Friday, March 4, 2016

A little old school - A little new school

The best place to see all my current and past projects is at but if you're not a fan of Facebook (and I don't blame you) I'll try to be better about posting some work here.

Here are few customs that I've created since my last post. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Custom NFL McFarlane • Harold "Red" Grange • aka The Galloping Ghost

Two customs that have been on my bucket list for a long time were Jim Thorpe and Red Grange. I've yet to make Thorpe but I was so excited when an order came in to make Grange. The pose is based off the statue that stands outside the University of Illinois. The jersey and paint job are based off his uniform for the the Chicago Bears.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Custom NFL McFarlane 1960's Era Packers Practice

Using parts from over a dozen different McFarlane figures, I've recreated an 1960's era Packer's practice. The sled was built from scratch using all different types of styrene plastic. Vince Lombardi's jacket and hat were modeled after several photos of him wearing similar garb. This is by far my largest and most ambitious work. I figured, I haven't updated my blog in over a year so what better post to come back with.

Remember, I currently only keep my Facebook page up to date, so please "like" me on Facebook to see my entire body of work as well as new and upcoming projects.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Like 4StarCustoms on Facebook!

Like me on Facebook!

It's probably long overdue but I've finally created a Facebook page to better keep in touch with fans of my work. I'll do my best to continue to update this blog but following me on Facebook is going to be the best way to see my latest work, my full gallery and stay in touch.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Graduation Time! Custom Highschool Football figures

Usually this time of year I get several requests to make football figures for graduation presents. It's a great honor and take great pride in these projects. It's such a great way to commemorate these young students' time on the grid iron.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Ideamine at it again - stealing feedback this time.

Unfortunately, it's time to make another post about Ideamine - aka Peter Lowe and "Man of Action". Ideamine is another football customizer who has gone to great lengths to fool his customers.

Here is my original post about Ideamine and a fraudulent eBay auction he was running.

This post of course led to Peter creating multiple blogs to attack me. He has also taken to commenting on my blog here as "anonymous" and trashing my work and threatening me.

Here is a blog that he created pretending to be me supporting Ideamine. Really????

This all started because Ideamine was stealing pictures of other customizers finished pieces and passing them off as his own. A quick visit to his website will show a combination of his own work along with countless other customizers.

This blog of Ideamine's has to be one of the worst offenses. Here he has stolen the images of NFL players holding other people's customs and claiming these are all customers of his. To his credit, Devon Bess & Ricky Williams are holding Ideamine's customs but most likely this was at an autograph signing. I highly doubt they were actually ordered by Bess & Williams.

And now here is Ideamine's latest offense, stealing feedback from THIS BLOG and putting it on his own:

Lee Hillman has been a great customer of mine and I hate seeing his name misrepresented on this fraud's website. Pictures don't lie luckily. You can clearly see he took the feedback from my blog, twisted the wording and applied it to his.

Most people had assumed that all the feedback on Ideamine's website was made up by Peter himself but I think this pretty much proves it. If we know for sure that Ideamine stole this bit of feedback, I think we can assume it is all made up.

Congratulations Peter, you've proven yourself a fraud once again. What did you have to gain by stealing my feedback? Did you think someone wouldn't notice that? Are you not clever enough to even make up your own line of BS about yourself? Now you've just proven again that you are a thief.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Building a Legend - behind the scenes constructing my Larry Allen custom McFarlane Sportspicks figure

This blog has always been a means to showcase some of my favorite finished projects that I've completed over the years. I thought it might be nice to go behind the scenes and show how a figure is made. I think most people understand how a custom repaint goes: strip down the figure, prime the figure, paint the figure, decal the figure, reassemble and seal. A bit more goes into a custom pose and I would like to walk you through that process today.

It all starts with the request. In this case, my client requested a Larry Allen figure for his collection. Right off the bat in our initial conversation he said, "I don't want a William Roaf or Johnathan Ogden repaint." Fair enough. That pose has been played out when it comes to lineman. Unfortunately, it's played out because it's the only offensive lineman pose/figure that McFarlane has produced.

