Wednesday, June 27, 2007


A few weeks back, I blogged about how the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs (and the related movies and comic books) had a great influence on my imagination in my early adolescence. I hesitated writing the posts since I had no toys or custom action figures to talk about, and I've tried to stick mostly to toy and action figure commentary in this blog. However, ERB was a huge part of my teenage years and still provides inspiration in my writing, so I plunged ahead and wrote what was on my mind at the time. Then I got to thinking about maybe creating a custom action figure based on the classic ERB hero, John Carter of Mars. I didn't want to go overboard and buy any new materials for the custom, but I wanted to do something that would provide at least a vague resemblance to the John Carter renderings which appeared on the old paperbacks. The artists who illustrated those covers gave John Carter a slightly gladiator look, except he carried a radium gun along with his sword. And the radium gun was usually depicted as sort of a musket/ray gun like Alex Raymond may have envisioned it. So I dug through my bins of leftover action figure accessories, old dolls, and fabric remnants. Without too much effort, I came up with what I think is a pretty serviceable figure.

I started with an old action figure I bought as part of a lot sale on eBay. He's too brawny to fit in most of the clothes I have, but looks pretty manly in gladiator-type apparel. His chest plate was left over from a Hellboy action figure, and his boots are from a Van Helsing action figure (remember that movie?). The belt came from a Civil War costume, including the scabbard (John Carter did fight in the Civil War, after all). The holster for the radium gun is of more modern design, swiped from a G.I. Joe belt. The radium gun itself was pieced together: the barrel section was the hilt from Count Dooku's light saber, and the handle came from some oddball weapon that the Van Helsing doll had. The sword was from a G.I. Joe.

For the kilt, I found some red fabric, cut it to size, hemmed it with fabric glue, and added a Velcro attachment on the back. These are the kinds of projects that are often the most fun, where everything can be pieced together from extra bits lying around. I'm rather happy with it.

1 comment:

Mick said...

Hi! The photos of your "John Carter of Mars" action figure look great! I have employewd the same technique to recycle old action figures and 'Barbie' type dolls to commemorate my favorite icons, also. I have "Steve Erwin-Crocodile Hunter", The "ABBA"pop group, and "I Dream Of Jeannie/Barbara Eden"-I am considering the cast of "Gilligan's Island" or "Flash Gordon" cast of characters next...I am on Face Book, under Michael Shaw, if you would like to check them out! Take care, and keep on creating!