Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Spider-Man...

I've not posted anything here in a long time. Partly because I was busy doing this batch of figures.

I've submitted them in an online customising event called CustomCon. You can find out more about the Con here:

They weren't originally intended to be part of CustomCon 24, but when I saw that the submission date for the Con coincided with my estimated completion date for these customs, I thought, "what the hell. Spider Friends, Go For It!"

One thing that I kind of ran aground on was running out of time to take photos. I usually like to take my photos outdoors to get good lighting, but wouldn't you know it; The weekend of the submission date had gale force winds blowing and the background I use for taking photos ended up spiralling down the street! I wasn't pleased with the photos I submitted at all, and the customer I did these for still had some minor changes for me to make, so here they are in their finished form.

I was asked (by the gent who had previously got my Spider-Carnage custom which had an alternate head) for each figure to have a swappable head. For some this was simple, but for others... a bit tricky.

I wrote a little blurb for the series, as you might find on the back of a figure's box, along with a little corny description for each individual figure.

Spider-Man Origins: Beneath the Mask

Beneath the mask of every hero is a person, driven by the events of their lives to change the world for the better. As Spider-Man and his allies leap into battle they find that villainy cannot hide behind a mask.

Scarlet Spider
Who is this strange new superhero with powers identical to Spider-Man’s?! The Scarlet Spider removes his mask to reveal that he is Ben Reilly, a clone of Peter Parker!

The customer wanted the Parachute Spider-Man body for all the Spider-Man figures so I had to try and find a lot of these on ebay. With some research, I found out that this body is used for Electro and Mr. Fantastic as well, so that opened up more options.

Scarlet Spider was fairly straight forward. Some basic sculpting to the body to make the torn sweatshirt thing, and then some further sculpting to make the spider emblem. In the comic, the spider emblem is more vertical than the one on the figure, but I thought it was best to tilt it a bit so that the joint in the abdomen didn't interrupt the emblem too much.

His heads attach to the neck by magnets. His unmasked head is supposed to represent the time he took off his mask in front of Mary Jane (just to piss her off I think). He was a moody so and so.

He also has a little sculpted mask to hold in his hand and a bendy web line made by twisting 3 bits of jewelery wire together.

Ben Reilly: The All New Spider-Man
Tricked into believing he is the true Spider-Man, Ben Reilly creates a new costume for himself and helps his clone brother Peter Parker battle evil. Ben dyes his hair blonde so that people don’t realise that Peter and him are identical.

Honestly, you have to go to wikipedia and look at the continuity mess that is Ben Reilly and the whole Clone Saga. It's amusing in hindsight, but was massively depressing at the time.

Anway, Ben was even simpler than the Scarlet Spider. Just a pain in the arse to paint! I had to hand paint all those web lines and that took a long time and a steady hand.

Ben again has the magnetic heads, and he also has a backpack for him to carry his shopping in.

Iron Spider
Peter Parker takes off his mask for all the world to see and with support from Iron Man, dons the Iron Spider suit! The suit has 4 mechanical legs to help Peter in his fight against crime, and Peter has suprises of his own up his sleeves: super strong spider stingers that can knock out bad guys!

Now, this was more of a challenge. The main figure was pretty easy and the only thing that's a little interesting about it is that I painted it silver and then coated it with a transparent red to get that shiny metallic red effect.

Again using my wee magnets, I made 4 spider arms for his back. I used tiny joints from different sources so that they could move. It was quite a challenge to get them just the right length to not be too heavy for the magnets, but also not too short to be crap looking.

I also put magnets in the palms of his hands so that I could attach his 'spider stingers.'

Scarlet Spider, Ben Reilly and Iron Spider all use the head from a Marvel Legends Longshot figure. As they are meant to be variations of the same basic face, I thought it appropriate to use the same base head for each.


Peter Parker thought that Ben Reilly was the only clone, but he was wrong! Kaine is a failed clone of Spider-Man! Bigger, stronger and uglier! Kaine hates his perfect clone brother Ben Reilly, and attack both him and Peter with everything he has!

Kaine is supposed to be a mutated version of Peter Parker and as such I was free to use a different, bigger body to make him appear more threatening.

I used a Skrull figure and Savage Dragon heads for him. There's nothing too complicated about this custom.


Removing his traditional domed helmet, Mysterio reveals that Spider-Man isn’t the only one to have changed! Shrouded in reality warping mist, the Master of Illusion is ready to confuse Spider-Man: Just who is the original Spider-Man? Peter, Ben or Kaine?!

The bane of my god damn life. I attempted this custom once before and it was a complete disaster. At that time I was trying to give him a light up LED head and it was just a mess. I hate to even think about it now!

