 January 2014: Colonel Vogel v2.0 has received his very own showcase! Please click here to view]

And I call the figure on the right “Vogel 2.0”. I have made some modifications to the original “Colonel Vogel” figure (on the left) so that he would be more accurate to his onscreen appearance. These include painting the Nazi insignia on the armband, as well as adding a pair of goggles to Vogel’s hat. The goggles previously belonged to a Star Wars figure. Due to the need for political correctness, Hasbro had left the armband unpainted. In fact, the words on the cuff should read “Adolf Hitler”, instead it had been changed to “Deutchland”, which was a different SS regiment altogether.