Marconi
Figure:
Dial-Tone (2K)

Equipment:
Stalker ('97) rifle with scratchbuilt stock and barrel
Dial-Tone (2K) walkie talkie
Lifeline (Funskool) backpack

Physical Modifications: I sanded down the seams and filled holes and joints as usual. To paint the chest I had to leave the left arm mobile. Thus I couldn't fill in the shoulder joint until after the rest of the figure was completely finished. Sanding, filing, and painting an otherwise completed project made me pretty nervous, but I managed to do it without inflicting any damage. I really like the relaxed pose. To get the stance I actually removed the T-bar that connects the legs and stuck one out farther from the hip than the other. When the feet are set flat the hips seem angled. As you can see on the Equipment Page, I cut tiny little rectangles of clear plastic to make it look like there's glass over some of the backpack gauges. The rifle was moulded with a solid stock, but I cut that bit out and replaced it with two very carefully shaped lengths of paper clip. It's incredibly, incredibly delicate and was nearly impossible to slip into his hand when everything was done.

Painting: While looking through library books to find an interesting camouflage pattern to try next, I came across Italy's Fragore Regiment. The uniform actually has built-in knee and elbow pads, and the soldiers wear berets. The just-realeased 2000 Dial-Tone figure was almost a perfect match. However I had a lot of trouble with the face; it's very poorly detailed and no matter what I did it looked awful. I got so discouraged the project dragged on for months. Ultimately I realised part of the problem was his massive, beetling eyebrows, so I sliced them right off his forehead. With the head downturned and half hidden behind a walkie talkie, it's not too bad now. The Italian flag and Fragore regiment emblem are hand-painted.
Groundwork: I wanted Marconi to be standing on very rocky ground, and the effect turned out magnificently. I sprinkled gravel over the wet Sculpt-a-Mold I usually make ground with. I knew the Sculpt-a-Mold wouldn't hold the gravel, though, even after it dried. I mixed Elmer's glue with water and dish detergent (breaks surface tension!) and dribbled it over the base. The glue ran between and under each grain and cemented it all down admirably. However it still looked terrible until I drybrushed it, giving it a dry, sharp look. I added a few patches of static grass and a clipping from a tiny-leaved fern I maintain in my kitchen in a constant state of near death.
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