Rainbow outside my house

Last saturday, after a rainstorm, a rainbow manifested itself outside my house.

So, where’s me pot of gold, heh?

Custom Indy Figures – Young Indy v2.0

Hello world, I present my latest custom Indiana Jones figure.

[UPDATE – 31 January 2014: I’ve assigned a numbering!]

#74 – Young Indy from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

In 1912, the 12-year-old Indiana Jones was a member of a Scouts horseback expedition exploring the dry lakes of Utah. While checking out the cave systems with a fellow scout, Indy came across a gang of grave robbers looting an ancient tomb. The grave robbers, led by their leader known only as “Fedora”, had just uncovered an ancient artifact, which Indy was able to identify as the Cross of Coronado. Indy at once recognised the historical significance of the artifact, and firmly believed that “it belongs in a museum”. Immediately, Indy sent his scout friend to seek help, while he himself comes up with some way to steal the cross away from the looters.

The whole figure – Comes from Young Indy (“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade“)
Hat – Bob Ranger from Chap Mei Figures and Playsets

Hasbro released a Young Indy in its “Last Crusade” wave of figures. But if you observe closely, you will find that this Young Indy was modeled on his appearance during his getaway from the grave robbers, with the Cross of Coronado tucked snugly in his belt. In fact, by this point Indy had even lost his hat! When I was able to procure an extra Young Indy figure, my initial idea was to customise a Young Indy figure perhaps based on one of his many appearances in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. However, none of the Young Indy appearances in YIJC felt appealing enough for me to create. In the end, I decided to do the simplest custom that I could think of, which was to redo the Young Indy figure so that he would look the way he first appeared in “The Last Crusade“.

The original Young Indy (left), and Young Indy v2.0 (right).

The cross was sliced off from the belt, and the belt was touched-up to hide the removal of the cross. For a while I was thinking of getting a Sgt. Slaughter figure and transplant his scout hat over to Young Indy, but as Sgt. Slaughter was a costly exclusive figure, that would have been insane! Fortunately, another figure with a similar hat (and much cheaper) was found. The hat was transplanted onto Young Indy’s head, and painted in the similar green. A Scouts emblem was sculpted onto the hat using epoxy. As there is not too much difference in the appearances between the original figure and the custom, I’m regarding Young Indy v2.0 as a non-numbered custom, similar to Colonel Vogel v2.0. Kinda like a touch-up job. [UPDATE – 31 January 2014: I’ve assigned a numbering for Young Indy v2.0]

While Fedora’s back was turned, Indy sneakily steals the cross away.

Unknown to Indy, the Cross of Coronado will become his obsession for the next 26 years.

With the cross tucked under his belt, Indy mounts his horse to make his getaway.

Custom Indy Figures – Irina Spalko v2.0

Here’s my latest custom Indiana Jones figures showcase!

#58: Irina Spalko v2.0 from “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”

Colonel Doctor Irina Spalko was a highly decorated member of a psychic warfare research unit in the USSR. In 1957, Spalko became interested in the legend of the Crystal Skull of Akator, which stated that the person who possessed the Crystal Skull would have the power to control the world. Spalko was determined to find the skull and use its powers against Russia’s enemies, and lift Russia to the forefront of psychic warfare. Spalko sent her operatives to kidnap Indiana Jones, and subsequently coerced Indy into locating a mysterious crate in Hangar 51. The crate contained an important artifact that Spalko needed to study in order to proceed with her operation.

The whole figure – Comes from Irina Spalko (“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”)

Hasbro released a Irina Spalko figure in conjunction with the fourth Indiana Jones movie, and that figure was based on the appearance of Spalko’s uniform in the second half of the movie. But Spalko had earlier first appeared wearing a slight variation of the uniform, which has lapel collars and a T-shirt underneath. When I was able to find an extra Spalko figure, I decided to create a custom Spalko figure based on this earlier appearance. The custom work required dremeling down the existing turtleneck and using epoxy to sculpt the lapel collars and T-shirt. The front column of buttons were also reworked to resemble that of the other uniform’s.

And since I was changing almost the entire appearance of Irina Spalko, I had an inspiration to replace Spalko’s scabbard to one that can actually hold her sword. The original scabbard (which doesn’t hold anything) was replaced with a ball-point pen ink tube which then was painted to resemble the scabbard, and the sword fits into it! Now Spalko can carry her sword around! The original idea was to consider this custom as an non-numbered custom, but as substantial changes had been made to remake the figure’s appearance, I decided to elevate Spalko v2.0 to one of my official numbered custom work.

Comparison of the scabbard on both figures

Spalko wields her sword

Spalko and the disguised Colonel Dovchenko

Spalko coerces Indy to find her desired crate in Hangar 51.

Sorry Miss Act-cute, I don’t know you

A recent news article on a fashion trend in Japan reminded me of someone that I knew.

