Monday, 5 June 2017

Forgotten Heroes Challenge 2017 - Intro

So, it's June and that means it's time for the Forgotten Heroes challenge, which is run by fellow bloggers, Jez and Roger. I very nearly gave it a miss this year because the figure I was planning on converting (a Twilight Knight) by Soda Pop Miniatures into a Chibi Lady Death was discontinued earlier this year before I could buy her. But having greatly enjoyed the challenge last year, I decided to take a totally different tack and a one that no one could possibly envisage.

I'm currently heavily into sci-fi gaming. So I have decided to make a couple of 28mm scale sci-fi figures. Yes, make them. They will not be conversions but rather will be sculpted by me from scratch. The two figures I'm going to make are the two human heroes from the old comic strip, The Bug Hunters, Melissa Ravenflame and Jackson T. Kalliber. Already I can hear everyone saying, "Huh! The Bug Hunters? Never heard of them!" Understandable! Let me give you some background info on them taken from the Comics Corner section of the Weird Retro website.

"Back in October 1985 a serialised comic began to appear in the pages in Computer and Video Games (C+VG) magazine. The series ran almost every month until February 1987. For any teenage computer geek growing up in the 80s, C+VG was the must buy computing and gaming magazine, and the addition of The Bug Hunters only made the magazine all the more worth buying. The sight of Melissa Ravenflame on that first panel, set many an adolescent comic book/computer geek's heart a flutter. (As sad as that is!) See the picture to the left.

The Bug Hunters was scripted by Jerry Paris, whose early work was for Marvel UK on titles such as Freefall Warriors; drawn by Pedro Henry (the pseudonym of renowned British comic book artist, Steve Moore), who gave Alan Moore his leg-up as a comic book artist; and inked by Garry Leach, who worked on the seminal British comic book 2000 AD, and also collaborated with Alan Moore. Both Steve Moore and Garry Leach worked on the regular feature in 2000 AD Tharg's Future Shocks. During the period of The Bug Hunters appearing in C+VG, Leach also worked on Judge Dredd. For a comic strip series appearing in a computing magazine, The Bug Hunters was exquisitely pencilled by Paris and inked by Leach, creating some of the most memorable images of comic book art in the mid-80s UK.

Computer and Video Games was first published in November 1981, and was the world's first dedicated video gaming magazine. The first issue featured an article on the arcade game Space Invaders. The magazine ceased appearing in a printed format in 2004, but continues as an online magazine format as it has since 1999. In the 1980s, C+VG was the multi-format magazine of choice for all gamers and computer geeks. It featured news, reviews, as well as hints, tips, game maps and long list of programming code for readers to laboriously type into their home computers to create games.

However, in 1985 when The Bug Hunters first appeared it was a shift for the magazine, as they used the images and characters from the comic series to promote various sections of the magazine. Set in 23rd Century London, the aforementioned Melissa Ravenflame was working on a new project for IDEAS Corp. (Institute for the Development and Expansion of Advanced Systems). Three years earlier they had created the most addictive computer game ever, called GOD. She teams up with Jackson T. Kalliber, an ex-military man who looks like a cross between Burt Reynolds and Charles Bronson. He's put a team together of robots, that include OTISS (Overt Technical Information Suburban System), Big Red (Relocation of Explosives for Demolition), B-Con a security droid who helped with a prison break, and X a "fascism" droid who can pirate anything. Thus a rag-tag team of robots.

Over their time in C+VG, The Bug Hunters went through a darkly comic series of adventures. Beautifully illustrated, told with a quintessentially British sense of humour. An almost forgotten gem of a comic book series, that stands as an example of the genius of comic book artists working in the UK at the time. Especially those that went through the 2000 AD stables. It was one of the greatest multi-serialised story, multi-artist comic books in the world."

I'm just happy that due to copies of C+VG now being in the public domain on www.archive.org I was able to download all 15 episodes of this series to keep as a permanent reminder of one of my secret pleasures of the 1980's. My brother used to subscribe to C+VG and whilst I had no interest in computer gaming (I still don't) I absolutely adored The Bug Hunters comic series.

So, I plan on making Melissa Ravenflame and Jackson T. Kalliber as my entries for this year's challenge. I would love to make/convert the four robots but that can keep for another day. Perhaps they might be next year's challenge.

30 comments:

  1. What a great idea Bryan, very much looking forward to seeing your sculpts of the main characters

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks, Dave. I've already made a start on the sculpts. It's funny but I hadn't done any full figure sculpting for years but then I got back into it a couple of months ago, and now I find I'm enjoying it again.

