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 Post subject: Mentalpower's customs -NEW- White Witch! - pg.7
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 1:47 am 
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Okay, after more than two years lurking in the forums and posting every now and then mainly in the Mattel and Custom Craziness forums, maybe it is about time that I show some of my own work here.

I started into this customizing craziness about... 20 years ago! Back in those days I was collecting the Kenner Superpowers line and I wanted some characters such as Nightwing, Metamorpho or Halo.

My very first custom was a Nightwing, made from a Mattel Secret Wars Constrictor figure. The figure can be seen below...

Image


No, I'm not crazy, Nightwing is there, below 2 coats of paint! :-D Let me explain. One of my rules back in those days was to have no more than one figure for the same character in my action figure collection. So when I bought the Nightwing from the Kenner Batman Legends line, then I had to do something with my custom. And I did: I converted it into a cool Green Lantern Hal Jordan. But then I got few years later a Hal Hordan from the Superpowers line, so I converted it again into... Metamorpho! I kept the previous coats of paint in the figure except in one of the legs to provide some roughness to its surface, and actually used latex-based paint to make it thicker and provide some texture.

Unfortunatelly I have no photos of my custom Nightwing or Hal Jordan. The only early custom that I keep as it was originally (controlling my urge to re-do it, now that my technique has improved) is the following Halo figure, clearly made from a Kenner Superpowers Wonder Woman.

Image

Back in those days I had no Dremel, no sanding paper, no sculpey, and the paints I used were latex-based, so the paint coats were a bit too thick for my current taste.

It was arround 1998 that my technique improved enough to the point that I really considered myself a customizer. I had a box of duplicated figures to be used as basis for the customs, and I had also a box for spare parts. Also I switched from the latex paints to acrylic paints. It was about that time that I published my first customs on the Internet. A good example is the Changeling figure below, made from a Mattel Secret Wars Iceman.

Image


Back then I had no good digital camera, so I had to scan the figures in my scanner (sigh). I also used to search on Internet information from other customizers, and got inspiration from them. But one of the limitations I had to face was that I could not find in Spain a proper sculpey-like material to work with.

This lack of sculpting material forced me to develop alternatives, which have evolved during the years in a sort of personal style. First, I am quite good sanding off extra details from figures, by combining tiresome sessions of x-acto knifing with a collection of different sanding papers.
That is why, when selecting a base figure for a custom, I prefer a figure where I have to sand down details (e.g., Iceman boot folds) than one where I have to add complicated details that would require some sculpting clay. The second trait is that I try to keep as much articulation as possible. To do so typically I crack open any base figure, if I have to switch a head or a limb, to perfectly adapt the head/limb articulation
to the body. And the most particular trait is the way I use different kinds of papers, tipically hardened with super-glue or acrylic paint, in order to create costume details, capes or complements.

A good example of this technique is the Troia figure below:

Image

The figure is obviously based in a Toy Biz Fantastic Four Invisible Woman figure. I left the hair long as I did not liked at all Donna Troi's short haircut back in those days, but I loved the costume.
All the costume details except the nets and the belt buckle are made of paper hardened with superglue. At that time I was specially proud of the belt, made of very thin paper carefully folded and creased, and then hardened with Superglue. The lower legs are something I want to fix in the future.

Another good example of this period is the Lobo figure below:

Image


The figure is based in a Toy Biz X-Men Ninja Wars Sabretooth figure. The lower arms were heavily re-sculpted and sanded down. Lots of details, including the hook, the jacket zipper teeth, the buckle and the pendant are made of different kinds of paper and cardboard, some of them hardened with superglue.

And just to conclude this introductory post, let me show you three of my latest works. The first one is a The Phantom custom, made using a Mattel Secret Wars Daredevil as base. The top of the boots, the briefs and the wrist line have been sculpted with a x-acto knife and sanding paper. The belt, buckle and pistol holsters are all made of regular paper hardened with superglue.

Image


Second example is a long-planned character: Starfire, Princess Koriand'r of Tamaran. I have been for years and years dreaming of doing a custom of the character, but faced a problem: how to sculpt all that hair! The hair finally came from a Starfire PVC figure from the DC Direct Teen Titans PVC set. The body is from
a Toy Biz Alpha Flight Vindicator figure, and the head is a Toy Biz Marvel She-Force Dazzler. I wil give you
the detailed recipe in a future post. Please notice that all the armor (except for the collar, the wrist bands, the bracelet, the buckle
and the boots' vertical ornament) has been carefully sculpted down with a x-acto knife and sanding paper.

