Interview: Custom Toy Maker “FrenzyRumble” talks toys!
Forward by Ram Olaño
“Maybe because it was the time, maybe because it was my age, maybe because they were more than meets the eye. Whatever it was, I loved the Transformers from the first moment I saw them. I mean, what little boy doesn’t love robots as it is? And these robots could turn into cars or airplanes or ghetto blasters…come on, whats not to love!? I love all the Transformers from the Autobots to the Decepticons…even the the Dinobots! So when I saw Michael Accardi’s (aka FrenzyRumble) creations online, I instantly fell in love. They took me back to that magical place and time when I really believed that robots could come from outer space, hide among us and save us from the evil forces of the Decepticons. FrenzyRumble’s craftsmanship and attention to detail is amazing, he doesnt miss a thing. All I have to say to RumbleFrenzy is “Thanks”. Thanks for doing what you do, thanks for keeping my childhood intact and a big future thanks for when I finally get one of these bad boys in my hot little hand!”
~ Ram Olaño aka MR77 Contributing writer for Alien Cyborgs.
“FrenzyRumble” talks toys, ROLL OUT!
Custom Toy Maker Michael Accardi takes a minute out of his busy to chat with Alien Cyborgs about his his passion for making custom toys based upon the iconic Hasbro toy line “The Transformers.”
I’m 38 years old
Where are you from?
I was born in Brooklyn, NY. Currently live in New Jersey
Do you have a favorite transformer(s)?
I’m a huge fan of Decepticons and Generation One figures. I grew up collecting these.
What got you into doing this?
While I was working for a web developement company in San Diego, about 6 years ago, I remember seeing “custom Transformers” on ebay fetching nice chunks of money. I said to myself, “I want to try that” and put a custom Leader Class Brawl on ebay. From there, my emails had requests for private commissions pouring in.
Did you go to school for this?
I went to art schools my whole life. I studied commercial illustration and graphic design in college. Still to this day, I try to educate myself with new ideas, techniques and tricks. A strong education in art is important, not only does it create a strong fundamental standard of imagination, it helps teach understanding of exactly what makes art aesthetically pleasing. I’ve spent countless hours in classes JUST to learn good color theory. i’ve also learned a lot in other industries involving art; I’ve worked in graphic design, illustration, sign shops, silk screen shops, and many others. All have taught me many things which I apply to my custom work.
How long he’s been doing this and how long as it taken to “perfect”?
I’ve been doing custom Transformers for about 6 years now. Prior to that, I’ve done many freelance projects and internships including murals, air brushing gigs, freelance illustration, web design and pretty much everything else out there in the artistic field.
Do you do this professionally?
Yes. And it’s VERY difficult. Projects NEVER meet my quality standard, and I often find myself spending more time than expected on a project, which tends to put me back and behind on schedule.
Are these toys, maquettes, models, action figures…what do you call them?
I like to call them action figures, though considering the amount of time and details on each custom I produce, they are also still toys. they can always be played with and posed to create dynamic awesome displays in any collection.
Do you take parts from other models and mash them together to make these amazing replicas?
Constantly. In the customizing industry, we call it “kit-bashing”; taking needed and good parts from multiple toys or models (or just about anythign that “fits” the shape and detail you need, then making them work together. I often find myself finding random pieces and parts in random things around the house or anywhere else unlikely.
I know it may take some time to describe but can you PLEASE give us some insight to the production pipeline? Do you sketch out your inspirations first? We would LOVE to know your steps!
I actually never sketch out my plan or idea. I store it all in my mind. When in the car, or going to sleep at night I come across my ideas. Usually, I determine what is going to be done, then starting early, plan it out. Projects get 100% built to my liking then I apply paint. It’s not good practice to have a completed, painted figure and have to go back to install new hands or fix a joint. Production line is pretty much in this order…Parts/Concept, then construction and fabrication, then painting and details, then photography of the custom, then producing it digitally for the computer.
What is the hardest part of the process? Scale, Details, lights…painting?
Each part has it’s hurdles. There’s always a learning curve. Often “one step forward, 2 steps back” style, no matter how many times I’ve done a similar build or custom, there’s ALWAYS a better way. Electronics (LEDs, sounds, etc) are very tricky, I still have a lot to learn in that realm, but the end result electronics produce is worth it.
