A while back I reviewed a chunk of wood that I had attempted to carve into the shape of an action figure back in junior high. It was one of my many attempts over the years at creating a custom action figure of one of my original creations. The wood man was an attempt at bringing Ollie to life, a character from my comic book The Boarder Brigade. You may also recall a baked clay custom figure that I made of Chiliwac, the ant character from my comic book Costello Island. A book that I used to self-publish when I was in high school. I won’t rehash my entire comic book making history as you can read most of that in the Ollie post if you’re curious about it but in a nutshell I’ve been creating characters for as long as I can remember; alongside my brother. Doug and I started out making “Marbel” comics in elementary school. Those book consisted of us turning popular Marvel characters into animal versions of themselves, like Iron Man into Iron Cat.
By the time we were tweens we decided to create our own original comic book universe from scratch. We called out new “company” Incredible Comics. The Incredible Universe was similar to the Marvel and DC Universes in that it was populated with human super heroes and villains battling it out in the “real world”. For some reason we set all of our stories in Victoria, British Columbia even though we’d never been there. Each of our comics were 20 pages long. Doug and I each created our own characters and we made our own comics from start to finish. We’d spend hours sitting across from each other at the dining room table doing our own thing. I wrote, drew and colored full issues by myself and Doug did the same. The interaction came in when our books crossed over with one another. We had an established continuity and timeline that we made sure to adhere to. Over the span of a few years Doug and I had created dozens of characters and around 15 books each.
My flagship character was Tiger. He was kind of a cross between Spider-Man and Wolverine. Doug’s flagship character was Lynx and he basically had the exact same powers as Tiger: super strength, super speed, super smell, cat instincts, and claws. We made sure to tie their origin stories together in order to explain the similarities in their powers. Doug created a villain named Catsmaster who was kidnapping drifters and performing cat DNA experiments on them for some reason. Lynx was one such unfortunate drifter. My character, James Rand was just an innocent bystander in the wrong place at the wrong time. One of Catsmaster’s irradiated cats, a tiger, got loose and bit James thus granting him Tiger Powers.
I managed to cram a lot of information into that first issue of Tiger. On page 1 he sees a crashed truck and an escaped tiger. On page 2 he’s bit and discovers he has powers. On page 3 he decides to become a super hero and he buys a costume. On page 4 he stops a bank robbery killing 2 bank robbers in the process and he doesn’t bat an eye. Things carry on that way through the special oversized 30 page first issue. Not only is the writing atrocious but the art is pretty ridiculous as well. One thing I find amusing about the issue is I used one of my dinky cars ( which I thought was a generic car) as the model for all the cars in the comic so everybody is driving Camaros.
I’m much prouder of issue two as my drawing and writing skills had improved but it’s still nothing to call home about. In that issue Tiger decides to make a change to his costume. He ditches the tiger head style mask he wore in issue one for a more standard Spider-Man style spandex mask with tiger stripes. I mainly did that so that “readers” would know that he was in fact a human and not some half-man half-tiger dude; that was Marbel territory.
Issue 3 was the last issue of Tiger that I completed and it ended on a cliffhanger. Tiger pays a visit to the city’s crime lords, Paycheck and Afterdeath and they offer him a bundle of money to start working for them. Did he take the money? Well it’s been nearly 20 years already so I think I can let that plot thread dangle a little longer.
Anyway, I better get on with this toy review. Andrew bought me an action figure customizing kit for my birthday. It included 3 bodies, 5 different types of heads, 3 capes and some alternate hands. It also included paints and brushes and a sheet of stickers. When I unwrapped this present I knew immediately that I would be tackling some of my Incredible heroes as they are still near and dear to me.
There was one fully masked face that I knew I would use for Tiger. I thought I’d better practice on another figure first as I didn’t want to f**k up my main character. There was a Captain America style half-masked face which I thought would work well on my villain “The Skunk”. Skunk used toxic gases to subdue his enemies. He first appeared in Pulsar issue 1 but reemerged in Tiger issue 3. He attempts to use knock-out gas to capture Tiger but our hero takes him out with a shot to the gut.
I painted Skunk’s head and body separately and they both turned out pretty good. Other than some skin tone around his mouth the character is only black and white so relatively easy to paint. I was pretty happy with the results, that is until I tried to attach the head to the body. The damn peg wouldn’t go into the neck hole and I had to wrestle with it for 5 minutes. When I was done the paint was smeared everywhere and the figure’s torso was cracked. I cannot endorse the quality of the product.
When it came time to paint Tiger I made sure to attach the head before I started painting. Tiger is a relatively easy paint job as well because the majority of his costume is white, meaning I didn’t have to paint it at all. I gave him his red boots and gloves then added the orange and black tiger print to his chest and head. It turned out pretty good. The only real issue arose when I tried to dab some white paint on his head for his eyes. The provided brush isn’t very fine so he’s got some big blotchy eyes right now. I might attempt to fix it later but it’ll have to be good enough for now.
The body type is decent and it’s to scale with G.I. Joes and Marvel Universe figures so I can display him amongst them. The articulation is pretty good but I’m too scared to pose him out of fear of rubbing his paint off. These things definitely would not make good play toys, at least not using the products provided. Maybe with some better paint and a sealer this thing could endure some handling. As is I will delicately place this guy in a display case. It’s far from perfect but it’s the best custom action figure that I’ve ever made and it’s of a character I created when I was 11 years old so that’s pretty cool. I give this figure an extremely biased 10 out of 10.