Category Archives: Interviews

AFC Interviews Transformers Artist Kingbotz

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This week, AFC has the pleasure of getting to know Transformers Artist, Kingbotz, in this exclusive interview:

AFC: Tell the fans about yourself

Kingbotz: Hi there fellow TF-artists & friends, I'm Shane aka "Kingbotz" from New Orleans, La, born and raised. I've been an artist all my life, starting with 2D pencil-art in my youth & building anything I could out of whatever I had. I grew up with plenty of educational building sets like Brix-Blox, Robotix, Lincoln Logs, Erector & Tinker Toys. A significant incident took place in '86 when my mom threw away all my TF & Gobot toys as punishment for something I did, so I secretly started making them out of paper & hid 'em under the dresser. Yep, they all transformed too. They had a simple panel-flip-technology on 'em but it worked! I even did a few combiners like Defensor, Superion & Devastator. I mean, they were more or less like little robotic paper-dolls that couldn't even stand on their own, but those and my imagination was all I had left after the "apocalypse," lol.   Anyhow, that creative-entity was always there, it just took all the right elements & conditions to manifest itself in a much more profound way further down the road.   Years of mechanical-experience, circumstances & timing was all critical to my development and establishment as a TF-artist/customizer.   Anyone is welcomed to check out my previous and current work on my main website at www.Kingbotz.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/Kingbotz
and my video-channel at www.YouTube.com/Kingbotz.

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AFC: Why did you start making customs?

Kingbotz: It's a very long story to put in a nutshell, but it all started in early 2005 after I had surgery for a sports-injury. I was stuck at home, had a lot of spare time & started collecting old Transformers again that I found on eBay.  It was fun, but there was STILL something major missing, couldn't quite pinpoint it. A couple weeks after surgery, I woke up one day and started brainstorming the possibility of building an oversized Transformer-character of my own. I began pondering what I would base this huge figure on, and what I could use to make it happen. One of the first ideas that hit me was a combiner using vehicles to minimize scratch-building, and suddenly Tonka-trucks got my gears turning about a huge "Devastator" and I wondered.... "just how many Tonka-trucks can I find at one toy-store, that are all in scale with each other???" I jumped in my truck, went straight to the store and spent the whole day there, shopping and getting all the trucks I needed. Went home with the haul, and the rest was history.  Over the course of about 8 to 10 months, I built my first Transformer-custom, a 5-foot Devastator made out of Tonka-trucks that stored 29 other Transformer-toys all over the body. That was the custom that put me "on the map" sort-of-speak, which was only supposed to be a one-time thing that I was gonna list on E-bay and sell once it was done.  After I came home from Botcon 2006 and displayed Devastator there, I had no doubt I was meant to do so much more. I've been pretty much on automatic since then with limitless ideas, concepts & drive to continue to push the margin and take it further & further.

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AFC: When did you start making customs?

Kingbotz: Define "custom!" Lol Well I did a lot of building & mods to toys & stuff growing up, but my first official major Transformer-custom that came in with a bang was the 5-foot Devastator-statue in 2005.  I believe towards the end of 2005 was about the time that I started experimenting with individually-transformable Tonka-prototype figures as I was wrapping up the Devastator project, finished all 3 around the same time in early 2006. Devastator came first though, so early 2005 was the start for me.

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AFC: How many projects are you working on at any given time?

Kingbotz: Only maybe 2 or 3 at the most. It's so easy to get swamped by taking on too many projects at the same time, it just doesn't make sense. 2 or 3 at the MOST, but I tend to take on some pretty complex commissions for the most part, so really 2 concurrent projects are enough for me. I'd rather take my time & focus on the quality of the pieces that I'm working on and do a killer job.  I want the "wow" factor and initial-impact when people look at my work, even if it means going above-and-beyond what I was paid to do. Quality over quantity.

AFC: What are some the customs you are most proud of?

Kingbotz: Hmmm....that's a tough one. As far as size goes? The 7ft "Bruticus." Complexity....the 5ft "Frenzy" Aesthetics....5ft Devastator (2008) and 4ft Shockwave. As far as originality goes though, I do have to say I'm particularly very proud of the new Transformers "Abstract" line I introduced a year ago, it's gone over really well. I was skeptical about the concept and how it would be received, but the reception and feedback has been fantastic. It's fresh & original with nothing else to compare it to.....all out of my head, my perspective.  I look at how that small line is growing slowly but surely and the potential it has now and think, "wow, I did that," and that's something I'm proud of.

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AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?

Kingbotz: Hands-down, the Transformers line. I'm an art & customs-enthusiast for most toy-genres across the boards, but Transformers are my specialty & where my passion is. I do have to admit I love the GoBots toys as much as TFs, but that's a line I haven't had the chance to explore just yet. All in due time. 😉

AFC: What customs or commissions do you have lined up for future projects?

Kingbotz: I'm currently developing a 2-foot G1-Devastator to offer TF Abstract-enthusiasts the chance to take their collection to the next level. I chose that particular size not only because it will display nicely in scale next to Generations Metroplex & G1 Fort Max, but it's also a magnificent centerpiece and serves as a fantastic next-level option for the Abstract-admirers as well.  I also have a long-overdue commission in the final-stages that is sure to please, an old transformable robotic steel-mill Titan based on the Generations Metroplex figure. (Ogun Abyss)  That project has been quite a journey & learning-experience, one of the most involved transformable pieces I've ever tackled. Keep an eye out for that one. As far as future commissions I haven't begun yet, I've got 2, maybe 3 NES (Nintendo) commissions I'll embark on soon, one of them is definitely a crossover of 2 genres. The consoles will still be playable, 2 of the pieces will involve the little R.O.B. robot that came with the original deluxe Nintendo game-set. There is another secret outlandish 3-stage project I've been working on here & there for roughly 5-years now. Can't say much about it, but anybody that grew up in the 80s will particularly love this one and be blown away. Lot's of crazy stuff in the works.

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AFC: What was the most challenging custom to make so far?

Kingbotz: Without a doubt, the 5-foot "Frenzy" replica from the 2007 Transformers-movie. Good God, where do I start with that one. It was a total scratch-build, and all I had as reference were maybe 5 or six good pics that I could find on the internet. For decent part-scale reference, I actually had to get frontal & side-pics blown up to the approximate height I wanted the figure to be, and I worked off of that. What made it worse, you still couldn't see every spot, joint & body-part of Frenzy in the pics I had, so I was forced to improvise in a lot of areas. The customer also wanted it to be posable with 4 light-up eyes and a r/c controlled turning-head. All this within a 5-month time-frame. Yeah that one stressed me out a little....a lot....but I liked the challenge and sense of accomplishment when it was done. This project was a test & sum of all the skills & resources I picked up over the years, and it still pushed me beyond that.  When it was finished I thought, "how can I possibly top THAT one?" It was both humbling and gratifying, but it removed any doubt I could do anything I set my mind to.

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AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?

Kingbotz: Excellent supplemental follow-up to question #8. 😉 My best advice to other artists & customizers new & old is- believe in yourself. I could say "work hard, stay humble, don't give up, be consistent, be original" & all that other stuff.....but if you first believe in yourself, everything else will follow.

