Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thundercracker and Skywarp Custom Skystrikers

Once I found some Skystrikers on sale, I knew that I had to make Thundercracker and Skywarp to go along with my SDCC Starscream. First step is to as completely as is reasonably possible disassemble all the parts. Wash them with soap and water - this will help remove oil residue left on the plastic during manufacturing. I then primed all the parts with a medium gray primer. This creates a better surface for the top coats of paint to adhere to. Here is a picture showing some of the primed parts.

You could go ahead and get expensive hobby paint, but I find I get better, more durable, results with standard spray paint you would find in a hardware store or even your Wal-Mart/Target stores.

Here's a shot of some of the pieces with a black top coat.

Here is actually the first skystriker that I painted.  I don't think that I washed it well enough or perhaps it was too windy when I sprayed as there are several places where the paint either bunched up or didn't stick very well.  I set that aside and opened another skystriker, washing very thoroughly before painting.


Here's the base for Thundercracker

Here's my first and second attempts at Skywarp.  The one on the left was eventually turned into my Dreadnok Waspinator Skystriker.  Bet you never thought you'd see those three words strung together.  Post following on that.

Here's a profile shot of Skywarp, showing off his purple tail fins.  This is the second color choice for the fins, the first purple I chose was too dark, whereas this purple is much more of a "decepticon purple."


I've got to take a moment here and compliment the skystriker's level of detail.  It looks great in the normal gray that it comes with, but once you get a different color and in high gloss - the details just pop out.  I don't know how much you can tell from my somewhat lackluster pictures, but it is awesome.

So here are my boys without stickers:

I used some pre-made custom sticker sheets and enlisted the help of a fellow collector with much steadier hands and much more patience to apply them.  Here is the finished Thundercracker:

Here is my finished Skywarp:

And for comparison, here is the SDCC Starscream:

Here are the three seekers lined up.  Don't get me wrong, I think the SDCC Starscream is a fantastic toy, but I knew I had to make my own after seeing the three of them together.  

I liked the foil finish I got with my custom sticker sets, plus they had a shared style which was not present with the SDCC Starscream.  Fortunately one of my friends needed the Starscream and I had another Skystriker!  I painted the tail fins blue and got the appropriate stickers:

These guys look much better matched with each other.

Finally, here's a shot of my Skywarp with the corresponding Masterpiece figure.  I think they look great together even if the purples don't quite line up.  Yes, I do use these as matching figures - you can either go with the increased density in robot mode or mass-shunting theories if you feel the need to explain away the difference in size between robot and alt modes.  Fortunately I'm not too worried about that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Warpath Custom Joe-scale Alt-Mode

When I got done with my recent Powerglide custom I caught a bit of the Joe-former bug. Here is what I did to make my Joe-scale Warpath custom. I started off with a custom tank that I bought off of eBay fairly cheap:
This was in itself a fairly cool vehicle. I liked the idea of making a Warpath better than keeping this as is though.
Here are the two base vehicles - the turret from a vintage MOBAT, the rest from the Marauder's Equalizer. (both of which I happen to have examples of)
Here I'm testing out parts to get more of a Warpath look. That's the very cool Transformers Generations Warpath figure there. I quickly concluded that the weapon and support on the left looked horrible and replaced it.
The weapon supports and the weapon on the right are the jetpacks from a POTF2 Deluxe Boba Fett figure - two of them chopped up for these. The rocket firing weapon on the left is from... some Joe figure pack-in I think. Dunno.
Here he is assembled after the Mauler Skirts came in the mail. Oh yeah, the muzzle is from a Clone Trooper pack-in radar dish or something. I'm not totally in-love with it and may replace that someday.
Disassembled, washed and ready for priming!
Painted! I used silver for the treads, the same red from my Powerglide custom, and left the flat gray primer on the weapons.
All the parts laid out for assembly.
The main body assembled.
Turret parts.
Final assembly!
Here are some comparison shots with the actual Warpath figure. No stickers yet.
And with stickers. I used a combination of Mauler, MOBAT, and Autobot sigil stickers, all from
And that's all there for this guy - what do you think?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Powerglide A-10 Custom Joe-scale Alt-Mode

