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Category Archives: Interviews
This was the third place winner at the Lego space pirates custom minifig competition, its made by angelchix, who is one of the talented few who reached the final stages, whats great about this custom minifig isn’t just the good use of parts, the creative use of fabric and highly detailed decals, what also make this custom minifig impressive is the fantastic story that goes with it.
So without further delay here is an interview with the creator of this fantastic custom minifig:
Q. So congrats on your win at the Space Pirates competition, you must be really cuffed! Tell us a little about your self?
A. Thanks Ken! Well, I’m an average Asian-American teen who just pretty much hangs out with friends and such. What isn’t so ‘average’ about me is the fact that I’m an FFOL (Female Fan of LEGO). I also like playing a little bit of Airsoft with a few friends and my brother. Other than that, not much else about me.
Q. So obviously Lego and minifig customization is still quite an an underground thing how did you find out and what made you start customizing minifigs?
A. It kind of started a few months ago in October of 2008 I guess. My brother, Cody, started work on several custom minifigs for a small community of FOLs called ‘Alpha Company.’ I was interested and soon became addicted to LEGO Bricks and Minifigures.
Q. What inspired your design for your entry in the Lego space pirates competition?
A. I got my inspiration from a game called ‘Mass Effect’ while Cody was playing it. The Sci-Fi aspect of the game caught my attention and forced me to learn more. Other things that inspired me included several different Sci-Fi genres (Such as Star Wars) and it pretty much grew from there.
Q. 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?
A. It depends. Sometimes I just get an idea from a random source and create it. Other times I get it from a theme or specific source. And sometimes I just get it in such a random way I can’t even begin to explain it.
Finding the right part ofr a minifig is tough at times. But what I do is innovate using other parts suitable for the job. I’ll even resort to Decals, Custom Accessories, and other methods of achieving my goal.
Q. As a relative new comer, I’m 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?
A. Pretty much the only advice I can give a newcomer or a novice is just come up with an idea, and stick to it. If you come to a ‘wall’ in your path, go around it. Experiment and innovate with different methods or ideas. Even if you can’t think of anything, start reading or watch some videos. Maybe that’ll give you a thought.
As for tricks on making minifigs, I sometimes suggest even modifying the LEGO Element to suit your needs. Decals and Custom Accessories is what I recommend. Cutting and Gluing seems like taboo to some LEGO MOCers, but it isn’t so bad once you get the hang of it, and it can produce a lot of terrific results for your creations.
Q. Of course we’re excited to see more of your custom minifigs, are there any that you are particularly proud of?
A. All my custom minifigs have their own status in my book. Each has its own particular high and low points. It’s really hard to decide which is the best. But one stuck out of the crowd, or more like two, or several. My ‘Yuki Ikazuki’ and ‘Fuyu Keimei’ minifigs are two of the best minifigs I’ve made so far. Others include the same minifig that I entered for the Space Pirate Contest, and a few ‘Alpha Company’ Soldiers.
Q. Are there any other customizers that inspire you?
A. A lot of people inspire me. All the way from Justin ‘Saber-Scorpion’ Stebbins to Obxcrew. From Jasbrick to Scott Blank, and even your creations amaze me. I can’t even give a number as to how many MOCers give me inspiration!
Thanks again for the interview!
So a while back we setup a competition, where the winner would get an interview, their minifig displayed on Custom minifig and of course the fantastic Lego prizes, which was a custom car garage from Lego.
So, today We’d like to announce the winner of the custom minifig competition:
who submitted this custom minifig of a drug baron on vacation
you’ll notice the really nice trench coat on this minifig, which Defenders ‘speciality’
And here’s the interview:
Defender91 is a bit of a creative mind, he’s produced a wide range of custom minifig accessories, from wooden swords, to fabric coats, He’s also a very competent minifig customizer. So here’s a little insight into Defender91’s mind.
so, defender91, tell us a little about yourself?
Well, i am 16 and I live in Connecticut. My real name is Mac. I spend my time ATVing, reading, and of course, playing with lego. I have been a fan of lego since i was two, and my favorite theme is Rock Raiders.
I’ve blogged about your custom sword before and seen loads of your coats, what inspired you to focus on minifig accessories?
