Masterenglish is the customizer behind my April Fool’s joke this year, a figure of 339/1 in Masters of the Universe Classics style. To find out more about this customizer and his amazing work, I followed up the custom commission with a few questions.
Real Name: Jon English
Base of Operations: masterenglish.deviantart.com/
History: Born in 1764, I started customizing wooden and tin toys available to me through various outlets, including the local general store and blacksmiths. My very first custom was a branch I pulled off of a tree, it seemed much too ordinary so I embellished the branch with trinkets of silver tinsel and ornaments of various colors, soon to become very popular around winter time in what would become known as America of the States United.
1.) Your sculpting skills are amazing. How did you get into action figure customizing?
I originally started doing customs during the hayday of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends. I loved the figures so much, but there were so many characters I really wanted to own I really didn’t see Marvel producing. Pretty much coming from pencil and pen with only minimal sculpting under my belt, I set out to make my own figures, and that was the start of my customizing odyssey.
2) You specialize in Masters of the Universe Classics customs. Why does this line appeal to you?
Before Marvel, before DC, before anything that really registered in my mind as a form of entertainment, I knew He-Man. Other than G.I. Joe, MOTU was pretty much all I ever played with as a kid. It holds a lot of sentimental value for me, and to see MOTUC come to fruition as THE ultimate toyline ever (as far as I’m concerned), the switch from Marvel Legends to MOTUC was just natural!
3) How long have you been a MOTU fan, and what is your opinion of the various eras–vintage, 200X, MOTUC?
I’ve pretty much been a fan since 1984 I think. Having been born in 1980, it’s obvious I can remember the day clearly that I picked up my first MOTU figure in 1984, because it was the very first charge I made on my brand-new credit card. He-Man and G.I. Joe were pretty much the coolest things around, I still remember a huge bargain bin at a department store FULL of Horde Troopers and Spikors when I was like 7. The Spikor’s vest on the toy my mom bought was coming off slightly in one corner, so I turned right around and exchanged it for another one. My very first retail return. Good times.
I am still very much a big fan of the vintage line, still trying to complete (or re-complete) my collection of figures and vehicles. The 200X line was pretty cool, I searched and searched for all of those figs when they came out, I was so stoked to see MOTU re-envisioned. But to be honest, it lost most of its appeal to me after a while. Other than some of the later Stactions (which are ALL amazing!), this line doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. MOTUC is the cream of the crop. This is exactly what I have been waiting for for all these years, the absolute perfection of all the MOTU lines, I just love it!
4.) Can you give an overview of how you go about customizing a figure? (Design, choosing a base, sculpting and what you use for the sculpting, sanding/drilling, painting, etc.)
Well, pretty much before I start on a figure, I know exactly how it’s going to turn out. In most cases, I don’t do any preliminary drawings or anything, it’s usually just all just based on what I can imagine, IF my hands can make it happen. I use epoxy putty for all of my sculpting nowadays. Many customs require multiple stages of sculpting and sanding, sculpting and sanding, etc, etc. Dremel is my number one tool of choice for sanding and shaping, with Tamiya and Games Workshop paints being my faves for color application.
5.) Let’s talk about 339/1. How did you approach this particular project, and were there any specific challenges?
This figure was a most welcome request. To be honest, many of the commissions I take on are of the same figure I have done multiple times, and it becomes somewhat monotonous. 339/1 gave me a chance to do something that I have not, and I’m pretty sure that I will not ever do again. I had a lot of fun! Luckily I had the original bootleg figure, which I heard is worth thousands alone, loose with no accessories! Following the template of this amazing creation, I attempted to recreate this guy with modest improvements, such as button snap wrist bands, and a Wrestling Champion belt to smash all others. OK, so the belt was from another wrestling fig, but it fit absolutely perfect!
The base figure I used was a TRU He-Man supplied by Poe, some sculpting on a Man-At-Arms head to make him bald plus the elf ears and trademark blue hair. After that went to the boots, which were donated by Grizzlor, Dremeled and sanded for the leather boot look. A couple of coats of clear-coat later, one custom designed 339/1 insert label and he was done!