This week, I’m starting the process of casting part of the game piece that came with the Rocketeer board game to make a helmet and rocketpack to modify a Heroclix figure into a Cliff Secord! We will pick this up in the new year (once I get some new silicone).
In this episode, we’ll be taking the Rocketeer game piece, adding some vents (toothpicks) to the protruding parts of the figure when it’s upside down, since the pour spout will be the base of the figure. I’ll be using the helmet and pack to hopefully add to the Technocrat figure
These toothpicks will form the vents once the mold is made to carry the air out and hopefully help the areas that protrude fill.
Turns out there wasn’t enough silicone to fill even this K-cup container, so we will shelve this project until next year. But, I was able to case the upper body, which should be enough for my original intention.
And here are some cast torsos next to the original Hero Clix game piece. To be continued!
Lastly, last week, I was talking about a film called Max Q with Billy Campbell who plays a very Cliff Secord type of character. If you liked the Rocketeer, you’ll probably like this film as well. I really enjoyed it. Sadly, it’s very hard to find, though a kind soul uploaded it to Youtube. Check it out! The entire playlist of all eight parts is here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQt_32e40QXFA5414DrH8SiyMtyax_VmP
This week, I’ve been casting Rocketeers using the mold I made recently. Working on the third copy now. Surprisingly, I’ve been pretty happy with the mold, especially since the resin I am using to cast the limbs (Smooth On 65D) has a working (pot) life of only about 2.5 minutes before hardens, so you have to work fast. Here is the latest guy to come out of the mold with parts from the first one post priming scattered around.
I think part of the difference here was that I used a base figure that was a little easier to work with and I got a better mold to be begin with.
In the second part of the pod, we are reading Chapter 5 in Dragon Fall (1984) by Lee J Hindle.
More from Dragon Fall next week! Soon – stay tuned for a podcast exclusive episodes with actress Catherine Mary Stewart (about Night of the Comet) coming this week.
This week, I’ve been finishing up the Thirteenth Hour action figures. I’ve gotten almost all of them put together and am now putting on the finishing touches. I ended up revising the color scheme when I had to redo all the limbs so be simpler and now am glad I did – no shading, brighter colors – simpler, just like the original 5 points of articulation Kenner figures of the 70s and 80s. Logan and Aurora on Lightning below. Aside from some finishing touches, I just need to add some clear blue-green resin to the console on Lightning the hoverboard’s front. You can see a slight depression there at the front, near Aurora’s feet, where the clear resin will go.
Hopefully, some of the knowledge gained there will help when making 5 points of articulation Rocketeer figures. I just finished the mold this week. It’s always exciting to see if your hard work and planning will pay off when you crack open the mold for the first time.
In the second part of the pod, we are finishing Chapter 4 in Dragon Fall (1984) by Lee J Hindle.
More from Dragon Fall next week! Soon – stay tuned for podcast exclusive episodes with actors Catherine Mary Stewart (about Night of the Comet) and Billy Campbell (about the Rocketeer) that you can unlock!
This is the last show of 2021! We’re finishing up the year with a few toymaking updates and finishing the reading of the Howard the Duck novelization.
If you celebrate Christmas, hope y’all had a good day. We tend to follow the Latin American tradition of extending Xmas to at least Three Kings’ Day in January since, with young children, it seems to work out best to not give ALL the presents on one day. And it make it a bit more relaxed. Speaking of the holidays, check out this cookie my brother, Jeremy, decorated showing a soaring Logan. There’s even an infinity sign lest yon man soaring over and through lofty peaks be mistaken for a mere snowboarder.
Speaking of Logan, about a year ago, I made my first real custom action figure – a fairly well articulated Logan from The Thirteenth Hour from an old GI Joe and the head of a character from Treasure Planet (I think).
This year, I’m about 80 percent done a similar, but in some ways more complex project – casting and making a number of copies of Logan and Aurora in Kenner-style 5 points of articulation form. The fine detail and touch up work is still yet to be done, but even so, it’s a simpler look with less moving parts. The simplicity allowed me to think about being able to cast all the parts and attempt to piece them together.
I still have two more separate figures to make as well as accessories and packing to figure out but will discuss more next week when discussing 2022 goals.
