Danielb Featured Customizer
The Featured Customizer for April 2015, danielb, was a pretty prevalent customizer for a few years. He had a great eye for parts. He could paint camo with the best of them. Even when a custom of his wasn’t pushing the boundaries of his technique skills they were still very much character driven. Then the modern era style figures took hold and we saw less of his work. This is, until the Red versus Blue challenge thrust him back into the spotlight. What quickly became apparent was that he hadn’t so much retired as had taken a minute to refine his skills to accommodate the newly available parts. Still character rich customs. Still uses great parts combos. But now with a few more tricks up his sleeve. He has a refreshingly unique approach to customizing toys that perfectly balances fun with real world dynamics (for whatever setting the character fits). After you read what he has to say below, go check his customs in the GGallery Archive and the Critiques' section of the forum.
What do you enjoy customizing the most?
Just about anything, figures vehicles when I have the time or inclination I am even down for building a diorama.
What brand of paint do you prefer?
Citadel and Adikolor, but testors model masters will do in a pinch I usually add some flow improver to my paints. It helps a lot when it comes to having nice smooth paints. I would recommend it to anyone using apple barrel stuff or if you just seem to have issues with your paints clumping up.
Where do you find inspiration for your customs?
My time in service, pulps, the Joe mythos not represented in toy form... really just about anything that strikes my fancy can find itself in my fodder queue. I see a lot of customs of kickass killer types. Navy Seals, Private Military Contractors etc. I have plenty of Seals on my team, and think PMC's are scum, so I'd rather add needed personnel like Munitions/Ordnance troops, Supply, Civil Engineers etc. to my Joe roster. My favorite Joes have always been Thunder, and his best pal is Tollbooth. So really my Joe playtime leans in a bit of a different direction than a lot of peoples. Pictured is my head mechanic Lifeguard and my munitions troop IYAAYAS.
I also like adding to Cobra’s ranks, and adjusting them. For example, I don't need a pink Saw Viper in chaps, but I do need a heavy machine gunner for my Cobra units. So for me it is a simple head swap and gear swap on a standard Viper add a little paint, bam, I have a saw viper. The modern toys make some of this easier, but it isn't as much fun as it is with ARAH parts.
Really a lot of what I do is either fill holes or fix issues I have with existing figures. Maybe five percent of the modern era stuff is good out of package to me. All the rest is just fodder. A current project I am working on is breaking down fodder figures that are pretty much useless, and then sculpting them back up as something more useful. So all of those 25th figures with tiny heads weird details and stiff crappy joints are being ground down to skeletons and built up. I have also stripped down a Big Ben to turn him into a basic ACU uniform. He still has some work coming to him, like two other sets of arms, rolled up sleeves and ¾ sleeves. As well as new articulated hands and boots. The idea being I could cast his parts in appropriate colors and have a hybrid set of Joes with the benefits of both modern figures and ARAH figures. The wife happens to be great at sculpting so I think this is going to be a fun project.
I have never been big into the literal updates of ARAH to modern figures, I think the 30th anniversary and beyond is far superior to the 25th Joes. So most of my customs run along those lines, always looking for an ultimate version, and almost always being updated. The Arctic Lady Jaye has been stripped and redone a few times. She is currently back to being a WIP.
What do you consider to be your best tools of the trade?
Cheap brushes, exacto blades, dremel tool, two part epoxy and a super talented wife.
What is your strongest area when it comes to customizing?
Improvising. If I can't find the exact part I want then I can make something out of a part I don't want. I have always been handy with a brush, smooth paints, clean lines solid camo, but lately I have been doing more and more sculpting and it seems to be getting better and better as I go.