Thursday, August 16, 2012

Customs 101: Easiest Customs Ever

Have you ever wanted to "improve" an existing action figure, but were too scared to tamper with it?   Have you ever backed away from attempting your own custom job after seeing one so awesome it's kills your confidence to try?  Or, have you seen a custom so caked over with lumpy puddy and brush applied paint meant for your household ceiling that you worry this will be YOUR final product?  You got to ask yourself, like I did, "Is there an easy way to improve my figures without loosing the quality?"  If you have a microwave, and the finger strength to open a soda, the answer is a resounding "YES!"

If you've read any of my earlier blogs, you would have noticed that I look at figures through the lens of poseablity.  I've always been big on articulation.  (You could say "articulation" is my middle name...but it's my last.)  You can imagine how pleased I was when I ran into the custom jobs of matchbox1984 on YouTube.  Not only did I see videos of some drool worthy customs, but one post was a "How To" cooking class for customs.  

First thing you are going to need is the figure(s) you want to customize.  I chose a traditional Clone Wars Trooper and your basic ARF Trooper. 

I like how the ARF trooper's legs can widen their stance and I wanted my regular troopers to be able to do the same.  With that idea, my first customs were born. 

All you'll need for this basic job is the afore mentioned microwave and your figures.  First, pull off the head and hands and set them off to the side.  Matchbox1984 tells me these are the first to melt so remove them from the equation.  Then, drop one figure into the microwave and set the timer for 25 seconds.  You may have to increase the time depending on your microwave.  I had to up my time to 40 seconds as the microwave I'm using is so old it should have a start up crank in the back.  After cooking, remove your figure and replace it with your second figure and press the start button for the same amount of time.  While the second figure is heating up -- and here's where the finger strength comes into play -- separate the chest from the torso.  The microwave has softened the plastic enough that the torso peg should easily separate from the chest piece.  Once the timer runs out for the second figure, pull apart that figure as well.  Since you cooked these figures back to back, both should be relatively warm allowing you to swap top pieces, and push the parts together.  Now you not only have a Clone Trooper that can widen his stance, but you have an ARF Trooper with a higher range of forward and backward movement.

Right now, ARF troopers can be found for pretty decent prices at HasbroToyshop and Toysrus websites.  To me, a decent price is low enough to feel fine about potentially ruining your figure.  I've melted the shins of one Captain Rex figure by cooking him for too long.  I've also snapped a knee joint because I didn't cook him long enough.  If you do start pulling legs off at the knee, they should also pop out pretty easily.  Rarely, but sometimes these knee pegs won't pop out of the thighs because there's a bit of glue holding them in place.  If the pegs are giving you any sort of trouble, abort mission and move on.  Ye be warned.

Once you get comfortable with this, you'll start getting a little more daring and in a couple of successful runs, you'll have the confidence to start yanking off all kinds of limbs to create your own Clone Wars custom imaginings.  For example, out of 3 Hailfire Battle Pack figures...

 I assembled this guy.

I'm telling you, once you start down this road...

R. Ticulation

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