Tough Customs: Morbius


If you have been following my recent customs, you will know that I am on a Dr. Who kick right now. I am currently finishing up a set of four aliens and monsters, including Morbius pictured above. If you are unfamiliar with the character, you can see a screenshot of his apearance in The Brain of Morbius here. Morbius had some unique challenges, so I decided to take some pictures during his creation.

The main problem was how to make the clear dome on his head that would encase his brain. I considered Mysterio’s head, but it was not hollow, and hollowing it with a dremel would have made it too rough inside to see the brain. I had nothing else in my parts bin that would work. I spent some time at an office supply store looking for a clear marker cap or something similar to use, but came up short. I finally found a solution at the hardware store – a tiny lightbulb:


This is a size 516 bulb, and I’m honestly not sure what it is usually used for. I have never used real glass on a custom before, and I had to get the bottom of the lightbulb off. The bulb is all one piece of glass, with the wires contained inside. I took it out to my belt sander and put on some gloves and safety glasses. The first two lightbulbs cracked across the entire dome when I tried to sand off the bottom, but on the third try the bottom sanded right off with no problems.

I also wasn’t sure if you could superglue plastic to glass, but Morbius needed his eyes and bolts. I cut the bottoms off two lego antennas and scored the plastic with a hobby knife. They glued to the glass without a problem:


While letting this dry, I started sculpting a base for the dome to sit on. I knew it would be difficult to fit the dome to the base AND have it blend in with a minimate torso all in one try, so I decided to sculpt it in two parts. The first part would be the base and brain, and after this cured I would place it on a minimate body and sculpt around it to make it blend in seamlessly. I pressed the glass edge into the clay and sculpted my base:



Later I would add some more sculpted detail to the brain, as well as the bolts and circuit plate on the glass dome. While this part was curing I started working on his claw. I used a Witchblade arm as a base, and sculpted the claw around it so it can still be rotated:


At this point I decided to use a decal for the chest, since Morbius has a lot of detail there:

Morbius Decal

The next day I was able to superglue the base onto a minimate torso and finish blending it in and adding hair. Once everything was sanded and cured I was able to apply the decal and paint the figure. I used Citadel paints for everything but the eyes. I wanted very shiny eyes, so I used a mix of Model Masters glossy red and black, with a coat of clear gloss afterwards.


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7 Responses

  1. Bob Harris says:

    Luke, this guy fits your “Customizer Advantages” article perfectly. Outstanding – although I am absolutely not familiar with Dr. Who – how you’ve chosen parts and combined them. Great ideas! (And that claw somehow reminds me of MotU’s Clawful…)
    Brilliant. And thanks for sharing.

  2. groundhog7s says:

    Once again, very, very cool.

  3. Iowa says:

    That looks so cool!

  4. mabait1020 says:

    dont know who this guy is… but the details rock! wow! awesome!

  5. Hellpop says:

    Well, it’s too late now, but one of the things you could have tried is the Mr Freeze dome head from the old BTAS figure. Also, they just released a Mr. Freeze as part of the Imaginex Super Friends line, which has a dome that I think would be Minimate compatable. I thought of snagging one for a Freeze custom, but he’s beyond my current abilities.

  6. Luke314pi says:

    Those are both good ideas, Hellpop. Although I do like the idea of it being glass instead of plastic. 🙂

  7. Zombieboyfiend says:

    At first I thought it was plastic container from $25 vending machines. Good Job!