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!