Episode 40k: A New Coat of Paint

Hey everyone, something rather different today — but first, to get you all in the right mood:

Episode 40K
A NEW COAT OF PAINT

Somewhere in Germany. Having rediscovered an old action figure thought long lost, a hobbyist by the name of KRAUTSCIENTIST embarks upon a fun tribute project.

Will he be able to return colour to one of the galaxy’s pre-eminent bounty hunters, the scoundel known as BOBA FETT?

As the release of a new Star Wars film looms near, KRAUTSCIENTIST touches brush to model….

 

Well, that should tell you most of what you need to now about today’s post. I’ll be heading out to watch Solo: A Star Wars Story later this week, and I thought the release of a new Star Wars film would be the perfect occasion to actually finally tackle that aforementioned tribute project — so what is this about?

Let me prefrace this by saying that I used to be a massive Star Wars fan during my childhood and early teens: I saw the old trilogy (Episodes IV to VII) on TV around the age of ten, and together with the – mostly excellent – Star Wars video games released by Lucas Arts all through the 90s, the series became one of my great nerd passions during those years (to the point where I can still quote entire TIE Fighter cutscenes by heart, ridiculous as that may be). I was a diehard fan (albeit one who was always rooting for the Galactic Empire). The (first) cinematic re-release of the touched up first trilogy came out shortly before I finished school, then the following prequel trilogy wasn’t really all that great — I don’t hate it as viciously as many people, but it did feel as though I had outgrown Star Wars a bit at that point. Which, with the benefit of hindsight, actually put me in a perfect place to see the new films, as I went into them without any big preconceptions or expectations, and so far, I have been having a blast with all of them — let’s hope the trend continues with Solo. But anyway, the thing to remember here is that I used to love Star Wars with a burning passion for quite a few years.

The other important thing is to understand that Star Wars action figures used to be a bit of a holy grail for me during my childhood: My first contact with Star Wars happened when the films were broadcast in German television for the first time (I believe) during the late 80s — in any case, it was enough of an occasion for some new merchandise to be released (mainly books and a neat book-audiobook combo for children), yet the original action figures had long disappeared from the shelves by then. This may be hard to imagine nowadays, with myriads of Star Wars action figures in all shapes and sizes freely available — but back then, if you actually wanted some Star Wars action in your life, you either had to get creative and proxy stuff with the action figures you had (I even went so far as to paint a certain MotU figure glossy black to create a poor standin for Darth Vader at one point) , or you had to be extremely lucky and find some of the original figures during yard sales and the like.

That exact thing gappened to me one day when I actually struck a rich ore of used Star Wars action figures at a local flea market, and I must have bought at least a dozen or so. My only regret was that the Darth Vader figure was already gone by the time I showed up: A childhood friend had actually managed to snap it up earlier in the day, and I would end up buying it from him for a whopping 20 Deutsche Marks — made even worse by the fact that the figure was actually pretty terrible, even in its complete form,…

yet the one I bought from my friend didn’t even have the terrible cape OR the shitty lightsaber. Oh well…

Some of Kenner’s old Star Wars action figures were much cooler, though. For instance, Kenner also released an action figure of everybody’s favourite bounty hunter,Boba Fett, and while it was functionally very simple and didn’t feature any bells and whistles, it’s also a surprisingly cool figure, given the time in which it was produced: Something I have always liked about Boba Fett’s outfit is how strangely workmanlike it seems, with the scuffed armour and the little pouches on the legs with tools sticking out of them: Like there’s just a guy underneath it all, albeit one who must have had a rather colourful life. Boba Fett really seems like the epitome of the “used universe” design philosophy Star Wars brought to the SciFi genre, and the 1979 action figure does a surprisingly good job of channeling most of that appeal. Here’s what it’s supposed to look like:

I think they actually did a pretty great job with the outfit (it even has the little pouches on the shins). In fact, according to Toyworth.com, Boba Fett was indeed one of the best selling Star Wars action figures. The same article also answered one of my big childhood questions, incidentally — I always thought that bright red rocket in his bag looked suspiciously like something that might actually be launched via a hidden switch, but it was permanently attached to the figure and always seemed to have been — well, turns out there is more to that particular story:

Boba Fett was the first new mail-away action figure created for The Empire Strikes Back; although advertised as having a rocket-firing backpack, safety concerns led Kenner to sell his rocket attached. A few early samples of this toy is considered “a rare and precious commodity”, and one of the rocket-firing prototypes sold at auction for $16,000 in 2003.

