Custom Action Figures how to Set up your Customizing Work Area

Setting up a customizing work space can be the best thing you’ll ever do for your hobby. After all, customizations don’t happen in a few hours! Add up all the drying, tweaking and setbacks and they can take you weeks of work. Without a place of their own, the body parts of several villains will take over the dining room table and you’ll be eating standing up for weeks.
My personal customization space has evolved over the years into an enviable work station. Over time I have invested in tools that I can no longer imagine working without. Please note that if I ran out and bought everything all at once it would have been very costly. If you’re new to customization I highly recommend prioritizing and building up slowly.
First off pick a place that is warm, well lit and near an outlet. I’ve got my station next to a window. In addition to the overhead light in the room I use a flexible desk lamp to eliminate shadows during the detailing. My surface is an old dining table and I sit in a lawn chair. Because I’ve just got a corner and not a whole room devoted to customizing, I try to keep things neat and orderly.
I store most of my tools in in the same style of plastic drawers I use to store loose action figures. I keep all the compartments labeled and make certain to replace tools when I am finished. It really sucks to scurry around seeking a missing tool when you’re on a creative roll. For my paints and glues I use a tool box. It’s roomier than an art bin and sturdier as well.
Here comes a massive run down of the greatest things I’ve got on hand.
1) Nail polish remover for removing factory paint.
2) Paint brushes. Find an assortment of sizes and quality. Take good care of your brushes and store them in a can, bristles up.
3) A set of good mixable colors. Hardware paints, acrylic paints, model paints, and primers. It is a good idea to pick a brand and stick with it because then you know they paint will blend to get the colors you want.
4) Sponges, cotton swabs, toothpicks and paper towels. These small things come in handy while cleaning, sculpting, and painting.
5) Three types of clay I prefer to work with. Epoxy clay, self-hardening clay and baking clay. A good craft store will have self-hardening and baking clay. You may have to special order your epoxy clay.
6) Sculpting tools. The more shapes you have the easier molding muscles can get.
7) A hair dryer to soften plastic for cracking open torsos and claiming spare parts. Use a medium setting for a few seconds. If you’re not careful you’ll accidentally make custom melted monstrosities.
8) Manual chisels and files for really detailed fits.
9) A hand drill, Dremel drills are best and have all kinds of nifty attachments available.
10) Super glue, rubber cement and a hot glue gun.
11) Tweezers, doll hair and crepe hair. When adding beards or hair to a custom figure, remember a small dot of super glue and one painstaking strand at a time.
12) Screwdrivers ranging from miniature to average. I use these to pry things apart or screw on joints.
13) Scissors. Make sure that they are sharp. Dull scissors can ruin a sewing project.
14) Needle, thread and fabric. For custom clothing and props.
15) Clear nail polish for stopping frays.
16) Masking tape, electric tape and rubber bands. These can be handy for holding things together while you wait for them to set, or even for making accessories like belts.
17) Assorted X-Acto knives. Keep these sharp as well.

Plastic bins and shoe boxes make great plastic body parts holders. After you’ve taken apart enough toys you’ll come up with quite a lot of these bits. Keep them sorted and your life will be easier. Digging through a box of arms and legs for that special head can be frustrating.
If you sew custom clothing or props you will build up quite a selection of spare fabric. I keep mine rolled and arranged in one layer, sorted by color. I use a flat plastic bin, the sort that rolls under the bed.

Recently I’ve added a tack board to the wall eye level to my workspace. I pin up sketches and references as well as notes and ideas for my next project. It is also handy to have a few reference books nearby. Comics featuring your current project are helpful as well as simple How-To-Sketch-a-Superhero type books as well as basic anatomy drawing texts. These will help you with proportions should you decide to sculpt a figure from scratch.