A dream deferred Featured Customizer
The July 2015 Featured Customizer is as well rounded as they come even if he isn't the most prolific customizer. What he lacks in quantity he more than makes up with quality. Creative parts use, production paint application, good detailing and camo work, and most importantly always something wicked interesting going on. But don't take my word for it (trademark Reading Rainbow 2015), after you read what he has to say blow about the hobby go check out his work in the Gaallery Archive and in the Critique's Section of the forum.
What do you enjoy customizing the most?
By this point there is nothing I own that isn't a target for customization. My phone is painted.
What brand of paint do you prefer?
Vallejo currently. Tamiya sometimes dries too fast, Testors is good but the bottles stick shut because I am sloppy. Privateer is too thick and the bottle hinges snap. Citadel is great and I was in love with their flip top bottles but they are expensive and it feels like they blend their paint thicker than I like. Craft paints are wonderful for large areas, whacky throwaway/test colors and for areas that wont move or rub against anything. Pearlex are great pigments that can be mixed into any liquid medium. Mod Podge makes a great inexpensive transparent paint. I also use oil paints for vehicles, artists acrylics and basically whatever I can get my hands on especially if its on clearance I will buy it and try it whether it is meant to work or even if it specifically says it wont work I still try it.
Where do you find inspiration for your customs?
I try to draw from many sources without letting any single facet be overwhelming. I look at scale models, sculpture, fashion, movies, history, fantasy etc. and pick them apart for details I enjoy. I go from small to big, one little detail usually gets built up into a project. Rather than sitting down and knowing that I am going to specifically make something I'll usually think of a small detail that interests me and wonder where and how to apply it. I like toys and I'm not immune to nostalgia, I have a lot of respect for classic GI Joe designs. When I first started it was direct reinterpretations of the classic GI Joes exclusively.
But, I sell a lot of customs so my best source of inspiration comes from momentum. It's important to me that my hobby supports itself, I really couldn't keep doing it otherwise. I buy and scavange lots of parts and supplies but I rarely keep anything I make because it I would rather keep going, keep building - and I can't afford to do that any other way. I do end up with a lot of extra parts though, so I'll occasionally get something to keep for myself or make something out of left field that I don't think anybody else would be interested in. And that's what I enjoy is to keep moving forward and getting better, keep trying new things.
What do you consider to be your best tools of the trade?
Improvisation. That's a good quick one word answer. But, as far as physical tools I think right now my love is little alligator clamps on sticks that I got from amazon for $5. Wish I'd started using them sooner.
What is your strongest area when it comes to customizing?
Technical skill, ability to mimic/recreate/jury-rig and motivation to try. My weak points are creativity, completeness, and self destruction. I can have trouble focusing or hamstring myself by being overly critical before I have a chance to finish something and I can have problems not giving myself enough time. If money were not an issue I would love to sculpt more and I think I'd give away my customs to people who enjoy the finished product because I more enjoy the process. I think that I have very good technical ability and I can look at most things or techniques and recreate them but while I do think I've made some interesting stuff I'm ultimately not an artist. I am a lover of artists and designers and all beautiful things but what I make and what I do is feeling blindly in a small part of that world.