Anyway, the picture above shows you how Boba Fett would have looked in his ideal form.

Now he was also among the figures I picked up back in the day. Here’s what mine looked like, however:

I don’t even blame the poor guy: At this point, he has gone through several pairs of hands and probably survived several childhoods and all kinds of weird adventures — and at a biblical age for an action figure, as a stamp on the plastic shows: Designed in 1979, this figure is very probably older than me!

But while the actual wear and tear on the figure’s official paintjob actually recalled Boba Fett’s scuffed in-universe look, I came up with the idea of giving the figure a new coat of paint, as a fun little experiment. I had wanted to do this for quite a while, but when I finally came upon dear Boba again last week, I knew I needed to make it happen.

The first thing I had to do was to at least try to get rid of some of the more egregious mold lines — it’s a relatively cheaply made action figure, after all, with all that entails. I couldn’t get rid of them all without damaging the underlying detail – a particularly pesky mold line running straight down the helmet proved all but completely resitant to my efforts – but I did my best. I also shaved off theย  date stamp and the made in Honkong sign. Then the entire figure was scrubbed down and given an undercoat of Army Painter’s uniform grey, which seemed ideal because it already matched Boba Fett’s “official” overalls fairly closely on colour.

Speaking of the official colours,ย  I did quite a bit of research before actually starting to paint. And little did I know that Boba Fett’s costume is not only one of the most complicated outfits of the original Star Wars trilogy, it’s also one of the more disputed ones, with many different variants and discussions concerning it various details and minutiae. To wit, the costume is even noticeably different between both of Boba Fett’s canonical appearances:

Left: The Empire Strikes Back, right: The Return of the Jedi

Plus there was also the fact that, allowing for the fact that they were basically producing a rather cheap action figure, Kenner’s designers also played loose with the design, simplifying quite a few of its elements.

In the end, I dug up as many production photos, fan art and merchandise pictures as I could find and tried to aim for a stable composite between all of the established versions, trying for a look that isn’t obsessively faithful to any one source, but tries to be authentic nonetheless.

Among many other sources, this picture of Hot Toys’ Sixth Scale Figure turned out to be the most consistently useful reference material:

This was my first experience repanting an action figure, although I understand repaints like that are a bit of a thing in certain circles. One thing I can tell you is that I could really get used to the bigger, far more forgiving scale ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, without further ado, here’s my repainted Boba Fett:

The back is the part where the action figure diverges the most from the actual movie costume, greatly simplifying the complexity and shape of the jet pack. I just played it by ear and tried to come up with a solution that was at least reasonably close to the official sources.

The scuffed and worn look was achieved via a mix of washes, sponge weathering and scratch marks that were actually painted on by hand. I also tried my hand at recreating – or at least approximating – some of the markings that appear on the armour:

The emblem on the ride side of the chest was a bit of a cop-out, as I just used a small decal from the Imperial Knight decal sheet. To make up for that lack of fidelity, however, I did the best I could to freehand the Mandalorian skull symbol on both shoulder pads (incidentally, I discovered that the symbo shows a stylised Mythosaur skull — sheesh, that sounds stupid, even for Star Wars ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

One thing I am crazy happy with is the markings I freehanded onto the left side of the helmet:

So here’s a comparison showing you the figure before and after my ministrations:

And just for fun, here’s my repainted Boba next to theย  – rather lovely – Disney Infinity version (I couldn’t tell you anything about the actual video game, I just swooped in to snatch two or three of the figures once they ended up in the bargain bin):

I can safely say that this has been a rather enjoyable little gaiden project: While I don’t have any immediate plans of doing something like this again, I did have a blast repainting this guy!

Oh, and I would be remiss not to mention that this isn’t actually the first time Boba Fett has managed to sneak into my hobby life. Because there’s this guy, The Mandalorian:

The model was started as a fun experiment after I had seen several Boba Fett kitbashes online — plus I realised that one of the old Khorne Berzerker helmets already had the perfect Mandalorian look ๐Ÿ˜‰ After building the model, I actually turned it into a member of Inquisitor Antrecht’s INQ28 warband, and even came up with a tongue in cheek background vignette for the character.

To be perfectly honest, however, the model is precisely the kind of pop-cultural shout out I said I was wary of in my previous post, because – at the end of the day – this guy is still clearly Boba Fett ๐Ÿ˜‰ Building and painting the model was still great fun, however, and I think I did a reasonably good job with the much smaller bitzbox I had back then.

