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Custom Action Figure Tutorials
Welcome to the wild, wet, and wonderfully weird world of action figure customization! This is where great customizers pool their figure-smashing know-how to help new customizers. Why customize? Because the toy companies will never make that gorgeous Red Sonja figure of your dreams, and customizing is the only way to get it! We have an ever-expanding collection of tutorials you can use freely to sharpen your skills. No matter how hard or how insanely impossible a task may be, keep poking, tearing, popping, and burning your way through your figures until you get the results you're looking for! And as always, feel free to ask questions of this great community we have here if you need help with anything!

Custom Tutorials Disclaimer
Customizing can be a fun, but dangerous hobby. These tutorials are contributed by other customizers. Some of the things recommended in the tutorials may be dangerous, such as the use of boiling water or sharp objects. You shouldn't attempt anything mentioned without adult permission and supervision. Figure Realm and/or the authors of the tutorials are not liable for any injuries or damages occurring from any attempt to follow suggestions in these tutorials.

That being said, good luck with your creations!

Share Your Know-How!
If you have an informative tutorial you'd like to share with the customizing world, please Submit it!

Getting Started
The following are recommended must-reads before starting to customize. Stick a sponge in your brain and dive in!

Apoxie Sculpt GuideDetails on how to use and order Apoxie Sculpt.  (by Jin Saotome)
Basic CustomizingAnother wide over-view on things you need to know to start customizing.  (by Jin Saotome)
Custom BeginningsIf you are new to customizing action figures, you want to start with this tutorial. It covers some of the basics, including paints, brushes, techniques and terminology to get you started with your hobby.  (by VariablePenguin)
Fixit Sculpt GuideDetails on using and ordering Fixit Sculpt.  (by Jin Saotome)
Gun HolstersCheap Holsters for Action Figures  (by Skydive)
Joint TypesExplains some different types of joints you might run across on your action figures.  (by Dr Nightmare)
Muscle DefinitionHow to define muscle with paint.  (by superarticulated)
Paint and ToolsOver-view on important tools and paints you'll need to start customizing.  (by Jin Saotome)
Pre-Paint WashThe first step to a great paint-job is a thorough washing, in this tutorial, Fathom shows you how to do just that!  (by Dr Nightmare)
Prepping Your FigureCustomizing is 90% preparation, and 10% artistry. This tutorial teaches you how to properly prepare your figures for painting and sculpting, and teaches you how to eliminate joint paint rub.  (by Mint Condition Customs)
Ultimate Starting GuideThe ultimate starting guide to customizing.  (by Kyle Robinson)

Tricks of the Trade
Basic Joint DisassemblyExplains basic joint disassembly for newer, multi-jointed figures.  (by Dr Nightmare)
Boiling SculpeyFigures melting in the oven when you cure your Sculpey? Try boiling them instead!  (by Gee_jays_Customs)
Color Dye Your Action FiguresHow to color your action figure without paint and avoid paint rub  (by monoloco"el cuztoymizer")
Conforming Sheet StyreneIf you need to make a visor for a helmet or a piece of armor, this tutorial shows you how to get that styrene to curve around parts of your figure.  (by Mint Condition Customs)
Cracking Open a FigureA guide to safely cracking open a figure's torso and keeping the pieces intact.  (by Mint Condition Customs)
Dismemberment & PrepHow to tear apart and prep the figures for customs  (by Buzzy_Fret)
Dry BrushingA mandatory lesson, here's a comprehensive (simple) introduction to Dry Brushing.  (by Dr Nightmare)
Hair SculptingTutorial that explains how to sculpt hair.  (by Punstarr)
Heat 'N PopIf you don't have a pot, or water, or a stove, use this tutorial to remove those pesky body-parts.  (by Dr Nightmare)
Hot Glue JointThese are instructions on how to make joints from hot glue with no cutting or drilling!  (by pock63)
Joint ProtectionSuper-Glue isn't just for covering your hands to play with porcupines anymore, you can prevent paint-rub with it too!  (by Dr Nightmare)
Metallic Color 101Shows you how to give your figure that cool metallic color.  (by Kyle Robinson)
On Pouches/HolstersHow to add pouches to your action figure.  (by superarticulated)
Painting a TrenchcoatHow to apply realistic shading and dirt effect  (by Shinigami)
Painting EffectivelyCovers major painting techniques and how to do them.  (by Jin Saotome)
Painting EyesUse this tutorial to give your figures perfect eyes so they can stare at their perfect bodies.  (by rateeg)
Removing Body PartsDescribes how to remove body parts from your older figures using the Boil 'N Pop method. Also talks about the 2 different kinds of plastics used in action figures and why you should get a dremel-tool.  (by Dr Nightmare)
Sculpting ClothingBecause real manly super-heroes don't wear tights, here's how to sculpt clothes on your figures.  (by Kyle Robinson)
Sealing Customs 101How to seal your customs to preserve their great paint-job.  (by Kyle Robinson)

