Kilcarr Featured Customizer
Peer pressure can be a horrible thing. It can also force a long time watcher from the sidelines into picking up a brush and an X-acto knife. With enough egging on from friends it turned the Featured Customizer for May 2014 from a customizing dabbler into an NJC winning customizer. Seeing kilcarr do customizing demonstrations at the JC table during the Convention this year in Dallas, and knowing how far he's progressed, well, we should all take pride in that process for him. The tutorials, the critiques, the insight and tips, it all helped someone who didn't think he could customize on his journey to the point where he feels comfortable calling himself a customizer. He's still learning, but he's well on his way now. Go check out his customs in the Gallery and Critiques Section of the forum.
What do you enjoy customizing the most?
Honestly? Original characters. I feel like once you make a custom of an established character, it’s tough to break them out of a certain box, story wise. With an original character, you have the entire field laid out in front of you. You choose their backstory, their motivations, and the little things like what type of weapons they prefer, can they swim, what do they fear, things like that. It’s that aspect of storytelling that really gets my juices flowing.
I’ve also recently branched out into trying to bring more Superhero/Super villain characters into Joe formats. I think Marvel Universe figures got us closer than we’ve ever been to a unified toy line, but with Joes superior construction, I can’t help but try to improve and bring it up to a standard I expect. Some examples (and probably my favorites) are the following:
What brand of paint do you prefer?
Citadel paints. Hands down. I’ve tried Testors and Apple Barrel and while I get why others use them, they’ve never worked for me as well as Citadel paints have. That said, I’m new to painting, so if someone wants to convince me otherwise, I’m more than amenable to it.
Where do you find inspiration for your customs?
Everywhere. I know that’s an overused and possibly trite answer, but I pull from everything. Anything from the news to other customizers, and even just staring at parts until something starts to click. Once an idea gets in my head, I find it difficult to focus on anything but that.
What do you consider to be your best tools of the trade?
My network of friends I’ve made in this hobby over the 10 plus years I’ve been around. That’s honestly what pushed me and continues to push me to get better at doing this. I’ll get an idea, and I’ll start spit-balling with other customizers and they give me their input. From there, it’s a kinetic snowball of creativity, and I feel pained if I can’t finish an idea due to time or other constraints.
Funnily enough, the Magilla Gorilla custom I made, I was mostly done with after only applying the bowler and bowtie. He looked half finished, and it bugged me. After talking it over with my wife she encouraged me to go for the shorts, and that a Barbie might have something I could use. This lead to the dilemma of the suspenders. Ribbon didn’t look right, and like a flash I thought “What about bullet belts?” I stayed up way too late gluing and painting bullet belts into suspenders, and that was when I knew it was finished.
What is your strongest area when it comes to customizing?
LBCs, easily. A lot of people look down on them as easy, but the way I see it, any Dan, Brad, or Terry can put paint on a part. I’ve literally spent hours trying to closely watch the paint apps on parts so I could have a fully playable custom. I don’t like to just set them on a shelf and call them complete. I like to pose them dynamically and have fun with them.
When I started visiting JoeCustoms, I was putting together LBCs (Lazy Bastard Customs) of RAH figures. Just swapping parts with no real advanced techniques used. I ended up with a lot of Dreadnoks at that time, lol, but it was still a lot of fun. When the New Sculpt or 2nd gen figures arrived, I was pretty amped because I could finally do elbow swaps. I made a lot of customs during that time including a favorite original character of mine called Mongoose that was made up of the following parts.
Head: Heavy Duty v4
Lower arms: Roadblock v9
Rest: Crosshair v1
I liked it so much that I made Tiger Force and Night Force versions using repaints of those figures. Regrettably, no pictures of him exist, but I’m trying to get one together in ME format currently.
Moving on to the ME or 3rd gen, I was pretty much done. The new figure construction meant I could pretty much only do head or leg swaps, and things kind of ground to a halt for me for many years. Thanks to customizers like pluv, joemichaels70 and especially Lance Sputnik, I’ve finally learned how to crack torsos, and have become brave enough to paint. Granted my skills aren’t the greatest with paint, but I have many more options open to me now, and that means that my LBCs are now much more versatile and have reignited my passion for this hobby.
I’ve heard it said that customizing kept people in the fandom during the first hiatus, and I have to agree. We were forced to be creative, and make our own toys and stories. Even though a new hiatus looms, I look forward to the explosion of creativity that’s sure to come from it.