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Category Archives: Interviews
Interview with pedro – a custom minifig creation by PEDRO-79™
I had the good luck of getting this interview in with pedro, with running his store, speaking with Hazel and making him own amazing custom minifigs, i don’t know how he finds the time, never the less, heres an interview with the good sir himself –
1. how did you first get in to custom minifigs?
First off i want to thank you for the time you spend searching and sharing my figs and all other great customizers out there, if it wasn’t for you people would not see all the talent out there. I first got into custom minifigs when i seen an article on Hazel’s GOW custom figs, and that opened a whole new world for me, being able to make more than what LEGO offered !
2. where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
Most of the ideas i have for making custom minifigs just come to me, but i was inspired by Hazel , Will and other vendors who gave us the option to look outside the box, and start a new chapter involving Lego parts and minifigures. i was also inspired by people like JasBrick and Hazel…they were the reason i joined Flickr to take in and share some creativity.
3. You have your own bricklink store, how do you juggle customizing with running your own store and work/real life?
I have my own store on Bricklink called United Armory, and it is not easy working, maintaining my two homes, and taking orders from store. I just wish i had more time, but it is not easy when you have a full time job and do everything else, i am also married and my wife and I are expecting our first child around July of this year, which i am extremely excited about. I became a reseller to bring and make it easier for people in the US and Canada to get Hazel parts, i definitely did not do it for the money, i have a great job and i turn down work on weekends so i can spend quality time with my wife and family, after all money is not everything !
4. You’re very close with hazel being a reseller, what has drawn you to his parts more than other suppliers? what specifically do you like about his stuff?
Hazel and I have become good friends over the past year, i have been a fan of his work for at least 3 years, and i love his work, customs, and his personality. I have even offered him to come stay with me at my house when he decides to come to NY. I am drawn to Hazel’s customs more than other customizers because he has taken Lego to a new level and never stops impressing me!
5. how do you feel the lego collectors series has affect the custom minifig community, do you think its affected your style? do you think its given custom minifigs a greater acceptance and exposure in the wider lego community?
I feel that LEGO made the collector minifigures due to seeing all the wonderful and creative ideas done by customizers like Hazel, Brickarms, Brickforge, etc.. , lets be realistic here, they just want a piece of the action and good for them, i do not believe i have been affected at all by the collector series, but more motivated to do and become even better !
6. are there any customized you feel have particularly inspired you or you look up to? why?
I have been inspired by customizers like Hazel , Brickarms, and Brickforge because they have taken what they love to do and turned it into a business and a way to make money, now there is nothing better than to get paid to do something you love .
7. how do you feel about the use of paints and non-lego parts/non-custom house parts on minifigs, do you think its a positive step for the community? how do you feel about purist minifigs?
I feel that painting and customizing and the use of non- Lego parts is great , creative , and inspiring to others and even Lego themselves, after all i believe that a lot of there ideas and parts are taken from the community , like the collector series minifigures . i think being a purist just does not make any sense because there is evolution in and to everything, you can look around at anything and it has become better with the years, even humans themselves ….its called evolution, its just part of a natural thing.
8. If lego created one set or minifig of your choice what would you choose? why?
If Lego would create a set or minifig of my choice it would have to be ThunderCats ( i believe the Knight KJ also said) because it was my favorite cartoon while i was growing up , and my favorite character of course was Lion-O .
9. Is there a particular minifig that you wish you had created?
There really isn’t any figure that i have thought of creating that i have not created, if something comes to mind i will attempt to make it or customize it !
10. Any shouts out?
I want to give a shout out to my wife Cristina, she is the best wife i can ask for, she is my inspiration and very supportive !
Check out pedros store here.
see pedros store here.
Korgar – a custom minifig creation by Geoshift
geoshift is easily one of the most talented custom minifig customizers on the scene at the moment, and i’ve seen his skills grow from back a few years to now where his minifigs really do stand out as unique with their use of warhammer parts. i managed to collar him for an interview, thanks Geo!