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AFC Interviews Marauder Gun Runners

MarauderInc-GunRunners
This week, ActionFigureCustoms had the pleasure to interview Ruben from Maurader Gun Runners.  You might recall that AFC posted about MGR's 3 3/4" custom accessories last week but now, let's hear more about MGR in this AFC exclusive interview:
AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself
Ruben: Hello Marauder Ruben aka TR1ER , on Hisstank.com and joecustoms.com, as well as other forums. I was born and raised in Chicago moved to New mexico.  My contact info, you can email me at tr1er@msn.com or you can find me on Facebook.
AFC: Why was Marauder gun runners started?
Ruben: MGR was started in the summer of 2005 by owner and operated by, MarauderJohn. The goal of Marauder "Gun Runners" is to provide DETAILED, IN SCALE and AFFORDABLE 1:18 scale accessories and Action figures for the adult collector.
AFC:  When did you start making customs?
Ruben: I started making customs back in 2002. While on the internet, I typed in gijoe and what I found just blew me away. The very first customs that I have ever seen , where made by a customizer by the name Evilface.
I was just amazed and shocked by the idea of taking perfectly good gijoe figures and turning them into new characters. While searching around some more I found a site called the Biv.  I lurked there for a bit. Then that site became what we know know as joecustoms.com.  I joined watched and studied the many talented artists there. Built up the nerve to make a custom and the rest is history!AFC: How many projects are you working on at any given time?
Ruben: Oh god there is always something on the work bench.  It never ends, from commission work , to wips and so on. my work shop!
AFC: What are some the custom you are most proud of?
Ruben:  Wow tough one I've done so many it's hard to say. But I would have to say my highlights would have to be my 2 first place wins in past joecons,in 2006 and 2012.  But the works I'm most proud of, the paint work I did on the Marauder task force figures. That right there is my all time high. To be able to paint protos for action figures, that will be massed produced and out in public! It's a dream come true. in this hobby who does not dream of that. Along with fellow customizer and good friend Kevin watts also on fb, who painted the Mtf Spec ops figure.Big thanks to Marauder john it was an amazing experience. The MTF line up! photo by Alex Weiner on FB.
AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?
Ruben: For me it's Gijoe it's been my main line since the beginning. Every now and then I'll venture into some other line but not much. Modern military is more my style.
AFC: What customs do you have lined up for future projects?
Ruben: Working on commissions for the most part.  I really have not had any time to work on my own ideas as of late. But time willing I'll have some military type customs made.AFC: What was the most challenging accessory to make so far?
Ruben: I'm always trying to push myself to try and make my customs are real looking as I can. That would either be sling's on weaponry or head communication set's.
AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?
Ruben: Pick up a brush and get after it! Don't be afraid to try. We all started at the same level. It just does not happen overnight. Don't be afraid to ask questions. There are so many customizers out there ,that are willing to share their knowledge and share tip's.  Take pride in your work , don't worry about what other people have to say. As long as your happy that's all that matters. But strive to be the best that you can be and don't give up!
Ruben: Thanks so much to AFC for the honor by having me for an interview.  By sure to check out our new Kick Starter project for new weapon's made for 6 inch figures.Also if your on facebook check out my other group's.  Mayhem customs a crew of many talented customizers from around the world:Keep it 100, one of the best customs group's on Facebook for everything this hobby has to offer.
Be it customs,dios,photography,art it's your one stop shop with very talented from all over the world come to display their work.

AFC Interviews PackRatStudios

AFC has a virtual sit down with Pack Rat Studios, a customizer that caught my eye with his unique styling and concepts.  I am a closet Steampunk fan and PackRatStudios' Custom Steampunk Boba Fett first drew my attention and after that I was hooked on his customs!  Let's read more about this talented customizer:

AFC: Tell your fans a little about yourself.

PackRatStudios: My name is Jonathan, I live in St. Paul, MN where it still snows in April!, and I am all that is PackRatStudios!

My contact info:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pack-Rat-Studios/210025619031803?ref=hl
Email: packratstudios@gmail.com
Blog: http://packratstudios.blogspot.com/

AFC: When did you start making customs?

PackRatStudios: Since I was young. I remember painting figures with enamels and casting parts in plaster (lose lose situations). I always collected action figures up until going off to college, and I actually sold pretty much everything I had at that point. But when I got out of college, I started back up with action figures, and customs came right after. I was doing customs in a one bedroom apartment that I lived in with my wife, cramming stuff in all kinds of nooks and crannies, working at the kitchen table, it was a mess. Then we bought a house, and my collecting, customizing, and Storage for customizing just exploded! So I called myself PackRatStudios, cause I pack it in. I'm not a HORDER! Yet I do keep some of the weirdest things on hand, Just in case!

AFC: Can you describe your workspace?

PackRatStudios: Organized Hording 😉

AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?

PackRatStudios: I seriously cannot pick one! I love jumping around and doing Marvel Legends, DC Universe, Star Wars, Gi Joe, TMNT, and SteamPunk. Nothing is off limits in my mind!

AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?

PackRatStudios: I’d have to either pick between my 24 inch SteamPunk Iron Man, or my 36 inch Nautilus I did last year.

Steampunk Iron Man

Steampunk Iron Man

36" Nautilus

36" Nautilus

Both were commissions, both were large, both were learning opportunities for me! These projects were very daunting coming into, not having done any projects this large. But I learned a lot doing both of these, picked up some new techniques and I and my customers were very happy with the results.

AFC: What customs do you have lined up for the future?

PackRatStudios: I have ‘WIP’ Project bins stacked and ready. I’m never without a project! But Right now, I have some more TMNTs Planned, GI Joes, SteamPunk stuff, and Transformers: I have a Military Vehicle concept Combiner that has been half finished sitting on a shelf for about a year or two now… that, and I have a full line of WW2 Star Wars figures that have been sitting longer…including a WW2 AT-AT!

AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?

PackRatStudios: One piece of advice that has worked well for me is to take my time on projects, and work on more than one thing at a time. There are times where I will have more that 5-6 projects going at a time, at different stages. This gives me the ability to switch back and forth between projects, where I am not getting bored with a figure. Boredom with a project leads to sloppy project! When I get bored with a figure, I just switch to another. As stated before, I have dozens of projects lined up in my WIP bins, so I ALWAYS have another figure I can go to. When sculpts are drying, I can move to Paint, when Paint is drying, I can move to building!

AFC Interviews Steve’s Customs

AFC has the pleasure of interviewing Steve's Customs!  Enjoy meeting this talented customizer:

AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself

Steve: My name is Steve. I am 41 years old but I'm still a child at heart. I love customizing action figures because I am never happy with the way they look from the factory. I am an active member on Procustomizers.com and I am also active on facebook.  I have a website as well: http://www.stevescustomfigures.webs.com.  I am married to my beautiful wife Grace, I have 2 daughters, Kate 22 and Kira 16. I am also a grandfather of 3. Aiden 3, Carly 2 and Sophia. 2 months.

AFC: When did you start making customs?

Steve: I started doing customs when I was about 13. I think it was Voltron. I had a small version that didn't come apart but I wanted to have the lions disassemble. So I took it apart and made legs and painted the little guys.

AFC: Can you describe your workspace?

Steve: I have a work table in my shed. It's not the greatest place to work. I do have electric though. Bless the invention of the extension cord. LOL I can't do anything in the winter. It just gets too cold out there.

AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?

Steve: My absolute favorite line is The Transformers. They are usually easy to take apart and reassemble.

AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?

Steve: The custom I am most proud of.........That's a tough one. My WFC Megatron because it's the first figure I've ever put an LED in. Also my WFC Nemesis Prime. I love all the add ons I made for it.

AFC: What customs do you have lined up?

Right now I'm doing FOC Grimlock. I'm working on the LEDs right now. I put a new on/off switch in it and an LED in the robot head. Working on finishing it up right now. I have about 10 projects in various stages. For whatever reason, I haven't gotten around to finishing them yet. One day......

AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?

Steve: Be patient. If you rush something, you're going to mess it up. Also, learn as much as you can. You can only improve with time.