Image

Image

For some time I used to pass some weekends customizing, doing up to four at the same time: while one coat of paint was drying I was sanding down detalis on another or working on some add-ons for the third figure.

Nowadays I have not that much time. I tend to have no more than two customs in progress in parallel, and it can take two or three months to complete a figure bit by bit.

And to close the post, an example of my animated-style customs. This was one of the customs I was originally
preparing for AFI's JLU custom showcase until the rules posted ruled it out. Yes, it is a Birdman custom,
made from a Mattel Justice League John Stewart with a Mattel Secret Wars Captain America head,
Mattel JLU Hawkgirl wings and lots of add-ons made of... guess what? Yes, regular paper hardened with superglue.

Image


I have far more customs made (more than a hundred, according to my records), and I will try to post some of these in this forum. Also will try to give more accurate recipes for some of the most interesting ones.
But I think with this intro you can have a good idea of my customizing style and technique.

Hope you enjoy it!


Last edited by mentalpower on Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:14 am, edited 37 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 3:57 am 
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Wow! those customs are amazing! Birdman is my favourite so far, but be careful a lot of people here will want your head because you used Iceman and Constrictor as bases looooool :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 3:04 pm 
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Well, this may be one of the very rare cases where being a European figure collector was an advantage (although in my personal experience it has been more a disadvantage, with lots of interesting lines not being distributed in European markets and completing collections by means of eBay auctions).

Could say that my post is a revenge to al those customizers who are able to use Superpowers figures as bases, but the funny thing is that I did not realized it until you pointed it out. :lol:

Now, to calm the hordes of collectors trying to slice off my head: these are my only two figures using Mattel Secret Wars Constrictor and Iceman as basis, I promise. :D

Back to the topic, glad that you liked the Birdman figure. I am happy with the result of it, as I had to do quite some adaptations to John Stewart body to make it work. Even my wife was surprised with the result. I will try to post one of these days a more detaled description of it with photos.

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Wanna see some of my custom figures?

Check http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14514 (New entries! - July 10, 2012)


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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 6:44 pm 
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Lots of good stuff here!

Especially the fact that the details are made using paper and super glue. :shock:

Must be very time consuming!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 10:57 pm 
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I love Birdman, do you have the Galaxy trio?
I was watching an episode on youtube and think that those 3 guys can be easyly made from JLU figures


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 12:20 pm 
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To bobbymuro: glad that you liked the Birdman custom. I do have plans to do the Galaxy trio, but will have to wait a bit.

To Roadhouse: Thanks for your comments, I also do like your work.
(although, humm... you are one of those blasphems that dare to use Superpowers for their customs, ain't you?... Cut his head off! :D )

Just joking. No hard feelings here... actually I think I gave you some ideas for your next customs. I would be very curious to see how you would do a Starfire custom ;-)

Now, back to your questions. Paper-modelling is not far more time consuming than proper sculpting, I guess. It only requires some good imagination to figure out the flat patterns that, when curved or folded, will become the 3D shape you are looking for.

Actually in some cases I may dare to say that it is easier than sculpting clay. Say you want to create a belt like the one on The Phantom figure depicted above. You just have to decide the width of it (let's say 0,3 inches or 4 mm). Then you cut a straight strip of paper with that width
and the full lenght of the paper sheet. And then you start glueing it directly to the waist, bit by bit, turning it arround as many times as you need to get the desired belt thickness. When you are happy with it, you cut the strip, usually in a place where the cut will be hidden by the belt buckle or, in the case of The Phantom figure, one of the pistol holsters. The only difficult part is to avoid peeling too much your finger tips in the process, as the superglue tends to overflow on the sides of the paper strip or even get through the paper to your fingers. Then you apply primer or paint directly on top of it. And there you go, a smooth belt with crisp borders.

Any straight pattern is quite easy to reproduce this way. And you can bring it to the limit in some cases. Let's have a look to another of my customs: Negative Woman.

