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Paint and Tools
Over-view on important tools and paints you'll need to start customizing.
(by Jin Saotome)   Update Tutorial

A Customizers Workspace: Tools and Paints

Here we will take a look at virtually everything you need to be a great Customizer!

  • Tools: What kind and where to buy them.

  • Paints: What brands and links to buy them.

  • Parts: Well, just save EVERYTHING you buy.

Ok... you're sitting there with a knife, an action figure, and some paints you stole from art class. Unfortunately you're going to need a LOT more than that to pump out quality customs. Fortunately for you I have just the Tutorial on just about everything you'll need to start customizing along with the big boys!


First we're going to start with a basic list of all the items you're going to need at your disposal. Most of these items can be found at Ace Hardware Stores and Wal-mart. Only things like the paint brushes and paints themselves are a little more difficult to obtain, but not that difficult.

Take a look below, these are the tools I use everyday. Each item is numbered so check the list for its name and location of purchase.

I use to recommend Milliput and Kneadite for your sculpting needs, but now there's something FAR better to use, Aves Studios 'Apoxie Sculpt'! This is a two-part modelling compound you mix together that self-hardens after a few hours. You can make armor, muscles, faces, anything you want out of it!


Need a place to put all that stuff? Buy one of those tool-containers from Wal-Mart or a hardware store, the ones with all the little pull-out drawers if you want to keep your stuff organized. Like this one.


So what are you going to use as "fodder" for your customizing antics? Aside from a base figure you're going to need parts. I got my collection of parts by saving every toy and accessory I've ever bought. You can hit garage sales and pick up broken figures, vehicles, anything with parts that come off it. Save all your weapons and accessories no matter how mundane they are. Every time you make a figure and have pieces left over, toss em in a box. Yeah your friends will think you're weird when they see a box full of amputated limbs and heads sitting on your floor, but you'll never have to scrounge for that piece you need!


Now comes the FUN part, the paints! Paints are VERY important and usually make or break a custom figure. You don't want to use those craft paints you get at Wal-Mart, they're chalky and don't stick well. Instead you'll want to pick up some Testors Model Master Acrylic paints and Games Workshop Citadel Colour paints. Why? Because they are the absolute BEST. No fooling around here. They mix together well, dilute (and clean up) with water, and they don't rub off very easily from your figure! These paints also last forever if kept out of direct sunlight and you make sure their lids are clean and tight. Let's take a look below at what the paint bottles look like.

Now these paints won't be found at your local Wal-Mart. You need to travel to a Specialty Hobby Shop, or to a Games Workshop retail shop (usually found in big malls). I recommend getting them Online however. They're actually cheaper than what the hobby stores charge, they always have the colors in stock, and 3-5 day shipping usually is only around $5.00 per order.

Games Workshop has a very nice paint set called the "Mega paint Set" that includes a jar of EVERY different kind of paint they make, base flocking, gravel, glue, and other stuff for their miniatures. It's $200.00, but it will probably last you forever. You can also order the paint jars separately which is what I do.

Testors paints are a little different. They sell Enamels and Acrylics, but you only want the Acrylic-style paints. The best paints that you'll want are the Model Master Fantasy Acrylic series and the Model Master Acryl Acrylics. The Fantasy Acrylic line is EXCELLENT. In fact, you MUST buy a jar of the Dragon White and Dragon Black paints. These are the absolute best white and black paints I have ever used. They cover well and usually in one coat. They do not come off easily, in fact the Dragon Black paint won't even come off with alcohol! They both dilute to make a perfect wash, and look awesome when dry brushed for highlights. I recommend the Testors Fantasy series over all others I've tried so far!

You'll notice there's the Tamiya Color paint in there as well. I only use their clear colors (clear red, green, blue, yellow) for painting and don't like their normal line, tho some people swear by them. The paint brushes can be found at Michael's Craft Stores and those specialty hobby shops. Take care when picking out your brushes, check the tips VERY carefully before buying them. in general you'll need 4-5 good brushes. One for large coverage areas, a stiffer cheap one for dry brushing and wash's, a smaller general brush for base coats, and a few tiny tipped brushes for details such as eyes and belt buckles. I don't really have a preference between natural or synthetic brushes. Camel Hair is really good though.

Make sure you have read the disclaimer before attempting anything mentioned in the tutorial.

DARTHGRIMM - Saturday, May 30, 2015
Does anyone make a brush on acrylic primer?
x-force wolverine - Tuesday, March 25, 2014
hey dude in case I want o mix a color for making gold what color should I use in mixing because our shop here ran out of gold acrylic what color should I mix thanks dude
Chronomancer - Thursday, March 26, 2015
in one of his guides he mentions base coating the figure silver, then using CLEAR yellow over the silver one the silver dries, that combi usually makes a good GOLD shine,
Phreakotic - Wednesday, July 3, 2013
I used testors and the figure I had didn't dry for over a year, the citadel paint went on good but it came off super easy. I didn't use primer of any kind so maybe that has something to do with it. Help would be very much appreciated, I've been stuck for a while.
KirkyMonster1983 - Sunday, July 7, 2013
I use Testors and usually they work fine for me, but I have experienced something odd with it not drying properly on the soft rubber plastic like Sota Street fighter hands. Is your custom soft plastic?
Phreakotic - Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Yeah, it was arms for a wrestling figure. It also might have been the super sculpy clay.
SirDigbyChickenCesear - Wednesday, May 2, 2012
hola, I'm using a model masters enamel flat black for a primer. For my project, the "dries tacky" problem doesn't really concern me... Is that the only issue with that product? I'm new to the enamels, and the guy at the hobbie shop said it was a good product. Like I said, I'm only using it for a primer coat and all seems to be working well, I'm using multiple light coats and only applying after the newest coat is 100 percent dry. I'm planning on posting the finished figure, so any input on repainting a McFarlanes Halo 3 figure would be most beneficial. GRACIAS!
TommyGunn79 - Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Testors acrylic usually dries almost instantly, if your using testors enamel you will get that effect. when I first started doing customs I made the mistake of using enamel...dries tacky. I hope tis is helpful to you
gbyadig - Tuesday, October 4, 2011
How do I get my Testors to dry? it seems to still be sticky for 2 days already...

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