MIKE FALCIGNO has been eyeballing the Builders' Lair for some time now, so it seems.  A multi-talented fellow, Mike busied himself in a makeshift lair of his own at an undisclosed location, painstakingly toiling over a creation that can only be described as "monstrous" in its own right. Actually, Mike's submission to the Builders' Lair goes well beyond our expectations, challenging most mortals' belief of a prevailing goodness in this world, exposing a intense evil that most would shudder to behold.  But, just as this world does harbor real monsters among us, so Mike reveals to us his discovery of the frightening depths to which a soulless cretin will delve and an horrendous inventiveness that would debase and disfigure an innocent Victim.  In the end, it leaves us numb and dumbfounded, swirling in shock and awe, as Mike imparts the sordid details of a "Blind Date with Dr. Deadly."  

Beware -- this is truly a creation for mature modelers only.

"Blind Date with Dr. Deadly" by Mike Falcigno
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 The Victim in peril.
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In the truest fashion of "making a scene," Mike summons his terrifying talents to bring us this elaborate situation, pulling out all stops and clearly pushing the boundaries of monster modeling -- and we applaud him.

As Mike explains, the crazed Dr. Deadly has evaded incarceration to set up a dreary operation in an abandoned and unnamed dungeon setting.  Not in the practice of surgery itself, the Dr. nonetheless wields implements of evisceration as we find him ready to toss a hacked-off limb from a wailing prisoner into a bubbling vat of acid.  High above is suspended the tortured Victim, she who would be forced to look on at the horror below -- that is, if she still had her eyes.  The doctor has viciously torn and scraped the girls eyes from their now-gushing sockets.  Only the hungry rats look on at the doctor's horrifying handiwork while a lightning storm rages outside.

Dr. Deadly's evil intent.

Before you run to lock your doors and notify the authorities that a madman - Mike Falcigno - is on the loose, understand that this diorama is a testament to Mike's love of monster modeling buffeted by a thinking very much outside-the-box in his method of building kits and establishing scenes.  The return of Monster Scenes kits has certainly inspired Mike to return to his boyhood yet apply his adult skills in hearing and telling the story these kits dare to convey.  With a Moebius Dr. Deadly and Victim kit in hand, Mike pondered the potential for peril in this odd pairing.  Naturally, The Hanging Cage kit offered imprisonment for the unwitting Victim but there needed to be more danger and dispair to suit Mike's tastes.  Then, when he discovered the Monster Scenes Limited kit, The Parts Pit (sculpted by James Webb), he realized had the makings of a nightmare.  Adding a few extra goodies he cobbled together - rats, bats, rope and rust - Mike devised a hellish vision where a soulless Dr. Deadly had degenerated into a beast of brutality for brutality's sake, dismembering and disposing of one prisoner, piece by piece, while mutilating a fair girl who could only pray for death as a final escape from this unholy night.  

A bubbling pit beckons to hungry scavengers.
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Although he loves Monster Scenes kits, Mike admits he's not too fond of styrene nor the arduous task of filling seams.  To spur his mood, then, he elected to begin his work with the resin-cast Parts Pit kit, one that he celebrates as "a top-notch production, a kit that went together like a dream."  Motivated to fill out this environment, he decided to utilize only the cage, pulley, and tools from The Hanging Cage kit, making the most of the kits' "mix 'em and match 'em" interchangeability (the constant 1/13 scale is preserved in the Moebius styrene kits as well as the Monster Scenes Limited resin kits).  Free to pick and choose the best of both worlds, plus scavenge some parts and pieces from Aurora re-pops and even a redux issue of the Marx Phantom of the Opera (the butchered victim behind the iron bars), Mike found the freedom to realize his "vision" for this build.

