Monday, September 24, 2012

Mando Assassin added to "Customs I Wish I Owned"





We know that it's been a long time since we did one of these video posts and it isn't because we don't want to.  Truth is, it has been hard to track down customizers to get their work shown.  We're hoping more customizers come forward because we certainly sent out plenty of feeelers.

Our latest inductee is 11 year old, Zach Mann aka Mando Assassin. Back in 2009 when he was only 8 years old, he saw Wrathnine's customs for the first time...and he's been hooked ever since! He started to customize in 2010 with Sharpies then moved on to paints. When he saw the Clone Wars TV show, he loved it! He's also a huge fan of the Original Trilogy too. One day he though to himself, "What if I mashed these AWESOME ingredients together. That is how he came up with his really cool Clone War conversions. Now they are his main focus. He has even got into sculpting.



Mando Assassin



Your can see more of his work at:







Saturday, September 22, 2012

ISY Is Turning Five and They're Holding a Customizing Contest to Celebrate!






It's truly hard to imagine that Imperial Shipyards has been around for 5 years on September 23rd, and even harder to imagine what they've accomplished in that time! With so many great members to thank, so many wonderfully creative elements showcased over 5 years, they decided to celebrate the only way they know how...With a custom contest! The challenge is to create your very own team of 4 members. Whether it be Star Wars, Super Heroes, Space Military, or any other theme you can imagine, let's see who you'd go into battle with! And of course, they're giving away prizes in true ISY fashion to the Top 3 winners! For more info and to get started with your planning, click the banner above and read the instructions!









CAFN: Episode 40 - Mash Up







Lighting table rescheduled, CAFN brings you all a cool customizing conversation alternative.

STAR WARS PODCASTS
As everyone knows sometimes the best laid plans do not go the way they are supposed to. CAFN's lighting roundtable will happen as soon as Tamer and Lucasclones can work out another date. As Plan B they gave us a cool customizing conversation with Screaming Samurai Studios! Enjoy! 




Go here to listen to the Custom Action
Figure News podcast: 




If there is anything you would like them to feature on a future podcast be sure to let them know at:


 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kessel Run Review Returning Soon!



Hey Fuzzball...can you keep a secret? Kessel Run Review has just finished filming all the on-camera shots! Now they're off doing voiceovers, and editing.




Custom Action Figure News podcast with Boring Conversation Anyway





We're sure the podcast of flyguy.net, dbsw.net, Sithlord229 needs no introduction. This was great fun and they are already trying to plan a date where the crew of the Boring Conversation Anyway podcast with them on Custom Action Figure News. And please if you haven't added Boring Conversation Anyway to your Podcast Repetoire we highly recommend it.






COMMANDO DROIDS in CLONE TROOPER DISGUISE

Dad created these two action figures after he saw Peakob1 post his version in the forums.  To make it seemed fairly easy.  Especially because we already had all the parts we would need.  All it took was some black paint, a sharp razor blade, and a Dremel.  We cut the heads on all four figures at the appropriate points.  Used the Dremel on what was left off the Clone Trooper's necks to create a smooth sunken hole at the top.  Painted the newly created recess black and glued the bottom of the Commando Droid's neck post to the freshly painted surface once it was dry.  These two figures were a really fun addition to my Droid Army collection.



COMMANDO DROIDS 
IN CLONE TROOPER DISGUISE
by Darth Daddy

 



















SKILL LEVEL: BEGINNER



"COMMANDO DROID
IN CLONE TROOPER DISGUISE"
created by Peabob1










Dad's Commando Droids were featured on the front page of Imperial Shipyards.



Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hangarbay94 Teases the New Chapter of X-Wing Alliance




Hangarbay94 is releasing some teaser images of the new chapter of X-Wing Alliance.  Follow the X-Wing Alliance News Thread for updates.



CHEWIE TEASES HIS NEXT CHAPTER



Image

Yakfinities #46: Voting Has Begun




It’s that time again – time to make your voice heard and vote for the next Yakfinities Customizing theme! Will Jabba’s Goons dominate the voting? Will Clone Wars make a comeback and win out? Or will the Undead claw their way to the top?

