Frank DeCandia’s Gort and Klaatu
April 15, 2002 was certainly a “taxing” day for me. I wanted to start this model, but my own little world stood still. I broke my driver side mirror backing up into the garage that morning. Maybe it was my sleepiness… maybe I was distracted by my desire to start this kit. Or maybe it was the cute blond I’ve never seen or met watching me from across the street. Unlike this kit, breaking my mirror in front of her was NOT cool. DOH!
Gort and the Tobor robot models are the only kits done in spray paint. All others are hand painted. Everything is painted the same silvery shade because it is the primary color scheme, and acts as a primer for the other paints. I enjoy painting models from the b&w error of film because I can always embellish the model. In most cases it’s hard to tell the difference from the film footage.
The biggest decision in this kit was, helmet head, or Michael Rennie’s likeness? In the spirit of tax day he “filed jointly”. Made the heads interchangeable, and posable. Using the spray paint protector cap, I made a mount to hold the spare head. Though I enjoy the helmet, I lean toward using the Michael Rennie head because of the strong resemblance to yours truly.
This kit comes with the costumed Gort who stands at 13-½” tall. He is molded in one piece and is done with his basic body color, visor black, and “signature” chrome on the outer ear orbits. Gort just looks better sporting his cosmic shades. Unlike my first costumed Gort, he was free of serious defects. Klaatu stands at 11-¼” with either head, and his arms must be attached. He sports nostalgic black wingtip shoes, rubber gloves and fashionable gold sash to look cool. The gold mesh on the helmet matches the sash with more chrome highlights in the visor, and seam. Used a darker metal to highlight clothing creases for detail. Between both heads and the body, 12 unique paints are used.
Clearly, the most detailed work went to Micheal Rennie’s head. (Just like an actor.) Holes were drilled for ear canals, and his nose. After seeing a base of pale flesh tone, I was determined NOT to live with a ghostly Klaatu. After several attempts of mixing flesh with a special red the color was just right. [It was so perfect, in fact, I grabbed Dr. Smith from my B-9 Robot model for a make over I’ve been longing to do.] Now being “in living color” dry brushing of clear coat makes the flesh a bit wet. After wearing that hot helmet his skin must be moist – right? Even his hair has clear coat with the upper layer rubbed away with a finger for subtle highlights. His mouth, ear and nose canals are darkened, his eyes are a special blue and even have pupils.
Who says tax day has to be dreary? Michael Rennie is now ready for his close-up now, with time to spare to mail his taxes.
Frank P. DeCandia