Action figure sculptor

BB pal Gil Kaufman wrote a great piece for today about Paul Brooke, a sculptor of action figures who lives in my old hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. (Note: I recognized Paul from the 1980s and early 1990s when he played around town in excellent No Wave bands Roundhead and Red Math.) From

After college, Brooke got work as a "doll-eye specialist" at Kenner Toys working on Barbie and Baby Alive, when he discovered his real passion. "Pretty soon after that I started building models, and they bumped me up to a full-time model maker, which is when I got into sculpting," said Brooke, who used to play bass in local bands Red Math and Roundhead.

"I was a girl's-toy sculptor for a while then I got on boy's toys and toward the end of my time there I got on the G.I. Joe line and that's when I killed the kung-fu grip." Brooke had the unheard of idea of dropping the signature move for the macho doll and replacing it with the "gung-ho" grip, which featured added points of articulation and made Joe even more of a badass.

Brooke, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, is soft-spoken and moves slowly around his small basement studio, where a fat cat makes himself comfortable on a stool and trays of heads, feet and silver and flesh-colored hands are lying about. His work area is littered with soldering guns, crock pots for cooking his special molding wax, casts of various figures and, for no apparent reason, a "Beverly Hills, 90210" miniature hair dryer signed by Tori Spelling. He uses dental tools and homemade implements made out of looped guitar strings to do his sculpting, which involves hours and sometimes days of painstaking detail work to get something like the folds in Napoleon Dynamite's jeans or the clumps of Johnny Depp's dreadlocked hair just right.