The New York City Star Wars Meetup Message Board › Making Custom STAR WARS Action Figures is FUN!!

Making Custom STAR WARS Action Figures is FUN!!

Roberto W.
user 2456135
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 9
Hi gang!!

I've been a member for a while now, and a HUGE life-long STAR WARS fan!!

I'm an avid collector of all the Hasbro (Original Trilogy-based) 4 inch scaled action figures, vehicles beasts and playsets, and even many of the vintage Kenner toys of the 70's and 80's.

At present count, there are close to 3,500 STAR WARS action figures in my collection.

I had to limit my toy collecting to the characters and items appearing in the Original Trilogy for the sake of money, and space! But I DO love the prequels too!!

Anyway, about ten years ago, I seriously got into the hobby of STAR WARS action figure customizing and have been going ever since. I mainly customized characters that Hasbro had either NOT yet created OR had not created in a way that I liked. biggrin

I'm curious to know if any of YOU out there in this meet up group are customizers too. It would be GREAT to hear from you and see some photos of of your work!!!

I'll get the ball rolling...
Roberto W.
user 2456135
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 11
LANDO CALRISSIAN: Skiff Guard Disguise
Custom Action Figure and Photo by Roberto Williams

PROBLEM:
Generally, I liked Kenner's vintage Lando Skiff Guard Disguise (1983) very much. But I did NOT like Hasbro?s POTF II overly buff Lando Skiff Guard (1996). I LOVED Hasbro's SAGA Lando: Jabba's Palace (2004).

GOAL:
This was a simple straight-forward custom. I just wanted ALL the Landos in my collection to have a consistent head sculpt (POTJ Lando Bespin Escape - my favorite). So this was basically a head-swap. But since the new head is slightly larger than the original, I needed to create a better-fitting (larger) helmet, while still retaining the tusked face webbing. Also the stock Vibro-blade weapon was replaced with a sturdier one from the Vintage line. This is an example of a custom Action figure where most of the work went into the accessories! A paint-job awaits the vibro blade.

"We're on our way!!"

RECIPIE:
1) POTJ Lando Calrissian: Bespin Escape (Head (Hollowed-out for ball-jointed use)
2) SAGA Lando Calrissian: Jabba's Sail Barge (Full Body, Blaster pistol, Helmet (face webbing portion only) )
3) Vintage Kenner Lando Calrissian: Skiff Guard Disguise (Vibro-blade)
4) POTF II Lando Calrissian: Skiff Guard Disguise (Helmet)



Roberto W.
user 2456135
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 12
HAN SOLO: Hoth Patrol
Custom Figure and Photo by Roberto Williams

PROBLEM:
Neither Kenner nor Hasbro has ever created a Han Solo Hoth Outfit figure with an actual CLOTH snow hood that could be pulled back to reveal Han Solo!! Not Good! Vintage Han Hoth? Ummm... no. POTFII Han Hoth? Are you kidding me? Saga Han Hoth? Gettin' closer... but what's with the "funky-chicken" leg pose?

GOAL:
I wanted a neutrally-posed, detailed 4 inch-scale action figure of Captain HAN SOLO in his Hoth Snow Uniform. He had to reflect the scoundrel star pilot that seemed openly uncomfortable with the inhospitable snow environment of the planet HOTH. As seen in The Empire Strikes Back, I wanted the fur-lined hood of his overcoat to be able to be pulled back so that Solo’s face could be revealed underneath. Also, he had to be correctly scaled in relation to the rest of the STAR WARS action figures in my collection (including other Customs).

“There isn’t enough life on this ice cube to fill a space cruiser! Sensors are placed I’m goin’ back!

RECIPIE:
1) POTJ Han Solo Death Star Escape: (Head )
2) SAGA Han Solo Hoth Rescue: (Full body (With legs surgically straightened into a neutral pose, blaster pistol)
3) SAGA General Rieekan (Pelvis)
4) POTF II Han Solo Hoth: (Snow cap and goggles (Hollowed-out to fit on figure’s head underneath snow hood)
3) Navy Blue fabric (Used to create cloth hood for snow jacket)
4) Craft fur (Used to create Fur lining of jacket hood)
5) "Chrome" paper from a "plated" letter on a magazine cover (Used to create Chrome belt buckle)




Roberto W.
user 2456135
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 13
HAN SOLO: Bespin Outfit
Custom Action Figure and Photo by Roberto Williams

PROBLEM:
I actually felt (and still do) that the Vintage Kenner Bespin Han Solo (1980) had a terrific general shape and build that I liked very much. Obviously, the facial likeness of that old vintage Han Solo was unacceptable by today's standards, so a modern face sculpt was definitely needed. In contrast, the POTF II Han Bespin (both versions) (1996) were overly bulky with a strange face sculpt. POTJ Han Bespin Capture (2000) was a VERY nice figure with some nice added articulation. However it was just NOT neutral enough in its posing for my taste. I mean, even his jacket has a pre-posed sculpt, with a strange, bulging "hump-back" design!