So yeah, so much for a post that has been a bit of a blast from the past. I hope you enjoyed the change of topic — and if not, don’t fret: We’ll be back in familiar waters from now on. Of course I’d love to hear what you think about my Boba Fett homage(s), so feel free to leave a comment!

As always thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Oh, and may the Force be with you! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Advertisements

28 Responses to “Episode 40k: A New Coat of Paint”

  1. what a fun little distraction!

  2. Nice work, KS – and yeah, toy repaints and customs is very much a thing for a separate but related group of internet collectors and hobbyists. You’ve achieved quite a cool repaint/restoration on that old-school Boba Fett figure. I started a couple of repaints of my own back in the day, but like so, *so* many of my projects, I never finished them and they ended up shoved into a box, discarded and forgotten. You can now consider yourself directly responsible should I find that old Max Rebo and finish his paint!
    The Mandalorian looks pretty cool as well – I haven’t seen him before!

    • Cheers, mate! It’s not the kind of project I would want to be working on all of the time, but it was a pretty entertaining change of pace (and scale) ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Cooooooool. Boba is my all time favourite!!

    • Haha, for me, he’s right behind Dath Vader. Although he kinda trumps Vader in that he never takes his helmet off — for Vader, it was all downhill from there ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Thatโ€™s really cool! I think Iโ€™d be super nervous trying a repaint of something, even something as scuffed up as some old action figures (I also picked up a battered second-hand Boba Fett figure when I was younger!).
    This does get me thinking about how reprints if other figures might look… *runs off to google Zoids repaints*

  5. Inquisitor Mikhailovich Says:

    Love it. Not much more to say haha

  6. Boba is the best!
    I love your 30 mm interpretation of this iconic character. Good stuff, as always.

    By the way, I’ve sent you an email… ๐Ÿ˜‰


    morbรคck

  7. Nice, hard to believe that is even the same figure!

    It’s also quite scary and something I worry about from time to time when I’m hacking something up for a conversion. With my obliviousness to the GW world, I’m always worried that I’m going to hack up some rare WH model and then someone will yell at me for destroying a historical artifact! Luckily, it hasn’t happened yet, haha!

    The Mandalorian is really awesome too. Makes me want to try to do something like that, but it would be nowhere near as good!

    • Hm, I guess when all is said and done, a hacked-up model you’ve used to make something cool would still be preferrable to a pristine model sitting unpainted for years and years — for me, the question is always whether to paint classic models the way they were intended to be painted, as a kind of tribute, or to use them as building materials for something new. Admittedly, that can be a rather tough choice, though.

      As for the Mandalorian, go for it! It was such a simple kitbash, really!

  8. Haha love it! Glad to see someone in the 40k community finally putting their hobby abilities to good use. ๐Ÿ˜œ

    Iโ€™ve seen him before and really enjoyed your 40k homage to Boba Fett too. He is a lot of fun. We must be similar age. My teenage fantasy game was Star Wars 40k.

    • Cheers, mate! I think that I was mostly done with Star Wars by the time I picked up 40k for real — but then, 40k could almost be seen as an escalation of Star Wars in a way — like Star Wars with all the Americanness stripped out and replaced with a healthy dose of old European angst and weltschmerz ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Certainly a marked improvement!

    I think all of us have a Boba Fett conversion hiding away somewhere. Mine’s lurking amongst the assorted scum and villainy of my Necromunda NPC box.

  10. Love your Mandalorian (I remember thinking the same when I first saw him in an older post). And great rejuvenation treatment on that action figure! (and yes, Boba Fett and Darth Vader are absolutely the best!)

  11. […] A blog about KrautScientist's wargaming exploits « Episode 40k: A New Coat of Paint […]

  12. this makes you a kind of Hobby Wan Kenobi ?

    Bodt Thrower.

  13. I love this little side step, and how you’re creative with the hobby we all love. Also, dude, you have a Boba Fett???

  14. […] next Deathwatch Marine, I thought it was time for a fun little distraction, and fondly remembering my Boba Fett repaint from a while back, I decided to delve back into the wider nerd culture for a bit — so what is […]

  15. […] Apart from that, I also had a bit of fun with two slightly more humorous projects that served as shout outs to popular nerd culture — like my repaint of an old 80s Boba Fett action figure: […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: