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Before You Start, READ: Things Others Wished They Had Known Prior to Creating Customs

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Old 06-01-2010, 01:53 AM   #1
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Before You Start, READ: Things Others Wished They Had Known Prior to Creating Customs

One of the great things about our Tutorials Section here is that it's created by a community of artists. These artists come from many different backgrounds, have varied skill levels, and create a wide variety of different customs. When Radicons first ventured out to revamp itself, one of the things that the original Radicons Staff sought to create was a resource of resources: this very tutorials section! It's a compilation of lessons set up in a "how-to", "step-by-step" format to help any artist ranging from the expert to the novice who has never done anything before!

While you can certainly learn from the lessons others offer to you in order to specifically teach you something, another thing many artists will tell you is, "learn from my mistakes so you won't make the same one!" With that being said, there have been many artists share their thoughts on this very issue.


Several Radicons have shared things they have learned either in the very short time they have been creating customs, while others provide an insight from years upon years of creating projects.

It is the hope of the Radicons here that if you're reading this, the advice shared can help deter you from some headaches, and some project blunders!

A special "thank you" goes to Radicons member, Sioce, for initiating the original discussion!

Also, a bit of warning: one of the topics that came up in the thread was the use of products that can be harmful to your health. Often times creating projects means that you will be using chemicals that are hazardous to your health and that of others. Make sure you read the labels of each product you use, especially any warnings that may be explained. You, and you alone (not or Radicons) are responsible for your safety and your health. Proceed at your own risk!

That being said, let's see what some Radicons have to impart to you . . . .

I really wished I had known about Future.
Cross posting on multiple other boards wastes a ton of time, especially since the same folks are doing the same.

Originally Posted by Sioce View Post
Title says it.
What things do you wish you had known before starting custom work.
For me it is: My eyes are apparently magnetic to all forms of flying molten plastic.
Also Dullcote when sprayed to thick turns white...nice way to finish a figure I had been painting for a couple days.
I just bought future finish the other day...I had a omgwtfbbq! moment when I tightened up my custom superion's hands, shoulders, and elbows with it.
Then used it on just about every loose joint on every figure...Then used it to fix the tips on my tiny paint brushes, and the container still looks full.
This board really has made my customizing a reality. Painting figs is one thing. but I never would have dreamed of attacking my precious transformers with a Dremel until I saw some of the work on here.
Originally Posted by Treadshot A1 View Post
  • Um, how about that doing a damaged paintjob is a lot easier than a clean one? Coz you can hide all the crap paint work with battle damage?
  • That enamels are useful, unless they're made by Humbrol.
  • That it takes a lot of time.
  • That it costs a lot.
  • That Zap a Gap beats Loctite Super Glue any day in terms of holding power, but is a lot harder to apply, and a lot more annoying.
  • That future was discontinued in Australia, so I wouldn't have spent days looking for it.
  • Oh, and that any other floor protective finish would do the job.
    I forget if I’d already said these, but a few new things would be that:
  • Never enter a contest as your first heavy mod. You're bound to screw it up. (Right after the photo shoot, my scourge snapped in half. Yay...)
  • Don't scratchbuild anything. Get it 3d printed.
  • Study for exams first, then kitbash.
  • Never ever cut without thinking first.
Oh, another one would probably be that I wish I knew about all the sources for misc. parts on the internet. Trying to scavenge ball joints and such were a pain, until I realized you could just buy them off the web.
Um, yeah.
Originally Posted by Autobot Burnout View Post
That it's addictive.
Originally Posted by shinobi77 View Post
That it’s obsessive.....
Originally Posted by prime13 View Post
that topspins foot was too thin a plastic.(D!@#$ HASBRO!)
that olfa blades can be used as scalpels.(I prefer to cut my fingers not my wrists)
That krazy glue won’t work if it falls off a five foot shelf onto solid concrete in 2 seconds.XD
Originally Posted by amd098 View Post
for eyes, wear safety glasses

I wish id known the stupid pin removal trick [soldering iron], man that’s a life saver
Originally Posted by the (H)i(GH)con View Post
-That pin removal isn't as easy as it looks (I STILL haven't gotten the hang of it 100% yet) -those darned paint rub spots!
-it's not a poor man's hobby (which is why I haven't done as many as I'd like)

