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Category Archives: Interviews
Marvin the Martian – a custom minifig creation by Hound Knight
hound knight is one of the ‘old guard’ of the custom minifig world, in as much as i’d blogged much of his custom minifig endeavors way back in the day when this site was tiny. so its about time that i spent some time and did and interview with the good sir.
1. how long have you been customizing minifig for?
Well, I’ve been building my own “purist” minfigures for about 15 years. I really got started using custom decals and the like 3 years ago. There are incriminating MS paint sticker designs to prove it.
2.what got you inspired to create your own custom minifigs, and start drawing your own creations?
I guess it got started when I figured out you didn’t have to put the ‘fig parts together exactly like the instructions show. I then discovered that when arranged in a certain way, the elements could look like a character from a movie, book, etc.
As far as drawing goes, I’ve always loved creating artwork, and I enjoy drawing things that I’m interested in, so LEGO was a natural choice. Apparently people liked them pretty well, and I’m honored to have had several LEGO fansites use my artwork.
3. are there any particular minifig customizers that look up to or that inspire you?
Armothe, Omicron, Gecko, Oreo, Shmails, and Roaglann are several who spring immediately to mind, but I draw inspiration from pretty much everything I come in contact with.
4. the lego minifig collectors series has really been popular have you been influenced by the collectors series? how has it changed your custom minifigs?
I’ve gotten a lot of cool elements to use on my custom minfigures, and a lot of great ideas as well. The stands are useful too.
5. what do you do for inspiration?
Read, listen to music, watch movies, talk to people, draw.
6. whats your favouirte lego minifig?
I’d have to say Johnny Thunder. There have been so many memorable characters from LEGO over the years!
7. and whats your favourite custom minifig by any one?
This amazing Tournament Knight from Gecko/P-Squiddy.
8. if lego were to produce one set or minifig of your choice what would it be? why?
Either the Lord of the Rings /Hobbit or Narnia would be awesome. Both would be doubly awesome.
9. any tips for newbies to custom minifigs?
*insert overused cliche about working hard and believing in yourself here*
10. anyone you want to give a shout out to?
Look ma! I’m on TV!
Thanks for the interview, this was fun. 🙂
Interview is The Knight KJ – a custom minifig creation by The Knight (KJ)
I’ve been in regular touch with KJ after coming across some of his fantastic custom minifigs such as the one shown here. so without further waiting, heres my quick interview with KJ a talanted custom minifig maker and all round nice guy
1. thanks for doing this interview! Lets get started – what first got you back into Lego? And what got you particularly interested in custom minifigs?
My son, Ethan, brought me back from about 25 years without touching a Lego. We would build a lot of stuff together (mostly Star Wars) but then he asked if Lego had any “army guys”. So I started looking around and of course there was nothing but Clone Brands (a definite “No, no” in our house). So we set out to try and make our own.
2. Who currently inspires your creations?
I have to give credit to Pedro, Hazel, Pecovam, Jas, Morgan and a host of others. I just click through Flickr looking not exactly for the best figs but the one that have something new and creative about them. I will fav those and come back to them when I am looking for ideas. But my son, Ethan, is a great source of inspiration for me. Ethan is even where my screen name comes from. I typically go by The Knight… Ethan’s middle name is Knight.
3. Of the Lego collectors minifig series – which minifig is your favorite? Why?
Has to be the Space Pirate from Series 3. I have always liked Blacktron and this is about as Blacktron as you can get.
4. Where do you get your ideas from?
I take from others, my son, video games and movies. Sometimes some weird idea just pops into my head… like that crazy Hazel Deep Eyes Samurai from the future I just finished. Don’t ask me where the idea came from. I’m a father with 3 kids that plays with Lego minifigs… you know something has got to be a little …off.
5. Whats your favorite custom minifig? (by any one :D)
Well pecovam did a custom minifig for me that is of a USAF SERE (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), these guys are some hardcore Special Forces Trainers for the USAF. I have never had anyone make a minifig for me (except for my kids) and it really meant a lot to me. Besides it’s a pretty friggin awesome fig too.
6. With all the different custom minifig accessory producers what custom minifig accessory would you most like to see?
I am a huge Chronicles of Riddick fan. I would love to see the armor and helmet from the Necromonger Soldiers be made. I have requested it from Hazel but I know he has a lot of things going right now.