After the SDCC Starscream "Joe-former" release I knew that I'd have to start making some similar vehicles to explore that niche-itch. Here is my take on the Powerglide A-10 as a GI Joe sized vehicle. I forgot to take a before picture so here's someone else's picture of the same base vehicle. It was a BBI Combat something or other that I picked up on clearance at Target sometime in 2005 or 2006.
Here he is taken a part and washed (he got dusty after all those years).
I hadn't done a vehicle custom in quite some time so I wanted to try my hand at brush-painting this guy rather than spray paint. This was ultimately a mistake, but a mistake I feel like I need to experience on my own. Here he is primed with a gray paint.
I actually liked the color this came out, but the texture was off and it was very flat. This is a mock-up after the first coat of paint just to see how I was coming along.
Here is assembled after his second coat of paint and with a 25th Anniversary Wild Weasel for scale.
I fairly quickly realized that I would need to spray paint this bad boy as the brush job just didn't cut it. I taped off the gray parts.
After the first coat or so (you can see Skywarp and Thundercracker in the back there).
Here he is all assembled and ready for the final touches.
Another shot.
This is after I applied the Autobot sigils and stood the pilot custom - Buster Witwicky next to Powerglide.
Finally here several completed shots after Sgt Humpty lent his abilities to apply the remaining stickers. I used a combination of ME Skystriker stickers, a sheet from a Power Team Elite F-18, and Autobot symbols from That is the Transformers Generations Wal-Mart G1 color variant Powerglide Transformer shown with my custom.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Marvel Legends Showdown (aka Superhero Showdown)

I would occasionally use the Wikipedia article on ToyBiz's SHS - Super Hero Showdown - Marvel Legends Showdown line of 4-inch sized action figures. There was a great checklist for both the figures and the cards that were packed in with them. Recently some Wikieditor decided that he didn't like the checklist in the article and deleted it. I'm still trying to work it out but I don't know what will come of it. Regardless of the final outcome, I'm posting the content here so that it will not be lost entirely. Feel free to check out the entry on Wikipedia ("Marvel Legends Showdown") and post on the discussion page for it support for keeping the information intact. Thanks. Also, please note - I am NOT the author of the following content, rather it is from the good contributors of the original SHS Wikipedia article.

Marvel Legends Showdown
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Marvel Legends Showdown (initially named Marvel Superhero Showdown) is a collectible tabletop game in which the primary component is action figures and cards. It was a collaboration between Upper Deck Entertainment and Toy Biz (Now known as Marvel Toys).

The was played on at least a 3x4 grid of Panel cards. Panel cards broke into two categories; Locations (Places in the Marvel Universe) and Plot Twist (Special events that occurred on that space) The goal was to move around the Panel card grid and knock out your opponents character with Punches, Kicks, or shooting them with an included projectile launchers. Once you did three damage to a character he/she was out. The more characters on each side, the larger the Panel grid had to be. (2 on 2 a 4x4 grid, 3 on 3 a 5x5 grid, 4 on 4 and 6x6 grid and so on)

It was released in 2005 with two starters and two waves of five boosters each. The set was renamed Legends Showdown to tie it in to the popular Marvel Legends figures. The first two starters and booster sets were re-released with the new name, plus 2 new starters, 3 rider packs, and two new waves of boosters (Though these two waves 3 and 4 had limited release, seen in comic shops and KayBee Toys shelves rarely). Toy Biz changed its name to Marvel Toys and then sold the rights to all Marvel action figure properties to Hasbro. Marvel Legends Showdown was not one of the product lines that transferred over.

The Starters included 2 figures, 2 projectile launchers, 3 power cards for each figure, 12 Panel cards, and 2 dice.

Boosters included a figure, a projectile launcher, 3 power cards for that character, 3 random power cards for other characters in the set, and 1 panel card.

All characters had at least 6 Power Cards, but some may have had up to 10 or 12! (Spider-Man had 3 different figures, starter Spider-Man had cards 1-3, Black Costume Spider-Man from the Booster had cards 4-6, and sometimes had cards found only in the boosters.)


