Action Figure Customizing Guide: Getting Started Part 2


Welcome to the ACCF Action Figure Customizing Guide: Getting Started Part 2! Here we will continue to look at what you will need in order to start customizing your own action figures. If you missed Getting Started Part 1 click here, and be sure to check out the “Tutorials” tab for more “How too…” guides! I have included Ebay and Amazon shopping links with each item so you can purchase your own stuff!

DREMEL. A lot of guys prefer the Dremel Stylus because it is contoured dremelto your hand, but when I went looking for one I could only afford the Dremel 7300, and I wouldn’t trade it. It’s less than half the price of the Stylus, and you hold it like a pencil which I feel it lends itself to more control. Along with the Dremel you will need bits and accessories. Both the 7300 and Stylus come with a starter kit that includes most of what you’ll need, but I’m always finding new things to make the job easier.

tools2Stainless steel WAX CARVERS. Some refer to these as dentist tools, either way you will be using them for sculpting, jabbing, stabbing, and impaling your figure into submission. When it comes to sculpting I use my exacto knife a lot, but these things are amazing! Make sure you get a set, but even then you will become attached to a specific one that works best for you most of the time. I will get into these more in my sculpting tutorial.

avesAPOXIE SCULPT. I use Aves, some people like Green Stuff, and there are a couple different types out there. I have even seen modeling clay used, but I would not recommend that. Aves Apoxie Sculpt comes in 2 parts that you mix together, and when dry and set is the hardest apoxie I have found. It is with the apoxie that you put your wax carvers and other tools to most use.

More TOOLS! This next section is what you make it. Along with all these specific tools, Itools have gone through my apartment and my parent’s house and gathered a hodgepodge of different items that I use regularly for specific jobs. In the list the number next to the item in the picture goes with the number in the list. Duh.

1. LINOLEUM CUTTER: for cutting grooves and removing plastic

2. SUPER GLUE: ACE Hardware sells the fastest drying and stickiest glue I’ve found. Be careful to keep the nose of the tube clean and clear. Keep this stuff off your clothes, and away from your eyes and mouth (I’ve glued mine shut before, seriously)

3. MULTI-TOOL: Make sure you get one with a set of small pliers. I use this for joint and head peg removal (after you’ve heated them of course. We’ll get into that later)

4. LARGE FILE: I use this beast to keep my other metal tools sharp and clean, and you never know when you will have to break out of the joint.

5. LARGE PAINTER’S BRUSH: This is used primarily for dusting off a figure that I have dremeled or sanded to remove the dust. Especially before painting.

6. FLAT PIECE OF METAL: This is a unique tool that was the clip on a pen. It is extremely flat and smooth, and clean. I use it for smoothing out dried paint bubbles, and plastic. Make your own!

7. MINI SCREWDRIVER: I use this for prying and pushing. Mostly neck and joint pegs. Get something with a shorter neck but sturdy. Those thin mini screwdrivers from the pocket sets just break.

8. EXACTO KNIFE: This is going to be your best friend. Use it for cutting, sculpting, detailing, and get plenty of replacement blades. They break easy, and use a pair of goggles. The tips break off easy; almost lost my eye once, and be prepared for getting cut. Keep your super glue handy, and BE CAREFUL.

9. MINI TWEEZERS: These are handy for holding small parts, and clearing out crevasses.

10. NAIL PUNCH: Something that won’t bend that you can use to push out those stubborn elbow pegs. I think the thing I use is called an All?

11. LARGE STEEL NEEDLE: Another interchangeable tool. I think this was in a painting kit. Basically just a large steel needle with a grip. I use it a lot for sculpting, making holes, and clearing small spaces.

sandpaperSANDPAPER: This will be used under many different circumstances from sanding sculpt to sanding parts of the figures. I even use it to clean off or sharpen tools, and if you flip it over you can use the smooth side to polish a surface once you have sanded it. Sandpaper comes in different grit. The higher the # the finer the grit. The finer the grit the smoother you can get the surface. Start low and move progressively to a higher grit. Don’t skip from 300 to 800, so make sure to buy a mix of different grits.

hairdryerHAIR DRYER: Back in the day a lot of customizers were using the “boil and pop” method to dismember a figure. That’s how I started, but who has the time to boil a pot of water every time you need to remove something? Get a hair dryer. You should be able to pick one up for around $20. You will be surprised how often you use it. I can’t tell you how many of my commission clients email me about having snapped the neck peg on a figure trying to force the head off. 30 seconds with a hair dryer and it usually pops right off!

stand1FIGURE STAND: You can’t sit there and hold your figure while the sculpt or paint dries.stand2 Multitask with a figure stand! There are several different types of action figure or doll stands that you can find, but the more basic the better. Just make sure they are steady and around 10″ tall or at least flexible to that height.

Well, that marks the end of my first series of Custom Action Figure tutorials. I hope both parts of my “Getting Started” guide helps get you going! Remember that these are tools and techniques that I use. Be creative and come up with something that works best for you. If you have any further questions feel free to email me at accustomfigures at hotmail dot com, and be sure to check out “Getting Started Part 1” right here.

See you in the future!



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