Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Customizing 101

NECA Snake Plissken Custom Bat
I think anyone who collects at least thinks about the idea of customizing or actually does customizing to their figures or makes dioramas, etc.  Doing any type of customizing takes planning, time, patience, and so much more.  I really started custom painting when I was a kid. I started with various things such as models, green army men, and even the occasional GI Joe figure.  Over the past 10 years I have become much more involved with the process and it continues to be the best part about the hobby for me.  I love to do things that are hands-on.

Custom GI JOE Sideshow Law Helmet 
How about you? Does the idea of customizing interest you?  What are some of the best ways to start your own diorama or your own paint scheme or figure?  Today I am going to share some of my personal tips and tricks to making these things happen.  You might think you don't have the right items you want/need to start a customization, but all you need to do is look around your house and you will find lots of things that you will need before spending any money at the store.  
Some items that could be used for dioramas are things such as cans, paper rolls, plastic strips, nails, wood, just to name a few. I could keep going, but the point is you can dig around your house to find some good stuff. The possibilities are endless. Just use your imagination.
 It sounds simple, but the first thing to do before anything else is to come up with an idea.  Some times that can actually be the toughest part. Do you have an idea of what you want to paint, sculpt, or build?  I suggest you sketch out your idea first which will allow you to tinker with the idea.  Whether it will be for a figure or diorama, you want to know your complete vision before you start your work.  
OK, so now you have your sketch of your idea of what you want to create.  This really simplifies the process and helps you visualize what you want to make. For instance, I wanted to create a brick wall for my figures as a backdrop but also wanted it to look as good as possible.  First, I started with some foam board and measured out precise 1" lines to offset the bricks so they would look in line.  After doing this, I used the butt end of a brush to indent the lines into the foam board to give it a more realistic look.  After I did this, I painted over the foam to give it more detail.  I liked it, but I thought I could do even better.  I decided to take foam bricks and cut them into pieces and glue them to a piece of thick foam.  Once I was able to glue the foam to the wall I was able to customize the wall to my liking.  I generally use cheap paint you can buy at a Walmart to paint my backdrops with.  It's fabric paint (I can't remember the name off the top of my head), but it works well for diorama paint. 

 I usually use model paint for figure customs and seal with a matte finish spray.  This can be a much harder process as you are painting small details and small areas.  Some things to help with this are toothpicks, tweezers, paper clips, etc… these items help get a little bit of paint in tiny areas. These are just some of the little tips that I learned from my dad when we used to build models when I was a kid.

Please let us know if you have any questions about customizing!! 
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