GOAL:
It took a LOT of experimentation to come up with the final recipe that I used to create HAN SOLO in his Bespin Outfit. Of course, my goal with this figure was to reflect the cocky, cynical demeanor of the scoundrel star pilot who reluctantly joins the Rebel Alliance. Also, he had to be correctly scaled in relation to the rest of the STAR WARS action figures in my collection (including other Customs).

"You like me because I'm a scoundrel. There aren't enough scoundrels in your life."

RECIPIE:
1) POTJ Han Solo Death Star Escape: (Head, Pelvis (with slight re-sculpt in crotch) )
2) POTJ Han Solo Bespin Capture: (White shirt torso)
3) Vintage Kenner Han Solo Bespin: (Arms, Legs, Torso (hollowed-out jacket only)
4) POTF II Comm Tech Han Solo: (Left hand)
5) POTJ Rebel Trooper: (Right hand)
6) SAGA Han Solo Hoth Rescue: Holster and gun belt, Blaster pistol, Lightsaber hilt (as cylinder detail on gun belt)
7) "Chrome" paper from a "plated" letter on a magazine cover (Used to create Chrome belt buckle)
8) Brown Satin Ribbon-Fine (Used to create holster leg strap)





***UPDATE***

I have slowly been updating most of my custom STAR WARS Action Figures to be Super-Articulated in keeping with Hasbro's improved articulations.

Han Solo in Bespin Outfit is one such figure whose upgrade has been completed, but I do not yet have an actual photo of him. Last month, when I was in the planning stages of this figure, I used Photoshop to map out the body parts I planned to use to ensure that they were compatible.

As luck would have it, my finished figure turned out EXACTLY like my previsualization:

Here's the recipie:

1) HEAD: POTJ Han Solo "Death Star Escape" (hollowed out for ball joint articulation)
2) NECK: SAGA I Captain Antilles
3) TORSO: SAGA II Han Solo: Pit of Carkoon
4) PELVIS / HIPS/ UPPER LEGS: SAGA II Han Solo: Pit of Carkoon. Note the crotch on the pelvis is "filled out" a bit with sculpey to get rid of an un-sightly "gap" inherent in the sculpt.

5) KNEES ARTICULATION: VSC Endor Han Solo
6) BOOTS: EVOLUTIONS Count Dooku
7) BLUE JACKET: Vintage Kenner Bespin Han Solo (Torso hollowed-out to leave jacket only. Overly simple pockets sanded away)
8) JACKET POCKETS: TAC Han Solo Bespin Torture
9) ARMS: TAC Torture Rack Han Solo
10) RIGHT HAND: POTJ Rebel Trooper
11) GUN BELT / HOLSTER: (pictured) VOTC Han Solo. However the final custom figure wears the original gun belt and holster that I fashioned from the SAGA I "Hoth Patrol" Han Solo belt which I believe to be a superior sculpt.
12) DROID-CALLER CYLINDER (on gun belt): POTF II Luke Skywalker Blast Sheild Helmet (cut Lightsaber handle).
13) HOLSTER STRAP: Thin Brown ribbon.




Roberto W.
user 2456135
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 14
LUKE SKYWALKER: Tatooine Farmboy
Custom Figure and Photo by Roberto Williams

PROBLEM:
As simplistic-looking as he may be, Kenner’s very first Vintage Luke Skywalker figure (from 1978) is a true classic!! Having said that, I certainly NEEDED a MUCH more detailed, modern Luke for my collection. POTF II Luke (1995) looked more like He-Man what with his “Prince Adam” type head-sculpt and Incredible Hulk build. Subsequent Lukes were all based on the POTF II Blast Shield Helmet Luke sculpt: These were all decent enough figures, I just never cared for the slightly “stooped shoulders” and the “dumbfounded” facial expression.

