Big Brother Is Watching (Triple Post!)

(Posting early… )

For a re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here, my post is here. The first round voting polls are here and here, and the final vote can be found here–I placed 4th out of the finalists.

The subject this time around is Horde Prime, Hordak‘s brother and leader.

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The scene in the center is a revision of my previous drawing of Horde Prime–in fact, the secondary head and the silhouette of Hordak on the platform were both directly lifted from the original piece. The figures on the left and right, however, are all new. The entire basis for my interpretation of Horde Prime is the theory that Horde Prime himself was the basis for the symbol of the Horde. The little guy on the left is based on an accessory that came with the original Hordak action figure. The throne room in the center piece is based on scenes from the cartoon. Finally, the Horde Prime on the right combines elements of Hordak’s costume (cartoon version) and the UK comic book version. In-fiction descriptions follow…

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Horde Prime’s Throne Room (center): Centuries before the Horde invasion of Etheria, Horde Prime engaged the heroic champion Light Hope in a battle of apocalyptic proportions. The battle ended in a stalemate, both combatants having received near-fatal wounds. Light Hope sacrificed his wounded physical form to become caretaker of the Crystal Castle and protector of Etheria. His power was greatly increased but his new discorporate form was bound to the castle itself.

Meanwhile, suffering under the effects of Light Hope’s powerful magic attacks, Horde Prime found himself crippled and trapped in his giant form, unable to shapeshift back. He retreated to his flagship, the Velvet Glove, and there, with a combination of advanced Horde science and pirated Infinitan magic, his servants built a sarcophagus-like regeneration chamber. The chamber, combined with Horde Prime’s shapeshifting abilities, allowed him to slowly form a new body, gestating within the colossal rotting husk of his old form. This embryonic body often manifested itself as a secondary head, sprouting from the eye socket of Horde Prime.

Horde Prime’s twisted body renewed itself in a twisted mockery of life and birth over the course of centuries, and in the meantime he plotted revenge against Light Hope and Etheria (it was during this time that Horde Prime’s younger brother and trusted disciple Hordak became the de facto leader of the Horde).

Horde Familiar (left): Through the use of his shapeshifting and magical abilities, Horde Prime can focus his life force to temporarily create a small demonic familiar to act as a spy or messenger. Horde Prime can see through the eyes of these creatures, and act through them. These extensions of Horde Prime were generally reserved for the gravest situations, such as delivering critical information to Hordak without risk of interception. Many rebels have made the fatal mistake of judging Horde Familiars by their relatively small size, failing to realize that a creature with even just a fraction of Horde Prime’s cosmic power is still a formidable foe.

Horde Prime Reborn (right): With the revelation that the two most powerful beings on Eternia (He-Man and Skeletor) had disappeared from the planet, Horde Prime realized that it was the time to strike. Forcing an acceleration of his regeneration, through arcane lore and untested science, Horde Prime is reborn! The cruel leader of the Horde is still regaining his god-like levels of power, but even still he is perhaps the most feared being in the universe. While Hordak holds the Etherian front, Horde Prime leads the invasion of Eternia. Horde Prime seeks nothing less than the utter subjugation of He-Man’s homeworld, after which he will return to Etheria to crush his old enemy Light Hope.

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If this were a toy, I would see Horde Prime’s throne room as a playset, with his giant form being molded into the facade of the regeneration chamber, and his giant arm being a spring-loaded capture claw. Of course, the highly sought-after Horde Prime Reborn action figure would be packed in exclusively with the playset.

Don’t Look A (Humanoid Robotic) Gift Horse In The Mouth

Today’s post is a long-delayed follow-up to my take on Stridor. It’s Night Stalker, now outfitted with the same humanoid transformation that I gave to Stridor. I drew Night Stalker with a slightly heavier build than Stridor, and some different details. He is armed with Asian weaponry as a nod to the fact that he was typically portrayed as the steed of Jitsu, Skeletor’s token Asian henchman. The pole-arm is a Pudao also know as a horse-cutter, and the swords are a set of Daisho. And I slapped a bat-cape on him because I have a tough time not giving cool villains bat-capes.
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His title of “Evil Armored Dragoon” owes to the fact that I found a definition that described a Dragoon as “a soldier trained to fight on foot but who transports himself on horseback.” This seemed like the perfect description for a transforming horse warrior. Elsewhere, I found that Dragoon or Dragoon Guard referred to heavy cavalry, which was appropriate to the bulkier look that I gave night Stalker.

Last but not least, the nerdy, in-depth bio:

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PROFILE: A brilliant strategic mind and a brutally effective warrior, NIGHT STALKER is every bit the match for his brother Stridor. But where Stridor is gentle and merciful, Night Stalker is brooding and unforgiving. He adheres to a strict code of honor, but nonetheless believes might makes right. This harsh sense of honor has earned him the friendship and trust of the similarly dispositioned Jitsu.

Night Stalker is outfitted with standard Stridor-type weaponry (dual heavy laser cannons, and a rapid-fire hip blaster)–however, he prefers to engage in melee combat with his custom-made horse-cutter or Daisho swords. He commands a regiment of Equestris mercenaries with a few other renegade Stridor units mixed in.

HISTORY: Night Stalker was the first of the mass-produced Stridor units, and was groomed to be the original Stridor’s second-in-command. Although their personalities were like night and day, the two considered each other brothers and were a formidable team on the battlefield. In time, Night Stalker was promoted, and became commander of his own unit.

During a heat wave, Night Stalker and his troops were sent to perform crowd control in a town where drought and food shortage were causing riots and looting. They had been dispatched with the idea that their imposing stature would be enough to intimidate the angry mobs into submission–on the contrary, because of their greatly superior size and strength, the troops couldn’t act against the relatively weak humans for fear of harming them. Night Stalker had no choice but to withdraw his troops. However, the rioters had become increasingly aggravated, and Night Stalker and his troops found their backs against the city walls. A make-shift bomb was thrown, a nearby wagon transporting fuel was ignited, and the ensuing explosion brought the city walls down on top of the Stridors. All the troops under Night Stalker’s command were destroyed, and he himself was damaged almost beyond repair–there were no human casualties.

The incident changed Night Stalker forever. He blamed himself, feeling that had he used force to decisively end the conflict, his troops would still be alive. Why, he asked himself, should the strong suffer at the hands of the weak? Night Stalker became increasingly insubordinate, and finally deserted his post. Stridor tracked Night Stalker down and attempted to talk to his brother. Their conversation became heated, and Night Stalker lashed out; an intense duel ensued, and Night Stalker got the best of Stridor. He restrained himself from making the killing blow, and disappeared into the wildnerness.

Night Stalker became a mercenary, and occasionally a bandit. He eventually crossed paths with Jitsu–though the two were initially contentious, Jitsu saw that they shared a common worldview, and he recruited Night Stalker to Skeletor’s cause. Since then, Night Stalker has swayed a few other disillusioned Stridor units to join his forces.

Stridor remains determined to bring his brother back to the fold.

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Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here.

What’s a Spector?

I know I’ve mentioned COTU and talked about Fuerza-T in the past. Here’s an illustration of a little known Fuerza-T prototype that I did for an upcoming COTU project:

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The figure was to be named Spector, and it ought to be painfully obvious that he was to be built primarily from Skeletor’s parts. My drawing is pretty accurate to those details. I deviated a little, attempting to mimic the style of the Fuerza-T card art. Much like my illustration of Goldar, this piece is not part of my “regular” series of Masters of the Universe drawings, as it deviates from my usual modus operandi, and was done for a specific purpose that COTU has in mind. The coloring, for example, is a blended style, as opposed to my usual cel-shading. A more J.Ho-ized version of Spector (and the rest of the Fuerza-T cast) will come in the future.