Starter Wave 1

Spider-Man vs. Thing
Hulk vs. Wolverine

Booster Wave 1

Berserker Wolverine (chase)
Black Costume Spider-Man
Doctor Octopus
Ghost Rider
The Punisher
Booster Wave 2
Captain America
Dr. Doom
Human Torch
Iron Man
Spider-sense Spider-Man (chase)
Rider Wave 1
Ghost Rider on Motorcycle
Namor on Hammerhead Shark
Wolverine on Chopper

Starter Wave 2

Magneto vs. Colossus
Mole Man vs. Mr. Fantastic
Booster Wave 3
Green Goblin
Silver Surfer

Booster Wave 4

Invisible Woman

Repaints and Variants

Beast's standard fur colour is blue, but the figure has a grey fur chase variant.
Daredevil's standard outfit is red, but the figure has a yellow and black chase variant.
Elektra's standard outfit is red, but the figure has a white costume chase variant.
Invisible Woman's standard outfit is blue and black, but the figure has a blue and white costume chase variant, as well as a semi-transparent variant.
Mr. Fantastic's standard outfit is blue and white in the starter set, but the figure has a blue and black costume chase variant.

Panel Cards

Wave 1 (Starter Wave 1 and Booster Waves 1 and 2)

P-01 360 Degree Vision
P-02 Acrobatic Dodge
P-03 Armory
P-04 Asgard
P-05 Base of Operation
P-06 Baxter Building
P-07 Blind Alley
P-08 Blindsided
P-09 Burning Mad
P-10 Cerebro
P-11 Daily Bugle
P-12 Danger Room
P-13 Dark Alley
P-14 Doc Ock's Lab
P-15 Earthquake!
P-16 Find Weakness
P-17 Flurry of Blows
P-18 Graveyard
P-19 Gust of Wind
P-20 Handy Weapon
P-21 Huge Target
P-22 Leg Sweep
P-23 Medical Attention
P-24 Mindless Attack
P-25 Muir Island
P-26 Mystical Transformation
P-27 Not So Fast
P-28 Outnumbered
P-29 Rejuvenation
P-30 Revenge Strike
P-31 Road Block
P-32 Stop Time
P-33 Super Punch
P-34 Teleportation
P-35 Victory Stance
P-36 War Room

Wave 2 (Starter wave 2, Rider sets, Booster Waves 3 and 4)

P-37 Absent Friends
P-38 All in Due Time
P-39 Armed to the Teeth
P-40 Avalon Space Station
P-41 Body Blow
P-42 Boulder Toss
P-43 Caught Off-Guard
P-44 Come to Me!
P-45 Desperate Measures
P-46 Double Trouble
P-47 Field Dressing
P-48 Genosha
P-49 Hostage Situation
P-50 Meditation
P-51 Mega Punch
P-52 Nerve Center
P-53 New Fantastic Four Building
P-54 Parry
P-55 Phoenix Rising
P-56 Pride
P-57 Reed's Underwater Lab
P-58 S.H.I.E.L.D. Base
P-59 Sabotage
P-60 Sanctuary
P-61 Smash!
P-62 Strength in Numbers
P-63 Surge of Power
P-64 Surprise Attack
P-65 Knee Strike
P-66 The Dojo
P-67 The Maelstrom
P-68 Uncontrollable Rage
P-69 Underground Base
P-70 Underwater Arena
P-71 Brute Force Attack
P-72 Weapons Locker

Power Cards


BST-01 Acrobat
BST-02 Feral Rage
BST-03 Super-Leap
BST-04 Genius
BST-05 New Perspective
BST-06 True Blue Friend

Captain America

CAP-01 Retrieve
CAP-02 Ricochet
CAP-03 Shield Bash
CAP-04 Leadership
CAP-05 Shield Defense
CAP-06 Tactics


COL-01 Organic Steel
COL-02 Stand Firm
COL-03 Strength of Character
COL-04 Fastball Special
COL-05 Self-Sacrifice
COL-06 Transformation


CYC-01 Defensive Blast
CYC-02 Optic Blast
CYC-03 Surprise Attack
CYC-04 Leadership
CYC-05 Overload
CYC-06 Revenge


DAD-01 Baton Strike
DAD-02 Heightened Senses
DAD-03 Sonar
DAD-04 Amazing Agility
DAD-05 Man Without Fear
DAD-06 Swing Line
DAD-07 Blind Luck