Image


In this case the base figure is a Toy Biz Marvel She-force Dazzler, with the hair taken apart. The main challenge in this figure was that I wanted to reproduce the bandage covering all her head, neck and upper torso. How to do that?. Well, actually it took several strips of paper barely 2 mm thick (0,1 inches approx) which, put all in one line would measure... 1,5 meters! (more than 36 inches long). The tricky part was to reproduce as close as possible the bandage pattern in the comics, specially arround the eyes, nose and mouth, to make it recognizeable. And I was quite happy with the final result, must admit.

Things become a bit trickier with wristbands, bracelets, collars and boot tops, where usually a straight stripe warped arround will not bring you the shape you are looking for. So in these cases you learn a bit of ellipses and circle patterns, adjusting the radio to the one needed for that part of the body. If you do not want to do many maths but you want to produce a thick boot top (similar to the ones in, e.g., the Birdman figure above) you can simply wrap a straight piece of paper in place and then mark with pencil the actual shape or lines you want: when you unwrap it you will typically see that the straight line becomes a circular shape.
Some trial and error will bring you the pattern you have to cut later in another piece of paper.

And sometimes you need a bit of a dressmaker's ability to create flat patterns that, when placed on the figure, will reproduce the shape you are looking for (e.g. a jacket, a Deadman-like collar or the pistol holster in the Phantom figure). And once you know how to do it in paper you can use the technique in other materials, such as plastic leather, to create e.g. Lobo's sleeve-less jacket, or gross sanding paper, for Starfire's textured writsbands and collar.

Of course, these things just require some practising, but I don't think is that different from other sculpting options.[/b]

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Wanna see some of my custom figures?

Check http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14514 (New entries! - July 10, 2012)


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 Post subject: The making of... BiiiiiiiirdMan! And a bonus: Black Vulcan!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:57 am 
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Due to continues deadlines at work I've been unable to post for a long time, so in order to recover the pace in the next posts I will mix recipes from the figures I already presented with some new ones. In this post I'll show you two of my customs based on Hanna-Barbera characters: Birdman and Black Vulcan. The recipe for Birdman is for Enzo and bobbymuro(hi dudes!), who showed interest on it.

One of the hard things as a collector in the 5" scale is to see in the last years how the industry has favoured the 6" and 7" formats instead, and more recently, the 3"3/4 scale. So you see an amazing rendition of a favourite character such as Green Lantern Alan Scott in 6,75" (and may buy it) but there will be none that matches the scale of rest of your collection. And then the only option is... to make it yourself!

One of the characters I loved as a kid was Birdman. I do not care if the character absurdly felt helpless in almost any episode for Avenger to come and save him, but Birdman was one of the characters I wanted so much in plastic. And then Toynami made a great 6" version of it, which only fueled my desperation (you can find a great review of it at http://www.mwctoys.com/REVIEW_060204a.htm). It was then that I decided that no matter what, it would come the day I would create a Birdman custom.

Typically I start by looking if there are alredy previous custom attempts before starting mine. The odd thing is that I've seen lots of Space Ghost customs but almost no Birdman customs (I just have seen one, will not say whose, which showed me exactly what NOT to do).

So then I had to search for photos and production model sheets to get a better idea of the proportions, the helmet and such. Some shots from the Toynami 6" figure and, specially, from Toynami's maquette ( http://www.toynami.com/popup_birdman07.html ) which also helped me to see the kind of orange and blue tones that would work better. Then the second thing was to find the proper base figure for it. The wings were a no-brainer: JLU Hawkgirl or JLU Winged Amazo were good options. Actually I had a Winged Amazo lying there in the box, but the body lacked the articulation I wanted for the figure. So finally I choose a 10POA Mattel JLU John Stewart as basis. But if you do not mind articulation, go for the Winged Amazo or the JLU Hawkman, it will save you loads of time and head-aches. For the head, after some search in the box I saw that the Mattel Secret Wars Captain America head had the right jaw line and a bit of a goofy look, ideal for the character.

One problem I faced with the chosen base figure was the lack of a waist line thick enough to place Birdman's belt. So I had to crack the body open to try to find a solution for that. Also I had obviously to create a hole in the back to stick the wings in. In the image below you can see the starting point, with the body already cracked open.