Special Effects
A custom is great, but a custom with a giant laser-beam coming out its eyes is even better! Use these tutorials to help add some awesome effects to your figures.

Energy BlastsHow to make cool energy blasts with straws! No kidding!  (by hellz-yeah)
Explosive Effectsthe ultimate guide to creating powerful surges of energy.  (by superarticulated)
LED EyesHow to add LED Eyes (real light-up eyes) to your action figure.  (by VariablePenguin)
LED Light-up EffectsThis tutorial teaches you how to add an extra level of creativity and value to your customs by showing you how to add LED light-up effects!  (by Mint Condition Customs)
Make a BaseWhat to use to make a base to display your action figures.  (by Jin Saotome)
Optic BlastsHow to make nifty optic blasts (for Cyclops) to add some BAMF! to your customs.  (by Kyle Robinson)
Optic ImplantsBetter than tying a hunk of leather to your face!  (by superarticulated)
Ripped MasksBecause heroes can't always keep their masks in pristine condition, here's a tutorial showing you how to make a "ripped mask" for your action figures.  (by Kyle Robinson)
Steel ClawsShows how to make sturdy steel claws for Wolverine so he can stop getting beat-up by Sabretooth and start getting beat-up by Magneto.  (by Kyle Robinson)
Steel Claws 2No, it's not a bad sequel about a giant mechanical man-eating shark, here's another way to make those nifty steel claws for Wolverine.  (by Jin Saotome)
Sword CanesBecause airport-security won't accept "but I need the sword to cut-up my fruit!" as an excuse, here's how to make sword-canes for your figures.  (by deadeye)
Symbiote TendrilsHow to make Symbiote tendrils for Venom and Carnage figures, watch-out Spidey!  (by Kyle Robinson)
Symbiote Tendrils 2Another tutorial showing how to make symbiote tendrils.  (by Jin Saotome)

Advanced Lessons
The following tutorials are recommended for customizers who are confident in their ability to improvise and have a good amount of customizing experience under their novelty-sized, multi-pouched, utility-belts.

