Basic Action Figure Customizing Guide

While this is one of my original guides and looks kind of dated, all the information here is still useful for general action figure customizing, especially if you're just getting in to the hobby. Make sure you check out all the guides on my page because each one will help you advance in the hobby of customizing!

Now for the tips! I dug these up from an old post I had made after someone called me the 'Customizing MacGyver' since I was always using parts from other things instead of sculpting my own.

So you're working on a custom when suddenly you realize you need to make a belt for your character, but have run out of Apoxie Sculpt! What do you do? You swipe one from your pile of parts. What happens when you run out of belts from the pile? Ah-hah! Time to pull the old "Custom MacGyver" and start hunting. Aside from chopping up action figures and sculpting your own parts out of Apoxie Sculpt, there's a plethora of objects out there for you to use on your action figures. Wal Mart, K-Mart, and places like Home Depot have so many different things to offer and I'm here to broaden your customizin' horizon! Gah.. that was cheesy..

Darice Foamies Sheets

It's pretty much colored craft foam Wal-Mart sells for around 40c a sheet. It cuts perfectly straight with an Xacto knife, it's Superglueable, and it comes in like 20 colors. This is the primary source for your belts, bandoliers, fistcuff, bootcuffs, costume parts that stick out (like Nightcrawlers red "V") and anything else material-ish. Great stuff.

Rubber O-Rings and thin Headphone Wire

Need to make lines/seams/outlines on a figure's costume? O-rings of the right size make great dividers around the arms and legs, and the headphone wire can be layered onto a figure's body to form seams. Both are superglueable and paintable. Works great for straps for leg holsters too. Make sure they are RUBBER o-rings and not silicon, as nothing sticks to that.

Straight Pins and Nails

A character of yours has rivits or studs on his costume? Clip the heads off of silver straight pins and jam them in for a real metal look. Nails of different sizes are great for spikes, file the ends down to get rid of the factory flash and drill a hole to glue them in. Aluminum nails are easy to cut so I suggest those. They also have a nice shiny metal look to them.

Dollar-Store Cellphone Cases/Straps

Need a textured belt or leather beltpouches? Use the Nylon strap from a cell phone strap for a belt or bandolier. If you want to make your own cool belt pouches cut out + (small cross) symbols from the faux leather cellphone. Fold the sides in first, then the bottom, and then fold the top over everything and glue in place. Instant belt pouch! Paint or glue a button on and you're done. The metal loops and latches on the Cellphone case can be used for belt attachments too or rifle-strap-clips.

Jigsaw Blades

Got a grinder or a metal file handy? Make your own real metal katana swords! It takes some grinding/filing but they turn out really nice. Use one of those draw-across sharpeners to hone your tiny blade and wrap the handle with some craft hemp or other material. You can even go so far as to add little Tsubas and end caps to the sword using the metal craft buttons at Wal-Mart.

Shrink Wrap Tubing

Want to make bracers, cover sections of a figure's leg or make it looks like he's wearing a wetsuit? The black electrical shrink wrap tubing is great for this. Cut to fit, heat it, glue on it or paint it. Works great for making Ninja masks and headbands too since it conforms to the sculpt somewhat after being heated.

Window Screen / Mosquito Screen

Makes a realistic-looking netting when layered diagonally over a section or bunched up in sections over joints. The smaller mosquito netting is good for layering over stuff and drybrushed with silver to resemble metal mesh.

Costume Jewelry / Earnings

Costume jewlrey/earrings: Yeah I bet you never checked the women's section in Wal-Mart for custom pieces but sneak in there next time. There's millions of different types of earrings that can be used for shields, body armor, headdresses, weapon parts, you'd be very surprised! The Dress Barn usually has a good assortment of neo-modern earrings and cheap costume jewlrey.

Fishscale Metal Purses/Accessories

Wanna make real metal chainmail? This is the best stuff! Look for those retro-purses and accessories whose surface is covered in the little metail linked scales. Don't buy an expensive purse, find one on sale. Clip out your sections, glue it on and paint it. Instant metal chainmail!

There's a million things out there you can use with your customs. You just have to open your mind and get creative! Next time you walk into an Ace hardware or department store, look around. The world is your workshop and you're Gepetto!

How to Tighten Joints

What you need: Super Glue.

What you do: Apply a drop of super glue into the joint. Work it around for a moment then stop. Blow on it a little. Now work it again, you'll notice that it won't completly freeze as long as you keep moving it, but it will get tighter. Just keep doing this and cracking the joint free until the super glue is dry. Yep, it's that simple! I tried this on Jin's knees and ankles, and on my Colossus's torso. You can also track down a bottle of "Future floor wax" and use a bit of that in joints.

Hope you enjoyed the first update of the general guide! Check my main page for updates on it each week!

Looking for other custom action figures made by awesome customizers around the world? Click your favorite series below to be taken to this week's offerings!