One goal I had this fall was to read a longer movie novelization on the show (I read a movie novelization of Spacecamp before, but it was pretty short). I was wondering if a 200 page book would drag. But done in little bits, it was fun to do, especially this one. After 19 episodes, reading roughly a chapter a session, we have finished reading the Howard the Duck movie novelization. It was quite an enjoyable experience, as I’ve mentioned before. In some ways, similar to the comic – part satire, part social commentary – as well as a healthy dose of existential angst exhibited by Howard almost making it part philosophical treatise – clearly, this Duck is more than meets the eye.
A few excerpts I liked:
And (spoilers ahead), you can’t beat this ending:
It’s been a nice activity to complete while working on the Beverly figurines.
This week, we’re getting ready for the holidays by opening some presents my brother sent, watching the Rocketeer Christmas episode, discussing a few toymaking updates, and, of course, reading the next section of the Howard the Duck novelization.
As far as updates go, I’ve been sanding and painting, then sanding and painting some more. I’ve got the parts laid out for each figure and have been painting parts of them piece by piece.
This is a preliminary idea of what Logan will look like. Not all the colors have been painted in, obviously, but that will be the fun part – when all is painted and it’s ready to glue it all together.
Speaking of toys, my brother, Jeremy, who was last on for the Red Sonja episode, sent some Rocketeer gear, and I thought it might be fun to open it up on the show:
Lastly, we are also reading the next section of the Howard the Duck from the movie novelization. We are almost done! Only two more chapters to go. This past one has some humorous mid 80s satire/commentary on politics of the day (Ronald Regan economics and priorities, the Cold War, etc).
Next week, we finish Howard! Have a good holiday, everyone!
This week, we’re discussing a few toymaking updates, reading the next section of the Howard the Duck novelization, and thanking some people!
Last week, my daughter and I tried our hand at making a resin bookmark – it worked (kind of), though one half of the resin still is a bit tacky. I’ve been letting it sit in the garage, since day by day, it get less and less sticky, and it can do its stinky off-gassing there! I probably didn’t mix it thoroughly enough. However, in the meantime, another kind of resin came in the mail, and this kind is a lot easier to use (plus, it’s odorless). So we’ve tried again, with better results. This batch also came with a bunch of little jewelry and charm molds, which was pretty sweet (since there is always extra resin left over after you’ve poured what you intended to).
Here are all the different Thirteenth Hour action figures primed and ready for painting. Same with the Beverly Switzler figures. Painting is the part I like least, but I think that once I get started, it will go fine. I’m going to do these all assembly line style – painting all the arms, the legs, the shoes, etc. rather than each figure head to toe.
One other thing about priming is that it helps bring out the details when the resin is translucent. Compare these two Rocketeer packs – the primed one on the left, the unprimed one on the right.
Now, some thank yous. Thanks to Colin from I Used to Like this One for leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. If you haven’t checked out their show, please do so; Colin and Shawn cover a lot of the same kinds of films I talk about on here, they do good work, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know them over the years. You can listen on their website or on most of the major podcasting platforms. If you like what they do, consider supporting them on Patreon and become a producer of their show.
Another show that you may want to check out, this time a martial arts one, is First Cup with Jeremy, the founder of Whistlekick. Jeremy and I have worked together for a number of episodes for his main show, Martial Arts Radio, but this little morning show is one I only recently discovered. I really like the community that Jeremy and the other folks at Whistlekick have worked to create – one based on curiosity, focusing on the positive, open mindedness, and the sharing of information. Have martial arts questions or ones that might make for interesting discussion? If you join the Facebook group, you can leave a question for the show!
Jeremy recently modeled one of The Thirteenth Hour masks and gave the pod a shoutout. Glad it fits well and hope it helps this winter!
Lastly, we are also reading the next section of the Howard the Duck from the movie novelization. This part of the novel has some really great writing. The author really beefed up what would have been a pretty thin novel with some humorous bits that elevate the usual pot-boiler status of these kind of books to something actually unique and fun that can stand firmly on its own, even if you haven’t seen the movie.
And in this section, the word “chowderhead” is mentioned (Rocketeer reference! Though, to be fair, Howard the Duck predated The Rocketeer by 5 years)
This week, we’re discussing a few toymaking updates, reading the next section of the Howard the Duck novelization, and talking about a new resin side project.
