Archive for the 'Custom Action Figure' Category


Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S.

1/18 scale action figures made with customizers in mind? Yes please! Boss Fight Studio has a new line of highly articulated action figures coming out.



Cool, yeah? They’re designed to come apart without too much trouble, but not fall apart from just handling them. Given that I make custom figures, I’m all over these. There’s a Kickstarter going for it, right now. It’s funded, but there are still stretch goals to meet.  And, they don’t just have undecorated blanks, either. They’ve got Spartans in full hoplite armor, along with other ancient Greek warriors. (Yes, you can get 300 Spartans) At 700 backers, they’ll add Amazons to the mix. You know what else they have?







Check out those articulated tails. I need this in my life. One of the stretch goals is articulated skeletons. Get your Harryhausen on!


They’re not just sticking to Greco-Roman mythology. They’ve shown previews for half-orcs, and phoenix knights. And, a robot. There’s a retro sci-fi line planned, alongside the mythology and fantasy. Yeah, I’m looking forward to these. A lot of other 1/18 scale customizers are. Any of this sound interesting to you? Then hit that Kickstarter! I don’t back many Kickstarters, (this is my second) but I’ve backed this one. I hope you will too.





This was destined to happen. I’ve recently been buying Mega Bloks Call of Duty figure packs, they’re just about 1/32 scale. I’ve had that 1/32 scale ’73 Trans Am for several years, and the 1/18 scale ’72 for a couple. Something like this was bound to pop into my head.


More Tales From the Garage


I’ve been slowly modifying that die-cast Mustang. It’s a cheap one, from Sam’s Club. Given the price a lot of die-cast cars go for, I’d be hesitant to cut into one. These go for so little, it’s pretty much game on. Most of the changes to this one will be relatively minor, with a super charger and air ducting  under the hood being the most drastic changes.

It’ll be getting new low mounted rally lights pulled from a 1/24 scale model to replace the ones in the grill that I’m turning into air intakes. New rocker panels are halfway finished, and I’ll be making a matching piece to replace the ugly black trim part that wraps around the bottom back of the car. The model is missing an accent line that should start on the doors and extend back in an arch to the quarter panels. I’ll be making the hard line from that out of styrene sheet, and feathering it into the bodywork with sanding and Fixit Sculpt. The final paint job will be two-tone red, with a thin gold stripe between. New wheels are planned, and I’ve already replaced the plastic steering column with a new one made of brass. It’s taken most of the slop out of the steering, and the wheels hold their positions better.

Yes, I am probably the only person in the world that cares about slop in the steering of a toy car.

I’ve slightly lowered the front ride height. The rear ride height was a little too low, from the factory. Together, it makes it look like an evenly lowered car. I’m not much into the whole “stancing” thing, but I’m seeing this as a “street fighter” type car, modified for better handling.  A diffuser on the front, and  tonneau cover where the rear seat used to be, along with a roll bar will round out the look. I’m also hoping to replace the seats with better sized and shaped ones. The current ones are too small. Current plan is to scratch build one and cast it.

This car something of a practice piece. I’ll be working on a similar one from the same manufacturer to make a very different looking car. That one will be turned into a fast back styled hard top, and made to look like a 2013/2014 car, instead of the 2010+ style it comes modeled after. That one will get a similar lowering in the front, but have the rear end raised. I figure that will help give it a completely different attitude from the convertible. More of a brawler, to the this car’s dancer.

I just hope my reach doesn’t exceed my grasp….


Iron Man ARMaments

I wanted to give one of my Iron Man figures the modular arm mechanism from the IM3 Assemblers line. Seemed straightforward enough; Swap out the joint pieces in the shoulders with the ones from a pair of Assemblers arms, then drill out the torso to take the Assemblers sockets.

Simple, sure….