AFC Q&A with Frenzy.Rumble: Custom Masterpiece Revenge of the Generation One Starscream

Custom Masterpiece Revenge of the Generation One Starscream

Custom Masterpiece Revenge of the Generation One Starscream

AFC sits down with Frenzy.Rumble to get the latest info on his Custom Masterpiece Revenge of the Generation One Starscream figure:

AFC: What is the custom you have up for sale on eBay this week?

Frenzy.Rumble: Masterpiece Revenge of the Generation One Starscream

AFC: What inspired you to create this custom?

Frenzy.Rumble: I'm a huge fan of both Generation One and the movie stuff. Why not mash the aesthetics of both designs

AFC: How was this figure made? 

Frenzy.Rumble: This creative and unique Masterpiece Starscream is a hybrid / mash-up of Generation One Starscream and Movie-verse Style Starscream. I hand painted (no stencils!) his jet mode's tattoos using references from the movie and existing figures. Starscream is painted in a barrage of grays. Really happy with the way he turned out. Original figure was iGear's Thundercracker, which has superior sliding tail sections, better joints and other neat Easter eggs.

AFC: How many hours did it take you to create this figure?

Frenzy.Rumble: Starscream took about 20 hours from start to finish

AFC: Is there any other interesting information about the process of making this custom that you would like to share with your fans?

Frenzy.Rumble: The "tattoos" are all free hand painted. I post up near my work station some reference images and load up my brush with paint and get painting.

AFC Q&A with Hunter Knight Customs: Bow Masters of the Universe Filmation Style

Bow Masters of the Universe Classics Custom

AFC has a virtual sit down with Masters of the Universe (and other genre) customizer extraordinaire Hunter Knight Customs!  We wanted to learn more about his latest Custom Masters of the Universe Filmation Style Bow figure:

AFC: What custom do you have up for sale on eBay this week?

HKC: Masters of the Universe classics Bow inspired by the Filmation cartoon

AFC: How was this figure made?

HKC: Bow was really a simple one, since the most difficult part was to modify the boots to make them cartoon accurate. It’s basically the Bow base with He-man upper boots. They had to be shaved so the traditional Bow boots could be sculpted. His bracelets were also shaved, muscles resculpted and Filmation bracelets sculpted in place. The upper armor was resculpted as seen in the cartoon. I kept the quiver cause it just looks better and in character.

AFC: How many hours did it take you to create this figure?

HKC: Hmm hard to say, since the work is split in days/weeks. I'd say around 15 hours. I really like to take my time on making them, since a rush job is never good.

AFC: What inspired you to create this custom?

HKC: It was actually a suggestion from my Facebook fans/friends, they always wanted a Filmation style Bow Since the cartoon looks is quite iconic among He-man/ She-ra fans.

AFC: Is there any other interesting information this custom that you would like to share with your fans?

HKC: It was made by a fan, for the fans. It also includes an extra flaming arrow and the bow has a string added that allows the figure to shoot arrows..just don’t shoot at your pet….Shooting Panthor is fine though.

AFC Interviews Hotwire Customs

Hotwire Customs

Hotwire Customs

It is great to get to know customizers from all walks of life and experience levels.  This week, I had the excellent opportunity to interview an "up and coming" customizer that goes by the handle Hotwire.  His latest contribution brings his talent to the Japan Earthquake Relief Custom Transformers Auction.  Let's find out more about him:

AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself
Hotwire: My name is Mike, but the customizing world knows me as Hotwire.  I would categorize myself as something of an, "up and coming," customizer.  I was one of the first members of proCUSTOMIZERS.com and earned my Pro status back in October, so I must be on the right track.  I operate my website hotwirecustoms.webs.com and accept commissions via email at hotwirescustoms@yahoo.com.

AFC: When did you start making customs?
Hotwire: I've been customizing almost two years now.

AFC: How did you get started making customs?
Hotwire: Haha, this is also the story of how I got started collecting transformers again.  My wife bought me ROTF leader class Optimus Prime for Father's Day in 2009 and that got me collecting them again.  I picked up Ironhide and realized, I liked the mold, but hated the color.  I had been looking at the Radicons section of TFW for quite some time and thought, "I can do that."  So, I read some tutorials, mostly the ones by Jin Saotome, bought some paints, and ended up with my very first custom, a red voyager class Ironhide!

AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?
Hotwire: Normally, it's just 1 of the time.  It helps me stay focused on my deadlines.

AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of (include pics)?
Hotwire: ROTF Soundwave.  This was the customs where I developed my "worn colors" style you saw on the War for Cybertron Autobots you reviewed.

AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?
Hotwire: Transformers, all the way, dude!  Though I had a lot of fun doing the Sith Starfighter for the Japan charity auction proCUSTOMIZERS did, so I may do some more of those.

AFC: What customs do you have lined up for future projects?
Hotwire: Drift.  I want to take his evil Decepticon turned heroic Autobot story, and drag it through some shattered glass.  Will also be trying my  hand at metal work on this one.  I hate flimsy rubber swords.

AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?
Hotwire: Never stop learning.  Learn as much as you can, from painting techniques to taking criticism.  The more you learn, the more tools you have to work with, and the more you can accomplish.

AFC Interviews D&D Customs

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:

1)  LOTRTOYS

2)  D-DTOYCUSTOMS

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:

GI Joe Marvel Legends Custom Gallery

Dungeons & Dragons Marvel Customs 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.

AFC Interviews Quantum-7 Customs

Quantum-7 Customs Interview: Continuing the Interview Series, I had the chance to get to know JB Goodenbuy, otherwise known as Quantum-7 Customs. Let's learn more about this talented customizer:

AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself.

Quantum-7 Customs: First I just want to say thank you Michael for the questions and you really do a great thing here at this site. Thank YOU Action Figure Customs. My name is JB Goodenbuy and I go by the customizing name of QUANTUM 7 customs. I sell the majority of my work on Ebay, with the slight and occasional commission work for very close friends. I currently live in South Carolina and I am originally from Orlando/Daytona Beach Florida area.

AFC: When did you start making customs?

Quantum-7 Customs: I got started on making customs over 15 years ago or so. It started out with just simple repaints of 3 3/4 inch Star Wars figures. Then moved up to mix and match parts to create new characters or ones the big companies hadn't made yet. Then evolved over the last several years to include sculpted details and parts and larger figures. It has just really evolved from the humble beginnings.

AFC: How did you get started making customs?

Quantum-7 Customs: I'm not really sure exactly what started it other than my quirk in seeing things that could be done differently or better. I have always had a knack for art type things. Drawing, painting, sculpting. I just have a need to make things.

AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?

Quantum-7 Customs: There could be up to 6 different projects on my desk at any given time in various stages of completion. I have a terrible disease that before I complete one or two I have already begun another batch in the wings. I guess it would be my lack of attention. I just get ideas and I'll get the new one going while still having 5 others waiting to be finished... this is part of the reason I don't do commission work.

AFC: What customs you are most proud of?

Quantum-7 Customs: Oh wow, tough question. Like most artists I feel that each piece is important to me. They are almost like children. You think about having them, then you make them, then you try to prepare them to function in the world and then you let them go. Pride comes from each one I do. Each one gets alittle better than the last, because you learn new things on each project. Some of the ones I am very happy with are ATLAS from the Thunderbolts, ARSENAL from Teen Titans, RED HULK , FIN FANG FOOM repaint and most recently, DARK-CLAW. I just had put alittle more effort and time into these particular ones so I would say they are my favorites.

AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?

Quantum-7 Customs: I enjoy doing customs in all the major lines but I think the larger 6 inch scale are a little easier. When sculpting on large figures you can get more detail in the sculpt.