My daughter recently got interested in making resin bookmarks as gifts, so after making an initial mold, we made a trial bookmark with Alumilite resin. I don’t know if that’s the best one to use, since I find it overall difficult to work with, but it’s what I had and does dry hard and clear, which I think should work.
Alumlite is messy, viscous to use, and smelly, so we did this outside and went though at least 4 pairs of gloves. This is what we ended up with, so hope it cures! I did order some more resin that is often used by jewelry makers, that will hopefully be a bit easier to work with, so if this is a fail, we’ll try again. I think it’ll be fun it we can do it!
It’s tedious, but I’ve been making some slow progress on the Lego Rocketeer figures! The Cirrus X-3 packs now have attachments to go over the Lego minifigure neck peg (instead of magnets, like I originally thought). They are now primed and ready for silver paint. I have to cast a few more, but my goal is to make at least six minifigures. There are always a few that are collateral damage, so to speak, in the creation process (parts get broken, something doesn’t go as planned, etc).
Lastly, we are also reading the next section of the Howard the Duck from the movie novelization. This part of the novel has some interesting commentary on 80s attitudes (I’m guessing, added by the author, since it’s not really part of the movie). Here’s the section in the film (the part with the ultralight plan / car chase):
We’re just a few chapter away from finishing the novelization!
This week, we’re discussing a few toymaking updates, discussing one of the inspirations for one of Aurora’s outfits from The Thirteenth Hour, and reading the next section of the Howard the Duck novelization.
As I was preparing the first run of Thirteenth Hour action figures, I was reminded of where one of Aurora’s outfits came from. Back when I was a kid, you’d occasionally see fantasy art used in advertisements for video games and TSR Dungeons and Dragons material. This was one that I think was used in an ad in this copy of a tattered DnD magazine I think that was called Dragon. I’m not even sure it was credited, so I didn’t know the name of the painter or the painting for decades. But I loved the painting – the tension, the imagery, the fact that it tells so much in just one picture. Eventually, I somehow learned the name of the painting (I think by eventually figuring out who painted it), and learned it was done by Daniel Horne, and the name of the piece is “Saving the Best for Last.” The title, too is perfect (referring to the archer’s last arrow. I can literally feel myself tensing up internally seeing the threat looming up in front of the archer and the fact she has no more visible armament left). Here is the transcript of an interview I found with Daniel Horne back in 2011.
And if you like this picture, you can buy a copy of your own on the artist’s website (just like I did).
I recall sketching the hell out of this picture when I was a teenager, trying to capture the dynamic nature of the story depicted in the painting. I was inspired by the setting, her outfit, her bow, the big hair (it was 1987, after all), the “oh, snap” expression on the archer and wanted to pay homage to this painting and how much it meant to me in The Thirteenth Hour, just like all those other 80s influences I’ve talked about ad nauseum on this podcast and website. This character in Daniel Horne’s painting is probably the only other visual inspiration I had for Aurora other than Beverly Switzler’s hair in Howard the Duck. Even before I had written this part of The Thirteenth Hour, I had already created the scene and background for it in my mind and sketched out an early draft of the picture that would later become the one that would show up in the book below:
The same outfit showed up in the magnet dolls I made about a year ago (I still have to figure out what to do with these; I think some will come with a future Thirteenth Hour special edition album).
This was the first custom action figure I attempted – a tiny rendition of Aurora in her archer’s garb, the same one in the picture with the dragon above and, of course, the one inspired by the archer’s outfit in “Saving the Best for Last.”
And here is the Kenner-style 5 POA versions I’m in the process of painting. The parts are primed so far, so it’s just sanding, painting, repainting, and the final process of fitting the pieces together.