GOAL:
I had a lot of fun creating a neutrally-posed, richly-detailed 4 inch-scale action figure of LUKE SKYWALKER in his farmboy outfit from A New Hope! I wanted him to reflect the spirit of the heroic, farmboy who helped to rescue Princess Leia as a prisoner from the Death Star. I also wanted this figure to be LOADED with all of the accessories that would make it the ULTIMATE Tatooine Luke!

Interestingly enough, I always admired the general “look” of the Vintage Kenner 12-inch Tatooine Luke from 1978. I always felt that a "shrunken" 4-inch scale version of that figure would have been perfect!!. Well, that idea must have remained on my mind subliminally. If you look closely, I think you'll agree, this figure strongly resembles 1978-12 inch Luke... and I just love him for it ! Custom Luke is correctly scaled in relation to the rest of the STAR WARS action figures in my collection (including other Customs).

“I want to learn the ways of The Force and become a Jedi like my father."

RECIPIE:
1) POTJ 25th Anniversary Luke Skywalker: Swing to Freedom (Head (hollowed out for ball-jointed neck) Grappling hook and rope, com-link)
2) OTC “Vintage-style” Luke Skywalker: (Torso, Arms, Cloth Tunic (tailored for better fit), basic belt
3) POTF II Luke Skywalker Blast Shield Helmet: (Pelvis, Legs (Surgically shortened and straightened into a neutral pose, helmet)
4) SAGA Anakin Skywalker Tatooine Attack: (Metal lightsaber hilt and blue blade)
5) POTF II Flashback Luke Skywalker: (Floppy farmer’s hat, Rifle, Macro binoculars)
6) SAGA Tie Fighter Pilot: Imperial-Issue Blaster
7) SAGA Death Star Trooper Accessory Set: Stormtrooper belt
8) EP I Tatooine Accessory Set: (Cloth poncho)
9) POTF II Comm Tech Chip Luke Skywalker: (Hand-held T-16 Skyhopper model)
10) "Chrome" plated letter on a magazine cover (Used to create Chrome belt buckle)


Roberto W.
user 2456135
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 15
LUKE SKYWALKER:Hoth Patrol
Custom Action Figure and Photos by Roberto Williams

PROBLEM:
The Vintage Kenner Luke Hoth (from 1981) was an okay action figure, but the details were inaccurate, it it would never hold up today. With POTF II Luke Hoth (1996), once again, we had the tapered-waist and barrel chest mixed with pre-posed legs that I do not like. Then when SAGA Luke Hoth arrived in 2003, it was with "funky-ckicken" posed legs!! Great... Just great.

GOAL:
It was my intention to create a neutrally-posed, detailed 4 inch-scale action figure of LUKE SKYWALKER in his Hoth Snow Uniform. I did NOT want to have this figure featuring the (scene-specific) bloody wounds on his face from his violent encounter with the Wampa snow beast. Luke Hoth has been correctly scaled in relation to the rest of the STAR WARS action figures in my collection (including other Customs).

“Echo Three to Echo Seven. Han ol’ buddy, do you read me?”

RECIPIE:
1) POTJ 25th Anniversary Luke Skywalker: Swing to Freedom (Head (using the face primarily) )
2) POTF II Luke Skywalker: Hoth Outfit: (Head (carefully hollowed-out to accept a new Luke Face inside the snow head-gear) )
3) SAGA Luke Skywalker: Hoth Attack ( Full Body (wrists shortened, legs surgically straightened into a neutral pose)
4 SAGA Han Solo Hoth Rescue: (Holster, Blaster pistol)
5) SAGA Anakin Skywalker Tatooine Attack: (Metal Lightsaber hilt and blue blade)
6) Brown Satin Ribbon-Fine (Used to create holster leg strap)




Roberto W.
user 2456135
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 16
LUKE SKYWALKER: Dagobah Training
Custom Action Figure and Photo by Roberto Williams

PROBLEM:
Hasbro has only ever offered two action figure versions of Luke Skywalker dressed in the soiled Jedi Knight training fatigues that he wore on Dagobah. The first offering in March of 1996 was part of Hasbro’s Power of the Force II line. “Luke Skywalker in Dagobah Fatigues” bore no resemblance at all to his movie counterpart, presented as a hulking he-man with enormous bulging muscles, and a “Prince Adam” head sculpt. This action figure was even designed to stand on its own ONLY with the counterweight of Yoda strapped onto his back in the bulky training harness. Much later on in 2004, Hasbro tried again and offered us “Luke Skywalker: Dagobah Training” as part of their Original Trilogy Collection. This action figure was an ENORMOUS improvement over the original offering, featuring accurate sculpting and impressive paint deco. My only real gripe here was the overly scene-specific interchangeable arms and head sculpts that did not allow for a neutrally-posed action figure.