AFC: What customs do you have lined up for future projects?

Quantum-7 Customs: LOL...Well, currently I have about 6 lined up in various stages of completion. Some on the "chopping block" are a classic version of Marvel's Thunderbird, Thunderbolt's Scourge , an Ultimate version of Aquaman, Ultimate Red Skull in battle armor and a TOP SECRET project that will be revealed on Ebay in about 2 months!!!!!

AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?

Quantum-7 Customs: Stay true to yourself. Create what makes YOU feel happy. Don't try to make customs of what you think others want to see and most importantly, always let your first coat of paint dry before applying a second ; ^)

AFC: You can find Quantum-7 Customs over at eBay by following this link!

AFC Interviews Customizer Sabrina Ng

I first got to know Sabrina by her outstanding work customizing Transformers figures.  Her technique is top notch and I was extremely fortunate to get a glimpse into her world.  Here is the latest addition to the interview series for your reading pleasure:

AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself.
Sabrina Ng: Well, I'm 24 come this January '09. I'm pretty much a very cheerful girl that loves challenges. Some of my favorite past times (besides painting) are dragon boating, working out in the gym, watching Japanese anime, and SHOPPING!!! Heh, which girl doesn't? 🙂  I've also just obtained a degree in Business Management and am looking around for a job in the Human Resource field. It's been my interest ever since I started my program.  I do airbrushing as a past time. But it was so exciting that I started a small blog (http://www.artsylovers.blogspot.com/) to document and promote my work.

AFC: When did you start making customs?
Sabrina Ng: Well, I first laid hands on an airbrush somewhere in April 08? Apart from that, my only experience in arts was in designing and drawing on batik, a form of Indonesian art which I learned in school.
AFC: How did you get started making customs?
Sabrina Ng: Well, my bf saw some custom transformer on ebay a few months after the movie in '07 and was highly driven on bidding on it till the price went to the hundreds.  So feeling dejected, he asked me if I could paint. I was like sure, I could paint. I've done some pretty elaborate Batik designs when I was in school. Never would I expect him to ask me to paint a toy! So when he showed me the custom (it was movie Jazz) I was like hmmmm...That's something I've never done before..So without informing me, he splurged a 1000 odd on an airbrush set. He then took me shopping for paints and there I was...stuck..I mean I couldn't possibly say no after he had bought all the equipment now can I?
AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?
Sabrina Ng: This really depends. Large and complex customs typically sap my time pretty fast. I would only work on one custom if it was large and complex due to the many parts available for paint as compared to a smaller custom. I've probably done up to a maximum of 3 customs for the smaller models. It's not something that I would try to make a habit off as once my attention jumps between 3 toys, I may find my attention to quality diminishing.
AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?
Sabrina Ng: This is a tough question. But I guess, the custom that I am most proud of is my first custom. A Transformers the Movie : Camshaft. I'm not proud of it because of how nice it is but on the contrary, I am most proud of it as it looks really horrible. The paint was too thick, some parts were goey up till today and that the colours bled between the layers amongst the many reasons as to why it looks horrible. It serves as a reminder as to where I started out at and also for me to never stop learning from others as there is always someone out there who can teach me a thing or two about this craft.
AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?
Sabrina Ng: Without a doubt, TRANSFORMERS! I really love to work on those guys as I can fit them up with showroom shine paint jobs. I really love to have any custom turn out shiny and reflective. I just can't tolerate for any of my customs to have any form of battle damage or chips even when necessary.
AFC: You use a really detailed painting technique, can you tell me more about your process?
Sabrina Ng: Well, I always start by cleaning the figure of any factory goo and muck. I'll then prime the figure as this step helps paint adhesion especially on the smoother plastic surfaces. From there, what I do entirely depends on the custom's requirement. Generally though, alI my customs are done with an airbrush at a very low PSI setting. I do many thin coats of paint while using cmpounds to buff the surface as soon as it is dry to the touch so as to improve the smoothness of the surface for a more vibrant shine.
AFC: Can you share some details about your workspace?
Well, my workplace is almost always in a mess. Hehehe.

AFC: What customs do you have lined up for future projects?
Sabrina Ng: Well, I'm not really sure on this one as the moment I start on a full time job, airbrushing takes a backseat and I'm not really sure if I can spend that much time on it again. It's really too tiring.
AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?
Sabrina Ng: Well, my MAIN advice is to always do some research before you embark on something. That's something that I need to heed as well. Many a time I'm stuck in the middle of a project because I do not have a clear idea of my goal or I'm being overly impatient in starting an idea without considering other factors. I'm facing that problem right now as I am working on Optimus Pime's trailer. Hehe. The colour scheme is giving me a big headache.

AFC Interviews Lego Star Wars Customizer Darrens5150

I have the opportunity to meet many great customizers and this week, we are learning more about Darrens5150, a Star Wars Lego customizer who's attention to detail and creativity caught my attention. 
 
AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself
Darrens5150: I started collection SW action figs (Hasbro) in 2000 & after a few years my wife wanted to collect something, so I bought her a SW Lego set for her to build& she loved it. As I bought them & she built them they starting growing on me.I hand paint every fig I custom myself. I have a work room w/ a lot of little tools, I've collected, to make my work easier. 
AFC: When did you start making customs?
Darrens5150: I started SW Lego customs about a year ago
AFC: Why did you start making customs?
Darrens5150: As a kid I always liked building & painting models & saw some of the SW Lego customs being sold on eBay & thought "Boy I could do that & maybe even better" So I researched out the supplies.  My decals are from Kam at www.fineclonier.com& my Kama & Pauldrons at MMCB Custom Mini fig Cloth Accessories, and started customizing & selling on eBay under my user name darrens5150. I had already been selling on eBay for years
AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?
Darrens5150: I try to work on only 10 at a time, I only have a few days a week to work on them
AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?
Darrens5150: My red Clone Captain & my ARC-170 Pilot, it's hard to choose I have a lot of favorites
AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?
Darrens5150: Star Wars, but I want to start up some GI Joe customs, I'm a big collector of GI Joe too
AFC: What customs do you have lined up for your next ones?
Darrens5150: I want to do a Scuba Clone, more Kashyyyk Clones & some from the new Force Unleashed line.
AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customers out there, what would you say to them?Darrens5150: Take your time & put together a good kit of tools & materials. Researched people who sell custom accessories & ask questions. Check out some of the Lego links out there & surf the web about custom Lego, etc. Oh...and be sure to visit regularly and check out www.actionfigurecustoms.com......Thanks from Darren (darrens5150 eBay user name)

AFC Interviews Customizer Shinobitron

Shinobitron is one of the most talented Transformers customizers I have met thus far. He also makes customs for Marvel Legends, Video Games, and GI Joe but I am drawn his work with the Transformers. If you are looking for a one of a kind custom to proudly display on your shelf next to the originals, you need to check out his work! I have blogged about several of his customs, including Highbrow, Beachcomber, Rampage, and the latest, Dragstrip. Please check out all my reviews of his figures on his dedicated page. I was lucky enough to get some insight and learn more about Shinobitron so please enjoy!

AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself.

Shinobitron: My real name is Justin and I currently reside in north western Pennsylvania. I'm 28 years old and work in a stock room for the Pittsburgh Steelers when I'm not making customs. I'm big into Anime and classic 80s toons. Not only do I customize figures I also make costumes. I've been Cobra Commander, Storm Shadow, the Hobgoblin, and Soundwave! Soundwave could actually transform and the chest opened to reveal a cassette that also changed into Lazerbeak. LB had magnets in his feet that let him attach to my wrist!

