Concept Custom Hank MaCcoy beast "Hanky Panky!"

"If I had a nickel for every comatose patient in here, well, I’d have fifteen cents, but that’s beside the point."

~Henry "Hank" McCoy

So some of you may know my partner in crime Weasley Shapp of figure realm. He is the "Max Force" to my "Hit Man". I do most of my work Solo. I'm a long wolf baby...but every now and then...It's gets lonely out their in the concept foot hills. So Shapp and me talk every now and then. I have found getting another person in the mix brings out the best and helps root through the worst.

It started with something I was supposed to draw for him for another person on the realm to make. A awesome customizer named Shinigami. I actually featured him here on the Custom Spotlight. Which will be making a come back soon, I promise. Any time I was unsure of a direction I was going or a concept idea I would run it by Shapp. So this time we where brainstorming on a DD design he wanted for shinigami to make.

 The idea I was pitched with was a ninja DD. Granted I'm ADHD and my imagination is still at 5 year old lvl so it went everywhere. It started with a very Xin the monkey king look...then it went to the horns...hellboy esque and by the time I was done It was a Japanese Sangoku era DD inspired by the monkey king...
Needless to say I was committed to making this at this time!
But that's a story for another day...At the end of the day Shapp is my sounding board. And we work together on ideas for figure and concept stuff. Well, a half a year ago I think, I needed some extra beast feet ( for a custom) and he needed a set of Sasquatch feet. I had them he had those bing , bang boom. we started talking about what who was doing with what. I was making a concept venom. he wanted to make a concept beast. And pretty soon we where coming up with ideas about what the base should be? soon he was hunting down a parasite torso, and I was taking apart my Sasquatch and many other things to make this monstrosity run!

As I said, it started with a parasite DCU torso
So I had this beast ML lower torso and this Parasite DCU upper torso and well. They did not fit together. So i shaved the peg first which would allow it to fit the swivel and also keep it tight.
So the next step was shortening the Sasquatch furry shins. I needed to keep the peg resepticle intact as well as the ankle joint rocker. I also as you can see in the photo cut them intentionaly at an angle. We wanted him to have a ape like stance.
After some serious sanding inside the area where the ankle rockers where ( it was like solid rubber and the feet did not really move much at all...) I was ready for some test shots to send to Shapp. As well in the back round you can see the mock up of the body. I cracked it open ( no small feat mind you. Hate cracking DCU torsos...) I had to shave a lot off the Parasites ball shoulder joint receiver. They where cutting into the ball joint. Then i had to make new pegs out of aves ( more of that later) for the Sas. arms large holes to work.
 Originally we had wanted to go with the Sas feet but after a lot of  staring I thought the Beast feet worked better. SO I did what any indecisive OCD Adhd individual would do. I put together a mock up using both sets and took  A MILLION PHOTOS and sent them to shapp asking " Which one is better here is a pro and cons list for each one and a Pictogram with a flow chart?!" We both decided the Beast feet ( cat beast ) worked best for what we wanted to do. So after some more dremaling out of the Sas. Ankle area dn some cutting to allow the flowing hair to move.
I really like the look of this build. Its a good build. lots of possibility, Good stability when posing. Espeshily after fixing the feet. I still need to sculpt some blending fur details but all in all we wanted this beast to be REALLY hairy at his extremities and short haired closer into his body like an ape. I am playing with the idea of making this again and flocking it! I love flocking....Also adding long craft hair to the long hair parts :] all for another time.
In the end the beast feet where wider and shorter and that fit the bill. But this squatting test was really what did it for me. It sold the beast feet.
And so the beast feet it was!
You can see above I really hollowed out the insides of these ankles. I really lets the feet flex more.
I really wanted him to be able to do some acrobatic poses. I mean he IS beast
So at some point  I was trying to explain the direction I wanted to go to Shapp. He has a very clear vision. It involved the Cat head on beast, and a very opply disproportionate body not normally seen on beast. The discusion for me shifted to ape like with the cat features mixed in. Then to explain how I really wanted him to look I searched for the perfect pic. I wish I knew where this concept photo came from so i could credit them but it had no credit :/ If anyone knows who it is please let me know cause its a realy cool idea of beast and I would love to see more of their stuff! but it really summed up the direction body wise i was heading and Shapp loved it so we ran. The long arms and short legs. and the side toes. ( yes he is getting toes added to the side of his feet like thumbs)
 Now, although this beast is getting the cat beast head...I started thinking again. And pretty soon I was running with an idea of a Ape beast. I loved when they had beast have the third evolution to the cat beast. I took that idea and said what if he had a fourth evolution ( which i think they recently as of writing this had happen in the books? which i think is leading to his death?)
 So I took the Sas ( windago head) and sculpted out a snout. I wanted a kinda snarl on the lips so i pressed them up slightly. I wanted the nose to indicate that as well.

