Owner of a lonely BAT 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?

I guess my first custom was me. After having enrolled in the Steel Brigade I used my character 'High-Tech' liberally. Somewhere around the VvsV line I decided to take myself out of the Brigade uniform and do a LBC swap of parts...and since the Joe line had added a character named Hi-Tech...I became Arsenal.

Owner of...no...Hi-T...nope...Arsenal!

I found Joe back in 82...I was a big Star Wars fan and that line and scale was in full swing...Joe was a natural fit. Same sort of play value only a different theme.

How did you discover JoeCustoms?

Probably through members of CobraIsland.com. That was my gateway into most of Joe online fandom. I'm certain people there posted stuff being posted here and it got my creative juices flowing.

What are your hobbies outside of Joe customizing?

Work...gotta keep supporting this plastic crack habit of mine. But beyond Joe I also collect Transformers. I also am into Star Wars, Star Trek, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Pro Wrestling, The 3 Stooges, Twilight Zone, and wayyyy too many other shows, including Jem and The Holograms, Rick & Morty, horror films and comedies. In my spare time I occasionally sleep.

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

Most proud of? Probably my Sky Patrol Tomahawk...granted I had the chrome job done professionally but the rest was all me. it came out sweet and is probably my most well known custom vehicle...and as far as I know the first time a Tomahawk was chromed for addition to Sky Patrol.

Sky Patrol Tomahawk. Sooo shiney!

BUT oddly one of my favorite custom vehicles is my first Croc Masters Swampsmasher Mech...

Croc Master Swampsmasher Mech

The paint pattern on this came out amazing and was completely a mistake. I ran out of one shade of green and used a different slightly off to finish...it ended up being a great effect for a crocodile look.

I'm also very proud of the oddity known as the HESS Tank...a H.I.S.S Tank done up in the style of the Christmas staple from HESS Gas stations...

Cobra HESS tank

Figures wise I love too many too chose any.

As for what piece I would never part with...its easily my MOBAT. The story of why goes like this. As kids we didn't get a ton of gifts outside of Christmas or birthdays. Mom was a divorced disabled woman with two young kids...so money was always tight. So asking Mom for a MOBAT...the biggest most expensive piece in the line at the time was simply something I was not going to do. One day I came home...out of nowhere, and Mom had a MOBAT for me. I asked her why, and she said, "It's because you're a good kid." That always has meant a lot to me. And since her passing it means even more now.

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

Inspiration...usually it comes from two sources...other people posting their stuff. I love seeing what people are working on even if it doesn't fall in the realm of what I collect. And necessity. I often make custom figures based on their simply not being a viable (and often affordable) modern version of one.

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?

HAHAHA YES. Recently I did a Python B.A.T. and it came out amazing...I really couldn't have been happier. It was a complete last minute idea that I just took a gamble on and it was beautiful.

Python Patrol B.A.T.

Sonic Road Pig also came out amazing...

Sonic Fighter Road Pig

As for bad....jeez that would have to be my take on Night Force's Action Man...it looked so amazing in my head...

Night Force Action Man

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

It can not be said enough ACRYLIC paints. Changed my game big time. I prefer Vallejo. And I am also recently loving Liquitex Acrylic Fine Tip Paint markers. Also...keep things simple. If at all if you can swap out parts and avoid paint especially in joint areas like elbows and knees do so. Makes life soooo much easier. I am the laziest of LBC customizers. And cheap plug but there are a lot of great custom parts makers out there that help with great heads or weapons or gear that really help a lot.

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

There are a couple of things I enjoy about doing customs. I mean first its an ego thing isn't it? I mean for all of us we all want to post that awesome pic on sites and get that virtual pat on the head and impress the community don't we? That tiny bit of recognition that says, "Hey maybe your better at this than you thought?" That front page article that validates why we do what we do. And maybe take a bit of the heat I get from the wife for buying a toy to paint it up...lol.

Next I used to just create random new characters, but in the past few years I have switched to making characters that fill in holes in my collection (their all displayed on my shelves). And generally they are characters that simply do not existing in modern molds or like Trigger or Lightning I simply cannot afford...making a cheap custom that looks pretty decent for $30 is way better than dropping $200 on a limited figure that most stock has been absorbed into collections already.

It also gives me a bit of creative freedom. When I make a figure I try to always honor the spirit of the character and yet feel free to make some changes. A great example is my Slaughters Marauders Spirit. He's not exactly the same design and colors as the original o-ring version...BUT I was able to provide him with legs similar to the version that was done up in animation for Operation Dragonfire so he's sort of a mix of the original figure and the animated version. Which looks pretty sweet in my opinion.

Slaughters Marauders Spirit

It also allows me to make a figure like MARS Attacks Destro which isn't exactly the same figure but feels close enough to a more armored Destro from that set...

Mars Attacks Destro

It also allows me to take the liberty of not doing something I didn't like in an original figure...such as Ninja Force's Zartan's mohawk...

Ninja Force Zartan

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

Well I think every collector has the interest in building the be all end all versions of The Pit, or The Flagg or a Terrordrome which can house all the figure and vehicles in their collection. BUT while I would love to do those what I really want to do is loop in all the oddities in Joe collecting. I want to see all the related properties characters made as figures. Joe Extreme, Sgt. Savage, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter II, Bronze Bombers, MASK, and Jem and the Holograms in modern molds. I've made a few characters myself. I feel like its a mostly obtainable goal and hopefully one I will one day finish.

Additional work

Yuo find more of Owner of a loneley B.A.T.'s customs in the Gallery archive and in the Critiques' section of the forum.

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