STEP ONE: CHOOSE YOUR POISON
I intend to kitbash a Vietnam-Era soldier using the base uniform ("tiger stripe"-print) of this Elite Brigade-figure which i've picked-up @ a huge discount (SGD$5)
One of the fun aspects of kitbashing (for me anyways) is the spotting of "potientiality" for kitbashing-fodder. this entire figure might not mean much when you first set your eyes on it - in fact it looks downright sad, as compared to current hyper-detailed+realistic standards of the 1/6th-scale hobby today (no offense to EliteBrigade-collectors, mind) - but to me, there are parts which can be used (*one man's poison is another collector's manna from toy-heaven*)
And as long as the cost justifies the purchase (you decide on that yourself :p) = then it's all good!
BUT remember the rule of toy-thumb: "Kitbashing will always inevitably cost more than getting an original boxed figure".
STEP TWO: DECISIONS, DECISIONS
I decide what i want to keep and what i don't, from the initial figure. again, this might be trial-and-error from after buying the figure. so do your research** carefully before buying and know what it is you're buying and what you intend to do with them ... altho my mantra (which will lead to my eventual downfall) is: "if it's cheap, why not buy it first? sure got use later one!" *sigh*
Dun be like uncle me, yah? know what you're buying before you do :)
**Research - may mean checking out different shops and retailers (for price comparison), different existing products and items (brand integrity, quality of tailoring, accessories etc) and/or even feedback on toy-forums. Check from "brands" down to their individual products - to easier categorize and to eventually source out what you want/need.
STEP THREE: CHOOSE WISELY MAH SON!
I've then decided to use another base-action-figure, which is this (Dragon Figure/DML) "Wesley Snipes"-lookalike; that is more articulated then the previous dude and much better looking too :p
(*Articulation* or points-of-articulation, means how many joints in the toy-body can be moved/swivelled. less articulation, ie: Barbies - are less desirable. more articulation means can execute more poses)
Modern articulation in this day and age ranges up from 30+ over points of articulation (Hot Toys etc), down to the basic 6 points-of-articulation in a Ken doll. (Neck, both arms, both legs and possibly a hip swing).
Each and every collector has their own preference of figures and materials, subject to spending power and ingenuity, IMHO. I might like this headsculpt but others might not, or some would trumpet the virtues of a Hot Toy-figure articulation. again, all is valid - to each own's opinions. so again, do your "research" first, then decide on your plan of action.
... And besides, he has nice gloves (which of coz is not "era-accurate", but im not know for my accuracy-skills in military-kitbashing, mind *HAH*)
STEP FOUR: PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ
Basic uniform fitted unto the new figure. tis a decent fit! (*phew*) - except for his sleeves = the wrist-sleeve is too big, so i've decided to roll them up instead ~ gives a "tougher-look", no? (*heh*) now all he needs are shoes and a whole lotta other accessories. again, "fit" of uniforms or clothing is subject to the "make" of uniform and the body it is used to dress-in.
there are different types (not too varied sizes tho) of body-forms on the toy market. some are slim-fit and there are some buffed-dudes. trial-n-error comes after experience, unfortunately. (will one day do a feature with photo-comparison of bodies - at a much later date, thanks) online research at toy-forums are encouraged (menu-right) as they are fellow collectors with their own opinions .. but then again, differing folks have differing opinions and "tolerance-levels" ... so nothing beats going out to buy a fig to start for yourself! LOL
STEP FIVE: ALL DRESSED UP AND NO WAR TO GO TO
Soldier-boy is now kitted-out with new primary weapon, gear and back-pack :)
The thing about "kitbashing" is the option of utilizing various parts and accessories from different other brands, to finally form a figure. personally, that is one of the main factors for me: *satisfaction in your own creation* (IMHO, of coz)
STEP SIX: ALL BRANDS ALL DAY
Kitbashing is basically/primarily about mix-n-matching different items from different brands to finally form your "own" version/intepretation of a figure, regardless of genre.
