Editors note - Up until now I have intentionally not featured my custom work in one of these articles, preferring instead to focus on other customizers and artists on the site. In the year since the "new" site has gone live, I've had a number of people reach out to me having noticed that I did not have a "Customizing Corner" feature and asking when I would post one. Thanks to everyone who asked for that! I figured that a year in, it's about time to do so, even if it is a bit strange to "interview" myself!
Introduce yourself and let readers know where they can see your work.
My name is Jeremy Girard and I post on Instagram under the name ‘MythicCustoms’.
Additionally, full recipes for all my customs, along with tons of photos of those creations, can also be found on my website at www.MythicCustoms.com.
How long have you been customizing action figures?
I really only began heavily customizing figures a few years ago after the first Mythic Legions 1.0 Kickstarter wave shipped in mid-2016. Prior to that that I had done some custom work on the GI Joe Sigma 6 line and an old Hasbro line called Xevoz, but I hadn’t done much of anything for at least a few years before that 1.0 line arrived.
I started really small with simple “pop and swaps” and some minor paint applications. Once you begin customizing these things, your imagination really begins to take off, and the more you do the better you get at it. That spiral, and lots of time spent in my workshop making custom creations, has led me to where I am today.
What got you into Mythic Legions?
I’ve collected stuff from the Four Horsemen since back when they were at McFarlane, and I followed them once they opened their own company through their Fantastic Exclusive lines like Seventh Kingdom and Gothitropolis. When they announced the first Mythic Legions Kickstarter, I went all in plus some extras. The line really appealed to me because it scratched an itch I didn’t even really know I had at the time – fantasy figures that were not property-specific. I was big into Dungeons & Dragons as a kid, and Mythic Legions reminds me so much of the characters and creatures I loved from D&D. There have been other fantasy lines out there, most notably the ToyBiz Lord of the Rings stuff, but they were all so tightly tied to a specific property that they did not lend themselves to allowing you to create new characters and storylines or to customize the way that Mythics allow you to do. That sense of “white space” and being able to imagine these characters in my own way is a huge piece of why Mythic Legions have become the primary toy line I now collect and customize.
Do you have what you would call a signature custom, or any favorite customs you have done?
At last count I had done over 500 Mythic Legions customs (and counting), so picking a favorite is pretty hard to do, but there are some notable ones I can point out.
Personally, I have always really liked my blue-skinned Djinn, which is what I consider my first actual Mythic Legions “custom”. It’s a pretty simple recipe, just a Zazhar body with some gold knight armor and a repainted orc head with a ponytail added, but it’s one that I think is really effective.
Another custom that is always popular whenever I show it off is my Goblin Tinker, Gunzo. With his gleeful grin, aviator cap, and his pair of rusted wings, he just has so much personality and people seem to really dig that design. I've actually done a bunch of goblins over time, from cavern gobs, to Fury Clan gobs, to my clan of Frost Goblins, so I'm known for those as well.
Outside of those, the Kitsune heads that I helped bring to life by working with MASS Customs and Wolf King are also super popular, and because I had a hand in creating them they are absolutely some of my favorite pieces and ones that people generally associate with me and my work.
What are your favorite kinds of Mythic Legions customs to do?
I like doing “series” of figures that go together. This could be a bunch of figures from a similar race, like all the goblins I have made, or it could be a theme that ties the pieces together, like the samurai-inspired “Mythic Shoguns” figures I have done.
I also love doing “tribute” figures which are inspired by other characters and properties. For example, my version of Kronnaw, the Boba Fett inspired figure I did, or my series of GI-Joe inspired Mythics were all some of my most popular customs (the Zartan-themed Changeling from that series was my personal favorite).
Thinking a bit broader, I most enjoy any customs that have a worn and weathered look. I’ve said this many times before, but I am certainly not the best painter out there. I do well enough, but I also know what I am best at and what I most enjoy doing, and that is working on characters where the paints don’t need to be “perfect”. Armor that is scuffed up and looks somewhat worn, or metal that is rusted and oxidized, is so much fun to paint and it is a very forgiving style. I also really dig combining disparate pieces from various toy lines to create unique characters that look like they have a deep story to tell. Those are my favorites to work on.
Are there any kinds of characters or figures you don’t care to work on?
I don’t really enjoy painting realistic human faces, especially eyes. I’ve painted a number of those faces and I’ve definitely gotten much better at them over the years, but it is not something I enjoy doing very much.