7. What do you think is the most difficult custom minifig to create?
Out of mine, the hardest has been my Roach fig or the Space Marine 40k. Both of these figs involved an extreme amount of cutting, measuring and reshaping of TLC and custom pieces. Hardest to paint was Emile for sure though. Helmet alone took me about 3-4 hours.
8. If there was one lego set or character that you wished lego could produce what would it be?
ThunderCats and I heard there is a possibility it might happen. I love the ThunderCats especially Panthro. Still have all of my ThuderCats action figures from when I was a kid up in a box in the attic.
9. What tip would you give for people new to custom minifigs?
Never be afraid to make a mistake or fail. You have to fall down to get back up. Always improve your skills through trying new things. I am not that good at decals. So I have done some decals lately. Sure I have messed them up, but I would just start over or use my strengths to fix them. The Roach fig’s decals on the legs were all jacked up and I just came in there with my paint brush and touched up where I needed to and now it looks fine. In short, there is always something we can be improving on so never be afraid of making mistakes.
10. What do you think is missing from the custom minifig community?
More of a teaching mentality. I think that people need to give the “Noobs” a break. I see too often somebody bashing someone else just because they are new. Sure their stuff may not look as good as yours but just make it a teachable moment and help them refine their process. There is always going to be someone out there better than you at something. Try to learn from those who have mastered certain techniques. Go to people like Roaglaan for decals, Morgan for Photoshop, Ghost Soldier2010 and Shobrick for Photos, Pedro, Jas and pecovam for paint ideas, Chocobricks Customs (or Omicron) for interesting ways to use parts, etc. I am always willing to help too in anyway I can. There are ways of saying things to people (Noobs are people too) without being a total jerk and they will get the point. I really dislike when someone is trying to put someone else “in their place”, so to speak. Riddle me this: “Horace the Horse knew he was always the first horse on the merry-go-round until he realized he was the last.” Life is cyclical. You try starting to place yourself above others and you will soon realize you are the one at the bottom.
11. What do you think about the use of non lego parts in custom minifigs? How do you feel about the purist view of custom minifigs?
I hate to say it but I view “purist” as kind of the old money rich kid and custom houses as the upstarts. I have always been an upstart. Look at recently how many of TLC parts have been inspired by the custom houses. These are no coincidence. And you think Megablocks came up with that whole HALO idea by themselves… No way! They saw how well BF was doing with it and wanted a cut of the pie. Now they just got TRUMPED by Hazel’s new line of customs. Point is, I think the custom houses allow for so much more creativity and it is obviously catching on or Lego themselves wouldn’t have borrowed some of the custom houses’ ideas. So now a purist can use a part that was originally Arealight’s, BF’s, or Hazel’s, etc’s, idea and continue to call themselves a purist, just to call themselves a purist. Fact is a good number of these new TLC parts and characters and probably the mass popularity of the Lego Minifig all have the ability to customize them to thank. So, I don’t think anyone can truly call themselves a purist anymore.
12. Any one you want to give a shout out to?
My kids, Cassidy, Bella and Ethan; my parents, Ken and Sharon, who have always loved and encouraged my art (no matter how silly it was) and most of all God. I give all the glory to Him who allows me to wake up and breathe every morning. He is the one who truly inspires me most and gives me my ability in order to inspire others.
Thanks for asking me to do this. Gives me another Gold Star with my kids on the “Cool Dad” chart. If you have any other questions for me please don’t hesitate to ask. God Bless.
here’s the second part of my interview with Family brick, you can find the first part of my interview with the custom minifig expert here.
I always struggle to get mew ideas how do you manage to create such interesting creations?
I find that one of the most rich sources for new ideas on figures is to look at what others have done – then when you find figures that you really like ask yourself this: What do you like specifically about the figure? Is the way the figure flows, is it in a particular piece usage, is it how the figure is decaled or painted? Then ask yourself – how can I make this technique my own and build upon it. I would also suggest this – one of the things that always keeps me looking at new figures is that I am always trying to learn new techniques in painting, piece-usage, or brick-building. If you’re always trying to learn a new technique, your figures can only continue to get better.
Being in the uk were always a little stuck when it comes to attending events do you ever get a chance to go? What’s the best thing about these events?
