Do you remember your first custom?
I think like most of us, I mixed and matched figures as a “kid”. I quote kid because, honestly, I was 16 when I joined The Bivouac community. While I know I did it, I don't really remember creating any lasting characters. What I would label as my 1st custom is my “Crimson Officer”
I don't have specific dates, but I know that one was done with enamel paints in late 97 or early 1998. I'm able to pick out some of my earlier customs because they used what parts I had on hand, which was generally broken figures...thus lots of broken crotches.
Are we going to see another Crystal Ball diorama at one of the conventions?
I'm sure you will. A lot of it depends on my travel arrangements. I think CanJoeCon is more likely than JoeCon...but never say never. A challenge has been issued to Operation: Mindcrime.
Are there any parts you have ever found a part to be unusable for a custom?
As my fodder piles have grown, I've gotten pickier about what I keep to use on customs. I don't like parts that other people have painted already. I stopped saving broken crotches and once I've taken any useful part from arms I pitch the broken bits. I will admit that I think I dumped a dozen pairs of Captain Grid Iron legs into the Project Give Back box just because I can never come up with a use for them.
Do you know of anyone who has a better knowledge of GI Joe figure and vehicle parts than yourself?
There are a few people, John Missal (Lobster Overlord) is still the Human WHOBIT, though modern joes just have so many similar releases I don't think anybody can ID them all without a book. Kevin Watts (KrymsynGard666) can tell you what year a figure was released in his sleep...literally. Someone who really impresses me is Patrick Stewart (notpicard). Dude knows his variants. Not just vintage, but JvC, 25th, ROC, Pre-production, and beyond Joes, he knows Variants.
Who are your favorite customizers?
There are a number of guys who do great work. drbindy and darko both make great customs supported by fantastic bios. Their story really sells the figures. Lance Sputnik is a great friend and customizer. He's always got great ideas and being local it's nice to get together and “talk shop”. I love seeing updates from ARAH guys like RAMBO, and Remster_9. Tim 121RVC does some great LBC work. It makes me cry when he's using UK TF or Night Force figs, but he uses them well. KrymsynGard666 always does top notch work. His customs fit flawlessly in with his Collection. I love seeing Lt_L1zrdking's work. He may only do 1 figure a year, but it's always worth checking out.
There are a ton of others, Matt, Chad, Kamakura, Sgartz, EvilFace, liveevil, Grand Slam, Coreystinson, etc.
What is one thing that bothers you the most about the hobby?
I don't like Modern Customs. So many of them seem to be all about taking the look of a Classic figure and giving it the proportions, and articulation of a modern style. It's usually a great demonstration of craftsmanship, but really lacks the creative soul that made customizing Joes, and GI Joe what they are today.
Crystal Ball vs Dr. Mindbender in a steel cage ultimate fight, who wins and how?
By putting the fight in a Steel cage you're clearly trying to stop outside interference. That takes all the fun out of what Crystal Ball and Dr. Mindbender have become here in Northeast Ohio. In a steel cage it'd be a pretty boring fight...a lot of slapping. Crystal Ball would hide behind his shield. Eventually he'd win. Not by doing anything great, but because he's a Gypsy and you can't beat a gypsy, you just can't.
What is your dream project?
If a Dream Project is something I'd love to do, but really know it will never happen, I think it'd be to finish everything that I've started. I think it'd be really refreshing to have the time and energy to finish, finalize and post all of my WIPs. I've made a little bit of progress in finishing off some of my many WIPs, but I don't think I'm near the goal of clearing half my back-log. And I'm always adding new projects to the list. It's that damn Custom ADD.
If you could talk to 7 year old nova, what advice would you give him about customizing?
Man...I don't even know. There's so many things other than customizing I'd advise myself about. I think I'd have to try and encourage myself to be more open or accepting, but that's almost more of life advice than it is just customizing.
You are abducted by aliens and they let you take one GI Joe figure and one vehicle, which ones do you bring to their home planet?
If I had to grab them quick, odds are it'd be a Crystal Ball and either a POGO or Buzz Boar, but that's just a pure numbers thing. Grabbing any item from my collection the odds are better you'll get a Crystal Ball, or a POGO or Buzz Boar just because I have so many of them.
If I could only grab one figure, I'd grab my Funskool BAT. Vehicle wise, it'd be either a Mauler or an Equalizer. It depends on if I'd be able to get C batteries on the Alien world or not.