Who put the 'glad' in 'gladiator'? HER-CU-LES!

I was commissioned to make a figure of Marvel Comic's version of the hero Hercules. Toy Company Hasbro have already released a figure of him, but he was pretty unpopular with fans.

Hasbro's Hercules, in my eyes, while being a pretty decent figure with good articulation, paint and sculpting, was just 'off' somehow. His proportions were a wee bit weird and he had a big grin on his face. Now, Marvel's Hercules character is supposed to be quite a cheery chap, but he just didn't look right, especially when you put him next to other figures with serious face. Basically, it looked like he had just farted.

So this is Marvel's version. The number of straps on his legs tends to vary between artists, so I went with just a couple on each section of the leg. Also, you can see that he's a hairy guy. I think this is very important for Hercules as very few Marvel heroes are actually hairy. Sure Wolverine is hairy, but when he's wearing his costume, you can't really see that. I really struggled to come up with a good example of how to do this body hair. But I'll get to that later.
I chose this figure as a base: Street Fighter's T. Hawk.

T. Hawk stands a massive 8" tall and so had the perfect size for an Olympian demigod. As you can see, his legs were going to cause a bit of a problem. I had to sand away all the wrinkles in his trousers and replace those tassled boots with the lower legs of a Thor figure.

His vest was easily removed and the holes it left were filled in with miliput.
The above pic gives you an idea of the difference in size I was looking for. T. Hawk towers over Hasbro's Hercules and his build is far more god-like. You can also see that I have put a simple layer of newspaper down to get a rough idea of how his skirt is going to work.

I'm still not too sure what the gold thing around his head is meant to be. It's almost like a crown in that it's gold, but it also kind of resembles a wrestling helmet that would protect his ears. I sculpted it anway and added all of the hair on his face. I also cut a layer from his nose to lose the native american profile and help broaden the face.
I removed the fringe from T.Hawk and kept this safe to one side as I wanted to use it again and drape it over his crown thing.
I wrapped elastic bands around his legs to his banded leg wear. This saved a lot of sculpting work trying to get even, parallel lines.
You can see the beginnings of his Golden Mace in his hand. I had to resculpt the hand so that it would be able to hold the shaft. The mace also presented some problems for me. The head and base were too large for it to be threaded into a hole in his hand. Also, the sculpting material, miliput, that I use is not flexible so would shatter if you tried to squeeze the shaft into his hand.
I tackled this problem in the following way:
The shaft of the mace attaches to the head with a magnet.

The thing end of the shaft can be threaded through the hole in his hand...

... and the head can then be attached firmly by the magnet. The join is hidden inside the head and the weapon will not fall out of his hand.

His sash and skirt, as is usual for me, are made from papier mache. I sculpted the belt and lion's head buckle.
And here you can see his body hair making an appearance. I sculpted his upper body hair by putting a very thin layer of miliput onto areas where hair would be, then I scored, tore and dragged it horizontally so that it would look like individual hairs. After hardening and drybrushing, this began to look like body hair.

And after a lot of painting he ended up like this.

I'm very happy with how he came out. He was far more complicated than I imagined he would be. I thought that the legs were going to be the most challenging, but they just require patience. His body hair was a real challenge as I wasn't sure how sculpted hair would work out.


Thattoydude said...

That's a sweet custom!

A.J. said...


A.J. said...


Anonymous said...

I just happened to randomly stumble upon your site. I was actually googling "cosmic control rod" and through the pics, i came across your annihlus. I read the page and i was hooked. I started reading a ton of the figures you've done. Love the carnage and the herc. All of your pieces are truly works of art. I just wanted to let you know that your work is amazing.
-techFALL11, western Nebraska, USA