Check out COTU World blog for some photos of their excellent He-Man customs (on the links list on the sidebar… or if you can’t be bothered, click HERE).

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

Sweet Adeline…

(Posting early… )

With this post, I’m wrapping up my first batch of Masters of the Universe variants re-cast as new characters. There are still a lot of variants to tackle (and I will!), but for now I’ve covered the main classic variants. Allow me to present a lady codenamed Flying Fist, with accesories and armor courtesy of Flying Fists He-Man.

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The original Flying Fists He-Man figure was not particularly feminine, but once I re-cast Terror Claws as a female, it made sense to give Team Grayskull another woman warrior as well. As far as the costume itself, I combined the redundant double-belt of the action figure into an armored girdle. The perspective on the shield is messed up, but I can live with it. Color-wise, I initially had some difficulty making things mesh, but once I decided to make her furry barbarian short-pants black (instead of brown), the rest of the colors really clicked into place. The end result is pretty faithful to the original color scheme (with the exception of the aforementioned furry barbarian short pants). Now how about a bio for this little lady?

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PROFILE: Peace-loving and kind, ADELINE, known on the battlefield as FLYING FIST is essentially a gentle but fair soul who has taken on the role of protector. She is strongwilled, but when faced with failure she has a tendency to blame herself.

Adeline’s mechanized triple flail can pulverize granite and break solid plate armor, while her rotating shield is capable of generating a defensive barrier of wind, or firing an offensive whirlwind blast. When held aloft, she can utilize it as a limited one-person helicopter, and in the past she has also used the shield as an improvised boat propeller. The flail and shield are both semi-magical items, requiring the input of the user’s chi for proper use.

Adeline wears an armored girdle that grants her the strength of a storm giant, and an enchanted breastplate that conforms to the shape of its wearer, allows for a full range of movement, and provides magically enhanced stamina. However, even without her girdle, she has an abnormal level of strength. The cause of this is unknown.

HISTORY: Adeline hails from a serene and remote village in the foothills. Her mother Adele was famed amongst the locals for using her tremendous strength as the village’s protector, earning her the nickname “Flying Fist.” For the most part, the village was peaceful, and Adele used her strength for mundane tasks such as helping with construction and demolitions and clearing fallen trees. Occasionally some small-time bandits would show up, or a bear would wander too close to town, but all in all it was a peaceful existence. Adeline knew that her mother’s strength came from the magic girdle, though her mother never explained where the girdle came from. And when Adele passed away, some five years ago, Adeline inherited the girdle and the role of village protector. It wasn’t long before Adeline inherited the nickname “Flying Fist” as well.

Following another dream-vision, Teela visited Adeline’s village with Team Grayskull in tow. Adeline had long been in possession of a magically locked chest belonging to her mother, and with the help of Teela’s magical powers, she was finally able to open it. The chest contained a breastplate marked with an ancient heraldic symbol of Grayskull’s line. After this, it quickly came to light that Thunder Punch was in fact Adeline’s father, and like Thunder Punch, Adeline’s mother Adele had once been a champion of Castle Grayskull. Initially, Thunder Punch was vehemently opposed to involving his daughter in the struggle between the protectors of Castle Grayskull and its would-be conquerors. However, the Sorceress convinced him that while it was not Adeline’s inevitable destiny, it was the legacy of both her parents, and she had a right to choose for herself.

Adeline had planned to reject the invitation to join Teela’s group, but after witnessing a battle between Team Grayskull and some Horde Troopers, she understood the bigger picture–in order to protect her village, there was a bigger world outside of it that needed protecting as well. With a tearful goodbye, Adeline bid farewell to her village.

Shortly after arriving at Castle Grayskull, Adeline came across a room with two broken and discarded mechanical devices. In her village, Adeline’s strength made her ideal for carrying out repairs on large structures like windmills and water wheels, so she had developed something of a sense for mechanics–she tinkered with the devices a little, and was able to restore them to perfect working order, and even improved them with some minor modifications. Thus, the mechanized triple-flail and rotating shield became Adeline’s primary tools in combat. When Team Grayskull isn’t searching for He-Man or battling the forces of evil, Adeline often spends her hours trying to repair the ancient technologies contained in Castle Grayskull, with the “assistance” of Orko..

All things considered, Adeline has adapted to life with Team Grayskull rather smoothly. At times, her relationship with her father is strained, but overall, Adeline and Thunder Punch are both doing well in mending their estranged relationship. Teela has become a surrogate big sister to her, and Orko and Cringer are both very fond of her. There’s something of a brewing romance between Adeline and Battle-Scar, at least when Battle-Scar isn’t attempting to rile her up by calling her “She-Man.” Such behavior generally earns Battle-Scar a punch in the nose.

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I didn’t like Flying Fist much as a name, but at the same time I didn’t want to drop it completely. I finally decided on giving the character a ‘real’ name (Adeline) and using Flying Fist as a nickname, kind of like Duncan/Man-At-Arms. Adeline and Adele are both variations of a German name, meaning “noble,” and chosen to be evockative of the ad sound in Adam and Adora (the real identities of He-Man and She-Ra respectively). The relationship between Adeline and Battle-Scar is somewhat meant to mimic that of Akane and Ranma from Ranma 1/2. Man, these character bios keep getting longer and longer. :P

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here and the post is here.

For my other “new characters from old variants” posts:

One Year Later!

Well, here we are–the one year bloggiversary of Oh Snap! The Friggin Amazing J.Ho Sketchblog. You see, bloggiversary is a super clever portmanteau of the word “blog” and the word “anniversary.” Have I ever mentioned that I hate the word “portmanteau?” What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, so, I’ve managed to stick it out for a year so far, without missing a single post, and I have no intention of stopping any time soon. If you had any idea how lazy/unmotivated/lethargic/quitty I am in RL, you’d be impressed. But whether or not you’re impressed, I thank you, Dear Reader for tuning in. Whether you’re a crony who’s known me since I was in grade school, or someone who randomly stumbled upon this blog, or anyone in between, I appreciate your patronage, and wish you a safe and happy New Year.

The inaugural sketch that I posted on this blog was Skeletor, and for today’s post, I’m continuing my series of He-Man/Skeletor variants turned into a new characters. Did you ever look at Terror Claws Skeletor and wonder, “Skeletor, why the hell are you wearing a metallic purple sports bra?” I don’t have a good answer for that question myself, but here’s a new character named Terror Claws, for whom a metallic purple sports bra seems more appropriate:

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The rough sketch for this one has been sitting around here foreverrr, so I’m glad I was able to finally use my holiday time off from ye olde day job to finish this (as well as a few other drawings, to be presented in the following weeks). Her face paint is definitely influenced by the Superman villainess Silver Banshee, but I think the face underneath as well her body type, both take after Trish Stratus (this was not intentional, just an observation I made after the fact). As usual, I tweaked with the colors of the original toy, adding some and switching some, hopefully creating a vibrant and visually pleasing recipe in the process. Oh, and as a bonus, I even drew her with the original toy’s alternate weapon:

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And the final touch–a painstakingly written bio, nerdily composed by yours truly:

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PROFILE: Named after the sacred Infinitan artifact weapons which she wields in combat, TERROR CLAWS is the fearsome leader of Skeletor’s Elite–a group of powerful warrior-mages handpicked and trained by the Lord of Destruction himself. In hand-to-hand combat, her namesake claws can effortlessly rend through the toughest armored units of the Eternian military, and enhance her strength to a level possibly rivalling He-Man’s. In ranged combat, she wields a dragon-skull arm cannon, created by Dragon Blaster. Terror Claws is a seasoned magic-user as well, specializing in scrying, enchantments, and counterspells.

