Christopher Reeve as "SUPERMAN" (1978)

This is one of the top-most figures I've been
planning and wanting to do since I started this
hobby.  While in Japan this summer, my friend
took me to several toys and hobby shops in
Tokyo.  One of these shops stocked clothes
and costumes for 1:6 scale figures made by
Azone.  I picked up a blue lycra superhero's
Once I put it on the body I decided to use (a
"Toy Soldier" body), I realized the seam at the
waist was too high...  Also, the neck featured a
collar, which at this scale, looked like a
turtle-neck.  I took the outfit apart, removed the
collar, and brought the waist down a bit.  Yet,
even with all the retailoring I did, it still didn't
look right when worn.  Eventually I realized, as
much as I liked the proportions on the body, I'd
have to modify the body heavily to get the right
I used modeler's putty to beef up the chest,
ribcage, deltoids, obliques, and lats; and
dremeled away from the arms, thighs,
kneecaps to get a more realistic look.  
Ultimately, I cut him in half and added a section
to bring him up to a scaled Chris Reeve stature
of 6'4".
It took me weeks to get
the body properly
proportioned, and
several more weeks to
get the blue suit to fit
right, and I hadn't
even started on the
boots, cape, and
shorts with belt yet!
Once I got the blue suit to fit
properly, I started thinking
about how I was going to
get the "S" emblem on his
chest.  It would be
impossible to do it they way
it was done at full scale:  
colored pieces sewn
together and into the
costume.  I also didn't want
an obvious ironed-on look,
or a "too-thick" patch, which
wouldn't contour properly.
In the end, I just decided to hand-paint it
directly onto the fabric.  I first primed a
white background, so that the yellow
would show brilliantly, and then painted
the whole field yellow.  I then painted in
the red S shape very carefully, hoping I
wouldn't goof it all up... not with all the
time I'd spent getting the suit to fit!
For the "S" on the cape, however, my
reference pictures showed that in real
life it was a patch attached to the red
fabric, and so I created it on my inkjet
printer, printing it onto a piece of white
gaffer's tape (fabric painted yellow).  
Getting the cape to drape properly so
that it would appear "in scale" was
also a bit of a challenge.  At first I
made a cape using a soft, nylon-ish
material, but it couldn't hold the folds
at the neckline properly.  
I ended up using a plain cotton fabric because it would retain the folds and
detail once I tailored it to fit on the shoulders.  To get the cape to hold the
requisite "wrinkles" that a full-scale cape would have when worn, I soaked the
entire cape in a watered down Mod-Podge solution, and allowed it to dry as it
was draped onto a nude body.  This makes it a bit stiff, but it holds the shape
excellently and looks much more "in scale" and hence, realistic.

The second hardest part of pulling off this figure was the boots.  I sculpted
them out of polymer clay to have the same look and detail as the full sized
version, baked them, made a rubber mold, and cast them out of urethane...  I
then painted them up and glossed them a bit to match the reference pictures.
But by far, the most challenging aspect of this figure was capturing the
likeness.  Chris Reeve has very sharp features which, if only a bit off, spoiled
the whole look.  I started
with a cast of Keanu
Reeves (I liked the ears
from the bust), but
dremeled everything and
ended up sculpting the
face completely
from scratch.  It took many
tries to capture the
subtleties of his smirky
half-smile, but I
was able finally
to capture an
expression I
could live with.
The belt is crafted
from yellow
electrical tape
(several layers),
while the buckle
was sculpted from
polymer clay,
painted, glazed
yellow, and
I had studied the
photos of all the other
custom Chris Reeve
Superman's out there
and wanted to make
sure I avoided the
pitfalls I saw:  poorly
detailed boots,
unrealistic physique
bagginess in the suit,
stiffness in the cape,
clunkiness in the
emblems, and the
most common of all, a
sub-par likeness.
To give the figure one last final touch, I freeze
framed my DVD of the film, and constructed a
matching 1:6 scale lump of Kryptonite on a
chain.  I searched high and low for the right
translucent green substance (neither clear nor
opaque, but somewhere in between), and
ended up making this piece from two green
lollipops!  So there you have it!