I was inspired by MMCB a few years back when i saw their customs and wanted to buy some. My parents however would not let me, so i figured i could make my own, and *snap* like that i was designing and creating customs wearables for minifigs.
you’ve always got stuff for trade and for sale, can you tell us a little more about that? Is it difficult for you to source particular items?
Yes i do sell/trade all of my customs as a way of funding my lego hobby and to obtain pieces that are no longer available. I also trade in order to give others a chance to obtain pieces they want, that i no longer need.
You Just opened BrickLink store from what I understand, fancy telling us a little bit more about that?
Yes i opened a bricklink store for the same reasons that i trade, in order to support my hobby. I saw how much Nannan Z was making from his and decided to give it a go. Also all my customs will be added to the store in the next few weeks, and i have created some very special coats that will only be available as freebies to those who order from my store. All my prices are guaranteed to be lower than the average selling price on bricklink. www.bricklink.com/store.asp?p=defender90
as a customizer, whats the hardest part of creating a new piece?
I think that the hardest part of creating a new custom piece is getting the design just right so that people will like it. Also once you have created quite a few pieces it becomes difficult to create ones that are completly different from the others you have made. Some times I will sit down, and an hour later I will have cranked out 5 great new customs or I could go weeks and not make anything worthwhile.
Do you have any advice for beginners looking to get started in minifig customization?
My advice to beginners is, your first customs will not be as good as Hazels, or Jasbricks, but that doesn’t mean you should not bother or stopping making customs, because if you keep trying you will make some really great stuff. If you saw some of my first customs you would probably laugh, so just dont give up.
Obviously we all have of heroes, so, in terms of custom minifigs who would you say you look up to?
I would have to say that my minifig heroes are Hazel and Jasbrick.
thanks so far Defender, any last words of wisdom?
Like I said before, dont stop trying, just keeping going until you get your custom piece just right, and who knows, maybe your piece will end up as popular as Hazel’s or even Brickarms.
(custom minifig by obxcrew)
1. obxcrew, tell us a bit about yourself, you’ve made quite a name for yourself on the custom minifig circuit, how did you first get started?
My name is Chandler, I’m sixteen, and I live in Norfolk, VA, in the USA.
I’ve been a fan of LEGO for as long as I can remember, but I’ve only recently gotten into the online community. It all started back in 2007 on the BrickArms Forums, which I discovered after happening upon BrickArms on eBay. My obsession with LEGO has snowballed since then. . . .
2. You’re currently a moderator on the Brick Arms custom minifig forum, and you’re a big fan of the brick arms weapons, how do you find the current debate about purist vs modified minifigs?
The way I see it is everything is fair game with minifigs. Unlike a creation, you can only do so much with a minifig, so I think that a little cheating is in order. I’m pretty much a purist when it comes to actual creations, however.
3. One of my favourate vignettes is your survival plane crash, how did you go about creating this? was it just a case of putting Lego brick together and voia la, or did you pre-plan all the aspects of the build first?
I made that quite a while ago, but I vaguely remember that I had what I wanted to build in mind before I actually tackled it. I usually try to plan things out in my head before I start building, but, more often than not, the creation changes drastically as I go along.
Oh, and that’s actually a broken overpass, not an airplane, though it’s a bit hard to tell.
4. Do you have any advice or suggestions of newbies as to how to start in minifig customization?
Let’s see . . . I’d encourage them to have a look at the Fine Clonier Forums, as there are some very helpful articles there, as well as many skilled customizers that are more than willing to answer any questions that they may have.
5. When it comes to find the right pieces for a build I’ve found it really tough to get the right bits, how do you manage to build such impressive vignettes such as your Twoface bank vault scene, without going mad trying to find the right pieces?
You’ve got it all wrong, as I go mad quite often while building. 😉
But seriously, I do end up sifting through considerable amounts of LEGO just to find what I’m looking for, though I do have my bricks sorted by color. I often end up placing orders from BrickLink just to finish creations, as well.
6. Thanks for the interview I really appreciate it and i’m sure the readers of custom minifig will enjoy reading it, as a parting note, do you have any new projects on the way? care to give us a sneak peak?
Right back at you!
In regards to upcoming creations, I should have my contribution to the LUGNuts 15th Build Challenge finished soon . . . among other things. 😉
Hazel Fantasy is one of the most respected and innovative custom minifig sculptors in the Lego community, his work has gains noteriety with in custom minifig circles for his innovation and attention to detail, personally I’m a massive fan, especially as his work is purist and involve lots of sculpting, sanding and drilling, it’s more like modelling than minifig customization, but thats the point behind Hazel Fantasy’s work, its an art, its not bound by rules or strict guidelines, its fun, innovative and above all, cool.