 Its hard to see here due to me poorly lighting these photos due to time constraints, But he has a lot of little lines as this part of his face is hairless, like an ape.
 Better here I think.
 I'm gonna have to fix the eyes. Bot so insanely please with their placement. Not sure yet...
 But I really want this face to feel ape like. It will get four large ape fangs and I will maybe trim down the crazy brow ridge thing a little and sculpt some kinda head.


custom concept Death Gambit: "Remy, Remy!"

"You know it's a bad sign when I'm da' voice oh reason..."
             ~Remy LeBeau

So, well I was in Alexandrea, Va visiting my paramour. I realized a person who had approached me about a commission was in D.C. Which is like the same place ( she lives in pentagon city. *Insert parody of guns and roses "paradise city" )
So we meet up and talked and a hand off of parts was made. And we worked out the direction we wanted to take the fig. I almost proposed to him. It was like a second "Shapp". And the min I got home I went to work on all the glorious ness we talked about.

We agreed on a hybread death gambit mixed with a " what if "approach based on the dark angle saga. I loved how Warren Worthington slowly became a host for the new apocalypse. So we wanted to make it as if death gambit was slowly morphing into the new apocalypse as well. 
 I wanted to incorporate as much of the elements from both as I could

I started by swapping out remy's legs for house of m iron mans legs. A perfect  fit for our death gambits shin guards. 
Next I took the bullseye leg pouch and cut and glued it to the leg. The top will be cut off and a tunnel drilled into the pouch to hold the collapsed staff. The top will have a peg added so when the staff is not in it can look " buttoned" closed. The bullseye belt will also be heavily modified and added. 
I then addressed the issue of remy not being able to look up. Gambit always had a revers mullet. So I cut away the hair in the back. I will sculpt short hair in place here.
Heaney modifications had to be done to his neck todo the alt. Gambit head would not look so freakish on the remy fig. Remy's neck was very long. Swam like. I had to shave it down so gambit didn't look like a giraffe. 
And the modifications worked for the remy head as well.

On the next episode of automatauntaun!
 "Don't forget your coat!"








Custom Concept Thor Part Four: Hammer Time!

"Young maiden of Midgard, thy language leaves something to be desired."

~Thor Odinson

Click here for Part two of my custom concept thor where I detail how the hammers where made!
and Click here for the most recent part three of my custom concept Thor.

Building ragnorok YGT has been fun. And one of the biggest parts I wanted to do was a interchangeable hammer head.
 I Finally Finished the first one, made from scratch of Foam and crazy glue...and a boat load of patience.
I really wanted to get the look and feel of the Ult Thor hammer
But I wanted to put my own spin on it as well. To jump back I started with A sheet of foam and I traced out shapes
I wasn't sure how this would work out? My plan was to make a template, trace out the shapes, cut them out, coat them in crazy glue and then grind and shape them using a dremal tool.
I Choose foam cause I wanted to cut down on weight. A hammer head made of sculpy would be heave especially of this SIZE. The only part made of sculpt ( pictured upper right hand of the photo) is the base of the hammer. It is made up of two solid revoltech pegs that i sculpted around. I wanted each Axe blade to be different and i really hadn't settled on one design as of yet. I ended up settling on the axe head pictured in the bottom of the photo once I had finished.

I Made each part by from foam. black ice sand paper.
Each is coated in a light coating of lock tight glue, and then Wet sanded with 1500 grit. The two pegs where for the hammer end and then axe end. After thoroughly coated in glue so it was rigid I drilled a whole into the mallet. and then a whole into the axe receiver ( pictured left middle) this part was the hardest to make. I took a square of foam and started rolling it as tight as I could. Before it folded in on itself I struck the edge with a liberal amount of crazy glue. and then rolled it shut and coated the end in crazy glue. Then just held it till it dried. After it dried their was some over hang. I coated that in crazy glue and sanded that down. After that it was a simple process of sanding it into a smooth cylinder. Then I Had to cut the notch for the axe blade. This took coating it in a heavy amount of glue, then using the dremal to bore a channel then coating that in glue, waiting for it to dry, then more dremaling, then more glue, then a square shaped sanding file, then more glue and more sanding till it was smooth and fit thee axe blade back snuggly.
I made the other axes the same way
A simple axe shape
a heavy bottomed battle axe shape.
and what  I called the " fish hook" cause it just reminds me of that. You may notice what looks like a edge. That's cause each axe does have a actual Keen on it. I achieved this by letting the glue harden and then sanding it down. glue, sanding, glue sanding repeat till I had a nice clean edge. the fish hook actually has a keen on both sides. making it a double edged axe.
The next axe head was less luxurious looking. If the previous axe head was a bugatti, then this next one was more like a Humvee. I wanted it to look aggressive and blunt. So I took a HML Asgardian Thor and cut his hammer up. he came with a Hammer and a battle axe. I said " I can totally see those two hooking up and having a sick baby". except for the fact that I would almost never speak like that. I took the stone hammer and cut the center out. It was rectangular shaped and i wanted a more square hammer. Then I cut the large blade off the axe. I then dremeled a channe in one end of the hammer. I added crazy glue to make it rigid and then sanded till the axe blade fit snugly into the stone.
I Had cut off the top of the hammer and saved it. After it was all together I glued the Top of the hammer back on. I then filled the seam hole in with sculpy and attempted to blend it back together.
All the hammer heads are interchangeable with the same handles.