These votes are usually very close, so your selection could be the deciding factor! If you’re registered in their forums, your vote is just a click away.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

CAFN Episode 39: Screaming Samurai Studio





STAR WARS PODCASTS


Well they are back again with another great customs artist! Screaming Samurai Studio is well known for his awesome vehicle work and tonight they get him on to get the scoop on just how he pulls all this awesomeness off!  Check out his salt and liquid facial peel technique and his Youtube channel.













Go here to listen to the Custom Action
Figure News podcast: 




If there is anything you would like them to feature on a future podcast be sure to let them know at:





Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Star Wars Celebration VI: "Custom Action Figure Panel" Wrap-Up Report





Well, it was a good day for Star Wars custom action figure artists on the very last day of Celebration VI.  The customizing community was finally asked by Lucasfilm to present for the FIRST TIME EVER a Custom Action Figure Panel to the Celebration attendees who attended on Sunday, August 26th.  A big thanks to Jaime Follis aka Sillof for pulling the right strings and getting this off the ground... and boy did he bring the talent with him.  Bringing L.E. Spry aka Luke Sprywalker and Dayton Allen aka  Sith_fire30 to participate in the panel discussion was an excellent choice of artists to unleash at the first event of its kind.





Luke Sprywalker is a great ambassador for the Star Wars customizing community. We first learned of Luke Sprywalker's art in the customizing forums over at Yakface.comSprywalker is regularly promoting customizing contests in forums and he's a Custom Action Figure moderator for the forum at Imperial Shipyards. As a moderator you can't ask for any better.  He is always there to offer encouragement to the newer artists and is also there to support the veteran's as well.  He creates a super positive environment around him wherever he goes and he's always there to lend a helping hand to those in need of customizing advice.  Luke Sprywalker was also an excellent choice to represent the hobby because he does a lot of diorama work and does more than just dabble when it comes to vehicle creation, both facets which play a large role in the community for obvious reasons.  Sprywalker even created the characters for a photo novel called Star Wars Apocalypse written by Nate Ciurla aka Kessel Run Imports and with graphic design and action figures created by Julian Maurice aka  Hangarbay94.   Luke Sprywalker has had his hands in every aspect of the hobby.  Sprywalker spent the entire four day event in the Diorama Workshop getting the place built for the attendees who visited.  The Jabba's Palace diorama he built was full of his custom figures and they were on display there at the event that spanned the entire length of Celebration VI.

When it was time for the weekend to come to a close and clean up his diorama, several fellow customizers had to rush to Sprywalker's aid to help prevent his art from being carted away by numerous children running faster than Teek grabbing anything that they could once they heard the word "FREE".  I heard that one child was getting ready to scrap for his Rancor.  Unfortunately, in the commotion his box of tools went missing from the Diorama Workshop, so if anyone has seen a brown box with his name written on several sides of the box, please contact us so we can keep this customizer busy going forward.  We don't want an artist like this without his tools.  Especially at the end of a costly Star Wars weekend.  Tools could take weeks to replace when you had to pay for $6 coffees while you attended Celebration.





Now Sith_fire30 is always the first name you will hear out of pretty much every customizer's mouth when you ask them who's the best in the hobby today.  This talented customizer and diorama builder writes a super informative blog that takes you step by step through his creation process while also providing great educational bits like his "killer" eye painting tutorialSith_fire30 has one of the best custom action figure blogs out there.  We were really happy when we saw that he started posting video tutorials on Youtube showing everyone how to do molding and casting.  With amazing sculpt work and paint applications that are downright phenomenal, his talents are definitely getting noticed. Sith_fire30 is one of the few customizing artists to ever appear within the pages of Star Wars Insider.  He has taken the bar and raised it so high. Just take a look at the image of the Savage Opress above.  The entire figure has little magnets inserted at different points in the figure, all hidden, drilled in, sculpted over so the armor just clings to the body when brought near.  Genius!  Add in alternate head sculpts or torso, battle damaged armor, and you get the most ideal figure for every situation.  And the best part about Sith_fire30 is that he knows how to keep the action in the figure.  He gives his action figures all the range of motion that we share and his figures have silenced even the harshest of critics.  He has taken action figure creation beyond where we ever dreamed it could go. All this detail and articulation in a 3 3/4" scale.




