Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Thursday, 22 May 2014

FrostRod and the Rubbish Customs

My customs are bad, really bad. When the powers that be don't give you a police version of all the Diaclone/Autobot car moulds, it's time to take matters into your own hands. For someone like me with zero customisation, painting or kitbashing talent - but a couple of good ideas - KidKorrupt's old customs were inspiring. Granted my first custom was just a set of Reprolabels, but here is the story of FrostRod and the Rubbish Customs.

Look carefully, Decepticon rubsign. Vintage!

The first one was "Evil Jazz". At the time everyone was making Evil Sideswipes out of G2 Sideswipes using one of the earliest Reprolabels kits. I happened upon a Classic era Generation 1 Jazz that had a Decepticon rubsign. A genuine variant, or factory freak - whatever - nobody really cared. I decided that as Hasbro had started the job, I might as well finish it. A set of Decepticon Jazz Reprolabels later, including custom "PNS CAR" labels (an immature adolescent in-joke between an old friend and I) - from back when you would speak to Aaron "Delta Star" Black at Reprolabels directly and request custom additions, and Evil Jazz was born.

Police Jazz was the first time I'd actually painted a toy, and I tried my hand at masking. The problem was I was massively impatient and completely uncoordinated. The result was not as good as it should have been, but credit to Reprolabels for taking this abomination of a "concept"...

...and actually making a coherent set of old-skool cut-them-out-yourself Reprolabels out of it:

This was a set that I first suggested to Reprolabels and Delta made it for me. After he saw what a good set it was, even half-successful on a poor custom like mine (using a G2 Jazz that I unsealed myself), he offered it as one of his regular special sets, and it's still available today. The original set on my Police Jazz has yellowed, peeled and aged very badly for a toy that was not left on a window sill or sunlight, but it's great to see how far Reprolabels in general, and Delta's company have come since. I'm grateful to him for indulging me in the Police Jazz project, and just how much he would throw in for free back in the day too.

So finally, something I can be really proud of...

Bought at a time when junker G1 Hot Rods were actually a good find for trying to build one on the cheap, the subject of this custom had a screw through the canopy. Perfect custom fodder, and thus FrostRod came to be. Again massive credit is due to Delta of Reprolabels for indulging one of my custom sets once more, and getting it so absolutely right that they make the custom completely.

Even though FrostRod still smacks of impatience and a quick 'n' dirty custom, I did take it apart completely, put things in baggies with labels and spray the sections separately with some effort made to make it look as good as possible with the help of my friend Gabriel. I also did this one outside, not indoors, which for completely obvious reasons is inadvisable! We were insanely proud of FrostRod, especially with the labels applied, but some sanding and lowering of friction between surfaces would have ensured less paint rub and scratching on trouble regions like the sparkly blue thighs. It was years before the reissues hit too, so a perfectly mint Hasbro Commemorative Rodimus Major may have made a slightly better condition base figure.

One needs to know when they've run out of talent, and FrostRod was definitely where mine came to a grinding halt. I still think it's a great concept and would desperately love to see it done right and well - maybe even on a Masterpiece - but for now, I'm happy to confuse those not in the know, nodding "yes" to questions about a mystery prototype! (Photographed from a distance).

All the best


  1. I love the police Jazz custom!

  2. haha, i like this light-hearted-poking fun at yourself post. I'm right down there with you in the lacking-any-talent-for-painting-or-customisation department. So, I completely understand how you feel. and FrostRod is a great acheivement my friend!

    My one little ambition is to one day paint all the eyes of my G1 Autobots a light sky-blue and all the eyes of my G1 Decepticons red. Even this little idea is so daunting to the customisation challenged me that I've had it for 13 years and still not lifted a paint brush yet.........


    1. You must love that so many of the Encore reissues came with blue eyes! Cheers for the kind words, FrostRod looks quite amateur in the flesh but he comes out well in pics :)

      All the best

    2. now that you reminded me, yes! Love it that so many came with blue eyes. Some of the mid-2000s TRU reissues also came with blue eyes too - eg: Grapple.