Image

I had to adapt the waist axis by re-sculpting it so I could create a gap between the upper and the lower body. I filled-in the gap space with two pieces of laminated wood, which were then hidden by the belt (made of paper, with the recipe for belts I explained in the previous post). Unfortunatelly I have no photos of this step as sometimes my urge to advance in the custom work makes me forget on documenting the process. I also started to sculpt part of the helmet detail directly in Birdman's head. I kept part of Captain America's head wings to become the reinforcement of the mask flaps. And I sanded down Green Lantern's chest and upper arm costume lines.

Image

Once the base figure was ready then I glued the body together and added the different costume details: the mask flaps, collar, and ankle bands were made in superglued paper. The collar small pieces were glued one by one to the collar, while the belt pieces are sculpted down in the superglued paper belt (several layers of superglued paper can be sculpted down with a x-acto knife in a similar way as thick cardboard does). Both the wrist bands (which were from the original figure) and ankle bands (added by myself) were also sculpted with the x-acto knife. The ears came from a Toy Biz Captain America Figure. Then I made a first coat of paint to see if I liked the overall look of it:

Image

Image

It was then when saw that the white in the wings did not worked ok with the rest of the figure. So I went again to check Toynami figures to see which hue of blue was used instead. When I re-painted the wings with a clear blue then I confirmed that was the right color.

From then all the work left was to add several coats of paint to the figure and to add the helmet symbol, which required some extra research on Internet to get it right. After combining flat and glossy varnish in different parts of the figure, the final result is the one you have seen already in the first post:

Image


Image

Another character I loved as a kid was Black Vulcan. Again here we have a character with a lame performance in the Super Friends show that strangely enough do have fond memories of. I was dreaming to have a Black Vulcan 5" figure for a long time, since I had managed to get a Kenner Superpowers Samurai figure in eBay. And I had for more than one year already one Mattel JLU John Stewart figure reserved for this custom, but would never start the custom. But my interest came in again with AFI's JLU custom showcase announcement, and this was the trigger for me to finally go for it.

Again the first step was to search for photos and production model sheets to get a better idea of the proportions of the chest pattern, the mask and the ear boomerangs. This time I was shocked with the great amount of Black Vulcan customs I found on the internet. From these I learned several things, such as that the chest bolt patterns are critical to make the figure believable, so they had to be in a good proportion with the body. I went several times to the original Alex Toth model sheets to try to determine the bolts' proportions and how to adapt them to the wider JLU body. The second thing I learned is that black looks better than many blues. So it was my personal decision to use black instead of dark blue for the figure. Special care was put into the ear pieces, which are more model-accurate than the ones seen in many customs out there and Mattel's prototype.

Although is not a very original or difficult custom, I'm very proud of the final look of it.

Image

One nice thing is to see how it looks close to my Kenner Superpowers Samurai Figure. Although it is clear the distinct sleek look of it, Black Vulcan's figure is in scale with Samurai.

Image

Image

And to close the post today, just a quick comparison between Birdman and Black Vulcan, showing how the same body can give as result two totally different customs. Also it can be seen the extra height in the case of Birdman due to the waist gap for the belt.

Image


In the next post I will reveal the recipe for my Starfire custom, plus I will show two extra female customs I've made recently.

_________________
Wanna see some of my custom figures?

Check http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14514 (New entries! - July 10, 2012)


Last edited by mentalpower on Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: STARFIRE recipe + other female beauties
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:12 am 
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Ah, female action figures. Back in the 80's and early 90's superhero action figure lines tended to have very few to no female figures. This topic has been debated extensively by several people for years, so I will not start now an analysis for it, but just wanted to tell you that one of my original motivations for customizing was to add female figures
to my collection.

As I explained in my first post one of my earliest customs was Halo. Since the very beginning the second female custom I wished to do (and never could) was Princess Koriand'r, better known as Starfire. I have been years and years dreaming of doing a custom of the character, but faced a problem: how to sculpt all that hair! The solution came when I got tired of my DC Direct Teen Titans PVC set, and noticed that the hair of the Starfire PVC figure in the set was a bit too big for that figure, and thus might be the right size for a 5" custom.

