The DC Universe Classics Giants of Doom entry in CustomCon 26 started with my desire for a more scale-accurate Sinestro. As that custom came together, I started feeling the pangs of nostalgia-fueled desire for a complete Legion of Doom. Thoughts for how to improve current figures (Sinestro and Captain Cold) and how to add the missing ones (Toyman, Riddler in spandex, and Bizarro in a classic style) kept forming, but I knew I would never get around to making it happen. So I did what I will probably do from now on – I recruited a dream team of customizers from AFP and the Fwoosh – Buzzy Fret, Ibentmyman-thing, and Robokillah.
Before I get to the figures themselves, here’s how the CustomCon entry got named. When it started to look like I might actually be able to complete the set with the help of my customizing friends, I came up with the wholly uninspired name of “Legion of Doom Box Set.” Yawn.
As the CustomCon entry started to take shape, I began looking for interesting images I could use as a backdrop for my pictures. I was looking for nice clear images of the Hall of Doom when I came across a screen cap of the Superfriends episode called “The Giants of Doom” – in it, Bizarro, Sinestro, Toyman, and Captain Cold use a growth ray to terrorize the Superfriends. (Why Giganta didn’t figure into this plan, I really don’t know.) With four out of five of the customs covered, I felt fine fudging my own version, adding the Riddler to the mix… The Giants of Doom!
(Credit: The Hall of Justice 3d rendering used in my poster recreation came from DarenDoc’s Slightly Nifty Musings Inc.)
Alright – thanks for humoring my digression into how I named the entry. Now here’s the recipes for the figures.
Bizarro was a collaboration with Ibentmyman-thing. While I like the monstrous Bizarro we got from Mattel in the DC Super Heroes line, it wasn’t the most iconic representation for me. In the classic comics and the Superfriends show, Bizarro was proportioned almost exactly like Superman – what set him apart was his faceted face, pale skin, and the backwards “S” shield.
I knew I could never make a good showing if I tried to sculpt the head myself, so thankfully Benty agreed to do it. And when I balked at painting his eyes, he did that too. Benty sculpted Bizarro’s head in Azbro wax. It was molded and cast out in Smooth-cast 305.
The base body is the Public Enemies Superman. I did want him to be a little bit bigger than the standard Supes. In my mind, since Bizarro doesn’t use his brain all that much, he developed his body a bit more than Supes did. I wanted to give him a permanent hunch, and had to adjust how his cape draped on his back, by shaving the peg and sections of the inside of his cape, so it wouldn’t stick out towards the back when I hunched him over.
Finally, I used decoupage to apply the backwards “S” shield on his chest. You can read more about this technique in my write-up for my DC Universe Classics Earth 2 entry from CustomCon 24.
I had the idea to use Deadman for a Sinestro fix a long time ago, and was really surprised that Mattel didn’t think of this when they put together their plan for the the Sinestro in their upcoming Green Lantern 5-pack. I made this custom so long ago that I can’t remember exactly what I did, but the basic gist is that it’s the DCUC wave 3 Sinestro’s head and hands on the Deadman body.
The collar, belt, and boot details are plastic lace, and the starburst on his torso is sculpted, as that helped to hide the grooves from Deadman’s collar and highly striated chest. Yes, I got lazy on the forearms. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted bands or the star pattern, and ended up not doing either.
Just like with Bizarro, I wimped out on painting Sinestro’s eyes. I was sending some stuff to Robokillah, so I snuck this into the package and asked him to paint the eyes for me. He calls his contribution to this effort small and insignificant, but if it were left to me, Sinestro would still be pupil-less.
At the time I was kitbashing Sinestro together, I thought that the Deadman body would be a nice fit for Toyman too – even the pointy shoes would work. Because this would involve another original head sculpt, I asked Benty to take it on. I think he did a great job with it.
Toyman is all Deadman, with sculpted costume details and DCUC Batman Beyond hands. The head was sculpted in Azbro wax, molded and cast out in Smooth-cast 305.
Originally, I had planned just to use the DC Direct Toyman from the Alex Ross Justice series, but as much as I like the look of that figure, it is too big for my taste. I think straight up Deadman for Toyman is still a little on the tall side, but it’s not enough to bug me.
Sure, we already had a Captain Cold – it just looked as if the extreme temperatures shrunk more than his snow balls. The objective here was just to add some height to Cold without doing a lot of work – and I think I came up with a relatively simple and easy to do fix.
The premise was that if I were to raise everything from his shoulders up by just a little bit, the portion of his cowl that drapes across his shoulders would hide anything going on underneath.
I started by cutting off Cold’s head at the base of his neck, as close to the torso as I could reasonably get. After that I experimented with different heights to which I would raise his head. I used little squares of craft foam to build three support “towers” – one in the center to lift up his neck and head, and one on each side of his neck to raise the cowl over his shoulders.
When I had the right height, I glued the craft foam down first, placed and glued the cowl down, and then glued the neck to the center support structure. And that’s it! The cowl hides everything that’s happened to this figure to improve it – since it’s hidden, there’s no need to sculpt anything here.
AFP’s own Buzzy Fret put together the Riddler for me. We originally talked about using the Deadman buck with height taken out of it, and realized that we might as well call the entry “Deadman’s Legion of Doom.” We went back and forth on the head choice before settling on the DC Direct First Appearance Riddler. The size of the head necessitated a fuller body, and we talked about using Black Manta.
Here’s what Buzzy eventually used:
I can’t remember whose hands he used, but damn, I bet Buzzy would kitbash fingers from individual figures if he thought it worked better.
The glove cuffs and belt were sculpted with Aves Fixit Sculpt, and he was painted with Model Masters Acryl & Reaper.
Some people who had provided feedback during the customizing process have asked me if I am bummed because Mattel has announced both a height-corrected Sinestro and a spandex-clad Riddler. After a couple of years of DC Universe Classics, I’ve learned that if you’re going to be customizing this line, you better plan on those customs having short effective lives – they seem to be making anyone that I’ve considered for my customizing lineup.
With the line going like gangbusters, I would think that a Toyman figure will eventually be made – he was a choice on one of the earlier DC Universe Classics Fan Choice polls. Since Bizarro could be considered a Superman variant, I think the odds are Mattel will get to a classic Bizarro too. So it’s just a waiting game.
In the meantime I’ve got a full Legion of Doom display, and I’ll find another spot in my collection for Mattel’s version of these figures when they eventually get here.
8 thoughts on “DC Universe Classics Custom Giants of Doom – Bizarro, Sinestro, Toyman, Captain Cold, and the Riddler”
Best entry of that custom con IMHO. I loved the Mattycollector.com page. Benty killed that Bizarro head sculpt. That’s exactly the kind of Bizarro I want to see from Mattel at some point.
Fun idea. Awesome customs. Great presentation. You guys destroyed all these and raised the bar on this stuff. Can’t wait to see what your dream team does next. Bravo!
thanks Matt and Sector – I appreciate the positive feedback! it really was a lot of fun collaborating with Buzzy, Benty, and Robo.
that bizzaro, riddler & sinestro are awesome. great job.
WOW, that’s scarily perfect! Bizarro is AMAZING!
Normally customs leave me cold as I can always tell in some way/shape/form that the figure isn’t ‘real’, either because the paint apps are sloppy, there are obvious cut lines, etc., but these are top notch work!
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