Joemichaels70 Featured Customizer
joemichaels70 is easily one of those customizers who flies under the radar. Besides being an innovator who constantly explores new and different ways of customizing, he has a very good eye for using common parts in new ways most people would never think of. While most people concentrate on key characters and the A list, he's looking at the B, C and D lists. Please go check out his work from the Gallery and follow all the links in his answers below to some of the projects he's taken on.
Which style of figures do you enjoy customizing the most?
I would have to say my favorite figure style is ARAH, due to ease of disassembly, and the fact I’ve got about 30lbs. of fodder, or as I call it: unrealized potential. Recently, I’ve come to love 25th style for the awesome amount of detail, however I’ve also come to realize that it’s a very demanding medium, not only with the process of customizing (torso cracking, etc.,), but the figure price makes the resource valuable – not much room for trial and error! I definitely feel that working with expensive figure fodder demands me to bring my ‘A’ game– every time!
What brand of paint do you prefer?
Well, I prefer to use Citadel-type paints, as they seem to be the most pure, but I mostly use whatever is as hand. My mom used to paint ceramics, and gave me a box of all kinds of weird stuff, including glazes and other odd things. The bulk of my paint is Apple Barrel stuff. I also have some left-over tubes of acrylic paint from college, some foil rub, some awesome transparent tints sent to me by our beloved leader, and even a few colored sharpies. I’ve also recently become a true believer in using pastels for weathering – although that is a messy undertaking! My last frontier in painting is airbrush – I have one, but have never been able to successfully use it on Joes… maybe I need to add ‘inks’ to the list…
Where do you find inspiration for your customs?
Without a doubt: comic books. That’s really what got me into this game in the first place. Before I got started in 1:18, I was making vinyl & resin models in 1:4 & 1:6 scale. One day I was surfing the web, looking for some Superman reference photos for my Horizon Vinyl Superman model (as seen on Sienfield!), and ran across Evilface’s Superman custom --probably one of the most ‘AHA’ moments of my adult artistic pursuits. I find that quite a bit of the time, if I’m doing an obscure comic character, I try to be as true to the source material as possible, however, the more mainstream the character, the more I try to add something to it, either to make it plausible in a Joe-type ‘verse, or to give it a ‘What if?/Elseworlds’ feel – or at least add some type of Jm7o ‘flourish’, even if the payoff isn’t worth the effort (see Hellboy’s belt buckle for that!) I guess this explains my attraction and affection for the NJC, coincidentally celebrating it's 50th Challenge this month!
What do you consider to be your best tools of the trade?
Well, there are a few tools that I consider crucial to my customizing of figures: my screwdriver, x-acto, and greenstuff. But then there’s a whole other host of tools and jigs/helpers that I’ve either co-opted or created to help with my customizing. Recently, I’ve become a believer and evangelist regarding ‘Tech Detail’ and have discovered the joy of using a band saw and disc/belt sander in this hobby!
What is your strongest area when it comes to customizing?
Tough one, and not sure I could even answer – I think this is one of those questions that is best answered by someone else – it’s like picking a nickname for yourself… That being said, I'd like to think one of my contributions to the hobby is inventing or discovering different tools, techniques, or processes from outside our normal hobby ‘comfort zone’ and bringing them home to joecustoms. I enjoy it when someone comments positively on one of my customs, but I find it truly gratifying when someone takes one of the ideas/processes/etc., that I brought to the site and creates something new, grand and amazing with it.