Cap Featured Customizer
Featured Customizer for January 2011.
In our hobby, there are customizers, and then there are the customizers who inspire other customizers. Cap is one such artist. Cap has done some crazy cool diorama buildings and that is what he is mostly known for. However, he's a true Renaissance man able to pick up any medium and master it into a work of art. His figures are always oozing with character. He's also the MacGyver of the customizing world. He takes kibble or throw away packaging and turns it into the most amazing accessories or diorama textures (like his shoebox diorama) He's the guy other customizers go to when they are having trouble tracking down something or figuring out how to make something. Sometimes to ask for ideas, sometimes to ask him to make it for them.
What do you enjoy customizing the most?
I had to think about this one, since I have many themes, genres, and also figure lines that I enjoy. If I had to pick a genre, it would be fantasy, specifically, sword and sorcery. It is the one enjoyment from my youth that never changed, never waned, and actually continues to grow as more and more fantasy related figures are made. These never existed when I really wanted them, so to make them now is a big thing for me. Like the Morrowind figures I am making. This game is more than an escapism, it is a game that enabled me to flesh out entire figure lives because they react realistically when they are modded to be. It inspired me to write an entire novel just about the characters from the talented modders in the game's community.
For figures, I tried to weigh the two but both the Star Wars figures and the ROC style of G. I. Joe figures continue to come out equally. I love the proportions of the ROC style of figures, and their range of motion in the arms. Where they lack, is the strongest area for the Star Wars figures, which are the legs. I love the fact that most Star War figures are constructed so that there are no visible joint pegs, rivets, or screw holes. Essentially, I would love to see GIJOE be an all plastic product, where the movable functions are within the figure, like a Star Wars figure is to a degree.
What brand of paint do you prefer?
Believe it or not, I am just starting to use paints more for the hobby. For the longest time I have been saying I hate painting, which must seem odd for a commercial and fine artisan. But when it comes to customs, if I can achieve the look I want without painting, then I strive for that, because my customs are not displayed but manipulated in diorama play.
What I have been using so far are actually acrylic inks, by Daler and Rowney. They go on fairly smooth and best of all, I can spray them directly from the bottle to the airbrush. I still have an entire carousel of Folk Art craft paints, which I find are invaluable to make fine details like gems on blades, lacings, or buttons on coats.
Where do you find inspiration for your customs?
Oh everywhere. If it is not a direct source, like the talented folks here or the games like Resident Evil or Morrowind, then it may be from obtuse sources. For example...I was perusing the website from the biker called KidofSpeed, who with her father chronicled what Chernobyl and Belorussia look like now, these years after the disaster. That got me thinking of those games that use it as a background, and mutations. I then whipped up a team of operatives using the BeachHead bodies because I found that thigh computer of his makes a great Geiger counter/radiation detector, once moved to their vests.
What do you consider to be your best tools of the trade?
There are three things that I use without fail on every new custom that I work on: a pin drill, a wood burner with various tips, and a pair of small hobby files. The pin drill not only makes great holes to affix accessories, but it also helps to open up the closed fists of some figures. Turns a once useless extremity into a functional one. I have been able to make new accessories just by drilling a hole and fitting unrelated parts together.
The wood burner is very versatile. For one, I can texture hair, scars, or even wrinkles with the micro tips. Or, if I am affixing a large part to the figure, like wings or horns, I can burn a hole in the plastic to a proper depth without the worries of using my Dremel or hand cranked hobby drill and going too deep. It is also great for sealing an accessory to a belt or vest. If the accessory has a peg, I can flatten the peg's end once I push it through a drilled hole.
The hobby files are the most important, because with them, I can make proper necks, arms, or feet fit better. For paint removal, instead of chemicals I can remove stubborn paint by gently filing it away, and then smooth it out with the finer file.
What is your strongest area when it comes to customizing?
Honestly, I don't feel I am that strong in any one area, because I have so much more to learn. If there would be something that I do fairly even, it would be making accessories for figures. I can make accessories, many from scratch for any size figure. That, and I am never, ever bored. I have never once looked at our hobby and found it stale or uninspiring.
If this is your only encounter with Cap's work you are in for a real treat. Please go check out his Customizer Interview which includes pics from his commissioned Springfield diorama, also his website which covers some of his other artistic endeavors, then of course check out his other customs in the Gallery and the Critiques section of the forum.