The Workshop – Jim Bailey’s “Custom Action Portable Negra/Blanco TK”

This continues our “The Workshop” series. We hope you enjoy this one and check back soon as we have many more on the way.

Jim Bailey, aka Grindhouse is today’s Workshop master. An architect, painter, kit-basher, and games designer, Jim’s got his hand’s in quite a few different creative pies… and boy do we like pie!  

Almost as much as we like to learn cool new techniques to push our customs and creations further. Thanks Jim!

–  Knives

Custom Action Portable

Sometimes I get an idea that so totally overwhelms me that I’m like a zombie all day at the office and only come alive when I get home and start working on it. As I was finishing this project last night, I realized that I had killed a 12 pack of beer and a few shots of whiskey and was so engaged in the work that I didn’t notice.  Zombie effect today not caused by excitement about project!

Custom Action Portable TKs! These are the first three of five that I have planned. Blanco and Negro ares super duper easy. You CAN try this one at home. What follows is a fairly detailed step-by step for Negro and then some narrative description of how I did Blanco and Interbaka.


Custom Negro TK

1. The components you need are a Noir Deplume (minus feet, hands, pistol, head, and hose) as well as feet, hands, head, and swords from a Yellow Jacket.

what you need

2. Carefully unscrew wrist screws part way to remove Deplume hands. Screw back in while working then unscrew later to put the final hands on. Do not force. You will break the joint.

unscrewing the arm

3. Spray all the components from the Tomorrow King with flat black. Use Krylon or Citadel.

spray it down

4. Remove boots, head, hose, gun/holster form Deplume


5. Remove Deplume shirt, turn inside out, and carefully remove the stitching that holds on the long right sleeve. Use Xacto knife or razor blade.

removing the sleeve

6. Fold back edge of sleeve and sew to match left sleeve. It won’t be an exact match but close enough for government work.

matchy matchy

7. Get the trousers to fit how you want by folding the cuffs up inside and sewing a stitch or using a little piece of double stick tape. You can cut to length instead but that requires hemming and limits future options. Soak the trousers in water when they are in place to make them wrinkle and conform to his body in the manner you wish.

work pants

8. Paint Feet and hands with a latex satin black paint such as Citadel Chaos Black or Liquitex Mars Black. No cheap craft store paints! To chalky and/or grainy.

9. Mix a dark gray of your liking.

10. Paint the hair.

silk and smooth

11. Mix one part gloss varnish to four parts black paint.

12. Paint the face with this mix.

paint the face

13. Final components, ready for assembly and posing! Note that the sword and sheaths have flat black spaypaint as their finish application.

all the pieces in place



Blanco TK

Get yourself a DIY Deplume and carefully unstitch the sleeve. Get feet, hands, swords, and head from a Yellow hornet and spray with Krylon flat white. Then take white acrylic paint and mix 4 parts to 1 with an acrylic gloss varnish. Paint face, hands, and feet with this blend. This step differs from the Negro process. Leave the hair and swords as Krylon flat white.



Action Portable Interbaka is another kettle of fish and should not be attempted by the faint of heart. I used a Hatchery Guard as the base along with swords from a Yellow Hornet. The power pack is from  AP Jungler Dropcloth. The grenades are a little small because they are 1/18 scale: acquired from Marauder’s Gunrunners.

I hadn’t sewed anything since about 1978 so I was a bit daunted. I sewed up the sweatshirt  and bandana out of material from one of my old t-shirts. I then created a makeshift light table and traced the art that I had pieced together and warped out in photoshop using a .05 Staedtler Pigment Liner with waterproof archival ink. It bled a little but not too bad. I then created the webbing by sewing up scavenged bits and clasps from other action figures. Next, I bleached and repainted the Hatchery Guard trousers. The hair was then  sculpted using Plastruct plasticard and Kneadtite “green stuff”.  To do the electrified swords, I added a couple of plastic bits to the back pack and drilled holes. I then drilled two holes in each sword: one at the pommel and one on the handle. I then threaded guitar wire through it all and tied it together with pliers. The wire floats free inside the backpack so all the bits can be easily removed for posing, etc. Finally, I painted it! That’s an article in itself. I may do an article on weathering, wipes, and rusting one of these days.


Jim Bailey aka Grindhouse


One thought on “The Workshop – Jim Bailey’s “Custom Action Portable Negra/Blanco TK”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s