1. How did you first start in minifig customization? what got your interest?
My story is similar to that of many other AFOL customizers. I had Lego as a kid and enjoyed it then, but left it behind many years ago. Once I had kids of my own and they reached an age where we were buying toys of this sort, I rediscovered Lego and how the product had evolved over the years. I spent some time looking around Flickr where I discovered some really incredible MOCs by various people. This search then led me to the custom minifig groups and I was again impressed by what people were doing with the hobby and wanted to get involved.
2. Do you find it difficult to balance work with time to customize?
Yes, absolutely. Between work and family commitments much of my time is accounted for. Beyond that, there are a couple of other hobbies that I enjoy (like video games and reading), so I’m always trying to find a good balance in that regard. I usually turn out new minifigs slowly – perhaps an average of one per week in most cases and sometimes none for a couple weeks. This is due to the other time demands and the fact that I tend to fuss over the details a bit.
3. Your photos are always super sharp and well shot, whats the secret?
I’ve actually been trying to improve my photography for quite some time now and I’m often still not satisfied with the result! So, I feel that I’ve still got a lot to learn in this area. If you ask 10 different people this question you will probably get 10 different answers, but here are some things that seem to work well for me:
A.) take a lot of photos of your minifig (I usually take around 20 photos of each figure, then select the best).
B.) Use a photo editor for a couple key finishing items (more on that below)
C.) More light is almost always better, but be careful of glare. I like natural light, but a light-tent along with powerful lamps is excellent as well.
As for the second item above, some sort of photo editor is key for a couple of finishing tasks. In my opinion, almost every photo can benefit from proper cropping and a bit of sharpening. If you do not have a software package for this on your computer, www.picnik.com offers some great tools online for free. A basic workflow for me is something along the lines of this: Shoot > Select > Crop > Resize Smaller > Sharpen > Border (optional). Some people do a lot more than this, but I think everyone should be doing something along these lines in order to get good results.
Also, be sure to save the JPG file at the highest quality. If you do this, you can get decent results with almost any camera – fancy equipment always helps, but you don’t need it. I always think it’s a shame when someone spends a lot of time customizing a figure (sometimes several hours), then posts a photo that is blurry or poorly lit.
4. Any tips you think would help newbies?
Sure, take your time with your customs and don’t rush! Strive to have clean paint results and be patient. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of other customizers about specific techniques or where they got specific parts. The Lego community on Flickr is very helpful and supportive when it comes to this sort of thing. Oh, and be polite.
5. I’ve noticed you’ve started to use more Warhammer parts, how do you feel this has affected your minifigs? What inspired you to try them?
Like a lot of my peers these days, I’m kind of the opposite of a purist. So, any type of part or material is fair game in my opinion. The Warhammer parts are just the latest non-purist items I’m using. I was drawn to these particular items because they fit my style of customizing. Many of my designs center around giving these little minifigs a rugged, “heavy” appearance. This is an interesting idea for me because it is contradictory to how they are commonly thought of.
6. How do you feel the lego collectors series has affected the custom minifig community, do you think its affected your style? do you think its given custom minifigs a greater acceptance and exposure in the wider lego community?
It hasn’t affected my style at all, but I am grateful for the new parts and the options they present for customizers. It has certainly put a new focus on the minifig itself in the greater community as well as the public at large though, which is a good thing.
7. Are there any customizers you feel have particularly inspired you or you look up to? why?
This is an easy one – I’m in this hobby today because of the work of a couple people in particular. First, Hazel over at AMA was making custom parts that really appealed to me. The GOW parts were fairly new at that time and I had never seen anything like that on a minifig. The concept really intrigued me and his designs also fit right into the look I am often trying to achieve with my builds. I am always excited when Hazel posts a new item in his Flickr stream. After discovering Hazel’s products I quickly discovered Jasbrick as well. Again, I was very impressed with the customs he was creating and the creative methods he was using. To this day Jasbrick sets the standard for Minifig painting – his painting is clean and professional. You will never see a messy paint job from him. Beyond that, a lot of my friends on Flickr like Pedro, Pecovam, eclipseGrafx, KJ Knight, Shobrick, Family Bricks and others inspire me because they are all doing such great work.
