Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Space Jockey

The fossilized remains of the Space Jockey from the film Alien is one of the most iconic and mysterious figures in science fiction moviedom.


There are many renditions of the model, but the one that I've thought about getting for the longest time has been the old 1/60 vinyl kit made by Halcyon back in 1992.


Every time I see an article or video showing somebody's build of the model, I can't help but think that the figures are actually 1/72 rather than 1/60. I can't really justify the current price tag of the model just to find out though.

There is also a resin knock-off of the Halcyon kit, but from the pictures that I've seen of the parts, it looks to be a very poor copy of the original.


Recently, I thought that with a little work, some of the toy Space Jockey figures could be a cheap alternative.

As fate would have it, I saw a batch of Alien toys being sold as a lot on eBay. I put in my best offer, and a couple of days later the figures arrived at my doorstep.

The first figure is the one that I consider the best of the bunch. It is the Mez-Itz Space Jockey made by Mezco Toyz.


The figure comes with a large base as a separate piece, so it looks the closest to the Halcyon kit, and it also happens to be a hollow vinyl model. The only thing that I don't like about the model is that it has the flattened head typical of Mez-Itz figures. It is also inaccurate because the chest was not sculpted with burst open ribs.

The next figure is the Minimates Space Jockey.


The figure is a lot chunkier and not as well painted as the Mez-Itz figure, but it is a nice solid piece of PVC. It also has the flat head typical of Minimates figures, and Minimates arms as well.

The lot also came with the Deluxe Toys R Us exclusive Minimates Space Jockey.


The figure is pretty much the same as the regular version, except it is painted to simulate the lighting effects in the film.

The final figure is the Kubrick Space Jockey.


This is the smallest figure of the bunch, and also the hardest to find. It has typical Kubrick arms, but it has a decent representation of the Space Jockey's head.

Perhaps the Mez-Itz and Minimates figures are still a little undersized for 1/72 scale, but I think they would still look pretty good as terrain pieces. The main thing that would need to be fixed are the flat heads.







Sunday, August 25, 2019

Dollar Store Finds

I stopped by Dollar Tree to pick up some school supplies and saw some Military and Construction Playsets from Greenbrier International in the toy section.


What caught my eye were the chemical storage tanks, which looked like they could pass for 1/72 scale, so I bought four of the sets.




The models are probably equivalent to 2000 gallon tanks, and can be used as terrain pieces or objective markers.




I'll probably buy some more of these so I can paint them up in different colors.

I also picked up another set with a car that looked like it could pass as a 3rd generation Pontiac Trans Am in 1/72.




The other two vehicles in the sets resemble a Flakpanzer Gepard and a Tectran ATV carrying a SSM of some type, but they're closer to 1/144 scale or smaller, so are of little use to me.


The store also had a selection of Maisto diecast cars. I picked out a few that I thought might be 1/72 scale, but I haven't checked their dimensions to verify how close they are yet.


The cars I bought include a Ford F-350, Dodge Ram, Pontiac Rosewood, Chevy Bel Air, Dunbar Armored Car, and a Ford Woody.


I'll do a more detailed report on these cars sometime in the future.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Giant Catfish

Tall tales of giant catfish have circulated in the American South since the 19th century, and were even propagated in the Northern states along the Upper Mississippi River.

Giant catfish, 1914
Hardin County, Tennessee

While modern US tabloids have reported attacks on people by giant catfish, it was the South Asian goonch that seemed to demonstrate that attacks on humans by giant catfish were possible.

In D&D, the giant catfish was introduced in the Creature Catalog under the category of Giant Fish. They were described as being 15 feet in length, with 8+3 HD. Instead of having spiked fins with poison, they were able to cause damage with their barbels (which I'm guessing is founded in the mistaken belief that catfish can sting with their whiskers).

I'd probably just change the stats a bit and say that the catfish can bite for 2D8 damage, and inflict 1D4 damage with each of two fin attacks.

To represent giant catfish, I have several different gashapon models, as well as a gigantic Reaper catfish that I just bought today.

The first two catfish are Lake Biwa giant catfish (Biwako-o'namazu; ビワコオオナマズ). Both are ChocoQ shokugan from Furuta – Choco Egg Classic (チョコエッグ・クラシック no. 047C), and Choco Egg Animals of Japan Collection series 2 (チョコエッグ・日本の動物コレクション第2弾 no. 047).


The two catfish are multi-part plastic models manufactured by Kaiyodo. They are slightly different sculpts, each measuring 73mm in length. The Choco Egg Classic version comes with a base.

The next image is of a Lake Biwa giant catfish by Yujin from the Kitan Club Nature Technicolour Nature of Japan vol. 02 (奇譚クラブ・ネイチャーテクニカラー・日本のいきもん vol. 02 no. 19), and a red torrent catfish (Akaza; アカザ) from the Furuta Choco Egg Animals of Japan series 4 (チョコエッグ・日本の動物コレクション第4弾 no. 119).


The Yujin catfish is a single piece model made of PVC measuring 70mm in length. The torrent catfish is made by Kaiyodo, and measures about 64mm in length.

The last model is the Reaper Gulper (Bones 44038).


The Gulper seems to be modeled after the flathead catfish, though it is covered with spikes like the typical modern fantasy "dire" creature. It is made with the new Reaper Bones Black material, and measures 125mm in length.

All five catfish compared.