Custom Korner: Colonial Marines, Part Two

By bill - May 16, 2014

aliens-crowe-dietrich-featMy Colonial Marines army is starting to come together– here’s Private Crowe and Corporal Dietrich.

I don’t know why, but when it comes to making custom figures around NECA’s awesome toy lines, I tend to go all-in.  I wound up making Dutch’s entire team from Predator, and my latest obsession project has been the squad of Colonial Marines from Aliens.  Along with a few generic Marines, I showed you guys earlier my take on Vasquez, and Sgt. Apone and Wierzbowski… and now I checked Cynthia Dietrich and Tip Crowe off my list, too.

Crowe was fairly straightforward.  I used Sgt. Windrix as the base figure, with the Sergeant insignia on his shoulder cut off with an Xacto knife. The head came from the Toy Biz TNA Wrestling Chase Stevens figure.  I used the same head– minus his ‘do rag and scraggily hair– for Billy from Predator, but I think the face is a fair surrogate for Crowe as well.  I sculpted new hair to match Crowe’s short sandy blonde hair, and made sure to keep it short enough for a Marine helmet to fit over it.

I outfitted Crowe with a pulse rifle, shoulder lamp and a Hudson/ cloth covered helmet.  Among the Marines, Crowe’s armor was among the least customized, so most of the paint was simply to cover up the existing markings, although I was sure to include “The Bird” insignia in white on his chest armor.  All things considered, Crowe was one of the easier Marines to make, and he fits in well with the rest of the team.

Dietrich, on the other hand, was one of the more challenging pieces I’ve done.  I had the idea of using a Star Wars Black Han Solo torso with Marine lower legs, which sort of worked, after some major adjustments.  I left the Solo torso and upper arms alone for the most part, aside from some boobs to give Dietrich a more feminine shape beneath her armor.

Most of the heard work was figuring out how to combine the Solo torso to the Marine’s lower half.  The lower abs of the marine were too tall, and it threw off my proportions, so I dremeled down the lower ab piece to make it shorter, then re-drilled the peg socket so the ball joint from Solo would still fit.  I drilled it a little too wide, so my figure is loose, but she does hold together at the waist.

The proportions still weren’t quite right, so I decided to shorten the legs as well.  I heated the legs then popped them off at the hip ball, then using an Xacto, I trimmed about half an inch off the top of each leg and re-drilled the hole so it would still fit properly.  Then I reattached the legs, and was finally happy with the proportions of the figure, and as an added bonus, she stands shorter than her fellow soldiers, adding some realistic variety to the team’s look.

I gave Dietrich forearms and hands from NECA’s Portal Chell figure, which gave a little gap between the Solo upper arms and these, which I covered up using the rolled up sleeve cuffs from Hudson.  Then, I added my head, from a Marvel Legends X23.  While a tad cartoony, I thought X23’s scowl was a good match for reference material I found of Cynthia Dale Scott as Dietrich.  I widened the peg hole in her head, removed X23’s hair and sculpted the short crew cut Dietrich was sporting in the movie.

With all the pieces in place, I painted the figure in the Marine camo, added the armor, then drilled a little hole to fit the shoulder lamp in place.  I painted the armor with the small details Dietrich sported– a buster sign on the front, the “Kiss My…” print on her pants, and the “Blue Angel” stamp on the back of her helmet.  Then I geared her up with a flame thrower and she was ready to go.

Dietrich was definitely the most elaborate Marine I made, but I’m pleased with the final result, and she looks great with the rest of the crew.  Next up is frost, the last standard Marine from the movie.  I’m really hoping we hear some good news about the Smart Gunners, the pilots, or Gorman from NECA, but if not… I’m sure they’ll be on the horizon for me regardless.

Check back soon, as we continue showcasing some new and old custom figures.  If you have a custom figure you’d like to see featured here, email me–  Your figure may be the next one featured on Custom Korner!

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