After talking some more, my client decided that he wanted Allen in a classic offensive lineman pose and we settled upon something along these lines:

After the pose is decided on, it's time to start brainstorming how to create that pose. What base figure is close to that? What parts could I cobble to together to make that? Unfortunately, there was no good answer. There aren't any good base figures to start with and most parts are too small/thin for guy his size. After much thought and debate, I came up with the perfect base figure... Johnathan Ogden!
I know my customer said no Ogden or Roafs but that was in terms of a repaint. My plan was take the Ogden figure and completely repurpose it to match our reference photo. This was going to be a fairly complicated undertaking and I really wanted the challenge.

The next step was to completely break down the figure and create "joints" so that I could repose the figure. After cutting the figure at the hips, knees and ankles, I inserted armature wire into the figure to act as flexible bones. This allowed me to create all sorts of stances.

Now the figure is really starting to transform. Once, I have the figure in what I think is the final pose, I take pictures from every angle. This is so I can get a new look at the figure. I'll spend hours working the angles and setting up the figure and I'll start to overlook or miss flaws. By stepping back and then examining the photos, I can find those trouble areas before I start gluing and sculpting. I'll also use these photos to get feedback from other customizers as well as the client.

Once I'm happy with the rough pose, I can start gluing and filling in the gaps. I like to use a 2-part epoxy for all my gap filling and sculpting. The epoxy has a 2-hr work time, dries hard and can be sanded and drilled. You can see here that I've filled in the hip and knee areas as well as resculpted the left shoulder.

After the initial sculpting is done I hit the figure with a primer and take new photos. The neutral uniform color really helps simplify everything and brings out all the details and flaws. From these photos, I was able to identify several flaws in my sculpt - basically areas that weren't properly smoothed. This process is repeated until sculpt is perfect.

Here is a close-up of Allen's resculpted glove. I decided to not use Ogden's right hand/glove since I didn't like the finger position. I swapped out the hand for Dick Butkus but then needed to sculpt a right glove to match the left.
Finally I can start laying paint which really brings the figure to life. It's important to work multiple light coats so that you don't get brushstrokes showing. After painting is complete, the first clear coat is applied and then it's ready for decals.

And that's the process in a nutshell. It's weeks and weeks of work and a lot of trial and error. Hopefully this gives you a better idea of my process and maybe a new found respect for the work that goes into customizing a McFarlane Sportspick figure!

Members of the 2013 NFL Hall of Fame Class: Warren Sapp, Curley Culp, David Robinson & Larry Allen - custom McFarlane Sportspicks figures

I have client that is amassing a collection of every NFL Hall of Famer. For this round, my client decided to focus on this year's class of Hall of Famers. The first four we decided to give the "plastic treatment" were the Buccaneer's Warren Sapp, the Chief's Curley Culp, the Packer's David Robinson and finally the Cowboy's Larry Allen.

First up in Warren Sapp. Upon first glance this looks identical to the version put out by TMP. For this figure, my client wanted me to simply modify Sapp so that his his front hand was up on his fingers, rather than his palm. Additionally, we upgraded his facemask to something more sturdy and accurate. While, I may have gotten off easy with this request, I more than made up for it with Larry Allen. 

 Up next is Curley Culp. Now we get our first original pose of the batch made up of approximately 7 different figures.

Next is Packer great David Robinson. A lot of feedback that received on this figure was questions asking what parts or figure did I use? By simply swapping Nitschke's arms on the Butkus figure and changing the angle at which the figure stands, I was able to accomplish a pose that appears very unique.

 Finally, we have the big daddy of them all. Larry Allen was larger than life when he played and this figure is larger than most. Unfortunately, McFarlane doesn't have a lot of base figures to choose from for offensive lineman. Most customizers when asked to make a large offensive lineman, they go to the William Roaf/Johnathan Ogden figure.

I did the same thing.

If you are familiar with the Roaf/Ogden base figure, you'll notice that my Allen looks nothing like the original figure. I really wanted to challenge my sculpting on this figure so, I completely disassembled an Ogden figure. I cut the figure apart at the hips, knees and ankles and completely pinned together a brand new pose. After finessing the sculpt on the legs, I bulked up his gut and resculpted the shoulders. What we're left with is a completely unique figure and pose that stands just over 6.5" high. A true tribute to this amazing Hall of Famer.