Custom Vehicles Intro

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I have to start this off by applauding the various customizers on this site (and around the ‘Net) that have gone above and beyond for their hobby. People like Capolan, the Wonder Twins (Chad & Matthew), Kevin Watts, even Alyosha put a lot of time, attention, and dedication into their customs and it shows. Since I’m focusing on the vehicles for my part of the celebration, I’m going to start by touching on the fantastic group projects here at JoeCustoms.

The Constrictor

My favorite item from the Group Project Prototype Vehicles is Matthew’s Constrictor. Not only is this a fantastic custom vehicle, but it’s a piece that fans and collectors can not only instantly recognize, but have wanted for many a year.

The construction of this piece is a blend of custom artistry and personal innovation. Matthew went above and beyond by not only making this piece in a normal format, but also having additional design components added to the custom. These additional mods (troop carrier & vehicle lift) make the custom not only unique, but versatile. I only wish I had the time and the talent to put as much into my customs as Matthew and his brother.

Mad Max Style Vehicles

The Mad Max style customs are exceedingly well done also, like the movie come to life in 3 3/4" format. I’ve seen a number of Mad Max customs over the years, but the vehicle made for this custom project is top notch. The detail work that’s gone into making this custom is some of the best I’ve seen, from the engine to the tanks to the paint job, overall, a fantastic effort.

I wish I had the time to breakdown every single piece, but I’m getting long winded as is, but I wanted to make sure that I touched on my favorite items from this project at least. Although the Drivers for Driverless Vehicles group project was figure oriented, ideas like that are a great way to not only work on customizing, but also to enhance your collection by enriching areas where Hasbro was forced to be deficient or cut corners. I mean who wouldn’t enjoy having an entire crew of green shirts, yellow shirts, purple shirts, etc for their Flagg?

My Process

Now for my own projects, it’s often a mix of time and desire. Personally, for me, when it comes down to making a vehicle customs I tend to think of two things first and foremost. One: How lazy am I feeling today (ie. Is this going to be a full on custom or am I simply going to repaint something); and two: What do I have that I’d like to see as something else.

First Part

The first part is genuinely pretty simple, but can be a bit more involved than a simple "am I feeling last today or not thought" process. I’ve always made customs that fit a niche in my hobby, be it a custom character, a custom group, or repainting a garish (to me) outfit. No matter what was chosen, it had to fill a void. Most of my custom vehicles are repaints that bring those chosen items into my hobby world in a way that allows me to see them as more than just bits of plastic.

My Patriot

My favorite repaint today that’s not a convention item is a Patriot that I painted. I really hadn’t intended to paint it when I’d first gotten it, but it was already slopped with paint and I got the urge to see how it would look in more militaristic colors.I started out with a base of primer (spray paint) then I followed that up by painting on the camo colors in the deco that I thought looked the most interesting to me. I think the chosen colors came out nicely. After those colors were on in the pattern I wanted, I followed that up with a black over coat to mute the other gray areas and also, when sprayed lightly, it dulls the bright colors of the paint and gives it a more worn/weathered look. This all takes anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending on how long the paint takes to dry.

Once that was part was done, I went back and dry brushed a blend of silver and about three shades of brown onto various areas to really give it that "fresh out of action" look. The finishing touches were done on the tracks with I used brushed sloppily with flat gray (this was done on purpose, an even coating would have looked odd and not given the ‘slogging through mud’ effect I was going for) and let that dry. Then I blended two shades of watered down brown paints with a sponge brush over the top of the gray. This gave the tracks a coated but streaked look. All in all, that custom took about two days to finish.

Second Part

The second part, finding something to paint, can be more of a challenge for folks. I have lots of extra items to tear apart/ repaint, so for me it comes down more to narrowing the focus than anything. A good way to determine what you want to customize or repaint is finding a mix between something you won’t mind chucking if you mess it up and that you know you can try again on another item and get it for a decent price should you have to rebuy something. Above all, the key thing is to have fun, try something new and not get frustrated if you make mistakes.

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