Terror Claws’ true power, however, is her ability to lead. Cool, collected, and meticulous, in Skeletor’s absence, she has been able to wrangle and lead Skeletor’s Elite, as well as his other forces. Even the mutinous Evil-Lyn cannot deny Terror Claws’ efficiency as a leader.

Unlike her fellow Elite, Terror Claws possesses a sense of honor that extends beyond her fealty to Skeletor. This “defect” did not escape Skeletor’s attention–on the contrary, he felt it would be a weakness that he could exploit to insure her continuing loyalty. Terror Claws has no obvious weaknesses, but it seems inevitable that she will be drawn into a confrontation with Evil-Lyn.

HISTORY: An orphaned Infinitan girl with no memory of her past, was brought to Skeletor’s attention because of her unusually advanced magic capabilities. Inexplicably drawn to her, Skeletor inducted the orphan girl into the Elite training program. In spite of being one of the later recruits, and one of the youngest, she rapidly rose through the ranks. Is her loyalty to Skeletor a true testament to the power of the Elite re-education system… or does Terror Claws have an as yet unrevealed motive?”

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Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here and the post is here.

For my other “new characters from old variants” posts:

Feeling a Little Punchy

(Posting a smidge early)

Getting back to my self imposed task of changing He-Man and Skeletor variations into new characters, today I bring you Thunder Punch He-Man, now simply (you guessed it), Thunder Punch:

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Thunder Punch is supposed to be an older, grizzled veteran of the battlefield, so hopefully that comes through in my drawing. There’s a little bit of action in this one, a bit of a change from my usual static ways. The right leg and foot are awkward, but luckily I had to place some type in there anyways, so I covered that up a little. The colors aren’t anything special, and in hindsight, I really meant to make the skin much more tan in contrast to the fair hair. The perspective on the shield is pretty wonky. Overall, this is a piece that I was excited about when it first started coming together, but I’m somewhat disappointed with it as I pick it apart. Oh well… I’m still pretty happy with it as far as the concept goes. Read on!

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PROFILE: Cynical and world weary, THUNDER PUNCH nonetheless possesses a heart of gold, awakened by the moral purity of his new-found allies. His many years of experience have made him hard edged yet pragmatic. He is a natural leader, though a reluctant one–shortly after Flying Fist joined “Team Grayskull,” Teela was forced to leave the group, and she named Thunder Punch the leader, much to his chagrin.

His battle harness enhances his strength, speed, and rudimentary psychic abilities. The enhancement allows him to perform maneuvers such as his trademark “Thunder Punch,” a devastating attack, enhanced by a burst of chi. His shield further amplifies and refines his psychic power, and recently Thunder Punch has developed a new technique where by concentrating his battle aura upon his shield, he can manifest a psychic power sword.

It is clear that Thunder Punch knew the Sorceress at some point in the past, though the specifics of this have yet to come to light. It has also been hinted at that he was accquainted with Man-At-Arms and King Randor.

HISTORY: With a heavy heart, King Randor was forced to indefinitely suspend the kingdom’s search for the missing He-Man. With the Horde threat becoming increasingly aggressive, Randor simply could not spare any resources towards what seemed to be a hopeless effort. Refusing to relent, Teela resigned her position as Captain of the Royal Guard and exiled herself from Eternos, vowing that she would not return unless she had He-Man with her. Cringer, Orko, and Battle-Scar accompanied her as well. With a heavy heart, Man-At-Arms told his daughter Teela that the kingdom would need him in the war against the Horde and he could not accompany her on her quest. However, he urged Teela seek refuge with the Sorceress, and complete her training in the magical arts. As Man-At-Arms watched his daughter and his closest friends ride away, he said to himself, “If anyone can find He-Man, they can.”

Teela and her fellowship did take refuge with the Sorceress at Castle Grayskull, and investigated every possible lead over the following months. They found many clues and possibilities, but nothing concrete. In the meantime, the Sorceress continued to guide Teela’s education in magic, and Teela’s sensitivity to the supernatural developed quickly. A breakthrough came to Teela in the form of a dream-vision, telling her to seek out a warrior; a lost descendant of the legendary King Grayskull, who would aid her in her quest. Teela, Cringer, and Battle-Scar set out to find this lost scion of Grayskull.

What they found however, was a grizzled and bitter man living in isolation in the wilderness, a once idealistic knight errant, turned hardened soldier of fortune, who had ultimately decided to reject the world and its corruption in favor of life as a hermit. He knew he was a descendent of Grayskull–he simply did not care. Unable to break through his jaded shell, Teela’s group left the hermit in the wilderness. At the edge of the wilderness, they were ambushed by Force Commander Scorpia, Modulok, and a contingent of Modulok’s test-tube engineered warriors and monstrosities. Incapacitated by Scorpia’s poisonous stinger, Teela was unconscious and capture was imminent. The hermit, who had shadowed Teela’s group to ensure that they left his sanctuary, had a split second to make a decision. Before he realized what he was doing, his legs were carrying him into the fray, and with nothing more than a wooden cudgel, he was able to beat back Modulok’s creations long enough for Cringer to carry Teela to safety, and for Battle-Scar to regroup with the hermit. The ensuing battle was brutal, but the hermit and Battle-Scar were able to fight off the Horde attackers. Scorpia’s poison, however, was spreading fast through Teela’s blood. The hermit squeezed his eyes shut, concentrating upon the astral plane, searching for a response… with a flash of light, Battle-Scar, Teela, Cringer, and their new accquaintance found themselves on the Jaw Bridge of Castle Grayskull–Orko flew to them with haste, and treated Teela with a magical antidote. Standing at the gates was the Sorceress herself, holding a red and silver battle harness, and a matching shield.

The hermit’s expression was impassive, though his eyes betrayed mixed emotions, “It’s good to see you, Sorceress.”

The Sorceress smiled in her usual mysterious manner, holding up the rough implements of war in her elegant hands. “I kept these for you.”

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Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here and the post is here.

For my other “new characters from old variants” posts:

Another Enchanting Young Lady (follow up to Tuesday’s post)

(These days, who’s got time to wait for a midnight post, huh? Posting early, as I am wont to do.)

As promised, here is a picture based on the toy version of Castaspella. Also posted here on my variants thread on the He-Man.org fan-art forum.


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First off, you will notice that I have changed her into another character. While the toy’s packaging depicts Castaspella very much like her cartoon appearance, (bouffant intact), the toy itself simply had the hair tied in a ponytail. Because of the significantly different hairstyle, coupled with the toy’s differing color scheme, I decided to make her into a new character. The name Sorciela is taken from an image I found online of international packaging for Castaspella–unless I’m mistaken, Sorciela is her French name.

I made a few minor tweaks to her costume, but for the most part, this is a pretty straight interpretation of the toy. I turned her spinning disk accessory into a magical ward–the symbols on it are nothing more than the symbols of the western zodiac. I rarely use a dark background color, but here it was necessary to accentuate the glowing magical energies. And the finishing touch; a super-nerdy bio…

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PROFILE: An extraordinarily capable magic-user, SORCIELA far exceeds the limits of most of her peers, but still requires focus and experience as a result of her youth. She specializes in hypnotism, but excels in this particular area to the detriment of her other magical capabilities. Sorciela can be impatient and frivolous, but her sense of compassion and fairness is true.

HISTORY: Sorciela is the younger sister of Castaspella, Mage-Queen of Mystacor. When Castaspella ascended to the throne, Sorciela was sent away to a hidden location. There were two motives behind this–first, so that Sorciela could continue her education in the use of magic, and second, so that the next in line for the throne would be protected in case any harm should ever fall upon Castaspella. With the Horde’s presence growing ever more oppressive and She-Ra’s departure to Eternia, Castaspella has summoned her sister back to Mystacor to aid in the defense of the country, and the planet.