GOAL:
It was my intention to create a neutrally-posed / extra-poseable, 4 inch-scale action figure of Luke Skywalker: Dagobah Fatigues. He had to depict Luke during his grueling Jedi Knight training in the swamps of Dagobah WITHOUT looking like he rolled in a mud hole. I wanted an attractive, neutral likeness that was consistent with all of the other custom Luke Skywalkers that I had previously created, so once again the same face sculpt was employed. I wanted him to be correctly scaled in relation to the rest of the STAR WARS action figures in my collection (including other Customs).

“Master, moving stones around is one thing. This is totally different."

RECIPE:
1) OTC Luke Skywalker: Jedi Training (Torso, Pelvis, Legs)
2) Vintage OTC Luke Skywalker (Ball-Jointed Arms, Shoulder Sockets, Neck, Shoulders)
3) POTJ 25th Anniversary “Swing to Freedom” Luke Skywalker (Head Sculpt hollowed-out for ball jointed neck)
4) Blue Canvas Fabric and Ribbons (Used to create a custom soft-goods Jedi Training Harness (not pictured) )



Roberto W.
user 2456135
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 17
LUKE SKYWALKER: Bespin Fatigues
Custom Action Figure and Photo by Roberto Williams

PROBLEM:
Various previous attempts at this action figure have missed the mark: Vintage Kenner Luke Bespin (1980) was cute, but way too tall, and not enough detail. POTF II Bespin Luke (1998) had a tapered waist and barrel chest, with some pre-posing of the legs (which was typical of the offerings from that line). SAGA Luke Bespin Duel was too scene-specific (with his face depicted in its bruised state), and the poorly designed bending knees made for a flimsy figure.

GOAL:
I simply wanted a heroic-looking custom action figure of Luke Skywalker as he appeared when he came to Cloud City to rescue his friends in danger, and instead faced off against Darth Vader. As with virtually ALL of my custom figures, I wanted this figure to be NON-scene specific. So a “bruised face” sculpt (from his duel with Vader) was not acceptable, and neither was a “dirty face” with “mussed” hair (as during his training on Dagobah). He has been correctly scaled in relation to the rest of the STAR WARS action figures in my collection (including other Customs).

“You’ll find I’m full of surprises”

RECIPIE:
1) POTJ 25th Anniversary Luke Skywalker: Swing to Freedom (Head (hollowed out for ball-jointed neck))
2) SAGA Captain Antilles: (Neck, Right hand)
3) OTC Luke Skywalker Bespin Duel: (Torso, Arms, Left hand)
4) OTC Luke Skywalker: Dagobah Training: (Waist, Pelvis, Legs)
5) SAGA Luke Skywalker: Hoth Attack: (Blaster, Belt Details)
6) SAGA Han Solo Hoth Rescue: (Holster, Blaster pistol)
7) SAGA Anakin Skywalker Tatooine Attack: (Metal Lightsaber hilt and blue blade)
8) Brown Satin Ribbon (Used to create belt strap)
9) Brown Satin Ribbon-Fine (Used to create holster leg strap)
10) "Chrome" paper from a "plated" letter on a magazine cover (Used to create Chrome belt buckle)



Roberto W.
user 2456135
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 18
LUKE SKYWALKER: Jedi Knight
Custom Action Figure and Photo by Roberto Williams

PROBLEM:
Vintage Kenner Luke: Jedi Knight (1983) was a pretty nice figure, but I was always a bit dissapointed with the strange positioning of his arm and legs. Also, I always thought his face sculpt was overly morose looking. In my humble opinion, ALL POTF II Jedi Lukes were VERY poor depictions of the character. They were ALL barrel-chested, They were ALL pre-posed, and they ALL suffered from various strange looking face sculpts. Even the most recent SAGA Luke Jedi (2003) suffers from flimsy legs with bending knees, a poorly-produced, ill-fitting cloth cape, and a pin-headed, overly morose face sculpt.

GOAL:
I strived to create a neutrally-posed, nicely detailed 4 inch-scale action figure of LUKE SKYWALKER in his black Jedi Knight outfit as seen in Return of the Jedi.

