KrymsynGard666 Featured Customizer
KrymsynGard666's work goes beyond clean production like paint, beyond seamless modifications, and beyond any other cliches like "thinking outside of the box". The inspiring thing about his work overall is that there are layers to it. His repaints have intricate patterns that the feint of heart do not try. His modifications tend to leave the most experienced customizers gawking like magicians trying to figure how the trick was accomplished. Simply put, as his nomination was put forth, "that guy has ridiculous skills." If you haven't already, go see for yourself by checking out his custom in the Gallery Archive, Critiques section of the forum, and his blog which not only has his customs, but also pics of his collection that includes pre-production pieces and art.
What do you enjoy customizing the most?
The Vintage ARAH style figures and vehicles are my first love. But lately, I have been working more with the Modern style figures, and on larger "playset" dioramas rather than vehicles.
Over the years, I have stockpiled a lot of larger vehicle and playset parts from the Defiant, Flagg, Mobile Command Center, GI Joe HQ (both 1983 and 1992 versions). Many are not in the best condition for completing or selling, but I can't bring myself to throw them away, so I kept promising myself I would use them. I like the idea of re-purposing old junk parts, whether they are broken or color damaged or whatever, and turning them into something cool. Honestly though, they take up a LOT of space. After almost 20 years of hoarding, I am finally making good on my promise by trying to flesh out some larger projects. I started slowly with a couple of Terror Dromes, like my Jungle Terror Drome, which used not only a ton of damaged and discolored parts, but I also scratch-bashed some old Starriors Base robotic Cobra heads into the existing turrets with styrene and Apoxie. It is one of my favorite pieces I have done, and led to a larger Jungle themed Cobra project that included several support vehicles and a Hurricane.
I am also involved with conceptualizing and creating the custom vehicle and figure giveaways for the New Jersey Collectors Convention. With a team that includes some of the best casters in the hobby, Nova and RaginSpoon, as well as Cobrastickers.com, we put together a small run of custom vehicles (generally Hiss Tanks) that are given away as door prizes to show attendees. It is one of the best community projects I have ever been involved with. For each run, we all put in a ton of time, effort, resources and money to put out the best idea and product we can, and we try to tie it into something available at retail at the time of the show. Then they are all given away, free of charge, as door prizes to show attendees. I don't know of any other show that puts that much into an "exclusive" product that is given away completely for free, with no profit to the promoters or staff, and I am proud to be involved with such a selfless community project.
For each show's project, I try to throw together some sort of playset or diorama to help showcase the giveaway. The last show, we made a Hazard Tank, a HISS that tied into the Compound Z storyline that was running through the 30th Anniversary line and included the Zombie Vipers and Hazard Vipers. It was partially inspired by the vintage Septic Tank, and used parts from Shapeways as well as some custom cast parts. To go along with it, I built the Cobra Z-Lab, a Zombie creating laboratory that used junk parts from Mobile Command Centers, both GI Joe HQs, the Defiant and several others, as well as other bashed and styrene components. It is one of the largest and most detailed pieces I have done.
As far as figures, I have a large backlog of vintage style customs that I need to paint. I have done some ARAH style pieces lately, like the custom cast V1 Inferno BAT by Nova, and Wild Weasel by Alyosha. I really enjoy painting cast figures over frankensteined ones, there is a greater satisfaction for a lot less work, and a superior looking end product.
I have also been doing a lot more "modern era" customs. I find the modern style of figures to be extremely difficult to work with compared to the vintage construction, but it is hard to deny the results can be fantastic, especially given the vast number of 1/18th scale lines out there and how much closer they are in scale, style and construction to one another than ever before. The fact that you can easily combine parts from Marvel Universe, Star wars, GI Joe, and Indiana Jones just from Hasbro, and then countless movie and video game lines from other companies, and have promising results makes modern customizing extremely appealing.
What brand of paint do you prefer?
For most figure projects, I spray anything that I can, even if it involves extensive or detailed masking. I use Tamiya sprays almost exclusively, it is a very fine paint that doesn't cake up easily and clog joints. I do have some issues occasionally with the softer plastic parts remaining tacky, but I have been finding ways to combat that when I can. For brush on paint, again, I mainly use Tamiya, but I have also used Citadel, Model Masters, and a couple others. For me, it is really about finding the right color, so if I need to use or mix with an off brand I am not used to, I'll do it if it gives me the desired color.
When it comes to vehicles, I try to stick to over the counter Krylon, Krylon Fusion, Krylon Camo and other brands that advertise plastic bonding qualities. But, just like figures, for me it is about getting the right color, so if it comes down trying to use a Rustoleum or another heavier paint, I'll still do it. I have also used Tamiya sprays on vehicles, but the cans are so small and pretty expensive, so I do what I can to avoid that and use something cheaper.