The body to use was cristal clear to me years ago when I'd bought the Toy Biz Alpha Flight Vindicator Figure, as it had the right... ehem! proportions and curves for Starfire. Therefore I had already one Vindicator figure reserved for this figure in my spare parts box.
The only bit that left to complete the base was to find a proper face. After checking several ones available in my box I decided that the one from
a Toy Biz Marvel She-Force Dazzler was a good match. Then I used a drill to create the hole in the hair piece for the Dazzler head. The resulting base figure can be seen in the following picture.

Image

In the image you can se that I also sketched the lines for the suit. I typically do not do this, as the final decision on where each line will go is made directly in the final phases of the painting. But this time, after looking to the Mattel DCUC Starfire figure, I saw that just painting the costume on the body would not work, as Starfire is not wearing a costume but a metalic armor. This all meant that I had to sculpt some of the armor lines in the figure, not jsut paint them, and to ensure that they would look right I needed to sketch them first.

The most time-intensive part of this custom was sculpting the armor. It took actually several afternoons after dinner to do it. All the armor (except for the collar, the wrist bands and the boots' vertical ornament) was carefully sculpted down with a x-acto knife and sanding paper. The collar, wrist bands and bracelet were made with sanding paper (to get the textured look) plus regular paper hardened with superglue. The boots vertical ornament is made of a total of 8 paper pieces, all glued together and hardened also with superglue.

Once all this was added to the figure, I made a first coat of paint to check the overall look and decide the next steps. You can see it in the following image.

Image

For the armor I prepared a metallic light purple by mixing roughly 3/4 silver paint with 1/4 purple paint... The belt bucke comes from the PVC figure itself, but the collar pendant was hand-made in paper.

After applying glossy varnish for the armor and matt varnish for the flesh, the result is the following...

Image

Image


Apart from Halo, a member of the Outsiders that I liked a lot was Looker, in her original look (way before they converted her in a strange mutant vampire with a horrible costume). The choice for a base figure was easy here: it is a Toy Biz Marvel She-force Miss Marvel (which is actually a straight repaint made by Toy Biz from their X-Men Phoenix figure). The only tricky part of this custom was to eliminate the belt by carefully sanding it down with an x-acto knife and sanding paper. Then the different details were added using harded paper. The cape is not paper, but made of a normal white plastic bag (from a comic store in Barcelona), and the golden chain was from a old pen that had a chain to connect it to its base. Some time was also spent to repaint the whole face, including the eyes, eyelids and make-up. The result can be seen in the image below.

Image

Another DC superheroine I liked was Power Girl. Some of you may say I'm crazy because I like her second JLE costume... but I really do! So her look in the JLE comics was the one I tried to reproduce in the figure. The base figure is clearly a Toy Biz X-Men Secret Weapons Force Jean Grey with bracelets, collar, earrings and buckle made of superglued paper. The result is a not too difficult but effective custom, in my opinion.

Image

And this is a tip for the people that are desperate to have a Gipsy in their collections and do not have great customizing skills: go and fetch a Mattel Hunchback Of Notre Dame Esmeralda figure! Is almost a perfect match. The following image is the result after a simple repaint:

Image

Funny thing is that after I made my custom, I found out others had the same idea, so I neither copied the idea not it is original. But it is very effective! Just check how great it looks together with JLU Vibe and Commander Steel:

Image

Although I'm quite a DC fan, I also do some Marvel characters, specially when there is a clear gap in my collection (or to avoid paying huge amounts of money for an exclusive figure that is just a repaint, but I will talk about this in another post). The following are some recent customs of some femal Marvel characters.

Mary Jane Watson (also known as MJ)... years and years waiting for a cool figure to go with my 5" Multijointed Spiderman (I'm not counting the straight, horrible repaint Toy-Biz made from a Invisible Woman figure in yellow and blue, or the even worse Santa-clad version of it for the Christmas two-pack) and the perfect figure never came. Then, after years of 6" Marvel figures, I was excited with the announcement of the recent 5" figure inspired in the Spiderman 3. It looked great on pictures, so I decided to buy one through BBTS. But I was really dissapointed when I finally received the package and saw the figure. First it was totally out-of-scale in comparison to my 5" Spiderman figure, but worse than that Mary Jane's body was not what I was expecting for a beauty, well-proportioned fashion model. And that dress!! Is that fashion? The guy that created this figure has a strange concept of female anatomy and fashion, to say it in a polite way.

