Oreobuilder Interview

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Can you tell us how it all started?

I have always customized my toys since I was a kid. I used to love Legos and rarely built the models from the instructions. I always created my own vehicles, cities and castles. When I started collecting Joes again as an adult (2005) and finding website like JoeCustoms.com, it was natural to me to start taking apart figures and creating my own. Then it was simply a fact of buying brushes, tools and paint to get started.

Have you given the club permission to use you Operation Cajun Badger Convention set idea?

Obviously, I would be honored if the Club ever approached me to use my ideas. They create a lot of great sets and figures.

When you look at your own body of work, what stands out to you?

When I look at my body of work, the aspect that stands out is how much I've grown as a customizer over the last 7+ years. My skills and parts selection have improved. Mostly, I think that I'm more comfortable with taking chances with my customs. I have learned to embrace the more ridiculous side of GI Joe rather than simply the realistic military aspects. For example, a few years ago, I wouldn't have explored a theme like Dino Hunters. Now, the ones I made for the Group Project are among my favorite and I'm thinking of expanding the roster.

What do you enjoy the most about customizing?

I enjoy several different aspects of the hobby. I like the painting, the parts-swapping, and the kit-bashing, but mostly, I enjoy the freedom that it gives me to create new characters or give a new spin to existing ones.

What would you say has been the biggest obstacle when it comes to customizing?

I'm not sure that these count as obstacles, but I could always use more time, more money, more paint colors, easier access to parts, a 3D printing machine… Seriously, I don't see any serious obstacles to customizing. In my opinion, having limits, such as parts availability, budget, etc, simply forces me to be more creative in finding ways of making something cool.

What was the best customizing advice you've ever received?

The best advice I've ever received and the advice I would give to beginners is “Take your time”. I rushed through so many customs when I started out only to be disappointed by the results. Being patient definitely pays off in this hobby.

What do your friends and family think about your customs?

They are very supportive. They think that it's great even if they probably don't understand the subject matter. They are not Joe fans, but they understand my need to create something new.

What are some of your interests outside of the hobby?

Toys have always been a big part of my life, so I also collect Transformers. I'm very curious, so I love to read and learn: history, politics and sports.

How do you prioritize your work in progress customs to know which one will be next?

My head is always swirling with ideas and projects that I want to do. Unfortunately, I don't always have the time or the means to tackle everything. To prioritize, I usually just work on customs that I'm in the mood to work on. Unfortunately, that means that I regularly have projects that are half-started that stay on my work table for extended periods of time.

Chance card: Your house is destroyed by a "weather balloon". The government check covers its replacement and then some. What figure and vehicle do you go out and replace first?

I would definitely replace my 1986 Viper first (or the 1985 Crimson Guard). As far as a vehicle, I would probably replace my V1 HISS. I have always loved that vehicle.

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