The article mentioned of the “Lolita”-style fashion that is currently all the vogue in Japan. Girls would dress up like the European princesses of long time past, in the various doll-like styles of baroque and rocco. And this lifestyle choice does not only manifest itself in the garments these girls wear. Even their thoughts, character and behaviour are restricted to only the mentality of childhood fairytales and anime fantasy. It’s as if they live within an inner world of cuteness and immaturity, and they have no intention of ever growing up and leaving it.

Upon reading the article, I immediately found all of the above to match the description of Miss Act-cute. Miss Act-cute is an overly-friendly girl with a passion for staying happy under whatever circumstances. All the dresses that she had ever wore convey some measure of cuteness, and she always seemed to be surrounded with jewellery and trinklets. In addition, all her previous handphones (and I believe now her iPhone too) were covered with shining rhinestones.

I was quite glad to be acquainted with Miss Act-cute, and I believe so did all of her fellow university classmates. It is not often that you come across someone who is so eager to keep in touch, invite people out together for dinner, movie, KTV, outings, or even go for overseas tour. I always believed that sustained interaction is very important in every friendship, that this is the only way that lifelong bonds can be established and formed. So, I looked forward to everytime Miss Act-cute sends an outing invitation out to her friends.

Of course, I also do my part of getting to know Miss Act-cute better by chatting with her whenever an opportunity presents itself. However, at times my conversations with her seemed skewed one-sided. For example, there was once Miss Act-cute asked me about my family, but when I likewise asked her about her family, Miss Act-cute just smiled, laughed, and moved on to another subject. This was rather disappointing since, in every friendship, there should always be an honest, free, and unreserved sharing of information, or else you will simply know nothing about the person you are talking with. And for some strange reason Miss Act-cute would invite to outings a whole bunch of her friends who may not actually know each other, and she actually expects us to talk and make friends amongst ourselves, when I am more interested in getting to know Miss Act-cute only.

And somehow Miss Act-cute, despite all her friendliness, has never taken it upon herself to consider the possibility that she may meet someone that she could like and thereafter move on with her life. This is yet another extension of her self-confinement in her immaturity so as to maintain her “cuteness”.  Rumour has it that there was a guy who once tried to be nice with Miss Act-cute, but then Miss Act-cute more or less excommunicated him from her life. It’s as if she considers it a serious crime for anyone to try to be nice to her. And when I shared with her my belief that a worthwhile friendship can be considered to be improved upon to form a relationship, Miss Act-cute immediately suggested that I don’t try that on her, adamant in her delusion that for her to be “eternally cute” there can be no space for any guy in her life.

And it was through reading the recent news article that I finally figured out the real reason why Miss Act-cute makes so many friends. The only reason why she looks for friends is because she desparately seeks an audience to her self-perceived cuteness. She treats her friends as mere spectators with whom she will never form a genuine bond with, and she will neither cherish nor appreciate her friendships since in her opinion these so called “friends” are only an audience who can always come and go, and she thinks that she will always be making new friends anyway.

When Miss Act-cute most recently invited people to join her for an outing at Snow City, I decided not to even dignify her sms with a reply, she can find someone else to stare at her awesome cuteness. It’s not as though she is going to know me or like me any better if I went, and it is her serious problem, not that Miss Act-cute is going to realise it since she is so blinded by her cuteness. Sorry Miss Act-cute, I don’t know you. As the old saying goes, “it takes two to tango”, and I would rather place my efforts where some progress can actually be made.

Custom Indy Figures – Major Eaton

Phew! Over the past few days I had been fixing up my blog, repairing many of the broken links that resulted when the blog migrated over from Windows Live Space to WordPress, and removing the duplicated pictures on the blog’s media storage, which were also a result of the migration. I haven’t had the determination to make those repairs until quite recently. Hopefully, all the postings should look okay now. I’ve also touched-up all my “Custom Indy Figures” postings, to make them look a little bit more consistent.

I present to you my most recent custom Indiana Jones figure:

#57: Major Eaton from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

In 1936, Adolf Hitler, the dictator of Nazi Germany, had sent teams of archaeologists all around the world to search for and obtain powerful religious artifacts. When the US Army Intelligence intercepted a communique suggesting that a former acquaintance of Indiana Jones was involved in the Nazi effort, Major Eaton and his associate approached Indy for assistance. Indy determines that the Nazis were on the verge of finding the Ark of the Covenant, an ancient artifact capable of “levelling mountains and laying waste to entire regions”, the army that carries the Ark before it is said to be invincible. Major Eaton then proceeds to enlist Indy’s help in going after the Ark and retrieving it before the Nazis could lay their hands on it.

