My Dumb Projects
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
  Flying Hellfish WWII Ardennes Playset
For the playset for my WWII Simpsons figures, I chose the snow covered ruins featured in the flashback.

I cut the base and walls from 1/2" MDF to match the dimensions of the other World of Springfield line. The broken bricks were roughed in using the Dremel.

I scribed in the brick pattern using the Dremel with the router attachment.

The snow on the walls was formed by applying Aves epoxy putty over plastic wrap (so it won't stick to the MDF)

The snow on the ground was made with a coat of Sculpey. I placed the three figures on the sculpey to mark the positions of the foot holes. Once baked, I Dremeled out the foot holes so that they would look like they were standing in thick snow. And so they wouldn't fall over all the time!

The final painted set with the figures in place.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006
  Flying Hellfish Target: Adolf Hitler
Since all "World Of Springfield: playsets have spots for three action figures. The natural third banana should be Abe's sniper target, The Fuhrer himself.

Let me just say that I have no Nazi sympathies and WILL NOT make copies of this figure. Do not even ask!

For a base figure, I started with a character called "Sarcastic Man".

I soaked the figure in boiling water to soften the joints and then popped off the head. I molded a rough head out of Aves epoxy putty on a screw and once that dried, carved in the basic features.

I continued to refine the facial features, form cuffs, collar and the lower part of the jacket.

Some more refining of the features, added putty glove cuffs, collar tabs and tie and then used strips of styrene to make the epaulettes and shoulder belt.

Added the collar over the shoulder belt with Aves putty. The putty is extremely strong even in paper thin applications!

More Aves putty to make the hat.

More styrene to make the belt and the band across the visor of the hat.

The final painted hat. Added are a styrene eagle and gold tabs at the ends of the band. The button on the ends of the band were made with a dot of CA glue.

The final painted figure in all his rat-faced glory! The swastika armband is a laser decal.

Monday, November 13, 2006
  Flying Hellfish Montgomery Burns
As I finished the Abe Simpson, I thought it would be cool to do some of the other characters from the episode and maybe even a playset to display them on.

Burns started with the basic figure with the hair, waist and trouser cuffs Dremeled off.

Using the Aves epoxy putty, I started building the collar, hair and fatigue pants.

The next putty layer consisted of pockets and the sweater draped over his shoulders.

And then finally the sweater sleeves hanging down the front.

In the episode Burns spoils Abe Simpson's shot at Hitler with a stray tennis ball. I cut small sections of wire and held the vertical and horizontal sections together with masking tape. I crossed the two sections and then added a drop of CA glue at the intersections. After that dried, the wires were cut to fit the styrene frame.

The final painted figure. I added a laser decal for his shoulder rank.

Sunday, November 12, 2006
  Flying Hellfish Abe Simpson
Being a rabid Simpsons fan and collector, I patiently waited for an action figure of Grandpa Abe Simpson in one of my favorite episodes "Raging Abe Simpson And His Grumbling Grandson In "The Curse Of The Flying Hellfish".

It features a great flashback showing a young Abe Simpson fighting the Germans in the closing days of WWII.

I bought a used "Raging Willie" as he is one of the few Simpsons characters in shape and had a cool action pose.

I also referenced the Ranier Wolfcastle as McBain for the Simpsons-style of sculpting the military uniform and equipment.

I soaked the Willie figure in boiling water for a few minutes and then popped off his head. I used white tape to mask off the seams and used Aves epoxy putty to start building the new uniform pieces.

I started sculpting the head using Sculpey, keeping the size, proportions and features of the Older Abe.

Since Aves needs 4 hours to dry, I find it easier to work in layers. Features like the collar and pockets are applied and then trimmed while still wet.

As the sculpting was nearing an end, I had to address reattaching the head. I cut a small piece of brass tubing and crimped a slot near the base to lock it into the post.

Later in the episode Abe is wearing a backpack. I cut a piece of MDF to shape for the main section and side pockets. The straps were cut from .02 styrene (after MUCH prototyping)

The flaps were made from .02 styrene. The grenade was formed from Aves with a nail stuck in it. When it was dry, I stuck the nail in a drill and lathed in the horizontal grooves. I attached small styrene blocks for the upper part of the grenade.

The grenade ring was made from round styrene bar stock. I heated the plastic and wound it around a brass tube. I snipped off one link and then glued it closed. The ""handle" of the grenade was made from a sliver of aluminum.

The belt pouches were made from thick styrene with thin plastic folded over for the flaps, I put a dot of CA glue on the flap for a subtle button.

The canteen is made from MDF with a sliver of dowel for a cap. The canteen was a bit of a visual cheat. On a real canteen, it sits in a canvas pouch with two flaps holding it in. On mine, I carved a lip to imply a pouch and attached styrene flaps.

Breaking with my policy of never showing my mistakes, here's a good one! Once I put the head on the body, I discovered that Willie and Grandpa aren't in scale with each other! CRAP!

I found that Homer's brother Herb is more in scale with Willie. So I made a rough mold of his head and cast a new head in Aves. I removed the nose to make sculpting a bit easier.

The new head is a better fit! Whew!

I made another cast of the head for making a helmet that would fit. I covered the form with Saran Wrap and used Aves putty to sculpt the helmet. Afterward I used the dremel to thin up the interior lip.

The sniper rifle from the episode was nearly identical to one that came with the figure of one of Fat Tony's mobsters. I merely repainted it. Abe also used a Thompson Submachine gun and I couldn't resist building it. I used laminated styrene for the parts and a brass tube for the barrel. The muzzle was formed by putting Aves on the end of the tube and then putting the tube in the drill and shaping it with files.

The sling was made by cutting slots in the appropriate locations and then gluing in a thin piece of styrene.

Here is Abe Simpson all assembled and painted. I also added his sergeant's bars on his helmet and the Hellfish tattoo on his right bicep using laser decals. I did my best to replicate the details of the episode, fighting my urge to make the details "accurate"

These are all the dumb things I find myself obsessed with building when I SHOULD be doing something more productive.

As a kid I built lots of plastic model kits, never knowing that one day those skills would actually be of use.

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Location: Phoenix, Arizona, United States
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