Sillof, a seasoned builder in the Diorama Workshop, organized the panel and it was really nice to see his customs on display.  Sillof's customs may be a bit statuesque when compared to most customs these days, but they are really unique within the community and stand out in a signature way.  Yes, he only makes the same core characters over and over again, but don't let him fool you...his interpretations of these characters are out of this world!  Unlike most custom action figure artists who work in the 3 3/4" scale, Sillof works in a 6" scale.  In his art, he reinterprets our favorite Original Trilogy characters in various different ways.  Sillof has reinvented Star Wars in his own image ranging from themes such as "Steam Punk" Star Wars to "Western", or Star Wars as what it might look like if it occurred in 1942.  It was really nice to see his Ralph McQuarrie figures on display after the legendary artist's passing earlier this year.  Our personal favorite theme of Sillof's is where he envisions our favorite Star Wars characters as samurai warriors.  We're definitely big fans of this artist and his work has even found its way into our custom collection. His Toy Wars stop motion film and his recent Noir Wars film are worth a look too.  True labors of love.  It was really nice to see Lucasfilm take notice of this particular artist, because within the community the work of Sillof isn't what first comes to mind when one thinks of Star Wars customs.  Having him lead this year's panel provided attendees of Celebration with an opportunity to see what customizing can be like if it's done outside the box and it was nice seeing his work acknowledged.

One of the cooler developments at the event was that the panel's attendees were fortunate to receive donation samples of Aves products, which included Apoxie Sculpt and Fixit Sculpt.  As a user of these products ourselves it was nice to see one of our favorite items in our tool box being offered to the crowd that attended.  We wholeheartedly endorse their products here at Customs for the Kid and we do so without any arm twistin' if that gives you any idea how much we like em'.

Even cooler were the prizes at the panel.  Several audience members received an action figure created by the talented artists: Sith_fire30, Luke Sprywalker, Sillof and Chewie of Yakface.com.  Below are pictures of just some of the prizes created by Star Wars artists  Sith_fire30 and Chewie that lucky winners  received at the conclusion of the panel.




Imperial V-Wing Pilot & Helmet Set
created by Sith_fire30




Imperial Zombies
created by Chewie




We got a great show of artistry all and all.  Unfortunately, due to the length of the panel, the group never was able to talk about the customizing community like they had wanted to.  We definitely need more time allotted for a proper presentation to be given at future Celebrations for these Custom Action Figure Panels. Not a big deal, a lesson learned for the next Celebration, we were more than thankful for what we were able to give to all the attendees. Lucasfilm also needs to provide a bigger room for the panel next time around as well.  Several Star Wars customizers who missed the big event reported that more than half of the people who were in queue to attend the panel were not able to get in. The room had filled to maximum capacity and staff had to turn people away without getting to see the Panel discussion.  Demand was way higher than expected.  Toys have ALWAYS been a HUGE part of the Star Wars culture so this oversight will surely have to be corrected to adjust for the reality of the demand being expected going forward.




It was only fitting that the customizing community made our presence known to all the other Star Wars fans out there by having our place at a Celebration event. Already rumors are circulating that a future Celebration could one day hold a Custom Action Figure Workshop along with the Diorama Workshop that we have all grown to love so much.  Imagine having two Star Wars custom action figure events at a Celebration.  Well, it's about time!  Now all we need is a Custom Vehicle Panel and a Photonovel Panel.



STAR WARS PODCASTS


Originally the panel was going to be shown live over at Imperial Shipyards thanks to the efforts of Chad Hitchcock aka Lucasclones and Shawn Groves aka Tamer of Custom Action Figure News.  Unfortunately, when Lucasclones arrived at the Panel, the hotspot he borrowed from Whit Anderson couldn't get a signal in the room where the Panel was being held. Luckily, Lucasclones whipped out his cellphone and got the video that is making rounds on Star Wars fan pages and on Youtube.  He was also getting analog tape from an HD video camera, Tamer edited that footage and you can view it below right now.





Custom Action Figure News is probably one of the best things to come out of the Star Wars customizing community recently.  In the almost two years they have been podcasting, they have interviewed some of the coolest Star Wars customizers out there today.  The best part is that they keep the whole thing fun.  This year they expanded the scope of their show to include not only great interviews, but also Customizer Roundtables where several experts discuss various aspects of the hobby.  All the Panel members from this Celebration have made several appearances on the show. If you want to learn the hottest tips from the experts, get your pen and notebook, and tune in.

