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Following on from the overview of how to customize LEGO Minifigs. Lets go into more concise detail on how to source and find specific elements for a custom minifig. The reason we are focusing on this rather than the concept and design stages is because this part of the process is one which is not reliant on ideas.
LEGO has designed hundreds of thousands of different sets, and mifigures, however there are also elements that LEGO do not produce, publicly they have stated for example that you cannot get LEGO weapons, so you would have to rely on external companies like BrickArms and CombatBrick for these.
In order to source LEGO pieces for your custom minifig, you need to have you idea clear. First you want to break down your custom minifig design in to the individual body parts and accessories. Be sure to check out BrickWarriors and Brickforge.
To save you a degree of time there are a couple of sites that have a cool features that allows you to structure your minifig based on the different combination of elements, its certainly not exhaustive of the entire range of LEGO minifigs out there but its pretty close.
Additionally other sites such as Brick Link and LEGO Pick a Brick are all great places to source individual Custom minifig torso, arm and legs. We have a full list of Custom Minifig Suppliers. You have to be creative, for example for modern military custom minifigs, LEGO do not produce a torso that represents this, however the minfigs from the Dino Attack collection are very SWAT team-esque and could be used as a substitute, but the again the Dino Attack minifigures are no longer made so you would either have to find them second hand or produce your own decals for your custom minifig.
As a result of changing LEGO stock in the brand new and second hand market as well as the ever increasing demand for certain minifigs, when creating large quantities of custom minifigs, it may cost a lot, or you may have to wait for prolonged periods of time for the right minifig components to appear on the market. In these instances you may well find it easier to use flat colour minifigs and create your own decals, however even these flat colour torsos may be in short supply as well, so you have to be reasonably prepared to removed existing decals, or change the colour template or in extreme circumstances create your own casts and mould your own minifigs from scratch.
Regardless of what you do in this context, sourcing the right minifig components can be the longest and most frustrating part of minifig customization, but it can also be very rewarding, just remember your LEGO invading army that’s the light at the end of the tunnel.
Building custom minifigures isn’t difficult however you need to do a little planning before hand especially if it is a big project and you want to get quality results. True, you can customize a minifig with a felt tip pen, but if you’re like me and a bit of a perfectionist you will probably want to get really high quality professional results, and that will cost you a bit of money and take a bit of time, hence you will need to do some planning to make sure you minimize any mistakes.
The first thing to do when starting a custom minifig project is to decide what you want, whats your custom minifig idea? You want spend a little time to basically try and describe what you want to achieve, there are several different styles of minifig customization, usually determined by the ‘time period’, eg modern, western, town, military, mech, and so forth, each kind of minifig customization has a different style and a method of customization so its worth considering which your custom minifig will fall into.
Design, just because its a custom minifig doesn’t mean it is not worth doing a few sketches over, its often worth just getting the initial concept down on paper get a feel for the colours you are going to use, if you are going to make custom decals to go on the minifig you will want to draw those out as well, if you have some building tools (there are several programs on the web which are free) you may want to get those out so you’ve got a clear plan of action and know exactly how your custom minifigs are going to look before you have spent your well earned cash.
Finding the right LEGO pieces and identifying what you need to get/do, this is probably the most important part of making a custom minifig. This is where you need trawl the web to find the pieces to make your custom minifig, you might find a minifig body that means you don’t need to create a custom minifig decal, or you might find that you’ll need to build a custom part of some sort, it will also give you a chance to refine your custom minifig design.
In terms of where to look for custom minifig pieces, check out our guide for the best retailers of custom minifig pieces. When looking for custom minifig pieces make sure you shop around for a good price and make sure you know what you are looking for before committing to getting anything custom made for your custom minifig, often you might be able to get away with a standard minifig torso, rather than shelling out on a custom minifig decal.
The Build, this is obviously very important to how your custom minifig will look, as such you need to take your time putting together your custom minifig, make sure you get it right and minimize mistakes, work in an area with good ventilation and light and make sure you keep your area tidy, only work on one part at a time, many minifig customizers tend to have a bits box where they keep left over pieces from other custom minifig projects, you can use these to help with your build and naturally if you have any left over custom minifig bits just stick them in your bits box. It’s often worth taking a few photos of your custom minifig as a work in progress as this helps others see how you put the custom minifig together and can offer plenty of feed back, this is particularly useful if the custom minifig you’re working on is a bit of a master piece.