So then the task was to find a better, nicer body with also a cooler clothing, closer to what Mary Jane would wear. And I finally found the perfect match in the Underground Toys Torchwood line: Gwen Cooper. So the task here was to add the Mary Jane head to the Gwen Cooper body. Unfortunatelly I have no photos of the process. Gwen's head has no articulation and is actually part of the torso, while MJ's head has a ball joint that I wanted to keep for the custom. So what I did was to cut the neck in both figures to almost the same height, then adapt Mary Jane's neck to Gwen's body (it was actually thicker, so I had to sculp it a bit. Then I glued it and hid the joint by carefully sanding it down. The final touch was to paint the neck so the joint is unnoticeable. Finally after looking into some classic images of the character I decided to paint the pants in a light brown color.

The result can be seen below. In my opinion this is a better looking Mary Jane figure:

Image

In the next shot we can see the comparison between Mary Jane's old, skinny, hunched body (with Gwen's head just added here for the comparison) and the new one. What do you think?

Image

And just to end with Mary Jane, a scale comparison with other Toy Biz 5" figures below.

Image

Although it is a bit taller that earlier Toy Biz 5" figures, it is quite in scale with the later ones.

And to finalise the post another long-lasting 'to do' in my list: Crystal, from the Inhumans. I was very excited years ago when Toy Biz was producing several members from the Inhuman royal family in plastic (although never really liked Medusa's hair) and
was hoping that they would eventually produce a 5" Crystal figure, but never happened. Then I saved a Toy Biz Fantastic Four Invisible Woman figure to make one myself, but the project was left for years. And it didn't came to my mind until I had the Torchwood Gwen Cooper's head (left from the MJ custom above) in my hands and I was wondering what could I do with it. And then I realised it would be great for Crystal.

This custom was not difficult. I spent most of the time browsing several pictures from Crystal to choose which, from all the costumes, I would use for the custom. Finally I decided to go for a very recent one.

There was some time spent sanding and trimming the figure, sculpting the boot tops in the plastic, adapting the head to the body and hiding the connection. I also made a first paint test that can be seen below:

Image

Then I created the few costume additions in hardened paper, including the head ornament, and added several coats of paint covered with glossy or matt varnish. I must say I'm happy with the result.

Image

And in the next post I will reveal the entries I was preparing for the JLU CUSTOM SHOWCASE some months ago but failed to deliver on time. So stay tuned!

_________________
Wanna see some of my custom figures?

Check http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14514 (New entries! - July 10, 2012)


Last edited by mentalpower on Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:52 am 
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More awesome stuff.

Thanks for posting!


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 Post subject: ENTRIES THAT DID NOT MADE IT FOR THE JLU CUSTOM CHALLENGE I
PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:00 am 
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Ok, so in this post I will show you some of the customs I was preparing for last year's JLU CUSTOM CHALLENGE. I was really happy with the idea when it was posted as I was starting my own JLU customs and the showcase was just the perfect excuse to push myself to finalise some of the customs I had just started or was planning to do. So I started asking lots of questions about the rules that Superfly and others patiently answered. Unfortunatelly when the rules were finally revealed I was too busy at work, and the customs I had almost finished were not fully following the rules: to be only repaints and use only Mattel JLU parts.

(well, some of the entries finally submitted were not really following those rules, but anyway...)

As I think there are some good ideas there I decided to post them now. I'll try to explain for each one how I did the custom, but also how the custom can be simplified to make it feasible for Mattel to do it at a reasonable price.

So today let me present part 1 of these customs (sorry, but the amount of work these days makes that some of the photos I've taken have not been processed yet, so this will be a three-part post).

Weather Wizard (comic modern version)

This custom and the next are Flash Rogues, as I felt that they are underrepresented in JLU. In this case is thr Weather Wizard, but not in its animated version (that is, his appearence inthe superman Animated series) but using his current look in the comics.

The base figure is as JLU Kyle Rainer. The bands on the chest are made of paper. The collar is a piece cut from another figure's cape and the wand is a real pin, with the tip slighly trimmed so it would not be that dangerous (but of course is not adequate for kids).