8. Where do you get your great ideas from?
I get my ideas from a lot of sources – almost anything can give me ideas for a new design, but most of the ideas come from video games, Sci-Fi and even fellow customizers.
9. if lego created one set or minifig of your choice what would you choose? why?
I would love to see just one series of the collectors minigifs that feature all flesh-tone heads with many new face designs.
10. is there a particular minifig that you wish you had created?
There are many builds from other customizers that I’ve really enjoyed, but I can’t narrow it down to any single one that I would point to for this answer. There are many techniques though that I’ve been really impressed with and said “Cool, I wish I would have thought of that!”. There are so many creative folks around the Flickr Lego community that I say that quite often in fact!
11. Any shout outs?
Sure – I’ll give a shout-out to my wife for supporting a hobby that does tend to take a lot of time and being completely understanding about it!
Interview with Tin7 – a custom minifig creation by tin7_creations
Hi Tin7, thanks for doing an interview with custominifig.co.uk as one of the most regular minifig customizers, i’m sure we’ll all enjoy find out more about you and your experiences!
1. So how did you first become aware of custom minifigs? what got you interested and decide to try it for yourself?
My Marvel minifigs are pretty popular, and it was ironically Marvel minifigs that got me interested on minifig customization. Redbean and Armothe did some Marvel minifigs; and I happen to come across them while searching on google for “LEGO Cyclops”. It was there that I learned that I can create torso decals on the computer. Then I also read a Sculpey tutorial on Minifig Customization Network, and began practising with Sculpey.
2. what was it like when you first started up customizing? was there anything in particular that you found hard?
The hardest thing for me when I first started customizing was sculpting on Sculpey. It’s still hard for me now, since I’m always trying to incorporate new techniques. I wasn’t a great sculptor to begin with, and I actually had been practising with Sculpey for about 3 months before I posted my first creation on Eurobricks. I just started by creating hairpieces, and different accesories and weapons. I made piece after piece after piece, and it was three months before I deemed the creation “suitable” for sharing with the online community.
3. You seem to have a real passion for comic book related custom minifigs and decals, was there a particular reason you chose to go down this route rather than say cutting and painting instead?
When choosing something to make into LEGO I always try to pick a theme with a large selection of characters, so I never run out of things to make. Comic books are a good choice, because even the most minor character can have a strong fanbase. I chose to customize based on the Marvel movies because it’s easier to connect with a mainstream audience, since many people began their “journey” with Marvel because of the movies. As for why I use decals… well, as you probably notice, my decals are printed onto sticker labels; and I just print them out and stick them onto torsos. I rarely cut and paint LEGO pieces because, unlike decals, it’s almost always irreversible. I think so far, in my short time as a customizer, I’ve only cut about 4 pieces of LEGO. I paint all my Sculpey creations though, just not actual LEGO pieces. Plus, my painting skills are sub-par, and decals always come out looking neater.
4. You’re one of the most regular customizers, how do you find the time to customize? what do you do out side of the customization world? work? other hobbies?
I’m a full time university student; but I’m graduating this year, and only have school 2 days a week now. Then I have two days of work a week at a mundane part time job. Then after I’m finished my homework, I would sit in front of the computer, open the Photoshop program, and begin to make decals. Sculpey work is time consuming though, but I try to work with it at least once a week; if I work at turbo speed with no distractions, I can pump out 3-4 Sculpey hairpieces per day, and then find time to paint them later.
5. How do you think the new lego collectors series and lego taking more risks with new minifig parts has changed your approach to customization?
I love it! I’ve always thought LEGO should make a series with only minifigs. I don’t like the plastic coming from China though. The series have given me many new great ideas; for example, I used the same Elf ears idea for my Nightcrawler minifg. I also enjoy all the new hairpieces and accessories. Many of them are useful, especially the female hairpieces, I hate make Sculpey female hair, braids and strands break off very easily…
6. Are there any particular customizers that you look up to or see inspiration from? why?
I enjoy the work of JasBrick, eclipseGrafx, Morgan19, they always have great presentation, and have many new innovative ideas.
7. Are there any particular favourite custom minifigs, lego minifigs or MOCs that have particularly stood out for you and inspire you?
Well… my favorite minifig is my own Nightcrawler minifig. As for any inspirations, I really like JasBrick’s Hawkmen army, as well as Morgan19’s Blight of Oz creations. I look at new minifigs every day, I see lots of new works, some are very professional, and some look more amatuer, but they all inspire me; I’ve been customizing for a few years now, and sometimes even when I look at new comers, their works are inspiring too. I like The Penguin’s (on Eurobricks) works, I also like looking at billbobful’s (on Flickr) stuff; his stuff is still a bit messy; but you can definitely see improvement both on Sculpey work, and creativity. What I don’t like is the painting though, no offense to any painters out there! There are also many great decal makers on the internet.
8. If lego could produce one set or minifig of your choice, what would it be? why?
The Avengers movie is coming out in 2012; it’s being released through Walt Disney Pictures. LEGO has the license to Disney, lets start with that. I think it would be a great money making idea, since many people (not just LEGO fans) like Marvel characters; plus, I’d like to compare my figs to official LEGO ones! I can make mine more risky, since I don’t have a cost factor like LEGO does.
9. Any planned minifig projects coming up?
I’m working on more Marvel minifigs as we speak. I already see some new hairpieces down the line (ie. new Pirates of the Caribbean female hair), which could be very useful for future custom minifigs. I will also resume making custom Harry Potter figs once I find out which ones LEGO are making for their new line in 2011 (since there’s no point in duplicating something that LEGO is already planning to make). As for new themes I’m planning… well… it’s a secret!!
10. Any one you like to give a shout out to?
Shout out to all AFOLs and all those who like, or have favorited, or posted my creations!!!
Thanks for asking me to do an interview! Hope this helps you out!
Lara Croft – a custom minifig creation by Amadgunslinger
Thanks for doing this interview amadgunslinger look forwards to finding out more about you –
1. what first got you into custom minifigs?
Well I guess about three years ago I ran across the website “MOCpages” and after some exploring on there I found some pretty cool custom minifigs. So after that I put my art skills to the test to try my first custom minifig, and ever since then I have been quite fascinated by custom minifigs.
2. You’ve done all sorts of customizations from decals, to sculpting and painting, what would you say is your favorite aspect, why? what about your weakest points? do you think you’ll try other aspects of minifig customization?
Well my favorite aspect would have to be the sculpting, I think that sculpting takes the most creativity which I really enjoy.
My weakest point is probably decal making. I enjoy making decals but, I don’t have the fanciest program like Roaglaan has, but I still have fun with what I got.
3. For a newbie, do you think theres any good advice you can give them?
Everyone! Use your imagination! I have people ask me, “where should i start” or “what should i do”, so if you put your mind to it, anything is possible!!!
4. Where do you get your ideas for your creations?
Mainly from movies and video games.
5. How do you feel the lego collectors series has affect the custom minifig community, do you think its affected your style? do you think its given custom minifigs a greater acceptance and exposure in the wider lego community?
I think the Collector Series has in some ways affected the custom minifig community, especially in some of my figs.
Yes I think it has given custom minifigs a better acceptance in the Lego world.
6. Are there any customized you feel have particularly inspired you or you look up to? why?
I have been inspired by all of my good friends on flickr, but I think Roaglaan, Pedro-79, Family Bricks, JasBrick, and ShoBrick have had the biggest impact due to their amazing custom work.
7. How do you feel about the use of paints and non-lego parts/non-custom house parts on minifigs, do you think its a positive step for the community? how do you feel about purist minifigs?
I think that using custom elements, painting, and modding just expands the possibilities of Lego. So yes it is a very positive step for the Lego Community.
