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DARKLORD_67
08-20-2005, 03:03 AM
Hi Gang!!

So many of the close friends that I’ve made here in the customizing forums have asked me when my next batch of customized Original Trilogy character action figures will be ready to be seen.

I’m happy to report that I have a small group of customs that are now less than a month away from being unveiled. In the meantime, I thought I’d share two customs that I completed earlier this week.

As always, I’ve posted my personal thoughts behind the making of these figures and the recipes necessary to create them. I hope you all like them.

Warmest Regards,

Roberto DARKLORD Williams

DARKLORD_67
08-20-2005, 03:12 AM
PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA
Custom Action Figure and Photo by Roberto Williams


PROBLEM:

It has honestly been a long, long road toward the making of this Custom Action Figure. Kenner's vintage Princess Leia Organa (1978), dressed in her royal robe, was an adequate enough figure for the level of detail that was available at that time. She had a very cute "doll-like" head sculpt and a simple, neutral pose. The next time Leia was offered as an action figure wearing this outfit, there was quite an uproar in the collecting community. Released in 1995 as part of Kenner / Hasbro's Power of the Force II line, "Princess Leia Organa" was sculpted with such an unflattering facial scowl that some collectors began referring to her as "monkey face Leia". The costume she was presented in bore only a passing resemblance to the robes she wore in the film, and she was sculpted in such an awkward pose that she could barely stand on her own. A full three years later, after several other heavily criticized Leia figures and face sculpts, Hasbro presented us with "Princess Leia Organa -All New Likeness". This action figure featured a costume that was sculpted much more accurately to match Leia's wardrobe from the film, however the face sculpt was only a marginal improvement over the previous offerings. Later that same year, Hasbro produced a series of "Princess Leia Collection" two-packs. These figures were beautifully decorated with soft-good appliances, and movie outfits that had never before been produced as action figures. Unfortunately, the face-sculpts and paint-deco for Leia's likeness took a HUGE step backward, appearing as arguably the WORST renditions of Leia yet. Most of the subsequent Princess Leia action figures utilized a variation of the "all new likeness" face sculpt with varying hairstyles and paint deco for the appropriate film outfit. Like many other collectors, I was losing all hope that Hasbro would ever produce an acceptable likeness of the Princess. When considering the creation of this custom figure, I was even fully prepared to go with a completely different female face sculpt, just so that I could have a "pretty" Leia. I looked into various Padme Amidala face sculpts and strongly considered one of them for use as a head sculpt source. But in the end, that didn't work either. Fortunately, Hasbro helped me out in a BIG way by producing the excellent super-poseable Princess Leia Organa in 2004 as part of their Vintage Original Trilogy Collection. Although the overall figure was a vast improvement over previous offerings, the face sculpt was STILL not quite right. I found that somehow a ball-jointed neck was just NOT flattering for what should have been the delicate features of a princess.


GOAL:

I've known for more than 8 years (the amount of time that I've been customizing Action Figures) that I was going to have to create my OWN custom Princess Leia Organa (A New Hope) if I was ever going to be satisfied. The goal here was to create a 4-inch scaled, richly-detailed, neutrally-posed, attractively sculpted rendition of the beautiful, feisty, dedicated leader of the Rebel Alliance as seen in A New Hope. She had to be correctly scaled in relation to the rest of the figures in my collection (including other customs). "I'm a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan!"


RECIPE:

1) Vintage Original Trilogy Collecion Princess Leia Organa: (body)
2) POTJ 25th Anniversarry "Swing To Freedom" Leia: (head sculpt with hair re-paint)
3) POTF II "Princess Leia Collection" Leia: (royal belt)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v516/darklord1967/CUSTOM%20STAR%20WARS%20Action%20Figures/PrincessLeiaOrgana.jpg

DARKLORD_67
08-20-2005, 03:14 AM
LUKE SKYWALKER: DAGOBAH FATIGUES:
Custom Action Figure and Photo by Roberto Williams

PROBLEM:

Hasbro has only ever offered two action figure versions of Luke Skywalker dressed in the soiled Jedi Knight training fatigues that he wore on Dagobah. The first offering in March of 1996 was part of Hasbro’s Power of the Force II line. “Luke Skywalker in Dagobah Fatigues” bore no resemblance at all to his movie counterpart, presented as a hulking he-man with enormous bulging muscles, and a “Prince Adam” head sculpt. This action figure was even designed to stand on its own ONLY with the counterweight of Yoda strapped onto his back in the bulky training harness. Much later on in 2004, Hasbro tried again and offered us “Luke Skywalker: Dagobah Training” as part of their Original Trilogy Collection. This action figure was an ENORMOUS improvement over the original offering, featuring accurate sculpting and impressive paint deco. My only real gripe here was the overly scene-specific interchangeable arms and head sculpts that did not allow for a neutrally-posed action figure.