This week, my brother, Jeremy, rejoins the show to talk about movie we watched a fair amount as a kid, 1985’s Red Sonja. Neither of us had seen it in decades and we honestly weren’t expecting much, but I asked Jeremy if he’d want to join me in rewatching it given all the experience he’s had the last few years with tabletop role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. From what I had recalled, it seemed like an example of those games in live action, and I was curious to see what he thought. Suffice to say, Jeremy did a deep dive and more than delivered, which you can hear if you check out the episode. I had always operated under the assumption that 1986’s Howard the Duck was the first real Marvel comic book movie, but you could make a case for Red Sonja, which was under license by Marvel at the time, though there’s no mention of it in the credits from what I recall. Click on the picture below to watch:
If watching the whole film is not your bag, check out this 8 min compilation of some great lines plus the trailer. You’ll get the basic gist of the film and perhaps learn a thing or two, like why it’s important to not grip your hilt too tight (important life skill courtesy of Red Sonja that is generalizable beyond sword play, though I’m not exactly sure how).
In toymaking news, I’ve been working on all these Beverlys! There is also a connection to our 1985 film above. A year after, we would, of course, see the film version of Beverly Switzler, another lead heroine, but one of a considerably less violent nature, the one depicted in the figurine above. Her costume in the film was equally impractical as Red Sonja’s but a lot less revealing than that of Red Sonja’s. There’s another connection, though. The very first issue of Howard the Duck featured a vaguely Red Sonja like character (it’s Beverly, though it’s presented kind of as a dream) in a parody of a Conan / DnD story. There’s even an appearance of everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood webslinger for some off-the-wall reason (the original comics were pretty bonkers).
This week, we’re discussing a few toymaking updates and reading the next section of the Howard the Duck novelization. Some toymaking stuff first:
I recently finished the resin hoverboard for the mini Logan I made awhile back. Lightning, Logan’s magical hoverboard, has this shiny aqua console in front that I wanted to make out of resin but wasn’t sure how to do. I eventually got a passable result with Alumilite resin with blue mica powder mixed in. After a fair amount of fiddling and polishing, then painting, repainting, etc Lightning came out all right. I’d like to do something similar for the 5 POA Kenner style figures I’m making, since that’s Logan main accessory. I’m not yet sure if it will be similar or different, but this was a good trial run. You can sort of see it below next to one of said Kenner style figures, which itself is made from parts that didn’t really work for the other figures I had. The resin in some of these limbs came out too squishy to really be used, but can’t let it go to waste, now, can we? I’m still going to put this one together and paint it.
Below, you can see how Aurora’s torso comes out of the mold. As you can see, there’s a fair amount of clean up needed.
Some of the figures made so far, prior to priming and painting. I’ve made two others since and am working on a third.
Some shrunk down rocket packs done with bits of resin left over casting the limbs to the figures (more to come shortly). This technique uses mineral spirits added to the mold mixture. The mineral spirits slowly evaporates away, shrinking the mold. You can see here how much these Rocketeer packs shrunk down compared to the original one made for a Reaction Rocketeer figure.
Since there’s always leftovers, I often pour them into other small molds, too. The hoverboard above is actually the one of the left, minus the paintjob, front console, and the peg for the figure to stand on. The synthesizer on the right is the same one I used to make one for Logan to play on – the first custom action figure I did – and used to make crayons and recycled plastic keyboards:
I added QR codes on the back of these miniatures for songs from The Thirteenth Hour soundtrack and figured they could be kind of like 3D business cards.
This week, we’re discussing new toymaking updates, reading the next section of the Howard the Duck novelization, and watching and discussing the second part of the 1994 film, The Crow.
Toymaking stuff first: I have a handful of Logan and Aurora 5 POA Kenner-style action figures that are ready for priming, painting, and final touches:
We are are reading the next section of the Howard the Duck from the movie novelization.
Then, we are wrapping up talking about The Crow:
As mentioned in the episode, the score by Graeme Revell provides a haunting backdrop to the film that sets the tone perfectly. You can find both the regular and deluxe editions on Youtube:
Although I believe there was a Crow skin you could download for the game Max Payne (which was very Crow-like in many ways), there were not video games made of the first film. There was one made of the sequel, though. Check out the hilarious AVGN review.
If you want to stay within the world of the first film, checking out the TV series, which is different from the film in some ways, is not a bad way to do it. The first episode is basically a retelling of the film with some adaptations to make the series continue.
Welcome to the second part of the Halloween editions of The Thirteenth Hour podcast! This week, we’re discussing a few toymaking updates, reading the next section of the Howard the Duck novelization, and watching and discussing the first part of the 1994 film, The Crow.