The result can be seen in the following image:

Image


TIPS FOR MATTEL


The same figure can be made without the paper add-ons, eliminating the collar (just painting it on the neck) and changing the dangerous metal wand by a soft, kids-safe one.


Heat Wave (comic modern version)

This one came to be trying to think what to do with a JLU Luthor I had in my box. And seeing the face the first character that came to my mind was Heatwave (which is odd: seeing some people's customs of Vandal Savage using the same figure I still wonder why I thought about Heatwave instead).

Here I'm using again the modern look of the character, not the animated one, as I did not liked itls look in the JLU show. I've seen a custom made by shazam37 which uses a similar look, and one by Scott Rogers in AFI's custom Showcase that used an even whiter, more classic look.

Basically I kept the belt from Luthor, sculpted the top of the gloves directly in the plastic with an x-acto knife, and adapted the gun holster to go only over one shoulder. I created the shoulder pads in paper (then hardened with super-glue), added the gun holster and the thin costume strips. The googles are made of two pieces of clear plastic coming from a JLU bubble. Finally I painted it all and sealed it with matt varnish.

Image

TIPS FOR MATTEL

The same custom can be made with a regular Nemesis or Luthor gun holster and the costume strips and soulder pads painted on. The googles will be a problem, though.

The custom made by Scott Rogers (based on the Mirror Master figure) is easier to make than mine and has a more classic look.


Kestrel

I'm definitely not the only one that saw the potential for a Kestrel figure to be made out of the LU Hawk one. Actually I've seen recently similar customs from other people, such as shazam37. So why show mine? Because I think mine is quite original. ç

I wanted to give it a more distinct look compared to the regular JLU Hawk Figure and thus did extra efforts to make it have unique features. One of the things I'm not happy with the animated look of Hawh is the over-simplification of the cape. For Kestrel I wanted to recover a bit more the look of multiple feathered cape that had the character designs in the comic, so in practice I wanted to find a way to extend the two unconnected cape feathers on the back of the figure to the front. I did several skethes with paper pieces of different shapes until I found the shape that gave it the right look.

Also I changed the head to one less serious, one that I could give a more evil look. I had not many options in my fodder so I had to go for a JLU John Stewart head which I then sculpted a bit to reduce the prominent lips. To adapt the head to the body I cracked open the body, sealed it back with superglue and then had to re-shape elbows to adapt them to a narrower neck. I also sculpted a bit the space between the two cape feathers on the back of the figure, to make them look like they were not connected.

Once all this was done I added the feather extensions to the cape, made from thin carboard hardenend with superglue, and painted it all. To increase the contrast between the black and the purple, I varnished the black parts with glossy paint and the purple parts with matt varnish. The cowl black stripes are cut from a plastic-coated wire tipically in computer wires packaging and can be placed in different shapes. And the result is shown below.

Image


To better see how distinct is from the original figure, in the images below I show Kestrel side by side with the JLU Hawk figure.

Image

Image


TIPS FOR MATTEL

The same figure can be made with the JLU Hawk body and a Mirror Master head with no add-ons, closer to a custom I've seen recently (but cannot rmemeber the customizer, pelase accept my appologies). The trick to keep some distinct look would be to keep the proposed painting scheme, specially to paint black the top half of the figure.

Okay, that is for today. In the next days I'll post part two, with some goodies to keep the balance between good and evil.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:08 am 
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Ok, so in last post we so some baddies' customs, so in this one I will show some super-hero customs I had planned for the JLU CUSTOM SHOWCASE.

Jade

The release by Mattel of the JLU Obsidian figure was clearly demanding for her sister to be made in plastic. I've seen two or three Jade customs, using different JLU heads as basis. But in my case Jade was already a planned custom years before the JLU line, and I had already picked the perfect head for this: Trixie from the Resaurus Speed Racer line. My original plans were to use a Toy Biz Invisible Woman body, which I already adapted for the head, but after doing a first paint shot I saw the proportions were not right. So the custom was laying in my box for years until I saw the potential to use the head in a JLU body (the head-less Invisible Woman body was recently used in the Crystal custom I've shown some posts ago).

