ED REPKA is clearly not the sort to shrink away from a challenge. In fact, it seems he actively seeks a competition. When it comes to rendering monstrous scenes, Ed brings an aggressively artistic approach that yields remarkable results. When he entered the HorrorHound / Monster Scenes "Mad Model Maker" Contest in August 2009, the judges were hardly prepared for what Ed would unleash upon them.


Ed's work is graphic and could be considered unsettling to some. His inventive "monster scene" is intended for mature viewing. What follows are images and details of Ed's winning entry, a gruesome spectacle that rightly earned him First Place - Advanced Modeler honors. 

Careful ... this one has bite! 

"Insect Encounter"

"In his bid for world  domination, Dr. Deadly is attempting to mate his Giant Insect with the hapless Victim and create an army of hybrids. The insect, kept in a pit deep below the doctor's lair, has been released to feed ... and then begin the mating process."    -- Ed Repka, 2009

(click image above for a closer look)


Constructing the nightmare: 

With his chilling concept determined, Ed set about to make his monster scene. He ensured his diorama would strike a balance between the styling of the original Monster Scenes kits while extending their impact into a bold new direction. 

"The overall base size was carefully mapped out. I needed to allow enough room to accommodate the Victim, a sacrificial pillar,  and the Giant Insect (in a threatening rearing stance).  Anticipating possible expansion of the scene, I designed this to allow connection to future Monster Scenes diorama bases.

"To keep the look consistent with the kit series, I made latex molds of the base from an original Monster Scenes Pain Parlor kit . I struck castings from the mold using epoxy putty. I then cut apart the castings, reconfigured them into a different base "footprint," then joined all pieces together with epoxy putty."  

Ed's base also features an ominous pit that lay, dank and decrepit, beneath Dr. Deadly's dungeon realm.

"I made the pit's wall using putty over a styrene foam ring, then I textured it with a Dremel tool carving bit. The pit bars are rods and strips of styrene plastic." 

(click image for a closer look)

And the colors and tones that suggest a moldering stench? 

"I applied primer to the completed base then airbrushed it with acrylic paint. I used tones of warm grays, raw umbers, and moss greens. Washes of color were added to bring out details."

(click image for a closer look)

The Sacrificial Column:

As much as he has a penchant for developing elements from scratch, Ed also makes use of existing items at hand.

"I found a plastic Greek column, already rendered as an ancient ruin. It would be perfect for the sacrificial altar I needed to build.

The column wasn't exactly as tall as I wanted so I built it up to the desired height using epoxy putty over open cell foam. 

To mimic the classic Aurora kit styling, I used the Dremel tool carving bit again, this time to etch and scribe the stone texture I wanted.

Lastly, the circular base was a resin casting of a piece from an old kit I had previously sculpted.

And for the shackles that bound the haplessly detained Victim, I scratch-built those using tube and sheet styrene along with metal chain.

Again, I primed the column and base then airbrushed the same warm grays and raw umbers. I added some variation in the stonework coloring on the circular base. I used washes of color to draw out the details. Finally, I weathered the shackles and chains and added some rust stains where they are attached to the column.

Skulls and Bones:

To give the setting a well-established look, Ed included remnants of past victims (and would-be heroes). 

"I made another latex mold, this of an original Monster Scenes Gruesome Goodies skull. I then made several castings by pressing epoxy putty into the mold cavity.   

For the scattered bones, I re-purposed extras parts from a Leatherface action figure. I combined the skulls and bones into clusters and set them around the base."

(click image for a closer look)

The Giant Insect:

When it came to rendering the "featured creature" of his diorama, Ed demonstrated that building out-of-the-box doesn't preclude a modeler from delivering something that's very much out of the ordinary. 

"I built the Insect right out of the box without any modifications. Naturally, I chose to build it in a series of sub-assemblies - body, tail, and legs. For the body halves specifically, I test-fitted the parts and sanded down the seam line for a nice flush fit prior to final assembly. I assembled all parts, again as sub-assemblies, then primed and painted them to the final color scheme. At this point I did the final assembly, placing the tail, wings, and pincers between the painted body halves, then finally cemented those halves together with Ten-ax7. I went back and touched up the body half seam line for a smooth final finish." 

(click image for a closer look)

"As for the Insect's paint scheme, I chose to stay with the kit's box art design, deciding to make just a few improvements and embellishments. I used acrylic paints, applied with an airbrush. I then followed with some dry-brushing and washes. I painted the wings using a transparent green with some light blue and purple highlights."

And, of course, there are victims:

When it comes to peril, Ed delivers mightily. He appropriately decided to feature the series' Victim in his diorama, restraining her in the shackles as the voracious Insect moves ever closer. Her terror isn't focused only on the Insect but also on the additional victim - what's left of him - tattered and torn in front of her. At this point, we realize how threatening the Giant Insect can be, no longer just a "big bug" but, rather, a ravenous behemoth.

"For the Victim kit, I chose to build her out of the box, selecting the running legs for a better pose and two of the arms that would work best with the shackles without requiring repositioning. I used putty to fill the seams in the parts, then sanded and primed. I chose a purple top for her because I had added purple to the Insect's legs and wanted to carry that tone around the diorama.

(click image for a closer look)

(click image for a closer look)

As for the half-eaten man on the floor, you might recognize him as the Cro-Magnon Man from the Prehistoric Scenes series. I used only the front half of his body then proceeded to give him a hair cut. I re-sculpted the hair and added ears. I sculpted his partially-eaten arms, ribcage, spine, and gore with epoxy putty."

By now, it's easy to see why Ed's incredible creation earned him a top prize in the "Mad Model Maker" contest. He justifiably earned himself the coveted Golden Pendulum award for his efforts and ingenuity. 

Great work, Ed. Thanks for sharing your nightmares with us!



Ed was born in 1960 and became a bona-fide "monster kid" upon being mesmerized by televised monster movies. He began sculpting at a young age, first with Play-Dough and then with modeling clay. At age 9, Ed's dad brought him a Glow Forgotten Prisoner kit. He was hooked on modeling and built the complete series of Aurora glow monsters.

His mom intervened when Monster Scenes arrived, steering her 11-year-old away from them and over to the safer Prehistoric Scenes. He went on to build Pirates of the Caribbean, Planet of the Apes, and monster-type car kits.

In 1973 he turned his attention to drawing and illustration, later to attend the Parsons School of Design in New York City. As an energetic freelance illustrator, he designed album covers for heavy metal bands including Megadeth, Death, and Venom.

Ed re-discovered monster kits in the 1990s while in attendance at a Chiller Theater show. He was hooked - again! With a revived passion to sculpt and paint, Ed landed a job at McFarlane Toys where he painted action figure prototypes. Later, he gained a position as Art Director for NECA, now having painted hundreds of action figure two-ups, sculpted bases and accessories, and designed figure series and collectible items. 

Finally, nearly four decades since he first saw them, Ed has gotten his eager hands on Monster Scenes kits - and it doesn't appear anyone will pry them away from him this time.

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