My artist name comes from 2 things 1) Shinobi, one of my favorite video games of all time. Not only that but the remake for the PS2 had Hotsuma, the main character, in one awesome looking uniform. 2) Tron, not for the old movie but as in Megatron. I've always like the bad guys more. I currently started a website called Shinobitrons Dojo
http://www.freewebs.com/shinobitron/index.htm

I can be contacted there or thru my regular email at:
shinobi13j@aol.com

AFC: When did you start making customs?

Shinobitron: I started making them in 1999. This all started with my love for Resident Evil. I bought the entire set of figures from Toybiz and was mad no Wesker figure was made. I used a Toybiz Johnny Blaze and remade him into Wesker. That's when this all started I then took it into Gundams, Various models kits, and random figures for practice. I got the heaviest into it however when the Marvel Legends released and have been very steady ever since.

AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?

Shinobitron: For the most part I try to keep all my focus on one figure at a time. This lets me give all my attention to one item and let me give one figure my all. I do however base coat figures that up for painting while working on another figure. This let any sculpty or glues I have on my main project harden and keeps me from sitting idle. (I do cave and treat myself to some PS2 or PC games in between phases though)

AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?

Shinobitron: I have to go with Transformers on this one. First of all each piece can end up being super easy or one heck of a challenge. After you finish one of the pieces you get a great sense of accomplishment, knowing that you made not one but two toys in one project. You got a badass looking robot and a sleek vehicle that looks equally badass.

Another reason I like TFs is the fans reaction. TF has a diehard fan base that love their bots. When you sell a figure to a person and he/she says that your piece is proudly displayed in their collection for everyone they know to see it give you a great sense of pride.

AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?

Shinobitron: That's a tough question. I would have to say a very rough tie between my Darkstalkers, Ghost in the Shell, Galvatron, and Hotsuma figures. These piece have a special place for me as they are major display pieces on my shelves.

AFC: What customs do you have lined up for your next ones?

Shinobitron: My minds always working on what to make up next. I'm a real spur of the moment kind of person and even though I set myself a list of figure to make I usually end up doing something else cause I just got a great base fig I "have" to use right then and there. Heres a tenative list: Goldbug, Movie Beachcomber, Hoist, SHS Venture Bros figures, Animated Deadpool, Female Junkions, gears, The entire Cowboy Bebop cast, Bludgeon, Anime X-Men, 8" Master Cheif, Hellsing characters, G2 Grimlock, and more Sigma 6 Cobra members.
Believe me there so many I can't even remember them all.

AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?

Shinobitron: Practice, Practice, practice. I know that Jin says this but its the truth. Never be afraid to use new techniques, screw things up or break things. Doing this is sometimes the best way to learn. Try new items, new paints, and new parts. Just remember to have fun doing it and never give up.

AFC Interviews Customizer l.designs

 

I was introduced to l.design's talent when I first reviewed his Custom Marvel Legends Icon Batman back in January and he continues to provide his fans the unique, one of a kind custom experience that only he can deliver. Week after week, l.designs produces top quality customs. I had the great opportunity to interview l.designs so let's learn more about this talented customizer.

AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself

Lehgraphics@gmail.com and I will be more than happy to help you. I usually work on custom versions of characters that made an impression on me as a kid, that can be hit and miss as far as other peoples taste goes, so yeah if you want to see my spin on a character let me know, you can even include reference pictures to get me going on the right track.

AFC: When did you start making customs?

l.designs: Truth be told, I think I was altering and tinkering around with my toys since I was about 12 or 13. I recently started doing this for the public however about a year ago or so. Before action figures I was doing wargaming terrain for a few years (and still am) after that I started constructing custom lightsabers (still do a few of them here and there as well).

AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?

l.designs: Anywhere between 1 and 5, that way I always have something to do and am not stopped dead in my tracks to wait for paint or apoxie sculpt to cure.

AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?

l.designs: I would have to say whatever I am currently working on. Well if I have to really pick maybe the second 12 inch Batman I just finished, or maybe the 6 inch Swamp Thing.



AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?

l.designs: Marvel Legends without a doubt...the Toy Biz ones. However people have been bugging me to do some Transformers so...

AFC: What customs do you have lined up for your next ones?

l.designs: I am currently working on some classic Spiderman villains with my twist on them. And I just today dropped off a nightmare demon version of the 12 inch Batman at Heroes Alley

AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?

l.designs: Follow your passion, and you will do your best work! Enjoy what you are doing, it shows through in your end product. There are a ton of resources online if you need inspiration or help.

AFC Interviews Rateeg Creations

As I was surfing some GI Joe forums, I came accross a really talented customizer by the name of Rateeg. I was captured by some of his custom 25th Anniversary GI Joe work and it turns out he makes customs for a variety of figures and toy lines. One of his customs is about become famous as it is going to be featured in Toyfare #128 hitting stands on February 13th 2008 so read on below if you want to find out more about Rateeg (and also his famous custom!).

AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself

Rateeg: Rateeg when spelled backward is Geetar. I play guitar and in a classic rock band. I also have a huge passion on marvel superheroes. The only thing that we can do to immortalize them is to own an action figure of the characters we like. It all started there. More infos about me on my website:
http://rateegcreations.8.forumer.com/

http://rateegcreations.x.am/

AFC: When did you start making customs?

Rateeg: I started this hobby around 2 years ago when i read "The Hobbit" book. Grabbed a toybiz LOTR Gimli and started repainting it to be Thorin Oakenshield.

AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?

Rateeg: Before I usually finish a custom 2 to 3 days. But now I can work 2 to 3 customs a week. I practice speed but still gives attention to details and paints. I dont want rushed customs and end up ruining it.

AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?

Rateeg: Wow this is hard. I guess my TYGRA custom. I havent seen so much Tygra customs around and he's my favorite character in the Thundercats series. I'm proud of him cause he's chosen and gonna appear in TOYFARE #128 coming this Feb.13, 2008.

AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?
Rateeg: I really enjoy making x-men related customs especially the female ones. I would love to do again a psylocke and emma frost custom and include them in my x-men collection, though I made a couple for commissions already.

AFC: What customs do you have lined up for your next ones?

Rateeg: So many lined up on my list. Some commissions and some for my personal collection. I still have to complete the thundercats, x-men, wrecking crew, avengers, g.i.joe ML scaled and 25th Anniv scaled, valiant comics customs, etc...

AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?

Rateeg: Basically just enjoy what you do. Always gather critiques and learn from them. Do not be afraid to get bad comments. Never listen to exaggerated praises cause it's only an illusion. Just appreciate the people who give comments, good or bad, remember your best teacher is still TRIAL and ERROR.

AFC Interviews Hal Zucati of Rabid Squirrel Productions, Creator of the CyberFembot A.R.C

I had the great opportunity to correspond with Hal Zucati, owner/operator of Rabid Squirrel Productions. Hal's primary role at Rabid Squirrel Productions is owner and operator but he is also heavily involved in all aspects of all projects. He contributes to the design, execution and ultimate production from the first drawing to the final released project. He works in all areas of the business from Project Management, Planning, and Development to Marketing, Advertising, Customer Relations, and Production (molding + casting + assembly). Hal even ships as well and that leaves me wondering where he finds time to do all of this? Well, being the one ultimately responsible for the success of Rabid Squirrel Productions and the happiness of its customers, Hal has assembled a crack team of sculptors/engineers and he also hires freelance artists and painters when needed. His lineup includes Eric Chan, one of the most talented and skilled sculptor's Hal has ever worked with. They have worked together almost from the beginning back in 2004. Jonhda Starling is an artist and one of the primary driving forces behind the CyberFembot J.E.T. pieces. Her original art work inspired Hal and many others to fall in love with female jets. Her work and sketches can be seen here. She is amazingly talented and finds time to do this work between her busy work and personal life. Here's some of Jonhda's work she did for the CyberFembot A.R.C. project:

There are many other talented artists that Hal has worked with over the years and he apologizes for not listing them all but suffice it to say that if you've worked with Hal or any other member of Rabid Squirrel Productions you've had a hand in creating what it has become today. In Hal's words, "I personally thank each and every artist that has contributed something to RSP and look forward to working with them and new talent in the future. Rabid Squirrel Productions has never been a one man operation, and everyone who's worked with or for me since I started RSP deserves credit for the work that has been produced."

