Thursday, March 02, 2006

Tips

This section contains random notes I've collected about all the steps involved in customizing. Keep in mind that these aren't all my own ideas - most of them were collected from various customizing forums. Wherever possible, I will try to give credit to the original poster but for the times that I don't remember who that was, remember that these aren't all my ideas. I'm not trying to plaigerize! If you see something here that is from your website or forum post, please contact me so that I can give you the appropriate credit. Most likely, it isn't credited because I have forgotten where the information came from.

These are all grouped into "phases", which are all the phases of customizing. Keep in mind that it is rare that a custom requires every single one of these phases - most only use some of them.

Phase 1 - Gather Tools and Materials
Phase 2 - Finding Parts
Phase 3 - Disassembling
Phase 4 - Joining Parts
Phase 5 - Making New Parts (non-sculpted)
Phase 6 - Sculpting
Phase 7 - Molding & Casting
Phase 8 - Reassembling
Phase 9 - Painting
Phase 10 - Applying Decals
Phase 11 - Soft Goods Clothing
Phase 12 - Weathering
Phase 13 - Custom Stands
Phase 14 - Custom Cards & Packages
Phase 15 - Photogrpahy

Phase 1 - Gather Tools and Materials
Glue
Good glues to use are either Superglue or (for something stronger) Loc-Tite
Super Bonder 495 Instant Adhesive (look here).

Phase 2 - Finding Parts
Female Figures
Finding female figures for fodder is hard to do. Here are some ideas I've seen from various sources. All of these will probably require some retooling, but certain parts may be just what you're looking for:
  • Sub5 Agent Annika (buy it here)
  • G.I. Joe Covergirl
  • G.I. Joe Agent Courtney Krieger
  • G.I. Joe Bombstrike
  • Star Wars Saga Ayy Vida
  • Star Wars POTF Princess Leia with Sail Barge Cannon
  • Star Wars POTF2 Princess Leia (Jabba's Slave)
  • Star Wars ROTS Luminara Unduli (fairly plain torso)
  • Star Wars ROTS Aayla Secura
  • Star Wars Saga Padme Amidala (Arena Escape)
  • heads from various G.I. Joe (Scarlet, Covergirl)
  • 4" line of Marvel Legends Showdown Figures (no females yet, but hopefully soon)

Phase 3 - Disassembling

Phase 4 - Joining Parts
Joints
Sometime you need to build custom joints if you're trying to articulate a joint that was previously not articulated. Some good ideas for doing this include:

Phase 5 - Making New Parts (non-sculpted)Making Lightsaber BladesThe simplest option is to buy small transparent plastic dowels, available at craft stores like Michael's. These can be tinted using Glass paint or Tamiya Clear paints (dip them and then drip dry, don't brush as it will leave streaks). Another option is to check hobby stores to see if they sell pre-tinted plastic dowels. Plastruct makes some pre-tinted ones (check their online catalog).

Clothing

A handy trick for molding clothing like capes is to first make it out of aluminum foil and then coat it in Plasti-Dip.


Phase 6 - Sculpting

Phase 7 - Molding & CastingGrowing and Shrinking Casts
There are products out there that will let you make a cast of something and either enlarge or shrink it in the process. Industrial Polymers makes some compounds for this. HydroSpan 400 is for shrinking and HydroSpan 100 is for enlarging. There is also a product called HyrdroShrink that is also for shrinking. I believe HydroShrink shrinks by a set amount (60%, I think) while HydroSpan 400 lets you control the amount of shrinkage.

Plastics
  • The type of plastic Hasbro uses is PVC in various grades (hard vs. flexible, or different ones in between).
  • When making your own, a good choice is a polyurethane plastic like Easy Flo 60. It can be cut with a knife, be sanded, and adheres well to paint.
Casting and Molding

Phase 8 - Reassembling

Phase 9 - Painting
Paints
Good brands of paints:
  • For a comparison of different paints, see the Paint Comparison page.
  • Tamiya Clear - for tinting transparent plastic parts
  • Glass paint (available at Wal-Mart and craft stores) - for tinting transparent plastic parts
  • The actual paints used by Hasbro are similar to those made by Nazdar. It is primarily done with the Nazdar 9600 series with the NB 72 catalyst. Evidentally, this works very well but is extremely difficult and hazardous to use. (from Master_Gunzz on the Rebelscum Customizing forum)
Painting

Phase 10 - Applying DecalsHere's a good site with a lot of Star Wars decals.

Phase 11 - Soft Goods Clothing

Phase 12 - Weathering

Phase 13 - Custom Stands

Phase 14 - Custom Cards and Packages
I don't make custom cards or packages for my customs, as I leave them all open for my son to play with. Therefore, I don't have any notes about this phase of the process.


Phase 15 - Photography
Photography