I bought a Crosscut armor, for its red joint pieces, started cutting shoulders apart, and it became readily apparent that the parts from the Crosscut armor were much larger than the ones in the figure I was trying to modify. I even tried with a spare Mk.VI, with the same result. So, I bought a Striker armor, to try again. The shoulders were still too big, and a quick check showed they’re the same size as the shoulder parts from the white and black space armor. (which has the most delicate looking arms of any of the Assemblers I’ve seen) The Striker parts were at least small enough I could grind them down to make them work. I got the shoulder parts swapped, and started on modding the torso.

Drilled the top of the mid torso joint right off, ruining my favorite IM figure that I own. I refuse to accept defeat, with my favorite Iron man.  042 Drill bits; brass rod; styrene tube; GAME ON!

So anywho, this is what I ended up with:
im_arms1 im_arms2 im_arms3 im_arms4 im_arms5 im_arms6



Building a Better MOUSER

In my last post, I made reference to possibly adding ball jointed ankles to those little TMNT MOUSER figures. Figuring that one of the black MOUSERs would be a good test bed, on the grounds that that’s the easiest to paint over any patch work if I totally botch the attempt. Turned out, it went pretty well. Drilling into the legs did leave some stress marks, but I was able to mostly eliminate those, by just scratching them out with my thumbnail. Learned that little trick, when I was a kid. Never one to leave good enough alone, I went ahead and cut the legs off at the hips, and added ball joints there, too. One hip wound up being a little bit closer to the body than the other. It’s not that noticeable, and both hips sit pretty close to the torso. This limits their lateral movement, but still lets them move outward a bit. Happy with that, I repeated the whole process on a silver MOUSER.


I was careful to keep the hips more even this time, and moved them a little bit farther out to allow wider footed stances. Unfortunately, I got one of the ankles just a little too far back in the end of the leg. It’s pretty minor, so I’m gonna leave it. I’m not good at tutorials, and the way I work every third step is “Locate small black plastic part on black work surface.” Basically, the hips are cut by just slipping the X-acto blade blade between the leg and the torso, and pushing it into the hip peg. I like to go part way through from one side, and finish from the other. The feet are cut off similarly, cutting at whatever angle feels right, as close as I could get to the molded in detail. The ball joints are Lego levers; the little bits that plug into slotted hemispherical bases, and work as all kinds of detail pieces from antennas to levers. These are just the lever section, and the part that plugs into the base is cut off. I bought 200 of these for a penny or two a piece off Brick Link, a couple of years ago. I bought them to ball joint the hands on GI Joe figures, a trick I learned from Miko Matsing.

The sockets were drilled out with small drill bits in pin vises. I find it easier to start with small bits, then work up to the size I need. After that, I hollowed them with a spherical engraving bit in a moto tool. I’ve got a cheap single speed from Harbor Freight I use. Its size makes it feel less clumsy than my Dremel. There are two types of these bits; diamond abrasive, and high-speed bur/cutter. The abrasive bits work great on ABS plastic. The MOUSER legs are not made from ABS plastic. They’re made from an engineering plastic I believe to be from the nylon family. It’s slippery, and a little flexible, but not rubbery. It will laugh at your abrasive bit, and leave it crying in the corner. You want the bur/cutter style bit. Be sure to use one that’s smaller than the ball you’re hollowing out the socket for. You’ll end up making the opening too big, with a large bur.

Tooling the nylon like that will raise a lot of little plastic fuzz sticking off the piece. It will mock your attempts pull or cut it off. Remove what you can, and move on. (or, nuke the site from orbit, if you want to be sure.)

All the pieces should now just pop back toogether, giving you a MOUSER that can stand with his feet flat on the ground, without having to have them side by side. The pose in these pictures gives an idea of the range of motion.



And, one with the feet together:





Intruders in the Warehouse

Seems security is getting a little lax, around the GTHI warehouse. But, the Greyryder is on the case!



I might have had a little help, from Fenra.



