How did you get started in customizing GIJoe? What led you to the brand, what type of stuff were you doing before?
Well it really started when I was a child, swapping parts on ARAH Joes was easy because everything was held together with screws. I used to get in trouble for it. My parents said I was tearing up perfectly good toys! LOL! But actual serious customizing started for me in 2007. My son was given a Luke Skywalker figure. It was the Endor Luke that had the swivel elbows. Man, those things were terrible. They kept popping apart. He asked me to fix it. So I got online looking for a way to do something about it and found the old, defunct FFURG website. It was a whole community all about customizing Star Wars figures. I joined up and learned a lot. Soon I started realizing what I could do. You see, I loved action figures as a kid; first Star Wars, and of course that led to the ARAH Joes. And I always wished my Star Wars figures had knee joints and elbow joints like the Joes. There was even a Lone Ranger line in the early 80’s that had working holsters. I wanted all my figures to have them. I mean, if the Lone Ranger line had working holsters, why couldn’t Joes and Star Wars? So a lot of what drew me into customizing was the desire for better figures from my childhood.
How did you discover JoeCustoms?
Once I got into customizing and collecting with my son it didn’t take long to transition into Joes as well as Star Wars. Honestly I don’t remember if someone mentioned Joe Customs on FFURG or if I did a google search. Might have been Dan Kosa (The Spectre) mentioned it. He was an active member of FFURG and Joe Customs. Anyway, I was thrilled when I discovered joecustoms.com had pages and pages of awesome custom action figures to look through!
What are your hobbies outside of joe customizing?
Up until our recent breakup I used to play bass in a metal band called Dog Head. We started off as industrial thrash metal, which eventually transitioned into just thrash metal. We used to do a rather theatrical stage show with lots of props and I wore crazy spike shoulder pads and stuff on stage. Back then it was a lot of fun! It’s kind of neat that there’s actually a song I wrote and my playing on a CD for sale on Amazon. Only one song though, as the EP was released after I had left the band for a while to work on my personal life. There’s a good bit of my songs and playing on youtube and reverb.com though, so that’s kinda cool. Now I just work, raise kids, and make customs. That’s fine by me, cause after rejoining the band the dynamics of it had changed and it became a major headache.
What figure/vehicle/project are you most proud of? If they all had to go, which would be the one that you wouldn't part with?
Oh man, this may be the toughest question. I think my grail would be my ultimate Croc Master custom. I think that’s the one that turned out the best. There’s also a Snake Eyes version 2 that is special to me. I made it long before the Retaliation ultimate version existed, and for a while it was the closest custom to the original 1985 figure/art.
Where/what/who do you draw your inspiration or ideas from?
The funny thing is, I’m really not very creative. I’m a fixer upper kinda guy. I take Hasbros figures or ideas and improve them. When I decide I want to make a certain figure I usually hit the web and look at customs other people have made to get inspiration. It points me in the right direction of what parts I would like to use. Some of my favorite customizers are Oreo Builder, Ceraurus, Stronox, and MSWI. I’ve learned a lot from those guys!
Can you name something that you did that turned out way better than you expected it to? And something that you finished that you just weren't happy with and why?
My first custom webgear really surprised me. It was for a 25th anniversary Wet-Suit custom. I was really anxious that I’d screw it up, or that I’d use the wrong glue and it wouldn’t hold. It actually turned out nicely. From that point it became pretty easy to make custom webgear and I felt like “MUHAHAHAHA!!! I can do anything!!!”
As for something that didn’t pan out… that kinda happens frequently. For example: it may look like a certain arm set would be perfect for a figure, but then I pair it with the torso and it looks awful, so I either modify or start over. So it’s hard to pin point a flop that wasn’t one of my beginner’s pieces, because if it sucks, I’ll fix it until I’m happy.
A dremel is the greatest tool in a customizers arsenal. It opens up all new possibilities in being able to modify parts. Once you get past being afraid of messing up the parts there’s so much you can do. I actually wrote an article on it for the Joe Customs wiki along with MSWI, but I can’t seem to find it on there as of now… http://wiki.joecustoms.com/wiki/Rotary_Tool_Techniques
What do you find the most enjoyable about customizing? What about the most frustrating?
Here’s where I differ from most customizers, I actually hate customizing! It’s tedious and frustrating. Parts that don’t look or work right together, the tediousness painting, waiting for it to dry, then another coat, and continuously dropping parts thanks to my carpal tunnel… all of that sucks. What makes it all worth it to me is the finished product. Having a completed badass version of a figure that I always wanted is what I enjoy! So yeah, customizing is just a means to an end for me. If I want the figure, I have to work for it.
You got time, and you got money, and you have the space. What do you build? And why?
Awwww man, some seriously awesome battlefield dioramas! I’d incorporate some of the classic battle stations and battle accessories like the forward observer and outpost defender. I can imagine a full sheet of plywood with hills and trees built up on it. I would set up a major battle scene on it! Hiss tanks and the MOBAT trading fire while blue shirts and Joes are facing off in combat. That would be sweet. I’d want to do it right too, meaning a museum quality display. I would want it to look real!