Vanishing Point Interview

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When did you realize you were an action figure customizer and what do you wish you knew then that you know now?

I realized early on certain things could be done differently. I had an Airtight with busted thumbs and crotch and got an extra Lightfoot when a friend grew out of his collection. Swapped the parts and Airtight got an upgrade. Python Patrol opened me up to trying straight repaints. Figures like the Marvel Super Heroes repaint that had Daredevil in his new armored look really opened my eyes to how a simple repaint can change the whole figure. What I wish I knew then that I know now...some enamels will never eh eh ever dry on certain plastics...

Is there such a thing as too much custom fodder and if so how much is too much? Asking for a friend.

As THE “zombie overlord/super king bignuts of sigma six”...maybe. LOL. When the line was announced as going on hiatus and people where dumping their collections en mass I started snagging them for great deals. Now there are ebay listings that have been up so long the crazy high prices are being used as the trending guide. Stuff I picked up for 3-5 bucks are loose and parted out for 35-40. Get you fodder when you can. I have 3 full size foot lockers of loose figures gear and kibble plus a stock of still MOC figures. Without it I would not have been able to recreate all of ARAH from 1982-1993.

No monkey, bad monkey!
Lots of overhead costs
VP EEL v2.jpg

Speaking of fodder, is there a Found item that you stockpile because it works so well for you?

I keep a roll of anti-skid drawer liner it has a grid pattern and is vinyl. I use it often for vests and armor.

Drawer liner armor

One I regretted not stockpiling was the old Lucas Palookas candy tops because they changed the style on them. The old one is a near perfect sigma scale original 13/greenshirt helmet. The only one I had I used on Bowser.

Lucas Palookas candy top helmet

What was/is the longest a Work In Progress custom has sat on your workbench and what was/is the main thing prevented/preventing you from completing it?

Nunchuck... I had that started before the line ended in 09 and I finished him last year. I just did not want to do Ninja Force until I had to. I'd pick it up and all the energy and interest drained from me. I remember Ninja Force was the end of the line for me as a kid and I feared that it would be again only this time for customizing.

VP Nunchuk.jpg

Outside of customizing, what other hobbies or interests do you have?

I COLLECT TOO MANY THINGS. laserdiscs, comics, Transformers, National Lampoons, heavy metal, memorabilia based around the films Harvey, Metropolis and Warriors. I draw, have boxes of quick sketches and tons of notebooks that I draft my customs before I start building.

How do you handle when the customizing bug hits you at a weird/awkward/inconvenient moment?

I keep a few sets of labels to apply to upgrade some of the recent transformers. Other than that like I mentioned before I draw or draft a quick custom idea.

Early on, who were the customizers that inspired you? And now?

Back when I really geared up I was doing Transformer Alternators and needed a part, a guy named gawdsic6six turned me onto to Sigma 6. I had dismissed it as a hokey knock off of Centurions, not even realizing it was GI Joe. We mirrored a lot of ideas and fed off the dwindling arena of competition for the scale.

Before that I was always just meandering about the boards and further back was the old Wizard magazine Homemade Heroes segments. I'm glad I settled into JoeCustoms. Beav and pluv and all the old guard welcomed my odd niche and Gary Goggles fed my need to build off the tiniest obscure reference.

VP Sightline.jpg
The Goggles see all

Now, I see a lot of great production level things from the group, Ian rolls out some wonderful jems of "wha! Why hadn't I thought of that"; Blood Brigade is a brilliant vehicle cobbler; and OreoBuilder Bucky always steal the show with well-developed and planned projects.

If given the opportunity, what would you have done to make Sigma 6 popular among the rest of the fanbase?

Exactly what I did, give them more classic characters. The first 2 years of the line were inline with the show, however they, like Rise of Cobra, had the X-Men movie black leather fetish. The end of the line was the best because they abandoned the black singlets. The failing was really the 2.5 line. IF they had continued it as 3.75 instead, upscaled the vehicles and ran it alongside the adventure scale instead of cold turkey removing the 3.75 line I think the 8" line would have survived instead of the hero mashers or battle masters or the myriad of attempts. Also make Scarlett, Baroness, and Jinx.

3.75” Sigma styled figure
VP Baroness.jpg

When we’ve all hung up our dremels and packed away our brushes, as we’re sitting around the JC old folks home regaling tales of yesteryear, what customizing horror story do you tell? Show us your scars!

Oh jeez, in my Alternator days I was working on making a Wheeljack out of a Sunstreaker and a Streetwise out of a Prowl. Trying to pop the sonic weld seam on the Sunstreaker head, I pulled out my pocket knife to try and pry it apart. I twisted wrong and the knife blade ran across the head and went into my left index finger just above the outer most knuckle at the joint and pad and exited the middle of the tip on the pad. Clean open slice, chipped the tip of the knife on the bone…at 3am. I use my thumb and middle finger to close the gash. Proceed to the bathroom and gauss up my finger and in passing ask parental unit for a ride to ER. THEY PANIC! I give them a “not helping” look. Go to ER, wait for an hour in empty waiting room, nurse keeps noting "scratch" on forms. They take vitals, "Your vitals show you may be at risk for high blood pressure."

I rebuke with "It’s 4am, I'm caffeinated, irritated, and you keep referring to a cut as a scratch. " She grabs the corner of my dressing and just pulls it off. So, I decided to stop holding the cut to prove a point. The finger does a wonderful Kirosawa style gush, arches across, hits a keyboard and the inside of the reception window. She quickly lines through scratch and writes cut. An hour later the doctor appears with good and bad news. Clean cut and it can be stitched but, the local anesthesia can only be done once and it'll only work long enough for 3-4 stitches out of the 14 needed. Yay...Let’s do this. Stitches 4-14 felt like I was watching the director’s cut of Dune. The fingertip is always "ants crawling" numb to this day.

Tis but a scratch!

Same scenario, but tell us your most triumphant fete! The one that makes the women swoon and the children cheer.

I made a Sigma version of Raptor that somehow made him not look ridiculous and incorporated parts from a vintage Raptor just for the hell of it.

VP Raptor 3.jpg
VP Raptor 2.jpg
VP Raptor 1.jpg

More Work

You can check out more of Vanishing Point’s literally hundreds of customs here.

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