On the next Twitelating episode of Automatauntaun!

                                        "Hanky panky!"

Custom Concept Thor Part Three

    ~ Thor Odinson
Click here for part 2 of my Custom Concept Young Thor.

Young Thor is coming along Swimmingly but, I always intended to have a Alt version of him. All Armored up for "RAGNAROK". So I set about building the counterpart body. The basic idea is instead of interchangeable parts, he would have interchangeable Cores. The Same body but slightly altered.

So I thought and pondered and day dreamed about what exactly I wanted this armor to look like?
In my minds eye I kept coming to images similar to Humberto Ramos's Art from "Crimson". The exaggerated extremities. Mixed with the stylistics of Kevin Lau's XIN and Vampi. ( Huge fan of his)
I kept coming back to large oversized armor on this tiny guy. So I looked to my fodder bin and found this guy.
more accurately, his Shins. He was sent to my by my good buddy "Shapp" from "Figure Realm", My alma mater. His feet have been reserved for a future project.
So With the shins removed from the Wiccian, I set about Doing the surgery to make thise HUGE Shins work with these TINY legs.
So, first thing I did was boil the Wiccian knee join wheel. When it was nice a rubbery soft I carefully cut the wheel off  with an exacto knfe. Making sure to cut as close to a semi-circle as I could. I then submerged the figure in a ice bath to return it to its hard plastic form. 10 mins later I took it out and proceeded to inspect the cut. a little messy but what could be expected. So I produced my dremal and  dremaled it to a pretty smooth curve, making sure not to dremal part where the base of the old wheel was. I repeated the process to remove the large knee wheel from the stealth beast knee.. I then also dremaled it to a smoother finish. When both where to my liking I fitted them together to make sure i hadn't screwed up.  I made sure i had the placment right and then glued it to the Wiccian Knee using Lock tight. I trust it more then crazy glue for parts that will see a lot of wear and tear. I then LEFT IT ALONE for TWO DAYS. This is the amount of time you should give it to fully bond. After that I gave the joint another coat and , again, left it ALONE FOR TWO DAYS. As you can see It looks a little funny naked but that's exactly what would work. The comparison shows the VAST size difference in the Knee wheels.
After both wheels where in place and had plenty of time to adhere and dry. I tested them out before full assembly to make sure nothing needed to be tooled with. 
The finished product left me quit pleased. It was extremely articulated. I then went about the delicate act of putting the legs together. That required boiling the shins and keeping the pins close by. Once soft enough, pulling them out with tongs or pliers ( they will be EXTREMELY HOT. However this is the best time to work with them posing a dilemma. From years of working in kitchens and cooking at home my fingers are pretty callous to burns.but be warned and take the proper precautions!) I fitted them to their wheel, making sure to keep the Right shin with the Right leg and the Left shin with the Left. you may want to note most parts are stamped "R" and "L" or if not that, some other marking. Be sure to look for these and note them before you disassemble your figures. You may be saying " hey, where did those gauntlets come from?" Well, allow me to explain.
I started by dremaling the gauntlets off the arms. I had already cut off the hands.  Then I started sanding them down to receive the HBML Hope Summers Soft goods rubber gauntlets. After getting them off Hope I realized that as much as I had dremaled down the arms the gauntlets were still to small. So I had to take my sanding wheel and stick them inside the rubber and carefully sand it down. I have to  stress, remember when working with soft goods/rubber it will heat up and melt! Make sure you work in bursts dremaling and then stopping to allow for it to cool then repeating the process. Also be sure towork in a well ventilated area. Rubber burning or melting OFF GAS'S! I love my hobby but working with plastics and Rubbers and paints like this has its risk's. BE sure to wear eye protection, wear a breathing filter and work with ventilation!
As you can see, It looks pretty bad ass. I had originally wanted to grab a pair of gauntlets from a WoW figure

But both where too big, and although I wanted very large these proved slightly too large.