Now, I know that there is some debate over the correct color of Luke’s Jedi cloak. And admittedly, it probably WAS dark TAN as many have suggested. However, I just felt that a BLACK cloak was cooler looking! My custom Jedi Luke was scaled in relation to the rest of the STAR WARS action figures in my collection (including other Customs).

“Nevertheless, I’m taking Captain Solo and his friends. You can either profit by this or be destroyed. It’s your choice, but I warn you not to underestimate my powers.”

RECIPIE:
1) POTJ 25th Anniversary Luke Skywalker: Swing to Freedom (Head (hollowed out for ball-jointed neck))
2) SAGA Captain Antilles: (Neck)
3) SAGA Luke Skywalker: Jabba’s Palace (Torso, Arms, Hands, Skirt)
4) POTF II Luke Skywalker Blast Shield Helmet: (Pelvis, Legs (painted black) )
5) POTJ Han Solo Bespin Capture: (Black boots (surgically shortened / straightened into a neutral pose)
6) POTF II Comm Tech Chip Darth Vader: (Black cloth cape (tailored to fit Luke) )
7) EP I Darth Maul with Sith Speeder: (Black cloth robe (Hood is carefully tailored to fit the Comm Tech Darth Vader cloth cape)



Roberto W.
user 2456135
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 19
PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA
Custom Action Figure and Photo by Roberto Williams


PROBLEM:
It has honestly been a long, long road toward the making of this Custom Action Figure. Kenner's vintage Princess Leia Organa (1978), dressed in her royal robe, was an adequate enough figure for the level of detail that was available at that time. She had a very cute "doll-like" head sculpt and a simple, neutral pose. The next time Leia was offered as an action figure wearing this outfit, there was quite an uproar in the collecting community. Released in 1995 as part of Kenner / Hasbro's Power of the Force II line, "Princess Leia Organa" was sculpted with such an unflattering facial scowl that some collectors began referring to her as "monkey face Leia". The costume she was presented in bore only a passing resemblance to the robes she wore in the film, and she was sculpted in such an awkward pose that she could barely stand on her own. A full three years later, after several other heavily criticized Leia figures and face sculpts, Hasbro presented us with "Princess Leia Organa -All New Likeness". This action figure featured a costume that was sculpted much more accurately to match Leia's wardrobe from the film, however the face sculpt was only a marginal improvement over the previous offerings. Later that same year, Hasbro produced a series of "Princess Leia Collection" two-packs. These figures were beautifully decorated with soft-good appliances, and movie outfits that had never before been produced as action figures. Unfortunately, the face-sculpts and paint-deco for Leia's likeness took a HUGE step backward, appearing as arguably the WORST renditions of Leia yet. Most of the subsequent Princess Leia action figures utilized a variation of the "all new likeness" face sculpt with varying hairstyles and paint deco for the appropriate film outfit. Like many other collectors, I was losing all hope that Hasbro would ever produce an acceptable likeness of the Princess. When considering the creation of this custom figure, I was even fully prepared to go with a completely different female face sculpt, just so that I could have a "pretty" Leia. I looked into various Padme Amidala face sculpts and strongly considered one of them for use as a head sculpt source. But in the end, that didn't work either. Fortunately, Hasbro helped me out in a BIG way by producing the excellent super-poseable Princess Leia Organa in 2004 as part of their Vintage Original Trilogy Collection. Although the overall figure was a vast improvement over previous offerings, the face sculpt was STILL not quite right. I found that somehow a ball-jointed neck was just NOT flattering for what should have been the delicate features of a princess.


GOAL:
I've known for more than 10 years (the amount of time that I've been customizing Action Figures) that I was going to have to create my OWN custom Princess Leia Organa (A New Hope) if I was ever going to be satisfied. The goal here was to create a 4-inch scaled, richly-detailed, neutrally-posed, attractively sculpted rendition of the beautiful, feisty, dedicated leader of the Rebel Alliance as seen in A New Hope. She had to be correctly scaled in relation to the rest of the figures in my collection (including other customs).

"I'm a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan!"


RECIPE:
1) Vintage Original Trilogy Collecion Princess Leia Organa: (body)
2) POTJ 25th Anniversarry "Swing To Freedom" Leia: (head sculpt with hair re-paint)
3) POTF II "Princess Leia Collection" Leia: (royal belt)


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