Head – Jek Porkins (“Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”)
Torso – Willrow Hood (“Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”)
Arms, jacket – Monkey Man (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”)
Hands – Indiana Jones (Idol) (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”)
Legs – RPG Indiana Jones (“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crysal Skull”)

The actor who protrayed Major Eaton in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” also protrayed Jek Porkins in “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”, and since a Jek Porkins figure exists, some posters on the Indiana Jones forum had suggested creating a custom Major Eaton using the head of Jek Porkins. However, until now, no one has posted such a custom on the forum. And so, after finding the required parts, I have created my very own custom Major Eaton. Eaton was a rather portly man, so a similar Willrow Hood torso was used, transplanted onto a pair of Indy legs. Epoxy was used to sculp the collars and tie. Porkins’ head was cut and hollowed out, so that it would fit onto the ball neck joint.

Close-up of Major Eaton

Indy and Marcus Brody brief Major Eaton on the Ark. 

After Indy had retrieved the Ark of the Covenant, the US Army takes custody of the Ark, and Major Eaton assures Indy and Brody that the Ark was being studied by “top men”. But in fact the Ark was placed in a crate and then stored away amongst thousands of other crates in Hangar 51.

Off the record: I don’t know about you, but methinks that the fat actor received no respect for the roles that he played, at least where the names of his characters are concerned. Just think, “Major EATon”, “Jek PORKins”. Meh.

Custom Indy Figures – Marhan and The Chieftain

Hello everyone, and Happy New Year! Welcome to the year 2012!

Continuing on with my customizing of minor characters from the Indiana Jones movies…

#55: Marhan from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”

After the evil Thuggee cult had burned the fields of Mayapore Village, stolen the village’s sacred stone, and kidnapped all the children, Marhan the Shaman (holy man) prayed to the Indian god Shiva for help. And help arrived in the form of three mysterious strangers who “fell from the sky” and floated down the river where they were met by Marhan. The three strangers, one of whom wore a fedora and a leather jacket, were brought by Marhan to the village, where they were treated as honoured guests. Marhan then explained to Indy that it was Shiva who had sent him here so that he would go to Pankot Palace, the domain of the Thuggees, to retrieve the sacred stone and restore life to the dying village.

Head – Lobot (“Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”), with Anakin Skywalker’s hair (“Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)
Torso – Monkey Man (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”)
Upper arms, legs – Cairo Henchman (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”)
Lower arms – Cairo Swordsman (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”)
Robes – Anakin Skywalker (“Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones”)

There is an almost universal agreement among Indy fans that Marhan the Shaman looked real creepy in “Temple of Doom”. And when I found the most suitable (creepy and bald) head to use for creating a custom Marhan, I purchased that figure and proceeded with my custom, using the other spare custom fodder that I already had. Two main problems were faced during the custom work: One was finding the suitable robes for Marhan, a problem which was solved by using the robes of the recently released Star Wars “Anakin Skywalker in peasant disguise” figure. The other problem dealt with finding and mixing the suitable skin colour for Marhan, which I feel the final custom still didn’t match up with Marhan’s onscreen appearance. Also, Marhan’s hair is a transplant of another Anakin’s long hair, which also didn’t match up with the actual Marhan’s fizzled hairdo, that which I thought is beyond my ability to create anyway. But this is close enough for me. A piece of pink ribbon and a small bead chain serve as the final pieces of garment on Marhan’s robes.

#56: The Chieftain from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”

When Marhan brought the three strangers to his village, the Chieftain warmly welcomed his guests, and offered portions of the village’s remaining food to them. Although the female blonde bimbo appeared to be at a lost as to what to do with her food, and the Chieftain had to gesture to her that she should eat it. When Indy requested for a guide to Delhi, the Chieftain generously decided to provide them with guides and elephants that could take them there. But of course, the Chieftain already believed in Marhan’s words that Indy was destined to first go to Pankot Palace and return with his village’s sacred stone.

Head, arms, jacket – Jan Dodonna (“Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”)
Hands – Willrow Hood (“Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”)
Torso –  Captain Antilles (“Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”)
Legs, turban, shirtpiece – Monkey Man (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”)
Beltpiece – René Belloq (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”)

Okay, what the heck. I figured that a diorama scene with Indy and Marhan could do with another figure who could fit into the scene. And since I already had the spare parts, it was a go ahead for The Chieftain. Actually, the original idea was to procure a Sio Bibble figure, who has a beard similar to that of The Chieftain. However, I couldn’t find that figure anywhere, so I decided to use a Jan Dodonna’s head which I already had. His beard didn’t match exactly with The Chieftain, and additional touch-up was required. Fortunately, the rest of the custom work is just like pieceing together a jigsaw puzzle, with painting only required on the face, turban, shirt, and legs. Even the jacket didn’t require painting as it came in the same colour as The Chieftain’s jacket. One thing is missing, the chest pocket on the jacket, but I decided, I’m not going to care about that. Nobody is going to notice it.

The Chieftain tells Indy how the Thuggees stole the sacred stone.

Indy finds and return the Sankara Stone, and Marhan explains to Indy the miracle of the stone.