You know, I have yet to be able to attend a Lego Convention – my career is quite busy during the summer/early fall months and makes it difficult for me to attend these events. With that said, I am attempting to attend BrickCon in Seattle this year (and I’m even looking at setting up a display of all my custom figures). I think the best thing about these events is that you find other people who are able to help make your craft better, and vice-verca you are able to help other Lego Enthusiasts learn something new. Oh, and it’s an entire convention for Lego products!
When it comes to custom minifies there’s a real divide in whether to paint and cut or leave them purist, what are your thoughts on the whole purist movement? How do purists respond to your custom mini fig creations? If there was enough resistance do you think you’d revert to only purist custom minifigs?
I think I can safely start this question off by stating that I am not primarily a purist! One look at my page and you’ll see figures that have been painted, cut, glued, and anything else that I can think of doing! I should start off by saying – there is real value in purist figures and I actually do spend quite a bit of time creating purist figures – I have learned in my career that one should learn the skills that have been around the longest and build up from there. It is quite amazing that in the purist realm, there are an infinite amount of combinations to create unique figures – and to learn what makes a minifigures look complete and well thought out is a very valuable skill. Now, while I do spend time building purist figures, obviously much of my time is spent creating figures where I am not afraid to venture into the realms of cutting Lego pieces, gluing them, and painting them to create a figure. I think when venturing into this realm one should ask this question – if I cut this particular Lego piece, is it necessary and will it add to the figure? If the answer to either of these questions is no, then perhaps you shouldn’t cut yet; however, I have found that oftentimes you can create a very interesting piece that would otherwise not exist. This allows us to have even more options for customizing figures and creating unique one-of-a-kind creations. A similar debate to this is the use of non-lego and … MB products in custom figures – but that is perhaps a debate for another day!
How do purists respond to my creations? I have had a few… rude … individuals respond to some of my creations, however, the majority of purist fans who look at my figures are very cordial, typically make good comments, and are still very helpful opinions. Perhaps the biggest thing my career has taught me is that you will never please everyone – so when I get a few negative responses, it doesn’t bother me.
If I had enough resistance, would I revert to only purist custom minifigs? I don’t think I would, because I love the fact that I have such unique creations that no one else has – I made them with my hands and imagination and immensely enjoy playing with them.
These now at least four custom mini fig accessory producers out there including brick arms brick forge and amazing armoury, who are your favorites and why? Obviously there loads of competition out there how do you view this as a maker consumer?
This is a very hard question to answer, and I can’t just name one as the ultimate minifigures accessory producer; however, I can tell you the ones I use the most. Looking through my Flickr account, I would have to say that the most represented in my figures would have to be Brickarms – I think they have some of the best minifigures accessories around, and for my weaponry needs I nearly always go with them! I also find that I use a lot of Amazing Armory and Brickforge – both of which provide great accessories. Amazing Armory has some really wonderful elements, although they do tend to have slightly higher prices which for some could be a hinderance. Brickforge also produces some very wonderful products that I use quite extensively. Aside from these, I know of a few other sites that I try to support – I am interested in looking into some of the elements that Tiny Tactical provides which seems to be some really unique items for minfigure customization. I am also interested in looking at The Butchered Block which seems to primarily sell custom Lightsaber hilts.
While I find that there is competition among the various accessory producers, most of the time each site produces items that fill a particular niche. The biggest obstacle as a consumer is setting a budget that allows items to be bought from each vendor that are needed for my figures!
If these store were to produce one custom mini fig accessory what would it be?
This is a hard question to answer – right now I would say Jetpacks because I seem to be making quite a few of these! I think to answer this question I should say the products that are coming from the above vendors that has me most excited – I am extremely excited for the Brickarms Minigun, raygun, individual release of the Needle Weapon and Energy Sword, as well as several of the new weapons they recently released at Brickfair. Brickforge is coming out with some great accessories that have me very excited, and should hopefully be popping up on the website soon. I’m always excited for what Amazing Armory produces and releases, and am looking forward to the next accessories!
What advice do you think you could give to other makers starting out making custom minifigs? What do you think is the hardest part?