Other podcasts have also popped up recently that are promoting the customizing hobby as well. Richard Whipple aka Ratfink Customs, who displays a lot of his customs on his blog and has some really good tutorials that you wouldn't want to miss on his Youtube channel,  has been podcasting about the art form on his show the One-Of-A-Kind-Workshop Podcast.   General Geekery Cast has interviewed Ratfink Lucasclones, and  Sith_fire30.  Earlier this summer the SWAG77 Podcast  interviewed Darth Daddy as well as, Wookielover1138, one of the all-time biggest promoters of Star Wars custom action figures, with her show the Kessel Run Review.  


 Luke Sprywalker, Kessel Run Imports & Wookielover1138


Kessel Run Review created by Kessel Run Imports and hosted by fangirl Wookielover1138 showcases a custom action figure artist in every episode of their Youtube show that has turned out to be a real cult favorite.  This show is the next great Star Wars show so if you haven't seen an episode you better get on it.  Italian television has already taken notice of their efforts.  They both had front row seats for the Panel and can be seen sitting in the left hand corner of the picture at the top of the post.


Kessel Run Review


Imperial Shipyards is one of the best Star Wars websites when it comes to the promotion of custom action figure art.  Everyday, their home page is just covered in the most recently featured action figures from their forums and it stands alone as the ONLY website that actively lets the custom artists take center stage ALL DAY, EVERY DAY.  Providing customizers with some notoriety among their peers is a nice gesture we've seen repeated in the Customizer's Spotlight feature over at Yakface.com.  Front page attention doesn't come that often on Yakface.com, so if your custom makes it onto the home page, you know you made something cool.  We're also big fans of the forum we have been participating in over at Rebelscum.com.  There's a ton of really talented customizers posting there, so be sure to pay a visit.  Community events are a commonplace in the Star Wars customizing forums and it isn't a surprise that there is a Secret Santa held every year at Yakface.com.  Contests are also held throughout the year.  Both Yakface.com's Yakfinities, and the always prevalent contests held over at Imperial Shipyards are heavily participated in year round. There is a nice tight knit community that has developed at these websites where artists support each other in making the toys we'd all love to own by creating a great place where trading tips or helping each other finding the parts one needs is commonplace.

So if you have read this far, we're assuming you're a fan.  Well, just because you're a fan, that doesn't mean you know where to look for Star Wars custom action figure art.  Well, it can easily be found in a number of Star Wars fan site forums. Unfortunately, on some of these websites you have to be a member and log in before you can view any of the art.  Luckily, these Star Wars fan sites below have custom action figure art on display that are accommodating to the casual browser who isn't ready to take on a membership just to see a few pictures.   These websites are great and are just a click of a button away:





IMPERIAL SHIPYARDS


www.yakface.com


www.rebelscum.com


www.sandtroopers.com


www.jedidefender.com


Droids & Ewoks




Sillof toward the end of the panel very briefly mentioned Star Wars photonovels and the use of  Star Wars custom action figures to tell their stories, but due to time constraints, the panel was not able to elaborate any further. Artists like ChewieDarth Depressis and Kikinou over at the website, photonovelalliance.com have some great photonovels featuring all custom action figure casts. Another great place to visit would be the website of customizer Hangarbay94 at xwa-webcomic.comHe has one cool comic and while you're there you can grab some decal sheets to build your own ship hangar.  Kualan, author of Tales of the Clone Wars borrowed a custom action figure design to create one of his digital characters for his comic and it's only proper that we credit him for his contribution to the community.








Once you get going in the hobby, you are also going to want to make frequent visits to dioramaworkshop.comIt's a great place to teach you how to build environments for your figures and even gives you decal photos to help you with your building needs.  The website is very extensive so you are in luck.  There's a reason why Frank Diorio was put in charge of the Celebration Diorama Workshop and if you're looking to build a really nice looking diorama on the cheap, look no further than TheBudgetJedi on his Youtube channel.


