Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lars Custom Action Figures

Here's a few examples of some recent custom action figures that I did as either a commission or to put on eBay. I've been doing these for about 6 years now and have appeared in Toyfare magazine a few times. I'll post more customs and tips as I finish them. Enjoy


WHAT YOU’LL NEED: The first thing to do is get a 2-part resin that dries overnight. I use Magic Sculpt Resin (comes in 2 small jars from from my local hobby shop, Kit Kraft in Studio City, CA). You can also use plumbers epoxy. You'll also need metal clippers/shears, a Dremel (or else you'll be sanding forever), wet-media & regular sandpaper, an X-Acto knife, Dullcote spray, a set of decent brushes & good acrylic paints. I use flat colors unless it's a glossy surface like metal or vinyl.

RESIN WORK: Start by cutting off any excess plastic bits, gluing on what you need and then start sanding/Dremmeling till the surface is smooth (use wet-media sandpaper for the final sanding). Next, mix the resin and apply it using wet fingertips and keep a water dish and washcloth handy. The resin thins with water and can be molded for up to 3-4 hours. I sometimes take an X-Acto knife and cut smooth lines for the edge of gloves and boot and then break it off after it hardens. Also, you can use other figures to get parts from like heads, hands and attach with epoxy or super glue. Try to keep the resin as smooth as possible (by wetting your fingers and running them over the surface) to avoid more sanding time. The resin will dry completely within 24 hours.

PAINTING: Once the figure is smooth and has all the resin applied & sanded, start painting the figure. I use thin coats and build them up to keep the surface smooth. Tamiya & Model Master flat acrylics are the best. If you rush it, it has a tendency to clot up on the brush and give you grit on the surface (Oy!). You can use wet-media sandpaper to smooth out the painted surface & repaint it if need be. After the figure is painted, I use a few coats of Testor's Dullcote spray to seal the figure, keep dust off and give it a store-bought finish.

DECALS: I use Micromark Ink Jet Decal Paper which I run through my Epson printer. I use Abode Illustrator to construct all my emblems using the pen tool (vector maps) and then print them out using the highest-quality setting. After it's printed, I coat the paper with Krylon Crystal Clear OR Micromark Decal Sealant at least 5-7 times, allowing it to dry in between each coating. Also, make sure you keep your unused decals in an airtight bag or container so they don't dry out.

All in all, it takes quite awhile to get a good figure finished so don't rush it. Too many people are out there making bad customs so you want to stand out and that takes time & patience. It may seem like a lot of work, but the results are spectacular and well worth the time and trouble.

Good luck,



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