Python Viper Interview
What is your secret for painting Python Patrol vehicles so brilliantly?
A lot of things go into to getting it right, trial and error for one. The first Python vehicles I did were far from perfect. Trying and trying again helped me develop the skills I needed to get my vehicles to look right. Patience and attention to the details are the other two factors and they kind of go hand in hand. For most Python projects I would spend a lot of time thinking about how I would get it done right before anything even got painted. Taking my time and paying attention to what I was doing was crucial in getting it to look right.
Are you limited in what you feel would make a good Python Patrol vehicle, or do you believe any Joe/Cobra vehicle can be made better with that infamous paint job?
With enough effort any vehicle could be pythonized. Is every vehicle worth the time, effort and headache to get it done? That depends on the person. I am sure there is someone out there jonezin' to see a Python Patrol Road Toad, but not me. So I am not going to spend my time on it. But I have done quite a few vehicles on commission I was surprised to see turn out to be very cool that I never would've thought to do for myself.
Are there any customizers out there whose work you view on a regular basis for inspiration or ideas?
There are a few, I love carnage717's and Iwbeta's Tiger Force stuff. Their stuff pushes me to create more Python stuff to take on their Tiger Force stuff. Carnage717 started getting into the python stuff which did inspire me to do a few more projects. I think it was Nova who created a PP Raven which was pretty inspiring to go bigger and better.
Is there any particular prep technique that you would recommend customizers take before attempting to customize a vehicle?
Your results will be better with better prep. Remove all decals and thoroughly clean the vehicle. Wash and rinse and give it a full day to dry so all the moisture evaporates before paint is applied. I have been getting better results since I started using primer too.
Also, practice and patience, do not rush to finish your projects. Allow plenty of dry time for the paints.
Aside from your Python Patrol vehicles, what are your favorite types of customs to make?
Just simple part swap and paint figure customs. Mostly to create more Joe figures.
How many current projects do you have on your 'to do' list, and what factors decide which gets done first?
Oh geez, I must have 30 to 40 WIP figure customs and 2 WIP Python vehicle customs just sitting and collecting dust. I want to finish the vehicle customs first but I currently don't have a good place to work on them.
Would you say you've reached the height of your abilities? Or is the best yet to come?
Hmmm, for now I think I have reached the height of my abilities for now. But pythonizing vehicles is a fairly specialized type of customizing. I would have to get into other types of customs in order to expand my capabilities.
What 3 tools can you not live without when it comes to customizing Joes?
First off, when it comes to figures, I can't do anything without my small Phillips head screw driver. It also comes in handy for taking apart vehicles for cleaning. And I would never try to customize a vehicle if it wasn't clean, so I have to say an old toothbrush for scrubbing down plastic is second. And lastly, pythonizing vehicles is impossible without a mesh jersey. It is the most specialized tool I use when I customize.
What is the biggest project that you've tackled to date, and did it turn out exactly as you thought it would?
The Python Patrol Terrordrome is by far the largest custom project I have tackled. I put a lot of time into planning how to do it and the preparation paid off. It turned out about as well as I could have expected it to. I was really happy with the results.
What safety precautions would you suggest to new customizers out there when working on a project?
Be careful with the hobby knives and Exactos, they can do some damage if you aren't careful. Also, take precautions when using a dremel. A lot of attachments can cause burns. Not to mention a drill bit through a fingertip probably is not too pleasant.
The IRS is confiscating everything you own. What two vehicles would you hide, knowing that you'd be able to get away with?
This is a tough one. I know WHERE I would hide them. But I couldn't pick just two knowing I could fit more in my hiding place. I don't think the IRS would take my kitchen trash can, so I would toss as many vehicles in there as I could and cover them with trash. I think my Rolling Thunder would fit in there, as well as my Python Patrol Phantom. If I could fit more, maybe a Mauler, a Python Patrol HISS and the Python Patrol Firebat would be next.
Pythonizing a vehicle
Check out Python Viper's guide on how he creates the Python Patrol look for vehicles here.