GOAL:

It was my intention to create a neutrally-posed / extra-poseable, 4 inch-scale action figure of Luke Skywalker: Dagobah Fatigues. He had to depict Luke during his grueling Jedi Knight training in the swamps of Dagobah WITHOUT looking like he rolled in a mud hole. I wanted an attractive, neutral likeness that was consistent with all of the other custom Luke Skywalkers that I had previously created, so once again the same face sculpt was employed. I wanted him to be correctly scaled in relation to the rest of the STAR WARS action figures in my collection (including other Customs). “Master, moving stones around is one thing. This is totally different.”

RECIPE:

1) OTC Luke Skywalker: Jedi Training (Torso, Pelvis, Legs)
2) Vintage OTC Luke Skywalker (Ball-Jointed Arms, Shoulder Sockets, Neck, Shoulders)
3) POTJ 25th Anniversary “Swing to Freedom” Luke Skywalker (Head Sculpt hollowed-out for ball jointed neck)
4) Blue Canvas Fabric and Ribbons (Used to create a custom soft-goods Jedi Training Harness (not pictured) )


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v516/darklord1967/CUSTOM%20STAR%20WARS%20Action%20Figures/LukeDagobahTraining.jpg

DarkArtist
08-20-2005, 11:05 AM
Man those are some sweet custom's DarkLord. Perhaps you should apply for a job at Hasbro, maybe then we can get decent figures. :thumbsup:

Loved you General Veers the best though. that figure was out of this world. :thumbsup: Hey do you have a website that showcases your work, would love to see more of your work. :thumbsup:

kool-aid killer
08-20-2005, 11:05 AM
I like both of them. I really like how the "A New Hope" Leia looks, i cant think of any version Hasbros given us that looks better. Keep up the good work and continue to display your end results.

Reefer Shark
08-20-2005, 12:14 PM
Those are some awesome customs. Looks like you really put some time and thought into them. Great job!

I especially like the Luke. How did you switch hs arms around like that? Does the boil-and-pop method work here?

Umbra
08-20-2005, 02:15 PM
After seeing these i went back and tracked down your other customs and all I have to say is...wow.

If hasbro had any grain of intelligense they should be knocking on your door and begging you to join their team :thumbsup:

Slicker
08-20-2005, 02:26 PM
These are all great customs again DARKLORD but this is by far my favorite custom you've done. Gen. Veers. (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v516/darklord1967/CUSTOM%20STAR%20WARS%20Action%20Figures/GeneralMaximillianVeers.jpg)

DARKLORD_67
08-20-2005, 05:50 PM
Thanks a million for the kind words guys!!

Just trying to keep those ol' creative customizing juices flowing!!

Reefer shark, no such luck with the ol' boil-n-pop method for the arms. MAJOR SURGERY required there if you still wish then to be articulate.

And Umbra, I'm glad you've gotten a chance to see my previous work and enjoyed it. I DO aim to please! Stay tuned for the arrival of my next wave of customized STAR WARS friends.

See you guys again REALLY, REALLY soon ;)

Devo
08-20-2005, 06:23 PM
Only about an hour ago I posted in another thread that the VOTC Leia body with the head from the 25th anniversary figure would make the best ANH Leia figure and sure enough it does. And I totally agree about ball-jointed necks - I go further though - I think they look terrible on any figure without a helmet.

Your Luke custom looks great with those arms although I wouldn't have chosen that head myself. Any Luke figure Hasbro makes that shows teeth looks a bit gawky....then again I can't really think of a better alternative.

DARKLORD_67
08-28-2005, 06:47 AM
Hey Devo!

Thanks a bunch for the kind words about these custom figures of mine.

It's greatly appreciated!! You are a real gentleman.

I'm just so sorry that I took so long to respond to you!!



Also (on a side note) You wrote some VERY well thought-out and insightful things while responding to a posting that I made a while back about being "sick of Lucas Haters and Prequel bashers". I'm just so sorry that I never responded to you, because you really made such a fine point. You wrote:

"If I failed to make that point well heres something else thats come to me while thinking about this - hate and love, being the strongest emotions and opposing emotions at that, are always going to trigger passionate responses. Indifference, however, will trigger no response. Star Trek Enterprise was recently cancelled. I neither loved it nor hated it - I didn't watch it. I was indifferent at its cancellation and I therefore did not join any 'save Enterprise' campaigns or add my voice to any 'good riddance' brigade. I am not indifferent about Star wars. I 'love' the original trilogy and I, relatively speaking, 'hate' the prequels which are nevertheless under the Star Wars name. Your philosophy appears to disregard this universal fact about love,hate and indifference and assumes that if you 'hate' something you should say nothing about it - whether that should or shouldn't be the case I don't know - all I know is it isn't how things are and it never will be. I'd be very impressed if you were to tell me that there isn't anything in life that doesn't rile you up into a passion of the negative kind. If everyone could be like that there'd be no war and films about war, fantasy or otherwise, might not exist ."

VERY well put, my friend. Admittedly, I couldn't agree with you more. Although we disagree about the prequels (I LOVE them), you've really shown me something to think about.

Thanks a million pal.

Very Best Regards,

jlw
08-29-2005, 09:06 AM
Hey DARKLORD,

Do you have a website that has all your custom figures on it? So, far I've seen posted on different forums: Gen. Veers, Emperor, Darth Vader, ANH Leia, Hoth Han & Dagobah Luke. Your customs are truly awesome and I wish you worked for Hasbro so they could use your input & talents. Anyway, I'd like to see more of your customs and was wondering if you had a website? Thanks.

mastermatt24
08-29-2005, 01:06 PM
Whoa- very nice. Only thing that bugs me is luke's skin tone. It looks to me like his head is dirty and his arms are sunburned.

jlw
08-29-2005, 04:52 PM
I did a search on Yahoo for your custom figures. I've found posts #1 thru #7, once again, your custom figures are truly amazing! However, I did not find one website dedicated to your customs. Actually, bouncing around from forum to forum was like an Easter egg hunt - where's he gonna show up next? And dang I didn't know that there were that many forums pages. My God, it seems like over-kill, there all basically the same; and I'd bet its the same people on each forum. Two forums are enough for me SirSteves and Rebelscum; and usually just SirSteves!

I love everyone of your custom figures I've seen thus far. I like how you try to incorporate a neutral pose for everyone. I take it you were a kid during the 1980s. That's the thing that worked for the Kenner figures "back in the day", that Hasbro hasn't seemed to catch onto yet - the neutral pose. Kenner's thoughts were to make an action figure that kid's would play with and could fit into any vehicle. If you wanted Bib Fortuna to fly the X-Wing, he was sculpted with a neutral pose and soft-goods so he could actually be played with as a toy. Today, Hasbro is more concerned with "action" type poses, which really may be the fault of collectors who don't actually "play" with their toys.

The only "complaint" I would have with any of your customs is where you have taken away from articulation, as with Bespin Luke's ball-joint knees, or Bespin Han ball-joint shoulders; but that is simply my preference.

Have you considered re-doing your Ben Kenobi now that the VOTC figure is out?

DARKLORD_67
08-29-2005, 06:22 PM
Thanks for the kind words about my customs guys!!

Greatly appreciated. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

To answer your questions, jlw,

I actually do not yet have a website dedicated to my customs. I'm waiting to complete a few more figures, and then I may get one started up.

I'm flattered that you were so interested in my work that you searched so intently around the different forums for it. Coming from YOU, your praise is really flattering!! I took the liberty of looking through YOUR customs, and you are a very very talented customizer!!! Among the very best out there. You should be proud.

I know EXACTLY what you mean about how much more appealing figures are with neutral poses. And you're right. I was a kid of the 1980's, so neutral posing is the way for me.

I also know what you mean about aspects of some of my customs where I took away articulation: I usually only do that when the existing articulation hurts the overall "look" of the figure. I'm not really crazy about knee articulation in this scale unless it is really well hidden (Like Gold leader, or POTJ Rebel fleet trooper). The POTJ Bespin Han has ball-jointed shoulders that make him very poseable, but, in my opinion, the trade-off is a jacket sculpt that does not look nearly "dapper" enough when compared to his screen jacket.

I have no real interest in re-doing Ben Kenobi. The VOTC Kenobi is a nice enough figure, but the articulation available in my custom Ben is sufficient to pose him in the poses that I'd like to see him in: (wielding a lightsaber two-handed, seated in Luke's Landspeeder)

Best Regards,

jlw
08-29-2005, 07:05 PM
WOW!! Thanks for the compliment Darklord!!

Just a quick FYI: I too was a child of the 80's. Got into collecting Star Wars POTF2 when it came out in like 95 or so. Pretty much bought everything, open all figures/vehicles, displayed on shelves. Kept on collecting and customizing until the time the battle damage Snow Speeder & TIE Bomber were released; then at that time I just started loosing interest and sold my collection - EVERYTHING even custom figures. So that's why the website has not been updated in a looong time.

Well, wouldn't you know it, a couple of years after selling my Star Wars collection; my 5 yrs old son (now 6) becomes this major "Star Wars Freak" (as his brother & sisters call him). So, I'm right back at it collecting Star Wars again, but this time for my son. I've made one custom figure since then, a super-articulated, soft-goods Ep. 1 Obi-Wan for my son.

I have a project I am getting started on, won't be done till Christmas (its a gift for my son). I have a box full of loose figures, my son doesn't know about, and my goal is to have a custom Cantina playset fully stocked with figures (stock & customized) ready by Christmas. Once it, and my custom figures are done, I'm gonna totally re-do the website. Thanks again for the compliments.