How to Make Custom Action Figures

By Alan Donahue

Action figures have been popular for years, but no matter how many movies, sports, cartoons and pop culture figures are made into action figures, people still desire more. Whether it is a completely new character or a style of a different character, it is fairly simply to create your own custom action figures. A few supplies and some patience is all you need to become your very own toy maker.

Plan out the action figure you want to make. Get a picture of the person the action figure is based off of and gather as many details as you can about the person. For example, what costume do you want for the character, what features does the character has, what is its body build, hairstyle and other physical features that make him stand out. Write down all of this information and make a list of the details.

Pick out a base figure for your character. If you are updating a character already made into an action figure, then using an action figure of that character is the best choice. Use EBay to find random figure parts or accessories to match your character. Sellers are constantly selling parts, or broken action figures that can easily be melded into custom creations.

Use a hair dryer to remove limbs on a figure. Put a hair dryer on the highest setting and then slowly move the hair dryer up and down the action figure in order to soften the limbs. After about a minute gently pull the limbs off of the figure that you want to remove.

Use glue to tighten or add extra pieces to the action figure. General super glue works for smaller areas, but epoxy glue also works great for an even tighter hold. Plastic glue like Plastic Fusion is also a great choice for gluing action figures.

Create custom costumes for your character. The best things to use are scraps and art pieces from a craft store. Felt, foam, and other materials that can easily be cut can add greatly to the figure’s design. You can also use figure clothing from a dollar store. The clothing is premade and a few adjustments can easily make it adaptable to your action figure.

Use paint to customize things to the action figure like clothing, boots and hair color. Use a thin paintbrush to apply very thin layers of paint. Apply two to three coats of paint periodically so that the paint applies to the figure smoothly and does not clot or drip down the figure. The best paint to use is Testors Model Master Acrylic paints because they stick to the action figure well and they leave a nice finish.

Create accessories for your figure using other action figure accessories or making them on your own. Guns and weapons can be found on EBay as well, but other accessories need to be crafted yourself. Woman’s jewelry and other small metal objects can be used to create weapons and costume accessories like belts.

About the Author

Alan Donahue started writing professionally in 2003. He has been published in the Norwich Free Academy "Red & White," UNLV's "Rebel Yell" and on various websites. He is an expert on wrestling, movies and television. He placed second in the NFO Screenwriting Contest and received filmmaking awards from Manchester Community College and Norwich Free Academy. He currently attends Academy of Art University.