Short Bus Kustoms Interview

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How did you get started in customizing GIJoe?

It all started when I was searching for a obscure toy line ( Tonka’s Wrecking Crew), when a member of Hisstank was trying to remember what they were called. So trying to be a blessing, I registered there just to answer that members question. So long story short, I began perusing the customizing threads and saw all the really interesting vehicles & figures. From modeling Warhammer 40K in high school, I had a bit of skill with fine detail painting and always enjoyed painting the vehicles. I bought a v5 Crimson Hiss tank on clearance at TRU. This was my first attempt into the world of Gi Joe customs .

The Panzer Hiss was my interpretation of taking a mediocre toy and making it more of a displayable model.

Panzer Hiss

What led you to the brand, what type of stuff were you doing before?

I started with Warhammer 40K. Playing as the Dark Angels I learned to drybrush, spray paint control, detail painting, color choices, building models & glue techniques.

How did you discover JoeCustoms?

Honestly, I cannot remember, it probably was another member asking me to join. In fact I think Blood suggested that I join.

What are your hobbies outside of joe customizing?

I love to model railroad & mess with 1/10 scale RC cars. I also enjoy Mountain biking in the summer & camping. My O gauge layout

Railroad layout

My 1/10 scale crawler

1/10 R/C crawler

What figure/vehicle/project are you most proud of?

Honestly that is very hard. I love all my projects equally. Everyone brought new challenges & each have a special place in my collection. If I had to pick one it would be my Abandoned Rolling Thunder. It has the most meaningful story. I received this battered & badly discolored RT from a friend that was unable to throw it away. Originally I wanted to restore it as I never had this mega set as a kid, but always loved it. After looking at it extensively I realized it was beyond hope. After looking at pictures of lost planes in jungles I had the idea to give my sad RT a new life so to speak. I spent the next 4 months working on what would become a 2nd place finisher at Joecon 2017.

Abadoned Rolling Thunder

If they all had to go, which would be the one that you wouldn't part with?

Haha, odd enough I did a commission for a friend that wanted his mauler customized. I wanted to make it menacing & turned it Cobra as he wanted it to look like my Flak Cat.


So we decided on Tamiya Blue and I began. The end result was so awesome that I honestly didn’t want to send it back. I still miss this one dearly. It was so cool looking!!!!

Cobra Mauler

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

I try to use real world vehicles and scenery to be my basis on color choices & weathering patterns. I am also very inspired by other customizers like SGCaper, Blood Brigade,KeepitClean, Carlos Martinez Flores.

Can you name something that you did that turned out way better than you expected it to?

Yes, actually it was a simple mistake that turned out to be really awesome. I had just finished my 4th custom, the awwwwwwww yeaah striker. I was in the weathering stage when my brush had a bit too much black wash when I made a horrible black streak. I just continued with a heavier wash and the results were quite good.

Sbk aw yeah striker.jpg

And something that you finished that you just weren't happy with and why?

Yes, I had recently bought a World Peacekeeper Buggy that I just was going to weather and make less toyish. Towards the end while painting the dash, my finger had a bit if bright green paint, as I mistakenly touched the model I smeared green paint on it. I tried to heavily wear it, but ended looking worse.


As you can see I reused my failure to make one of my most extensive customs to date, thus rectifying my goof with unclean hands.

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

Biggest secret is buy an airbrush for weathering, it’s literally cheating. So easy to make things look old and worn. Also new be afraid to push yourself into new territory. I always tried a new technique each time to learn and grow as a customizer. Styrene though expensive, is a great way to add little details and to cover boo boos. Also don’t worry about mistakes, I screw up constantly, that’s what weathering & styrene is for!!!

What do you find the most enjoyable about customizing?

Mainly the ability to express myself in a physical form. Putting ideas into real world objects. Plus sharing my ideas with everyone to enjoy is a plus.

Sbk hind.jpg

What about the most frustrating?

You know I look at all the challenges and goofs as a journey, nothing is frustrating really. This is a hobby not a job, I treat it as such. If someone borrowed an idea of mine or copied a custom I find that a great honor to inspire others. I am just a guy that plays with toys. All of the hard times only make the end result more rewarding.

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

I like toys I can interact with, honestly I would find a way to build a Flagg that you could launch and land R/C Skystrikers off the deck. Oh and of course it would have to float as well...I mean a plastic coffee table??? That is crazy. Not to give away too many hints, just wait till Joecon 2018, I am building the most ambitious custom to date. It hopefully will set the bar somewhere near Jupiter, or Saturn.

Sbk jupiter.jpg
Sbk saturn.jpg

Additional work

If you are interested all my customs can be seen on Facebook. Just search Short Bus Kustoms!!! Thanks for the opportunity to share my backstory and my love for customizing Joes! You can also see more of Short Bus Kustoms' work in the Custom Gallery archive, in the Critique's section of the forum.

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