Finishing touches, if you are anything like me you won’t stop working on a minifig even when its done, but essentially this stage is where you finish working on all the details and check your custom minifig. Then make sure you take photos and stick them up all over the web for other custom minifig fans to comment, this feed back from other minifig fans can be very useful for your next project but do take it with a pinch of salt. Flickr has a great LEGO community.
Customising existing LEGO minifigures can be a fun way of giving them an update, or a low cost way of changing your minifigure for a different MOC (My own Creation). Just by changing a few of the parts can make your minifigure look totally different.
An example of this is by ExoBrick, who has taken the torso of the amazing new Darth Malgus minifigure taken from the Sith Fury Class Interceptor Star Wars 9500 set and given him a range of different heads and the results are fantastic.
The heads used are from top-bottom/left-right:
- Bane (LEGO set 6860)
- Deadpool (LEGO set 6866)
- Custom – BoneSaw minifigure (eclipseGrafx)
- Cade Bane (LEGO set 8128)
- Custom – Iron Man (Christo)
- Nute Gunray (LEGO set 9494)
- Custom – Balaclava (Spec Ops) (eclipseGrafx)
- Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine (LEGO set 10188)
- Imperial Pilot (LEGO set 7915)
Which is your favourite?
LEGO is one of the main sources for minifigures customisation however with an increasing demand for more specific pieces there are a number of high quality independent producers offering a range of fantastic weapons, parts, headgear and bodywear.
The manufacture of these custom design pieces are created specifically for LEGO minifigures using high quality injection molded ABS plastic.
These are the brands that we recommend, if you are not mentioned then get in touch.
Since 2006 Bluce Hsu has been creating a fantastic arrange of custom design Star Wars LEGO pieces which include Clone Trooper helmets, Mando helmets, Hair pieces, Jet Packs, Twi’lek heads, and Female torso’s.
See the full range of Arealight pieces now.
Run by Will Chapman, BrickArms specialise in original, custom designed LEGO compatible guns and custom minifigs. These include Machine Guns, miniguns, Rifles, Pistols, Bazookas, Grenades, Helmets and knives.
See the full range of BrickArms pieces now.
The mission of BrickForge is to fill in the gaps left open by LEGO and other brick-building companies. They offer a huge amount of pieces including Helmets, Armour, Guns, Swords, Bows, Axes, Hair pieces and Shields.
See the full range of BrickForge pieces now.
Run by Ryan Hauge, BrickWarriors send their custom designs to a professional tooler to be molded in steel and injected with ABS plastic. They offer a huge range of Helmets, Hats, Guns, Body Armour, Swords and Axes.
See the full range of BrickWarriors pieces now.
Run by Kevin Chu, BrickTW focuses on creating custom pieces for LEGO minifigures based on Oriental history. They offer a large range of Helmets, Spears, Swords, Body Armour, Shields, and Hair pieces.
See the full range of BrickTW pieces now.
SI-DAN offer a fantastic range of high quality Helmets, Body Armour, Gas Masks, Guns, Knives, Miniguns, Tactical vests, Shields and Backpacks.
See the full range of SI-DAN pieces now.
The Little Arms Shop
The Little Arms Shop make pieces for the minifigure which are very detailed and of the highest quality possible. These include guns, and the hugely popular range of Star Wars blasters.
See the full range of The Little Arms Shop pieces now.
Tiny Tactical offer a fantastic range of Military inspired pieces including Army Vests, Guns, Ammo, Radio’s, and Helmets.
See the full range of Tiny Tactical pieces now.
Pedro used used superglue and some modeling clay to fill in voids in the TLC piece then glued all the pieces together. He used a hobby knife for all the cutting and then sanded the rough areas so they fit together nicely. (You may need to ask your parents to do the cutting)
The paint work on these cannons is amazing the bottom one is Mr.color metallic bronze as the base and the top one is Mr. color metallic dark iron as the base and then he used Citadel brown and a little blazing orange slightly mixed together, but still being able to see portions of the orange.
Finally with a small textured sponge he dabbed it in paint and then randomly dabbed the gun.
As you can see the results were amazing!