Additional Craft Information:
Collecting may be fun but knowing how to customize action figures will increase the enjoyment of your collection.
DIY Craft Essential #1: Washi tape
DIY Craft Essential #2: Needle nose pliers
Create your own unique character by following these easy instructions to customize your own action figure:
Find and buy the most basic figures of your favourite characters. This is because it is the most simplified way which is to start with existing figures. After you have gathered together a decent selection of expendable figures to utilize as bases you can begin to choose their various parts for spare pieces. Choose base figures that share as many physical characteristics as possible with the custom action figures you actually want to create. To save money you can purchase second hand action figures from your local yard sales or used toys from children that you know of are your own.
Now it is time to take apart the pieces you need and set in motion the process of relocating parts. The majority of standard figures will have the typical body parts which include the head, arms and legs that are easily interchangeable. This is important because it allows you to pull together customized figures from an assortment of different parts. While you are trying to detach any parts make sure you soften the spare parts figure by placing it into a pot of boiling hot water for at least a few minutes. This will make taking off the parts you need much easier without causing unnecessary damage to the figure.
Prior to accumulating any new parts to your customized figure, eliminate everything from the base figure that is not needed. This includes all things, but is not limited to, such as clothing, weapons, props, and/or stands so that you can restructure whatever needs altering such as the features of the face, arms or legs. This can be done with regular sandpaper or a small grinding tool which helps to reshape or remove any details in small increments. Make sure you take your time as you do not want to remove any more than required. The sanding of the figure also allows for paint to stick better onto the surface of your figure in the final phases of customization.
DIY Craft Essential #3: X-acto knife
DIY Craft Essential #4: Spray paint
Now you can commence the adding of unique new details which is only limited by your imagination. Some common techniques are to mold extra limbs, transform your character from a human into an alien or stick your own resemblance onto your favourite hero's body. You may want to buy some molding compound, such as Sculpey, from your local hardware or hobby store for this process. Make certain that you find one that will not harden on its own until you bake it. This will allow you the freedom to take your time and mold the figure as many times as you want before you are satisfied with the result. Purchase your custom sculpting tools from hobby shops or you can utilize whatever you already have which can be anything from toothpicks to hole punchers.
After you have it just the way you want it you will need to bake it in the oven, preferably a smaller sized toaster oven so you don't have to waste all that extra energy and unnecessary space. Place the action figures on an aluminum tray or sheet and bake it on a low temperature of approximately 300 degrees Fahrenheit or 150 degrees Celsius for no longer than ten to fifteen minutes. It is essential that you observe your figures through the oven window to ensure that the modeling compound hardens but at the same time not allowing the plastic to melt. Once that is completed you can take it out of the oven and place it onto a flat surface and let it sit and cool for about an hour before working on them any further.
The final step is to paint your customized action figures. Use masking tape to tape off any details you do not wish to paint over and then thoroughly spray them with a layer of acrylic primer. It is best to use acrylic types of paints with very fine paintbrushes as opposed to model paints. Once all of the paint has been applied you will need to let it air dry overnight and then spraying them with a complete layer of glossy acrylic sealer to protect your finish.
Customizing action figures takes a lot of patience and you may need to attempt it a few times before you get good at it. It will take some practice and that is why we suggest you buy several used ones before beginning the process to customize action figures from your own collection. Once you have successfully learned to customize your own action figure you can repeat the process over and over again on all your favourite characters.