Saturday, July 23, 2011

Customization project: begin!

If you hang out at action figure websites for more than a few minutes, you learn that the next step after collecting toys is *customizing* toys.  This can be as simple as popping the head off of one action figure and putting a different one on, or it can get really complicated: original toys can be heavily modified both by taking them apart and by adding spare parts, modeling clay and paint to create a very different item.  I was wowed by the results of different projects posted around the web.  I saw threads that included pictures of custom work on, and even found a website 100% dedicated to action figure scale toy customizations at  The creativity and sheer awesomeness of the projects made me want to do some custom work of my own.

Raw ingredient number one.
I had a few ideas.  I had seen the Iron Man Rolling Battle Headquarters vehicle at Target on clearance for a few weeks.  I figured it was a great candadate for a repaint in order to bring it into the GI Joe universe, but oy... I haven't done any custom work before.  Where do I start?  What do I do?  How do I turn an idea into a cool custom and not moderately expensive messy disaster?

I lucked out.  While doing some searches on youtube, I found a great movie featuring custom work on this very vehicle by a guy whose YouTube handle is ArticulatedComics.   I figured 'what the heck.' and shot him an email, telling him I loved his work and wanted to know if he would give me a few pointers for my own project.

And provide me with pointers he did. AC was nice enough to show me the ropes of custom work.  Take it apart as much as possible before hand, he told me.  Check out the places you think will be difficult to paint and remember them."  He also recommended getting krylon fusion for plastics spray paint, and thought the project would probably take two cans of the stuff.

Ready to rock.
With that advice, I figured I could try this out.  I purchased the toy for $20 (down from $30), and got two cans of paint at the hardware store.  I took the toy apart as much as I could.  It took me about half an hour to do this with a regular Phillips screw driver.  Four large parts of the toy snapped right off without any problems, but there were several others that did need to be unscrewed. I covered the sections of the toy I did not want to paint with painters tape and hoped it would keep them protected.

I brought it all out to the garage and put down a paint sheet.  This ended up being my biggest mistake, as I found find out shortly.  You can give a guy plenty of advice, but lack of experience and insight will still get ya.   For more on this custom adventure, you will have to read the next post.

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