Customizer of the Month- February 2009- Brian Leitner
Name: Brian Leitner

CM: Any Personal Info you are willing to share: (married? Kids? Pets? Occupation? Where from? Other hobbies,/Interests?).

BL: I'm single, born and living in Michigan. I like to draw and paint some. I fell like an old fogey these days but I use to practice Karate and been sky diving a couple times.

CM: How did you get started collecting mego?

BL: In the early 70's I was on vacation in New York with my family and we went to Macy's and Superman, Batman and Robin were on the shelves there. I was awed at them. At the time I thought it was a New York thing but was happy to learn they were available in the Mid-west too.

CM: What is your favorite original mego figure and line?

BL: The Super-Heroes for sure. Spiderman is so cool and simple in the way they did him. For whatever reason they did him without mittens, which is good.

CM: What is, in your opinion, the biggest "hole" in mego's original lines. (what figure or figure line is missing that should have been done).

BL: Flash Green Lantern and a Robin in 7 inch scale. It always bugged me that Robin was taller than the Titans. And then they teased us by putting GL on the Hall of Justice playset. A Lost In Space would have been great. Still would.

CM: What motivated you to start customizing?

BL: Flash and GL. I did customs of both as a kid. GL, which I have a blurry pic of, is made with Green Arrow torso with Batman arms and legs crudely sewn on. A Tarzan head with a mask made from a green marker and whiteout for his eyes. Flash was a Shazam suit and a cowl made from aluminum foil painted with red enamel model paint. As an adult there was a pic in Wizard of the Legion of Superheroes made with 60's era Barbies and GI Joes. It started to give me the customizing bug. I started on Barbies then Famous Covers and on to Mego.

CM: What was your first custom?

BL: It was Solar: Man of the Atom on a Flash Gordon body which made in onto Wizard (before there was Toyfare). It took 9 hours to make a red body suit. I was exhausted. I used paper mache for the mask and cardboard for the visor.

CM: How did it come out? (looking back on it now)

BL: Looks good in the pic. Not so good up close. Rough stitching and a bumpy head.

CM: What have you done/learned that has improved your customizing skills?

BL: A lot of practice, trial and error, playing around and some luck. Sometimes stumbling on the right head or material or accessory makes a figure work. Tips and tricks from others makes a ton of difference too.

CM: What areas of customizing is your strongest points, or favorite things to do?

BL: Coming up with a design for suits and the sewing order. Especially on more complicated characters. It’s always fun when a plan comes together.

CM: What resources make it easier for you as a customizer? (is there a source for parts? Information? Etc. that aids you more than anything else?).

BL: Mego Museum,some nick-nack found in a store all come into play. And other customizers: Laurie, Austin, Russ, Ed, Paul Clark/Clare/Evans, Dave, Anthony and others have all helped with many, many customs.

CM: What is your favorite custom you've done and do you think it's your best work? If not, what do you think is your best work?

BL: Captain Marvel JR stands out because nothing had to be painted and nothing resin cast. Like he came from a store. Galactus: because of the cool head from Russ and his large size and Harley Quinn which came out real nice. Phoenix also works as a Mego.

CM: Why do you choose the projects you choose?

BL: Some are figures I want to see (Flash GL), some come from finding the right head and many are requests from people (Deathlok, Elektra)

CM: What are your favorite customs others have done and why?

BL: I hate to start naming people because there’s no way to remember everyone but Captain Mego’s Iron Man with the removable mask is just too cool. Blackknight has a sharp look to his customs. I like group pics and the TV/Movie collection that Lou put together is neat. I also like Laurie’s monster and hero figures. There is a lot of detail in her clothes and painting.

CM: What is on your "to do" list in the near future?

BL: Jonny Quest has been on my work table for a while. More Invaders, Avengers, Green Hornet, Captain Atom and many others are on there too.

CM: How do you think customizing affects the mego collecting hobby?

BL: Since there’re so many new figures coming out now that this may change but I think it keeps a buzz going. It’s something new to talk about and wish for about.

CM: Any tips or words of customizing advice to new customizers?

BL: Start small. Whether it’s working with resin or sewing, try simple things first and build from that. Try something even if you don’t know it will work because most times you’ll learn something useful from it. And ask others, there is a ton of info out on the web.

CM: Do you sell custom figures or parts? If so, why?

BL: Yes, because people starting asking me. It’s a challenge when someone says “Can you do……?”. Like a puzzle to solve. I’m happiest when I’m creating something.

CM: What does your family/friends think of your mego custom work/hobby?

BL: Most people don’t get it. If I try to explain it I get that ‘glazed’ look. Some family members think the heads and bodies lying around are creepy. A few discerning minds find them cool.

CM: Thanks for your time Brian!

BL:Thanks to everyone who helped, taught, supplied, traded and or guided me.