Art Vandelay's Pro Wrestling Ground My WWE Elite Customs/Fix-Ups Thread (pics)

10/30/14 6:44 PM
Posts: 3453
Hey guys, what's up? I know a few of you have expressed interest when I've mentioned that I collect & customize/fix-up Mattel WWE Elite Collection action figures- and a few of you have requested pics.

Well, I am working on a ton of different projects/figures right now, and being that I'll have a lot of down-time over the coming months, healing-up from a nearly fatal car accident, I figured the best way to share my hobby with you all would be to create a thread that I can update regularly with new pics. I will try to post at least a couple pics a day for now, and should be getting more done in the coming weeks. I will definitely be updating this thread regularly, and with more detailed pics, and "before & after" shots.

I used to post at a message board with a bunch of action figure snobs, constantly bickering back & forth about the difference between a 'custom' and a 'fix-up.' Well, what I do, in most cases, is try to create a better likeness of the figure to best match the actual person- and touch-up details that the factory often misses or messes up on- while making the actual figure look as close to factory-made as possible.

I buy extra Elite figures for parts, and do a lot of part-swapping with parts from some of Mattel's Basic Series figures to create an Elite.

Sometimes, I'll create an entirely new Elite figure from scratch, by putting different parts together, esentially. But all parts are from Mattel WWE figures. For example:

The "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase
Basic Toys R Us Exclusive SummerSlam Heritage Series Ted DiBiase head & arms Legends Exclusive Series Arn Anderson shoulders, torso, pelvis, upper-legs & knees
Legends Series 5 Rick Rude calves & boots
Medium black kneepads

Mankind- Hell In A Cell Attire
Amazon Exclusive Elite Mankind torso & legs
Basic Series 43 Mankind head, mask, arms & soft-plastic over-shirt
Elite 13 Cody Rhodes boots

Now, this may look fairly regular- which is exactly the point. But the amount of work to put those parts I listed together- and make everything look factory- was pretty tricky, due to the plastic shirt being one-piece. Those arms are a special mold, with swivel joints at the elbows & wrists, as well as verticle articulation at the elbows as opposed to traditional Elite 3-piece arms. I had to disassemble the Amazon Elite Mankind's torso completely, to remove the traditional Elite arms- then slide the shirtpiece over the disassembled torso, and fashion the pegs to the matching Basic Mankind sleeved arms, which took some effort. Then it was a matter of swapping the Basic head & mask onto the newly-fashioned Elite body... then swap out the debut-attire Mankind boots with his traditional black wrestling boots.

I finished these two earlier today. More pics on the way! Next up is "street clothes" Brock Lesnar, Chicago tights/black kickpads CM Punk, and Dolph Ziggler with IC Title... thanks for your interest, and all comments are welcome! Phone Post 3.0
10/30/14 8:19 PM
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10/30/14 9:21 PM
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In Phone Post 3.0
10/30/14 10:12 PM
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Like it.....can you maybe start taking before pics? To compare? I'm sure yours look way better than the normal out if the box ones Phone Post 3.0
10/30/14 11:13 PM
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Vtfu Ryan! Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 12:06 AM
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In Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 12:09 AM
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CM Punk- Chicago tights, black kickpads
Elite Series 11 CM Punk head
Elite Series 16 CM Punk torso, arms & upper legs
Elite Series 1 Edge boots/kickpads

Description: This is a figure of Punk that I felt the need to piece together, reflecting a time on TV where he used to wrestle on Monday nights wearing his Chicago-style tights with plain black kickpads. This was the attire he wore during that infamous "Street Fight" with Vince McMahon on Raw. I added his copyrighted Pepsi, Spitfire, and Cobra logo tattoo decals (purchased on eBay- same as model airplane waterseal decals), along with the Storm Shadow/Snake Eyes Hirashikage tattoo on his forearm. I also added real wrist tape, with a satin varnish sealer brushed over. I believe the Elite 11 Punk headscan was the best they've ever done, perfectly captures one of his signature facial expressions, so I added that head instead.

Brock Lesnar- 'Street' attire (track pants, sneakers & t-shirt)
Elite Series 19 Brock Lesnar head, torso, arms, legs & t-shirt
Elite Series 11 Big Show hands
Elite Series 16 The Rock track pants
Elite Series 14 John Cena shoes
(Elite Series 21 The Rock WWE Title)

Description: So, I had an extra Elite 19 Brock, and already had a Rock Elite with track pants, and was willing to sacrifice one of six Cena figures to add some accurate white sneakers for Brock. Stay tuned for two other variations of Brock later on- one in his black shorts, with the "Eat, Sleep, Conquer, Repeat" t-shirt, and one in his split black/red shorts, both with his sponsors' logos on them (copyright material which Mattel is unable to detail Brock's figures with). This was a simple part switch, although swapping feet at the ankle joint can be tricky with Elites.

