Category Archives: Burn Rourk

12th Doctor custom figure (Doctor Who)

12th Doctor 01

It’s not easy being a Doctor Who toy collector.

Way back in the 1990’s/2000’s, a model train company named Dapol decided to go out on a limb and venture into the action figure business, creating the first line of Doctor Who action figures.  They weren’t available in the US, so I had to resort to this website called Ebay where you could buy all sorts of stuff.  This was back before Paypal existed, so I was regularly buying international money orders and sending them to England.  I finally got to the point where I was buying figures directly from Dapol.  They even sent me a Christmas card.  When the time came that Dapol lost the license to the Doctor Who toyline, they sent me an email telling me all about it.  Dapol was my penpal.

Years later, Underground Toys began making a 5″ scale line of figures based on the new series.  They threw a bone to old school fans and also created a Classic line based on the original series.  The quality of these figures has been amazing.  Honestly a dream come true for any life-long Doctor Who fan.

11 Doctors

To have a shelf with each incarnation of the Doctor that has existed over the 50+ year span of this series…  except…

Underground Toys made a bonehead move and switched the scale from 5″ to the more kid friendly pocket-sized 3-3/4″ scale.  And they did so right before Peter Capaldi made his debut as the 12th incarnation of the Doctor.  They claim to have ceased production of figures at a 5″ scale…  except…

Underground Toys has developed a very interesting method of engaging fans for their opinion.  It’s sort of a defensive posture.  They make an announcement that a particular item will never be produced.  Then if the wailing of the fans reaches a particular pitch, the fans are rewarded with the production of that product.  Seriously; I’m not exaggerating.  Just ask any of my fellow wailing collectors who were told we’d never, ever get a 5″ 12th Doctor figure, who allegedly will be ready for retail in Septemberish.

I decided not to wait.  After a fair amount of wailing, they released a 5″ 11th/12th regeneration figure set, which included the 11th Doctor in his purple Victorian style outfit with 12’s head included.  12’s outfit is not only simple in design, but also very traditional and back-to-basics.

Capaldi

It was easy to customize a 6th Doctor/Colin Baker figure into the 12th Doctor.  No, seriously… it was.  While 6th’s costume is an eye-bleeding embarrassment of shark-jumping proportions, it’s really just offensive in color.

6th Doctor 02

“The sound of one hand clapping is indistinguishable from the sound of one shark jumping.”

Ironically, the spare 6th figure I had to use turned out to be a blue variant from a comic book appearance.  Painting it black with a red liner was all it took.  I had to resculpt the collar, shirt and vest, lowering it a little.

6th Doctor

I also gave the spare Capaldi head a tweak, un-arching his eyebrow for a more dignified look.

unraised eyebrow

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Speculation: the Bruce Wayne/Lex Luthor partnership

When storylines collide…

In the Batman titles, mainly spinning out of the weekly Batman: Eternal, Bruce Wayne just recently lost everything. Gotham City has seized his assets leaving him broke, living and working out of a Batbunker while Wayne Manor is being converted into the new Arkham.  His equipment cached away all over Gotham has been discovered, confiscated, and dispensed amongst the Gotham criminals.  Things are looking grim for Batman, and he’s running on empty in every way imaginable.

In the Justice League titles, Lex Luthor has Joined the Justice League, and provided them with a brand new satellite headquarters.  On the civilian side, LexCorp and Wayne Enterprises have undergone a business merger and are collaborating on a number of projects.  Lex and Bruce are partners now, even though Bruce has only gone through with this partnership to keep a closer eye on Lex and to eventually double-cross him in the name of good.  Of course Lex is probably planning to do the same exact thing, in the name of awesome.

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When will the continuity police catch up with these two chains of events and tie them together?  

Think about it.  Their equal partnership is thrown severely off-balance.  Lex, who is fully aware of Bruce’s double-identity, will have two ways he can go with this.  Take the opportunity to end Batman, or to own Batman.  I think we both know which Lex will choose.  Bruce will be so desperate to save his city that he would accept Lex’s so-called benevolence and deal with the consequences later.  Bruce would insist on doing things his way, and of course Lex would agree to a silent partnership.  But we all know it’ll never stay like that.