How do you create pieces that you need?
Typically, I steal them from existing toys and models. If there’s nothing like what I need; I’ll build the part or parts using styrene (a raw ABS plastic sheet substrate) I also sometimes create molds of needed parts using 2-part rubber molds and epoxy.
What is your favorite piece that you’ve created, which are you most proud?
I don’t really have a favorite, I think all my customs have 1 specific “thing” that I really am proud of and look back at often…it could be something as minor as a detail or joint or style something was done in. I am most ambitious and proud of what I am building at the moment, I get excited for the completed product….and customs that will get done in the future. One particular custom I am proud of is Extinction, I was given the task to re-create the Generation One Dinobots AND have them combine forming limbs and stuff into a huge “combiner” robots. There were many hurdles and times of despair during this project, but in the end, I was happy with the end result.
You are more than an artist…you are a “Maker“, what drives and inspires you?
Lots of things. I HAVE to have music playing in the background. My family is a true support system and inspiration as well. My family has encouraged me to be artistic my whole life.
Do you have any digital skill that help you in your creations?
I use some of the techniques I’ve learned in graphic design for creating my works. Sometimes, I will want to see what direction I will be going with the custom’s paint scheme, so I will digitally colorize an unpainted picture of the custom using Photoshop. I also always use Photoshop to professionally present my customs. I typically use the “color correct” and “auto contrast” features and remove any blemishes in the photo from the background in the pictures.
Do you have a favorite Transformers toy line?
Generation One. Although they were not very articulated or detailed, they will always have a nostalgic value to me. I also am a huge fan of the War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron lines. I absolutely love the movie-verse style, and thing the Cybertron lines were able to mesh a movie-style detailed style with generation one.
Do you like any of the Transformers movies by Michael Bay?
I loved them all! When I was first dating my fiance, she surprised me with red carpet Hollywood premier tickets to the first movie. We got to party with some of the cast and were of the first to see the completed movie! It was a great time! Of the handful of movies I own, all 3 Transformer movies are in there.
Do you know any dialogue or quotes from the 1980′ Transformer cartoon movie?
Of course! I actually saw the ’86 movie in the theater with some friends. I even remember shedding a tear or 2 when Optimus Prime died. Looking back, I think I was even more sad that Megatron was reformatted. Megatron’s my favorite, any dialogue he said in the movie perfectly reflected his character.
Here’s a memorable quote :
Unicron: I have summoned you here for a purpose.
Megatron: Nobody summons Megatron!
Unicron: Then it pleases me to be the first.
Do you collect Transformer Toys and comics…if so, what is your favorite item(s)
I’ve got boxes and boxes of comics, a lot of 80s and 90s series, tons of Image comics, many are signed and sealed up. I also recently started collecting WST (World’s Smallest Transformers) which are great for collectors with limited space! hah.
Do you do commission pieces?
Most of my work is privately commissioned. While I enjoy it immensely, it retains my option to really create characters and ideas that I want to create. At times, I’ll manage to slip in an original creation for ebay. Open commissions are coming to a close for me very soon. I want to focus more of my artistic ability and time to these original works, and let the collectors all have a shot at them through online auctions.
How do you price out your work?
It’s really dependent on the complexity of the project. Lots of factors; material/parts/figure(s) costs, time, etc.
Can you give a short price guide…can you say how much 3 of your favorite pieces for for?
I can’t be specific, but straight “repaints” of smaller characters start around $150 and pricing goes up from there. Complex super-epic customs (such as combiners or heavy-scratch-built pieces) can peak in price up towards $3000.
Where can we go to see your amazing work?
You can find all my work at www.frenzyrumble.com or my Facebook Fan Page. Another great spot to see my customs is my flickr account, where I have hundreds of “galleries” for each custom.
CHECK OUT SOME OF FRENZYRUMBLE’s VIDEOS HERE!
Alien Cyborgs would like to thank FrenzyRumble for taking the time out to chat with us and preserving MR77’s childhood memories.
Please go to his Facebook Page and LIKE his page be sure to share anything there that you like. Tell your friends about Michael Accardi’s (FrenzyRumble) work. Please support the artists that we feature, they are the best at what they do and they need to be recognized and compensated.
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