Doc Ock

DOK-01 Dangerous Experiment
DOK-02 Tentacles of Fury
DOK-03 What are the Odds?
DOK-04 Easy Eight
DOK-05 Four-way Attack
DOK-06 Idle Hands

Dr. Doom

DRD-01 Plan B
DRD-02 The Power Cosmic
DRD-03 Reign of Terror
DRD-04 Decoy Program
DRD-05 Mystical Confusion
DRD-06 Mystical Fog


ELK-01 Crossed Blades
ELK-02 Double Sai Strike
ELK-03 Waiting in Ambush
ELK-04 Concentration
ELK-05 Mystical Training
ELK-06 Group Tactics
ELK-07 Contract
ELK-08 Counterstrike

Ghost Rider

GHR-01 Chain Attack
GHR-02 Relentless Assault
GHR-03 Revenge
GHR-04 Burn Rubber
GHR-05 Penance Stare
GHR-06 Vengeance
GHR-07 Burning Mad
GHR-08 Road Warrior
GHR-09 Spirit of Vengeance
GHR-10 (Unconfirmed)

Green Goblin

GRG-01 Strike From Above
GRG-02 Flight
GRG-03 Pumpkin Bomb
GRG-04 Hostile Takeover
GRG-05 Inner Struggle
GRG-06 Paranoia


HLK-01 Crushing Blow
HLK-02 Getting Angry
HLK-03 Super-Leap
HLK-04 Hulking Out
HLK-05 Hulk Smash!
HLK-06 Rush of Adrenaline

Human Torch

HMT-01 Flight
HMT-02 Heat Wave
HMT-03 Nova Flame
HMT-04 Cosmic Radiation
HMT-05 Flaming Aura
HMT-06 Nova Burst

Invisible Woman

IVW-01 Force Bubble
IVW-02 Flight
IVW-03 Enraged
IVW-04 Stealth Strike
IVW-05 Force Field
IVW-06 Invisibility
IVW-07 Shockwave
IVW-08 Psionic Blast

Iron Man

IRM-01 Focused Blast
IRM-02 Jet Boots
IRM-03 Power Strike
IRM-04 Recharge
IRM-05 Energy Shield
IRM-06 Wide Beam


JUG-01 Flying Tackle
JUG-02 Mystical Energy
JUG-03 Smash!
JUG-04 Appetite for Destruction
JUG-05 Steamroller
JUG-06 Unmasked
JUG-07 Invasion
JUG-08 Reckless Charge


MAG-01 Flight
MAG-02 Magnetic Personality
MAG-03 Magnetic Force
MAG-04 Entangle
MAG-05 Leadership
MAG-06 Twisted Metal

Mole Man

MOM-01 Bojutsu Strike
MOM-02 Burrowing
MOM-03 High Ground
MOM-04 Sewer Surprise
MOM-05 Sinkhole
MOM-06 Summon Monster

Mr. Fantastic

MRF-01 Brilliant Mind
MRF-02 Framistat
MRF-03 Stretch Attack
MRF-04 Far-Reaching Plans
MRF-05 Long-Range Grab
MRF-06 Twisted Dodge


NAM-01 Flight
NAM-02 Force of Will
NAM-03 Shark
NAM-04 (Unconfirmed)
NAM-05 (Unconfirmed)
NAM-06 (Unconfirmed)


PUN-01 Extra Ammo
PUN-02 Outgunned
PUN-03 Punishment
PUN-04 Cover Fire
PUN-05 Dual Sidearms
PUN-06 Fully Loaded

Silver Surfer

SIS-01 High-Speed Turn
SIS-02 The Power Cosmic
SIS-03 Surf's Up
SIS-04 Cosmic Awareness
SIS-05 Molecular Control
SIS-06 Tireless Warrior


SPM-01 Spider Strength
SPM-02 Web Shooter
SPM-03 Web Slinging
SPM-04 Alien Symbiote
SPM-05 Come To Me!
SPM-06 Spider Reflexes
SPM-07 Sticky Situation
SPM-08 Altered Genetics
SPM-09 Spider Senses
SPM-10 Wall Crawling


THG-01 Batter Up!
THG-02 It's Clobberin' Time!
THG-03 One-Two Punch
THG-04 Charge!
THG-05 Rock Solid
THG-06 Stomp!


