Monday, March 20, 2006

Minions! We got minions!

It's been a while since I posted here. Sorry about that. We had a new front door installed last week, and that's put me on a bit of a home improvement kick. I put up new curtain-rods in the living room (and curtains, that my wife picked up), installed new fire alarms, and have been doing some serious reorganization of the clutter, much of it Joe-related.

You see, while I was in deadline hell over the last year-and-a-half, one of my few escapes was retail therapy. I'd go out and hit the local Goodwill, looking mainly for Joes or 1/6th scale props and accessories. Several times a week, I'd find something and bring it home. Once I got home, it was straight back to work, meaning that the thing I'd bought just got tossed somewhere. I also did trades and shopped on-line. Same deal. Get it home, put it -- somewhere. Ignore it.

This stuff if the cholesterol of our household circulatory system. My wife didn't know what to do with it, her attempts to do something with it just made things worse (lots of poorly packed boxes of unsorted stuff), and then we got into double deadline-hell mode with both of us on book deadlines (me on Conan and Mechwarrior, her on Alias). With Chris also working a full-time office job, housework around here has become more rumor than fact. For the most part, we couldn't even afford the interruption to pay somebody to come do it. So the place is a disaster area, mostly thanks to me and Joe. The worst areas have been my office and the dining room, which have become catch-alls, and look more like warehouses than rooms in a house.

So, we've given away some over-large furniture to make some maneuvering room, bought a new, smaller dining set that I haven't had time to assemble yet, and I'm just tunneling through the clutter. I've made huge strides in the office ("look, there's floor under there!") and the dining room, and I'm finding stuff I'd forgotten I'd bought. Through a process of sorting and repacking, I think I can probably halve the volume, and hopefully I'll get the construction materials out of the garage so I can put most of this stuff out there where it belongs, not in our living space. That's my goal for the summer anyway.

Of course, that doesn't mean you can't take a few minutes out to play with your Joes. As one pauses, looks around at all the work to be done, one starts to think, "I could really use some mindless, expendable, and interchangeable minions..."

What world-dominating super-villain, be they Goldfinger, Darth Vader, or Cobra Commander, can get by without minions? Darned useful they are, and as any hero can tell you, they make better targets than ducks in a shooting gallery. But minions are hard to come by in the 1/6th world. Oh, there are some troops in Hasbro's 12" Cobra lines, but it was hard to put together enough of them to really be effective as minions. Maybe better you should make your own.

Here's the thing about minions. Minions don't need to be cool. In fact, a bit of dorkiness is a good thing for the drones that keep your secret missile silo or nuclear reactor going. They don't need the best gear, because most of the time they're seen only in passing, or from a distance, or in a crowd, or flying through the air because the missile silo/nuclear reactor just exploded thanks to our hero. What's more important is that they be somewhat uniform. Heck, if they had much in the way of individuality, we might actually have sympathy for them as we blow them away, and that's not a good thing in this formula.

So, my suggestion when making minions is to look around and figure out what it is you have too many of, and especially what you have too many of and don't like or will never use. Not realistic? Looks goofy? Doesn't matter. If you've go multiples, it's minion material!

First, you need base figures. Just about anything will do, and you could use the cheapest Action Man knock-offs you have laying around, but I went a different way. I had an number of G3 Power Team bodies with black gloved hands and less-than-wonderful head-sculpts. The gloves were a good minion accessory, and there was a good chance I'd be hiding their faces anyway. So my minions sacrafice nothing in the way of articulation.

As for the rest, during my clean-up, I realized that I'd bought a lot of storms Shadows at Goodwill. I mean a lot. At the moment, I count eight nude storms Shadows stacked up in my office closet waiting for some unknown future project (or trade).

Why so many? Well, ask Rudy. Hasbro made huge numbers of those Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow two-packs and they were sold as loss-leaders. For the last six to eight months, those have been cycling out of kids rooms and into thrift stores. Mind you, you may find an occasional Snake Eyes, but they don't show up in equal numbers. At some point the kids pick their favorite, and Storm Shadow has to go. Good move kids. What kind of idiot ninja dresses in white anyhow?

So anyway, enough were dressed that I have five or so jumpsuits, and several of those still had their gun-belts, so that became the basis of my minion uniform. For boots, I picked the basic, early release Power Team, black combat boots. I just don't like the looks of these, but for minions, they're fine. Finally, all but my "officer" get black balaclavas, another thing I have lots of and rarely use. Minion often have their face covered anyway. Beyond that, several of them have been issued gas-masks of various sorts so as not to be killed by the fumes from the rocket fuel/reactor coolant.

The minions are still a work in progress. My officer could still use some kind of head-gear (maybe headphones, I like his widow's peak and hate to cover it), and none of them are armed (still looking for my box of pistols, though I suspect this will be a good use for over-sized Hasbro .45s). I may add a few other accessories if I can find the right stuff in bulk, and it would be nice if they all had matching gas-masks.

So, got any minions? Want to make some? Send me pictures, and I'll post them here.

No comments: