Monthly Archives: April 2010
I was intrigued to know more about D&D Customs when I found out they were recreating the entire GI Joe line into Marvel Legends 6" figures. Let's learn more about them:
AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself.
D&D CUSTOMS: We started designing customs Marvel Legends style 1/12 scale (6 to 7 inch) action figures under the name D&D CUSTOMS towards the end of 2008. I originally, as a child, collected a majority of toy lines like transformers, gi joe, star wars, dungeons and dragons, MASK, etc in the 1:18 scale standard gi joe size scale. It was not until recently that we started to appreciate the 6 inch scale which allows for greater detail and more of an adult collector feel without the size of a 12 inch figure which always felt more like a doll. We started recreating the Dungeons and Dragons toy line in a Marvel Legends style format at first and now we are working on doing the GI Joe toy line in the same 6 inch scale. We do side custom projects like the Xena and Hercules toy series and other game and movie characters from time to time upon request. We sell our customs exclusively with two eBay stores below:
The 1st sells our Gi Joe Marvel Legends Style Customs and other misc customs. The 2nd sells all of our Dungeons and Dragons toy customs for which we recreated practically the entire line in a 6 inch format, and a few other fantasy customs.
AFC: When did you start making customs?
D&D CUSTOMS: Late 2008
AFC: How did you get started making customs?
D&D CUSTOMS: I have always loved the GI Joe and Dungeon and Dragons toy line and wanted to create a more detailed fully poseable version for display.
AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?
D&D CUSTOMS: We sometimes work on 10 a week. We alternate depending on when some are drying from sculpt or paint. We also employ artists from around the world to work on variations of a figure.
AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?
D&D CUSTOMS: I have asked myself that question a lot and honestly I am not sure if I have an answer. I would have to go with my favorite character of all time which is The 1st character I was inspired to do, Venger from the Dungeons and Dragons animated series.
AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?
D&D CUSTOMS: GI Joe and Dungeons and Dragons
AFC: What customs do you have lined up for future projects?
D&D CUSTOMS: We are trying to work on every GI Joe from 1982 to 1988 so we keep fans updated on the next wave of GI Joes on our information page:
Here are a few lined up for this years release
TUNNEL RAT , DUSTY , GENERAL HAWK , LEATHERNECK , DIALTONE , WETSUIT , MAINFRAME , DOC , BLOWTORCH , ALPINE , STALKER TUNDRA , SHOCKWAVE , WILD BILL , SPIRIT , SNOW JOB , SHIPWRECK , ARTIC SNAKE EYES, GI JOE TOMAHAWK VEHICLE FOR 6 INCH LINE, COBRA EELS , COBRA PARAVIPER , ICE VIPER , SNOW SERPENT , TELEVIPER , ZANDAR , ZARANA , COBRA BAZOOKA TROOPER , DIABLO , COBRA COMMANDER , ALLEY VIPER , NIGHT VIPER , B.A.T. RESOLUTE , BARONESS 2.0 , MAJOR BLUDD , SERPENTOR , DR. MINDBENDER , CRIMSON GUARD 2.0, COBRA SNAKE, COBRA BLACK RAVEN & COBRA CLAW VEHICLE
AFC: How do you get your inspiration for your one of kind customs?
D&D CUSTOMS: I try to do a combination between the way the original toy looked, the current new version of the toy if it exists ,and the original picture from the carded figure.
AFC: You have taken on a large task of recreating the GI Joe line in Marvel Legends scale. What inspired you to do this?
D&D CUSTOMS: After seeing how the dungeons and dragons figures came out, we realized that doing a fully poseable gi joe custom with all the accessories and gear would be a fun project. Other toy designers also helped serve as inspiration.
AFC: What has been your toughest challenge recreating the GI Joe line?
D&D CUSTOMS: Honestly customizing is very expensive. Some customs parts can easily cost up to $200 which does not include all of the research. We sometimes buy 7 figures just to combine parts to make 1. Others are full sculpts and do not cost much other than time. We spends weeks trying to find the right bases and weaponry that will make the figures look like the original, but to also have a more adult modern military like feel.
AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?
D&D CUSTOMS: Be patient with each sculpt. Think the whole project through in steps in your head before you start.
One of the great things about the Clone Wars animated series is the introduction of new clone troopers. There have been so many new Clone Troopers introduced in the series and I am surprised at the slow production of new clones from Hasbro. This is where the customizers come in and made figures that fans need and love. I-am-Boba-Fett has a figure that your squad needs to diffuse the most tense situations. His Custom Clone Wars Bomb Squad Trooper comes with 2 C.I.S. bombs and would be an excellent addition to your Clone Wars army. Here is what the Clones look like from the Animated Series:
As of 2007, IDW produced a comic called Transformers 'Evolutions: Hearts of Steel' where the series was set sometime during the Industrial Revolution. Thanks to famed Transformer artist Guido Guidi, he was able to redisign our favorite Transformers based on technology of the time period such as Optimus Prime as a locomotive, which brings us to our latest custom from Sabrina Ng with her Custom Transformers Hearts of Steel Optimus Prime figure. For this figure, she has given it her signature paint aps where she can make plastic look like metal and she also has wired 8 LED's throughout! If you are a fan of Optimus Prime and locomotives, head over to eBay and check out Sabrina's Custom Transformers Hearts of Steel Optimus Prime figure. Here is what it looks like in locomotive form:
Let the bidding frenzy begin! The proCustomizers.com charity auctions benefiting the Autism Society of America are up and already have created a lot of buzz. They are being sold in 3 sets and are being hosted on Zildian's Auction Page.
proCustomizers.com is launching its second charity auction today! With Frenzy.Rumble providing the marketing support, Jin Saotome, Altitron, Anovasinn, Shinobitron, Darkcave Customs, Kelvinchang99, Magnamike, Solrac333, and Zildian have all come together to benefit the Autism Society of America. The auction launches today be sure to check back at Zildian''s Auction Page but for now, here is a teaser of the great things to come:embedded by Embedded Video
Ever wonder what happened after Darth Maul fell down the shaft after getting bisecting by Obi Wan? NTT has an theory on this with his latest Custom Marvel Legends Darth Maul figure. Building on the Star Wars Visionaries comic, NTT depicts Darth Maul as a much meatier cyborg than the I have seen in concept art but that is what I like about it. You can imagine Darth Sidious, in his haste, gathering the only parts he could find to quickly resurrect Darth Maul for more Sith missions. This Darth Maul looks like he can do some real damage with those legs. Although the gracefulness of the figure is somewhat overtaken by the large legs, Darth Maul still looks like he is a force to reckon with.
Continuing the Masterpiece theme from yesterday, JAF has a kitbash that is very unique. His Custom Transformers Masterpiece Megatron Flak 88 kitbash figure crosses several generations. The robot mode is remeniscant of the G1 Megatron that we all know and love but the alternate mode many may not be familiar with. One of my favorite hobbies is also catching up on World War 2 history and the alternate mode of this figure is a Flak 88 cannon:
I love the originality of this figure! Remember in the storyline for Revenge of the Fallen, Jetfire was talking about the Decepticons being there for a long time and this figure would fit into the the 1930's and 40's era as being hidden in plane site. A great use of Megatron and incorporating some history in the figure is a big plus for me! To view more photos of Megs clashing with Prime, head over to eBay and check out JAF's Custom Transformers Masterpiece Megatron Flak 88 kitbash figure.
Standing over an impressive 21" tall, ThyVipera brings us his G1 Masterpiece Transformers Custom Defensor combiner. This is the scale that toy makes should have been making combiners. The bigger the better! This Defensor looks very much like the G1 classic. The classic powder blue coloring is unmistakable. ThyVipera also did a great job selecting parts from various Transformers. Here is a photo showing the scale of the figure (note: the Skywarp is a Masterpiece figure...he looks so tiny!):
In order to make figures the best they can be, sometimes customizers have to create figures that do not break down into smaller parts or other transformers figures, which is the case for this Defensor. Nonetheless, this is an awesome figure so head over to eBay and check out more photos of ThyVipera's G1 Masterpiece Transformers Custom Defensor combiner.
Setting out on the very large task of recreating every GI Joe figure made into a 6" Marvel Legends style figure, D&D Customs brings us his latest Custom Marvel Legends Storm Shadow figure. Modeled after the original from the 80's, this figure brings in the detail that made the classic line so great. First of all, the weaponry is very nice done and it is great that all of the pieces are removable (even the knife in the from of the belt). The way the eyebrows and eyes were made gives the figure a fierce looking personality. What is cool about D&D's version is that you can pose the figure with the arrow drawn with the bow, an aspect that reminds me of some of the figures from the Sideshow Toy collection.
To check out more photos and to place a bid, head to eBay and view D&D's Custom Marvel Legends Storm Shadow figure.
Packed full of lights, sounds, and standing 12" tall, Frenzy.Rumble's Custom Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Battle Ops Bumblebee is larger than life (at least from a toy perspective). Frenzy.Rumble packs all he can into every custom and here are a list of features for this one:
- Electronic Sounds : Bumblebee has over 20 different voice clips and sound effects in robot and car modes. Including "Time to take out the trash", "I will protect you" and many more. Different sound/voice clips for each (Guardian Duty, Battle Duty, and Camaro modes)
- Electronic Lights : Super bright BLUE LED light up eyes, 2 Red LED lights in his arm cannon, Light up head and fog lights (Camaro mode), light up shoulder cannons
- Flip down battle mask
- Left arm auto-transforms into arm cannon
- Battle mask activates different sounds and phrases
- Flip out cannons in both car and robot modes
If you look close, you can see some very fine battle damage detailing, which is very well placed in the figure. The plastic really has the appearance of metal and the light effects are definitely not photo shopped. Here is what the figure looks like in car mode:
There are more photos and video at Frenzy.Rumble's auction page so check out his latest Custom Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Battle Ops Bumblebee figure.
Ripped from the pages of Marvel Comics comes Boskoes' Custom Marvel Legends Death's Head II figure. Boskoes has pulled out all the stops for their version of Marvel's robotic peacekeeper. Let's take a look at what they did:
"Super big, super bad, and super posable. Even his "real metal" wire hair can be posed to blow in the apocalyptic wind. We emptied out our trick bag here, and our bank account too lol. We built a huge custom blended paint map for this charcter, used airbrushing to give a blended transition on his infamous murder arm, and even worked up a decapitated original Death's Head accessory ala the classic Deaths Head II issue #1 comic cover that shows him holding it up."
I love the wire hair! You don't see many customs with poseable hair these days so that is very unique. The painting and shading techniques look really stellar and I am sure this figure looks 1000% better in person.
Here is the comic for reference:
Only less than 12 hours left to grab this one so head over to eBay and place a bid on Boskoes' Custom Marvel Legends Death's Head II figure.
This minibot may not be so mini after all but Sculpt-Bot Customs has paid a very nice homage to the little minibot who could with his Custom G1 Transformers Huffer figure. Using parts from a Transformers Animated Optimus Prime, a modified cab from the Supreme Devastator Mixmaster and other scratch built pieces, Sculpt-Bot really captured the essence of Huffer. He also captured the feel of the 80's classic figure with the signature orange and blue paint aps that Huffer is known and loved for. Let's check him out in robot mode:
The minibots did not have much articulation but it is cool to see when custmizers do it right, they can achieve so much movement never before possible. Head over to eBay to check out more photos of Sculpt-Bot's Custom G1 Transformers Huffer figure.
Kicking it old school (I mean super old school going way back before cars were invented), Encline Designs premiers his Steampunk Custom Hearts of Steel Optimus Prime figure. With a mix of the old West and the classic 80's coloring of the G1 Optimus Prime, this figure sure is a one of kind and a very cool concept. Encline is also a master of marketing and has made a very cool video about this figure:
Also, check out the figure in Choo Ch0o mode:
JCArtwork has a two for one special up this week with their Custom Cyclonus and Scourge G1 Transformers figures. Remembering the Transformers Cartoon Movie as a kid, the animation was was very gritty. With the way that these two figures are painted and detailed, they look like they have been through hell and back. The carbon scoring detail makes it look like they burst from the screen and into reality. With the destruction of Megatron and resurrection of Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge took their place in rank. These two figures would be amazing additions to anyone's Transformers collection, especially if you have a Galvatron. I enjoy reading about what inspired customizers to create thier works so here is JCArtwork to explain these two figures:
"I happened to ask myself what is the best custom in the world.Well this has been a very mind bothering question as I have always wanted to try out new stuff whenever I spot any interesting project online.But to me creativity is the best tools to innovate and create new things that is beyond our imagination. I always wanted to turn our favourite G1 transformers into something that can b more articulative when I was a kid .And it was merely a dream at that point of time.throughout the years people has been trying out alot of creative methods to revive our G1 transformers into live which is kinda inspiring .So with the help of some online reference I managed to get myself done with my first modification with G1 genre transformers ,Cyclonus and Scourge .It was quite tough in the first place as it seems to be easier than making it .Realising that it actually need alot of hard work than I really have to go through alot of steps before completing the whole project.And yes it took me a few months to reassemble them back in 1 piece and I have used the nearest paint application with the G1 Genre to give them the extra touch to bring us back to the 80's and let our child in us comes alive again.Still remember after the retreat of the decepticons and fleet to cybertron ,and that's how the injured decepticons and megatron turn into Galvatron ,Scourge and Cyclonus by Unicron."
Be sure to head over to eBay and check out JCArtwork's Custom Cyclonus and Scourge G1 Transformers figures:
Just a couple hours left to nab this awesome Custom Iron Man Mark VI figure by Jin Saotome! Sometimes looks can be deceiving in this 3.5" figure! As Jin states, in his auction,
"...sometimes the easiest 'planned' customs turn out to be pretty hard. When I cracked open the light-up Mark VI 3 3/4" Iron Man pieces went everywhere! There are multiple metal tabs that are held in place by the body and set against the main battery. Those had to be put back in, the LED swapped from orange to a blue one, and the leads bent to match the circuit. A few hours later I was actually able to get him back together and working! He was repainted like the 6" figure that's coming out as a Walmart exclusive and lights up bright blue now."
What a great idea to replace the orange LED with a blue LED and the repainted figure looks worlds better than the original factory job. Even the smallest of details make this figure shine! For example, some of the figure is outlined in black (mouth, knees, eyes) and it is this subtle detail that makes this figure stand out among the rest. Like I said before, just a couple hours left on this auction so head over to eBay and place a bid on Jin's Custom Iron Man Mark VI figure and own a figure from a legend in the customizing community!
I love when customizers take on Scourge because I love to see what they do to the trailer. This week, Toyphilia has a great Custom Transformers ROTF Scourge figure with a very simple, yet effective, trailer. I have seen many Scourge trailers but I really like the simplicity of this one. The black Decepticon logo at an angle adds the right touch to the custom painted ROTF Optimus Prime. I also like the lightning effects as it is a very different look that I have seen from other Scourge figures. The robot mode also looks very cool as well:
The great thing about Zartan is that he is the master of disguises and War's Customs has made this a reality with his Custom Clear Cast Zartan GI Joe 25th Anniversary figure. What is great about this figure is that Zartan can finally achieve invisibility. Also, the figure is made of liquid plastic instead of resin.
This week, I had the honor of interviewing one of the most talented and popular Transformers customizers, Frenzy_Rumble.
AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself.
Frenzy_Rumble: First off, I'd like to thank AFC for the opportunity to do this interview. AFC is an essential cornerstone in the customizing community. My name is Michael, otherwise known as frenzy_rumble. I was born in Brooklyn NY, and grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey. After college, I moved to San Diego where I met my beautiful fiance Katie. After about 10 years in San Diego, we moved back to New Jersey to be closer to family. Currently, I have a full service customizing shop with every tool and gadget I can get my hands on. I spend the majority of my days and nights in the shop, even weekends! With many years in the graphics art world, a profession in web development, I created my first personal website:
In the coming months, I have (in the works) a "revamp" of frenzyrumble.com which will have tons of details, galleries, videos, tutorials, guest book, and LOTS more. I can be contacted through the current website, or directly at email@example.com. Also, my full portfolio can be seen on flickr : http://www.flickr.com/photos/accardi1/sets/
AFC: How did you come up with your alias Frenzy.Rumble?
Frenzy_Rumble: I've always been a huge fan of Transformers (especially the Decepticons). I would save all my money as a kid and spend it all on Transformers. Two of my favorite figures were Frenzy and Rumble. Both were great characters AND figures. I feel the recognizable names, but with a little bit of an original twist would result in a catchy name most people can remember easily.
Frenzy_Rumble: I found in my "Generation 1" original collection some figures which were (terribly) repainted and modified. I've always been an artist; and love to put my creativity on everything I can. A little over 2 years ago, I was blown away by the beautiful customs I saw on ebay. I thought to myself it looked like a fun and awesome way to be artistic. My first "official" custom sold was Transformers the Movie Leader Class Brawl. I was working for a web development company and the majority of my co-workers watched the auction skyrocket. Only a few days later, my mailbox was filling with "requests for commissions" - I couldn't believe it. There was a market for something I absolutely loved doing. Some months later, I went "full-time" with customs, leaving the web development company and working for myself from home.
Frenzy_Rumble: Like said above, I had a great deal of response from the initial customs and commission earlier in this career. I am very active and involved in many online communities dealing with customs, constantly learning and helping others develop. The majority of my commission "client-base" are repeat customers. My website and consistent passion help advertise my work. Although they are "only toys," I tend to take my customs very seriously.
AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?
Frenzy_Rumble: Typically I have 10-12 projects on the work bench area. I've learned that to be productive, you must be organized. My shop is divided into "sections." Each section is a stage for a project. To the far left, I have parts, figures, and raw materials. When a project is "started" it moves to the "bashing" area, which is where I do any modifications and building. When ready, it moves to the painting area and is painted. Next, the project moves to an idle area to allow proper drying and curing of paint. Several days later (approximately 7-10) I take the completed project to the photo area, where I have set up my tripod and light tent. After some agonizing photo sessions, I upload the best photos from the shoot; and supply those to the commissioner. The main core of my work shop is my computer. My computer serves as my only communication to the outside world, lol. In June, I will actually be getting a new shop, with even more room! Here's a picture of the current shop:
Upon approval, the custom is meticulously packaged and shipped. I feel it's important and best to have multiple projects going simultaneously...it's easy to get "burnt out" on a project and lose interest, stepping away from it can help give you a new perspective and interest.
AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?
Frenzy_Rumble: I'm proud of all of them, each for a small reason, be it a minor breakthrough or new method that "worked" or the recipient's rave response when he/she receives the custom. Some of my favorites have been Autobot X, Defensor, and Computron (which is still being built).
AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?
Frenzy_Rumble: Transformers. Specifically generation 1 "revamps"...there's nothing more satisfying than taking an old basic figure and reworking it to look more modern and appealing.
AFC: What customs do you have lined up for future projects?
Frenzy_Rumble: Currently, I am focused heavy on commissions. Once I get a little more ahead of them, I have literally a list of projects I plan to embark upon. Some of the ones I am eager to get into are: Generation 1 revamps (Sky Lynx, Headmasters, Metroplex, Triple-Changers, Trypticon). I also intend to raise the bar with gestalts/combiners. There are lots out there I would love to do: Bruticus, Raiden, Piranicon, Monstructor. One I've been working on (for almost a year now, lol) is Computron. He's got over 50 LED lights, a full high-res LCD screen, speakers, sounds...the works. AND he's got a USB and 8gb of memory (not a joke!) In the next coming months, you'll see some of my new "Steampunk" series customs. An idea I thought of a few months ago. I will take many G1 memorable characters, but put a steampunk era spin on them. Definitely something new and never done before.
Frenzy_Rumble: My inspiration comes from many sources. The majority of it comes from my love of what I do and the love of Transformers. I am also inspired by the music I have playing while working. I admit, that often I have the scores or soundtracks of Transformer movies playing from my PC while I build and paint. Other customizers have and always will help inspire me as well. I love browsing ebay and message boards to see what other people have created.
Frenzy_Rumble: Thanks! The process is tedious, but rewarding when done. Preparation work is just as important as the paint itself. I sand and clean the figures perfectly, take apart the figures as much as I can, then apply base coats using lacquer paint. Next, I use a blend of enamels and acrylic based paints for washes and panel lining. Next I begin dry brushing and highlighting the parts. To do this, I blend over a color using lighter shades until the desired effect is reached. I also paint the edges with a wet lighter shade to help provide more definition. Lastly, I go through each part and add in details using a small brush and Testor's Model Master Enamel. When dry, I air brush clear coats in matte, satin, or gloss finish.
Frenzy_Rumble: Be original and persistent. I've seen too many customizers try and make a name for themselves by following in someone else's shadow. There are hundreds of characters and thousands of ideas - untouched and ready for customizing. Site your inspirations, but put your own mark on your customs; while it's important to be humble, it's more important to be proud of your art. Be consistent and persistent, don't give up because of a flop auction or unhappy customer. Do what you love doing and everything else falls into place.
The Gunships have to be one of my favorite vehicles from the newer Star Wars movies and JoesCustomsCreations has created Commander Bly's battalion complete with a ride with his Custom Lego Star Wars 327th Gunship. Dubbed "The Hornet," this Gunship is ready for action and with the 327th Clone Troopers ready for action, this Gunship with make your Lego Star Wars universe feel like the Clone Wars is actually happening but on a much smaller scale. Commander Bly does require a bit more specialized forces and weaponry so JoesCustomCreations has pimped out this Gunship with 2 side mounted mini Gatling Guns, a Roving ATV, and an escape Jet. This is truly one of the more unique Gunships I have scene to date. Here is a closeer look at the troops:
There is a great story about these figures and more detail about the Gunship over at the auction page so head over to eBay and check out this one of a kind Custom Lego Star Wars 327th Gunship.
Whether BoskoesToys is making Custom Transformers, Iron Man, or the multitude of figures they specialize in, they always do a stellar job and their Custom Marvel Legends X-Force Cable figure is no exception. This figure looks downright mean and nasty and that large gun by his side compliments the figure's demeanor. BoskoesToys does exceptionally well at the finer details in figures. The paint aps, for one, are amazing, and the addition of the black shading gives the figure depth and dimension. For more photos and to place a bid on this great figure, head over to eBay and check out BoskoesToys' Custom Marvel Legends X-Force Cable figure.
FrogDNA is going back to the Transformers roots with his Generation 1 Cartoon Style Insecticon figures. If you want figures that resemble the G1 cartoons, you have to turn to customizers. FrogDNA has done a great job staying true the classic Generation 1 color scheme from the original cartoons of the 80's and the matte lacquer finish really compliments the style of the figures. To check out the modifications to the figures and to get more detail on the paint aps, head over to eBay and check FrogDNA's Generation 1 Cartoon Style Insecticon figures.
World War 2 is my favorite period of history to learn and read about and Jin Saotome has flipped the history books upside down with his line of World Wars 2 Alternate History figure line. I missed this figure last week so it is not available anymore but I thought I would do a retrospective right up on Jin's Custom Winston Churchill GI Joe figure. As you can see, this is not the same Winston Churchill from the 1940's. Let's read more about how Jin has rewritten history:
"Though the assassination attempt utilizing an exploding tea chair left him only half the man he use to be, Churchill still found the courage to rise for battle. The Allies' top scientists got to work on a new lower body built for combat. Outfitted with powerful servos, shield panels, a flame unit, and mechanical stomping legs, Winston joined Roosevelt and the others to fight the Axis up front and personal. Churchill enjoys rolling into battle sideways and bowling into the Nazis yelling "STRIKE!" leaving no one spared. The tide has turned, but the war still rages on!"
Even though Jin's Custom Winston Churchill GI Joe figure is over, you can still view it over at eBay and check out the photos.