top of page

How Our Process Works

Many wonder how our custom projects start and progress. This page should answer a lot of those FAQs.
SMArt-Customs- Logo 2016.png
How does our commission customization process work?

When you have a custom project to discuss, we're ready to listen and determine if your project is possible using our skillset. Most likely, it is, but we like to discuss it first to make sure we're a good fit for your project. There are lots of other customizers out there, and some might be better suited for it. We're glad you gave us a chance to look it over. We'll also be happy to share any insights that might help you get your custom project brought to life if we aren't your best fit.

A commission custom project with us typically starts with a sketch, reference pictures, in-game captures, or a detailed description of the character, weapon, cosplay item, or vehicle you want to have a skilled craftsman make. At this discussion, we'll ask questions about your project, so it is best to know most of these basics ahead of time:

  1. timeframes/deadlines for your completed project (quick deadlines can increase the price - flexible deadlines can lower it)

  2. What scale to make it using (i.e. 3.75", 6" 1/6 scale, 1/12 scale, etc.)

  3. What articulation you want in your figure (this would include whether it's an action figure or a statue)

  4. Will it require custom lighting or other electronics (i.e. batteries, plug-in, LEDs, sounds, etc.)

  5. Do you have a preference regarding the materials used (i.e. flexible hair would require Procreate clay)

  6. Your shipping location helps determine timing, limitations, and costs for transit (i.e. international shipping is most costly)

  7. Do you want a display base created to increase the display value (A master diorama is possible at an additional cost)

 

What if you don't know something you need yet?

Don't worry, we know you may not know everything at the beginning of our discussion. We appreciate any answers we get so we can provide a reasonable estimate of your project ASAP. Please understand that we provide ESTIMATES, not QUOTES. There are always unforeseen expenses and setbacks in any custom project. We try our best to remain within the estimated level, but if we run into anything extensive, we let you ahead of time. We don't fudge our numbers to include the unknowns that others might.

What if you want changes?

We often provide options along the way to allow you to improve the design or details fo the project. You make the call and we do the work if you choose to take any options along the way. 

Will you see any project work-in-progress?

We can provide these because we keep you informed throughout the project with Work-In-progress (WIP) pictures and explanations of what's going on.  Our clients LOVE This about SMArt-Customs. We believe you might too.,

 

How did you get started and where did you get your skillset?

I learned the skills I use today under the great scale model masters, Shepard Paine and Francos Verlinden, to name a few. Many of my formative years were spent crafting and making scale military models, cars, aircraft, tanks, military dioramas, battleships, small figures, large vinyl figures, and sci-fi-spacecraft. All of these models require a slightly modified skillset. Learning from the best and practicing those techniques for over 25 years has brought us to where we are today. So just what did I learn from such model masters as Verlinden and Paine? I have learned that detailed weathering of small items must be OVER-done to appear realistic. That being said, it comes down to finding the right mix to ensure one's painting techniques don't overdo those details. It has been a fun process and we love to bring custom projects to life for others.

 

Where have your projects been seen and have you won awards?

As far as where my works have been seen, my works have been on display at the US Naval War College, The Pentagon, Valley Forge Military Academy, Haverford School, Philly Comic-con, Philadelphia Halo Outpost Discovery, local comic book shops in the DELMARVA region, and private collections all over the world. I have won numerous model-building and cosplay awards from recognized groups such as IPMS, hobby shops, comic-cons, comic book stores, game shops, online costume contests. Recognition is great and we appreciate every judge and attendee that voted to honor our work.

 

What is involved with completing a custom figure or cosplay piece?