Of course we the readers know that Bruce Wayne will eventually, somehow, get his billions back.  We don’t know how, but we can count on it.  What if Bruce somehow turns the tables on Lex and swipes his fortune, leaving him penniless and on the run from the law?  What if Bruce Wayne outvillains Lex Luthor?

Let’s hope the upcoming “Convergence” event doesn’t erase my hopes and dreams.

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Legos by Christian Abshire.

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I’m going to tell you all about Christian Abshire.

My girlfriend Jeanie’s first child and only son, Christian, was born with a heart condition.  He was a normal kid, although he was exceptionally smart, talented and kind-hearted.  I’ve heard many stories about him in a number of situations, and it seems that the only time he ever got angry about anything was when he’d witness some sort of unfairness or wrong in the world.  He had an unbelievably positive attitude, rolling with the punches that life dealt him.  And oh boy, did life throw some punches at that poor kid.

I only met him once.  Years ago, I bumped into Jeanie and her kids at Wal-Mart.  While we talked, I couldn’t help but notice how tired her son looked.  It wasn’t long after that when he was checked into the hospital for his worsening heart condition.  Christian required a heart transplant, and was put on a waiting list.  They moved from Louisiana to Houston to be close to the hospital.  Jeanie and her girls lived with Christian in his hospital room for the next two years while he waited for a donor heart.  He was able to get out of the room occasionally, but those trips became less frequent as his condition grew worse.  He was hooked up to a number of tubes and wires, plugged into IVs and heart monitors.

While he was stuck in bed, one of his favorite things to keep him busy was building Lego sets.  Jeanie tried to keep him loaded with any and every set she could get.  His favorites were Star Wars.  Through a fusion of extreme boredom and extreme talent, Christian used the video camera on his cell phone to create a series of stop-motion movies with his Legos.  Bed-ridden and strapped to machines, this kid managed and maintained a very impressive You Tube account through his phone.
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After two years of waiting, the heart never came.  They installed some sort of valve in his heart to help extend his life while he continued to wait.  This valve was contaminated with a fungus that spread through his body, wrecking his organs and causing brain-bleed.

It was a few weeks before Christmas.  He told his grandmother that he needed to be wheeled down to the gift shop so he could do some Christmas shopping for his mom and sisters.  She told him that there was plenty of time before Christmas and they could do his shopping later.  He started to get impatient as he explained that he wouldn’t be able to do it later.  His 17th birthday was approaching on December 21, and he casually commented that he wouldn’t live to see it.  Sure enough, on December 20, the day before his birthday, his reached the end of his hard-traveled road.

Sometime between Christmas and New Years, Jeanie and the girls returned to their long abandoned home in Sulphur.  I ran into them on January 2nd at a local restaurant.  I was aware of everything that they had been through thanks to Jeanie’s Facebook page.  I offered to help them fix up their house, and it pretty much instantly turned into something bigger than that for Jeanie and I.  I’d kind of been chasing her since high school, but the timing was always off.  Twenty years later, I guess the stars had finally aligned right.

I guess Christian’s positive attitude rubbed off on Jeanie and her girls.  There doesn’t go a day without some mention of him, but it’s always remembering a happy moment.  Something he used to do or say.  A practical joke he’d play on the nurses in the hospital.  A favorite food, or a food he couldn’t stand.  (Christian and I share the same sheer hatred of lettuce!)

I wish I could have had a chance to know him in person.  I know he would have dove head-first into my toy collection, becoming the unofficial curator of my collection room, and my partner in building custom figures.  I can only wonder what this kid could have done with some Milliput and an Exacto knife!

This Sunday would have been Christian’s 20th birthday.  To remember him, all his family will gather for a birthday party where we’ll release Chinese floating lanterns in his honor.  In my own special tribute, I’m posting links to his still-active You Tube account.  Please take a moment to watch and enjoy these with me.

Christian’s complete You Tube page, Legosbychrisd

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