Let us learn Runes!

One day, I was in a bookshop at Orchard Rd, leafing through a picture book about the recent movie “Thor”, and I came across an interesting picture.

If you had watched the movie, then you would know that the device on the pedestal is the icy energy power source of the Frost Giants of Jotunheim, taken by Odin to Asgard as spoils of war ages ago. Not sure whether the device was mentioned by name in the movie. But what more intrigued me was the inscription on the pedestal, which was in Runic, the alphabet of the ancient Scandinavian people.

Curiosity got the better of me, so I searched for info on the Runic alphabet on Wikipedia, in an attempt to find out what was inscribed on the pedestal. Several variants of Runic exist, but I think the version used here is that called the “Elder Futhark”.

The 24 runes of Elder Futhark, with each rune corresponding to the alphabet on its right. Note that multiple equivalent runes exist for “h”, “s”, and “ŋ” (called ‘ing’).

With this knowledge, I was finally able to decipher the inscriptions:
20111028_ankient_wintersas “ankient winters”, or “ancient winters” with the rune for “k” standing in for “c”. A search for the phrase “ancient winters” on the internet led to a reference to “The Casket of Ancient Winters”, which was a icy power source mentioned in Marvel’s “Thor” comics. Obviously, the writers of the movie had used this as a plot device for the story, and somewhere along the way the set designers had inscribed the device name onto the pedestal, in runes!

Now that you know Runic, you can create your own messages in runes, or better still, have fun testing your deciphering skills over here, at a gallery of artifacts from Odin’s vault which you may have missed in “Thor”.

Custom Indy Figures – Barranca

Hi guys! Today I showcase my 50th custom Indiana Jones figure! And I think it is a truly awesome one!

#50: Barranca from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

In 1936, Indiana Jones arrived in Peru in search of an ancient Chachapoyan golden idol. For the expedition, Indy hired the services of local guides Satipo and Barranca, both of whom accompanied Indy deep into the Peruvian jungle in search of the Chachapoyan temple. However, Barranca attempted to steal the map to the temple from Indy, he pulled out his gun and prepared to shoot Indy in the back. Fortunately, Indy heard the cock of the gun’s hammer, and instinctively spun around and used his whip to lash the gun out of Barranca’s hand. Barranca then fled into the jungle, only to meet his fate at the hands of the following Hovitos warriors.

Head – Clone Trooper (“Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones”)
Torso, jacket – Monkey Man (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”)
Arms – RPG Indiana Jones (“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”)
Upper legs, shoes, hat, gun holster – Indiana Jones (Idol) (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”)
Lower legs – Ugha Warrior (“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”)

This is a figure that had been a long time coming, mainly because of two factors. First, I needed to find a head with comparable likeness to Barranca. An earlier plan to re-sculpt Monkey Man’s head into Barranca was considered and ultimately discarded (Barranca and Monkey Man were protrayed by the same actor). I felt that it was beyond my ability to carve out Monkey Man’s eyepatch and then re-construct from scratch the eye and head sections. A search for a suitable head lead to the Clone Trooper, a figure which I had already acquired for use as possible custom fodder, just because I felt he looked badass enough to be a possible Indy enemy.

Second, I needed the Ugha Warrior’s lower legs for the Barranca figure, but I had not been to find any on sale here, and I was quite unwilling to buy from eBay the figure only to use its legs. It was only recently did I finally purchased the Ugha Warrior from a local toy shop which had put out some of its older stocks for sale.

Just as in each of my customs, I have replicated nearly every detail so that my Barranca figure would be as screen-accurate as possible, even down to the positions and shapes of the patches on his jacket. An examination of Barranca’s hat showed that there are two bullet holes, one on the front and another on the back, indicating that a bullet had once shot through the hat.

Indy leading the way into the Peruvain jungle, followed by Satipo and Barranca,
along with a mule carrying their supplies.

The double-crossing Barranca pulls out his gun and prepares to shoot Indy from behind.

Indy’s quick reflexes saves him as he whips the gun out of Barranca’s hand.

Just one more:

And I call the figure on the right “Satipo v2.0”. I had previously customised the Satipo figure (left) wayback sometime ago, and had recently made some further modification on Satipo to brush up his appearance. Thanks to a poster on the Indiana Jones forum whom I shall identify with the initials “LQ”, I have acquired a plastic cast head of the Satipo prototype figure, to replace the original one on my figure. Additional lapels, shoulder straps, and pockets have been sculpted on the jacket, and the jacket had been repainted from yellow-green to buff.

Just another one more:

In celebration of my 50th Indiana Jones custom figure, I thought that I’ll snap a group photo of all my custom figures which I had showcased thus far, along with a couple of other Indy-themed customised items. 50, and most definitely still going strong. There, I hope that answers your question.

The end of THAT affair

I’m not usually one who would hold such an animosity against someone that I would want to purposely tell the whole world about it, but I suppose even that even for a nice guy like me, who works hard for a honest living and strives for the best in life, deserves a chance to say my peace and rant my thoughts once in a while, least they fester within and grow into something cancerous.

A couple of weeks back, a good army friend of mine suggested that I meet one of his girlfriend’s female friend. After thinking about it, I decided to meet up with them for dinner, I figured that there’s no reason why I should deny this girl an opportunity to be my friend. So I rendezvoused with them for a hot-pot dinner, whereby my army buddy introduced GSTgirl to me. GSTgirl was in the same language class as my army buddy’s girlfriend, and as I conjecture, we wanted to meet more friends, and hopefully, move on with our lives.

