So this was a pretty straight forward custom. I wanted to do an updated classic Vulture, a figure that everyone has been asking for especially since the Spider Man Homecoming trailer with the new Vulture.
There wasn’t a huge amount of sculpt work I needed to do for Vulture so I decided I would make a custom base for him as well.
Check out the completed figure here and please feel free to ask questions if I missed something!
Now the tutorial!
So the base figure is the Space Venom wave Marvel Legends Electro. The wings come from the X-Men Classics Angel figure that will be attached with Revoltech joints. The hands are from the Odin wave Marvel Legends Iron Fist and the head is a cast from Clay Orr from the old Marvel Legends Vulture!
Heres our base figure. First step is to break down the figure so it is easier to sand all the joints to avoid paint rub
Paint rub basically means if two pieces of the figure rub together, its going to be very hard for our acrylic paint to stay on those areas. So you need to make sure to sand down joints so they dont touch each other and rub.
1: Here is the arm taken apart. I use a hairdryer to heat up the figure to soften the plastic enough that I can pop it apart at the joints. It normal takes 1 minute or so and should easily come apart.
The red lines are the areas I sanded to avoid paint rub. I normally use a 200 grit sandpaper followed by a 400 then 800.
2: The arm is reassembled and I use Aves Apoxie Sculpt to fill the peg holes. Aves Apoxie Sculpt is a two part air dry clay with about a two hour work period. After about 24 hours it dries hard enough to be sanded or drilled into.
3: I add a little cuff to the arm because the hands looked to big for the wrists. The ironfist hands are actually a little larger than the regular Marvel Legends small figure hands but I love how expressive the larger hands are.
4: Legs now! Same thing as the arms, hairdryer to take them apart then I sand the areas marked in red.
1: Legs assembled! If you look closely at the left upper thigh you can see it got some extra sanding this was me testing out a method for creating the ribbing on vultures suit.
I was hoping I would be able to carve out the ribbing to make it sunk into the sculpt but I couldn’t get it to work. I didn’t want to sculpt over the entire figure to make the ribbing so I decided I would just paint the ribbing lines.
2: Peg holes filled and the legs are done.
3: Lower torso sanding and prep! To remove the lower torso from the upper torso you need to do something people call cracking the torso.
To crack a torso you drill into the seam once on each side then you can jam a screwdriver in and lever the two sides apart. You need to be careful doing this as its easy to damage the figure but eventually you will here a crack and the two parts of the torso will separate.
4: Upper torso sanding now! To remove this torso
And thats all the boring sanding prep work for the body. Next it gets a bit more complicated.
Alright so the lower torso, upper torso and shoulders are placed back together so I can figure out where I can drill the holes for the revoltech joints that will be holding the wings.
As you can see its a tight fit and I really only had one place I could drill the holes and I marked those spots in red. I wish these could have been a bit higher but there was nothing I could do without reworking a big part of the shoulders.
1: I added some Procreate clay to my wing area to give me something to drill into and support my revoltech joints. Procreate is another two part epoxy but is more rubbery than aves so it will work better to give the revoltech joints something to grip to.
2: Its a tight fit!
3: And the holes are drilled!
4: The torso parts are glued together and then I use my Aves clay to patch the holes from cracking the torso.
1: I sculpt on Vultures hunchback.
2: Next is the feather collar/mane thing. I sculpt this in layers. The first layer is mainly just bulk and will be mostly covered later on.
3: This is the second layer. Im using Procreate for this to make the hairs a bit flexible to help avoid one being broken off.
4: And the final layer for the mane! All done!
So like I said earlier im doing a custom base for this figure. I wanted to make sure the figure was removable from the base but the connection of the figure to the base was strong enough that it could be posed at any angle without it falling over.
I figured I would try a magnet with a revoltech joint combo. You can see the ring magnet here that I got off the internet. I basically just drilled a big hole then glued the magnet in.
We will talk about the base more later on!
1: The hands are pretty simple. I dont need to sand any of the joints for these because im just using the plastic colour for my final colour. Im basically just cleaning up the seams from the cast then im going to reshape the open hands.
2: Hands all cleaned up!
3: Here are the reshaped hands. This is really easy to do, you basically just heat the hands up using a hair blower to soften the plastic then you move the fingers into the shape you want then run them under cold water which re-hardens the plastic. Normally I leave them in the fridge overnight and they are like that permanently.
Thats it for the hands!
And thats the main body all done! Next up is the wings.
I thought a lot about how I was going to do the wings. Technically the wings should be attached to Vultures arms but I didn’t like how you get weird gaps in the wings when the arms are bent. So I ended up going for a wing thats attached to the back but are pose able enough in combination with the arms that they can be moved to look like they are attached.
So these are the stock wings from the Xmen classics Angel figure. They are basically just ball joints but weren’t pose able enough for me. I cut the ball joints off the wings, drilled a little hole for the revoltech peg then sculpted over the area with clay.
1: Boom! Dry fitting with the holes we drilled into the torso. Really happy with how pose able they are. I do wish they came straight out more but you cant win every battle!
2: Front view
Next I reshape the wings so they arnt so flat. Done the same way as the hands. Use a hair blower to soften them, reshape then cold water.
And here is the dry fitting of Vulture all together!