I think the best advice I could give – if you choose to cut, glue, and paint a minifigures – practice doing it cleanly and start small. Too many try jumping in and doing everything at once, which often results in a messy figure. I will fully admit that a few of my figures look messy, however, I would hope that the large majority look clean and well thoughtout. If there is purposeful “messiness” then it is fully acceptable, but there needs to be a reason for it. As I say these suggestions, I realize that this is probably the hardest part, and I fully realize that I don’t always attain my own goals; however they are goals worth aiming for!
Who would you say inspires you with your creations? Are there any other makers whom you look up to?
The customizers that inspire me the most are: JasBrick, Thel’ Vadamee, Titolian, Catsy_[CSF], Morgan190, Pedro-79, eclipseGrafx, and Orrange. This is hardly a comprehensive list – I know there are many others of my favorites that I am leaving out, but off the top of my head I know these customizers have inspired me in many ways.
What’s your favorite Lego set and why? If Lego could produce one set what would you wish for?
My favorite Lego set? The sets that I have had together the longest and that I would consider some of my favorites – Republic Gunship 7676, and a modified Lego Crab Crusher. I also love my UCS Millennium Falcon (which I was bought for a wedding anniversary present)!
Aside from Lego, what other stuff do you get up to in your free time?
Most of my other time is spent on my career – I am finishing up my Doctorate in Music with a specialization in Opera at Michigan State University while also performing professionally. This takes a large part of my life, and is something I enjoy quite immensely. The only thing that could make it better – singing for the officials at Lego every day 😉 Going back to performing – I am a lyric/light lyric tenor which sings repertoire from Puccini, Donizetti, Gounod, among others. My favorite opera’s are: Donizetti’s La Fille du Regiment (my primary audition aria is from this opera and is one of the most difficult in the repertoire – it has 9 high C’s at the end of it), Puccini’s La Boheme, and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. At some point in the future, I will be creating a series of Opera Lego Minifigures 😉
Thanks for your time, last question, got any one you wanna shout out to?
I’d love to thank everyone who enjoys my figures – it’s always a pleasure to have hard work admired!
Family Brick interview part 1 by Family Bricks
family brick is fast becoming a predecessor of Jasbrick, his minifigs are really creative, involving all the major sins of the lego purists, there’s cutting, painting, decal scraping and lots of gluing, whilst jasbrick is still a kingpin when it comes to painting FB really comes out trumps when it comes to smart custom minifigs. here is part 1 of our interview with FB
Tell us about yourself, if I’m not mistaken designing custom minifigs for you is a fairly recent thing ie in the last year or so? What got you started?
It is true that I have just recently started publishing my minifigures on Flickr and other forums, but I have actually been involved in creating custom minifigures for quite a while. Originally, what got me interested in custom minifigure creation, was the lack of Lego weapons. With that in mind, my first custom elements that I remember making (and still have a few copies of) was an AK47 and a large caliber sniper rifle. As I’m writing this, I remember what got me thinking I needed more weapons – the Lego series Dino Attack. I actually really loved those sets, and loved the theme of dinosaur vs. man – maybe it’s because I have always loved Jurassic Park, maybe my love of weaponry, maybe both. Anyway, I remember cutting up my first Lego – I made an order on Bricklink and jumped right in. I then resin-casted my items, and made an army out of them. The first custom figures I created really were only custom figures due to the fact that they had custom created Lego weapons – although it was here that I first started doing decals for my figures (rather roughly as well). Shortly after that Brickarms started releasing weapons which was a wonderful boon for custom minifigures – although this put me out of business, so to speak. At this point, I started re-watching the Star Wars movies and really falling in love with the theme again, and I decided I wanted to have more options for Star Wars minifigures. At that point, I started making myself various types of Clones/Stormtroopers – some realistic and some that were for my own legion. At that point I had several friends who started purchasing several of my Star Wars figures, and I focused much of my time doing Star Wars customs and selling at various places.
As I look through my Flickr stream now, I see some creations that are very different from anything mentioned above – what made this change? My answer is the same as many other customizers – JasBrick. The figure of his that really got me started into this new area was his Mandalorian Wedding – I still have that as one of my favorites and it will remain to be one of my all time favorites. After that I started looking at what he was doing, and thinking – I can’t do that, I don’t know how. And yet, I went out and bought a set of paints that I could use – only after working with the paints did I realize it – they couldn’t be using enamel paints because they just do NOT work! Once I figured out that for Lego figures, one should use acrylic paints did my figures start turning out well. After that, you can see a lot of what I have done in my Flickr photostream 😉
Some of your stuff is really fantastic, where do you get your ideas from? What’s the source of inspiration?
