Lavendarlad Interview

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How did you get started in customizing GIjoe? What led you to the brand, what type of stuff were you doing before?

So I've been a lifelong fan of the GI Joe comics and hadn't taken much interest in the toys since I was a kid... that was until I came across podcasts such as Flagpoints, GI Joburg, The Full Force... and of course Joecustoms. These guys enthused me with a new appreciation, particularly of the modern era figures... and having been something of a military model maker and wargame miniature painter in my youth I found that customising drew me in way more than just the straight collecting side of the hobby.

How did you discover JoeCustoms?

I listen to a wide variety of podcasts pretty much all day at work... I had no idea there were any Joe dedicated ones out there when I just randomly searched for GI Joe on Itunes. Obviously the podcast led me to the website where I've lurked for a while before finally submitting my first custom last year.

What are your hobbies outside of joe customizing?

Having a two year old toddler means there's not really much spare time for more than one hobby!... I was an amateur kickboxer until I pretty much quit training in 2015 and now customising has virtually taken it's place (who knew it'd be so addictive!).... I don't know if I'd count them as hobbies but I'm a big reader of both comicbooks and alternative/revisionist history (gotta have the balance!).

What figure/vehicle are you most proud of? If they all had to go, which would be the one that you wouldn't part with?

Although it's only 90% complete, it's got to be my custom WHALE (soon to be posted)... I already know it's going to take pride of place on my display shelf. Basically it's had a few minor changes to it's overall look and weapons systems, but it's internally where I've done the real work... I've gutted it's interior and reconfigured the doors and loading ramp so it now holds and disgorges a vehicle (... and not that [crappy] little recon sled!)

Where/what/who do you draw your inspiration or ideas from?

Being a Brit and child of the 80s, my current muse is the 1983-84 Action Force line... I'm aiming to do as many re-imaginings/updates of those figures as I can. Generally though: I look at a lot of real world images of modern military uniforms & gear; I like the world of Metal Gear Solid for it's blending of sci-fi and military; the work of Masamune Shirow (Appleseed); and customiser wise, I try to emulate the gorgeous painting style of Stronox.

Can you name something that you did that turned out way better than you expected it to? And something that you finished that you just weren't happy with and why?

I have to say my first attempt with my airbrush last year turned out surprisingly well... I'd bought a cheap Transformers Shockwave model from a discount store to practice on and was kind of shocked at how easy to use, and what a great finish you get with the airbrush... an amazing tool. On the other end of the spectrum, my first re-attempt at hand painting a figure (admittedly after a 20 year hiatus) was just horrible!... I'd assumed my old skills would still be there... and I was wrong! Thankfully though the improvement curve is pretty steep with customising if you persevere past these little knock backs.

What tricks and tips have you mastered that you can share with everyone?

It's got to be pre-shading with the airbrush. Basiaclly you use two shades of undercoat, one very light, one very dark, to respectively pick out the high points and the recesses... then when you spray on the top coat of colour you get a lovely shading effect straight away... the technique works particularly well on vehicles (I've seen a lot of Gundam modellers using it too on Youtube).

What do you find the most enjoyable about customizing? What about the most frustrating?

For some reason I really enjoy making up bespoke web gear from the pouches, etc from other tac-vests...It's one of my favourite stages of a custom... it's also a stage that doesn't take too much concentration so you can do it with a beer in your hand in front of the Rugby!.... What frustrates me? F#king eyes!!!... The amount of near mental breakdowns I've narrowly avoided while trying to match two eyeballs... Thank God for goggles and eye patches!

You got time, and you got money, and you have the space. What do you build? And why?

I've got a bit of a thing for seaborne landing craft... so it would have to be a huge kit bash/scratch built vehicle along those lines, that could hold multiple vehicles in it's bay. I envision it having a lift off upper section (like on the Joe APC), giving access to the inner compartments and loading bay, so it would be a genuine cross between a vehicle and a playset... Essentially it'd be souped up, giant WHALE.

Quarrel never looked so bad ass!

Hope those answers are ok and not too rambling!



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