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Clever Titles Are Overrated

After a brief hiatus, the re-design challenges at the He-Man.org fan-art forums have returned! The thread is here, my post is here.

(Voting thread is here and I placed 2nd–the winning design was an awesome piece by my pal Jazyl.)

First up is Light Hope, a mystical column of light who is guardian of She-Ra’s headquarters (the Crystal Castle) and acts as her advisor. My version depicts a human avatar of Light Hope:


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The design of his helmet is based on the toy version of the Crystal Castle, while his staff is a depiction of the cartoon version. The double crests on his robe are loosely patterned off of the upper windows of the Crystal Castle toy, and the colors of the robe are based on the toy’s flag. His breastplate, belt, and boots are based on the Bow action figure–not because he has any connection with Bow directly, but because if there had been a Light Hope action figure, it’s likely that Bow’s token male sculpt would have been harvested for parts. The symbol on his chest is the same sun-symbol motif found on She-Ra’s, and his wings of light echo the double wings of the cartoon version of the Crystal Castle. His sword of light is based on a She-Ra role play set which differs from other depictions of She-Ra’s sword.

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PROFILE: LIGHT HOPE is a master sorcerer and expert warrior. He wields a sword of light and the staff of the Crystal Castle. His wings of light provide him with flight as well as a defensive barrier. Light Hope’s even-handed wisdom is reknowned throughout the cosmos.

HISTORY: The power embodied by the Crystal Castle of Etheria is ancient, and, like Castle Grayskull on Eternia, predates recorded history. Light Hope–a powerful warrior-mage rumored to be allies with He-Ro the Wizard and King Grayskull–sacrificed his mortal body to become the caretaker of the mysteries of the Crystal Castle. It is foretold that Light Hope will take on his human form once more in Etheria’s greatest hour of need.

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Crouching Villain, Hidden Dragon… (Plus a BONUS Dragon-Related Review!)

Resuming my series of Masters of the Universe action figure variants re-purposed into new characters–today, I bring you Dragon Blaster Skeletor, now recreated as simply Dragon Blaster, another member of Skeletor’s Elite. I’ve dubbed his previously unnamed pet dragon Paralyzor, a name which comes from one of the international versions of the figure, known as “Skeletor Paralyzor.”

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To be perfectly honest, I’m really not crazy about how this one turned out. The drawing feels lethargic to me, and the skull-motif face paint just didn’t turn out the way I envisioned it. On the plus side, although I found it a struggle to get the colors to mesh, I think that part (at the very least) turned out reasonably well. This is one that I’ll need to revisit someday, but for now I’m just going to move forward. Super-nerdy character profile follows–but stay tuned (or skip ahead) for a bonus review!

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PROFILE: From a perilous cliffside, about a day’s ride from Snake Mountain, the air is sundered by fearsome draconic cries. The cliffside, riddled with a network of caverns, serves as a roost for Skeletor’s fleet of dragons. The evil warrior DRAGON BLASTER walks silently and authoritatively amongst the trained saurian killers, charged with their care and training. His training techniques are cruel and harsh, revolving around the gradual break down of each dragon’s will, accomplished partially through psychic conditioning. Dragon Blaster is a capable warrior in his own right, but prefers to let his ‘pets’ do the fighting. His favorite is a particularly vicious dragon named PARALYZOR, whom Dragon Blaster can only rein in with the aid of a bewitched collar and psionic chains. Paralyzor is named for his paralysis-inducing venom. In spite of his relatively diminuitive size, he is particularly pugnacious, and has frequently taken down fearsome beasts several times his size.

HISTORY: Dragon Blaster is, in his own twisted way, an idealist. Hailing from a long lineage of Infinitan dragon tamers, Dragon Blaster was raised on tales of Infinitan domination over man and beast alike. To him, the subjugation of dragons (who are perhaps the most powerful of all living things) is the ultimate symbol of Infinitan power. Skeletor, seeking to fortify his aerial cavalry, has taken advantage of Dragon Blaster’s idealism by painting a vision of utter Infinitan supremacy brought about by a fleet of dragons with numbers so great as to blot out the sun itself. Thus, in order to ressurrect his ideal of Infinita, Dragon Blaster has joined the ranks of Skeletor’s Elite. He cares little for the petty power struggles between ARMORAX and TERROR CLAW, nor is he interested in the machinations of Evil-Lyn or any of Skeletor’s other lieutenants–very simply, anyone who stands in the way of the Infinitan cause will suffer his wrath. However, in truth, Skeletor only feigns devotion to Infinitan ideals to secure the power of Dragon Blaster’s reptilian fleet. What will happen when Dragon Blaster discovers Skeletor’s true nature?

It is worth noting, that in his struggles against the forces of good on Eternia, Dragon Blaster’s vile enslavement of dragonkind has earned him the lifelong enmity of Granamyr.

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Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here and the post is here.

For my other “new characters from old variants” posts:

Oh yeah, speaking of dragons, I somehow tricked Jacob and Carrie into going to watch a certain dragon-y movie with me:

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Dragon Wars AKA D-War (In theaters now!)

Ok first up, I have to say, what’s up with the title? This was originally a Korean movie titled D-War, and according to Wikipedia (questionable, I know) the title in the North American release is D-War: Dragon Wars. Buuut… everything I’ve seen for the movie calls it Dragon Wars with D-War as a subtitle. And regardless of that little confusion, how is it that Dragon Wars (PLURAL) becomes D-War (SINGULAR) when abbreviated? Nonsensical.

Well, the movie makes just about as much sense as that crazy little rant I just had. Peppered with large doses of corny dialogue and bizarre leaps in logic, Dragon War must be seen to be believed. However, on the plus side, unlike the little rant I just had, Dragon Wars is filled with dragons! And wars! And dragon wars! Basically, you have to think of Dragon Wars as a Godzilla movie (which it essentially is).

Verdict: Awesome. There are bad movies (which are just no fun), and there are B-movies (which are both bad AND fun). This here, is a bona fide B-movie. Thankfully, the rest of the audience (all seven of them) found this as openly laughable as I did. It was a good time, I didn’t regret spending the money, and I got to see good special effects in the form of bad-ass dragon-y monsters destroying cities and fighting each other.

For More Giant Monster Goodness With A Mysteriously Plural “Wars” In The Title: You must watch Godzilla: Final Wars. Featuring modern versions of almost all of Toho‘s major monsters, Final Wars is mindless monster mayhem at its best. There’s even a battle between the true Godzilla and his ersatz american counterpart (from the lame Matthew Broderick version). For reals!

No Time For Post Titles

I know I’ve mentioned COTU and talked about Fuerza-T in the past. Here’s an illustration of a little known Fuerza-T prototype that I did for an upcoming COTU project:

click above for larger view

The figure was to be named Goldar, and was built from He-Man’s head, torso, and legs, Jitsu’s arms, and Fisto’s armor. My drawing is pretty accurate to those details. I deviated a little, attempting to mimic the style of the Fuerza-T card art. This piece is not part of my “regular” series of Masters of the Universe drawings, as it deviates from my usual modus operandi, and was done for a specific purpose that COTU has in mind. The coloring, for example, is a blended style, as opposed to my usual cel-shading. A more J.Ho-ized version of Goldar (and the rest of the Fuerza-T cast) will come in the future.

Check out COTU World blog for some photos of their excellent He-Man customs (on the links list on the sidebar… or if you can’t be bothered, click HERE).

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

Another Dude With An Axe!

(Posted early cuz i feel like it, sucka!)

