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Tools for Customizing Action Figures

Tools for Customizing Action Figures

Jedi Master Luke Skywalker
If the toy you want doesn’t exist, make it. That’s a philosophy that many have had over the years and maybe goes all the way back to the making of toys from the beginning, but the customizing of toys and action figures really seems to have taken off in the 90’s. It hit mainstream when Toyfare featured an article detailing how to create a custom Ash from Army of Darkness. From there this unique hobby has grown both in quantity and quality, to the point where Wired has even written about it.

If you’re going to jump into this hobby, or have been at it for a while and want to get better, you’ll know that you need a fair amount of tools and gadgets to make your figures just right. There are a few blogs like Sithfire’s, who specializes in Star Wars and Alien figures, while Empire Toy Works has taken this to a whole new level with his custom made playsets and figures.

One of his highlights is an amazing Jedi Master Luke Skywalker as he should have been. Sithfire and a few others not only give hints and tutorials, but also in some cases tells you what tools to use. Since we at are one of the largest sellers of tools in the Los Angeles area, we have plenty of options to help you make the toy of your dreams.

velleman vthh5
One of the most helpful things for customizing figures is an extra set of hands to hold things in place while your regular hands do something else. Another helpful piece is a magnifier so you can get in up close and add some details. We stock something that does both. The Velleman VTHH5 and the VTHH3. The VTHH5 is a pretty basic magnifier with holding clips and will be helpful for most jobs, while the VTHH3 does a little more in that it works with a soldering iron for those jobs that need that extra touch and stability.

While your custom figure is under the magnifier, put it under the knife too. X-Acto knives are another essential tool in any customizer’s toolkit and we carry several. We carry several X-Acto style hobby knives that will help cut any figures down to size or help you remove any undesired parts. For other sorts of cutting, we carry many various diagonal cutters including taper headed ones. For fine-tuning some of the details, sandpaper will also help immensely.

Empire Toy Works Custom scenery
For sticking things to your figure and connecting things that were never meant to connect together, there are several products that can help. Glue guns and glue stick refills are the easiest and most obvious, and there are a couple options for glue sticks. We also carry soldering irons for anything metal, or for use in melting parts of figures. Beware of fumes though…

There are other tools that come in handy as well. Heat guns, pliers, multi-tools and more can help you assemble the toyline of your dreams. Be sure to share your creations with us on Instagram and Facebook!
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