The process is not easy and takes many hours of work, but in the end, you have a one-of-a-kind piece that anyone would be proud to display.  The entire process involves base coats, washes, multi-layer highlighting, and detail dry-brushing to make each miniature look as realistic as possible.  A final coating of Gloss, Satin, or Matte Acrylic Varnish is the final step so it will last. You have to do it ALL! Noted experts paved the way and showed military modelers like myself how to recreate rust, dirt, wear, bullet holes, scratches, and armor damage.  It is a labor of love (and patience) to be sure. I also am noted for my custom attachment system known as MAG Points™ which is my Magnetic Attachment Gear Points System that replaces the standard McFarlane peg and hole system. It allows for a better look and stronger attachment in any location.

 

I also always provide a custom Plasma Grenade because who doesn't love to throw those in the game?

My feedback is 100% positive on eBay because I take the time to do it as I would want it done.  No shortcuts are allowed because the customer will see that in the end.  Each one sits in my collection for the week prior to the sale so I can critique it before I photograph it for eBay.  THEN it can be yours... No figure, weapon, or vehicle is made straight out-of-the-box. Each receives custom work to finish it. When you create things like this, there is no duplicate - ever!

 

What does it mean to have a SMArt Customs collectible figure?

When you have a unique piece from SMArt-Customs, you have a one-of-a-kind collectible that will only increase in value. We promise to never duplicate any figure or customized item. Each one holds its own special differences to make it truly unique. That is our guarantee. SMArt-Customs stands for "Scott Miller Art Customs" and I take pride in every single one. Our mission is to make collectibles you will be proud to display.  We are one of the only custom-houses that provides progress pictures and will offer you the chance to have options along the way to truly get the one-of-a-kind custom item of your dreams.

We live by the saying around here, "Work until you are proud of the finished product."

How do you find parts for customizations?

I find parts everywhere! We never stop looking for those truly unique items that could make the next custom a truly amazing piece. Re-purposing items can bring my art to a new level. I don't simply use other action figure pieces to make new ones. I use scale model parts, kitchen items, hardware store items, old toys, electronics gear, garage sale treasures, and anything else that looks good.

Packaging cases make great molds for landscaping pieces and clear parts. Zip ties make great scale ammo belts. You get the idea. One of my custom Halo Reach figures has a gun case for his sniper rifle built from a travel toothbrush case (with a lot of modifications). You simply have to rethink everything you see, and then think, "what does it remind me of?" It becomes fun assembling a "spare parts box" once you get the hang on it. You will never look at little things the same way again. 

One of the best parts of being a scale modeler first is that I always saved the extras that all models come with. So I have a pre-made treasure trove of small parts all already-to-use. This is where garage sales and toy shops can come in very handy. Most have a clearance aisle. Give yourself 5 minutes and walk it and see if you can come up with a few good ideas for new uses or what you can combine to make something exceptional.

 

What does it cost to have a custom project made?

Honestly, that depends. It truly depends first and foremost on the type of custom project you want to make. Then on the skills required to make it. The other parts are dependent on your answers to the questions we shared above. You saw a brief look at the starting prices on the home page. We estimate the project so you have a good idea of what the costs will be before either of us wastes any time. The costs are lower than most because we love what we do and want to allow others to enjoy a custom figure or other project like we all do. We don't have a huge overhead to deal with so we can pass that savings onto you. Check around and see if you find another customizer that will help you at a lower price for the quilty you can view for yourself in our gallery. Remember, artwork is not cheap, but it's worth the money!

How do I get started?

That's simple. You can contact us with an email or phone call, and we discuss the questions you read above earlier. Feel free to send sketches or reference pictures you have to begin. We don't share any of those with anyone else. It is your idea and your intellectual property. We will estimate your project. Once you agree to the scope of work (SOW), we ask for a 50% deposit to ensure we have the funds to buy all the necessary materials, and we both have a reason to complete the job. Once accepted, your project is locked into our schedule - your deposit begins our contract together and we are both expected to abide by fair rules. If you decide to pull out of the project, we keep your deposit and all work completed. If for some reason we cannot finish your project, your deposit will be refunded.


 "We Bring Custom Action Figures and Cosplay Creations to Life!"

bottom of page