 

 

AFC: When did you start making customs?

Hal: I started making custom toys in 2003 around the time I started buying and selling Transformers on eBay. I bought and sold every type of Transformer toy I could find including the Japaneese ones, the Diaclone ones and everything produced here in the US. I found that there was a gap in the toy lines, one toy in particular that no one had ever made: Arcee. Being a completist and, at the time, a rabid collector I looked everywhere for and Arcee transformer to add to my collection. No luck.


AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?
Hal: I work on between 1-4 custom projects at once. Currently I'm winding down the CyberFembot A.R.C. work in-house and am pursuing that project on a larger scale. Nothing solid yet but if all goes well they'll be A.R.C.'s for anyone who wants one at prices that won't make people gasp and clutch thier chests. As far as how many pieces I work on at once... I've worked on 6 CyberFembots simultanously. Right now I'm working on the CyberFembot J.E.T. pieces, the CyberFembot W.A.R. pieces, a large combining statue (only for a couple buyers at this point), the MasterHead piece, and a couple new transforming pieces that I'm not quite ready to release information on.
AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?

Hal: The custom piece that I'm most proud of is the CyberFembot A.R.C. piece. She was my original passion and the reason I got into customizing in the first place. I think however, that some of the upcoming works I'm doing may surpass her. We'll see.

 


AFC: What was the origin of the CyberFembot A.R.C?
Hal: CyberFembot A.R.C. was created to fill a void. The void of the female transforming robot. For more than 20 years transforming toys have been bought and sold, collected, traded, played with and generally enjoyed by generations of children and adults alike. During that time there have only been a handful of female characters, toys and statues made. We at Rabid Squirrel Productions felt that this lack of solid female characters was a huge and glaring problem. One that we believed that we could help to fix. With that in mind we created our CyberFembot A.R.C. The first in the CyberFembot series and a piece that we believe has been long overdue. You can learn more about the CyberFembot A.R.C here.

AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?

Hal: Hasbro and Takara Transformers. No Contest. Though I should qualify that by saying that I only like doing custom work pieces that have not been made by anyone else. If a toy exists I won't make a custom of it. Keeps me and my company out of legal trouble.

AFC: What customs do you have lined up for your next ones?
I'm going to be general
here as I'm not quite ready to release full details yet.

1. CyberFembot J.E.T. (In process) (7" Transforming Toy)
2. CyberFembot L33T-1 (Planned) (7" Transforming Toy)
3. CyberFembot W.A.R. (Planned) (5" Transforming Toy)
4. War Machine Combined 12" Statue
5. CyberManbot P.O.D. (Planned) (5" Transforming Toy)

AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what wouldyou say to them?

Hal: The one single best piece of advice I can give other customizers is this: Take the time to create as perfect a custom piece as possible, and always use the highest quality parts and materials. Nothing spoils a good custom piece like rushing it and cutting corners. Customizing requires time, skill and patience.

AFC: If you would like to commision Hal and his crew, here is his contact information:

Hal Zucati
Rabid Squirrel Productions 2004 - 2008
www.cyberfembot.com
cyberfembot@cyberfembot.com

1-425-591-0403

Commission work:
I do custom projects
I do scratch projects
I do transforming toys
I do statues
I do busts

Prices vary by project, materials used and customer requirements.

AFC Interviews Rombado

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Rombado, a Marvel Legends customizer who caught my eye with an awesome Custom Marvel Legends Storm Shadow! Let's get to know him a little better:

AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself (include website and contact info)

 

I hurt my back in a tragic work accident, back in 1999. I was a restaurant manager and was doing my inventory in the storeroom. When all of a sudden I heard a crack from behind me. It was the leg braking on one of our storage racks, it stood about 5' high and weighed about 300lbs. Before I could even think, it came crashing down on me and pinned me to the floor. Now, I'm a pretty big guy, 6' 1" 230lbs, and I worked out all the time, so my first thought was to push myself up. Big mistake! as soon as I began to push I felt a pull in my lower back, it felt like a rubber band snapping. I thought it was just a torn muscle and waited for help to arrive. When they pulled the rack off me, I stood up with some assistance but didn't feel too bad, just very sore. So, I was sent home to rest and when I woke up the next day I couldn't move. I have never felt pain like that in my life, it was so bad that I had to crawl to the bathroom. After I went to the doctor I found out I had a ruptured disk, and needed surgery immediately. I felt some relief afterwards, but in just a few short months I began feeling more back pain. So, 6 years later I've had 5 lower back surgeries, and my spine is fused from the middle of my back down to my tailbone. That means I have two 3" screws in each of my disk and a cage that surrounds it, which has left me permanently disabled. I've learned to control the pain through mediation and medication. The funny thing is, I hold multiple Black Belts, played sports, jumped out of planes, climbed mountains, served in the Army, and I have always pushed myself to be the best in everything I do, and it took a frickin' rack of food to take me out. I was so depressed for several years during the last 7 that I thought I'd never be anything close to what I was. But, through the love of daughters I found the meaning to life. "LOVE", is the key to everything and w/o it, I can't honestly say I don't know if I'd be here today, b/c some of the days I went through were just too black to see past 'em. I've realized through my experiences that nothing compares to the adrenaline rush of having a family. And now I AM a Superhero in their eyes. So, that's the skinny on the history about the man I am today. I'm sorry if it got too long winded, I can be that way sometimes. It's just I felt you should know the man as well as the Customizer. I've always been an Artist, drawing, painting, and sculpting. So, when I found out about Customizing in Aug. 2004 ( Thanks to Actorjez's Conan), I was so happy b/c it gave me an outlet for working and purpose. That's why I push myself so hard at it, b/c to me it's more then a hobby, it's my only job. I can't believe how blessed I've been b/c of it, and thank God everyday for it. I love creating my custom figures, and a hope you enjoy viewing them at my gallery http://www.thefwoosh.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=19799 Please, feel free to contact me rombado@cebridge.net 

 


AFC: When did you start making customs?Rombado: August 2004

AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?

Rombado: I usually just work on one custom at a time, but always have a few on the back burner I'm tweaking with new ideas.

 

AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?

AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?

Rombado: I have to go with Marvel Legends for this one. Although I do create customs from most toy lines ML is the line I got my start in this field and holds a special place in my heart for that.

AFC: What customs are you currently working on?

 

AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?

AFC Interviews Nightmare Customs

This week, AFC Interviews Nightmare, a customizer with a great sense of humor and can back it up with some kickass customs. Let's learn more about this talented fellow!

AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself
Nightmare: My name is Nightmare, no last or first-name, like Cher, but cooler and more ruggedly handsome...wait, I have fans? My address is doc_night665@hotmail.com if anyone wants to throw stuff at me or you can always post on FigureRealm.com's boards to get my attention. I write reviews on anything, make comics about anything, customize anything, and complain about everything for fun. I live in Hollywood, California, and it can sink into the ocean, man, 'cuz the ugliest place in the whole wide world. I'm 21 soon, but that doesn't mean anything. I don't know why I even brought it up. I grew-up poor, I still am, it's great sometimes. Punisher is my idol. Red Sonja is my Goddess. I have a twisted sense of humor. -When did you start making customs? Around the time I started reading Green Lantern comics in the 90's. I'd use markers to make everything black, white, and green. Ninja Turtles, Ken-dolls, sock-puppets, everything, none escaped my markers' fury.
AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?
Nightmare: A hundred. No, really, there are tons of ideas floating around in my head all the time, it's hard to keep track of them. Even when I write them down, a few days later I look at what I wrote and don't know what the hell I'm saying. Enough fragmented ideas make a whole custom sooner or later though. I have maybe 6 or 7 customs in-progress right now, they're awesome.
AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?
Nightmare: Well, I'm going to cheat because I'm most proud of a custom RING I made for a friend, not a figure. The following has nothing to do with figures so feel free to skip this answer, folks. It was silver and simple, there were like three little sharp-leafed flowers in the center and the petals were made of some blue stone, topaz? I don't remember because it was a while ago and I pretty much scavenged for the parts. The ring was pre-made but I had to make the little flowers and set the stones, which may or may not have been real, hah. I worked on it in Metal Shop class, and I realized half-way through the process that I didn't know her ring-size, and I obviously couldn't ask or she'd be suspicious, but I went-on anyway. The teacher was cool and he helped me a few times with melting-point temperatures and tips on soldering, few days later it was done, the ring looked good. Too good. I wanted it to look like I had made it myself but it looked like I had bought it somewhere! So I used a few smelly liquids to try and age the silver, scuff it up a little but ended up deforming it instead, the stones cracked too. That sucked. So I went out and tried to find a ring that matched the one I had made, I found one that was close enough (and cheap enough, lol) and gave her that during lunch in the library. She didn't know what to say, I wasn't expecting anything anyway, so we kept talking and lunch was over. I never saw her again. It was the last day of 10th grade, when I got back after vacation she wasn't at that school anymore. Probably moved somewhere, she was cool. She is missed. I buried the ring in a cave in the nearby park, maybe someone will find it again, good luck to them. Figure-wise, I like my Punisher with the brown gloves and boots. I wouldn't change a thing.
AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?
Nightmare: Anything articulated is fine with me because I like using them in my comics, but I'm running low on cash so I'll have to start customizing some of my older static figures like McFarlane's military stuff pretty soon. Great chance to make some G.I. Joes, never tried making one before.
AFC: What customs do you have lined up for your next ones?
Nightmare: Ack! Samus Aran, Black Widow, Red Sonja, Buick, Spider-Carnage, Warhawk, Ninja Turtles, on and on. I was talking to Mike of Apathy Ink recently and he suggested I make my own re-invented line of Avengers. I didn't realize how much black I use on my customs, he suggested I use that "dark" style on Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor, make 'em evil. I would if I had the money to buy the figures needed...
AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?
Nightmare: Rebel on. When someone tells you Wolverine has to wear brown, make yours purple. When you see everyone painting Transformers to look shiny and new, throw yours out the window, fart on it, and sell it for $100 bucks. When Kyle Robinson and Captain Coder tell you to stop posting libelous spam, kick dirt at their feet and spam away because we all know that spam is delicious. Don't imitate anyone's style, learn from it and make it better. Be rugged, be strong, be awesome, be more like that guy from the "Dos X" Mexican-beer commercials. And don't take crap from jerks that complain about everything. Next one you see, pop 'em on the nose and tell them Nightmare sent you.

AFC Interviews Michael Amore Customs

The talent of Michael Amore is highlighted in our fifth interview in the series. Michael's excellent sculpting ability and passion struck me at first when I first reviewed his figure so I thought it would be great for everyone to get to know this talented customizer. You can view Michael's work at his website as he as some awesome pieces there.

AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself
Michael Amore:
I was born in 1973 and grew up in a small New England town. As a child I loved comic books and action figures. I was into Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Transformers, MEGOs and any hero based action figures I could get my hands on. In 1984 I bought my 1st Spider-Man comic book and that was it for me. I began going to my local variety store every week looking for the the latest issues. Though I did not know it at the time, I was reading reprints of the original 1960’s classic tales. I loved the characters and the art and that is when I began really drawing/writing my own stories, and customizing my own figures. At first I would add armor to my Lego figures, holsters to my G.I. Joes, rip apart my Secret War's figures and make new characters...that kind of stuff. When I got older I got into all kinds of art and my influences included musicians and writers and all types of artists. After High School I attended art school for a few semesters but ran out of funds to finish so...after that I spent the next decade or so writing and publishing books of poetry, along with drinking, getting in trouble and breaking my own heart!

 

AFC: When did you start making customs?
Michael Amore: I finally got sober a few years ago and really began customizing in earnest. I've been at it almost two years now and have worked hard to hone my craft to the highest level! I feel that these characters helped me so much in my youth, and now as an adult, here they are again helping me overcome a pain in the ass addiction...so my work is really important to me, these characters are really important to me and I really want to recreate them to the best of my ability...the way I would like to see them done!

AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?
Michael Amore: I like to have 4 or 5 figures going at a time...this allows me to jump from one to another while I'm painting and drilling and sanding and grinding and sculpting...that way I don't over work any one figure. Right now due to a lot of special orders and some unfinished projects I have over a dozen that are in various stages production!

 

AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?
Michael Amore: Hmmm...I really love my new Nighthawk at the moment.

 


AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?
Michael Amore: Marvel Legends of course!

AFC: What customs do we have to look forward to in the future?

 

Michael Amore: I have orders for: the Enchantress, the Molecule Man, Nightwing, Battle Armor Thor, Mocking Bird...and some personal projects that include repaints of: Angel (with new wings), two Doom figures, 5 Iron man figures, the Sentry...and an all new Black Panther and a super surprise version of the thing!

 

AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?
Michael Amore: Do what you like, not what you think will sell.

 

AFC Interviews Chih’s Customs

This week, we bring you the fourth installment of AFC's interview series. Chih is an up and coming customizer who specializes in Custom Transformers. Let's learn a little bit more about Chih and how he got inspired to start making Custom Transformers.AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself

Chih: I customize Transformers movie figures. I just started working on some old versions like the Cybertron model. Before the movie came out, I started buying all the figures just like everybody else. After I read the article on USA today "From TOY STORY to SERIOUS ART," then I started customizing them. Since I loved the Transformers movie and the figures so much, and my first few works came out very good, I decided to put them on eBay to see what interest was out there. Check out my work at:

 

http://chihcustomworkshop.blogspot.com/, and my eBay ID is: chihhsiang408. Feel free to email me through eBay or my hotmail: chih408@hotmail.com

. About myself.... People call me SUPERMAN because I look like him: big,tall, and handsome. 🙂AFC: When did you start making customs?

Chih: I just started in September this year. Within two months, I met so many good friends on eBay, and received their great support. I used to do lots of WWII airplane and tank models. Since I love the Transformers movie & the figures so much, I started customizing them right after the movie came out.


AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?Chih: The New Movie Version Transformers, since the new figures have a lot of fine detail, and the custom paint job looks great on them!

AFC: What customs do you have lined up for your next ones?

Chih: I plan to use Cybertron Transformers next. The first one is my Ultra Magnus. It's turning out great and I like it very much, so I will use more Cybertron version Transformers.

AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?

