How to Make Custom 12 Inch Action Figures

Written by tad cronn
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Creating a custom 12-inch action figure will stretch your creativity like few other hobbies. Depending on your vision for your custom action figure, you will need skills in sculpting, painting, sewing and plain old scavenging. Most projects start with a base figure, which can be a stripped down old toy or bought from a craft store. As you get into customising more figures, you'll want to keep a box for spare parts to use in your projects, as well as a toolbox for your paints, brushes, knives, glue and other materials.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 12-inch action figure
  • Spare action figure parts
  • Action figure accessories
  • Craft knife
  • Plastic glue
  • Enamel hobby paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Fixit Sculpt
  • Sculpey clay
  • Polythene plastic sheeting
  • Fabric
  • Needle
  • Thread

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  1. 1

    Remove any parts from your base figure you don't want to use and attach new parts. Most action figures work on similar joint systems, usually some sort of ball or peg that can be snapped into place. You may need to modify a joint by trimming or sculpting with your craft knife, or you may need to carefully glue parts together without gumming up the moving pieces.

  2. 2

    Attach any "body"-type of accessories that you want to use, such as pieces of armour, belts, jet packs, goggles and anything else that will be permanently mounted on the figure. Use glue if they don't stay on by themselves.

  3. 3

    Create new parts and features with either Sculpey or Fixit Sculpt clays. Sculpey needs to be baked to cure, so don't use it to modify your action figure's body, because you can't put the plastic figure in an oven. Use it for weapons, tools and other parts that can be attached later. For modifications directly to the body or face, use Fixit Sculpt, which hardens by itself in several hours.

  4. 4

    Cut out flat prop pieces with a knife from the polythene plastic sheeting. The sheeting is good for creating things like laser beams, emblems, swords and furniture props. Glue the pieces together or to your figure as needed.

  5. 5

    Paint details on your figure. This step is only limited by your vision. You can paint skin, facial features, hair, armour and weapon details.

  6. 6

    Cut and sew any cloth items needed to finish your action figure. Depending on your skill with a needle, you may want to create capes, boots, gloves, trousers or shirts.

Tips and warnings

  • These same techniques apply to other sizes of action figures.
  • Visit garage sales and thrift stores to find action figures that can be dismantled for parts and used in your customisation projects.

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