THR-01 Divine Protector
THR-02 Hammer Time
THR-03 Mjolnir
THR-04 Flight
THR-05 God of Thunder
THR-06 Retrieve


VNM-01 Keen Senses
VNM-02 Rage
VNM-03 Web Slinging
VNM-04 Fear
VNM-05 The Symbiote
VNM-06 Tongue Lashing


WLV-01 Combat Reflexes
WLV-02 Healing Factor
WLV-03 Snikt!
WLV-04 Berserker Rage
WLV-05 Deep Wound
WLV-06 Nasty Surprise
WLV-07 Heightened Senses
WLV-08 Intense Training
WLV-09 Chopper
WLV-10 In One Swing
WLV-11 Shrug It Off
WLV-12 (Unconfirmed)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Quick Guide to Listing on eBay (Sept 2011)

My cousin asked for some information about listing on eBay. I just wrote up the following for him and thought that someone else out there may also find it useful. Of course, I'd love any feedback - not just to this entry but also to eBay listing, selling, buying, etc.

Listing an auction:

General thoughts. I do a large volume of sales so I tend to make my listings generic and then put the specific information in the title and with the picture/s of course. Then, when I list the next item I can choose "list a similar item" and all of my previous information is already saved. When I do a round of listing, then a few days later list more, I can either choose an active listing or a completed listing and select "sell a similar item" from that as well. That way I rarely have to re-enter all the following crap every time.

Auction vs fixed price. I generally like to list at a "fixed price" and then allow bidders to make an offer. I'm surprised at how many people simply buy out-right rather than make an offer first and try to save a buck or two. Oh well, works out for me. Auctions work better for very rare, very popular, or unique (custom) items. There's little to go on to form an idea of a good price for those items as they vary so wildly or there's no comparison available. With my fixed price listings, I can easily search completed items of the thing I'm selling, sort by Highest first, then use a dollar amount usually just under the highest completed auction. That's typically a good starting point for haggling. Haggling is a fine art and I'll let you figure out how do it so that it works for you, but if I have time I'll make some notes about it later on.

The listing itself:

Pick a category. You can pick an additional category, for an additional charge, but I never have. People that want what I'm selling know how to put an adequete search together.
If I'm listing something simple and popular - ie GI Joe, well it's not a problem to pick the right category. If I'm selling something not quite as popular, I'll search completed auctions for the same or similar item and see what they were listed under.

Title. We now have some extra characters available so we can be a little wordy, but I still find it best to clearly state the name/title of the item and the line it comes from in addition to keywords someone searching for it might use. Additionally, I put the item name itself in CAPS to draw attention.
Good: "GI Joe Pursuit of Cobra ROCK VIPER moc POC 25th"
Bad: "rock viper carded"
I don't recall a time that I've used a subtitle - same as additional category.

Condition. People actually use this, but I'm old-school and expect all information I need in the description. Anyway, I ran into some problems and learned - only use New if it is literally new in a box or on a card. Whenever in doubt, just put used as a default.

UPC. only use this if you're selling media - CDs, DVDs, books, etc.

Item Specifics. I don't use this. Some customers might, but with the number of auctions I list I'm not taking the time to change this setting for every listing.

Pictures. I typically post only one picture (free) for the vast majority of my items. I'll post a second picture (0.15) if I'm posting a custom or special item. Generally, for me, that first picture is a very bare-bones picture. It shows the item with all accessories, cardback, box, whatever that it will come with. I usually through in a ruler or tape measure so that idiots don't constantly ask me how fucking tall it is! (sorry, I used to get that question all the damn time). Anyway - the second picture shows the item in comparison to other, similar items. So if I'm selling a custom GI Joe, I'll put him in an action pose with normal figures so the buyer can get a feel of how it will look in their displays. NOTE: it's very important to state in the auction description what is included/not included. Even with that I've had idiots buy a custom thinking they were getting the five figures AND the custom figure in the first picture. Still happens once in a while.

Item description.

This is an example from one of mine:
This auction is for the DC Direct figure shown here. The figure is in good, non-played with condition.

This figure is fits in with other DC Direct 6 inch figures as well as Mattel's DC Superhero Classics and DC Universe Classics figures.