DioramaWorkshop.com

A recent development in the customizing community was the development of a Facebook community presence.   Facebook groups Star Wars Customs as well as several other custom action figures groups have popped up, but the best thing to come about is a group started by Lucasclones called the Action Figure Customs Marketplace where fans of customs can purchase custom action figure art. Even fellow artists trade for the supplies they need. Ebay which always can be a great place to find custom action figures for sale has not always been kind to the artists who sell their wares there.  As a way to avoid the high fees that are charged, customizers began to sell their goods in an environment that they found better suited to their needs.

We also want to bring attention to the charitable work done within the Star Wars customizing community recently. This year saw the community get involved in the Toy Drive for Eli, Customs for a Cause, as well as the Mike Martinez Tribute Contest.

Customizing is a growing trend.  A lot could have to do with the next generation of Star Wars fans. Kids are really getting into the mix.  Christopher Yanak, Lucasclones Stikes Back, Malak3145 , and myself are just a few of the kids who are already getting involved in the hobby.  Once believed to be a hobby for grown men who just couldn't put their toys down when they reached adulthood, it just isn't the story anymore.  Not only are kids creating customs, but a growing female presence is taking form too.  

As far as the future goes, the customizing community hopes to have the Custom Action Figure Workshop at a future Celebration and we'd really love to work closely with HasbroThe Action Figure Workshop "may not" be able to be free like the Diorama Workshop due to the high price of plastic, but it would be really cool if it could be worked out in a way that is similar to the Build A Droid event happening now at Tatooine Traders at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It could be wonderful. While working closely to administer the Custom Action Figure Workshop, customizers can explain ways that Hasbro could increase their profit in the customizing market, by addressing the customizer's needs in relation to their product.  We could reinforce our needs for a well articulated frame.  We can explain to Hasbro how customizers all look to buy unlimited amounts of figures like the Vintage Aayla Secura figure, just for the female super articulated frame complete with the ball hinge hip joints that the figure is sporting.  We'd love to provide an alternate hypothesis to the one Hasbro recently provided in relation to their desire to continuously  re-release the core characters and mention that the core characters like the Vintage Obi-Wan and Vintage Anakin maybe didn't sell in such large quantities because fans couldn't get enough of these characters, but because customizers were just buying these figures to take off the heads and use the bodies that were left for creating custom Jedi action figures.  The Clone Wars Mace Windu was always one of our favorite bodies to use to add his super articulated ball jointed hips to our custom figures.  If Hasbro understood the customizer market better, they could increase their profits a great deal once they realize that a really well made figure could mean customizers buying ten or more units of that figure.  I know... big dreams. Heck, I'd like to see a Hasbro representative on the next Panel.  They better get a formal invite by whoever organizes it.  We need to let them know that they don't have to create action figures as good as the ones that we make, but it would be really cool if we could get some parts and a whole lot of them too.  Do you know how you did the joints on that arm for your new Vintage Ponda Baba?  Why can't you just make all joints that way?  It would bring so many more people into the hobby.  You'd sell so many more toys.

Well, we covered a lot in this wrap-up, so why don't you take it all in.  We tried to supply all you "new" fans with enough links to choke a Bantha.  So get going and do your research.  This article is a great jump off point.  But, before you all go about your business, watch the video below showcasing the work of some of the other wonderful artists within this community.  We left our own work out of the video to make room for as many artists as we could.  We figured if you are reading this here at our blog then you already have access to our customs.







Celebration VI
Star Wars Customizing Action Figure Panel
Commemorative Video
 created by Darth Daddy


This is a video featuring the custom artwork of several of the artists that have allowed us to display their work here on our blog.  We would have loved to display the work of countless other artists, but because we did not have the time to ask their permission, their work sadly does not appear in the video. When we first started CFTK, we developed a customizer directory where we provide our audience with a way to see work of the artists we help to promote, as well as video montages of their creations.  The service has always been  free of charge and all you have to do is ask for us to give you a place to promote your Star Wars custom action figure artwork.  We are solely here to help others in the hobby and open these talented artists up to a larger audience.  Feel free to contact us if you'd like your work featured. This video is also featured on our Youtube channel for all you mobile users.






We Are Proud Members of the Custom Coalition








Dad's commemorative video and article were featured on the front page of Imperial Shipyards.