Where does my inspiration for figures come from? Hmm… That’s a difficult question to answer – I would start by saying that I find that most of my figures fall into realms of fantasy – I have yet to create any WWII figures and most of my figures are of my own imagination. Most figures that are realistic are figures/characters that are important to myself or my friends. In regards to my fantasy characters (and I’m including my post-apocalyptic figures, Steampunk figures, and whatever else one could dream up), a lot of the times I look at the creation process much like a sculptor. A sculptor will look at his material and find shapes that look interesting – from there they will start creating a design that flows around those shapes and colors; I find that as I build my figures it is much the same process. A lot of times I will get a product from Brickarms, Brickforge, Amazing Armory, or another vendor and as I look at it I think of what it could be. I suppose I should add here that I do try to go outside of the box when looking at materials – what can I make that it wasn’t intended to? Anyway, when doing a lot of my fantasy figures, I find that I’m never quite sure what the end product will look like until I’m done.
In regards to my non-fantasy figures (such as Iron Man, Predator, Boba Fett, etc.) – I try to be as accurate as possible while still attempting to stay as true to the Minifigure as possible. A lot of times, I go through a detail plan of what I want the minifigures to look like and how I’m going to get that look. When I run out of ideas, I go look at my movie collection and try to find something that I like, and branch an idea off from that!
Portola II Space Pirate custom minifig 1st place winner by ‘Nickre
This is Portola II the Space Pirate custom minifig 1st place winner from ‘Nickre, its a fantastic custom minifig, with a generous use of rubber bands as well as unconventional use of lego parts. the description and character of the custom minifig is also really good, so here the interview with ‘Nickre:
Than you very much! Below I have written my responses to your questions.
1) So congrats on your win at the Space Pirates competition, you must be really cuffed! Tell us a little about your self?
I’m very excited to have been a part of the first LEGO Space Pirate contest here on Flickr; it was a blast creating my minifigure! I’ve been involved in the online LEGO community for nearly a year now, and so far I haven’t created very many entries for building challenges. This is the second contest I have entered on Flickr and it’s my first first-place win! I intend to continue building as long as I can, and hopefully I’ll be able to practice creating custom minifigures while I remain active!
2) So obviously Lego and minifig customization is still quite an underground thing how did you find out and what made you start customizing minifigs?
How did I find out about custom minifigures? Well, it’s difficult to miss ’em, since there are so many on Flickr. After seeing some pretty amazing creations from fellow builders, I decided I’d give customizing a try back in 2008.
3) What inspired your design for your entry in the Lego space pirates competition?
My design wasn’t inspired by anything in particular; I just threw on whatever looked “space-piratey”. However, I did get the idea of using the bandanna piece as headgear from Michael Jasper.
4) It must be tough finding the right parts or even coming up with a good idea, how do you come up with your custom minifigs, is it just a case of working to a preset theme? Or is it something more sporadic?
Usually, ideas just pop into my head at random moments. If I try too hard to think of an idea, I either waste a lot of time and accomplish nothing, or I abandon the MOC entirely. I believe working to a preset theme could certainly help you design your minifigure and create his/her character traits, but I much prefer to create my own themes.
5) As a relative new comer, I am always trying to get more tips, so any tips or tricks or advice you’d give to others just starting out making Lego custom minifigs?
Well, I have a problem with over-detailing my minifigures. They sometimes lose their quality when I place too many rubber bands and accessories on them. I suggest trying to first find basic elements for your minifigure, such as the head, torso, and legs, then think about any extra details you might wish to add. I have attempted to jump right into detailing many times, but I think it’s always best to start simple.
6) Of course we’re excited to see more of your custom minifigs, are there any that you are particularly proud of?
Thanks. I’ve only built several custom minifigures in my time as an active MOCer, but I do like my wastelander character (inspired by the video game Fallout 3). I used some of my own techniques on that one that I found useful while I was building my space pirate.
7) Are there any other customizers that inspire you?
I’ve always loved the work of Morgan190 and Michael Jasper. Their excellent, creative minifigures intrigued me when I first discovered them, and I suppose they served as my inspiration.
Alright, thanks again timeforacatnap! Let me know if there’s anything else you would like me to do.