Soulgem Featured Customizer

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Featured Customizer for August 2009 GI Joe wasn't just a Real American Hero and this month's featured customizer proves it. Soulgem, the Nordic viking, has made a name for himself on JoeCustoms. His off the wall Disney Joes are extremely fun. Looking at his customs in the gallery, I think he's only scratched the surface of what he can do as a customizer. More importantly, from sharing the joy of customizing with students to donating his toys to a museum, he is all about spreading the love of the hobby to others.


Which style of figures do you enjoy customizing the most?

I’m proudly representing the RAH style. It opens up so easily and the different parts all match each other. But it’s not really that simple. You see, after lurking for a good while, I joined JoeCustoms late summer of 2007. This was just as the anniversary figures started to hit us. And I bought all the figures and multiples of the first waves. I had already tried to customize some of my old figures, but I wasn’t really feeling it. So by all accounts I should have started to customize the 25th style.

I guess it came down to me not opening the 25ths I bought. After almost two years with 25th, I finally made my first custom. A simple repaint, but at least I’m not a 25th virgin anymore, and I don’t think it will be the last. Still, though, I think I enjoy the o-ring the most.


What brand of paint do you prefer?

Games Workshop/Citadel Colour works for me. I tried a couple of other brands, including a Scandinavian brand, but I always fall back to GW. I even have a preferred color: Enchanted Blue. Not for the actual color, or the fabulous name, but for the fact that it covers so good. I would also like to mention GWs spray primer, which I really like to use. The white parts on the custom ”Halo”, for the Female Additions GP was just coated spray primer. Simple, messy and fun way to paint.


Where do you find inspiration for your customs?

I guess my most noticeable customs are my Disney Joes. Even to this day, I read and enjoy Donald Duck comics, so I guess it’s obvious that my inspiration to the first Disney Joes come from the comics I read. But lately, mainly due to having a 5 year old nephew, I have gotten into these newer Disney movies, and see tons of customs just begging to be made. I am well underway with my first Pixar Joe: A certain car. Watching other customizers work is naturally a great source of inspiration. The attention to details displayed by the likes of Matthew and Stormavik, the creativity of people like Lance Sputnik and my good friend Shadowdude82, and the great photos and dio shots of LIVEVIL. I'll also include my family, my friends, and the guys in the JC chat as inspiration. I often talk with them about ideas, and ask them for opinions. In particular my mother and my sister are good that way. My sister have helped me out with a few customs, and even made a few herself. I guess I’m actually proud of my hobby, not afraid of talking to others about this hobby. I have let many of my friends try it out, even though they have a very relaxed relationship to the toys. And at some point, I let my pupils at school customize joes when I stood in as an arts teacher. Best day at work by far.


What do you consider to be your best tools of the trade?

When I customize, I usually have the figure part in one hand and the X-acto blade in the other. Only the blade. Ideally it should have been attached to the handle, but I never bother with it. For some reason, this usually results in multiple cuts in my thumb. I’m still learning the various uses of the Dremel, but ever since I got it, customizing has been faster and even more destructive. This hobby is way more dangerous than many realize.


What is your strongest area when it comes to customizing?

I’m really new in this hobby, specially when compared to so many of the members here at JoeCustoms, and I’m at the point where I try something new for each custom I make. I’m basically learning new stuff for every new custom. Right now, I’m doing a vehicle custom for the convention with working electronics, and I have no idea how to do it properly, or if it will even work. Sadly, my weakest area is that I’m working extremely slow, so skill progression is never as fast as it could be. While I don’t think I’m particularly good at it, I do enjoy painting tiny details on my customs. If I do have a strong side to my customizing, it’s probably finding parts that match well together. I aim for the custom to be recognizable and natural before I paint it. I spend a good portion of my time just looking at my parts, looking for parts, thinking about what parts would match. I feel my latest Disney Joe, Darkwing Duck is a good representation of this.

Thanks for adding me to the list of Featured Customizers. It's an honor, specially considering that I'm relatively new at this hobby.

A rather old self custom with a Skystriker toy for 1:18 figures.
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