Another Masters of the Universe action figure variant re-purposed (by me) into a new character. It’s the opposite number to last week’s Battle Armor Skeletor re-vamp, Battle Armor He-Man, reborn as “Battle-Scar,” for obvious reasons:

click above for larger view

On the one hand, I think I more or less got across what I was trying to with this piece. On the other hand, I think it greatly suffers because I have not yet posted an illustration of He-Man proper, for comparison. I need to remedy that soon. In the meantime, I’ll just have to point out the differences that would be apparent if I’d had the foresight to finish a pic of He-Man first. Lame!

Anyways, where He-Man has blonde hair and orange (copper?) bracers & belt, Battle-Scar is strawberry blonde, and has gold bracers & belt. I’ve given Battle-Scar pale skin and blue eyes, in contrast to the cartoon version of He-Man, who had dark eyes, and deeply tanned skin. The idea was to give Battle-Scar more of a Celtic or Nordic look (which is where his title of Berserker comes in as well). In terms of facial features, the cartoon depicted He-Man with more or less classic good looks–in comparative nerd terms this means that if you ignore his coloration and haircut, he pretty much looks just like Superman. I gave Battle-Scar a face that was a little closer to the rough-hewn looks of the toy. His armor is slashed and dented, to represent the battle-damage gimmick of the toy, and the scars on his body were added to continue the theme and give a visual cue as to his ability to take punishment (more in the profile below). On its own, I think this character re-mix comes off as just a version of He-Man, but once I post my take on He-Man, hopefully the differences will be more apparent.

My drawing is a little static, but hopefully it gets across the idea of raw power that I was going for. No characters with axes next week–I promise!

* * *

PROFILE: Young, loyal to a fault, and still somewhat naive, BATTLE-SCAR is nevertheless a veteran of the battlefield. Even before he obtained his magical breastplate, Battle-Scar was well known for taking heaps of punishment on the battlefield. His immense stamina and resistance to pain are magnified to demi-god levels by the breastplate.

Ostensibly, Battle-Scar was the first member of the entity that would become affectionately known to the populace of Eternia as TEAM GRAYSKULL, named so by Orko, much to the chagrin of their reluctant field commander THUNDER PUNCH. It is notable that Battle-Scar is the only member of the core team who is not a blood descendant of King Grayskull.

HISTORY: Years ago in the northern lands, the boy who would become known as Battle-Scar watched as He-Man saved his village from a brutal attack by Skeletor’s forces. This left an indelible mark on the youth, and he strove to live up to He-Man’s example of bravery and honor. Thus when word of He-Man’s disappearance spread, Battle-Scar (now a young yet experienced warrior) wasted no time, travelling to Eternos immediately to pay his respects to his missing (and possibly fallen) hero and offer his axe in service to Eternos and Castle Grayskull.

Initially He-Man’s allies were unsure of what to do with the young scarred warrior who stood before them. Teela decided to consult the Sorceress, and was bringing Battle-Scar to Castle Grayskull, when they were attacked by a platoon of evil Horde robots. Teela and Battle-Scar managed to fight them off long enough to retreat into the safety of Castle Grayskull’s dark halls. However, more Horde Robots were on the way, Teela had been gravely injured during the battle, and Battle-Scar’s axe was shattered, and his armor was blasted to pieces. The Sorceress saw to Teela’s wounds and lead Battle-Scar into a room pulsing with magical energies–the armory of King Grayskull himself!

“According to prophecy, only the just and even-handed–those worthy of King Grayskull–may wield these implements of war,” the Sorceress told him, “choose wisely, young warrior!” Battle-Scar was humbled beyond words–he could not bring himself to even touch the magnificent arms and armor before him. Everything was elaborately crafted and intricately inlaid with precious metals and gems. He spotted a dusty breastplate and axe in the corner; unlike the other items, these were plain and ungilded. The axe was rough and worn from use, the breastplate marred by slashes and dents, and marked with an ancient heraldic symbol of Grayskull’s line. In spite of their obvious wear, both were sturdy, and well-crafted–they would serve his purpose. Battle-Scar hastily equipped the breastplate and axe, promising the Sorceress that he would return them as soon as the battle was over. As Battle-Scar ran to the Jaw-Bridge, the richly crafted weapons shimmered and faded–in their place was a collection of humbler, and yet more powerful implements–like the axe and breastplate that Battle-Scar had chosen, these were the true weapons of Grayskull’s armory. Sorceress smiled to herself, “Well done, young warrior.”

Now armed and clad like a god of war, Battle-Scar dispatched the Horde robots easily. After the battle, Battle-Scar attempted to return his newfound weapons. The Sorceress explained to him that he truely was one of Grayskull’s chosen defenders, and Battle-Scar pledged himself to defend Castle Grayskull until He-Man returned.

* * *

In case anyone didn’t pick up on it, the whole “choose wisely” bit is totally lifted from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here and the post is here.

For my other “new characters from old variants” posts:

This Is Not A Good Title.

One of the websites that I would have normally used (to link useful reference pictures of action figures and so forth) was unavailable at the time of this post. I will update later when the site has returned. UPDATE: links to Battle Armor Skeletor and Accessory Pack added.

Another Masters of the Universe action figure variant re-purposed (by me) into a new character, this time it’s Battle Armor Skeletor, now known as “Armorax.” The name Armorax was just a last minute portmanteau of the words ‘armor’ and ‘axe.’

click above for larger view

The first thing that strikes me is the alarming similarity between the pose on this one and last Tuesday’s post. O_O This was totally unintentional and all I can say in my defense is that the two pieces were not drawn consecutively, and both were inked and scanned months and months ago. The posting of the two pieces in such close proximity is an oversight on my part–I have to admit, over the past several months I’ve been drawing dozens and dozens of gestures for He-Man characters (many of which have not been completed/posted yet) and it’s getting hard to come up with original poses. I can at least promise you that the next few He-Man illustrations will have varying poses.

Back to Armorax–the weapon he’s holding is somewhat based on an axe that Skeletor used in the pilot episode of the series, “The Diamond Ray of Disappearace.” I also had in mind the blue axe from the Accessory Pack. He has a bonus bat-cape to match my illustration of Skeletor, though Armorax’s cape is shorter because Skeletor outranks him (more on that in the bio below). Armorax has a “normal face” but wears a skull mask to show his allegiance to Skeletor (more on that in the bio as well). The idea is that he is from the same race as Skeletor, but lacks the mutation/deformity that Skeletor is cursed with. I also wanted to show some battle damage as a nod to the original action figure (whose chest armor would show gashes upon impact) but at the same time, I didn’t want to obscure the cool bat symbol too much. As a compromise, I gave him a nasty gash in his skull mask.

As for colors, the only noteworthy deviation from the original is the mask itself. I gave Armorax a mask of bleached bone to distinguish him from Skeletor’s yellowed skull.

* * *

PROFILE: Brash, cruel, and arrogant, ARMORAX is the perfect champion for Skeletor’s Elite. He is a virtually unparalleled melee fighter and combat spellcaster, and an excellent field tactician, though slightly lacking in experience. His chestplate, enchanted with his own dark magicks, provides him almost unlimited protection from physical attacks. His axe, imbued with sorcerous power by the evil powers of Infinita itself, is an artifact that was awarded to him by Skeletor himself. According to various rumors, his skull mask hides a horribly scarred face, or grants him the fighting spirit of a demon, or both. Neither of these rumors are true–in fact, he wears the mask as a sincere tribute to his master and mentor Skeletor, and his combat abilities are born of training and intuition. The scar on the mask comes from a particularly intense sparring session with Skeletor himself, and Armorax brandishes it proudly.

