Monday, September 16, 2013

The Happy Couple - Action Figure Cake Toppers

 Recently I had the opportunity to make a set of cake toppers for the wedding of two of my favorite people. It was a challenge to match their likenesses and some the elements of their wedding attire, but I was mostly pleased with the results and the seemed to be a big hit at the wedding.

The eyes on the groom are still a little wonky after a couple dozen attempts, but look fine from an average viewing distance. I was also disappointed I couldn't make the bride's wedding shoes (blue converse) work with the figure design. In the end though, I think they came out well and everyone seemed to be thrilled with them and how close they resembled the couple.

Parts Recipes:
The Groom
General Zod - Head
Renegades Scarlett - Ponytail
James McCullen - Suit

The Bride
Jes Gistang - Head
POTC Angelica - Torso
Padme Amidala - Lower Skirt, Arms
Mon Mothma - Legs

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hunt For The Holocron is ONLINE!

It's finally here! After our April theater premiere, director/creator Martin Spitznagel has been hard at work tweaking, editing, and composing all the last little details to get Hunt for the Holocron ready to go live online. I'm incredibly proud to have been invited to help finish this project a decade in the making, and I can't believe what we managed to get out of customized toys for starships and using a driveway for our studio.

And Martin's been working hard to make sure HftH's home on the 'net has plenty of features for interested fans, like a making of documentary for the freighter's cockpit and production stills of our model filming.

Let me know what you think, and if you enjoy it, all we ask is you help spread the word! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Enloe Trials at

I don't plug the creative work of my fellow toy artists nearly enough, and it's pretty much inexcusable that I've never given YAK_Chewie at a shout out for his incredibly fun work on The Enloe Trials. Mixing custom action figures with handmade diorama settings, The Enloe Trials are the second volume of "photonovels" following the adventures of Rykrof Enloe as he takes on just about everything the Star Wars universe can throw at him. You can check our the latest installement, Chapter 3 - Revelations  at the forums. Or, if you want the full experience, head over to The Photonovel Alliance and start at the very beginning of the story with The Enloe Chronicles. Volume One of Rykrof's journey is a whopping 32 chapters showing off Chewie's amazing artistic talents as a customizer and story teller. The story continues in The Enloe Trials as the plot moves away from the Clone Wars and into the Classic Trilogy timeframe, and will bring you up to date on this saga many years in the making..

Frankly, for being a story told through medium of toys, it has no business being as good as it is. It's been fun to watch how Chewie tackles each installment over the years, constantly upping himself with each chapter. If nothing else, it's an amazing example of the narrative power of still images of static objects, and a really enjoyable way to browse the customizing and set building talents of the author.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Total Fiasco - "Fiasco" Gift Box Set

My brother had Fiasco and the Fiasco Companion from Bully Pulpit Games on his wishlist, and I decided they'd be a great birthday gift as he's a bit of table top enthusiast. Rather than just two store bought books, I decided to purchase the .pdf versions as a bundle from I'd made a custom book-box gift set before, and thought a similar format would be a fun way to package it all together.

TOTAL FIASCO! A home made RPG gift set.
I printed the .pdfs on newsprint after looking up how paperbacks are usually bound. Fiasco's pulp and vintage heritage meant any mistakes I made just came across as character and imperfection became decoration. The hardest part was getting the printer to keep everything in the right order, and I ended up having to manual set the print job every four pages. I'm certain there's a smarter way to do it, but it worked for this go round. I printed the covers on posterboard for a little added strength. Since these would be the most handled parts of the set, I went ahead and sprayed them with a sealant, let the covers dry, then pressed and bound them with the pages.

The rulebook and companion, printed and hand bound.

I ran into my first big problem when the books were to big for the paper mache book box I had, but I found a perfect fit at Joann Fabric. I photoshopped and decoupaged elements from the .pdfs to create the book-box cover, the custom logo, and the interior texture.

The books JUST fit in to the new box! Playmat on interior cover.

Once the books are removed, you can see this little envelope I made. Originally I thought it would fit on the inside cover, in the dotted circle of the playmat, but I decided that made it too hard to actually get into the envelope...

Simple envelope, decorated with elements from the .pdf

And get the key-shaped USB drive. It has both of the books, as well as the playmat and all the playsets from Bully Pulpit Games stored on it, with plenty of room for more.

A fun find, you can find these for cheap on

Removing the envelope reveals the die! Just enough for 5 players! I used a cereal box to create the little sunken alcove the die fit into. After decoupage, it looked almost like it had always been there.

Two sets of Chessex die from Nan's Games and Comics.

All in all, a very fun project and hopefully a unique addition to my brother's gaming shelf. I've only had a chance to play once, but it's a great game!

Zoey - Left 4 Dead

 Finally! After a long hiatus, I've finally finished the original L4D Survivors lineup. Zoey was on the back burner because I couldn't find the right head, but the Lady Jaye from the new movie figures looked like a good place to start. I carefully removed the bright makeup with acetone, and the result was close enough for me. I sculpted the rolled up cuffs onto her jeans, and she was ready for paint.

I think one of the main reasons my wife enjoyed playing L4D with our gaming group as much as she did was because they included a great playable female character in the mix. It's annoying more games have yet to pick up on this, and I'm interested to see if the FPS genre acknowledges and embraces the official presence of women in combat duty roles. Good on Valve for creating characters like Zoey, Rochelle, and Chell. Ladies in multi-character games have been around since AT LEAST 1988!

Parts Recipe:
Lady Jaye - Head, Legs
Shana "Scarlett" O'Hara - Torso, Arms, Hands

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Duke - First Sergeant

This was a commissioned figure for a customer interested in a Duke in the standard scale, but inspired by the look of the 12" Sideshow figure. I don't work on established characters from the 'Joe verse too often, so it was a fun challenge to tackle an iconic character like Duke.

Parts Recipe:
Resolute Duke - Torso, Web Gear
Renegades Duke - Head, Arms
POC Dusty - Lower Legs, Helmet
Sgt. Stalker - Upper Legs

Bothan Jedi and Kyuzo Padawan

Created for the 2012 Secret Santa custom exchange over at, this is the gift set I created for fellow customizer Incom/Mr.Black. I received an awesome Mon Calmari Medic from him, which you can see at his site, which came in a really clever gift box. I was inspired to come up with something similar, and found some great paper mache book boxes at the hobby store.

Parts Recipe:
Borsk Fey'lya - Head, Hands
Captain Typho - Torso, Shoulders, Lower Robes
Agen Kolar - Legs

Embo - Head, Hands, Leg Wraps
Even Peiell - Top Knot, Torso, Fore Arms
Plo Koon - Shoulders, Upper Legs

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yet Another Reason To Like Patton Oswalt

Every time I see him in something or something he's had a hand in, I like him more. He covers Sillof's amazing work and talks about incorporating the hobby of figure customizing into a character in Young Adult, here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hunt for the Holocron Debuts April 20th!

The big day is almost here! Once we've premiered the film, I'll be documenting the ships I made for the effects shots, and I'll post a link to where ever the film finds a home online! Can't wait for the big night!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Joe Customs Awards 2012!

The results for this years JCAs (Joe Customs Awards) are up over at! I somehow managed to place in the final running for a lot of the categories and actually won "Best Overall Customizer for Figures"! is an incredibly community, and I'm incredibly proud to be part of it and honored to be recognized by my fellow artists over there. If you've never checked it out before, the awards page is certainly a great place to start looking at some of the "best of the best" work the site has to offer, but that's just the tip of the iceberg of the tremendous amount of talent that's cranking out amazing work.

Thanks again to everyone over there!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shadow Weaver - Arashikage Illustionist

When the Red Ninjas from GI Joe Retaliation hit the shelves last year, I found myself interested in the Ninja side of the GI Joe mythos for the first time. So I'm slowly adding a few custom ninjas to my collection, like Slice. I loved the Nightsister figure from the Clone Wars, and it didn't take too much work to adapt it to 'Joe style articulation.

I'm not sure yet if Shadow Weaver is an individual or the name of a branch of the Arashikage clan, but either way I see their role as an illusionist. They rely on sleight of hand and deception to build a false aura of super natural mystique around the Ninja Clan, using these tricks to instill fear and confusion in their enemies. I borrowed the name from the Masters of the Universe character when I realized there was strong visual similarity, and of course "Shadow" is a component of the translated name of the clan.

Parts Recipe:
Nightsister - Base Figure
X-23 - Hips and Upper Legs
Rabe - Head (sculpted mask)

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Dregrnaut Lands

I've been helping my friend Martin Spitznagel finish the Star Wars fanfilm he's been working on for about a decade. We've been shooting some starship models I whipped up for him over the past year or so, and we're in the final stretch with one more weekend of shooting left, but here's some of the first "effects footage" for Hunt for the Holocron!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Captain Gunn - Rattataki Pirate

This figure sat on my shelf unfinished for a long time, and originally sported the head that I ended up using for my Most Interesting Man In The World custom when I realized I'd inadvertently made a really good likeness of the Dos Equis mascot. After that, it sat without a head or name or personality for a bit, until recently when I just started plugging various heads onto the body.

I was surprised that the alternate head for the Renegades Cobra Commander appealed to me as much as it did, and it reminded me of the character I used to run when we played the old West End Games D6 Star Wars RPG many, many years ago. "Captain Psycho Gunz" (ah, the follies of youth and character naming) wore a featureless silver face mask, that I wouldn't realize I had just copied from Cobra Commander's old look until many years later.

The connotation of an updated Cobra Commander design working as a more sophisticated version of my old RPG character really appealed to me, and for some reason visually it just "clicked". I was inspired enough to go back and add a little more detailing to his coat, and in the end I was pretty pleased with the final look.

And here's a little flavor text to go with his entry into this round of Yakfinities over at, Tatooine Residents.

While the notorious Captain Gunn seldom stays anywhere long enough to call it home, the space ports of Tatooine are a favorite hang out and hide out of the dapper scoundrel. Jovial and well dressed, his manner and attire don't exactly blend in with the drab scenery and dour expressions that fill the desert planet's landscape, but the Captain doesn't seem to mind. He prefers to spend his hard won credits in the outer rim where they go further. "I'd rather live like a king in the deserts of Tatooine than as a pauper in the under city of Coruscant!"

Captain Gunn's adventures have slowed down a bit in recent years, but rumors circle the cantinas saying he's looking for a new ship and feisty crew to roam the hyperlanes once more.

Parts Recipe:
Renegades Cobra Commander - Head
Resolute Cobra Commander - Gloves
Anakin Skywalker (Peasant Disguise) - Torso, Legs
Anakin Skywaler (Clone Wars) - Elbows
Hondo Ohnaka - Coat, Upper Arms