What do you remember about your first time customizing?
The first time I sat down and actually tried painting (around 98-99 when I discovered the Bivouac), I remember how frustrating it was. My lack of skill and knowledge led to alot of black on my customs, and the use of enamel paint, and gloss paints. I didn't understand the differences in the enamel and acrylic, so I just bought whatever I thought would make a good color. I was kind of annoyed that the enamel wouldn't dry and stayed tacky for what seemed like months. One of the first things I learned from Joecustoms members was the different types of paint... and that gloss looks horrible.
What area of customizing took you the longest to figure out?
From a building perspective, the sanding and tweaking of joints to prevent paint rub. I just cannot build a statue like custom that doesn't move without chipping, it drives me nuts. I've finally gotten to a point where I can make most things with enough play in them to move without chipping, through a lot of trial and error processing, and trying out some strange combinations of things in the joint areas to see what would help.
From an overall perspective, patience. patience enough to slow down and take your time. It still might not be perfect in the end, but you know when you are done that you did your best. Patience is the biggest thing I learned in the last 4 years.
Are there any customs that defined or redefined a character for you?
There are so many customs that I've looked at over the years, and borrowed from here and there for those reasons (something about it helped define that character) that I don't think I could possibly narrow it down. I don't comment on a lot of the stuff I look at these days, but I look at almost everything that gets posted. I don't not do it because I have nothing to say, I think it's just the way I have come to use the internet, as a lot of other people have. It's Facebook's fault lol!
What was your biggest customizing blunder and were you able to fix it?
I've messed up a lot of parts through dremeling. Usually, no, it's not salvageable. Tango from Resurgence stared out very differently from how he ended up, because I slipped and mangled his original figure to the point I just threw it away. I only recently started messing with spray paint on making vehicles last year, and the first one I did (a plane for Resurgence) came out horrible. It was so bad I would have had to sand it down and redo it....lack of patience as I mentioned before led to that. I pitched it as well, and started over with a different plane. A local friend of mine helped teach me how to properly apply the paint so it doesn't get lumps or streaks, and from that I was able to do several vehicles last year.
What kind of bike do you ride and how long have you been riding?
I have been riding for close to five years now. I have my first bike still, which is an '07 HD olive green street bob, with enough brown and black parts that it gives off a GI Joe look. I purchased a '14 Street Glide this last fall, which is denim black with red pinstriping. It's currently being tweaked with more blacked out parts, and a red cobra logo on the derby cover by the engine. My end goal is to have it look like a 2 wheel HISS tank when done. I can't wait for spring.
Who were the customizers you looked up to when you first started? And now?
This is a tricky question, because throughout different build types of Joes, I've had different people I looked up to. When I messed around with ARAH, it was Chad and Matt's stuff, Livevil, and someone else but the name escapes me. Whomever it was, I know he was featured a lot but I haven't seen him post in years, and my memory fails me.
When I first started in Modern Era, I looked forward to and up to Spin Doctor's stuff, and LeeMarvin80. I just loved their stuff. When I'm trying to figure out how to make a build of an ARAH era character, I still look in the gallery for those two for inspiration.
Nowadays, I look up to Dusty79, Oreobuilder's, and HypnoHustler's stuff. I wish Hypno would do more! With the other PHX customs teamates, I love seeing the WIPs they show me. Whenever I'm stuck or just kind of burnt out, I see a WIP from them and I get fired up and get back to work.
Through contests and Conventions, I've been fortunate enough to handle a lot of other customizers stuff the last couple of years, and it's always interesting to see someone else's work so close. Study the paint apps, the playability, the subtle tweaks they made. I have to put this out there: Dusty79's figures are so "clean" that if you handed me his Throttle figure at a Hasbro seminar and told me it's an upcoming release, I'd have no trouble believing you.
You have a great idea for a custom, what is the first thing you do?
Make sure it hasn't been done a million times already. And if it has, which is usually the case, find a way to change it up and make it unique.
Then check with Oreobuilder and make sure he doesn't have the same thing on his desk. :). Because it's happened before.
How would you describe your customizing style?
I tend to lean towards a Pursuit of Cobra approach, where I want the figure to give off enough styling cues that they are instantly recognizable, but updated. I also try on most customs to have them look what I like to call "retail-istic". I want them to blend in with the factory stuff where possible.
Can you think of a time when something turned out way better than you thought it would on a custom?
Three figures that I'm really proud of and turned out far better than I thought: Pursuit of Cobra Duke, Scarlett and Outback. I honestly felt I created something very special with those ones. I wasn't satisfied with anything Hasbro put out for them, so I went about trying to make the best ones I could. I was humbled by the amount of positive feedback I got on those three figures in particular.
What one figure or vehicle best defines GI Joe for you?
After all these years, it's still version 1 Duke and the Skystriker. I'm pretty sure it's due to the first mini-series. I still have my original Skystriker from childhood, although the Duke I'm pretty sure is not the original. I played with that figure so much I think his thumbs were gone, crotch busted, and paint gone.