I think headswaps are still customs.
I took the alternate bearded head from the DCSC Starman, but it on a Ghostbusters Walter Peck body and put it in an X-men movie Professor X wheel chair and made my own DCUC Doom Patrol "Chief" Niles Caulder figure. No paint, but still a unique, style and scale custom figure.
This brings up a subject I didn't really get that deep into and that's the ego of the customizer. I think in a lot of ways (I know in my case anyhow) ego plays a big part in what we perceive as a custom.
On a basic fundamental level, I still hold to the idea that switching limbs is tantamount to building with LEGO and unless you are intrinsically changing the piece through new sculpting or paint its not really a custom. But that is in part my ego wanting to separate what I perceive my own personal work as being different and potentially better than someone elses work. Not to say that it is but again this might just be an ego thing.
I made the argument about changing car tires and I feel like limb switching is the same things because you're just taking a piece from this place and putting it over here. Not to discount the effectiveness of this but in my mind it seems like calling that a custom diminishes the value of other works and this again is ego talking.
I guess I'm trying to find a way to classify and compartmentalize things in a way that is efficient and also not derogatory at the same time, which is hard when ego is involved. Like most people who do custom work I started out as a limb switcher and I feel my craft has grown considerably stronger over time, and having never considered limb switching as being a custom its hard for me to equalize that idea in my own mind that some folks would consider that a custom item.
I feel like limb switching is a developmental stage in the process of becoming a customizer, much like when you're a student in dental school you aren't a dentist, that is the eventual goal but until you graduate you cant claim the title...and again here we are at ego haha! I think limb switching is an important developmental step in a process of understanding and creativity but I don't feel like it deserves the title.
I guess I'm a little stuck on it because of my own experiences and my own development as an artist and a toy customizer and the idea, like in any other creative field of work or study, that you pay your dues and learn and at some point you can claim the title or move to the next level of being an artisan in that particular field.
Another example of a personal nature is I worked in the framing and gallery world for over two decades and when I started out I worked in a schlocky poster framing wing of a department store and I was for all intents and purposes a framer. But over time I moved around and worked in different places and gained more knowledge and more skill and by the time my career in that arena came to a close, I was a professional craftsmen in the framing industry. I had learned techniques in preservation of antique documents, I had learned to to guild frames, I had learned how to make frames from scratch, I had learned an abundance of skills that working in a poster shop would never have come to me had I not knowingly and actively pursued those ends and in doing so I became a professional in the field.
I guess I have trouble divorcing myself from that idea pertaining to custom toys but I think it holds a legitimate place in the discussion of what is and what isn't a custom. But again this is an idea and argument based on my own ego and my own experiences as a toy customizer and now maker over the last 35 years of my life, so its a hard conversation for me to have with my built is bias but one I am willing to entertain and that's why I wrote this little piece up.
Ego is a hell of a thing to contend with, but I try and temper the feelings generated by mine with the understanding and presentation of the experiences that went into informing and creating that ego, which is my hope that they are well founded and well held and not just "oh my shingbling is better than yours" kind of reasoning that is so often the case when people don't like something someone else is doing or someone holds an opinion that isn't their own.
Julius thanks for contributing and being part of the discussion.
Shellhead - Exactly. Stuff like fixing eyes is correcting a mistake but when you paint a base figure to create a completely new figure than the one intended, you are certainly making a custom...which could be said of limb switching, CONUNDRUM! HAHA!