HISTORY: Skeletor’s Elite are a group of cabalistic disciples, trained by Skeletor himself. Perpetually distrustful of his lieutenants (and with good cause), Skeletor formed this loyal, tight-knit inner circle to seize the reins of power in the event of his extended absense. With the disappearance of He-Man and Skeletor, the Elite have revealed themselves, much to the dismay of Skeletor’s highest ranking evil warriors, Evil-Lyn in particular. Armorax was one of the first recruits, and of the first wave, the only to survive the fatal rigours of Skeletor’s training regimen. His loyalty to Skeletor is absolute, however he was dismayed to learn that being Skeletor’s named champion did not also grant him a position as leader of the Elite. TERROR CLAW received that honor, and Armorax is constantly smouldering with fury over this appointment. Armorax’s resentment of Terror Claw is a fracture in the Elite that Evil-Lyn has picked up on, and intends to exploit.

* * *

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here and the post is here.

For my other “new characters from old variants” posts:

The Savage Sword of… ?

After many weeks devoid of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, I present to you a drawing of the rare and mysterious action figure known colloquially among fans as “Savage He-Man.” The figure is also known by the far less glamorous moniker, “Wonder Bread He-Man” by virtue of having been a mail-in offer from the eponymous, um… bread. The fact that this figure was available through an offer from Wonder Bread is about all people can agree on. The concrete details of how, when, or why, are apparently forever lost to the forgotten mists of the early 80′s.

My version of “Savage He-Man” has been re-purposed into a new character, just as I did with Starburst She-Ra several months ago.

click above for larger view

The visual details of Savage are largely the same. The contrast between the color of his hair and the color of his furry underpants is greater than in the toy, but I think it helps break up the monotony. I chose to interpret the toy’s ruddy brown weapons as blood-stained tools of destruction. The blood stains were accomplished by choosing a “spatter” shaped brush in Photoshop and messing around with the shape dynamics and scatter settings. It doesn’t completely blend with my style of rendering, but I’m happy with how it turned out because I basically accomplished what I was trying to do. Actually, I had a few options on how to render the weapons, and it was friend Annie (who was hanging out whilst I was coloring this) who challenged me to do it this way. If not for her I would have tried to take the easy way out. She also suggested that his eyes be hazel, and they are.

I have alternating feelings of lukewarmth and satisfaction towards the drawing itself. As far as proportions, the arms are far more ape-like than I intended. The right arm in particular is terribly awkward, even beyond the usual level of awkwardness resulting from my loosey-goosey depiction of anatomy. On the other hand, the intensity of his expression is about what I was aiming for.

Oh, by the way, the title of this post, and Savage’s “Heroic Barbarian” tag, are both references to Conan the Barbarian–according to rumor, Masters of the Universe was originally intended to be a Conan toyline, but was repurposed into an “original” franchise, for whatever reason. Fans speculate that the “Savage He-Man” toys may have been discarded “Conan” figures that were produced before Conan “became” He-Man.

But, what’s this you say, dear reader? It has been far too long since I posted a painstakingly written bio of a fan character? Read on!

* * *

PROFILE: SAVAGE is a ruthless and experienced warrior who has little use for words. He fights with whatever tools he has at hand, or his bare fists if need be, and is a master of improvisation and opportunism. Savage is a capable tracker, and is well versed in jungle survival techniques. Superficially, his cultural differences alienate him from some of his allies, but his sincere sense of honor and valor are deeply respected by all.

HISTORY: The disappearance of He-Man and the Horde invasion of Eternia have left the planet in dire need of heroes. Teela, now developing her latent spellcasting abilities under the tutelage of the Sorceress, found herself isolated and outnumbered by Horde troops. In desperation, and lacking control over her newly emerging abilities, she attempted to summon He-Man by magical means. A mis-wording of her incantation resulted in summoning not He-Man himself, but one ‘as good as’ or ‘as noble as’ He-Man. Thus emerged the hulking barbarian Savage–with his sheer power to compliment Teela’s skill, the Horde Troops were easily dispatched. Though Savage was displeased at being summoned without any choice in the matter, he was taken by Teela’s beauty and fought alongside the forces of Eternos (the Eternian capital) for a time. Coming to terms with the fact that Teela was still infatuated with this so-called He-Man whom he had never met, Savage travelled back to his distant jungle home. Savage remains an ally of Eternos, and is leading his people in fortifying their territories against the inevitable spread of the Horde army.

* * *

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here.

DUCK WEEK PART 2: Horduck!

Typical tired Thursday night = early post:

I was watching my She-Ra DVDs, when something about the villain Hordak caught my eye–what’s up with his crazy duck feet? Check out this post on Busta Toon’s blog to see what I’m talking about. Anyways, a hilarious image popped in my head and I came up with this:

click above for larger view

I actually drew this several months ago, just after Christmas, I believe, and had left the colors in mid-progress. But when Super-Munkyboy started an art jam challenging entrants to turn a superhero or villain into animal, vegetable, or mineral, I thought this would be appropriate. I will update with a link when Super-Munkyboy posts the other entries.

The colors on this sucker follow Hordak’s animation model pretty closely. Same with the costume details, with the exception of the obvious, you know… duckification. I’m happy with how the smoke turned out–I’ve been playing around a little with incorporating gradients recently, rather than sticking strictly to two-tone cell-shading.

So originally this was intended to just be an anthropomorphic version of Hordak, but then I got to thinking–given the level of silliness in the old He-Man and She-Ra cartoons, Horduck could easily be incorporated into that universe! And so:

* * *

PROFILE: As a result of his technological and magical enhancements, HORDUCK is capable of shapeshifting in the same manner as Hordak, though his range is more limited. He has enhanced strength and stamina, and possesses thermal vision. Horduck is a classic bully with a Napoleon complex. He sincerely idolizes Hordak, and Hordak, as a result of a huge ego, humors this behavior. However, Horduck and Imp loathe eachother, as Imp percieves (correctly) that Horduck seeks to usurp his position as Hordack’s trusted messenger and protege.

HISTORY: A sickly slave from Hordak’s homeworld, the tiny despot who would become known as Horduck was the subject of experimentation by Modulok. Emerging from the experiments with enhanced powers and strength, he was raised by Shadow Weaver and Hordak, and indoctrinated in the ways of the Horde. Although he constantly claims to be a “Ducktator” of the outer territories of Etheria, in reality he’s merely the officer in command of a small Horde expeditionary force. Currently, he and his squadron are terrorizing a colony of Sagarian Trobbits. The Trobbits however, have allied themselves with the local Twigget population, and a group of Eternian Widgets who’ve found themselves stranded on Etheria.

* * *

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here.

And so, DUCK WEEK(TM) draws to an epic conclusion! In case you missed it, I did post a Duck-related review on Wednesday–scroll down to check it out. Stay tuned for more Bootleg Sketch Mega-Events(TM) in the near future!

Face it jackpot, you just hit the tiger!

Tired. Posting Early. Please Enjoy:

My previous fan characters, Trakka, Rayn-Ja, Mekorset, and Starburst were all created for re-design challenges. My version of Stridor, could certainly be considered a fan character, but he too was created for a re-design challenge. Malbino was a fully formed character in my head, but the motivation to actually complete his illustration was for the sake of yet another challenge. However, my offering today is particularly nerdy, because it is a fan character, created by me, without any outside prompting whatsoever:

click above for larger view

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here.

War-Tiger is, of course, just a re-color and slight tweaking of He-Man’s fearless friend, Battle Cat. After I decided to give Faker a similar pet, natural colors seemed like a fitting contrast to Battle Cat’s outlandish pelt. I’m satisfied with the overall results of this illustration–particularly with the way War-Tiger’s color scheme matches Faker (see my version here, if you missed it). Sometime after I came up with this idea, I came across a picture of a bootleg (heh) He-Man toy that came with a yellow tiger Battle Cat in Red Armor–a picture of the item in question is linked in this post. Eventually I’m going to have to come up with a name and backstory for that version too!