Practically "surgical" in his own work, Mike makes use of all the tools of the trade, including a Dremel, tiny saws, dental tools, a heat gun, sandpaper, putties, epoxies, and so forth.  His work is precise, his hand is steady, and his results are insidiously impressive.  He literally butchered the faux-Marx Phantom with the heat gun and an X-Acto knife then applied putty to the visible shoulder socket to render the requisite tattered and torn flesh.  As he mentioned to us in regards to the barred opening in the Parts Pit back wall, "it kept reminding me of the base for the Aurora Phantom of the Opera.  I thought it would be cool to do a reverse of that classic kit and put the Phantom behind the bars as the victim."  So be it. 

Turning attention to the celebrated "pit" of the environment kit, Mike utilized layers of clear epoxy to create the depth and sheen of the bubbling acid, giving it a depth so real you fear you might actually fall in (look out!).  Swirls of blood were mixed in with the greenish acid to convincingly replicate the acid's corrosive effect on human flesh and bone.  Look for the unwitting "half-rat" that was unaware of the dangerous pit and could only drag his partial body back out again.  What a clever and darkly humorous touch!

In regards to the styrene kits, Mike took a conventional approach to the Dr. Deadly build, choosing appropriate arms to allow the cretin to carry out his devious deeds (though a bit of re-sculpting was required to match an original gloved hand with a non-gloved counterpart).  The paint job, however, clearly departs from our usual depiction of the madman, here rendering him with stark hair, a sickly pallor, and plenty of infected puffiness around the eyes and mouth to indicate this fellow is overcome by his own noxious environment.

First victim... or the next?
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The cage build is customized only to the extent that Mike utilized the highest beam of the Parts Pit kit from which to suspend the spike-floored detainment device.  A bit of scale Rope plus the clever addition of an oversized sprocket gear behind the stone wall to add depth and design to the murderous machination.   Expert weathering technique gives the cage a very "lived in" (or is that "died in") look.  Dissatisfied with the floor spikes' blunt tips (a safety measure by design), Mike used an X-Acto knife to give those puncturing points -- careful kids!

Freedom -- at what price?!
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With the Victim kit, Mike veers into the land of macabre customization, fulfilling the kit's promise of a "blind date" by drilling out the girl's eyes.  After removing the original orbs, he backfilled the sockets with putty to give them a torn and swollen look, liberally dripping globs of gore down the young lady's cheeks.  Some added cuts and contusions plus noticeably punctured foot soles remind us this girl's predicament is definitely not child's play.

In the end, Mike's vision of a "monster scene" is as breathtaking in execution as it is barbaric in concept.  As you look over the images here, remember that this is all rendered in 1/13 scale, meaning that everything here is rather compact yet, by drawing out every fine detail of the kits, we're led to believe we're looking at a full-scale dungeon.

Needless to say, we're eager to see Mike's next Monster Scenes endeavor.





Learn more about Mike's incredible work -- by his own account -- in Issue #44 of Amazing Figure Modeler Magazine.  You'll find even more images and details of the intricate build.  Click this link to visit the AFM website and order a back issue today!

If one were to look for causal factors that have contributed to Mike's "unusual" imagination, consider he has been building replicas of monsters and mayhem as early as age 6.  He learned the fine art of calculated coercion through his influencing of family members to fund his fondness for fantastic plastic (this after his Play-Doh effigies ceased to satisfy).

Spawned in the latter 70's, Mike's early boyhood included modeling of now-classic kits served up by Fundimensions, AMT, and Aurora (of course).  During his mid-teens, he discovered Model & Toy Collector Magazine (now defunct) and entered the realm of vinyl and resin "garage" kits.  He began to hone his skills on offerings from Billiken, Horizon, Screamin', Lunar Modals, and Dimensional Designs. 

Having become a bona-fide sculptor and graphic artist (visit his website), Mike revels in the resurgence of model kits, notably these Monster Scenes.  We trust that Mike remains up to his neck in some sort of twisted terror and only hope he never becomes too submerged in his work.  

2009 Dencomm.  No content may be reprinted or repurposed, in whole or in part, without express written permission.