Monday, January 31, 2011

Sally Squad: Pilot

Sally Squad is the name my friends and I used whenever playing Battlefield 2. What started as an in-joke among friends ended up with me making a custom of each member's preferred class.

There's no actual "pilot" kit in BF2, but since I was already working on a Medic (preferred class) for a friend, I decided to make my figure Sally Squad's chopper pilot. I can't say why really, but my favorite part of BF2 was always flying the squad around in the Blackhawk.

My choice in weapon came from my preferred weapon from the Medic kit.

I carved off the flip down goggles of the helmet, but my attempt to cover and patch the hole didn't hold well.

Parts Recipe:
Star Wars Hoth Soldier - Head
Elite Forces - Helmet
25th Comic Pack Ace/Wild Weasel - Combined Body
G36E - Marauder

Sally Squad: Engineer

Sally Squad is the name my friends and I used whenever playing Battlefield 2. What started as an in-joke among friends ended up with me making a custom of each member's preferred class.

This one is actually based on my wife, who often played the Engineer class and acted as our Commander to control asset drops, air strikes, uavs, and coordinate assaults.

I was stuck on the design until I found the tied-off coverall piece, and that really brought the concept together. This is one of my more successful attempts at repainting facial features.

Parts Recipe:
Indiana Jones Marion Ravenwood - Head
Indiana Jones Mutt Williams - Arms
Star Wars Butlar Swan - Torso, Hands
Star Wars Comic Pack Luke Skywalker - Coveralls
25th Lady Jay - Body, Legs
ARAH Tripwire - Mines
Lego - Wrench
Marauder Gun
PTE Laptop

Sally Squad: Anti-Tank

Sally Squad is the name my friends and I used whenever playing Battlefield 2. What started as an in-joke among friends ended up with me making a custom of each member's preferred class.

Based on The Medic's wife, there's really no good resemblance with this figure, but I'm pretty happy with the overall design and look. Also a Marine, she too was forgiving of the artistic license I took with the military accuracy of the figures.

I'm generally not fond of the Wild Bill vest, but after resculpting pouches over the holster and fitting it to the smaller female figure, I thought it really looked more like body armor.

Parts Recipe:
ROC Covergirl -Base Figure
25th Pilot Scarlett - Head
JVC Rollbar - Helmet
25th Wildbill - Vest
Elite Forces - MP5
PTE - Launcher

Sally Squad: Medic

Sally Squad is the name my friends and I used whenever playing Battlefield 2. What started as an in-joke among friends ended up with me making a custom of each member's preferred class.

I cut the blades off two LEGO circular saws for the shock paddles, and was quite pleased with the result. I was happy with the way all the figures came out, but I think this one is the most interesting looking design. Based on a long time friend who is also a Marine and was kind enough to forgive all the inaccuracies in my military customs.

Parts Recipe:
25th Resolute Duke - Base figure
25th Sgt. Bazooka - Helmet
Marauder's - L-85
LEGO - Shock Paddles

Sally Squad: Assault Bravo

Sally Squad is the name my friends and I used whenever playing Battlefield 2. What started as an in-joke among friends ended up with me making a custom of each member's preferred class.

This one is based on my brother-in-law. Another one I was a bit unsure of what to do design wise until I tried adding a collar to the Heavy Duty vest. which was sculpted on with green stuff.

A moderate likeness I think. I tried to include lots of body types and heights for variation in the figures.

Parts Recipe:
25th Bazooka - Head, Chest, Arms
ROC Heavy Duty - Hands, Torso, Legs, Vest
25th Leatherneck - M16

Sally Squad: Assault Alpha

Sally Squad is the name my friends and I used whenever playing Battlefield 2. What started as an in-joke among friends ended up with me making a custom of each member's preferred class.

This Assault figure is based on my brother. I sawed off the base figure just below the torso joint, and added another figure's upper half (sawed off at the waist) to increase the height a bit to match his build better.

Though it looks very severe in this photo, the difference in skintone between the arms and face is much more tolerable in person.

Parts Recipe:
Star Wars Biggs Darklighter - Head
25th Leatherneck - Body, Arms, Legs
25th Comic Pack Firefly - Vest
25th Sgt. Airborne - Backpack
Indiana Jones Indy Jones - Forearms
Elite Forces or PTE - G3

Sally Squad: Spec-Ops

Sally Squad is the name my friends and I used whenever playing Battlefield 2. What started as an in-joke among friends ended up with me making a custom of each member's preferred class.

