Finishing Old Projects

By | Friday, April 26, 2024 Leave a Comment
There has always been, for me, a crossover interest between comics and action figures. No doubt going back as far as the 1970s when I was playing with Mego figures, making up adventures that generally couldn't happen in the comics. (Because of intellectual property reasons, not any lack of creativity on the creators' parts!) Naturally, my eye on action figures fell towards characters I already enjoyed in the comics, so I was a little more prone to Marvel figures than DC. One that I always kind of liked -- though, admittedly, not at the top of my list -- was Nick Fury. Kind of a cross between G.I. Joe and James Bond, he was able to drop into all kinds of stories pretty easily whether that was an intergalactic dust-up involving alien Skrulls or a secret stealth mission in Latveria. So when Toy Biz finally made a Nick Fury figure in 1995, I picked it up to accompany my other five-inch figures at the time.

Of course, the problem is that Nick Fury is (or was, depending on what's going on with Marvel continuity whenever you happen to read this) the head of a large organization called SHIELD. Again, kind of a G.I. Joe thing but within the Marvel Universe. Which means that Fury by himself is only part of the story. He's got a literal army at his command and Toy Biz didn't make any other SHIELD figures. I was able to repaint the G.W. Bridge figure to give him a SHIELD uniform and I believe I also repainted a "spare" Punisher figure to stand in as a generic SHIELD agent, but that didn't amount to much. Also, I'm not a good customizer, so they didn't look very good.

I ran into the problem several years later when the Marvel Legends series began. They made a Nick Fury early on -- which I picked up -- but no SHIELD agents. So when I first built my action figure metropolis, I wanted to use my Enterprise playset as a SHIELD Helicarrier, but the only character to populate it would've been Fury himself. (I did have four Skrulls, though, so the Enterprise became a Skrull spaceship.)

I mostly stepped away from action figures for several years but have circled back to it again starting in 2022, as I began to realize I could use my 3D printer to tackle projects I was never able to satisfactorily complete previously. In that time I had been away from action figure collecting, Hasbro had released several additional SHIELD agents (in no small part thanks to the organization's prominent portrayals in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). So with a few ebay purchases and a week or so of 3D printing (plus some very limited figure customizations) I was able to pull together the SHIELD display seen here: a SHIELD facility populated by not only Nick Fury but another dozen SHIELD agents.

Over the past few months, I've actually knocked out several projects along these lines. Projects that I was only partially able to try years earlier and, because of limited skills and/or budget and/or resources, never completed. Since these were never things I actually had, it's not really a dip into nostalgia, but rather finally being able to scratch a creative itch that I first got decades ago. I find it a little surprising that I've been able to whip these out so quickly relative to the time I spent on them years ago without making any appreciable headway, but that's almost certainly a result of having acquired more skills since then, having a 3D printer to produce precision parts quickly/easily, and having more disposable income to throw at any given project.

I'm not sure what I'll be working on next; I think I've finished now all of these types of projects that I was unable to complete years ago, but it's certainly possible there's some other stuff I just haven't remembered yet. I've talked elsewhere how my -- and many Gen Xers' -- life goals were set against a 30-35 year life-span since we grew up being regularly told by the world at large that we wouldn't live longer than that anyway. Nuclear war or AIDs or climate change ("global warming" as it was called back then) would make life literally impossible in the 21st century. We're obviously a couple decades past that now and I've accomplished FAR more than I ever anticpiated, so I'm finishing projects now that I hadn't even given a passing thought to for years. Who knows what's next?
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