Customizer of the Month - November 2011 - Tim Dwelle
Name: Tim Dwelle - aka sprytel

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

TD: I am married with 2 kids: a son who is 3, and a daughter who 1 . I live in Richmond, VA and work as a systems architect (which is IT lingo that means that I used to write software, but now I go to a lot of meetings).

CM: How did you get started collecting mego?

TD: I absolutely loved my Megos as a kid, and even managed to hang on to a few of my childhood figures. But they had just been collecting dust in my attic for years. Then one day, I opened the FAO Schwarz catalog and saw this spread for the EMCE Star Trek figure. It just brought back this flood of wonderful childhood memories. My wife got me them for my birthday... and once I held them in my hands again, I was hooked.

CM: What are your favorite original Mego figures and lines?

TD: Captain Kirk and the Star Trek line. When I was little, I wanted to be Captain Kirk when I grew up. Heck, I still want to be Captain Kirk when I grow up!

CM: What are, in your opinion, the biggest "holes" in Mego's original lines? (What figure or figure line is missing that should have been done?).

TD: For specific figures, I'd say Sulu and Chekov. For lines, I would have loved to see Mego do a Speed Racer or a Johnny Quest line.

CM: What motivated you to start customizing?

TD: The Mego Museum. On the site I saw all of these amazing customs and got really excited to try it myself.

CM: What was your first custom?

TD: I put a Super Joe head on a Castaway body and dressed him up. It was the "drawing a stick man" of Mego customs: a custom so simple that literally anybody could do it, regardless of talent. But I loved it (and still do, actually)... and it gave me the confidence to move on to more challenging projects.

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

TD: Before I started customizing, I had never sewn a stitch, or picked up a paint brush, or done anything like this. So this has been (and continues to be) a huge learning experience for me. I just try to improve a little bit each time, and learn from those who are a lot better at this than me.

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

TD: I would have to say the designing and planning stages. I spend a lot of time trying to come up with the right ingredients to capture the character. Most of my projects don't have sculpts or accessories readily available, so you have to get creative. I love to cannibalize old Mego parts, dollar store items, things lying around the house, etc. and to use them for some purpose they were never intended.

CM: Why do you choose the projects you choose?

TD: I know this goes against the grain of most Mego customizers, but there usually isn't much "retro nostalgia" to my projects. Growing up, Megos always seemed on the pulse of pop culture. I was watching Captain Kirk and Batman and Ponch and Fonzie on my television set, and Mego sold me the action figure... It was like there was this strange 8" world where all my favorite characters hung out! So my custom projects tend to reflect my contemporary pop culture obsessions: books, movies, television, videogames.

CM: What resources make it easier for you as a customizer?

TD: The recent 8" revival has been a big help for customizers. Again, the dollar store is a great source for oddball parts. The absolute best resource, of course, is the Museum. There are a ton of great sewing patterns and tutorials on the site, and a great customizing community that is always willing to help and give advice.

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

TD: More Game of Thrones figures. Why did I pick a series with so many major characters?

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

TD: It adds something new and unique into the 1:9 scale universe, which keeps things interesting. Plus, let's be honest, it is really a way for grown ups to channel that urge to "play" with their toys.

CM: What do your friends/family think of your customizing hobby?

TD: Some snicker. I don't blame them... it is kind of an absurd hobby. But for the most part, my loved ones have been incredibly supportive.

CM: What are some of your favorite customs that others have done, and why?

TD: The James Brady and Dave McCormick Trek customs are amazing, and were a big inspiration to me. I love pretty much all of BlackKnight's figures from the Batman universe, especially his Joker. Scott's Swan station playset for "Lost" continues to blow me away. I think what they all share is expert execution, a great attention to detail, and a passion for the subject matter that really comes through in the finished product.

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

TD: Try to get better with each project, and to challenge yourself to do something you have never done before.

CM: Do you sell custom figures or parts? Why, or why not?

TD: No, I just create them for my own amusement.

CM: Anything else you'd like to share?

TD: Thanks for the opportunity to share. I'm proud to be part of the Mego community. You couldn't ask for a better group of people.

CM: Thanks for your participation Tim!!