Pronouns get interesting, when you create a character based on your online handle. 😉


The little guys are M.O.U.S.E.R.S. (That is the last time I’m typing that as an acronym) from the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line. I don’t collect the line, mostly because I’m a 1/18 scale snob. Most of the figures in that line seem a little more stylized than I usually like, too. I saw these guys over on Matt Booker’s blog, and thought they looked like a lot of fun.  Now, I’m a bit of an articulation junky, and these guys don’t have a lot. Their hips are simple, just swinging back and forth, their heads are on ball joints and the jaws open. Technically, the jaws are on ball joints, and the tops of the heads open, but semantics, whatever. I’ve forgiven figures for lacking articulation in the past, if they have personality, and these Mousers have personality. Unlike a lot of GI Joe figures, the ball joints at the tops of the necks aren’t restricted to simple swivel joints. They’re stable with the bodies leaned all the way forward. This lets them have a variety of postures. You can create personalities for them, just by posing them with different body language. Did I mention, you get seven of them, in each package? Yeah, troop building pack done right. I didn’t look at other packages to see if the color assortments are consistent, but mine came with three of the silvery guys, two of the darker gray ones (who are still kind of metallic) and two of the black ones.


Now, I mentioned the articulation, and how I like a lot of it. I don’t want anyone to think I’m being overly critical. These little guys have very thin legs. Realistically, you’re not going to get much more articulation in them. You could maybe ball joint the hips, and I think the ankles have enough bulk I might be able to use Lego levers to put ball joints in those. But articulating the knees, I don’t think would be possible, without bulking up the legs. And, I think that would spoil their look. I only want to add jointing to the ankles so I they can be posed standing without their feet being right side by side.


Everyone’s a Critic

After a couple of posts with genuine artwork, we’re back to stupid toy pictures. 🙂

Lots of action figure collectors take pictures of their figures, in cool looking action poses. Well, I can pose too.


But, some people just can’t let that be….



The Intervention

Don’t you hate it when you’re working on something, minding your own business, and someone has to come along and disturb you. “You haven’t eaten in five days. Step away from the dozens of unfinished projects, and eat a sammich.” It’s always something….




Works in Progress


I have this bad habit of starting one project, before I finish the previous one. It doesn’t help that I often work at a rate that can almost be described in geological terms. This leaves me with a lot of things sitting around in an unfinished state, sometimes for years. The two figures in the back are victims of that. The painted figure is only recently finished. It’s the human form of my werewolf “Greyryder” character. He’s supposed to look like me, but all my attempts to cut scale glasses out of clear plastic failed, and I hate sculpted on glasses. They never look right. I tend to go with the smallest frames I can find, so trying to make something roughly twice the size of  those little reading glasses they sell in stores in 1/18 scale is a challenge. Keep in mind, I’ll need multiples. There’s an unjacketed version not in the picture that I’m still working on, and in fact started before the one in the picture. I’m also working on a swappable head with a baseball cap sculpted on.

Now, a lot of the ships in this picture are “casual” builds. Most of them will just get cleaned up, built mostly out of the box, painted, and decalled. There’s a second one of the TOS Enterprises that will be getting modified, molds made, and parts cast so I can build a better Enterprise, and other ships from that era. I’m also planning an improved movie style Enterprise, and I’ve nearly finished the nacelles. The Enterprise B in the back will be getting some minor improvements, before I’m ready to paint it. Like my Hobb Creek, it’ll have its Aztec patterns painted in clear coat, rather than the screen accurate ILM mottle.

The heads near the front are modified castings. Optimus is cast from a Reveal the Shield G2 style Optimus Prime, and is being modified to be based (if a bit loosely) on the Alternators Prime head. It’ll be an alternate head for the “Joeformer” Prime I made a while back. The head next to it is spliced together from two different Snake Eyes heads. Actually, one was a Snake Eyes disquise Zartan head. I’ll be sculpting over it to make a head based on some concept images I’ve seen from G.I. Joe: Retalliation. Next to them is a narrow pack for a G.I. Joe Duke I’m working on. I started out trying to imitate the one that comes with the Sideshow made Duke, the more I looked at it, the less sense its construction made to me. One of the problems of only have internet sourced reference pictures, I guess. I wound up just making my own design.

