Shabina Aslam | Portrait of an Action Figure Customizer

A Portrait of an Action Figure Customizer


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meet curt brown, owner of bot customs:

Curt Brown is an action figure customizer in Richmond, Virginia. When he's not painting, sculpting, or building figures and sets, he's filling his role as a stay-at-home dad of four kids. 

Curt started his career by painting D&D figurines as a favor for a friend. It didn't take long for Curt to realize he could make a buck or two from his talents. Since then, he has built a network primarily on Facebook and eBay as an action figure customizer. As a self-renowned nerd, Curt knows the ins and outs of several comic book universes. His childhood memories of animated television series inspire his attention to detail in all of his pieces: even the ones that may seem a little weird. 

What you need to know about the action figure customization scene: 

1. It all starts with regular, everyday action figures. 
According to Curt, in order to keep production costs low, toy manufacturers typically don't create hyper-detailed figures. It's in the hands of customizers like Curt to help collectors complete their set by building and painting upon readily available figures, like the ones found at Toys R' Us (RIP) and Walmart. 

2. "Custom" toys can include anything and everything. 
Want the most obscure character from your favorite cartoon? It's yours! Want your face on a star trooper? You got it! For Curt, custom toys are just that: custom. 

3. If you didn't take a cool pic of your custom, did you really customize it? 
It's like instagramming food. Customizers enjoy creating intricate sets with their figures in action, and sharing it among their community of toy collectors. The more action in each shot, the better.