It’s my great pleasure to introduce one of Star Wars finest action figure customizers, ‘Peak-OB1 Custom Creations’, to Fantha Tracks.
FT: Welcome Chad and thanks for joining us here on Fantha Tracks.What are your earliest memories inspiring you towards action figure customizing?
CP: I’ve been a fan of Star Wars since the beginning. I was lucky enough to grow up in Cincinnati, Ohio, what I call the “Star Wars action figure capital of the world”. My Aunt even worked for Kenner for a short time and some of my earliest memories were swapping out headdresses on the Ewoks to evening out the “man eating bear army”. I think even at one point, I busted out my Crayola set of coloured markers, to give them different colour schemes.
FT: What was your first custom action figure?
CP: I was still in college in 95′, collecting the POTF2 exclusively MOTC, but I decided one day to buy an extra Han Solo and repaint him with a mustard vest and goatee renaming him “Lon Talbot”… But Shadows of the Empire, truly was the inspiration for my early custom works.
FT: How many custom figures have you created?
CP: Not sure exactly…around 500 or more.
FT: What’s been your most challenging custom figure?
CP: Admiral Trench since I made two of him, Derron the squid-like character from the Clone Wars made two versions of him also or maybe it was my first Leebo because I literally made him from “scraps” and even went back later on to add more articulation. That character took “WIP” to a whole new meaning.
FT: What projects are you currently working on?
CP: Oh man! WAY too many projects, Clone Wars, Rebels, Resistance, all six films the games and now, we are even about to embark on a whole world of TV to give us even more characters we would love to have adorned in plastic action figure form, ultimately for someone like myself the options really are ENDLESS.
Not to rag on Hasbro or anything, but since 2012 there has been zero to no “WORLD BUILDING”. If you have collected for over 10 years or more, we were used to a toy collection based in a universe that operated “scene by scene”, until we had it ALL ! Today…. well…it’s different!
FT: Do you have a favourite figure model type for customising e.g. Clone War skinnies?
CP: Actually I don’t, customising is all about details, and I suppose I’m the Devil in this instance…. I try to build my figures to be the best representation of what I think the figure should look like. I bet that’s even a hard concept to grasp for the toy creators themselves. So depending what I’m working on whether it’s “real style” or “animated”.
I try not to focus just on one or the other, I have even tried doing vintage customs which look like they were created in the 70’s. My preference is more about the “figure selection not yet realized” and if they, ever have a chance at being created.
CP: Customising Vintage classic, has become a guilty pleasure of mine since 2012!
I go back and forth, sometimes, I try to refurbish only, making it as close to the original as possible, but I also realise because of their age, they can be so much more, so I try to think back to when I was ten years old and imagine if I had the power to visualise a Sand Trooper, Ceremonial Luke, Tarkin and even a Rebel Fleet Trooper… would I try to make them? Sure why not!
I’ve come full circle recently after turning a really rough Chief Chirpa into a really RAD part of the tribe!
FT: Do you have a preference for creating unrealized figures or inventing new characters?
CP: I don’t have anything against people who create “made up or Fan-Fic” customs, they are inventive, creative and that’s what this hobby is all about in the end! However there are so many characters that have yet to be realised, it’s honestly more fun for me to make something not yet realised by the Toy Gods.
This may also be something I have yet to do that is just on paper or in the depths of my mind.
Vlix from the old Droids series, only super articulated and with different facial expressions or a four foot Zillo Beast from the Clone Wars, I often “dare to dream!”
FT: Do you have a favourite amongst your custom creations?
CP: If I do, it’s probably something already gone and living amongst someone else’s collection. There’s so many! I do keep some gems for myself, so maybe my Droids Proto One or Pun Zignut with his Mork and Mindy jacket from the 80’s, my Dagobah training Luke also comes to mind.
FT: Do you have any other customiser’s figures amongst your collection?
CP: Only a few that were gifted to me. They are very special because I get to peer into another customiser’s world and see how they go about making their customs happen.
FT: Is there a custom from another customisers work you wished was part of your collection?
CP: I’ve always adored Sith Fire30’s “Furlang” from the Shadows of the Empire comic adaptation. He really brought him to life.
FT: Have any of your customs earned pride of place amongst other customisers’ collections?
CP: Almost all of them are in other people’s collections. It is truly an honour to make someone happy, knowing they have a “one of a kind” piece, not only of a character that may never be realized in plastic but a PEAK-OB1 original. I once signed a figure’s foot “POB1”. I have several collecting friends that have over 30 of my customs within their collection.
CP: Only if it makes sense, that’s the beauty of creation, sometimes parts can come from the darnedest places. I think back to that Shadows of the Empire Leebo again, knowing full well, his torso is a superglue cap!
FT: Are there elements of the customizing process which provides you most satisfaction?
CP: Another guilty pleasure, but yes, creating a masterpiece from a “beater figure” or “Frankensteining” something together from just old parts in the bottom of your fodder bin. Truly making something exceptional from just chunks of plastic is the greatest feeling to me.
FT: During the course of your customizing journey, have you learned and developed new modelling techniques/tricks?
CP: I have been working at it since 1996, I have had a lot of failures. Failure can be a solid teacher, I often tell people everything is a work of art, beautiful in the eye of the beholder, yet also, forever a work in progress….
