Greyryder Featured Customizer

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January 2012's Featured Customizer is Greyryder. Because he tends to focus on original fantasy characters for his custom, his work doesn't garner a lot of attention from the Joe crowd. For those of us who have taken notice, we've seen well polished, highly original, works of art. The sculpting, painting, and playability on all of his customs are phenominal. Check out his customs in the Critiques Section, especially Greyryder v. 2 which may just have the best action feature accessory ever. Also be sure to check out his blog and his Troopers dio comic strip.


Intro Response

I think I received this, by mistake.... No, I'm honored, really. Thanks for the extra time. I just hope I didn't get too long winded on you.

What do you enjoy customizing the most?

I love turning my own ideas into physical objects. It can be fun to play in somebody else's sandbox, but mostly I like to create my own characters and creatures that aren't attached to anybody else's franchise. GI Joe and Marvel Universe are my favorite base figures to start with, but Star Wars figures are often a good source of joints when I'm making something that maybe doesn't have quite the standard human shape or size. I really like the hips from PTE figures, when I'm working on something bulkier than the average 1/18 scale figure.

What brand of paint do you prefer?

Testors Model Master acrylic line. They have a nice color selection, good opacity, level nicely, and I don't have to add thinner to run them through my airbrush. I do find their metallic colors to be frustratingly transparent, though. Tamiya's metallics are much nicer to work with. I'm usually pretty open to just about any acrylic model paint, since they rarely need primer or clear coating. I do my washes with water mixable oil paints, and those absolutely need a sealer coat.

Where do you find inspiration for your customs?

Everywhere! From ancient myths and legends, to modern pop culture, there's always something sparking an idea. Google image searches often turn up new inspiration, too. There are a few odd alien conspiracy theories out there, that while I don't buy into them, they certainly get my imagination going. Sometimes, I get ideas that seem to pop into my head, from nowhere. I imagine those are things I've forgotten about, randomly colliding in my subconscious. Or, they might be the death cries of vital brain cells....

Seeing the work of other customizers also inspires me. Sometimes, they give me ideas. Sometimes, seeing what they've done gets me to get back to work on my current projects.

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

I think X-acto knives, and paintbrushes are a given. #10 blades in the X-acto work great for separating torsos, but I use the standard #11 for almost evey thing else. Can't forget the Zap-A-Gap CA glue. That stuff holds my tiny plastic universe together. Apoxie Sculpt has become increasingly important in my figures, though I'm planning to switch to Fixit Sculpt, as I think the stiffer consistency will work better for me. With the sculpting, of course, comes sculpting tools. That includes a GI Joe T-bar I keep around for smoothing out concave areas.

The one tool I think I'd be lost without though, is this little double ended tool that I have no name for. I made it from some brass rod and plastic tubing. It has a short end that tapers to a semi-sharp point, and the other end is filed to kind of a chisel end. The chisel end mostly gets used for boring a hole to fit the same size brass, or the occasional bit of scraping in a tight area. But, the tapered end is invaluable! I'm forever using it to apply glue to small areas, without having it run all over the place. That end of the tool is good for scoring papercraft printouts for folding, too. I don't know how many times I've had to repair the thing, because styrene tube just isn't made for that kind of abuse. I still prefer it to keeping a supply of toothpicks around.

What is your strongest area when it comes to customizing?

I'm under the impression that I'm fairly mediocre, all the way around. I guess I'd have to say the more mechanical aspects, are my strongest area. I've always been pretty comfortable modifying articulation; from changing the way a joint moves, to adding new joints, as well as some accessories I've made with moving parts. I've also gotten really good at painting my fingers, while working on my customs.

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