Shipping for this auction is $8.00. I will combine shipping - please wait for invoice.

NOTE: I will take a dollar off of shipping if you don't want the card shipped, just let me know after purchase and I'll send out an updated invoice.

Payment is due in 3 days of auction's end. Note: in accordance with new eBay rules I can only accept Paypal for payment. Only US bidders please - no international bids. If you have any questions, please ask and be sure to check out my other auctions for more action figures!
I occasionally get people asking if they can pay with cashier's checks or money orders because it's not actually against the rules to accept them, but it messes with my business process so I don't. You can if you're cool with that, but it takes more time and opens you up to potential fraud.
I do a general one- or two-line description of the batch of figures I'm listing. I imagine you'll want to be more descript with your stuff. It's up to you. Certainly with a custom you'll want to describe it quite a bit.
Listing the shipping charge is redundant, but I like to do it anyway. Mention that you'll combine shipping and so on.
In this batch I had loose figures that I saved the cardbacks for and was including it by default. If the buyer didn't want it I'd charge less shipping because it is easier and often slightly cheaper to ship without the cardback.
According to eBay you can file a "non-paying bidder alert" 4 days after payment hasn't been received. Do this as soon as you can. If the deadbeat hasn't paid right away, this MIGHT get them to make good sooner. I don't accept non-US bidders because frankly it's a huge pain in the ass to get international shipping done right and estimated correctly. I get flak for this, but it's my business and I try to make it as easy to run as possible.

Listing Designer. I ignore that flashy stuff, but if you want to play with it, I don't think it hurts your listings... much.

"Choose how you'd like to sell your item"
This is where you select auction vs fixed price and time periods. I'm a power-seller and top-rated seller so I get a few discounts in different ways. You'll have to find a good mix of settings and starting prices that meet your comfort level and yet still are profitable.
Like I said I do about 80% fixed price and allow best offers. I don't typically put in automatic thresholds for accepting/denying.

Duration. Go for as long as possible. for fixed, do 30 days, auctions, do 7 if you can. I think that auctions ending on a weekend do better than those on a week day so you can do 5 or 7 based on when you list so that the end falls on a weekend. for the fixed it doesn't matter when it ends because people can just buy it any time. I think there's an extra fee for 10 days so I don't do that. I just list it 3 days later. I'll occasionally use a scheduled start time but mostly just as a place-holder for an auction. If I have time to write up an auction on Friday, I'll put in a scheduled start time of late sunday, then when I have a moment Sunday morning or Saturday afternoon or whatever, I edit the "pending" auction for an immediate start and don't get charged the scheduling fee. It's a little trick to save an auction for later and not pay for it. At least I think this still works.

Payment. I accept paypal only. You click the box and put in your paypal email address. I don't currently use the "immediate payment required" for the buy it now, but with all the deadbeat bidders/buyers I've been thinking about it. I'm not sure the best way to go about combined shipping discounts then, but oh well - it's in-development for me for now.

Shipping details. This is where you set up the shipping rates. If you can give a sure-fire weight then you can use this to estimate exact shipping fees. I like to just put a flat shipping rate out there. Sometimes I pay more, some less, but it usually works out in the end. Be sure to put a handling time in. I put two days, but I'm experienced and know I have all the materials I could possibly need to ship an item readily at hand. I suggest you put down 4 days probably until you get the hang of it. Oh, you can put in rules for shipping discounts, but I always do that manually. It might help get a little more business if I did it automatically as the customers can see exactly what will happen, but my customers seem happy enough without it.

International shipping
. I put "none" and recommend you do too, at least at first until you get the hang of the whole process.

Buyer requirements.
I put the most restrictive stuff on there as possible as far as buyers with unpaid item strikes, negative feedback, and countries that I don't ship to.

Return Policy. Put what you're comfortable with in here. Be aware that people are awfully creative with returns though. I sold a mint comic, guy returned another comic of lesser condition in its place but I couldn't prove it and had to refund the original amount. I don't refund the original shipping charge unless it's my mistake and I don't pay for return shipping.

Additional Checkout instructions. This gets sent with the invoice so I put in the whole "Payment is due within three days of auction's end." and Paypal only stuff.