I also tend to avoid customs where I need to paint joints, like the elbows. It is nearly impossible to prevent paint rub on those parts, and “how to avoid paint rub on joints” is actually one of the questions I get asked most often. My answer is the same one I also hear my friend and fellow customizer, Nikki Nikole Chaney, give – I find recipes that don’t require me to paint the joints in the first place! It may sound like a flippant answer, but it is honest! I am very much a proponent of the “path of least resistance” approach to customizing, or as some would call it, “Lazy Boy Customizing”.
Do you have any “wish list” character types or races that you would like to see from Mythic Legions, and which you would love to be able to work with as a customizer?
I am most looking forward to new kinds of body parts that add some variety to the parts library. Things like robed bodies or armor that is not as heavy and bulky as what we have now, or lower legs and forearms that are maybe wrapped in fur or leather-like wrappings instead of being heavily armored. The new body types coming in the Illythia wave check some of those boxes and those new parts will really allow customizers to expand on the kinds of figures we can make.
What kinds of tools do you use for your customs work, including paints and brushes?
I use mostly Vallejo paints, but I do also use some of the lower cost craft store brands like CraftSmart, DecoArt, and FolkArt for select uses. I actually really like the CraftSmart metallics and I use those for drybrushing effects all the time, but I find that the Vallejo paints work better for me if I want to do a fuller coverage piece.
As for brushes, I use Testors flat-topped brushes that I get from Michaels. I’ve also picked up a number of other random brushes from Michaels over the years. I am admittedly really hard on my brushes and I don’t clean them the way I should, so I tend to blow through them pretty quickly, which is why I often get craft store brushes instead of art store ones! That being said, my friend and fellow customizer Dennis Derby gave me a wonderful brush from Winsor & Newton that I still use today (Series 7, micro-series, size 000). It has a super small tip, so it works great for tiny details like teeth and gums.
Other tools that I use pretty regularly are a Dremel, X-Acto blades, really small drill bits, Apoxie Sculpt and sculpting tools, and a hair dryer! Man - looking at that list, I realize that customizing is a strange hobby.
Any tips or suggestions for Mythic fans looking to start customizing?
Don’t be afraid to start small and do “simple” customs. I think people get intimidated when they see a portfolio of customs from some of the well-known Mythic customizers. None of us started out doing the more complex pieces in our portfolios. We all started small. Truth be told, I LOVE simple customs that are more about a clever use of parts rather than complex paints or sculpture additions. Do some “pop and swap” pieces and have fun with it!
To improve your painting skills, I suggest you grab some cheap figures from a toy show or eBay and try your hand at some simple paints, just to get a feel for how the materials work together. Once you are comfortable and ready to paint some Mythics, pick up a few Legion Builder figures. Those figures are a perfect canvas for customs. They are lower cost than the “normal” figures, and because they have bodies that are largely one color you can more easily add your own touches to those figures and begin to get accustomed to working with these parts. After a little while, you will find yourself gaining an increased level of comfort in painting and customizing these toys and you will be on the same crazy spiral as the rest of us Mythic customizers.
Final suggestion - take your time! It is easy to get excited for a custom idea and to kind of rush through it. That is the easiest way to mess it up. Take it slow. Allow your paints to dry and don’t rush the process. Also, once you are “done” with a custom, put it down for a day or two before sharing it with the world. Come back after those few days and look at it again. Is it actually done, or do you have more ideas now that you have let it sit a bit? I often find that I come up with final touches on figures after I step away from them for a few days and those final touches really bring out the character of the custom! I now always put a custom aside for a few days before I claim it as being “done”.
Ok, final-final comment on this – if you want some additional customizing tips, check out my weekly “Mythic Conversations” show and my short videos on my YouTube page. I share lots of tips and tutorials on customizing on that channel.
Last question – what’s your favorite non-customized Mythic Legions figure?
Another tough one to answer because there are so many cool ones! I’m going to cheat and list a few.
Gorgo was the first figure that really caught my attention from this line, and he is still one of my favorite releases.
As I already mentioned, I also love the goblins, and Knubnik is probably my favorite from that group.
Bromden Ironjaw is another figure worth noting. So much value in that release with all the weapons and the extra head and crown.
Speaking of value, the original Barbarian set is amazing with so many parts! If I had to give a new collector one Mythic figure to show them the awesomeness of the line, it would be the Barbarian.
Finally, Gryshaa the Slytherer always really appealed to me! Gryshaa is just such a cool overall design, kind of like Boba Fett meets Arabian Knights.
Published on 01.12.21