The two unfinished figures are spiced together from various source figures, ground down with a moto-tool, and sculpted over. The one on the Left side of the picture is Hellchick V2, an unproduced player model for Quake 4, and very different from the Hellchick model released for Quake 3. Her design comes from (NSFW warning, there’s some gory creatures and topless women among the artwork.) I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep her topless, like the source art shows her. Maybe I’m just a prude, but I’m not sure I’m ready to have an anatomically correct figure in my collection. I started making her mostly as an excercise in detail sculpting. She’s got a lot of straps buckles and hardware on her, that I wanted to try my hand at sculpting, without making them too thick or course. It’s actually her gauntlet and the broken off horns on the right side of her head. The horns I’m just having trouble keeping the shape of what’s still there to match the whole horns on the other side of her head. The two headed thing on the other side is an original design. It’s supposed to be Gigeresque, but I’ve never been good at surface detail in any of my art. That’s been a big stumbling block, for me.

Other things that aren’t in this picture are a “Joeformer” Wheeljack, that was started well before Optimus was. There’s also two figures that are meant to be the siblings of the first G.I. Joe figure I customized, A version of the catgirl from my webcomic. They’re mostly waiting on accessories. There’s the Atomic Robo figure I haven’t even started sculpting on, yet. As far as heavily sculpted figures go, I’ve also got my “Demon King” character, who’s supposed to be sort of an armored mutant cyborg werejackal sort of thing. His base frame has been mostly assembled, I just have to design some armor for him, so I can get started sculpting him. I just want something more detailed/ornate than I usually come up with. Got a lot of ideas in my head for figures I’d like to make, but haven’t started on; two different werewolves, a 1/18 less stylized Xevoz Moon Stalker, a satyr girl, and the woman who rejected the Demon King. Probably some others, that have slipped my mind, too.

And then, there’s the diorama stuff I want to build….


That’s Just Prime


Yes, I made a G.I. Joe version of Optimus Prime. He’s made from parts from two different figures, from the two Joe movies, with hands from Cobra Commander, from the second movie. The hands have been ball jointed on the ends of Lego levers. The head is a casting, made from a War for Cybertron Optimus Prime figure. The neck is made from an elbow off of a Star Wars figure. After taking the pictures, I realized that I need to get more flat clear on his lower legs. They’re not supposed to be shiny. The jacket, however, is supposed to be shiny. The torso section of the jacket is made from red vinyl tape. I remove the adhesive with Goo Gone, then glued it together with a fabric glue called Instant Vinyl. I started with superglue, but the parts would just peel apart. The “vest” and the arms were both painted with Model Master guard’s red.

I’ve made a conscious decision that any Transformer turned Joe figures I make will not obviously be man sized mechs or humans dressed like TF characters. The ambiguity keeps a little bit of a mystery around them.

The gun is an AA12 automatic shotgun, with a removable drum magazine. It’s made by Marauder Gun Runners. Most of my custom figures get armed by Marauder. I love their removable magazines, but the AA12’s tends to pop out, if you look at it funny. I was able to modify it, by adding a very small tab to the top back of the magazine, and carving out a notch for it, in the back of the mag well. Most of their removable magazines stay in very well. The AA12 is one of very few exception in their line up.

A few more pictures, taken before I remembered to reset my camera’s white balance. They’re a little washed out:

joe_prime1 joe_prime2 joe_prime3 joe_prime4

If you look close, you can see one of the Lego levers I used to attach the hands. I hadn’t glued them into the arms yet, when these pictures were taken. That’s since been corrected, and the post is no longer visible.



August 2020