Custom: Grey Hulk
Solomon Grundy wasn't the first build-a-figure I owned (that honor goes to the Marvel Legends Sentinel, purchased on Ebay a few years ago), but he was the first I ever put together myself.
I reviewed him back here, when the site was still young, and I have to say he was one of my favorites until the end (check out the picture on the left to see why).
But, like all good things, there came a time to say good-bye. My DC Universe shelf just got too crowded, and I had to make some sacrifices. Rather than unload him on Ebay, I decided that if I was going to lose Grundy, I wanted something more than money to show for it. I took a long look at the figure and realized, with some work, he could make one hell of a Grey Hulk....
Given the size of the figure, this was going to be a lot tougher than any other custom project I've done to date.
First step is to cut. I laid the figure out and marked out what was going using a thin, black felt pen. Then I got out the dremel. The goal was to cut off anything that identified the toy as "Solomon Grundy". I tried not to take too much else off: anything that could be salvaged here was something I wouldn't have to redo in the next phase.
I've marked the areas I altered on the picture-in-progress to the right. Note changes being made to the left hand here and areas of the jacket that need to be adjusted.
Next up is the sculpting. I wanted a version of Grey Hulk that captured the blend of cunning and anger that characterized "Joe Fixit." If I were going with a Green Hulk, I'd have needed a more open mouth and dynamic expression, but with Grey, the key is subtlety.
For the skin (face, arms, and ankles), I used Magic Sculpt. When I moved onto the character's outfit, however, I needed something flexible. I chose Kneadatite, which I highly recommend. In hindsight, I could have used Kneadatite for the other parts, too, but I didn't think of it at the time.
As I sculpted, I also did some additional cutting, as you can see from the picture. I wanted a Grey Hulk who'd been fighting and taken some damage from bullets, etc, so I integrated this into the design.
The final, unpainted version is shown to the left. I've highlighted some areas that required the most work, but - as you can see - I altered pretty much every inch of the figure in this phase.
And then it was time for the hard part: the paint.
I started with a detail brush, hoping to avoid mistakes and take care of everything in one go.
Didn't work out that way, I'm afraid.
After two hours of work, I realized I was still working on the same arm, so I switched to something a bit less exact, then went back to the spotter to finish.
Yeah, if you look too closely at the boots, you can tell this is a custom, but given the size of the figure, I'm really happy with how this came out.
And here's the finished product, ready for display on my Marvel shelf. It took some time, but (other than the errors on the boot and in the fight forearm), I think it turned out really well.
Mostly, I'm proud that I was able to completely transform the character from Solomon Grundy into the Grey Hulk, such that anyone who wasn't familiar with the toy's origins would look at it and assume it was the Hulk.
Posted April 1, 2011 by: Erin Snyder