I have no problem with purist minifigs, but i feel that when you are hoping to create the fig you want, Lego lacks the possibilities that custom figures have.
8. If lego created one set or minifig of your choice what would you choose? why?
That’s a hard one, but if i had one choice it would have to be a Cloud Strife minifig from Final Fantasy VII. The reason for choosing Cloud Strife is because he is the main character in my favorite RPG game series.
9. Is there a particular minifig that you wish you had created?
Not that I can think of, but I am always open to new ideas.
10. Any shouts out?
I want to give a shout out to all my great friends on flickr!
Exclusive interview with Shmails – a custom minifig creation by Shmails
i’m really grateful that shmails was willing to do this interview, as i love his custom minifigs and seeing his stuff, along side with jasbricks stuff was one of the real starting points for this blog.
Long time since we last caught up! i’ve still got one of your ice hockey custom minifigs, which are totally awesome btw. Thanks for doing an interview, i’m sure our readers would love to find out more from a true custom minifig pro!
1. how did you first get into making custom minifigs?
About three and half years ago, I hurt my back, and needed to find a hobby I could do sitting down with low impac tfor the months I was laid up. At first that hobby was surfing the net, but once I found the world of LEGO customization, I was hooked! I came across Armothe’s Holy Grail figures, and had to make my own.
2. you’re well know for your decals and MOC, was there a specific reason that you decided to focus in this area?
The back limited me to decals because painting and clay work required me to get close to the item I was working on. I really enjoy translating an outfit or design into a decal, which can be a challenge. The reason I try to make MOC’s using my custom figs is because I want to prove to the “purists” that customizers are first and foremost LEGO lovers, and customizing is not just about destroying minifigs.
3. your new project – customminifigs.com – it sounds fantastic, can you tell us a bit more about the story behind it and what made you decide to go ‘pro’?
Armothe and I met a couple of years ago, and quickly found we shared a common view about LEGO, customizing, and minifigs in general. We both had the idea to start a minifigure website at the same time, and decide to pool our talents to better provide for the community. Future figures will highlight Brickforge prototype items and limited edition accessories, I wish I could say more, but I think everyone will be excited about what we have to offer.
4. do you work on custom minifigs full time as a full time job or do you work a full time job on the side? do you find it difficult to balance work with making custom minifigs?
I like the idea of working a full time job on the side! I am a victim of the economy, I was a residential architect, but no one is building anymore, so the business dried up in my area. This has become my full time job and obsession since the summer.
5. if a custom minifig fan were interested in going ‘pro’ what advice would you have for them?
Being a Professional customizer is very much like being an architect. By that I mean it is nice to say you are a customizer, but few succeed into making it a full time money making carrer, so LOVE WHAT YOU DO!
6. who/what inspires your creations?
My figures are mostly from my favorite movies and sports teams. I am into cult films, and love end of the world movies. In terms of my Moc’s, I am mostly inspired by other builders like Sly Owl, Rocko, TooMuchCaffiine, and too many other to list. I wish I could do what those guys do!
7. are there any custom minifig creators that you particularly look up to? who? why?
Armothe is like a mentor to me these days, he has helped me beyond the art of customizing in so many ways. I love the work of JasBrick, his paint skills are amazing. Other than that, I take inspiration from almost everything I see, and I see a lot of figures every day!
8.if there was one set/minifig that lego did, what would you wish for?why?
I want more cowboys! I realize that LEGO is a Scandanavian company, but to me the wild west is one of the most colorful times in history, and with all the new colors and printing techniques LEGO has now, they could really do some great stuff.
9. with all these custom minifig houses popping up, whats one item that you’d love to see them produce?
Well, I am now part of one of those companies, involved in the designs at Brickforge, so most of my dreams will hopefully come true some day. Sorry for the non-denial denial.
10. anyone you like to give shouts out to?
My wife, Erin. She is a saint, and the fact that she tolerates me and my lifestyle amazes me every day, love ya babe!