So, after weeks of trying to hunt down the elusive Hazel Fantasy not just to do an interview for custom minifig, but also to get ahold of some of the brilliant custom minifig accessories he’s produced, in particular his Gears of War 2 stuff (you can see what else I wrote about these here and here), I’m finally managed to find out where you can get some of Hazels custom minifig accessories (you can get then at AMazing Armory) AND we got an exclusive interview with Hazel Fantasy!
Here are some of the Links relating to Hazel Fantasy and his custom minifig accessories:
Here is the unedited interview (you have to forgive some of the responses, but I’d rather present something unaltered)
1. Hi Hazel, I’m a really big fan of your work and you’ve made a really big name for yourself as one of the greats in Lego Minifig customization, ow did you first get in to Lego minifig customization?
In lego Lego Minifig , is not my first time , scene 2004 i have already start my
custom in LEGO minifigs , i remember my first custom is star wars Series.
At that time, only wanted to think of what to do, did not expect, it is becoming my job now, haha .
2. I love the custom GOW2 armour and weapons you made, and I understand these were some of the most well publicised pieces you made, how long did it take you to make them and how did you transfer the design from the game into Lego scale?
well.. i remember when i was stop build lego moc at 7 years before , i have work
is taiwan doing my design works ,Figures works 12″, 3.5″ ,guns parts too , that’s start me up thinking how to custom lego minifigs gears or something for they can use in , you know , lego.com did have much guns style ,armor ..even a hans mobil phone..haha .. i addiction inÂ TV game , PS3 ,Xbox ,PSP too ,like all the characters in gameï¼ŒWhen I started playing my favorite TV game, I want to have income in the hands of characters…
So i custom it ,Sometimes done when the 12 “may be too much , I found a lego size to begin!
3. I’ve seen some of your other work, in particular you Aliens MOCs and you samurai MOCs, how do you come up with ideas and plan out your MOCs? Is it just a case of having an idea and making it or is there a long planning process?
Oh . about samurai MOCs , is helping my friends to create them out ,they always using lego minifigs to create custom lego story , & i helping them to create some special,unique minifigs just for their own story about Aliens MOCs ,yes ~ that a long planning process ,for 2 years about , i always check out brickshelf.com at some Aliens fan’s gallery , very nice !!
so we want to create a Aliens video in lego scale , haha!
For Details situation is still planning now,until when those moc in lego are all finish ~
4. I understand you are from Japan/Hong Kong (i’m also from Hong Kong), what is the Lego scene like out there?
That’s happy to hear that (i’m also from Hong Kong)
i just work’n in japan work shop ~ oh HK lego scene is very good in here !
when , whatever lego.com got new set , lego fan’s becoming crazy for that !!
lego never die !!!!
5. what sort of tools and material do you use for your prototypes and how do you transform these into mass production pieces?
I have been using silicone molds and then vacuum-like pieces of copy machines. Each mold can be replicated 30-60 pieces, materials include: ABS, PU, transparent PU, Soft PU.Before me and my friends at their own expense, two controllers,2D CAD or 3D graphics establish a solid model.3D or 2D CAD archives archives, and then the use of rapid prototyping machine manufacturer ABS module was first introduced, after the completion of the first run after the deal can be polished, the fuel injectors. Finalization of the model shape.
About mass production pieces , now i have just create my own custom works then [AMazing armory] put these into mass production,because time & of the limited detail. Size limited … not the volume of production, can be used only for processing in me ..now they team handle that all !
6. Whats your favorite Lego series?
by the numbers …haha Star Wars ,Pirates ,Rock Riders ,Racer
7. If Lego could create one thing for you, what would it be?
Build a real House for myself `~ even Big Pirates ship , wish my dreams come true ~~~
8. Do you have any advice for beginners going into Lego minifig customization? Is there anything that you have learnt about the Lego customization community?
Um .thinking , planning ,make a prototypes first before going into Lego minifig customization.If advice for beginners ,to carry out preliminary planning and preparation must be try & try many time in custom ,enjoyable learning experience,and explore the interest of custom,custom more effective use of design,According to the planned implementation of the program, the implementation of concrete progress, and regularly review the progress of the effectiveness of, in case of any early completion, will increase the target, if there is a lag, we must immediately work to increase the content of the amendment and the feasibility of the project too..~!
