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How to Make a Custom McFarlane Sports Pick
Like many other McFarlane Sports Picks collectors, I wish I could sit at the table when they decide what players are drafted, what setups they have and what uniforms they wear. This is where custom characters come into play. Maybe I can’t influence McFarlane’s decisions, but I can create a custom character of anyone I want!
Simply put, custom figures involve taking an existing figure apart, making changes, painting it, and reassembling it. There are many different ways to do custom. What I have included in these instructions is a combination of my personal experience and that of other modders. Feel free to email me if you feel something important has been left out. I plan to update this page regularly based on the feedback I receive.
Getting custom made for the first time isn’t cheap. The good news is that once you get these things, you probably won’t need to replace most of them for a while. I put approximate prices in parentheses so you can get an idea of the costs associated with placing an order. The best place to get most of this stuff is at an art store like Michael’s. You can also get a lot of this stuff online.
- Brushes – get one or two as small as 10/0 and 5/0 for details and some wider brushes for larger areas ($10)
- Acrylic craft paint kit (usually contains about 32 1/6 oz. of color). This is great for colors you only need a little ($15)
- 2 oz acrylic paints for more frequently used colors ($1 each).
- Testors Primer ($4)
- Micro Scale Decal Solutions: Micro Sol, Micro Set and Liquid Decal Film ($10)
- Testors Gloss Clear Acrylic and Flat Clear Acrylic ($8)
- Sticker paper ($1 per sheet, usually sells at least 20)
- Scissors, masking tape, crazy glue, brush cleaner, Excecto knife, sandpaper, clay and anything else you think you’ll need ($40)
- Image ($10 and up)
- Decide who you want to make and find as many pictures of them as possible. Google and eBay searches are great ways to find pictures, as well as old magazines, sports cards and posters.
- Decide which McFarlane figure you want to paint. A good place to look at pictures of all the characters is on the McFarlane site. Try to match specifics like the style of helmet they wear, wristbands, shoe styles, and anything else that might cause you extra work to add or remove.
- Buy a figure. You can compare figures for sale on eBay, Amazon and SportsLizard.com to find the best deal.
- Open the image and clean it with mild soap and water.
- Decide what you need to unpack in order to paint the character. This varies from pattern to pattern. You want to make sure you can easily paint every visible part of the character. Sometimes this requires a lot of disassembly (football figure head, helmet, facemask, hands, etc.) and sometimes it doesn’t need to be disassembled at all (basketball figure).
- Soak the figure in very hot water to soften the rubber. This way you can remove all the parts you need. An Exceto knife can also be useful here to help remove parts.
- Prime the pattern with a few thin white or gray primers. Be sure to cover the parts you are not going to paint over.
- Paint the character from light to dark, leaving a white spot on any area that needs a sticker. You usually have to apply about three coats of paint to get it looking good. If you need more, do more. A lot depends on the color of the primer and the color you paint.
- Look for numbers and logos on stickers. The best place to find working numbers is the “Logos and more” section of Jomo customs. They have designs for all NFL teams and many teams from other sports. If they have the team you’re looking for, you’re good to go. If not, look at LogoServer to find your team’s logo and use Jomo’s to find a team with a similar letter/number font to the team you’re looking for.
- Create stickers. Use image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop to assemble the images and change the colors if necessary. Be sure to print once in black and white on plain paper to make sure they are the correct size before using the sticker paper.
- Cover the decals with Liquid Decal Film. Make sure you do two or three coats to make sure the colors don’t bleed when the sticker gets wet.
- Cut off the stickersleaving as little space around the image as possible.
- Attach the stickers. Coat the area on the figure with Micro Set before applying. Moisten the back of the sticker paper (either with a brush or by dipping it in water) and slide the sticker into place. Cover the sticker with Micro Sol to soften it and gently push the sticker into any folds or irregular surfaces.
- Paint around the stickers to blend them.
- Put the figure back together. Cut the joints with an Excecto knife to make them fit together better. Use crazy glue if needed.
- Add dirt or grass stains to your body if you want. The best way is to brush it with “dry paint”. This can be done by letting the paint dry on your brush and then brushing the dry paint onto the figure. Be sure to use an old brush when doing this.
- Apply a few coats of Flat Clear Acrylic for all surfaces except stickers and helmets.
- Apply glossy clear acrylic stickers and helmets. You can spray this with a spray bottle or brush gently.
- Make a stand. You can modify the original stand, attach it to a piece of wood (drill holes the same size as the dowels in the pictures) or create your own stand. Some people also like to make custom packaging for their characters. VansCustomFigures can make the packaging for you.
Visit our complete customs guide for more information and images.
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#Custom #McFarlane #Sports #Pick