I try to stay humble, I’m desperate to learn molding and casting, also I have not ventured into 3D printing, which is also of interest to me, because I’m a graphic designer by day and have been in that industry for a long time.
FT: Have you embraced the new 3D laser printing technology, if not is this something you may consider in the future.
CP: No, not yet, BUT! Oh buddy, I really want this to happen for me, mainly so I can make things myself for others to have, freebies and accessories, swag to give out at Cons! You name it!
If I can get this tech under my belt, then I can push some of the dreams I have really wanted to happen, into reality.
FT: What is your most indispensable modelling tool?
CP: I wanted to say my Dremmel rotary tool, but to be honest…in 2017, I had a terrible work related injury where I was struck in my right eye and can no longer see from it. Sooooo you could say my left eye is my greatest asset.
FT: What advice would you give to anyone considering action figure customising?
CP: Keep at it! Don’t do it for the wrong reasons, for fame or contests, to see if you’re better than the next guy. No! Do it for the joy of the hobby, for “creativity’s sake!”, because it’s fun to share with your peers or your kids. If it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, start again and make it better! Learn from one another and your mistakes.
CP: I have a friend that says, he’s my Padawan, but honestly, I just try to give the best advice I can to anyone who wants it. We are all just a big family trying to pull off greatness in our toy obsessions. Sometimes we need a second pair of eye’s, ready to critique our work.
CP: My wife is my biggest fan, she can seriously tear something down that I have been working on for weeks… in a split second, but it makes me better every time!
FT: Which brands of acrylics and modelling putty do you use?
CP: I’m strictly a Games Workshop Citadel Colour supporter for how flat and non-glossy they dry. They really bring my customs to life! They have that “Warhammer” feel and I love that!
The modelling putty I use the most is called Pro-Create, but I also use Aves fix-it and Green Stuff.
FT: Do you collect standard retail Star Wars or any other franchise figures?
CP: I collect other toys that speak to me or pull at the nostalgia of my childhood. But what’s different as an adult toy collector compared to when I was a boy is that I pick and choose this time around, and collect only certain things.
While I would love to just go nuts and collect every line from every toy company, I don’t, for space reasons and to not drive the Mrs. too crazy with my plastic addition.
So… Star Wars 3.75 inch some 6 inch, a few Figuarts, GI-Joe Renegades only, Loyal Subjects MOTU minis, Muppets action figures from both Palisades and Diamond Select, Indiana Jones, Batman the Animated series 6 inch from DC Select. Some Star Wars Funko Pops and that’s about as far as I go!
I decided to skip modern GI-Joe, Transformers, Superhero Toys and MOTU, although I like them! I love what sideshow and Hot Toys are doing but I just don’t have the money for that!
FT: Vintage or modern?
FT: What are your thoughts regards Hasbro’s mainline figures returning to 5 points of articulation?
CP: The short answer, I hate it!
Before there had always been a balance. Now, it’s like buying a Ferrari but they’ve removed the engine and wheels but ask you to pay the same price because it’s a Ferrari. This is not going to work for too much longer. This has truly hurt the hobby! And I only customize pre-Disney figures. With everything modern 5POA, I basically collect them mint on card.
FT: Alongside fellow customising duo Brian (Darth Daddy) & Elias Fulton of Customs for the Kid, you produce the YouTube channel ‘Customizing the Clone Wars’, which has just reached episode 62. What can viewers enjoy when tuning into your show?
CP: That’s 63 episodes you mean? Ha Yeah!
CP: In all seriousness, for me personally, in my fandom, Clone Wars was the next step of George’s Star Wars!
I loved it, regardless of being in my mid 40’s…. this guy Dave Filoni, really transformed Star Wars! He gave us a better vision of what the fall of the Republic was really like for Anakin Skywalker and all parties involved.
Brian and I decided it was important to honour this new vision and go beyond the Clone Wars collection and build an army of figures “we only wished Hasbro would have created!”
The YouTube vidcast is a love letter to celebrate the Clone Wars and also show how far we could stretch the figure selection. While I can’t speak for Brian and Elias’s lovely figures, I have produced over 380 personally, and it’s growing. I don’t think I will rest until I make most of the characters not yet realised.
FT: What Star Wars features do you enjoy watching from the live action trilogies, standalone stories or animated Clone Wars, Rebels or Resistance and are you excited for the return of Dave Filoni’s “Clone Wars”, John Favreau’s “The Mandalorian”, the recently announced Cassian Andor series and not forgetting next year’s trilogy climax?
CP: I’m excited for everything Lucasfilm and Disney want to throw me! The Last Jedi was interesting, but not my favourite. It caused a lot of “lines to be drawn in the fandom” so it’s better to be positive and just “move along”.
Solo was great, and I’m super excited for Disney Plus and the animated return of the Clone Wars as well as the live action Star Wars shows. I’m a die-hard Droids NUT! I often go back and watch those crazy toons and Empire is still my favourite movie! It’s a great time to be a FAN, young and old.
I will customise until I run out of ideas. I’m pleased to announce for the first time an exclusive reveal, I’m launching my website PEAKOB1.COM in early 2019, there, I will be developing a “Dream collection concept” where hopefully people will be able to enjoy my artwork and concepts for many years to come.
It’s been a pleasure chatting and MTFBWU, always.