The trickiest part of this custom was to crack the body of a JLU Justice Lords Wonder Woman to adapt it for the new head, and it was tricky because JLU female bodies are very fragile. Once I had adapted the neck hole to the new head the second trickiest thing was to seal the body with superglue without the head and the limbs being stuck. Once this was done it was a matter of sanding down imperfections and paint the whole figure.

The result can be seen below:

Image

And now a shot with his brother Obsidian:

Image


TIPS FOR MATTEL

The same figure can be made from a Galatea figure. Also Patoliver has suggested to use Justice Lords Wonder Woman


Spectre

In this case I had a body (TNBA Riddler) waiting for the proper head and for a solution to the cloak. Some years ago I solved the latter, with a cape coming from Toy Biz Most Wanted Blink. And roughly a year ago I'd found the proper head: Lex Luthor from the Dc Direct The Death of Superman line.

So having all the pieces together the trickiest part was to adapt the head to the body. As both the Luthor head and the Riddler body had peg holes but no peg I decided to loose the neck articulation... so I glued the head to the body and sculpted the joint in a way that would then dissapear when painted.

I added then the goves and boot tops, made from very thin paper hardened with superglue, and painted the figure. The cloak was then glued directly to the figure in three points; two in the upper chest and one in the head.


Image

Image


TIPS FOR MATTEL

The Luthor head is from a DC Direct figure that may be off-limits to you. The Deadman's head is a good alternative, just with a different shadow arround his eyes. The cloak may require some work from your side, though.


Argent

This was not part of my planned JLU customs for the showcase but it is fresh from this past weekend so I cannot resist to share it with you. As you may have seem The Titans is one of my favourite teams and it is well represented in my customs (Starfire, Changeling, Troia, and more that i'll show in future posts). So this time spotlight is on Toni Monetti, better known as Argent.

For this custom I choose a JLU Fire with the hair switched for a Toy Biz X-Men secret weapons Jean Grey. As this is a recent custom I have some few photos of the process. Below the base figure and one of the paint tests are shown

Image

The original hair was taken apart, the head band was sanded down and the belly was sculpted. Wrist bracelets are made from regular paper hardened with super-glue (as usual in my customs). The boots' ornaments and the belly piercing are made from a thin cardboard (shown in the image above). Actually I added this cardboard into the shot so you can get a better idea of my technique: first I made simple patterns for the boot shapes using regular paper, and when I have the right shapes I copy those shapes in the cardboard. In this case I glued the original paper patterns into the figure to serve as guidelines for glueing the boots' ornament pieces in the right spot. Also in the cardboard we can see a donut-shaped pattern that corresponds to the round collar for the Birdman figure, and the feather-shaped pattern is the one from the Kestrel cape feather add-ons.

After painting it all and coating it with glossy and matt varnish the final result is the one shown below:

Image

TIPS FOR MATTEL

The same figure can be made from a Ice figure, with no add-ons. Also Patoliver has suggested to use Justice Lords Wonder Woman

Okay, that is for today. In the next days I'll post part three, with few off-the limits figures made also in JLU style.

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Check http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14514 (New entries! - July 10, 2012)


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:44 am 
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WOW!

The quality of your customs have improved significantly!

Some really fun character choices and some great use of parts (I especially like the hair for Argent)

Keep up the great work!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:17 am 
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Thanks for the compliments, Scott. I must admit I also like your work, and even I'm in the middle of a Kobra custom that is totally inspired in your JLU Custom Showcase entry...

The 'fun character choices'... well, some of it is really driven by my interest in a particular character never made in plastic before, and sometimes is inspired by the figure itself (is what I call 'opportunistic customs', Kestrel is an example). And sometimes, as when SDCC is approaching, I tipically go for obscure characters I think no-one will ever do (but then I was wrong with, e.g., Black Vulcan) so no matter how obscure the character is it may get into plastic in the end.

I'll show some even more obscure characters in next posts...

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:17 pm 
Why doesn't anyone ever listen to me?
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I am completely impressed. EXCELLENT!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:06 pm 
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jzachery wrote:
I am completely impressed. EXCELLENT!


Thanks dude! I really liked your Donna Troi and Power Girl entries for the JLU Custom Sohowcase. And must admit I might take your recipe for a Vandal Savage figure... (if Mattel shows no plans to make it themselves).

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