All together and with the ripped red cape I  was very happy with how this was coming together! My next dilemma was finding feet? I had originally wanted HUGE feet that matched the shins. I was looking at Bandi Gundam Zaku and kempfer feet. BUT, I got impatient...
I ended up finding in my fodder bin a set of feet that where surprisingly perfect?!
The air attack angle from the NOT so marvel legends line from toy biz ( it was a cool line although non cannon.) they worked great. i had to cut off the little top over hang, but other then that they where amazing!
They not only looked good but, ended up having great articulation! I needed to re tool them quite a bit to fit on the beat ankle rockers but  after a bit of heating, cutting, dremaling and re-heating all was well.
On the next Trade mark infringing episode of AUTOMATAUNTAUN!

SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT! Packrat studios!

This Saturday I'm super juiced to bring you a spot light on guy who needs no introduction. He's Jonathan Kuriscak of pack rat studios. And he is an Epic level Customizer.

I contacted Jonathan about being featured and he was more then happy to oblige, which in turn made my day. He has been featured on Figure Realm, Wired Magazine, Toycutter and many more.

Among his fine works are a Dark Knight Returns Batman

A WWII themed Star Wars Empire Strikes Back bounty hunter set.
As well as a Vader to lead them.

An AWESOME apocalypse!

An R2-D2 Bertie World War Robot that blew me away.
I'm a huge Ashley Wood fan :]

A Concept Red Cross

And a concept Robo Cop to name a few.

But what caught my eye was the first thing I ever saw him do. 
This bad ass Steam punk Iron Man and Tony Stark Smithy! Personally Stam Punk is a Genera that leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth due to the amount of vagueness surrounding it. It was just.....

Stuff like this always turned me off.

Well stuff like this got me going. Thats a costume by the way. A PERSON IS INSIDE THAT!

The figure is a bit larger then a ML scale fig and the Tony Stark is a Ml Univers.
I started off with the normal question. Tell me a bit about yourself.

"PRC: I'm a Action figure collector, who since I was in high school "customized" figures. Its a hobby I have loved doing for a long time, and in the last 5 years gone further into the rabbit hole, basically, I'm addicted!"

I share this sentiment. It is a truly addictive experience, making something, from start to finish that their is no other like. And Mr. Kuriscak has certainly done that, and then some.just look at the detail on the back from gas tanks to the port hatch for tony stark. This Figure is an amazing scratch build.

A common question here is how did you get started?
PRC: As stated before, I did this in high school, but after Graduating from University I got back into it.

Getting the chance to ask him about his recipes was a thing I couldn't pass up! HE was Kind enough to share his amazing process with us.

PRC: Recipe for my SteamPunk Iron Man, goes as follows (from what I can recall):
Fox Cleatus Robot figure for the Chest, and Upper Arms.
To this day i want to get my hands on a cleatus. Such an awesome base.

Custom Built head from StyreneCustom Legs, built around a Sigma Six figure for the joints using styrene again

Feet, Styrene and Sculpt.

Lower arms an Hands: Mega Morph Hulk

Rest is basic bits and fodder from my (ever growing) fodder collection

Hex Rod cuts for the bolt heads

Fake Candle/tea light for the light

Thats not the least of it.
 He felt he also had to make a Thor to match.

This isn't just a normal Thor. Aside from being a Steam punk Thor its an INSANE CUSTOM!
 He was kind enough to provide us with the recipe for this as well.

RPC: For my Steampunk Thor:
Legendary Comic Book Heroes Conan for the Base

Magneto Head I believe, with sculpted beard

Hair is from... I believe an LOTR Aragorn figure

Boots from an Aragorn Figure

Right arm is built up with styrene, as is the other armor

Hand from a fox Cleatus figure

Then the HAMMER:

I created a Clear acrylic box out of clear plastic, sculpted on a rock formation, leaving the cracks clear.

In the box was Flickering LED Setup I created, with a switch on the outside of the box, hidden in the rock formations.

I then painted the rocks, left the cracks unpainted, but then followed up with a blue clear in the cracks.
Shaft of the hammer is built from a tube from fodder, and wrapped in vinyl.

Wow, just wow. All of what is here is amazing. True craftsmanship. So with everything accomplished here I had to ask, of someone who made such amazing things. What can you say to others looking to follow in your footsteps?

PRC:Keep learning, and dont be sloppy!
Learn how to paint! Read up on it, in the customizing forums, Tutorials, GO TO MODEL Maker FORUMS!!! Tons of stuff out there, worth learning!!! If it is a figure you are really interested in creating take your time, give it 100 percent, and practice. Keep trying! I dont do this with dreams of working in the big biz of Toys, I do this because I enjoy doing it, for me its a hobby! If you enjoy customizing, keep it up, it takes time to learn how to do all the various different techniques out there!

I can't agree more. Their seems to be a theme among customize I interview. From the novice to the pro. Which is learn, practice, and do what you love for yourself. It makes me feel good about our hobby community. We have, in most of the forums I go to, a great community. Great people all looking to share the knowledge and experience. And that's a good sing of things to come as our hobby community grows and grows.

Check Pack Rat Studios blog

And his Facebook!