Adding Ankle Rockers to Hasbro's FiguresHow to give rocker movement to the ankles of Hasbro's older figures. No cannibalization of other figures required.  (by Rider)
Adding Swivel JointsTired of how static you figure's arms and legs look? Learn how to add some simple swivels and magnetic joints to your figures with this tutorial.  (by Jin Saotome)
Air Brushing4 steps to airbrushing.  (by Gee_jays_Customs)
Articulating DigitsFinally, a simple way to add basic finger-articulation to those static hands!  (by VariablePenguin)
Body SwapsThe longest beginner tutorial for chaning parts and body swaps!  (by wyLun)
Converting Swivel HeadsConvert those swivel heads Marvel Legends style!  (by Kyle Robinson)
Custom Decals / InsigniasThis tutorial shows you how to make and apply custom decals and insignias for your action figures.  (by Mint Condition Customs)
Easy PouchesThis is a step by step guide on how to cast pouches quickly and cheap  (by Valkyriezero1)
Fabric CostumesHow to make 1/6 fabric clothes  (by Vlad Basarab)
Gun Hands For GirlsHot chicks love to shoot hot lead, use this tutorial to make your babes' hands hold their favorite toy.  (by Kyle Robinson)
How to Solder an LED CircuitYou want to be able to add LED's to your customs, but you don't know how to solder? Look no further, this tutorial teaches you how to solder and where to buy supplies.  (by Mint Condition Customs)
Joint PainsYes, action figures get them too, here's how to help stop the paint from chipping-off at the joints.  (by Jin Saotome)
Magnetic Ball-bearing Neck-jointsHow to use magnets to create super-poseable joints for action figure necks.  (by VariablePenguin)
Metalic ShineHow to add a complex metalic shine to your silver surfer.  (by superarticulated)
Painting a HeadStep by step instructions with pictures on how to paint a custom head.  (by Hemble)
Reaslistic Skin TonesExplains the method I use to achieve my skintones  (by Darththomas)
Shoulder Joint ModificationHow to modify bulky shoulders to make them look more natural.  (by Dr Nightmare)
Shoulder Joint ProtectionHow to protect ball and socket joints from paint rub  (by Darththomas)
Shoulder Joint Protection Part 2An alternative method to using superglue  (by Darththomas)

Sooner or later you're going to need to fix a broken figure. Here are some common problems and how to fix them!

Bend FixTired of those crooked knees on your Black Cat? Use this tutorial to straighten-out the arms and legs on your figures.  (by Dr Nightmare)
Broken Shoulders and HipsDid Spiderman slip-off a roof and break something? Here's how to fix your figures' hips and shoulders.  (by Jin Saotome)
How to Fix a Stuck Waist JointIf you've ever had a figure with a stuck waist joint, this tutorial shows you how to get him turning again!  (by Mint Condition Customs)
Neck Peg FixHow to repair a broken neck peg  (by Gee_jays_Customs)
Peg FixSomeday your figures will take one dive too many from the shelf, this tutorial shows you how to fix the broken or torn pegs of your figure's limbs.  (by Dr Nightmare)
Peg Joint FixDid your figure arrive in the mail with a broken leg? This tutorial can help!  (by Kyle Robinson)
Repairing Broken Pegs with ScrewsWhen your figure gets injured in battle, instead of amputating, just replace his peg with a screw! This tutorial shows you how to do it.  (by Mint Condition Customs)
Tightening JointsHow to use super glue to tighten joints (at your own risk!).  (by Dr Nightmare)

These are tutorials that are useful for specialized jobs.

Cape StorageHow to store your super hero capes when they aren't in use to avoid damage to them.  (by Dr Nightmare)
Figure PhotosBecause blurry pictures make us cry. Learn how to take clear pictures of your figures here.  (by Dr Nightmare)
Fore/Lower Arm SwitchToday I bring to you the Fore/Lower arm switch by JayBlaze!  (by JayBlazeXGen)
Hulk Buster ArmorHow to turn your Iron Monger into a fully hollow hulkbuster armour.  (by jadomiddlecustoms)
Landmine (Movie) Finger ModA great way to add play-value to your Transformer!  (by Dr Nightmare)
On Plastic WingsDisappointed with the standard Marvel Legends Archangel? Here's how you can make your own, complete with poseable wings!  (by Jin Saotome)
Painting TransformersHelpful tips, from the master himself, on how to paint Transformers.  (by Shinobitron)
Preserving Your PaintsEver get a new bottle of paint, use up half of it, and then when you get it out again it's all dried up? This quick guide shows you how to better preserve your paints for future use!  (by Mint Condition Customs)
Prototype Biomass WeaponsTwo methods on how to make shapeshifting weapons for Alex Mercer.  (by jadomiddlecustoms)
Removing DCSH BeltsHere's the easy way to slip-off those sturdy belts.  (by Dr Nightmare)
Rings and StonesHow to make real-like rings with stones  (by Vlad Basarab)
Shoulder-Mounted Rocket LaunchersNow your Tansformers can ditch their puny laser-guns and upgrade to full-blown rocket-launchers!  (by Shinobitron)
Street FightersArticulating, modifying and fixing Neca Street Fighter figures  (by MrGore)
SunglassesHow to Add Sunglasses  (by NEOTHEONE)
Torso ArticulationAdding torso articulation to Hasbro females  (by Holy_Ghostbuster)
Venom Jaw ModSick of accidentally ripping-out those flimsy "teeth" in Venom's mouth?  (by Jin Saotome)