As long as they can do a good job in setting goals for themselves, for their own time and space planning for their commitment to work hard in practice and accountable for their own plan to guarantee its performance, enhance their knowledge in this field, successful and creative experience, this down, you challenging the work of [Custom] will be the most meaningful ! :]
9. Do you have any new and exciting products that we can all wait for? Any new upcoming projects that will be out soon?
Um ..new and exciting products .??
Now i just finish all of my G.O.W minifigs ..starting up my Final Fantasy characters , next will be [ The Lord of the Rings ]
Thank you for this interview !!
keep in touch ~
Happy New Years to all lego fan’s
So there you have it the first ever exclusive interview with the master of minifig customization – Hazel Fantasy
Jasbrick was one of the first people I met in the Adult Lego custom minifig community, he’s a great guy and always very helpful, constantly suggesting new ideas and offering invaluable advice and feedback, so as testament to Jasbrick, I’ve interviewed him:
1. Jasbrick, you were one of the first people I met when i got into minifig customization, care to tell us a little bit more about yourself and how you got into minifig customization.
Jas is short for Jason and I am a 35 year old AFOL based in the UK. I balance my minifig customization with a pretty stressful job as the Director of an international consultancy firm and being the father of two great little boys that share my love of our little plastic friends. I also have the benefit of an extremely tolerant wife that whilst she does not share my obsession does manage to hide her embarrassment well 😉
My dark ages stretch over 20 years and are mainly due to the pursuit of a career that left little time for anything else. However with the birth of my kids I had the opportunity and excuse to start hanging out in toy shops again and my addiction resurfaced. Since that point I have scoured shops, internet sites (ebay and Bricklink predominantly) and boot sales (my favourite place for finding the best pieces). Initially my collection was focused on sets and I would be loathe to deviate from the instructions, however things have changed somewhat in recent times.
In truth I have only been customising figs for weeks, with my first somewhat minor customisation being the cutting of one piece on an otherwise pure fig. Even though this was a minor modification the impact on the characterisation of the fig was so dramatic that I was inspired to do more. It was at this time that I spotted Hazel’s (In my view one of [if not the] most talented customisers out there) Gears of War figs and from that point on I was hooked on customisation.
2.You’ve got a real talent and have created some really unique pieces, can you tell us a bit more about what inspires you and where you get your ideas from?
Thank you, I am glad that you like them. My inspiration comes from a number of sources, including other customisers (Hazel, Kaminoan etc.), film and computer game imagery as well as a whole host of things. However for me one of the biggest source of ideas is from part experimentation. Basically a normal builder looks at every TLC part and sees new possibilities for building an MOC, as a customiser I get this experience but also so much more due to my willingness to cross the line into the heretical realm of cutting, painting and gluing pieces.
One big area for me is the fact that I look at almost everything (TLC, clone brands, other toys, and just about anything) with a view to the potential for inclusion in a fig design. One of my designs that seems to have been quite popular, the Brikviet Shocktrooper, evolved from an experiment in trying to find an alternative use for axe heads. Once those pieces were in place then everything else just developed naturally from there.
3. As someone new to the scene it can be very intimidating, in your experience what advice would you give to a beginner first starting out in Lego minifig customization?
As I have owned up to above, my experience is based over a very short period, however I hope that I can offer some reasonable advice. I would suggest the following as my top tips for a customiser:
Don’t reinvent the wheel Lego is such a flexible and amazing tool and allows you to create so much before you ever dream of picking up a knife of a paintbrush. When you come up with an idea or a concept look for a way to achieve this my traditional means first. Once you have exhausted that avenue then it is time to start looking with the eye of a customiser.
Perfect your technique One of the biggest reasons for customisation being seen as heresy is the sheer number of figs that are seen that look really bad. I am not saying that you should hide your creations until you are a master, but I do think that there are some very basic mistakes that can be made which with a bit of practice can be avoided. One area that really exemplifies this is painting, if done well it can completely make a fig, however if not it can ruin it. For my part a lot of my customisation skills come from my early dark age years involved in tabletop wargaming and modelling ala Games Workshop. One advantage is that I know how to use the tools of our trade because of this background. I think this site is going to be a source of technique tuition so I am happy to contribute what I can as well.
