You would be hard pressed to find someone who has had more of an impact on the world of Mythic Legions customizing than the focus of this “Customizing Corner” post!
William Robert Post is the founder of MyActionFigureCustoms.com, or MAFC for short. In just a few short years, this company has created a dizzying array of custom add-ons for Mythic Legions. From custom designed heads, to an arsenal of unique weapons, to torsos and other body parts, to an in-scale cannon wagon unlike anything we have yet to see for this line, the products that come from MAFC have made their way into almost every Mythic Legions customizer’s portfolio as well as the hands of many Mythic fans. For this article, we connected with Rob to learn a bit more about MAFC.
Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about why you decided to start MAFC?
Husband. Dog Lover. Friend. Veteran. Mythic Legions Fan. In that order, maybe..., depending on the day...and who you ask. Large sack of saline with numerous electrical impulses? Just an average coward trying to muster enough courage to do above average. Love being creative. Hate limitations.
MAFC started on a complete whim/personal challenge. I was in the process of having some 3D sculpts commissioned. I hated waiting on Shapeways to get items. To improve the process, I purchased the same 3D printer I saw Four Horsemen using. The website was just a growth challenge for me since I had never created one before. The plan was to sell a couple prints to help off set the cost of having pieces commissioned. I figured there were about a dozen collectors like me that wanted more parts to customize their figures. I underestimated the demand.
I know you are the head of MAFC, but which other artists are now involved with the company?
Currently, Arlen Pelletier, Kevin Delies, GD Lake, and Lee J Robinson are the 3D sculptors. A future 3D artist that is working on some female heads is Joaquin Palacios. He has done a number of Black Sun Miniature sculptures. Eric Borries and Chris Middlecamp have painted all of the items we have offered painted that have shipped. Eric has also sculpted and/or modified some fan favorites like the Warmask and Feral Feet. Dru Grubbs just had his first painted preorder. He should be scared...just kidding Dru. There will be some pre-painted pieces from Nikki Nikole Chaney in the near future. Yannis “Rubus” Rubulias has done a few concept art mock ups for the website such as the Swords that have been in recent sales. He is also helping us with a larger project that we hope gets off the ground. What I really love about the group of artists that are currently involved with MAFC is that they all collect Mythic Legions. They are all real fans. Just like me, they were collecting Mythic Legions before any of this started.
How long have you been customizing action figures?
Started around 1986. I actually remember two kids trying to buy my first custom. It was my first kit bash between Storm Shadow and Buzzer. Which I have to be honest, I always thought his name was Buzzsaw. Now I have to completely re-evaluate the reality of my childhood. If I could not remember his name correctly, what other vitally important aspects of my childhood have I warped to fit the narrative in my head? More importantly, that kit bash was awesome! From there, I tried painting them with usually disastrous results. My big brother would paint military models such as planes and cannons. I would steal his paint and ruin his brushes trying to paint some G.I. Joe’s. By a wide measure, I am the least artistically gifted of three siblings. But that never stopped me from trying. And when all else failed, I could just use ketchup packets for blood and splatter effects.
What got you into Mythic Legions?
Boredom. My wife teases me about my constant need to be doing something. I need a project. I wish I could relax more but I am not sure it is in my DNA. From childhood, through college, and beyond, I always had a couple of toys on my desk, but I never collected an entire line as an adult. I was looking at hobbies that might be less stressful. Considering I never stopped looking at toys as an adult; even walking through the toy aisle every chance I got. So naturally, toy collecting sounded like a good idea. I was considering a couple different lines such as Acid Rain and MOTU. I had loved the 200x Motu cartoon when it ran. I did not know it existed. I was too busy learning how to dodge bullets when that series came out. I always loved He-Man as a kid. So I was strongly considered MOTU. I was checking out He-Man.org when I came across some posts talking about the 4H and Mythic Legions. I looked into Mythic Legions. Small American company with high quality toys that were “hard” to find sounded like a decent challenge. The line had strong pulls on my childhood. As a kid growing up in Germany, I loved knights. I got to visit all of these castles as a young child. But Conan taught me I was just a Barbarian who wanted to be a Knight...and since this toy line had both Knights and Barbarians...
What are your favorite pieces that MAFC has released so far?
This is like asking who is your favorite child. You have one but you deny it till death. My favorite feeling is when we do something new. Such as a new part. We have successfully created heads, feet, torsos, bracers, shins, pauldrons and loin clothes. Right now, the loin cloths are too expensive to sale. The material is very costly and the process is time consuming. Bracers, shins and pauldrons are items we are holding back for now. Hands, arms and thighs are not items that I want to release. The material science is not at a point in 3D printing where the pegs on those pieces can withstand the force that people are going to apply.
Have there been any customs that people have done with your parts that blew you away? Any customs that surprised you because people used the parts in ways you never expected?
There have been countless times where someone has used a MAFC part in an amazing and bad ass way. There are a lot of talented customizers out there. There are also a number of talented photographers that have made our items look way better than I thought they could. Come to LegionsCon in November. There is not a shortage of customizing talent in Mythic Legions fandom.
Take us through the process of creating a MAFC product? How does a piece go from idea to being offered for sale for Mythic fans?