Another original Sally Squad member, I felt this was a good "inspired by" likeness... not necessarily a strong physical resemblance but I thought it was a good "movie version".

Though most of the designs are based on my friends and the in-game model of the class they usually played, this one got a little more of a Jason Bourne or James Bond influence to match the subject's taste.

Parts Recipe:
Golden Compass Lee Scoresby - Scarf
C4 Detonator - Misc kitbash

Sally Squad: Support

Sally Squad is the name my friends and I used whenever playing Battlefield 2. What started as an in-joke among friends ended up with me making a custom of each member's preferred class.

This one is based on one of the original Sallies, and though there's not much likeness other than the red hair and the ponytail I really like the way it came out.

Not a complex custom, but I really thought the paint job and gear selection, as well as the custom MG36 really came out well.

Parts Recipe:
25th Sgt. Airborne - Base figure
Star Wars Ganner Kreig - Head
Rollbar v2 - Helmet
25th Comic Pack Firefly - Vest, belt
MG36, drum, and bipod - Marauder kitbash
25th Red Star - Backpack
ROC Firefly - Ammo Pouch

The Legend of Sally Squad

Today marks the addition of Sally Squad to my archive here and the end of my backlog of customs in the modern GI Joe style. This project was a huge undertaking, and considering most of my large projects fizzle out in the planning stage, I'm incredibly proud of how all of these came out. Based on my friends and I and our preferred classes in Battlefield 2, the likeness range from "inspired by" to "dead on".

After these eight figures get their posts, I'll be moving on to my backlog of Star Wars based figures... and then I can focus on photographing and adding newer projects!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2010 JCAs voting has begun!

The voting for this year's Joe Custom Awards has gone live and I was stunned to see my name up for 26 different nominations across various categories. The work at is some of the most amazing stuff around, it really is an honor to see my customs in the running with some real works of art. I don't know if I'll win any of the categories because I'm up against some tremendously creative and talented people, but I'm very excited to see how it turns out! Many, many, thanks to everyone you submitted me and my customs during the nomination process!

Paul - Left 4 Dead Survivor: Doctor

My L4D Survivor figures are based on some friends I'd regularly play the game with, as we all might appear after the zombie apocalypse.

I'd planned on adding this 4th figure to my L4D's survivor lineup for some time but was stumped on the head choice and figure design. It's amazing to me that one SW Clone Head makes a reasonable likeness for person he's based on when so many others hadn't worked.

Having finally found some white-coat versions of the Doctor, I was inspired to try to make this character as an ER doctor, as Paul recently started med school.

Parts Recipe:
SW Clone Pilot - Head
SW Jango Fett - Hands
XMO Wolverine - Lower Legsd
25th Sgt. Airborne - Torso (modified)
ROC M.A.R.S. Industries Trooper - Upper Legs
ROC Rex "The Doctor" Lewis - Coat
ROC Snake Eyes Arctic Assault - Upper Arms

Melvin - Left 4 Dead Survivor: Firefighter

My L4D Survivor figures are based on some friends I'd regularly play the game with, as we all might appear after the zombie apocalypse.

Melvin was the first L4D survivor I made, based on my father-in-law. He's new to the whole world of console gaming, but has taken to it quite well.

His retirement from the Houston Fire Department after 34 years of service seemed like a great time to immortalize him in plastic!

Parts Recipe:
ROC Footloose - Head (modified), arms 

Professor Positron - City of Heroes

This is based on an amalgamation of the various looks my character Prof. Positron has sported over the years in City of Heroes.

I'm not entirely pleased with the thumbtack symbol on his chest, but I felt it was important to at least TRY to do some fine detail painting if I was going to improve at it... so the radiation emblem isn't as clean as it could be.

I also turned the Iron-Man gauntlets around, to be bulkier upfront to better match his in-game appearances.

Parst Recipe:
MU Stealth Ops Iron-Man - Base figure
SW Joker Squad - Head
ROC MARs Industry Officer - Elbows


After struggling with the html for a while (since the site went up, actually!) I think I've gotten all the formatting issues worked out so the posts should look a little neater and everything should line up a little better!

You'll notice I've been updating heavily with my backlog of customs. I'm trying to get everything uploaded so I can organize it into a nice online portfolio or presence. If you're building up a body of work, consider doing the same! A centralized, easily browse-able archive of your work really highlights what you've accomplished as a creator and artist. I'm finding it very inspirational personally, and it really has me thinking about where I want to take my hobby and art next!

Miles Mayhem - Leader of V.E.N.O.M.

Another "must have" classic cartoon villain for me, Miles really became necessary once Hasbro surprised us with Matt Tracker in the 25th line.

There are some amazing M.A.S.K. customs out there covering a lot of characters, but I think I'm going to stop at Miles, though I may eventually add Vanessa Warfield if he gets too lonely on the shelf.

I'm quite pleased with the build and look I achieved with him, he's stocky without being very fat. The eyes have a bit more cartoon or anime look then I'd intended, but I've come to really like them.

Originally, I just shortened the Destro torso, but forced myself to go back and try some detail sculpting for once. Really glad I braved the attempt as the results made me quite happy.

Parts Recipe:
ROC Destro - Base figure with torso shortening and sculpting
25th Comic Pack Shipwreck - Legs
Star Wars Talon Karrde - Head
ARAH Countdown Helmet - Viper Mask


Two things really inspired this: Jin Saotome's Alt-History figures, and Wolfenstein 3d. My main concern when working on it was being sure that it would be instantly recognizable as an homage to the way Hitler appears as a pop culture boogeyman in comics and video games, etc., and wouldn't be mistaken for anything celebrating or glorifying the actual historical figure. I felt that certain imagery, like the chest emblem or the red arm band, were acceptable, while adding any swastikas would be taking it too far.

The head choice seemed particularly appropriate, as the actor who portrayed Admiral Ozzle in The Empire Strikes back also played Hitler in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, and I felt my modifications worked quite well for the resemblance.

Parts Recipe:
Star Wars Admiral Ozzle - Head
Iron Man 2 Comic Original Iron-Man - Base Figure
Marvel Legends Baron Zemo Staff Head - Chest Emblem
BAT Attachments and JvC Guns - Arm Cannons
Star Wars Rum Slegg - Backpack and Hoses
Spray Bottle Cap - Dome Helmet

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spider-Man - The Avengers Authority

"The Avengers Authority" is my concept for an alternate-universe where Earth's mightiest heroes have all taken a darken tone and police the world much more strictly than their main Marvel counterparts.

Peter Parker, appalled by the death and destruction caused by Venom, kills the foe and reclaims the symbiote suit as his own out of guilt for letting it get out of his control. He manages to maintain some dominance over the suit, though it has taken a toll on his usual jovial personality.

Parts Recipe:
Marvel Universe House of M Spider-Man - Torso, Head
Marvel Universe Black Suit Spider-Man - Arms, Legs

Steampunk Lincoln

Another project inspired in part by Jin Saotome's wonderful alt-history figures. I can't claim to have been the first to come up with Lincoln as a steampunk character, but I had fun designing this look for him and creating him as a counterpart for Mecha-Hitler in my custom collection.

I've been told all he needs is his hat, but to me the hat is for Abe Lincoln, the President. Maybe when he retires his arm cannon and returns to office he'll don his stovepipe again, but while adventuring it would just get in his way.

Parts Recipe:
XMO Wolverine Movie Sabertooth - Head, Arms, Legs
Indian Jones Henry Jones Sr. - Torso
Golden Compass Lee Scoresby - Coat
Marauder's Grenade Launcher, Gatling Gun, and BAT accessory - Gun Arm

The Killer from "Wanted"

After I read both Invincible and Wanted, I knew I had to have a custom of each title's character to face off against each other, as they made such wonderful polar opposites.

This one was hard to work on as I'd given my copy of Wanted to a friend as soon as I finished it, insisting he read it immediately. Without the full pages of the comics to work from, I had to scrounge for pictures on line, going off what I could find.

This was one of the figures I did not long after surgery that had the side effect of weakening one of my eyes, so I got my wife to help do the silver detailing, and I think she did a beautiful job.

Parts Recipe:
25th Comic Pack Firefly - Head
25th Wild Weasel - Torso, Upper Legs
25th HISS Driver - Lower Legs
ROC Storm Shadow - Arms
Misc Star Wars Accessories - Goggles and Mask

Johnny Cash - The Man in Black

This is another project that started as a "filler" custom to tide me over between more serious projects. Originally, it was just the Red Star head on the Sabertooth body, but I went back to rebuild it after some of those parts went toward making my Steampunk Lincoln.

This, in my mind, is more of an alternate universe gunslinger Johnny Cash, aka the Man in Black. I would eventually like to find a way to do guitars in this scale to finish him off, though.

Parts Recipe:
25th Comic Pack Red Star - Head
25th Mutt - Torso
Star Wars Cade Skywalker - Arms
25th Sgt. Bazooka - Hands
ROC Storm Shadow - Upper Legs
X-Men Origins Wolverine Movie Sabertooth - Coat, Lower Legs

Jack Ryan - President of the United States

Customizing is addictive to me, after a project, or series of projects, if I have to much "down time" without working on something, it really starts to bug me. So I come up with "filler projects" to keep me occupied. A lot of them never get finished, but this was one I started to tide me over after finishing a particularly fulfilling batch of customs and I really liked how he came out.

It was originally just the Indy head on the Henry Jones body with age lines and weathering on the face and a simple paint job, but I eventually went back and modified the torso to find on some GI Joe style legs so he's fit in better and get some height.

Originally, I thought perhaps President Ryan was the one who put together my Sally Squad team... but I've since decided it was President Steve Rogers, aka Captain America.

While I envision him to be based on Harrison Ford's portrayal of Jack Ryan from the "Clancy-verse", my brother insists he's the President from "Air Force One."

Parts Recipe:
Indiana Jones Indy - Head
Indiana Jones Henry Jones Sr. - Torso, Arms, Coat
ROC Cobra Commander - Lower Torso, Legs
Misc Star Wars - Hands


After I read both Invincible and Wanted, I knew I had to have a custom of each title's character to face off against each other, as they made such wonderful polar opposites.

I chose the Gambit base because rather than just paint on the costume colors, I wanted a slightly more "real world" version of the costume, with some raised armored areas. It was also a chance to experiment with metallic colors, as Invincible exists in a very flashy universe and I could see his suit having a metallic sheen to it in the real world.

Just used a little green stuff to sculpt the lenses onto the Gambit head. All in all I think it's very recognizable rendition of the character while still having some originality to the design.

Parts Recipe:
X-Men Origins Wolverine Gambit - Base Figure
ROC Flash - Lower Arms
25th Cobra Commander - Upper Arms

Doctor Manhattan from "Watchmen"

While I'm quite happy with the movie style Watchmen figure on my shelf, I really wanted to have at least a Dr. Manhattan in scale with my Joe-verse.

As soon as I saw the translucency of Iceman, I knew a bit of dark blue transparent paint would be just enough to shift his coloring to be passable as Dr. Manhattan. I also attempted to "engrave" the hydrogen symbol into his forehead, and fill it in with a black wash, which I feel was moderately successful.

Fun fact: the same symbol is tattooed on the back of my neck!

Parts Recipe:
X-Men Origins Wolverine: Iceman - Entire figure, repainted

Doctor Claw from "Inspector Gadget"

I love when people take existing characters from various sources and update their design or concept, or alter them to fit in this universe or that. This was my attempt to bring one of my favorite bad guys from childhood up to date.

Most of the work was involved with modifying the head and building his signature claw. The look is actually based on an old Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget toy which was the first place they revealed the way the cartoon character was supposed to look. It's a pretty hideous toy, but I decide to stick to some of the ideas it showed.

I immediately thought of an updated MAD Cat when I saw the Transformers Ravage update, and picked up 2 of the smaller version when those came out. I figure they're MAD C.A.T.s, Cybernetic Animal Troopers.

May eventually repaint them but I feel they work fine as props for Dr. Claw, who is really the main focus.

Parts Recipe:
ROC Destro - Base Figure
Star Wars Bacta Tank Luke - Head
25th Mutt - Gauntlet
ROC The Doctor - Hand and Claw
Chap Mei Shackles - Gauntlet spikes
Transformers Ravage (large and small) - MAD CATs

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dan - Left 4 Dead Survivor: Geek

My L4D Survivor figures are based on some friends I'd regularly play the game with, as we all might appear after the zombie apocalypse.

Here's my self portrait custom. I realized that between a Marine, a firefighter, and a doctor in training, I'd be the odd one out in the zombie apocalypse... I mean, those are all pretty useful backgrounds for surviving the world after the green flu, but then I realized if I had anything to offer, it would be a wealth of knowledge about the walking dead.

Parts Recipe:
25th Ripper - Head (modified)
XMO Wolverine - Torso (modified), arms
ROC Storm Shadow - Legs

Constable Nicholas Angel from "Hot Fuzz"

There had been some great Shaun of the Dead customs made with the Star Trek Scotty head, which proved that under a wonky paintjob was a passable likeness of the Great Simon Pegg.

I decided my NECA ShaunOTD figures had me covered for that character, so I was left to decide if I'd tackle Tim from Spaced or Nicholas Angel from Hot Fuzz. I decided that London's Best Cop would make a far more exciting addition to my shelf.

The bulky ROC body armor makes a nice trim bullet proof vest when cut down, but had to be glued shut for the snug look.

Parts Recipe:
Star Trek Scotty - Head
25th Cobra Vehicle Driver - Torso
25th Comic Pack Shipwreck - Upper Arms, Lower Torso, Legs
25th Dr. Mindbender - Lower Arms, Gloves
ROC Baroness - Shades
ROC PIT Commando - Modified Vest
ARAH Muskrat shotgun, Falcon shotgun, TBP rifle - Guns

Destro - Rise of Cobra with Classic Colors

I bought quite a few ROC Destro figures when they hit clearance as I've found it to be incredibly useful for various customs.
I wondered what it would look like in a color scheme more like Destro's appearance in the cartoon and his early figures, and did a basic repaint to find out. I was quite pleased with the results, and after I shared my results online I had chrome versions of his movie and 25th style heads generously donated to complete the look.
This figure fills a gap on the spectrum between his classic look and his uber-military Resolute design... a more realistic style that's neither completely civilian nor entirely warlike.

Parts Recipe:
ROC Destro - Repaint
James McCullen XXIV - Main Head
DVD Battles Destro - Alternate Head

Cobra Commander - Rise of Cobra with Classic Colors

I had multiple versions of this figure I bought for custom fodder when they hit clearance, since the legs are so useful for civilian customs. After I made my classic colors repaint of the ROC Destro sculpt, I decided to tackle this one.

I wouldn't say it was as successful as my Destro repaint, and my initial attempt was far too plain, but after I went back and detail the collar and armor, I was quite pleased with the results.

It also made me take another look at the chest piece and realize it was much more useful than I originally thought.

Parts Recipe:
Cobra Commander  - Complete Repaint

Saturday, January 22, 2011

All quiet... but with good reason!

Haven't updated in a few days, but that's because I've been in the work room actually making things! Bad news is they're both for contests so I won't be able show them until the judging is complete!

I'm trying to finally get in on a "No Joe Challenge" at This round's theme is "Historical Characters" and they've clear Alt-History interpretations as eligible, so Steam Punk Lincoln and Chrononaut Amelia Earhart are going to get a new crew member. He's based on American folklore and will be Chief Engineer the of Ouroboros... The figure is coming out great, really looking forward to showing it off! Deadline is February 21st!

Also at is the "Original Character Custom Contest"! There are some amazingly generous prizes to be won, so if you've ever worked with the newer 25th Anniversary, Rise of Cobra, or Pursuit of Cobra style figures, be sure to get in on this! I'm pretty proud of the character I've come up with. Have to track down some accessories and write up the bio, but the figure is mostly done! Deadline for this one is February 1st!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ultimate Cobra Commander

An experiment in dyeing led me to finally putting together my own "Ultimate" Cobra Commander. I've always felt black and red were colors of rank in Cobra, and think the Commander is his most menacing in black.

I began with what I called the "Reloaded" look, the hooded head and the black and red coat.

I then realized that figure also looked good without his coat, and sculpted the "jaw-fang" details from his recent comic design on to a Resolute head and added his black helmet. I call this his "Resolved" look.

After it was suggested seeing what he looked like with the black ROC Doctor coat, I tried on the POC chrome head and was very pleased with the results. I call this his "Risen" look.

I also really like the "Resolved" head without the black helmet, just the silver mask. After years of brainstorming and day dreaming about tackling a Cobra Commander for every occasion, I now have a very versatile figure that can be adapted to various looks, purposes, and even continuities.

Parts Recipe:
25th Crimson Guard - Base Torso
ROC Destro - Upper Legs
ROC Paris Pursuit Snake Eyes - Arms, Alternate Open Hands
ROC Rescue Mission Snake Eyes - Lower Legs
ROC The Doctor - Black Coat
Marvel Universe Blade - Red/Black Coat
POC Cobra Commander - Chrome Head
Resolute Boxed Set Cobra Commander - Silver head, Black helmet
2009 Cobra Boxed Set Cobra Commander - Hooded Head