Friday, January 10, 2014

Dad started writing a Star Wars custom action figure column for The Star Wars Underworld.


"Jedi General Pong Krell" custom action figure created by Darth Daddy 

With the start of the New Year, The Star Wars Underworld thought it would be fun to offer our readers a new feature here at the site. Star Wars action figures have always been a HUGE part of the Star Wars fandom experience. Well, we thought it would be cool to introduce you to a side of the Star Wars artist community that rarely gets its due. Usually buried in the dark corners of Star Wars fan forums, Star Wars custom action figure artists have been creating some of the most amazing toy art that you could ever imagine. Their creations range from simple repaints to 100% sculpted pieces. The creations we've seen could fit within the folk art context as easily as it could within the fine art community. Like with any artistic expression there's a lot of variation in the manifestations that come about. Bottom line Star Wars custom action figures need some time in the spotlight!

Many of these artists started to create these toys when they decided to correct the color on an existing action figure they bought from Hasbro, or add articulation where there wasn't any, but before they knew it, they started to create characters that Hasbro didn't make to try to fill holes in their collections.  Other artists created several Star Wars fan fiction characters so they could just play inside the Star Wars universe and create their own stories.  Kit bashing different figure parts worked great for diorama fillers.  Artists like, Sith_fire30 and Sillof took it to the next level and brought their art backgrounds to task earning them featured articles in Star Wars Insider.

 CVI: Star Wars Custom Action Figure Panel audience. 

It was a really 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 Star Wars Custom Action Figure Panel to the Celebration attendees who attended on Sunday, August 26th. The room had filled to maximum capacity and staff had to turn more than half the line of people away without getting to see the Panel discussion.  Demand was way higher than expected and the room wasn't big enough to hold all who were interested in attending.

Customizing is a movement that is growing and The Star Wars Underworld asked me to take all of you on a tour this year through the world of Star Wars custom action figure art.

"Mother Talzin" created by Darth Daddy

In the Star Wars customizing community I'm known as Darth Daddy.  Back in summer of 2010, my then 6 year old son received three Star Wars custom action figures as a gift.  Within 3 minutes of opening his gift, he was asking me to make Star Wars custom action figures with him. 

I was quick to tell him that I wasn't sure I had the skills to do it.  I'll never forget what he said to me.

He said, "Dad, you can do it.  I know you can.  Just start and I know that you'll finish.  I believe in you."

It was hard to say "no" to him after that.  I figured at the very least I could was set a good example and try to do it.

I did some research about how it was done, and found an entire custom action figure community hidden in the indexes of Star Wars fan forums.  I was amazed with what I found.  It was an entire world that I never knew existed... and it was beautiful!  So many toys I would have loved to add to my son's Star Wars collection.  Full of tribute pieces made to honor the films we all love!  Many of the artists shared their techniques and even gave the recipes for making their figures.  Everything I needed to learn was there.

"Bo Katan" created by Darth Daddy & CloneCommanderJay

I think I had made only about two figures when my son, Elias asked me to start a blog about Star Wars custom action figures.  I remember it made me giggle, because I couldn't believe I had this little 6 year old boy telling me that he wanted to start a blog.  I didn't even really know what a blog was at the time.  It was a very funny moment as a parent.  It was definitely a question you wouldn't have heard a child ask when I was a kid.
 Blog logo features my first custom action figure.

Well I had some more research to do and when my work was completed, we launched Customs for the Kid, a blog devoted to covering the ins-and-outs of the Star Wars custom action figure community.  The blog is full of images featuring thousands of Star Wars custom action figures created by artists from all over the world.
I've been personally working with the artists, archiving their Star Wars custom action figure art in video slide shows featured on our "Customs I Wish I Owned" page.  The page is a directory that provides you with contact information for the artists, access to their Facebook, eBay pages, and other places where you can see their work.  It's a great place to look around if you are ever looking to commission an artist.

 "Nightsister Assaj Ventress" created by Darth Daddy

The blog also provides educational tutorials that pass valuable customizing knowledge onto beginners and masters alike who want to make figures of their own.  We share custom action figure contest announcements like the Smuggler's Gambit custom action figure contest we promoted with RebelForce Radio last year, photo novel chapter updates, and sometimes, we just share pictures of the custom Star Wars action figures from our own personal collection and the contact information for the artists that created those figures as well.

 "Master Zao" created by Darth Daddy

I used my anthropology background to document it all, and somewhere along the way, "I went native." Since the blog started my son and I have created over 200 Star Wars custom action figures of our own. I'm probably best known for my Clone Wars custom action figures, but I've ended up making figures from all the various forms of Star Wars media out there. So not only am I a fan of the art form, but I'm an artist too. While working on Customs for the Kid with my little guy, I try to be the best ambassador I can for the Star Wars customizing community, constantly striving to provide all the exposure possible, and open up the art form to a larger audience.

  "Star Wars Cantina Aliens" created by Darth Daddy & Elias of "Customs for the Kid"

That's why when The Star Wars Underworld asked me to do a Star Wars custom action figure post every week, I was happy to oblige.  So stay tuned, every week I'll post a few pictures of Star Wars custom action figures created by a new artist and give you the same information you can find about the artist that we provide on the blog.   It will give you a chance to see something fun and unique and maybe give you the itch to make an action figure of your own one day.

 "Death Trooper" created by Darth Daddy

If waiting a whole week for another one of my posts to appear is too long for you, I post new Star Wars custom action figures almost every day on the Customs for the Kid Facebook page and we have all of our videos available on Youtube too!  For those who want to know right away when something new goes up you can also find me on TumblrTwitter and Pinterest.   There's plenty of content to satiate your appetite, there are four years worth of it on the blog itself.  We post about every three days.

Otherwise, you can find me here where you'll discover some super cool Star Wars custom action figure art.

-Darth Daddy

"Ziro the Hutt" created by Darth Daddy

"99" created by Darth Daddy

"Hondo's Pirate Gang" created by the collaborative efforts of Darth Daddy & Elias of "Customs for the Kid" and PeakOB1 Custom Creations

"Chancellor Palpatine" created by Darth Daddy

ARC Trooper "Fives" created by Darth Daddy

"Agent Kallus" created by Darth Daddy

"Agent Kallus" created by Darth Daddy

"C1-10P aka Chopper" created by Darth Daddy

 "Lando Calrissian" created by Darth Daddy

"Kaink & Chukha Trok" created by Darth Daddy

  "Jedi General Pong Krell" custom action figure created by Darth Daddy