Chih: If you want to produce better work, you need to get better quality tools 🙂 If you don't have good tools, sometimes a great idea will be a disaster, so get some good tools to help you turn out your great ideas! 😉

 

AFC Interviews PassionDesigns

This week, AFC Interviews PassionDesigns. He is our third in the interview series and is very enthusiastic about customizing. Mix a lot of God, talent, and fun and you have a recipe for PassionDesigns!
AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself.
PassionDesigns: 31 M , South Louisiana, I'm blessed with an awesome wife Bridget and two kids (5) Gabby & (3) Kaleb . God has totally flipped my world upside down from my childhood to my marriage. I have more peace than ever before, my wife and I are truly best friends. I joined the Air Force right out of high school and now I'm out. So I love God, love this country and I'm not ashamed to admit it. My website is www.passiondesignsinc.com and there I will share anything I create from toys -> displays -> church designs. I also have a myspace = www.myspace.com/passiondesignsinc.com.
AFC: When did you start making customs?
PassionDesigns: As anyone I always have had the imagination of seeing better toys, or crazy models/diorama.I always thought it would be cool to have your own Batcave sort of thing lol! Up until about 3 years ago, I didn't realize that there was this little community of fans/collectors/ = customizers. I started to get the itch, and I started researching from materials, websites, tutorials. I would print up anything I could get my hands on and save. Then experimenting here and there. But I have only been public for about 1 1/2 years.
AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?
PassionDesigns: I have had 2, sometimes 5. Its so easy to get out of hand with it. So I try to complete as many customs before creating new ones. Note: I said TRY lol
AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?
PassionDesigns: My wife had my friend Hans paint a Jesus painting for me for fathers day. It came out awesome. A month or so later, Hans's wife Sonni came to me to make a figure of Hans. So I took it a step further and made an Airbrush Diorama for him. I learned a lot with that project and it was personal.
AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?
PassionDesigns: MY passion is for Masters of the Universe, Spiderman, and Transformers. But with the Marvel Legends there is so many parts and choices to customize characters. Its hard to pick one.
AFC: What customs do you have lined up for your next ones?
PassionDesigns: The flip flopping of the Batcave really got me thinking. So right now I have Goblins Lair in WIP ( with the option of ozborn warehouse old school, flip to Ozcorp industries flip to New Goblin lair with Harry SM3). I have a couple more Transformer customs/dioramas.Along with some Christian designs working with the Angel Wars Series.
AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?
PassionDesigns: IT's all about PASSION!! HAVE FUN!!!!!! Regardless who's says what! I am customizing things that is passionate to me. What gets you excited? Right now I'm also creating a diorama of a scene out of one of my favorite comics. LOL I laugh not a lot of people will get it, but I remember this scene from my childhood and this summer I found this comic at a flee market for $0.50 from the late 1980's. So stay tuned...more to come. But just be creative and shoot for the sky.I would love to see a customizer convention where we could meet and greet lol !!!!

AFC Interviews Geejay’s Customs

This weeks AFC Interview focuses on the talent of GeeJay's Customs. He is our second in the interview series and sheds some light on how he got started making customs and joy it brings him.

AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself

GeeJay's Customs: Hello, name's Gerald, and I'm a 21 yr old Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). I started customizing about 2 yrs ago, but honestly, I don't really remember lol. My work is mostly Marvel, all my favorite characters are from there. Also, I love customizing, as to a lot of us, in Marvel Legends scale. As you can see in my customs, I try to make it a little bit different from the actual reference and sorta make it "stand out" I guess, but keep all the recognizable characteristics, so people would be like, "oh yea, that's Winter Soldier" as an example. I also like working with big bulky muscular figures, sine there’s a lot of details in em. I haven't done any female figures, but I'm working on one for my girlfriend, which is taking me a LONG time, sadly. -_- I started customizing cause those cool statues and bust we're so expensive! So I started sculpting from scratch at first and then got into customizing when I saw a few of them on eBay. I was like, "hey that's cool! I don't have to buy a lot of clay to make figures now!" lol. And since then I was hooked! You can visit my website for past figures, what's new, and what's on eBay, at http://www.geejayscustoms.com/. You can also contact me at ixxgjxxi@aol.com with any questions, suggestions, or just to say hi! ^_^

AFC: When did you start making customs?

GeeJay's Customs: LOL, I answered this! Hehe I think, about 2 yrs ago.

AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?

GeeJay's Customs: I have no clue! I have so many WIP it’s not even funny! But I usually work on up to 3 customs at a time, sometimes more. But I usually focus on a certain custom to get it to look how I want it too. Then move on from there.

AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?

GeeJay's Customs: I am proud of all of my customs! Well since they were made from hard work, and patience. And I love to see my customs progress, and that's something I can also be proud of. ^_^

AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?

GeeJay's Customs: Hehe, wow I went ahead on the first question and answered a few. Well I really like to customize in Marvel Legends scale, preferably, Toybiz, oh and SOTA Street Fighters and Deluxe Aggression Wrestlers! Very well made and easy to work with. I also like to customize those 12 inch figures, from any line really, as long as it fits the job!

AFC: What customs do you have lined up for your next ones?

GeeJay's Customs: I have quite a few in my line up! World War Juggernaut, Leonidas, Cable, and other cool characters for Figurerealm, Toy Soup, and Comic Crypt Contests! Well that’s the plan, now I just gotta put it into action, which is the hard part, lol!

AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them

GeeJay's Customs: Have FUN with customizing! Be creative and go ALL OUT! ^_^ There’s no limit to your imagination!

AFC Interviews Caramel’s Customs

To kick off the first of the Interview Series on ActionFigureCustoms, Caramel's Customs provides us with some insight, history, and a glimpse into the future.
AFC: Tell the fans of your work a little about yourself.

Caramel's Customs: Hi, I am a 26th year old female customizer. I am a HUGE fan of comics all together. I customize action figures to many different lines including, but not limited, to Marvel, DC, Image and more. You can visit my website http://www.caramelcustoms.com/ to see more of what I have done and what is in process of getting done. If you have any questions or interested in having your own figure customized, email me at caramel@caramelcustoms.com

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AFC: When did you start making customs?


Caramel's Customs: I began making customs this year in July, so really only about 4 months or so. My local comic store owner was the one who got me started in customizing. He saw my fan art drawings and invited me to enter his action figure customizing contest. I ran all my research and started making my first custom. I had so much fun, that now I am addicted to customizing and keep making them lol.
AFC: How many customs do you work on at one time?

Caramel's Customs: It depends really. But I take my time on each figure so I can only work a little on each figure a day. I work on an average of 4 figures at one time. Letting a figure dry completely before sculpting over other sculpt is very important, so instead of rushing on to the next step, I work on another figure.

AFC: What is the custom you are most proud of?

Caramel's Customs: My favorite custom has to be my Excalibur Dazzler. I put a lot of time and effort in that one and love how she came out. Here is a link to her pictures.


AFC: What is your favorite toy line to do customs for?
Caramel's Customs: I love Toybiz Marvel Legends figures to work with. They have the best articulation and nice head sculpt. But I love the head sculpt from various toy lines. I swap around heads to try to find the right one to work with the character I am customizing.

AFC: What customs do you have lined up for your next ones?

Caramel's Customs: I am working on my Heroes for Hire team. I am hoping the team will be done by the end of November. I will have a villain done as well with the 4 girls so they can be posed fighting someone 😉

AFC: If you had one piece of advice for other customizers out there, what would you say to them?

Caramel's Customs: One piece of advice to any customizer beginner is "Take you time. Don't rush anything. If you take your time, the end piece will be worth the patience. And remember, if you don't get it right the first time, try, try again. 😉 You will get it."

AFC: Thank you so much for your words of wisdom and for letting your fans into your world.