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Catching a Buzz: The Fly

"Help me!  Help Me!"  We feel your pain, but we can't guarantee finding a little fly with a human head.  A big fly-headed human?  That's another story!  We present our build up of Geometric Designs' classic bust!

It may seem strange at first to say this, but the 1950s were not a good time for mad scientists in the movies.  If you think about it, the tragically nutty professor had his heyday in the 30s and 40s, but in the 1950s, the scientists were busy saving the world from radioactive mega-fauna, invaders from other planets and even vampires.  The exception to the rule, however, is Andre Delambre, the tragic hero of the best sci-fi/horror hybrid of the decade . . . 1958's The Fly.


Sadly, there are few model kits of this great subject, but Geometric Design makes two.  Our subject for this article is their fantastic 1/4 scale bust.  A few basic techniques, a little creativity and about 24 hours is all it took to render this bug-eyed beauty you see above.

The kit comes in 11 parts and you will notice that some of them--the tie, proboscis, antennae and mounting rod are made from metal.  This is not a problem for paint or super glue and these parts, while flexible, are sturdy. 

Also, the kit comes with a name plate and circular disc, which is actually pretty nice, though I have modified the base for a more, shall we say, vaguely mad-science theme.


As always, we start by prepping the kit. It needs a good bath and light scrub in an oil cutting liquid soap to remove any residues that will cause paint to peel. The kit needs a little trimming work. The mold line which runs across the head is easy to disguise by simply using a hobby knife to re-establish the ridges in the as seen to the right. Test fitting the eyes indicated they required a little shaving around the edges. Other parts of the resin were best trimmed with a hand file and a moto-tool. The metal parts needed a little trimming too, which I like to do with Xuron Rail Nips. I found no spot on the the kit that needed any significant putty work after the trim process.



Geo is currently working on a custom bust, but I built this a while back so I decided to make a base myself out of that thing to the right.

So, what IS that thing to the right?  I have no idea. 

All I can tell you is I think it came out of an old television or maybe a computer monitor, but it is just such a strange looking piece of technological looking junk that I ripped it out of its original habitat and saved it for some future project.  I would guess three years passed before I found a use, but eventually its destiny became apparent.

Like the kit itself, this piece of "equipment" was first painted with a good solid coating of primer.  I just use the gray stuff from an auto parts store.  After it dries, I tried painting a few industrial colors on it, but in a moment of inspiration I decided to coat it once with a maroon red auto spray color.  It is not quite see through, but the end result is a sense of layers of color.  After that, I just drilled a hole in the top for the rod.


Okay, now on to painting.  I have used a couple of techniques here that are uncommon but simple.  The first thing I do is glue the antennae on the kit and mount it to a small board with a 3 inch dry wall screw.  This allows you to move it around without touching it.

After priming the kit with gray sandable auto primer, I airbrushed a light gray on for the shirt, a muddy yellow for the coat and a very high toned pearlized electric blue for the head, face parts, antennae and the tie.  I used to have one that exact same color back in the 1980s, so how could I resist?  It gives him a forward thinking (dare I say, "New Wave"?) look.

The eyes are done with a special paint used on automobiles to give cars a iridescent chromatic shift, in this case from green to gold.  You can buy small cans of the Chameleon brand paints separately, but it won't work without a black base coat.  They want to sell you a special primer, but for a kit (as opposed to your bitchin' Camero) you just need a black undercoat.

Also, note that I have painted the eye sockets and the sides of the bust black as well.  The fit on the eyes is so tight that this was not necessary (neither was glue, in fact), but it is a worthwhile precaution.  The only thing about those eyes is it is really hard to get a photo of them with out reflecting the photographer, as you can see below.



Now, as cool as that blue color is, it will not pass for a fly.  The technique I used here is kind of like a reversed version of dry brushing.  I sprayed on light coats of transparent black paint and then gently wiped away the top layers revealing the slightly muted blue underneath.  The same was done to the nose separately before attaching it to the kit because there is just too much chance to break it off while wiping.  The end result of this is pretty nice and there is a continuity between the fly and his tie color wise that allows the other bright colors (like the red and silver base) to seem dramatic without being too garish.


After it is sealed again with Dulcote, I applied a thin brown oil wash to the shirt and jacket and when it was done, All had to do was insert the eyes and paint the nameplate--which is the same green-gold of the eyes with electric blue on the trim and letters.

This is a really cool kit and I am proud to say this finished version resides on the shelf of Tennessee horror host, Dr. Gangrene. I keep meaning to build myself a matching version, especially now that a new base is out for the kit. If you want to pick one up with the new base (not shown here), built or unbuilt, use these links or contact me at writesjk @ gmail.com.

UNBUILT KIT:  $60 & FREE shipping in USA


BUILT KIT:  $150 & FREE shipping in the USA




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