I sculpted his head this time, so it was much easier and I was really happy with how he came out. I added in a little smoke collar that can be placed inside his headdress so that it adds to the 'shrouded in smoke' effect.

Mysterio's helmet is a Christmas ornament, and his cape was made from my usual latex/paper technique.

Spider-Man 2099

Just when Mysterio and Kaine have Ben and Peter almost beaten, a suprise ally appears from the future! The Spider-Man of the year 2099 helps the heroes defeat and unmask the villains. However, he keeps his own horrible secret to himself. A genetic experiment gone wrong has given Miguel O’Hara the powers of Spider-Man, but also frightening red eyes and fangs!

A late addition to the order: Spider-Man 2099 may be the fastest cutoms I've ever made. I was really running out of time for this guy so had to go really fast. Luckily he wasn't too complicated, although his emblem and mask took a lot of patience to get right.

He has tiny little talons on his finger tips and his face was made of half of Electro and half of Dracula. I added in little fangs on his bottom teeth as well so that he didn't just look like a vampire.

To get a slightly different look to the masked head (after all, it's not Peter Parker under there) I used a Moonknight head.

And there we are. The biggest single batch of figures I've created to date. It was, to be honest, immensely stressful, but I'm happy with every single one of them.

Beware Your Fears Made Into Light (adventures in the DC Universe)

I'm batting for the other team now!

That is, I've just made a couple of figures from the DC Universe rather than the Marvel one.

Recently there's been a resurgeance in popularity for the DC hero, Green Lantern. Partly, I believe because he finally has some decent bad guys to fight. One group of these bad guys are known as the Sinestro Corps. These guys want to spread fear throughout the universe and are from all kinds of different alien worlds.

I was contacted to make a couple of them:

An acidic blob in a vague humanoid shape with bits of his uniform and dissolved victims floating inside him...

and Tri-Eye, a purple alien with a weird, 3 pronged carnivorous starfish head.

Tri-Eye. Sure he's got a weird head that would take some thinking about how to create in 3 dimensions, but man..... Slushh. No end of problems with that guy.

Anyway, whenever I don't have a clear idea of what I'm creating in my head (as is the case for characters I'm unfamiliar with), I sketch out what I'm aiming to do. If I don't draw a picture my mind can never decide on what I'm supposed to be doing.

Here's my sketches for this coupla mugs:

Things to notice here are that I decided to try and make the 3 separate parts of the head work as one, and to also try and make them look angry even when viewed upside down.

For Slushh I drew a basic outline of what things I wanted in him and a rough sketch of what kind of articulation he was going to have.

So here's the hard work. Slushh first of all.

I am not completely happy with the way Slushh turned out, but he was a huge experiment from the get-go and I'm delighted that he made it out the customisation process in any form.

First step was to create his uniform. As this was going to be contained inside him, I had to get it completely finished at the start. I used papier-mache techniques to make a bib on another figure, painted it, then removed it from the figure (I wasn't going to use this guy beyond him being a clothes model).

I gathered the parts for Slushh. These included joints from a transparent Super Skrull figure and bones from a dinosaur skeleton toy.

Using hot glue, I began to assemble his guts.

And once the guts were all together, I covered them in a transparent clay. The clay wasn't as transparent as I'd hoped and was very difficult to use. I will do another blog entry some time so as to let other people know about how to find and use the stuff, and to remind myself of some of the techniques I used.

And eventually the who thing took shape (a rather blobby one).

One thing I remember very clearly was my complete frustration when I tried to paint the clay. It shrugged off every paint I had! I all ran off it like water and only by working at the paint, and mixing it with PVA glue and laying it on much more heavily that I had wanted was I able to make it stick.

In the end, I'm quite happy with finished thing. I've always wondered about using transparent material, and this was a great chance to work with them. Even if it didn't turn out exactly as I'd planned, I learned a lot.

Here's Slushh:

Tri-Eye wasn't as much hard work, but still a bit of a challenge. I began with an Etrigan figure as I felt he had the right bulk. One thing I wasn't too sure of was how tall Tri-Eye was supposed to be. He never seems to appear next to anything that I could estimate his height from. So I just went with the usual large monster body.

Off his head and cape came along with his S&M bracelets.

I built up his neck so that the starfishy head wouldn't look daft on a wee stem.

I cut Etrigan's face and ears off, and put his head back on, this time with 3 flosser blades attached with hinges from Doctor Octopus's tentacles. I wanted the sections of his head to have some backwards and forwards motion. I also lay down the clay lines of his costume at this stage.

I then started to sculpt his head.

I used the ends of flossers and toothpicks for his teeth

I then gave him a bit of a random purple paint job. And coated the back of his head with hot glue, dragging some of it between the sections of his head.

Finally, I painted his uniform, trying to give it a pearly yellow/gold effect.