Alleyviperelite Featured Customizer

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It seems in the GI Joe community there are a few ARAH customizers and then a whole lot of modern era customizers. For the most part, the new sculpt era gets swept under the carpet as something better left forgotten, and that includes the customizers . So it's easy for some people to overlook alleyviperelite's work because they aren't fans of the parts. Well, some people are wrong. AVE brings the whole skill set to the table. Tight paint jobs, good eye for parts, impeccable detailing, shadowing, dry brushing, sculpting, and charisma all there in his work. But don't take my word for it. Go check out his customs in the Custom Gallery and in the Critique's Section of the forum.


What do you enjoy customizing the most?

I'm still stuck on the new sculpt era o-ring figures. I ended up with so much fodder during that period that I have enough to keep going for another five years. And I find the ease of swapping parts is a major advantage to that style of figure.

I still will work with the ARAH figures from time to time and I have tried my hand at a few modern style customs, though they were mainly head swaps.

My customs are 99% GI Joe universe based. GI Joe has a great history and framework to allow any kind of custom you want. I've made military based guys, robots, mutated beasts, and bikers. Religious zealots, apocalyptic anarchists, soldiers, street thugs, and arms dealers are all open game. GI Joe really is a great and diverse mythos to base your work.

What brand of paint do you prefer?

I started with Testor's but after they disappeared from local stores I switched to Apple Barrel and FolkArt brands. A wide variety of colors and ease of mixing are huge bonuses for me. And the price is right too.

Where do you find inspiration for your customs?

Honestly, inspiration is everywhere. Roadblock and Scarlett were inspired by the original RAH versions. One of my first major pieces, Sgt. Slaughter, was based on a Brock Lee design. My recent GP entry, Stacey's Heroes, was an homage to the movie Kelly's Heroes. I have an ongoing series for my daughter from Winnie The Pooh. And I borrow tons of ideas and concepts from board members here as well.

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

Parts supply is a huge advantage for me. As previously stated I have a massive supply of parts to go to when inspiration hits. Work on a piece has never stopped because I didn't have a part I needed. And that surplus has allowed me to try modifications without fear of "screwing up" that one piece.

And I also have an abundance of time. Not so much at home but after I get them pieced together I take them to work. I work 40 to 60 hours a week at a job where a lot is automated. So to pass the time I pull out my small customizing kit of sandpaper, Exacto, files, and green stuff and I customize. All I do at home is put the figure together and then paint it after all of the mods are done.

What is your strongest area when it comes to customizing?

I have a lot of strange ideas and I try to bring them to reality with customizing. Some of them are complete disasters and some workout great. I don't make customs to sell so I don't have to impress others with the work I do. I love getting feedback on my customs (which I do listen to and keep in mind on future customs), but in the long run I'm the one who lives with it on my shelf. If I don't like it I just start over or find a way to make it work.

Short answer: My imagination.

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