Bash Breakdown: (is what we call the breakdown of individual items in a kitbash)
A. Combat Knife in Sheath set from DML/Dragon
B. Vest-rig and Pouches from DML/Dragon.
C. Torchlight from 21st Century Toys.
D. Smoke Grenade from Hot Toys.
E. Camo-Net from DML/Dragon.
F. Black Combat Knife in Sheath from 21st-Century Toys.
G. M16 Carbine (i think it's called :p) from SideShowToys.
H. Combat Boots from SOTW (Soldiers Of The World)
STEP SEVEN: I REMEMBER THE GOOD OLD DAYS
A. OD-Green rolled-up cloth is actually a 1/6th green tee-shirt, from DML/Dragon.
B. Head-scarf/Camo Net from DML/Dragon.
C. Smoke Grenade from Hot Toys.
D. Parang (Big A$$-Knife) from 21st-Century Toys.
E. Vest-rig and all pouches from DML/Dragon.
F. Gun in Holster from DML/Dragon.
STEP EIGHT: DO IT YOUR OWN SELF
Sometimes you may not get what you want or it is out of your physical or financial reach. no problems - ya just haveta utilize the "toy-survival" skills of yours (honed thru years of kitbashing, no doubt *cough-cough*) and make-up items! ie: the "rolled-up tarp" at back of backpack is actually a 1/6th-tee shirt in OD-green; rolled-up.
A. Foldable Shovel (moulded) from 21st-Century Toys.
B. Smoke Grenades from Hot Toys.
C. OD-Green Backpack - Unknown Brand :p
STEP NINE: STYLE-MAKER DREAM-MAKER
Once you have your (basic) items in place (accuracy notwithstanding, mind), you can actually decide how you want your character to look like. with or without boonie-hat ... with or without facial camo etc ... of coz this could all be decided even prior to start of kitbashing, but somehow the partial joy of adaptation in mid-bash is quite the kick too. altho some might end up in "agony" instead as they go rummaging thru their loose-parts/accessories bin to look for that particular item to complete a look, for which they can't find or don't have ... that is something i've experienced many a times and it is not fun.
A. WITH hat?
B. NO hat?
**Organization of loose parts/accessories is vital to a smooth kitbash process, IMHO :)**
STEP TEN: REBASH+REHARSH
Adaptation of differing styles is also encouraged. why just stick to one type of uniform or look? further mixing-n-matching is always possible, especially if you intend to "upgrade" your figures with whatever new-fangled/detailed parts that might come off the toyshelves. as toy-technology and the curent market gets more and more detailed in their intepretation of gears and weapons, it is surely a never-ending hobby that which is kitbashing :)
A. Fabric/Cloth slip-on gloves from 21st-Century Toys.
B. Gun from DML/Dragon.
C. Blue Denim Jeans from DML/Dragon.
as usual, mondo-more (and bigger-sized) images @my multiply album :p
ROUNDING UP: PROS & CONS
01. satisfying to create your own figure from out of many other parts.
02. sometimes saving money and having your own "poor man's version" of a figure instead, which is not really a step-down, as compared to an off-the-shelf-boxed fig (NOT that there's anything wrong with THAT as well, mind)
01. sometimes it's just frustrating to NOT have a particular loose item that you'd like to complete your bash. either it's too expensive to be bought loose? or it's not available loose in the market, which means you might haveta buy and ENTIRE box to get that item. sounds "foolish"? men have been know to do just that, as long as they know they can sell/get rid of the rest of the loose items, then it is advisable.
02. that having loose parts instead of a pre-bought complete boxed-figure might be more expensive ~ subject to conditions and quality of items/set.
example: my previous kitbashed SWAT-officer costs around SGD$90 (with nude and Saturday Toy's SWAT-set and existing loose primary weapon), as compared to a Hot Toy's SWAT going for a minimum SGD$135 initial shelf-price? quality versus quantity is very subjective to the individual collector, i insist :)
The Next Stage in Kitbashing: Weathering (next feature)
and after all is said and done, you take your pictures and post them for all to see (and critique :p) ... and eventually you'd consider enhancing your figures/poses with photoshop or mayhap a diorama? as long as it's fun = *itz all good!*