Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Merchandising! Merchandising! - Noknor Action Figure


Noknor, the Scourge of Evil

Mint in Box Action Figure

As a child of the 80’s/90’s, I am part of the 1st generation of the fanboy/fangirl culture, those fans who obsess over their favorite pop culture franchises. As such, in my slightly younger days I spent more time and money than I by all rights should have in buying collectibles, mostly toys, from my favorite movie and comic book franchises. It was only natural I suppose that I would eventually begin to dream of The Quest Saga line of toys and collectibles. I ultimately got tired of waiting and set out to build them for myself, really for my own amusement than anything else. Little did I know that custom-made merchandise would turn out to be a viable marketing strategy for the Indie Writer.
This is actually the first action figure I ever made, indeed the very first merchandise I ever made for The Quest Saga. I really don’t remember when I made it, but I do know that it was no earlier than 2007 and no later than 2008; I did a Barnes & Noble book signing in December 2008 and I had this on display sans the box. The box came later, around early to mid 2009, again because I did a book signing in Las Vegas in November 09 and I had Noknor displayed in his box. I enjoyed this so much that I have been doing little custom merchandise projects ever since.

You know what, before we get into how I made it, a little background on the character. Noknor, the Scourge of Evil is the main villain in The Quest Saga series. He is an evil warlock, a sadistic and cruel megalomaniac bent on world domination. He is extremely powerful, both magickally and physically, with a demonic appearance that includes green skin, fangs, and glowing red eyes; it is said that he was once normal, even handsome, but that he sold his humanity to the devil for greater magickal powers. I’ve often described him as a warlock serial killer conqueror, a DNA combination of Genghis Khan, Hannibal Lector, Dracula, and Darth Vader if you will.
As I said, this was my first ever attempt at constructing a custom-made figure and I learned a lot in doing it. I’m not very artistically inclined in a visual sense (I’m gifted in other ways). My drawing is passable but I do not carve or mold very well at all. I particularly have trouble with the human form, especially faces. Thus, for any of my action figures, I use a core figure: I go to the toy store and buy a preexisting action figure to mutilate. I need to find a figure that is close enough to my vision of my character. Where better to start than with wrestling figures? They’re big, articulated, and generally don’t wear clothes. For this Noknor figure, I went to the WWF/WWE aisle and chose the Big Red Machine Kane (ironic, ne? not my intent). Kane is (was?) one of the bigger guys on the WWE roster, he’s bald, and he has a mean scowl. Perfect!
I don’t have any before pictures of the original figure or many of the process itself. I guess I didn’t think about it back then and now I regret it. The Kane figure was shirtless, but he had pants albeit with red barbwire decals. He also had a forehead like a mountain gorilla, so I used a razor to shave his brow down slightly. I painted his body green; it took at least three coats if I recall. I used a very small brush to paint his eyes bright red and also to paint his fingernails black. I also painted his pants black to cover the red barbwire.
I had to give him a robe, but unfortunately I’m not much of a tailor so cloth was out. Instead, I went with clay. I didn’t want to use an oven-bake clay like Sculpey, so I was very lucky to find an air-drying polymer clay called Makin’s Clay. I love this stuff and highly recommend it because it’s easier to work with and I can mold it directly onto the figure without the risk of melting said figure in the damn oven. I rolled out the Makin’s Clay and trimmed it to the dimensions needed before slapping it on Kane. I let it dry for a day and then painted it black. I then molded clay around the arms for the sleeves, waited and painted. I tried to leave space between the joints to allow for movement (you can see green peeking out at the elbows and shoulders) but I’m afraid it lost a lot of articulation; I learned from this and corrected the problem in later figures.

The Swuenedras Amulet (the faery talisman that gives Noknor unlimited magick power) is also of Makin’s Clay, molded to form two rattlesnakes and painted gold with red and black accents. The red gem is a girl’s notebook bedazzle sticker superglued.The cape is real cloth. I first attempt to sew it but when that failed miserably I went to the hot glue gun. I got some scrap red velvet, hot glued black fabric onto it and attached it around Noknor’s neck with gold lace held by a superglue/hot glue combo.
In the The Quest Saga, Book I: The Roots of Evil, Noknor conquers the Kingdom of Kuberica by killing King Edward. He then proceeds to give himself a crown made from the skull and bones of the late King Edward. For the action figure, I chopped up a miniature skeleton that was part of a $1 Store Halloween decoration and superglued them to a Makin’s Clay cap I molded and painted red. The crown, Swuenedras Amulet, and cape are all removable.
Finally, Noknor’s staff which he uses as a walking stick and to fight with, using the sickle blade for hand-to-hand combat and the diamond to shoot out magickal energy blasts. I’m not overly fond of this staff and later attempts would turn out much better. The proportions are wrong, especially between the massive blade and skinny shaft. I painted a wooden dowel brown, skinny because it’s what fit in Noknor’s hand. The blades are Makin’s Clay, painted, and the Volar Stone, the crystal at the tip, is a plastic diamond used for making jewelry. It may not look great, but at least it keeps the figure from falling over.
And that is Noknor, the Scourge of Evil in all of his 9 inch action figure glory. As for how the box came to be, I’ll explain that in the next post.
By the way, as of late I've had a devil of a time finding Makin's Clay in stores. Hobby Lobby used to carry it and while they still have the tools offered by the Makin company, they no longer carry the polymer clay, at least around these parts. I have found this cool online dealer called Polymer Clay Express that carries a wide selection. Click here to check out their wares. For what it's worth, although a variety of colors are available, I always go with natural or white and paint it.


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