      Delete
  2. Sounds great. I look forward to seeing what you manage

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Roy. This is something very different for me, but I'm up for the challenge.

      Delete
  3. Wow this looks great Bryan, best of luck with these, and I thought I'd got a lot of work on my plate!!

    Cheers Roger.

    P.S. I will now cross post this to the FH site.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By the way, do I notice a passing between Melissa and one Pamela Andrews? (I think someone's got a type).

      ;-)

      Cheers Roger.

      Delete
    2. Passing resemblance I means of course.

      Delete
    3. Much appreciated, Roger. I used to sculpt a lot of my own figures in the 1980's and 1990's (including my Pamela Andrews vampire!), so it's not like I'm learning from scratch. That said, until two months ago. I'd never done any proper (as opposed to converting) sculpting for many years.

      QUOTE: "By the way, do I notice a passing between Melissa and one Pamela Andrews? (I think someone's got a type)."
      I most definitely do have a type, Roger! Pamela and Melissa most certainly have more than a passing resemblance. And yes, they do fit my type! I'm actually surprised you remember Pamela but well done, sir!

      Delete
    4. I never forget a pretty face (or a see through top for that matter).

      Delete
    5. I'm exactly the same, Roger! Especially so if the pretty face is wearing a see-through top! :-)

      Delete
  4. Sculpting from scratch.... good luck I tremble at the thought of doing so for myself. You on the other hand will no doubt do a bang up job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Clint. I won't deny it, this challenge will test me, but I am full of enthusiasm so I'm ready to give it my best shot.

      Delete
  5. I'm with Clint - it's something WAY beyond my limited talents but I can't wait to see these!
    and yes, you're just going to HAVE to make the as well ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers, mate. Good news - I have already found a suitable figure to convert into one of the robots (B-Con) so that's a bonus already! Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein from "Robusters" and "The ABC Warriors" would be good enough to convert into OTISS and X respectively. Big Red, I suspect, is going to have to be built from scratch - GULP!

      Delete
  6. Heads up, everyone. I have just placed an order with Wargames Foundry for their figures of Big Hammerstein and RoJaws to convert into X and OTISS. I have already completed my conversion of B-Con. So, one down, five to go. Mind you, don't hold your breath waiting for Big Red to appear. I will make him but not in time for this year's "Forgotten Heroes" challenge. :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great ideas for the conversions Bryan, Big Red will certainly take some time to build. Really must get on building some more robots

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Dave. My plans for this challenge was just to make Melissa and Jackson, but when I found the bits to make B-Con in my robot spare parts box, I began to give some serious thoughts to converting the other three robots. RoJaws and Hammerstein are such obvious choices for OTISS and X, but both will require a fair bit of work on them. Hammerstein needs to lose his head and hammer arm and RoJaws needs to lose his head and both arms.

      No pressure from me, but yes, it would be nice to see some more of your robots. If you really want a challenge, make me a Big Red! Only joking! :-)

      Delete
    3. Funny you should say that, as I was just thinking their arn't many big robots available ! LOL

      Delete
    4. Big Red needs to be about 5-6" tall, which is definitely a tall order (pun intended). But yeah, you're right, there aren't that many really big robots about.

      Delete
  7. Absolutely wonderful! This looks great Bryan and I am really looking forward to seeing Ms Ravenflame come to life - mind you next year should be good too, what with all those robots to look forward to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks, Michael. Actually, I'm hoping you'll see five of the six characters before this month ends. Big Red being the exception, of course.

      Delete
  8. A second heads up. Big Red is now on the cards. I have found a suitable toy robot on Amazon to convert. If all goes well (and fingers crossed it will) I'll make all six of the Bug Hunters this month. How about that, Roger? Wow, this project has taken on a life of its own and is steamrollering ahead!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You sir are a machine!!!I bow to your productivity (or I will when you finish them all).

      Cheers Roger.

      Delete
    2. So far, B-Con is finished and is undergoing painting. Melissa and Jackson are coming along nicely and should be sculpted by the weekend at the latest. I'm still waiting for for my three suitable figures for OTISS, X and Big Red to arrive. Usually, both Amazon and Wargames Foundry are quick to deliver, so I'm hoping they'll turn up later this week.

      Delete
  9. Good luck Bryan. Look forward to seeing the end result.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Simon. I'm hoping all goes well.

      Delete
  10. A very cool idea. Go for it Bryan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers, Phil. I'm pulling out all the stops on this one.

      Delete