On The Bench 289: Scott Copeland’s Kolchak


Had to grab this bust from Gillman Productions when I saw it at Wonderfest, it’s the iconic Carl Kolchak from “The Night Stalker” movies and TV series, which I never missed as a kid. Mark Van Tine’s sculpt nailed Darren McGavin’s likeness and it’s a dead ringer for a pivotal scene from the first TV movie, and a classic publicity shot.

Prep was minimal, it was nicely cast and other than a few faint mold-part lines there wasn’t much putty work or sanding required to get it ready for primer. I filled a small gap where the arm attached to the body with Apoxie. After a good washing it was ready for a coat of Duplicolor Sandable Auto Lacquer Primer. As usual the primer coat revealed a few things I missed, a little more sanding and it was ready for paint.


I airbrushed on light coats of Vellejo Model Air for the clothing, I slowly built up light coats of “Barley Grey” to get the look of the rumpled sport jacket. I used “Light Blue” for his shirt, and then misted it with very light coats of “white” to get a faded chambray look. His straw hat was done by doing a basecoat of “Ochre” with a misting of tan & yellow.


I used Comart “Burnt Umber” to preshade the face, Badger FF “Sunburned Flesh” for the base, and a mist of Comart “Rjoja’s Flesh” to add highlights. I then turned the pressure on my Iwata down low till it “splattered” instead of sprayed, and used “Burnt Umber” to add a generous dusting of “freckles” to his face and the back of his hands. McGavin had a LOT of freckles! I then misted with more “Rjoja’s Flesh” to give them a more natural look. I repeated this process 2-3 times till I was happy with how it looked. Hair was airbrushed with “Black”, and drybrushed with various Browns and chestnut. Eyes were done with a detail brush in browns.

I used the “splatter” technique again on the base, splattering various light grays over the Duplicolor “Hot Rod Gray” on the headstone till I had a nice concrete effect. Name plate was done with some leftover “Bronze”, the base was done in various airbrushed earth tones with some airbrushed moss on the tombstone and ground.


Really enjoyed building this, and it was a lot of fun to paint. I’m really happy with how it turned out and looks on my shelf. McGavin and “Kolchak: The Nightstalker” provided me with hours of entertainment as a kid.

Scott Copleand


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