Doc Rob Featured Customizer
Featured Customizer for February 2009 (1 of 2)
Doc Rob's custom work has constantly gotten better and more intricate over the years. His customs are always fully fleshed out with every detail surving its intended purpose from the item(s) they carry (weapon, sword or book) to the full script of their bio. His original characters on par with some of the best you'll ever see. If you've never looked through his 150 and counting customs, do yourself a favor and start.
Which style of figures do you enjoy customizing the most?
I would have to say, hands-down, newsculpt. By extension that could also include various Star Wars figures too, as increasingly I'm making figures that are hybrids of newsculpt and SW parts when the two happen to come together as highly compatible.
For me newsculpt has more detail and more variation in size; the sometimes softer plastic is easier to sand and shape as well, and there's just a...a certain look to newsculpt that stands out somehow, in a way I can't put to words but just adds to the aesthetic value of a custom for me.
What brand of paint do you prefer?
Apple Barrel craft paints top my list; they're cheap and easy to find locally, and provide a wide range of colors either standalone, or for mixes. To a lesser extent I also use some colors from the Folk Art and Delta Ceramcote craft paint lines, and a while back Cap turned me onto acrylic inks, which I've found fill a nice niche color and texture wise that acrylic paints themselves often can't.
Where do you find inspiration for your customs?
Several places, really, the top of the list most often being my imagination. I've always been the sort to make up characters on the fly. I also draw inspiration a lot from movies, books (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), webcomics and now and then, regular comics (I don't read them often enough) and of course, other people's customs or ideas. I usually try to avoid, however, replicating an existing character from any source, unless I have a good feel for the idea parts-wise; there's a need to get them just right that can really be frustrating that isn't there with characters I literally "whip up" from imagination--usually! Even then I can frustrate myself trying to get the custom to match the mental image I've built up.
One of the more unusual sources though, was a jigsaw puzzle. In this case the puzzle was a painting of a Native American woman by Russ Docken; I fell in love with it at first sight, and she provided the inspiration for Kayla "Mother" Ironhorse. Have to say it's honestly the only time I've done a custom based on something like that.
What do you consider to be your best tools of the trade?
Definitely my Black & Decker RTX--B&D's version of the Dremel--and my X-acto knife. The RTX is so versatile I used it for a wide variety of tasks--cutting, shaping, sanding, boring heads and making moveable wrists--I'd be lost without it. As for the Xacto it's more than just a cutting tool for me: it's a sculpting tool, a paint mixer, a paint scraper, a pick, a pry bar, a Green Stuff applicator (good for really small spots where my regular sculpting tools don't work well and I need a flat edge), and a hole borer when the RTX bits aren't large enough, all in one. It's easily the most versatile tool in my box, and one I literally cannot customize without.
What is your strongest area when it comes to customizing?
Had to really think on this, as to be honest, I never have thought on it...but I'd go with thinking outside the box on ideas, and using disparate parts from across a wide variety of lines to bring those same ideas together: for example, mixing Chap Mei parts with Action Attack Slice parts, as I did for my Minigun Horror a while back, and then adding regular Joe weapons as figure parts to the whole mix. There literally is not a 1:18th line I won't consider using parts from (and in many cases, have) no matter how much modification they might need. Making it work is challenging and fun, and really brings new possibilities to life instead of sticking with the "same ol', same ol'" designs all the time.
For me it's one thing that keeps customizing fresh, and lets me bring ideas to life I couldn't do relying on say, just GI Joe parts. I have to give Cap a lot of credit for helping to direct my thinking that way, teaching me that nothing should be thrown away, it's all useful. LOL