You are going to need a whole webpage to fit this answer on. The first part of the process usually happens one of three ways. The first being I get an email from GD Lake, Lee J. Robinson or Kevin Delies with a file attached with them asking me to test it. I am literally opening the file for the first time. Have no idea what the file is except for the name. It doesn’t happen often this way, but it has happened. Second, which is the most common, we have a general idea what each person is working on. We try to synergize the sale offerings. We have an artist group chat on Facebook. We try to discuss ideas and provide feedback when requested in the development phase of sculpts. The third way a sculpt makes it into the lineup is me commissioning it from an artist like Arlen Pelletier. I usually start with a mood board Powerpoint of references and notes to help convey what I am looking for the artist to produce. Me trying to convey my wants through artistic means is about as successful as a Chihuahua mounting a Great Dane. They appreciate the effort but it never looks right...never. I would say about half the time the commissions are just for my personal collection. I do occasionally do commissions just for the website but that is generally because the guys are deep into their own projects.
So after one of these three approaches, I have an OBJ file to test print. Yes, we test print everything. In fact, I set a deadline for submission in the next sale because I do not want to be rushed or I know I will not have time to test the item before the sale. Usually there is at least one minor change needed. The sculptor corrects it and I reprint the item again for testing. Sometimes, especially if it is a new type of part, it requires multiple tests.
After successful test results, the items are placed in our very colorful ads. Then we look for slots in the next sale. The flash sales usually have between 10-20 items. I prefer 10-12 items in a single flash sale. What generally happens is the guys make more items than I have slots. I will delay releasing items for 1-2 months because I do not want to get overwhelmed. I have delayed my own personal items over 8 months and counting……..I try to be mindful of 4H in stock sales and preorders. Everybody has a limit on their hobby spending each month.
Once a sale starts, I update units sold to the guys on the first couple of days. We discuss why we think something is selling well and why certain items are not selling as well. There are always surprises. Most sales last for 2 weeks for a couple of reasons. First and most importantly, within 72 hours I have already started batch printing the most successful items. By then I know which items are going to be close to selling out. Batch printing is extremely time effective for me. I have a full-time career. If this takes up any more of my time it will not be possible. That is why I put the estimated shipping on every item...something that everyone seems to completely ignore. The reason the shipping clock starts when the sale ends is because I do not know how much to print for every item. If I could predict that I would be buying lottery tickets not printing resin swords. I mean, even if I won the lottery, I would still be printing resin swords. I would just be paying somebody else to do it for me. So, the sale ends.
I am still printing the items for the sale 1-2 weeks after the sale ends. A sale that has 20 items that sold between 20 and 75 units per items is a lot of items. They are not only printed, but put through three washes, airdried and supports removed before going into a UV curing machine. From there, my family helps me insert hundreds of these items into bubble wrap. This entire process is very time consuming and tedious. I do love the people that get a printer and then figure out how much work is actually involved. They will always send me a note saying they had no idea.
From there we pack the orders. Placing the 300-1000 units of bubble wrap into hundreds of boxes that you fold and tape shut. Then you have to weigh them. Print the shipping labels. There are always a number of shipping addresses that have the wrong state or some guy puts Puerto Rico as a country. Chinese addresses are always an adventure. Those 5-10 orders at the end always take the longest to correct errors. Then you let everyone know they are packed and they will be shipping very soon.
Once the first person gets their package and posts pictures, the “where is my order” emails really ramp up. There always seem to be at least 1-4 orders that have an error or sent to the wrong address. We try to get those addressed within 3-5 days.
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 create add-on parts for with MAFC?
Snakemen, Werewolves, and Golems are at the top of my wants. I feel pretty confident that Snake and/or Lizard men will show up one day in Mythic Legions. I have never asked the 4H about how they feel about werewolves or golems. I actually have a full 3D rendered Rock Golem. It is pretty much how I plan on winning the Mythic Legions Lifetime Customizer Award. Anything from the world of H.P. Lovecraft would be welcome in my version of Mythoss.
What would people be surprised to learn about your customizing or collecting hobby?
I only collect Mythic Legions. I have over 500 of them. With 300 plus on display. Having focus has never been an issue for me.
Any tips or suggestions for Mythic fans looking to start customizing?
Start small. Do a kit bash. Buy a cheap brush and a bottle of silver and gold paint. Just highlight the rivets and little small details on a legion builder. After that figure, watch a video on YouTube about dry brushing. Just doing those 2 steps you can transform any legion builder with very little skill and build your confidence. Learn one little technique at a time. Buy fodder from other lines dirt cheap. You can waste a lot of money chasing parts from other lines that do not work out.
Final question - who are your favorite non-customized Mythic Legions figures?
Deluxe Barbarian Legion Builder has been my favorite from the start. Argemedes is pushing for top billing as well. I really like the Demons. I do not think people really appreciate the Yellow tones of Azhar. I do not understand why people do not scream over not having the Bronze Dwarf. That base is fantastic for customizing. Urzokk, Otho, Gideon, Vorgus, Vitus, Thord, Attlus, Asterionn, Bog Goblin, Clavian, Illgar, Any Troll, Calavius, Azza, Faunus, Gryshaa, King No’glin, Jjuno, Morgolyth, Skeleton Soldier, Snagg, Xarria, Black Knight, Rahmulus, Raygorr, and the Fury Clan Orc round out my top 25%.
Published on 03.10.20