I can't get the Ziggler pics to display properly, gonna have to add those tomorrow from the laptop. Have a good night guys, and thanks again for checking out my thread. More to come tomorrow- Ziggler, Austin, The Shield, and a look at a modern-day Dean Ambrose in-progress (or, rather, the parts that are about to become a Dean Ambrose figure, seperated) Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 12:25 AM
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Awesome work.

10/31/14 12:35 AM
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This was my entire Mattel Elite Collection on October 26th, 2013. It has grown quite a bit since then...

Have a great night, guys. VTFU's all-around, more tomorrow ;) Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 12:37 AM
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Having problems woth Photobucket for some reason... Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 4:56 AM
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Fuckin in! Great job man Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 5:29 AM
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Awesome! Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 8:04 AM
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Great posts! My son has started collecting wwe figures (found an elimination chamber c/w ring in a charity shop for £3 the other week, mint condition so an absolute bargain) and I'm impressed by the detail, even on the basic figures. Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 8:31 AM
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Ryan Black -
Having problems woth Photobucket for some reason... Phone Post 3.0
That's awesome man Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 8:48 AM
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Brilliant stuff. Great thread. Man with a ring and a good camera and lighting you could recreate some of wrestlings great moments and sell prints. There is a photographer that does this with baseball figures. Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 9:07 AM
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Dude this incredible. VTFU thanks for sharing. Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 9:17 AM
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UGCTT_REMEMBER MY NAME - Dude, I've been waiting for you to post this thread for months ago when u first mentioned this hobby. I was gonna make a call out thread but didnt want to put you on blast. How's everything going man? Happy Halloween.
VU & thank you, my friend! Happy Halloween :)

I appreciate your interest and your patience. I have had a lot of things going on, seemingly in a million different directions. Once I got my new job, every day was a busy day.

Then I finished rennovating my entire interior (notice the new paint on the wall and black shelf w/new trim, too) and immediately had my daughters over every weekend. I was doing little fix-ups here & there the whole time, but never had the time to sit down and post a thread for you guys. Glad I could finally put something together.

More pics to come in a few! Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 9:34 AM
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Awesome man, VTFU Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 10:09 AM
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RedDragonUK - Brilliant stuff. Great thread. Man with a ring and a good camera and lighting you could recreate some of wrestlings great moments and sell prints. There is a photographer that does this with baseball figures. Phone Post 3.0
It's funny you should mention that, bro. When I said I had "a bunch of different projects/figures" I was working on, one of them is a custom ring. I was trying to post the before & after shots I had taken last night, but was having trouble with Photobucket/my phone. I am about to get on my laptop and post a bunch of pics. But I'm really glad you brought this up.

I have planned, since the beginning, to make stop-motion animations recreating several moments in wrestling woth Elite figures. It is the whole reason why I took the figures out of the packages to begin with. Then, of course, when I started collecting Mattel Elites in July on 2012, they were on Series 16, and I felt that I needed to catch-up. Now, I am all caught-up... and have Elite Series 33 (Rollins, Reigns, Cesaro, Junkyard Dog, X-Pac, and- I shit you not- Bluetista... complete with bald spot and stupid fucking hipster hat to cover it. Had to have that, lol) on pre-order at Ringside Collectibles, set for early to mid-December delivery. I don't mind paying an extra couple bucks per figure to get them a month before they hit retail, and- especially now, in my position, after being hit by a truck and having limited mobility- I'd rather not deal with the hassle of hunting-down the figures I want, especially when I want the whole Series.

But, I digress. I am all caught-up now, with a massive collection of over 220 Elites, which by the end of the year will be over 250, easily. I have also been putting together the parts & pieces to build a scale venue/arena to go along with the custom scale ring I built (actually, I've built a few of them... will post next). My plan was to build a scale, functioning "Attitude Era" Titan Tron, along with it's own arena set-up.

Well, now that the Elite Collection has grown massive, I came up with the idea to do two different promotions: One with more current roster mid-carders/younger guys, and an edgier feel- the other being the "Big Time" WWE. So now I'm in the process of gathering the parts, pieces & materials to build *two* arenas: one similar to the old ECW brick wall/fence stage, and one with a massive, working Titan Tron (will have a 36" flatscreen TV behind it) and the accompanying large stage/ramp. I actually just recieved half of my order of arena accessories from WrestlingSuperstore yesterday... but unfortunately they messed up my $250 order, and I am now waiting on the other half to arrive, should be Monday by the latest, and I can start building my arenas.