Toymaking stuff first: I have some working prototypes of the Logan and Aurora 5 POA action figures:
Another slightly related thing and a preview of coming attractions (hopefully helpful for this winter) is there will be some Thirteenth Hour masks for kids and adults coming soon:
We are are reading the next section of the Howard the Duck from the movie novelization.
Then, we are wrapping up Halloween by starting a two part segment on The Crow:
There is some great free running that happens on the rooftops in this film, as evidenced by this scene.
This is one of my favorite solos of all time and such a great example of how you can use music to convey heartfelt emotions without resorting to verbal exposition. This solo was inspiration for one of the tracks on a upcoming Thirteenth Hour soundtrack, entitled “Mourn of the Midnight Phoenix.”
The score done by Graeme Revell is great. One of my favorite tracks on the score is this one.
Welcome to the first part of the Halloween editions of The Thirteenth Hour podcast! This week, we’re discussing a few toymaking updates, reading the next section of the Howard the Duck novelization, and watching the Halloween episodes from The Rocketeer cartoon.
Toymaking stuff first: with the spare resin that comes from making other things, I’ve been saving a bit for these little helmets to become (once finished) to Rocketeer helmets for the Lego Rocketeer minifigures to be donated to charity auctions:
There’s always resin left over after a project, so I generally pour it off into another easy to use mold, like this one. Some of those projects:
The Beverly minifgures – still got to clean up the flashing along the seam lines and touch up a bunch of other parts (basically consisting of lots of filing, sanding, etc. edges and other parts, perhaps also strengthening the guitar necks). Then they will be ready for painting (at least the non glow in the dark ones).
Lastly, it’s rough, but I finally have a prototype cast Logan made from flexible Smooth-On Smooth Cast 45 D resin for the limbs and head and Smooth-On Smooth Cast 300 resin for the torso. I might try to make one that is all made of 45 D since I might be able to make it translucent, which would be fun. Now, it’s just a matter of fine tuning the casting process to make sure the limbs can reliably fit inside the torso – which they did on the initial non-cast prototype but somewhere along the lines, something got lost in translation after casting and tolerances that were tight are no longer.
We’re also watching the next episode of the Rocketeer cartoon (number 19) … the Halloween episode! Some screenshots:
You can see Kit’s dressed up like a WW1 pilot for Halloween, making her look just like Cliff in the beginning of the film or in various pages of the comic by Dave Stevens.
We are are reading the next section of the Howard the Duck from the movie novelization.
The author added another humorous aside calling back to our episodes on The Wizard of Loneliness, where “Lord, love a duck” was a frequent utterance.
This past week, I have been waiting for some new resin to arrive for the Logan and Aurora Kenner style figures. In the meantime, I have been working on these Lego Rocketeer minifigures to be donated to charity auctions. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
The packs and helmets are being resin cast. As I mentioned in the episode, I think I will use magnets to attach the rocketpacks, at least the ones not intended for kids. (Rare earth magnets and small children are a bad combo).
We’re also watching the next episode of the Rocketeer cartoon (number 18) … Some screenshots:
… and readung the next section of the Howard the Duck from the movie novelization.
The author added this especially humorous segment:
This past week, I have finally got around to making the mold for the Beverly Switzler minifigure. I made a two part mold that attempted to protect what I figured would be a delicate area of the figure (the neck of the guitar) but the realized after the facts that certain other delicate parts, like the guitar strap, would probably get caught in the mold and not make it out successfully. So that part I may have to add later. Here are some steps involved:
Add a clay backing to make one half…
Then preparing for the second layer, including adding a bunch of air vents …
And now, speaking of which, back to the duck! The zaniness continues in this eighth reading of the movie novelization Ellis Weiner, based on the screenplay by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz. This is the infamous section of the story where Howard and Beverly almost hook up … or do they? 🙂 It’s handled here in the novel much less awkwardly than in the film, I must say!
Lastly, all proceeds to The Thirteenth Hour Studio on Etsy over Sept will be donated to the Red Cross (RedCross.org) for Hurricane Ida Relief. Check the link below to support those affected, still in the midst of the pandemic, with 80s retro art (music-books-toys). Your purchases help those in need get back on their feet!