Interview: Toy Customizer Joe Amato

Masters of the Universe has repeatedly risen like a phoenix since its inception thanks to various comic books, animated series, and action figure incarnations. With the current online-only Masters of the Universe Classics toy line bringing about some of our favorite new action figures, and the recent announcement of DC Comics' upcoming Masters of the Universe comic book, it's a fine time to be a He-Fan! Today, as we continue our series of toy customizer spotlights, we'll be talking with Joe Amato*. He focuses his fan fueled toy-creating efforts on He-Man figures from every era of the franchise, and matches both the figure AND the packaging to suit the look of the time!

*Not to be confused with Joe Amaro, who we interviewed here.

MTV Geek: Joe, How long have been you making custom action figures and what got you started down that path?

Joe Amato: This May will be my 2 year anniversary of making customs and sculpting. I always wanted so many characters from MOTU made into figures when I was growing up in the 80's, and all these years later I decided to finally make them myself. And then a spark was ignited, as I enjoyed making these customs so much that I wanted to pursue it even further and bring all these great figures to all the MOTU fans out there. I am constantly learning more everyday, and hope my skills will continue to grow.

Geek: While there are a number of customizers working with the Classics line as their base, you also do tons of figures in the vintage style. Do you prefer one of the other?

Amato: While I love doing MOTUC customs, there will always be a special place in my heart for the vintage line. It just brings back childhood memories of the figures I grew up with and loved so much. So while I enjoy making customs of both, I prefer doing vintage just a little more.

Geek: What have you found to be the biggest challenge when tackling a new custom?

Amato: I guess the biggest challenge is constantly trying to improve on my previous one. I am my biggest critic, and when I am sculpting something new I want to make sure it is just right. I want to try and give fans the closest representation of their favorite characters as I possiblly can. And if there is a character that never had a bio, I always try to make the best one I can, the MOTUC figures are the biggest examples. I sometimes find myself having as much fun making the bios as I do the figures themselves.

Geek: Any figures that stick out as being the most fun to have made?

Amato: As for the MOTUC line, I would say making Molkrom was really fun, and challenging. For the vintage MOTU line, I had a blast making my 21 forms of Imp. The reason they were the most fun to make was because they were some of the first things I ever sculpted, and it was a big learning experience. And from my "other" line, is my first character called Ja-Son, from my series I made called "Slashers of the Universe". He is a combination of vintage MOTU and Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th. He was a blast to make!

Geek: What do you currently have in the pipeline that you're excited about?

Amato: I have Scrollos planned for both vintage MOTU and MOTUC, both which will be on a cardback. And I am looking forward to making my next "Slashers of the Universe" figure, who will be Mi-Kill. And the last figure I have been wanting to make is a young Emerick from the new Thundercats cartoon. I will try to make him as small as possible, and put him on a "mini" cardback.

Geek: For people who are interested in seeing more of your work, and/or seeking commissions, what's the best place for them to look online?

Amato: Right now, the best place to contact me is on Facebook at my page. I look forward to any requests fans may have!

Below is a small gallery of Joe's work:

If you're an action figure/toy customizer that would like to be featured on MTV Geek, be sure to hit me up at @lemonjuicemcgee on Twitter!

Stay tuned to MTV Geek! for all your custom toy coverage!

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