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Tom Parker / Cult of Personality

Thomas Leroy Parker (December 19, 1961 - August 26, 2017) was one of the best friends a horror figure modeler could have.  He ran an aftermarket company called Cult of Personality that specialized in producing resin replacement parts for monster models.  I met Tom through the HobbyTalk boards when I was looking for some extra launch rail parts for the Pegasus When Worlds Collide "Space Ark" kit.  Tom generously sent the whole base.  Then he went on to commission me to paint up some of his replacement parts, as you'll see below.

What you won't be able to enjoy are the hours long telephone conversations I had with Tom about all things plastic modeling.  He was a fount of inside information about the manufacturing side of the hobby and wonderfully amusing in the process.  I regret only that I never had a chance to meet Tom face to face, but I will always miss him.  I am happy to report that, as of this writing (August 2019) Escape Hatch Hobbies is carrying some of the items that Tom used to sell.

Rest in peace, my friend.

Frankenstein Replacement Head

Frankenstein Replacement Head

Frankenstein Replacement Head

Tom Parker's Cult of Personality web store was a terrific source for aftermarket resin figure model parts. This head is a replacement, based on a painting by renowned Sci-Fi/Fantasy artist Basil Gogos, for the 1/8 scale Frankenstein model by Moebius.

Moebius Frankenstein, Right

Moebius Frankenstein, Right

For the sake of comparison, I painted a Moebius kit head and the COPP replacement at the same time, using exactly the same colors. Tom wanted a greenish flesh tone - not the color I'd have chosen, but he's the boss.

COPP Frankenstein, Right

COPP Frankenstein, Right

This replacement was sculpted by Jeff Yagher, whose talent is clearly evident. He translated Basil Gogo's painting into three dimensions superbly.

Moebius Frankenstein, Left

Moebius Frankenstein, Left

I tried to exploit every nook and cranny on the kit head. It's not a bad version of the Frankenstein monster, it just doesn't look much like Boris Karloff.

COPP Frankenstein, Left

COPP Frankenstein, Left

You may have noticed that Tom includes little metal electrodes for the Monster's neck. They can be glued in place after assembly and painting of the figure is done.

Comparison

Comparison

I used the torso halves from the Moebius kits to make these displays for Tom when he was at model shows. They made the difference between the two heads clear.

My Frankenstein

My Frankenstein

I used the Gogos Frankenstein replacement head on my own build of the Moebius kit. At 13"x15"x17", I'm afraid I let the shadowbox project get a little out of hand...

Hunchback of Notre Dame Replacement Head

James Cagney as Quasimodo

James Cagney as Quasimodo

This project began as a simple display for Cult of Personality's resin replacement head for the Aurora/Polar Lights Hunchback of Notre Dame kit. I couldn't stop there and added a scratchbuilt base for the figure.

Cagneymodo, Front Close Up

Cagneymodo, Front Close Up

Jeff Yagher sculpted the master for the part. It's a highly accurate likeness of James Cagney in a makeup created by Bud Westmore and Jack Kevan for MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES (1957).

Cagneymodo, Left

Cagneymodo, Left

Mr. Cagney wore the Hunchback makeup in a recreation of Lon Chaney's performance in THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1923).

Cagneymodo, Left Close Up

Cagneymodo, Left Close Up

Tom gave me permission to thoroughly blend the highly detailed resin head with the softer detail of the injection-molded figure. I used Aves Apoxie Sculpt to simulate the hairy body of Mr. Cagney's Hunchback makeup. Doing so also conveniently covered the seams between the front and back body halves.

Cagneymodo, Right

Cagneymodo, Right

I had only the figure to work with, so I scratch built a base, guided by photographs from the film.

Cagneymodo, Right Close Up

Cagneymodo, Right Close Up

Color pictures of the makeup for the black and white film show that the wig worn by James Cagney had black hair with gray streaks. I chose to make this Hunchback a redhead, as he was described in Victor Hugo's 1831 novel.

Cagneymodo Left, Low Angle

Cagneymodo Left, Low Angle

The base elements were made from Styrofoam. The square blocks of the platform were covered with Celluclay. Rustoleum oil-based paints provided a durable finish. I added some groundwork and mounted the model on a wood craft plaque.

Cagneymodo, Back

Cagneymodo, Back

The circular pillory was covered with Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty. It gave the appearance of relatively smooth, dressed stone.

Cagneymodo Right, Low Angle

Cagneymodo Right, Low Angle

Guided by photos of medieval manacles, I added bits of styrene tube and sprue to detail the handcuffs. I used jewelry chain and metal screw eyes for Quasimodo's restrains; they were weathered with Blacken-It solution. The shackle around his waist was made from a metal wine bottle sleeve.

Cagneymodo Front, High Angle

Cagneymodo Front, High Angle

The final touch was a resin nameplate from Posthumous Productions. I'm glad to have had the chance to send Tom the model. Expecting only a painted head, he was pretty excited to get a custom build up of the Hunchback.

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Moebius Frankenstein, Left

I tried to exploit every nook and cranny on the kit head. It's not a bad version of the Frankenstein monster, it just doesn't look much like Boris Karloff.