* * *

PROFILE: WAR-TIGER is a terran tiger of unusual size, power, and intelligence, as a result of specially prepared treatments administered to him by Skeletor himself. He and Faker apparently share a limited psychic bond, which Skeletor and Evil-Lyn can find no explanation for. Unlike Battle Cat, War-Tiger cannot speak, though it is clear that he can understand Faker’s commands.

HISTORY: When Skeletor’s inner circle travelled to Earth in an attempted negotiation with Carnivor’s Aracnos forces, Faker was separated from his party, and stumbled across an orphaned tiger cub. Faker found his way back to his allies, but the negotiations went poorly, and all-out hostilities were narrowly averted. However, Faker’s skill in combat and empathy for his newfound pet earned the deep respect of Felinor, General of the Aracnos Earth division. Since being brought to Eternia, War-Tiger has been raised to adulthood by Faker, and the pair has clashed several times with Battle Cat and He-Man.

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Stalk Like An Egyptian

Today’s post is a Masters of the Universe fan character created by He-Man.org forum member Patreek. You can read all about Wraptor here (initial creation), here (development and design), and here (posting of final pictures). Four artists were asked to draw up the “final” illustrations of Wraptor, (click on their names to see their versions): Bearshow, Buffalo Bill Man, Super-Munkyboy, and me.

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My version of Wraptor is definitely meant to be in the style of the classic cartoon, while the others are done in the style of the 2002 revamp. I had seen Bearshow’s design already, and Patreek had given me a sneak peek of Buffalo Bill Man’s work-in-progress for reference. Their designs and final renderings were fantastic and done firmly in the style of the recent version of He-Man. Putting Wraptor into “classic” mode really just meant simplifying some costume elements and leaving out the skeletal snake appendages. The colors are heavily influenced by Bearshow’s version, though I simplified and brightened the colors somewhat, to give Wraptor the cartoony feel of the old series. I added the horny ridges on his brow just because I thought it made him look more dinosaur-y, and simplified the whip so that it wouldn’t distract from the snake-bandage-tendril-thingees. The snake-bandages, by the way, are something taken directly from Patreek’s earliest version of the character, and are my favorite thing about the character, along with his perfectly punny name.

Please check out the awesome renditions of Wraptor by the other artists, and definitely read Wraptor’s bio! And thanks to Patreek for inviting me to join in on this!

Fun Fact: Wraptor’s blade is a khopesh!

Here Comes A New Challenger!!!

A different kind of contest this time around, at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The challenge this time was to create an original “evil warrior.” This challenge was put out by the awesome action figure customizing group COTU (Customs of the Universe), and they’re actually offering some prizes. Contest thread is here, and my post is here. Semi-final voting thread is here. I didn’t win, but I was one of the runners-up, and COTU generously offered up prize packages of custom Masters of the Universe accessories! Photos to come in a future post.

And, my creation:

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Malbino is constructed from the following parts:

  • Beastman head
  • Skeletor torso and arms
  • Tri-Klops armor
  • Man-E-Faces pelvis
  • Sy-Klone legs
  • Weapons Pack Power Sword

I already had this character pretty fleshed out in my head before I heard about the contest. The original motivation behind creating Malbino is that I wanted to create characters to wield the various accessories from the classic weapons pack. I hadn’t planned on getting around to this sketch for a while, but COTU’s contest seemed like a perfect place to present Malbino. The pose and concept are very similar to my version of Felinor, due to the fact that the existence of each character revolves around a duplicate Power Sword. And the name is, of course, a terrible pun in the great tradition of Masters of the Universe. Whaddaya know, I just happen to have a complete background written up for him:

* * *

PROFILE: MALBINO is a virtually unrivaled master of stealth and the sword. His sole concern in life is furthering his mastery of the blade by annihilating any and all who would be his rivals. As a result, he is unapologetically belligerent, even towards his so-called allies. He is armed with a replica of He-Man’s power sword, forged by the same master sword-maker who created Felinor’s counterfeit blade. It is unknown exactly how many of these forgeries exist. Intense light has been known to blind Malbino temporarily, but due to the fact that he is an expert blind-fighter as well, this knowledge is of little use.

HISTORY: Originally hailing from one of the most remote corners of Eternia, Malbino studied swordplay under the same teacher as his bitter rival, Tri-Klops. He has travelled the world, seeking out and ruthlessly slaying anyone whom he considers a master of the blade. In spite of having carved a bloody path of destruction through the martial world of Eternia, Malbino is little known, largely due to the fact that he has no interest in public glory and rarely leaves witnesses. Having heard that his old rival is engaged in on-going conflict with He-Man, owner of one of the true power swords, Malbino travelled to Snake Mountain to offer his services to Skeletor, determined to kill the opponent that Tri-Klops has failed to defeat. Malbino’s violent and efficient methods earned Skeletor’s respect, and in spite of Tri-Klop’s warnings, Skeletor has made Malbino one of his lieutenants. However, the wandering swordmaster has no real interest in Skeletor’s conflicts, he is merely interested in finding more masters of swordsmanship to vanquish. In addition to He-Man, Malbino has set his sights on She-Ra, and a skirmish with the Aracnos forces introduced him to Felinor, whom he took great interest in, for obvious reasons. Even amongst Skeletor’s other lieutenants, Malbino has made few allies–he has nearly come to blows with Ninjor and Blade on numerous occasions. However, he has also told Tri-Klops this: “Out of respect for our Master, I will kill you last. For now, we are allies.”

* * *

Not the Candy…

(Posting a little bit early for the usual reasons.)

Re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums for the second half of March–my post is here and the original thread is here. The voting thread is here. I managed to land first place!

The subject is Starburst She-Ra, an action figure variation of He-Man’s twin sister She-Ra. However, my version has a bit of a twist to it:


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As you can see, rather than drawing a variation on She-Ra, I tweaked the design so that she’s a different character entirely. I’m happy with how the sword and star field turned out, but other than that I feel pretty lukwarm about this one. Only one thing can save this–an elaborate and nerdy background for the character, written by yours truly!

* * *

PROFILE: Stoic and pragmatic, STARBURST is a woman of few words, as a result of her extended isolation in deep space. In spite of her reticent manner and her reluctance to trust others, Starburst is nonetheless a powerful ally to the heroes of both Etheria and Eternia. Her mystical cloak endows her with a number of powers, including super-natural strength and stamina (in the same league as He-Man and She-Ra), as well as flight, and the ability to traverse the cosmos freely. Her sword has a blade cut from a rare type of Etherian gem, and is charged with cosmic energy. The powers of the cloak have also slowed her aging.

HISTORY: Over a century ago, Etheria existed in an age of peace, and Starburst was Light Hope’s champion, watching over the planet, and maintaining the delicate blance of justice. A Cosmic Enforcer came to the planet, seeking Starburst’s aide in battling a marauding space fleet known only as “The Horde.” At Starburst’s request, Light Hope permitted her to leave Etheria, hoping that with her aid, the Horde fleet could be stopped before they reached Etheria.

However, the Cosmic Enforcer was in a fact a rogue who had betrayed his order, and he teleported Starburst lightyears away, behind enemy lines. Without Starburst to lead the forces of Etheria, the Horde was able to invade and gain a significant foothold. Light Hope was greatly weakened (a large portion of his power still imbued in Starburst) and could do little to help.

For one hundred years, Starburst has been fighting her way through Horde forces with little or no help, trying to get back to her home planet. In her journeys she has clashed with the legitimate Cosmic Enforcers, and later allied with them, after it was revealed that the Enforcer who betrayed her was a rogue.