Got lots of guards rails, announce tables, backstage accessories, TV lights, camera men, the works. I was always decent at making custom figures, but even better at making custom accessories and arenas. Both arenas are going to be epic.

Then, the animations will look as realistic as possible, and the end result will be two feds that co-promote 'supershows' occasionally with dream match-ups. I have some big plans, lol. Thanks for reading & VTFU! Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 11:05 AM
Posts: 41285
That sounds epic! David Levinthal was the artist I was thinking about or he's one of the artists that does toy art.

With all that set up you could really create some amazing scenes. Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 11:48 AM
Posts: 3460

My first *ever* post from an actual computer. I got a laptop for my Birthday, and just recently had the ability to set everything up. Anyway, time for a test pic:

If this worked properly, it should be a picture of the parts I am using to create a modern attire Dean Ambrose custom. That Elite Series 1 Jeff Hardy was a Birthday present that I bought specifically for the parts (that were never released and have never been reproduced) to make a new Dean Ambrose. I am going to sculpt his messy hair in his face, and repaint the entire figure besides the arms and facial skintone (the torso skintone will be repainted to match). Goldust upper legs & knees, Hardy lower legs & torso, E21 JBL arms, Elite 25 Ambrose head & boots. Hope this works... if not, I will figure it out somehow. Let's see...

10/31/14 11:50 AM
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Nice, pic shows up for me... now time for pics of my favorite custom accessory, the Real Scale Ring... Phone Post 3.0
10/31/14 12:15 PM
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WrestlingSuperstore Figures, INC. Real Scale Ring before:

I considered it a blank canvas for me to work with in order to build the ring I wanted it to be. So I repainted the diecast metal ringposts silver, replaced the ropes with black ring ropes, painted the steel steps silver (to look more realistic), and then, my crowning achievement: I wanted a blue canvas. I looked at materials, and concluded that the best fabric to use would be powder blue microsuede. Of course, this was impossible to find, so i actually ended up purchasing a square yard of it (expensive stuff) from a fabrics website- and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.



Still a work-in-progress, but this will be the ring for the ECW-style arena that I'm building. I used these figures in the pic to show the contrast that the blue microsuede canvas creates. Also, underneath is a 20" square of laminate flooring padding, making it as realistic as possible...

10/31/14 1:09 PM
Posts: 3463

Next up is Dolph Ziggler:


Basic Series 29 Dolph Ziggler head & arms

Elite Series 19 Dolph Ziggler shoulders, legs & shirt around the waist

Elite Series 24 Dolph Ziggler boots

Elite Series 27 Billy Gunn torso


Description: What you see here is an amalgamation of Dolph Ziggler parts, with the finishing touch being a Billy Gunn torso-swap. Mattel seemed to never get it right when it came to the small details regarding Dolph. His Elite figures, after he grew his hair out the way it is today, just never seemed to capture his likeness well-enough to me. Once they came up with the longer-haired Ziggler headscan, they always managed to give his Elite figures some goofy expression. E19 was a smiling scan, and I HATE smiling headscans, because the end goal is to create realistic animations. I couldn't help but to picture how goofy it would look to make an animation where he's got a smile from ear-to-ear while he's selling a dropkick (Elite 24 was even worse, it was a figure designed to capture the essence of the night he finally cashed-in on Raw after Wrestlemania... and they gave him a screaming headscan- basically just a wide-open mouth with goofy-looking, derpy eyes). So I used his Basic headscan, which could actually be worked with. Then, the boots. They could never seem to get Dolph's boots right. The Elite 24 boots looked better, so I threw those on him, but I believe I had to paint the straps & soles black if I'm not mistaken. The torso they give Dolph Ziggler's Elites, in my opinion, was always way too-ripped, and looked nothing like him. I found that the Billy Gunn-style, less-ripped, more square-chested torso bared a much closer resemblence to Ziggler's build, so I swapped that out as well. Mattel, for some odd reason, also gave Dolph's Elite figures super-ripped, larger arms... with bulging veins and cut muscles. His Basic figures came with more accurate arms- still cut & defined, but more acurately proportioned- so I swapped those out, too. I'm happy with how it turned out.


Thanks for looking, and Happy Halloween! More pics to come later on tonight. Have a great day, guys, and another round of VTFU's to all of you!

10/31/14 1:41 PM
Posts: 934
So fucking in. Phone Post 3.0