CUSTOM ACTION FIGURES: 101 – 10 QUESTIONS WITH SONNY HERNANDEZ a.k.a. SB COBRA
This week on 10 Questions, we have an interview with Sonny Hernandez. As Sonny told me, “I grew up a screw up. At 17 was in the Xcellerate program for at risk youth. I had my grandma sign for me to join the Army, and I enlisted right after I got my diploma. 9/11 happened just after turning blue and earning my blue cord. The next 8 years were a blur starting in DCU’s and eventually ending in ACU’s. After that, life became a rather rough ‘shitnado’ ”.
CAF:101 – First off, as I always ask fellow customizers, how long have you been customizing and what got you started?
SONNY HERNANDEZ – 5-6 years now. What originally started it was being nerdy. An old roommate of mine when I lived in the barracks when I was young had those Warhammer miniatures. As a wanna be artist but had SOME talent back then, he’d ask me to help him paint his miniatures and technicals. After getting out of the army and going through physical therapy I began with small stuff, slowly learning little things here and there in the 1/18th world as I first started doing 1/12 stuff. Like Halo figures. A few guys on forums gave me tips and tricks like how to pop joints better and sand them for smoother paint apps etc.
CAF:101 – What’s your favorite figures to customize?
SH – Army builders. 1/18th scale in particular. Be it Joe or COBRA troopers or making my own interpretations of team(s) within the factions. So many of them share the same sculpted parts. For example Steel Brigade Delta, Shock Troopers, Combat Ninjas, and several other figures got the same sculpt of arms, torso’s, legs etc. so it’s hard to say just ONE particular figure since Hasbro uses some of the sculpts to death, just give it really poor color/paint apps.
CAF:101 – What’s your workspace like?
SH – Imagine hell raiser but with plastic. There’s just stuff everywhere like a tornado of anti-OCD powers ran through.
CAF:101 – What paints and brushes do you use?
SH – Model Master’s Acrylic is my go to paint and preferred one but I DO also use Citadel, Tamiya, and sometimes off brand paints to get the right colors, hues, and tones of colors I like to use. For brushes, for general coating and laying down coats I buy those cheap $3 packs you can get at any dollar type store. For fine detail, camo and such, I use those 5 packs of micron brushes you get at hobby lobby. For dry brushing/weathering I started recently this year exploring using make up brushes. The weird brushes women use for applying brush is one of the most magical things to use when dry brushing large surfaces of things like vehicles.
CAF:101 – If you could give advice to someone who is brand new to customizing, what would it be?
SH – Don’t stress. Everyone’s first few customs suck. BADLY. Take your time, learn what method of cracking open figures works for you. Take note of the higher end paints we all use, but explore your options. You never know what style/method you’ll develop! Hang in there and explore really.
CAF:101 – Give us your best “secret trick” you use when customizing.
SH – Everything I do has been and usually is done by everyone else really. I’m not a ‘stand out’ artist to be brutally honest. I’m just a steady “good” across the board. Everything I learned was from others so, I think everyone can do what I do if they just took the time, energy, and money into starting it up.
CAF:101 – What other things are you into besides customizing?
SH – Scotch. Does scotch count? Because honestly, I work a LOT. So on my very LITTLE down time when I’m not doing customs I’m into top shelf scotches and artisan/craft beers. Other than that, anyone who knows me I began my “art” career as a ‘street artist/graff writer’ so I’m into that, fashion, cinema, really nerdy things to be honest. Other than that, just women with high standards and low morals if that counts? THREE
Now it’s time to consult the magical, mystical Random Question Generator:
CFA:101 – If you could put up a billboard anywhere you wanted, where would you put it and what would it say?
SH – That’s a tough one. I honestly cannot think of one I would say that would be remotely close to appropriate for this interview. I plead the 5th.
CAF:101- What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
SH – Keep going. After my medical discharge, after losing the love of my life, after losing my former level of healthy and physique, my career, home, dogs, everything. To keep going on. That’s the hardest thing I’ve done and keep doing.
CAF:101- What is your favorite song?
SH – It’s actually an old Spanish song.
No Habra Nadie en el Mundo.
I think Buika sang the most recent rendition of it, and I adore it.
You can find more of Sonny’s work on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SBCollectibles
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