Finally, she has returned, and none too soon–with the disappearance of He-Man, and the Horde invasion of Eternia, She-Ra has been desperately needed by Eternia and the Sorceress of Grayskull. With Starburst holding the Etherian front against the Horde, She-Ra has returned to Eternia for the time being. Accustomed to working alone, Starburst is finding it somewhat difficult to adapt to her position as one of the leaders of the Etherian Rebels. Her dedication however, is unquestionable.

* * *

Starburst is just the first in a series of “original” fan-characters based on existing He-Man/She-Ra toys. Look for more in the coming weeks.

Mekaneck’s Wife Is Hott!

Re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums for the first half of March–my post is here and the original thread is here. The voting thread is here–I snagged a first-place vote… sweet!

The subject today, is the mother of Mekaneck‘s son Philip. I phrase it like that because she is a character who was neither seen nor referenced in the old He-Man cartoon. The only inference of her existence is the existence of Philip. In fact we don’t even know if Philip is Mekaneck’s biological son. But for the sake of my entry, I make the assumption that Philip is the biological son of Mekaneck and this classy lady:

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The design of “Mekorset” is really just based on pre-existing elements. Her armor and goggles are extrapolated from Mekaneck himself, and the rest of the costume elements are swiped from Teela/Evil-Lyn. The club and pistol are weapons from Man-At-Arms and Zodac, respectively, re-colored to match Mekaneck’s club, and modified just slightly. The name “Mekorset” is a contraction of “mechanical” and “corset,” the same way Mekaneck’s name is a contraction of “mechanical” and “neck.” Where Mekaneck has the ability to extend his neck, his better half can extend her midriff. Pretty clever, yes? No? Right.

What you are looking at is essentially the very first drawing I did of this character. I’m pleased with how it turned out–yes, it’s a typical static girl-pose that you would expect from me, but something about her stance is natural and relaxed (well, relatively relaxed, considering that she’s armed to the teeth). And it’s always nice when you get something on the first try.

The colors, on the other hand, are pretty bland, I think. The colors of her uniform follow Mekaneck pretty closely, and she has blonde hair to match her son. The lighting is even less dynamic than usual, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of time on a really obscure character who’s the estranged wife of a second-stringer. How do I know that she’s estranged, you say? I’m glad you asked–read on for some background info, nerdily composed by yours truly!

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PROFILE: In her public life, MEKORSET is a steadfast yet just authority figure, well-loved in the territories that she oversees. In her personal life she is fiercely devoted to her family. She is equipped with a bionic midriff that can extend up to 10 feet–beyond making her a “human periscope” like her husband, she also uses the ability to enhance her hand-to-hand combat abilities. Her goggles provide her with a variety of enhanced visual senses–telescopic vision, nightvision, thermal vision, video recording and transmission etcetera. Her light battle bludgeon is standard issue to Eternian military, but her sidearm is a special model engineered by Man-At-Arms from off-world technology. In close and ranged combat, Mekorset is surpassed by few.

HISTORY: Mekorset and her husband Mekaneck, were both injured when trying to to track their son Philip through a violent storm generated by the evil sorcerer Count Marzo, who had kidnapped Philip. The couple each received bionic prostheses which not only saved their lives, but gave them new powers. However, the loss of their son, compounded with the fact that they had married at a very young age, caused excessive strain on their marriage. Mekorset, as she was now called, became one of the King’s wardens, and transferred to a distant outpost, overseeing some of the King’s territories on the frontier.

In the aftermath of Mekaneck discovering and rescuing Philip from Count Marzo, Mekorset has reunited with her son and her estranged spouse. By decree of King Randor and Queen Marlena, Mekorset was transferred to an outpost closer to the Eternian capitol (roughly half a day’s ride on a Stridor unit) where she remains one of the King’s most trusted Wardens. Mekaneck, who still serves as a special agent in the reconaissance division of the Royal Guard, now lives with his wife and son at the outpost. Mekorset and Mekaneck are currently seeing a marriage counselor, and seem to be well on their way to rebuilding their family. Their son Philip recently became a junior recruit in the Royal Guard.

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Further Tangential Fan Speculation Regarding Mekaneck’s Family: Some folks on the forums pointed out that another Philip who showed up might be the same Philip as Mechaneck’s son, though no reference is made to corroborate this.

Also: Yes, I realize this is all ridiculous, but as you ought to have guessed, I have unsurpassed affection for nerdy and obscure things. IT’S JUST WHO I AM… O_O

A (Humanoid Robotic) Horse Is A Horse, Of Course, Of Course…

Re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums for the second half of February–my post is here and the original thread is here. The voting thread is here–I placed second.

The subject is Stridor, “Heroic Armored War Horse.”

The original Stridor toy is a solid, straightforward design without much room for improvement. My solution for the re-design challenge was to instead give him a completely new humanoid transformation. Actually, it’s not too much of a transformation–he pretty much just stands up on his hind legs, and his articulated hands pop out; a few other things shift around, but nothing too complex. To accommodate his humanoid mode, the tail gun is now mounted on the hip, and a protective shield guards what would otherwise be a vulnerable belly. The jousting lance is my addition as well. Color-wise, I stayed pretty faithful to the original–a notable addition being the coppery orange that I used for his joints:

click above for larger view

What’s that? You’re just not getting a feel for my interpretation of the character? The artwork is okay but you wish I had come up with some background info to flesh out and explain my re-design? Well, here ya go:

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PROFILE: On the battlefield STRIDOR is a courageous leader, a shrewd strategist, and a firece fighter. Off the battlefield he is gentle and easy-going. In horse mode he is the size of a large armored war horse, and in humanoid mode, he stands almost twice as tall as a man. His ranged weapons include dual heavy laser cannons, and a rapid-fire hip blaster. His primary weapon in close combat is a heavy jousting lance.

HISTORY: The Stridor Project began in Man-At-Arms’ laboratory as a simple experiment in robotics and simulated AI. His goal was to create a robotic mount with the equivalent of a horse’s IQ, for military use. The Stridor prototype was field-tested by Teela, Captain of the Royal Guard, and over time Man-At-Arms gradually improved on Stridor’s design and programming. The Stridor prototype became the template for a mass-production model that would completely mechanize the Royal Armored Cavalry.

When the Eternian capital found themselves under seige by an army of centaur-like cyborgs–conquerors from the remote planet Equestris–Man-At-Arms engineered an alternate humanoid transformation for the original Stridor prototype, so that he could more efficiently battle this new threat. With casualties running high, and few human soldiers available, Stridor went into battle with his robotic bretheren, a so-called “unmanned cavalry,” and drove the gladiators of Equestris off of Eternia.

However, it soon became apparent to Man-At-Arms that the original Stridor prototype had developed sentience, as a result of the continued improvements to his programming. Faced with a crisis of conscience, Man-At-Arms could only grant Stridor his freedom, rather than forcing him to serve in the Royal army.

For several months, Stridor travelled the lands of Eternia, pondering his place in the world. But when the armies of Equestris returned to Eternia for vengeance, Stridor knew where he belonged. He raced back to the capital and again, lead his robotic bretheren to victory (with some help from He-Man). Stridor was heavily decorated for his heroism, and asked to be reinstated in the Royal Armored Cavalry, under one condition–that the other Stridor models be given humanoid forms and the freedom to choose their path as they developed sentience. King Randor and Man-At-Arms gladly agreed.

Stridor was made Commander of the Armored Cavalry, and he has come to regard Man-At-Arms as his father, and Teela as his sister. Eventually, all of the Stridor models developed sentience, and were granted humanoid forms and freedom, and have chosen individual names for themselves. To this day, you can see Stridor’s descendants mingling with the other denizens of the lands of Eternia. Most have opted to serve the kingdom, but more than a few have chosen a path of their own.

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In Case You Were Wondering:

  • The cyborgs from Equestris are a reference to the Micronaut toy Centaurus.
  • Stridor, is not a reference to this.