These Custom Action Figures From Movies and Games Are So Incredibly Awesome

Three example of custom action figures by Dano Brown
Three example of custom action figures by Dano Brown
Image: iam8bit

If you love pop culture, odds are you’ve got a soft spot for action figures. Problem is, even with more companies than ever making figures from weirder and weirder properties, there are simply some movies and shows that will never get the figure treatment. That is, unless an artist does it themselves.


That’s what Dano Brown did in “Some Assembly Required,” an exhibition of hand-crafted action figures at iam8bit in Los Angeles. It’s on display now through August 19.

“A few years ago I came across some vintage style Nintendo action figures online that I had never seen even though I was sure I’d seen it all at that point,” Brown wrote in a press release. “I immediately bought all of them. When they arrived I recognized some of the faces as old GI Joe’s I had as a kid. I realized that they were actually a bunch of old toys Frankensteined together to look like something new.”

“After a lot of trial and error and some helpful advice from the guy who sold me the figures that inspired me, I made my first figure,” he continued. “With the Photoshop skills I had from previous projects I was able to make some pretty convincing packaging for my toy. I made it for myself but when I shared it on social media I had a shocking amount of interest in it. After that I was hooked. I’m just trying to create any and every action figure that I feel deserves to be made but never was.”

Here’s a small selection of the pieces in Brown’s show.

Since Brown got into this from Nintendo collecting, it’s not surprising so many are Nintendo centric. In addition to the ones above there are Super Smash Bros., Punch Out, Paper Boy, Ninja Gaiden, Ghosts and Goblins, Dr. Mario and many others. Non-Nintendo properties include Forrest Gump, Dumb and Dumber, Billy Dee Williams, Unsolved Mysteries, and Cheers.

It’s an amazing eclectic, fun, exhibit that you can see in full at this link. Some of the figures are still for sale as of publication.


Entertainment Reporter. NYU Cinema Studies Alum. Formerly Premiere, EW, Us Weekly, and /Film. AP Award-Winning Film Critic & CCA member. Loves Star Wars, posters, Legos, and often all three at once.



Frankensteining figures together is an art form, and one that I sadly suck at. Luckily, we now live in the day and age of 3D printers, which means I can slowly but surely build up my Doctor Who action figure collection with all the toys and vehicles that Character Options won’t make.

Quality wise, I’m still stuck at early 80's Kenner Star Wars figure levels of articulation, any my painting skills leave a lot to be desired. But I’ve seen some customizers do absolutely incredible work based off my designs, and hey... Even my shittiest figure is better than the god-awful Dapol figures I had growing up.

I can also build any damn figure I want, no matter how stupid or undesirable. Who else has a Taran Wood Beast action figure? I guarantee absolutely no one.