Next up is the base! I want to do a sort of roof top thing. First im going to try and make bricks.
1: I roll out some Miliput clay. I had a ton of extra Miliput which is why im using that.
2: I texture the clay using a toothbrush.
Next I use a ruler and cut out my bricks and let them dry overnight.
I break the dry bricks apart and give them a bit of a sand on some of the edges.
Next I build the rough shape of the base out of plasticard and attach the bricks.
For the top and bottom and top of the base im using a random frame for the crown molding.
I used a saw to cut the frame and glued it to the top.
Bottom of the base is glued on and I added the the final part of the crown molding.
I add in grout to the brick and add some random rough spots and cracks/scratches to the wood frame.
Before I move onto the next part of the base I need to make the actual arm of the base that will hold the figure.
For that im using acrylic rods I got from Ebay.
Into the rod I drilled a hole and glued in a revoltech joint. Im going to paint over this so its not super important how the hole looks.
On the revoltech join I attach the other side of the magnet I attached to the lower torso.
Next up I use a heat gun to heat up the acrylic rod so I can bend it into an arch that will give me more range in posing the figure.
Next up I sculpt a little channel that the acrylic rod will slide in and out of on the back of the base. I also attach my gargoyle green goblin head ha! I cut off the horns because they stuck out way to much.
I fill in some of the gaps on the back of the base. I eventually covered the whole back and sanded it smooth but for whatever reason I forgot to take a picture.
I fill the base with gravel to give it some extra weight.
Next I put a piece of plasticard on the top of the base to seal in the loose gravel. Then I covered the top of that piece of plasticard in glue and sprinkled gravel on it to get a roof texture.
and thats the base all done!
Now its on to painting!
Here is everything after I washed it with some soapy water to get ready for priming.
Im going to split up the base and figure here just so its less confusing. Here is Vulture after priming!
I use Badgers Stynylrez primers with an airbrush for all of my priming. I used the zenithal method to help with shading.
For people not familiar with zenithal priming:
Prime the entire model black. Then from the top spray in a 90 degree cone using grey then from the top again spray in a 45 degree cone using white.
It adds a ton of natural shading very easily.
Vultures base colour! Im going to go over the main body then come back to the wings.
So I hand paint the ribbing on the suit using a dark green. This wasn’t super hard to do, painting lines over bumpy surfaces is pretty forgiving.
Next I add a dark wash to the figure
Lastly I add two lighter green lines on both sides of the darker lines to add some fake depth.
Thats it for the body! Wing time!
The wings base colour was the same green as the body then I added a lime green with the airbrush trying to hit all the tips of the wings.
Next I clean up in between the wings to help differentiate the top and bottom of each layer of feathers. You can see our gradient starting to form now.
Next up I add and even darker green to the corners of the feather bases to really make the tips pop more.
Next I clean up the general paint app a bit then dry brush the whole wing with yellow to make it look more lime green and pick up all the great sculpt detail in the wings.
and thats it! Heads up next!
1: So here you can really see the zenithal priming do work.
2: Next I airbrush a light coat of my base skin colour.
3: Now with a brush im using a lighter skin colour to hit all the raised areas of the face. Imagine a light pointing down onto the face, I hit all those areas.
4: Next I hit all the recessed areas with a darker flesh tone red.
1: Using the airbrush I do a very light coat of the base colour to help blend everything together. I also do a bit of blotchy old person skin on the head using my darker red skin tone but I forgot to take pictures of the back of the head.
You can see it in this 360 video though from my Instagram.
2: And the eyebrows and eyes are painted!
Next up are the hands. The plastic colour of the hands is my base colour then I follow the same process as the face.
Lighter colour on the raised areas, darker red on recessed areas then a light coating of the base colour.
finally I hit the fingernails with a slightly lighter skin colour.
Back to the base! Here is the base primed.
Base colours done with an airbrush.
I added a dark wash over the whole base then I dry brushed grey on the concrete areas.
It got a little to grey so I went back and did a light dusting of a brown with my airbrush. You will see it in the next picture.
Lastly I add a bunch of streaks and distressing. I use different black and brown washes and do some random white stippling with a brush on the bricks. This is always fun to do and really makes the whole base come alive.
Heres the final stand after a black gradient paint job with the airbrush. I love my airbrush. Its wonderful.
Finally I bring all the components together and pop the wings into the body. I just noticed that I didn’t take any pictures of the painting on the revoltech joints but it was nothing fancy.
I just primed them and painted them in the dark green of the body.
I tighten the fit of the holes in the wings and in the body by putting a tiny bit of glue in them. This is how I tighten all my joints and it works great.
When all is said and done this wings ended up being a dream to pose and dont slip or fall in even the most dramatic poses.
And here he is!
Im very happy with how this guy turned out. It wasn’t a super complicated figure but it was nice to make a base and do more magnet shenanigans!
All thats left are the photos!
Heres the setup for my Vulture vs Spidey photo! I use a light box most of the time then I bring them into Photoshop for some level adjustments and sometimes I combine parts of different light setups in layers.
Let me know if you guys are interested in me going into more depth about this and I can maybe do a tutorial about it. Not sure if people care ha!
Thanks for checking out Action Figure Toronto, let me know what you think and if you have any questions feel free to ask. I dont keep secrets!