During the dinner, I learnt that the GSTgirl works for the tax department, as that was the only job available to her when she graduated during the economic downturn. She seems to like to eat a lot of beef, and spents her entire Sundays cleaning her makeup brushes. After the dinner I exchanged contact information with GSTgirl, to keep in contact. But already, I confided to my army buddy that GSTgirl was quite full of herself. She can talk and talk and talk and expect everyone to listen to her, but she totally fails to pay any attention when anyone else tries to talk to her. But I suppose nobody’s perfect, and being the gentleman that I am, I was quite prepared to like her the way she is.

So I took the initiative and invited GSTgirl out for another dinner, just the two of us. This time round I made the effort to get to know her better, asking about her life, work, interests. However, throughout the dinner GSTgirl seemed more obsessed with staring and tapping at her iPhone (…didn’t she says she doesn’t surf Facebook? DAMN YOU APPLE!), rather than actually chatting with her dinner date. GSTgirl mentioned that she spends all her time watching HK, Taiwan, and Korean TV dramas, and likewise I shared that my favourite TV shows are science fiction. At this point the conversation took a somewhat ominous tone, when just based on this GSTgirl declared that there is nothing in common for us to talk about. This I felt rather strange as it always takes time to get to know someone, progress can only take place gradually, and no normal person can make such a judgment after only one or two meet-ups.

After dinner, instead of hanging out in the city, GSTgirl would rather go to Ikea to buy furniture for her room (at nearly closing time?), so I bid her goodbye. You know, I actually fell for it! It was only recently I came to the conclusion that it was all a ruse to get away from me. And this, after she had decidedly chosen to ignore all my subsequent invites sms, I don’t buy the idea that GSTgirl was unaware of all my messages, considering that she STARES at her iPhone 24/7!

I can say that GSTgirl is one who will burn the bridges if she thinks that’s what it takes to unfriend someone. I suppose that this is the end of that affair, yet I don’t feel too bad about it. Especially since GSTgirl had been deceiving everyone right from the start, when she stated that she never tells anyone her full name, I think the alias she uses is unlikely to be her real name either, similar to her antics of going shopping for furniture in the middle of the night. There cannot possibily be an ounce of truth in whatever GSTgirl had said about herself, not even the idea that she has a twin sister who is a workaholic and has no life. Come to think of it, she DID sound like she was making it up on the spot. And the fact that GSTgirl mentioned that she thinks my army buddy is a very smart guy, makes me even suspect that she might already be interested in my army buddy instead.

GSTgirl, if you are not interested, at least you can act like a girl and tell me that straight in the face. Being the new age guy I would have accepted your decision and  respected your choice. For the record I had NEVER forced anyone to like me out of her own free will. However, your need to resort to trickery and deception only goes to show just how immature you are as an adult, totally failing in the ways of developing interpersonal relationships, relegating yourself to one who is unable to makes compromises, seeks the impossible in life, and thinks that the whole world only revolves around you just because you believe that anything and everything must go in your way. And no amount of makeup or mascara can cover-up that stinking facade on your face. Too bad for you.

Too bad for me too, huh.

Custom Indy Figures – Flying Wing Pilot

Hello world! I present my next custom Indiana Jones figure :

#49: Flying Wing Pilot from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

The Luftwaffe Pilot had just landed the Flying Wing at the German archaeological site, and the Pilot stood at his cockpit, waiting for the plane to be refueled and be loaded with the mysterious cargo that he was sent to retrieve. A shout then alerted the Pilot to the presence of a stranger, who wore a leather jacket and a fedora hat, and was climbing onto the Flying Wing and heading menacingly towards him. The stranger was then challenged to a fistfight by a barechest German Mechanic, and when the fighting got started, the Pilot thought it wise to get his own gun to stop this interloper if he could.

Head – A World Peacekeepers Soldier with goggle helmet
Torso and legs – General Jan Dodonna (“Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”)
Arms – Han Solo (“Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”)

Having accumulated quite a number of figures to use as custom fodder for my customising Indy figures hobby, I decided to create the Flying Wing Pilot. There was a unique opportunity as one of my spare soldier figures was wearing a goggle helmet, similar to the one seen on screen. As usual, I did my research on the appearance of the flight suit, which I thought it looked futuristic even for its time in 1936. In the movie, we see the Pilot only from the waist-up. And from the pictures of Luftwaffe bomber pilots I’ve seen in history books, it was quite common for the boots to be worn either over the trousers, or under them. So for my figure I chose the former, especially since that pair of legs came together with the torso anyway.

You cannot believe the number or zippers that the flight suit had, there were zippers on the sleeves and trousers, and even the sides. You see the copper lines on the upper legs, those are zippers. Epoxy was used to sculpt the addition flaps on the suit, as well as the headphones on the helmet. On the actual flight suit there would have been the rank insignias on the shoulders, instead what we see onscreen there were no rank insignias, but only a black band across the shoulder (which I think is velcro for pasting the insignias on).

The Flying Wing Pilot almost had a clear shot at Indy until…

… the German Mechanic got into the Pilot’s line of sight, forcing him to hold his fire.

Just one more:

The Flying Wing was a long-range aircraft designed and built in the utmost secrecy for the Luftwaffe. Its unique design allows it to travel far distances without landing to refuel, making it the ideal fighter-bomber, capable of striking targets throughout Europe, although in this case it has been configured for cargo transport, sent to deliver the Ark of the Covenant from Egypt to Berlin. And with a little modification I have made the Flying Wing more accurate to its onscreen appearance. Methinks it looks much better now.