Latest Custom Tutorial Comments
Dr Nightmare - Friday, May 15, 2015
 Hi, Finis

That can mean you have to sand more material off the joint. There simply might be too much friction and rubbing so the glue gets torn off anyway (same thing happened to this custom, as you can see on the hip in the last picture). It can be frustrating, unfortunately it's one of the annoying things we have to deal with when making customs. Stay positive and you'll come up with a solution to any problem
-- in reference to Joint Protection by Dr Nightmare in Custom Tutorials
monoloco"el cuztoymizer" - Sunday, May 3, 2015
 I don't think that will work but you never know till you tri it. The idea is to have the plastic absorb the dye and make the color permanent and I thik the primer might turn black but it will rub off.
-- in reference to Color Dye Your Action Figures by monoloco"el cuztoymizer" in Custom Tutorials
Soundswipe - Monday, April 27, 2015
What happens if I have a figure that has been primed? Can I still use this technique?
-- in reference to Color Dye Your Action Figures by monoloco"el cuztoymizer" in Custom Tutorials
monoloco"el cuztoymizer" - Sunday, April 19, 2015
 Thanks man! You are correct
-- in reference to Color Dye Your Action Figures by monoloco"el cuztoymizer" in Custom Tutorials
verticate - Sunday, April 12, 2015
Hi Guys, some tips

1. wash the figure with dish soap and water, get all the factory molding grease out, it could prevent the dye from sticking
2. use thinner to strip away as much of the factory paint as possible, paint is another layer of polymer that interferes with the dye taking sometimes. brush thinner on to strip the paint, then drop the figure in a bucket of water to kill the chemical reaction to prevent the thinner from dissolving too much of the figure beyond the paint. The paint and figure are both polymers that react with paint thinner. therein lies the complexity.
-- in reference to Color Dye Your Action Figures by monoloco"el cuztoymizer" in Custom Tutorials
mr.fenrir - Friday, April 10, 2015
thanks for introducing me to this substance. its a serious game changer.
-- in reference to Fixit Sculpt Guide by Jin Saotome in Custom Tutorials
Sjefke - Monday, April 6, 2015
This is brilliant!
-- in reference to Adding Ankle Rockers to Hasbro's Figures by Rider in Custom Tutorials
Sjefke - Monday, April 6, 2015
 I've never done it on purpose (I'm accident prone), but plain old ball point pen ink will stain clear plastic pretty good, but it stays translucent. I'd try diluting the ink with isopropyl rubbing alcohol till I get the desired effect on a test piece first.
-- in reference to Conforming Sheet Styrene by Mint Condition Customs in Custom Tutorials
Sjefke - Monday, April 6, 2015
 I've seen it at my local Hobby Works store, but they only carry the smallest jars. It's easier and cheaper to buy it direct from Aves on-line. I've been using ot for over a year now. Excellent stuff.
-- in reference to Apoxie Sculpt Guide by Jin Saotome in Custom Tutorials
DARTHGRIMM - Monday, March 30, 2015
Which retail/arts crafts stores sell this stuff?
-- in reference to Apoxie Sculpt Guide by Jin Saotome in Custom Tutorials

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