Where do you find inspiration for your customs?
At this point, I'm not sure I can answer that easily. Just about every piece has its own story, be it inspired by another customizer, or a movie, or maybe just filling out a larger scene, project, or story.
For my Z-Lab, I created several different "stages" of Zombie Viper to help fill out the experiments, as well as support personnel in the form of a Medi-Viper and Tele-Viper. The Zombies added variety to the lab's test subjects, and the support personnel provided a believable functionality to the lab.
For my recent MARS industries warehouse (meant mainly to be a staging area for vehicle photography that went a bit further than I expected), I ended up creating some non-combat support vehicles, a Cherry Picker and a Crane. My own experiences working in manufacturing and printing kind of led me to think that there should be some sort of random support equipment lying around, like the fuel tractor and trailer on the USS Flagg. So in that regard, it was a more practical inspiration, and also provided an opportunity to work on my weathering techniques.
Sometimes, it is as simple as "this would look cool in Cobra colors", and something gets a black, or blue, or maybe a black and blue camo paint job, like my Cobra J-10. Or, "this would be cool in a desert scheme" which led to my Sand Dragon.
Other times, an idea gets into my head, and just won't leave. A string of occurrences, like finding a couple good parts, seeing something on TV, and maybe hearing another artist mention an idea can all lead to some bizarre processing of thoughts that ends in something crazy that I'll just feel I HAVE to do. This is how my crazy Jungle Croc-BAT custom came together. I was sitting at a traffic light after buying a couple Shleich Crocodiles for a custom, and I was holding one up, while thinking of the smaller Chap Mei croc that had a giant gun strapped to it's back, and that led to me thinking I could strap giant missile launchers to this croc, and then I think that some cybernetic limbs would be cool, and then a BAT could ride it, or maybe I could graft the BAT to it...And by then the cars behind me were beeping their horns, because the traffic light was green. But that was it, the stream of thoughts that led to one of my favorite, most ridiculous pieces I have done. I started working on it immediately and didn't stop for about a week. Later, I had to add the skull in a jar to it because of another really long story, but I'll stop there.
I'm also not ashamed to say I'll copy or alter another artist's work, and adapt it to my own needs. I've borrowed liberally from Chad and Matt, Nova, Alyosha, Notpicard, Darkhorse, and many others. I've also found a lot of inspiration in the work of some of the artists whose modern customs have redefined the genre- AVAC, Chickenbroth, Ratfink, Tankster, Stronox, Ceraurus, Bad Sociologist (iwbeta), GI Guppy and others. Then, there are the casters. Alyosha and Nova again, Raginspoon, the assorted minds behind Slayer Design Studios, all any of them have to do is cast one cool part, and when I see it, my mind will work a whole custom around it.
What do you consider to be your best tools of the trade?
I use my Dremel more than anything else, with the rasp and grinding bits being my go to for most projects. After that, my X-acto saws and blades. Assorted grit sandpaper, wet and dry. And then, my old 56" tabletop band saw, I have had it for almost 20 years and it is about to give up the ghost, but it will still make short work of most large, clunky plastic parts that are too difficult to cut with a dremel or X-acto saw.
I don't sculpt much, but I have an old Apoxie sculpt two part set up that I use often for light sculpting, filling gaps, and strengthening joins.
For painting, I've been using some Tamiya brushes lately that are giving me good results, but I have a couple older brushes that are badly used, curled, missing bristles, and have paint caked up on the shaft. One is a thin detail brush I use for camo, and the other is a soft bristle brush I used for drybrushing. I have been using them so long that I know how to turn the flaws out for good results. I'll use them until they fall part. Also, when it comes to layered weathering, like mud splatters, light snowfall, or sand specks, I still use an old toothbrush and a popsicle stick. I learned the technique when I was 8 at some crappy summer camp, and held onto it ever since.
What is your strongest area when it comes to customizing?
I think it would have to be my kit bashing and scratch bashing skills. Slicing and cutting up existing parts, mixing in scratch built components from styrene and acrylic, as well as random household items, to make some new vehicle or dio component. I have a massive pile of military models, old GI Joe parts, Zoid parts, equipment and weapons from other military likes like Elite Force, Bravo Team, the Corps!, and many other than I go through constantly for bits and pieces to fill in gaps or create new consoles or background fodder. One of my favorite things, as a customizer, is to find that perfect part for a project that I can cut, grind, glue and paint up, and have someone not recognize it in the end product. Some of my friends, like Nova or Notpicard, are so well versed in parts identification, that it is almost a game for me to use something obvious and try to stump them with the end product.
You can read more about what he has to say in his Customizer Interview.