Shakka85 Featured Customizer

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The Featured Customizer for June 2013 is one of the most underrated customizers. Every single one of Shakka85’s customs has interesting parts combinations, super clean paint, and although minimal, production quality sculpting. His camo painting is right up there with the best of them. While he tends to go with very worn and weathered realistic looks he’s not afraid to venture into the sci-fi or fantasy for his designs or characters. The area of his work that tends to really shine though are his original characters which always have so much life to them. Go check out his customs in the Critique Section of the forum, but only after reading what he has to say about the hobby below.


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What do you enjoy customizing the most?

That's easy: Joes! Ever since I first removed a screw from the back of an 'A Real American Hero' Joe 30 plus years ago, I have been swapping parts, painting, and even doing a little bit of sculpting. Today, my skills are far better than they were back then, but I still have a ways to go before I will be satisfied with my work (at least on a consistent basis).


What brand of paint do you prefer?

While I have used Testors Model Masters, Tamiya and some Polly paints, my preferred paint is Vallejo brand. I like the consistency of their paints, which are easily thinned with water for smooth application, and they have an amazing array of military and flesh tone colors, both of which I am always on the look out for new shades of to use.


Where do you find inspiration for your customs?

Everywhere! Seriously, I see aspects I like in movies, video games, comics, photos (of actual military members), other people's customs... The list goes on and on... Sometimes I may see a tiny detail that I want to use in one of my customs, while other times I try to make what may seem to be a rip-off of someone else’s design (I try to give credit where it is do in those rare cases though).


What do you consider to be your best tools of the trade?

Paint and brushes (they go hand in hand to me) are my primary requirements, hands down. Coming in behind those are my Dremel (for cutting, hollowing, grinding and gutting parts), sculpting epoxy (for adding detail; I especially like making faux-hawks and facial hair on my custom Merc, Michaelangelo), and sculpting tools (which I obtained on the cheap side from Hobby Lobby; got to love the 40% off an item coupons they have each week!).


What is your strongest area when it comes to customizing?

To be honest, I don’t know. While I enjoy painting figures (especially faces and camouflage), I am my own worst critic, and often scrap parts that don’t turn out the way I envision them. Plus, I tend to look at the work of others and realize that my figures still have a ways to go before I will get to that “next level” of customizing.


Latest Custom Examples

Shakka85 sent along some of his latest customs for us so we can get a peak at what he's been up to.

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