Custom model using TRU reissue Frankenstein
This is my entry to a Polar Lights sponsored contest one Halloween where you buy and build one of their reissues of the old Aurora monsters from Toys R Us. I decided right off the bat if I was going to build yet another classic monster, I might as well do something different. I picked the Frankie for the simple reason I think the monster is great but I've never liked the original base or pose, and already had a picture in my head of how I would have designed it. The most effective models for me are not just little statues of the character, they're little scenes that tell a story. I wanted a dungeon setting, but not the usual "mad scientist lab". I also wanted a more elegant, non-cluttered look. Too many times the base accessories actually distract the eye, when doing your own composition think of this as a painting in 3-d and go from there.
For Frankie's head, I did a lot of small changes that improved the overall look. I trimmed back those heavy eyelids so you could actually see the eyes, carved in more detail in the ears, and extended the front hairline down just a tad. I carved out the neckline so I could raise his head. The arms and wrists were repositioned with a minimum of fuss. Other little touches included belt loops and a rope knot to more accurately show how he keeps his pants up. The shackles were made from odds and ends - with superglue and acrylic paint you can make anything. I found the plastic chain in a toilet plunger replacement kit, the shackles were slices of magic marker caps with bits of solder wire superglued on, and the rings and base were parts of old junk earrings donated by the wife. Some primer and chain mail acrylic paint, and they were done.
For the base, I used Sculpty rolled out into slabs and carved. The dungeon wall and floor are braced underneath, since I wanted to engineer my creation to last. I tried various stone looks, finally keeping the backdrop light to showcase Frankie.
For that last "Aurora" touch I didn't want to distract from Frankie by adding skeletons or other clutter to the base, instead I dug into the Wolf Man kit and borrowed the two rats, a necessity for any dungeon. A little heat and repositioning, and a careful paint job, and everything was ready to put together.
Frankie is held down with a metal rod epoxied into his shoes that fits snugly into a plastic sleeve inserted into the base. Same kind of work on his left wrist - I can actually take this model apart if needed. I routed out the bottom of the base for the battery pack and wired a light in the window to give a great 3-d effect of a setting sun.
If you're going to do all this work, you might as well finish it off with a nice display base. I found a wood plaque at a hobby store, did a gesso and satin black finish, routed out the top for the model and the bottom to insert the battery pack for the hidden window light. As the final touch I cut out the "Frankenstein" name from the original headstone and did a Rub 'n Buff treatment to turn it into a name plate.
I had so much fun doing this, I've decided to take one classic Aurora monster and give it this treatment every Halloween.
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