speaks to Kevin Lange . . .
When did you start creating
your boxes, and what interested you in
I have been creating custom boxes for about 4-5 years now, I was just
sitting around one day after I purchased my first Bumblejumper and
it would be sorta nice to have a package just for Bumblejumper with his
and art. I started with the Idea of doing just a cardback and realized
there would be no way to attach the toy to the card so I came up with
Idea of making a box just like the originals only smaller so I could
styrofoam insert into it and make it displayable. From then on the idea
born and adapted into everything I have created. The custom toys didn't
actually start until 2 years later.
Where do some of the creative ideas come from for your inspiration?
It's really weird, Ideas for my customs just sorta came into play as I named the
toy, For example Vision was named first and from that point he gained a story
and later down the road he gained the one enemy that could stop him Spirit.
I also had help from online friends or special requests that made my inventory
of customs grow. I also have numerous customs that just are rare repaints that
you can't get for under 600.00
How long does a custom box design take to make?
Well the Design is pretty easy, once you have it thats all you need. Unless
you need a new size for a larger toy than it takes a little time to size and
redo art to fit that size as a reasonable Resolution. If you have the right
size of box already made just adding Pics of toy and art only takes about a
What kind of materials do you use in making your custom boxes?
Just basically your household items Single, doublesided tape, Scissors, Good
Inkjet Printer, Ruler and a little time. You'll also need good knowledge of
how to use Photoshop and QuarkXpress.
You've created a lot of 'one of a kind' Transformers—can you tell us about your first kitbash, who was it, what did
you feel worked well, what not, etc? What did you learn in the process?
My First Custom was of Rip-Tyde, (A Blue Redco Camshaft). At first I was pretty
skeptical about custom toys cause you think why would you want to destroy a
piece of history like that, but if you think about it, if it wasn't for the
plastic parts, transformers are Painted diecast Toys.
My Airbrush opened a new
door of creativity. I really loved how it turned out and from that point ideas
just kept popping into my head of what I could do next. I really liked what
smooth surface the airbrush left unlike paintbrushing that leaves paintbrush
marks and messy fingerprints if your not careful. I really disliked the fact
that some of the joints became glued together with transformation. Well after
I realized what effects paint had with no clear coat I started experimenting
with Clear Coats, Taping off certain areas for less joint rubbing and even using
stickers as a cover from paint wear in rubbing joints. This experimenting has
gained me about 10-15 Custom toys that have little to no transfomation wear.
Where did you learn to paint professionally? Did you take any classes, or
learn through trial and error?
I had take a class in High school for airbrushing, but it was mainly just for
painting pictures. All my painting has been taught through Trial and Error.
What materials for paint, stickers etc do you find
work best for your kitbashes?
The Paint I use is Enamel Testors Model Master, some colors need to be
thinned out for best results. I do know some people use other brands
other forms of paint, I guess its all just what works best. I have
that your normal matte stickers work the best for customizing your own
stickers and Waterslide gloss decals work great for Hooded detail like
flames or bullets. Waterslide Decals look the nicest and don't peal up
regular stickers but they take a long time to heal so they can be
water and not bleed.
Do you have any projects in the works?
Yes of Course I always do. I have a botcon exlusive in the works for
Decepticon Matrix, but I can't give anything away. And I just finished
exclusive Psycho custom for Snarl's Homepage.
Which grade of toy do you like to use? Have you
ever customized or restored an old toy?
I mostly stick with Reissues because there are no defects in Diecast or
plastic so you get the best quality custom. Also the reissues are so
easier to acquire. With the reissues I can offer the toy at a cheaper
I do have a couple customs that have not been reissued such as Vector
(Wheeljack redeco) and Spirit (Mirage redeco). Don't do any restoring
toys just new creative ideas and characters.
How much time from start to finish do you spend on
any given project? Do you work on several different
projects at the same time, or do you focus on one
project, and when it is complete do you move onto the
I usually have about 3-6 Projects in progress whether it be making a
Character or completing a order for an old one. I found it is easier to
combine spray time for projects with similar colors. The spraying is
fast easy part, cleaning the airbrush after each color is what takes a
little time. The altering of the art and getting all the digital stuff
more time than actually painting it, unless of course the character is
already done than it is just a matter of printing and folding together
What would your advice be for other fans out there
who want to make their own customized Transformers?
Try it and don't be skeptical cause it will turn out better than you
if you give it a little time and patience.
Mirage's Boxes: http://www.angelfire.com/ia2/lange/
TFArchive would like to thank Kevin for taking
time in his schedule to answer our questions.