First shown case-fresh over a year ago on SUPERMANIA, Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse 4″ General Zod action figure returns to Planet Houston having endured the full custom treatment.
Now somewhat more worthy of the ‘Highly detailed and authentic’ promise of the packaging, the discerning adult collector would surely appreciate the subtle cosmetic changes made to match this figure to his screen counterpart as shown in Superman II (and perhaps more literally in the Donner Cut)
In fact as custom mods go, this was a relatively simple task as the sculpt for the scale is rather magnificent and only diminished by a stock paintjob. If anything the challenge here was to find a paint that would replicate the metallic maroon finish of the actual costume trim and boots (the boots themselves now residing at Propstore, click here for the story). When Mattel correctly emulated this detail on their great 1/6 scale Movie Masters figure in 2010 it was met with derision as the costume was generally perceived to be jet black. There would be no such ‘mistake’ with this later release.
Having tested dozens of colour combinations salvation would come in the form of nail polish of all things – a perfect balance of colour and shine applied to the appropriate areas – (top pic) only betraying hints of the maroon (second pic) just like the original costume on film.
With only a few more embellishments (chest hair and silvered temples) the figure was finished and photographed against the perfect backdrop of the Hot Toys Superman figure and the result when compared to the factory version speaks for itself.
The Superman figure from this line is next to receive the custom treatment but is typically a far more complex and intricate job – look out for him in a future post..!
Fleetingly glimpsed in both Superman: The Movie and Superman II and sharing a grim demise in both movies, the iconic, anonymous Kryptonian guard’s scenes may have been short but left a lasting impression.
In fact, the nameless soldier (played by uncredited actors) in Superman: The Movie had a larger role than the theatrical cut led us to believe, where through footage restored for the TV edits (and later, the Special Edition) revealed the guard was despatched by the council elders to arrest Jor-El and was crushed by falling debris from the eruptions enroute. Despite apparently having being teleported to Jor-El’s quarters (suspended on wires to convey levitation), the intercutting of the extended version suggests the journey took considerable time, culminating in a bizarre closeup of the soldier’s eyes as he’s wiped out.
A similar guard opens preceedings with considerable style in Richard Lester’s Superman II, where an atmospheric tight shot of the helmet reveals it to be somewhat different than Donner’s version. Although it appears to be the same design, its lack of 3M material shrouding gives it a smooth finish (decorated with aluminium tape?) and its black lenses replaced by mirrored. Despite a speaking part this time (Alert, Alert!) his screentime is cut short as he’s dispensed with in a swift attack by General Zod’s cohort Non.
So distinct was the guards design that 30 plus years later, talented Superfan Tim Allen sought to recreate the helmet design using today’s technology –
“I was inspired to re-create this Kryptonian guard helmet from Superman (above) because I felt it was one of those props in the movie that often gets overlooked and I thought the fans of this movie would appreciate viewing a unique piece from the film. I created this CG model purely in 3DS Max using the Mental Ray render and procedural texturing. The helmet was created to fit the average human head so theoretically this model could be 3D printed for display or as part of a costume. It could also be scaled down to either ¼ or 1/6th scale for custom collectible figures/statues..”
Watch this space for updates as the Kryptonian guard potentially rises again as a 1/6th figure exclusive to SUPERMANIA..!
SUPERMANIA closes out the month the way it began with a pictorial review of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse General Zod from Superman II.
As of now only the third figure ever to bear the likeness of Terrance Stamp as everybody’s favourite Kryptonian villain, this release had credible competition as its 1/6 counterpart (from the 12″ Movie Masters series) was far and away the best of the trio with its all-round superior sculpt.
Thankfully nothing has been lost in the character’s translation to 4″ scale, with crisp details similar to the Superman figure and splendid articulation. Perhaps wisely this time the maroon highlights (a subject of contention with the 12″ figure) were dropped in favour of the perceived all-black costume as seen in Richard Lester’s footage. Zod even has an accessory in the bendy shape of an M-16 rifle which is a nice little touch but again, given the authenticity promised, a straight one with strap would’ve been welcome (and where was Superman’s accessory? is a tiny crystal too much to ask??)
Only minor quibbles then in an otherwise solid release – now, can/will Mattel follow through and fulfil collectors dreams by rounding out the group with Ursa and Non or are they to remain in the eternal void that is the toy Phantom Zone..?
Right up there with the figure enthusiasts question of why the Mego Corp. failed to produce a 12″ WIlma Deering from Buck Rogers In The 25th Century (in the likeness of Erin Gray) is where was the Lois Lane figure in the Superman line?
Its not as if Mego had any prejudice regarding female figures – see Ilia from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Holly Goodhead from Moonraker and Kate McCrae from the Black Hole being fine examples from the Sci-Fi genre alone, arriving long after such Mego staples as Farah Fawcett & Cher.
Besides the ever-present rights/licensing issues (as documented here) inhibiting the Superman series, could the absence of the feisty Daily Planet reporter be a result of Mattel’s plans to add Lois Lane to their own ever-expanding Barbie doll collection? This newly-discovered concept art from the late 1970’s (top) would certainly suggest as much.
Presumably following the established Barbie tradition of offering a basic doll followed by a plethora of outfits, whether or not the dolls would bear the likeness of the divine Ms. Kidder (second pic) in her most famous role is unclear but the fact a Superman sweater worn by her for numerous publicity shoots represented in illustration here would hint at the possibility.
While this proposal sadly never came to fruition, ironically by 2006 Mattel did finally get to produce an official Lois Lane (in the likeness of Kate Bosworth) for Superman Returns – leaving fans deprived to this day of an official Lois Lane from the classic movies.
Thankfully, talented and creative Superfans frustration has evolved to fill the void with custom figures arguably tailored to a higher standard than the unmade figures may have been. I defy even the most fervent toy historian to look at the custom Mego Lois Lane (third pic) and deny it was anything other than a genuine factory prototype. In fact Ray Flores unmistakable Margot Kidder is a reworked Lynda Carter Wonder Woman housed in a reproduction box. And just to give a taste of how a Barbie Lane may have looked, check out ferdalump.com’s pitch-perfect Lois from Superman II (bottom pic)…
SUPERMANIA extends its thanks to Trev2005 for use of the Mattel art from his awesome flickr page…
Roughly translated from the cover as ‘gift of the first comic of Superman’ this magnificent vintage feature from the pages of ultra-rare Italian TV guide is 34 years old this month and SUPERMANIA’s Christmas treat for 2014.
With (flipped, notice the redone ‘S’ shield) cover art utilizing the fantastic painting used for the International release of Richard Lester’s Superman II the nine-page pictorial combines stills from the new movie with reproductions of the pages of Action Comics #1, highlighting ‘Il giorno In cui Superman arrivo sulla terra – Superman’s arrival on Earth.
SUPERMANIA wishes all its loyal followers the most Super-Christmas and all the best for the new year. The Adventure Continues in 2015..!!!