Treadshot A1- 2 things:
1) You lucky bastard- You live in Australia!
2) You lucky bastard- You get to go to Hong Kong!
Originally Posted by Cybertronian View Post
I wish I'd known to use (light) primer on a black figure when painting it Red ("Rio Red" or "Crimson Guard... Crimson"). Fewer coats (should be) needed.
So far, I've painted a Micromaster Blackjack to resemble my best friend's '92 Ford Probe and am currently trying to paint 2 Cobra B.A.T. Mark IIIs in a Crimson Guard-friendly color scheme. (Thank God the B.A.T. Mark IV I bought is already CG red).
Originally Posted by fateastray View Post
that any paint and a lacquer coat doesn't end well.
Originally Posted by anovasinn View Post
hope this does not sound ideological but there is nothing I wish I had known before starting out. Progressing over time has kept me interested. As far as a mistake I wish I had not made that would be melting animated Soundwave twice by trying to dye it black
Originally Posted by deaculpa View Post
oh man, I could write a book.
I wish I had:
a) Bought a Dremel (not a freaking tiny saw) as well as Dremel drill bits ahead of time.
b) Read all of the "how-to threads"
c) Known about epoxy sculpt right off the bat
d) Known to use screws and drill bits instead of glue
e) Known that I should have saved all those tiny screws from other toys because they’re impossible to find in a store.
f) That social crime radio is the best thing to listen to while kitbashing.
Social Crime Radio
g) Known that a gestalt is not the figure to start your kitbashing with.
Originally Posted by Kusanagi View Post
LOL I started bashing BECAUSE I wanted my own Devastator.

Anyway, here's my list.

#1. Quentin (err... me), you don't work very fast.
#2. You tend not to touch on projects for weeks at a time.
#3. You need to buy a lot more paints. Or save up for an airbrush set.
#4. You're broke. Buying bots and parts is going to take a while. Then refer back to #'s 1 and 2.
#5. You're over-thinking things. That is going to take WAY too much work to pull off.
#6. Currently, you have about 20 or so bots in the works. # of finished bots: Zero.

Okay, maybe this was a little bit of a kick in the pants to myself. But it certainly helps. Anyway, I'll be posting something up elsewhere in Discussion (have to find the thread) which will be helping me a lot with getting work done on these suckers.
Originally Posted by Superquad7 View Post
Kusanagi, one thing I'd suggest to you is take on a very small project, and just finish it as quickly as you can. Right now, I've got a TON of wip projects (more than I've ever had), and the small victories are SO much more appreciated than I previously would celebrate them. I am still pretty thrilled to have my Ricochet with Nightstick finished, to the point that I can't take him off of my computer desk in front of me to put him on the shelf.
Originally Posted by Bogatan View Post
I wish I'd known about plastic weld, not just before I began customizing, but before I broke my fist transformer as a kid.

The damn stuff will but back together GPS victims stronger than ever. It saved my Kill Bison.
Originally Posted by Shadowbreaker View Post
Um.... Yeah.

1. Customizing skills.
2. How to paint PROPERLY.
3. A general idea of what I was actually doing.

I'm working my painting skills, so that's getting better.

Oh ya, if you look in the Tutorials section,..... LISTEN to what's in there.... Yeah...

If you can, while you're painting, try to take the toy apart.

It makes things sooo much easier.
Originally Posted by chlokai View Post
Never ever drink and bash
Originally Posted by Sidbeckett View Post
I wish I had never tried to use tweezers to hold small parts when spraying, the amount of pinging parts landing in dirt which then won't clean up was frustrating, much better to lay them out and come back to them when dry, flip and repeat as necessary. Obvious maybe, but took me three customs to finally ditch the tweezers.

I wish I hadn't started with Classics Sideswipe, he is such an easy mold to disassemble and spray he probably lulled me into a false sense of security. When I moved onto Classics Mirage and Prowl I was like "what the hell are these metal pins?"
Originally Posted by closetrat View Post
The biggest thing I should have considered was my lack of patience.

I also need to learn to be more like Johnny Eckhardt.

- I've dismantled Jazz's left arm on a spare fig & haven't finished re-designing the xformation; I've got deluxe Ratchet in a pile of pieces while I try to work out his new leg xformation & I never did finish re-designing Voyager OPs re-shelled front-end to include his arms & true front windshield...
Originally Posted by thyvipera View Post
1: PATIENCE. If spraying (with rattle cans or an airbrush), light coats. Let the paint dry properly

2: rubbing alcohol is acrylics best friend, when the whole time I thought water was.

3: PREP/SAND/PRIME the figure, it will save your butt in the end.

4: don’t burn yourself out on the custom. Frustration leads to anger, anger leads to rage, rage leads to throwing the custom across the room
Originally Posted by encline View Post
Your next one is always better Everyone has their own taste.
Originally Posted by Omnius View Post
I wish I'd been more patient during painting; it's better to apply several thin coats, letting each coat dry thoroughly, rather than rushing the whole thing to get it looking 'finished' sooner.
Originally Posted by big hank View Post
Don't be afraid to try and fail! Make mistakes, they are a big key in developing the engineering skills needed to pull off successful transformer customs.

Think like a chess player. In other words, try to see four or five "moves" ahead. Always ask "If I do _____, how does it affect _____?"

And have fun with it!
Originally Posted by Overhaulimus View Post
I have to totally agree Hank. I can't tell ya how many times I failed at a few customs, but it helped me in the long run - I knew what not to do in the future, and that's just as important as knowing what to do.
Originally Posted by Autobot Burnout View Post
BEHOLD: Superquad7; friend of the community.
Originally Posted by Dean ML View Post
SQ7 is a wise wise man.

Last edited by Superquad7; 07-12-2011 at 03:08 AM..
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