Look for inspiration The best things to create are things that you love, e.g. from your favourite film or computer game and the internet offers huge potential for image resources. I use Google Image search as a means of obtaining all the examples I need. Also places like Flickr and more specific sites like Brickarms and Eurobricks community forums have a wealth of great examples to learn from.
Ask questions With forums and tools like Flickr you have a great opportunity to ask existing customisers how they do what they do. I love it when somebody asks me how I did something or what part I used etc. as it is a great compliment that they like it enough to want to know how to do it themselves.
Find a forum Starting out is daunting and the barrier to posting that first project is a big oneâ€¦ will they like it?… will I be crucified as a newbie?… is it worth posting? All these questions and more run through your head and in some cases put you off and the community as a whole may miss out on something really unique. My advice is to find the right place and post away. In my case I have a great fondness for the Brickarms Community as they are where I spent a lot of time posting my figs, especially as my figs use these custom accessories extensively. However other places that are generally receptive and supportive would be Eurobricks and Fineclonier. Another place that could be good is MOCpages, however I myself have had bad experiences here with rating attacks from purists that just do not like what we do.Â I am staying clear until the rating system is completely visible and ratings are accompanied by comments. Flickr is also an excellent medium for your images however I would look to forums as well as I will explain below. [custom minifig:”we’ll be starting our own minifig forum soon!”]
Take criticism well Criticism comes from two main sources, those that want to help you improve and those that would not like it even if it was perfect. Learn to differentiate the two, learn from the former and ignore the latter you cannot please everyone. I cannot emphasise enough how useful comments can be and if you want to improve really listen to what they have to say. Nobody is perfect and with thousands of people looking at and reviewing your work it is a great way of honing your creations and skills.
Draw your own line We each have our own views as to how much is too much when it comes to customisation. Make sure you know how far you are prepared to go. For me, my goal is to ensure that it is still clearly identifiable as a minifig and that TLC should represent the greatest percentage of the figs components. The dangerous line is where the fig starts to look more like an action figure than a piece of lego.
There is probably a lot more I could say but I have probably already rambled on too much anyway.
4.I’ve seen loads of your work, is there one piece in particular that shines out as your favorite?
Now that is tough. It is a bit like saying which is your favourite child, if you were to put a gun to my head I would have to say that it is Vlad the Brikviet Shocktrooper with Minigun thingy with the first Brikviet Shocktrooper as a very close, if not inseparably close second. These guys really have pride of place in my collection now as they are actually very simple to make but I feel have quite a distinct feel. Another factor is that the reason that people have responded to these is due to my modification and not due to the fact that I am using non-standard parts as in the case of some of my other Brikviet figs.
5.Lego minifig customization is still a little ‘underground’ particularly in the UK, what kind of reaction do you get when you tell people about your hobby?
Sounds great to be underground However I think that this is not just an issue in the UK as there is a very large purist movement that generate a variety of reactions ranging from ignoring customisation as though it is something that will go away if they donate acknowledge it to outright hostility from those that really get very worked up about someone doing nasty things to their beloved figs. Even in the short time I have been around in this area I have had the whole gamut of this which include very personal attacks from a 12 year old Texan to very reasoned and eloquent explanations of why it is not something they like. I have the utmost respect for the latter and gratitude for the laugh provided by the former.
For my own sanity I put customisation into the category of the new and developing, and with sites like those mentioned previously and this one I feel it will not be long before it pops out to above the surface! Saying that however I am absolutely convinced that we need to raise our game and come up with some pretty special customisations to win over those that can be converted, therefore we really do need more new blood and to establish the customiser community.
6.Are that any particular minifig customizers or pieces that you particularly admire?
I think I have mentioned some of the names above, however I will mention Hazel and Kaminoan again as I think they are leading the way. As for pieces, I have got to acknowledge Brickarms as Will Chapman is producing some accessories that create a whole world of opportunities for customisers. Brickarms seem to be a source of new people entering this area as they see how good non-TLC products can be. One source that I have admired and not yet had the opportunity to use myself are the products available through Brickforge, they look great and could really add to my options but with no UK supplier I have yet to purchase anything. [custom minifig:”maybe we can be their UK supplier eh?”]
Here are some of the fantastic custom minifigs by Jasbrick and here’s his flickr