Just a few years ago there were only a couple of LEGO customizers who were able to offer custom minifigures with professional quality pad-printing. While their designs may have been beautiful, smaller customizers had to resort to either stickers or waterslide decals. However with the advancement and wider availability of printing options, now smaller LEGO customizers can take advantage of pad-printing as well. Which means more professional quality custom LEGO minifigures for LEGO fans. 🙂
Adam Sansale, the owner and designer of Phoenix Customs LLC, was first introduced to LEGO customizing through EuroBricks.com (username: DarkKnight7). He learned to make his own decals, and later started his own LEGO customizing company. His focus has been on professionally pad-printed minifigures based on movies, comics and video-games, and he plans on getting involved in military themes and unique collector lines.
Adam has been also designing and printing minifigures for other companies like GI Brick’s Insurgent and CIA Operative 2.0, and WW2 minifigures for BrickArms.com. Hee also worked with others like BrickWarriors.com to create custom accessories for minifigures, and hopes to do more in the future. This is great for those who just want to customize and upgrade their own minifigs with special accessories.
Although Phoenix Customs has been around for only a couple of years, it already gathered a pretty strong following amongst LEGO fans – especially through Flickr, where Adam shares his minifigures as well as future ideas. Starting out with just two designs, with the goal of about twenty by the end of 2015, and the potential for expanding even more over time.
I had a chance to personally check out four of Adam’s minifigures, and their quality is very impressive. The designs fit with LEGO’s own style, and the colors match LEGO’s colors. Metallic colors are also used on some of the minifigures. I’m particularly impressed with the light colors on darker background; there is no bleed-through of the darker colors. The printing is also very precise; no off printing, bleeding, or any other imperfections that I could find. Really excellent quality.
Of course the details depend on the particular minifigure, but most of them are printed on the front and back of the torso, and the front of the legs. Some of the minifigures are printed on the arms as well. The face design is also custom printed, and match LEGO’s style. Some of the minifigs come with accessories like custom capes and weapons.
As far as durability, you can play with these minifigures the same way as any LEGO minifigs – they can handle it just fine. Or if you are a collector you can add them to your display. Speaking about display, all of the minifigures come in a ziplock bag with their own nicely printed card. They make a great background for the minifigs and should appeal to collectors.
While all of the minifigures are highly detailed, some of them are truly spectacular: The Arachnid Hero with gorgeous printing all over, the Cold War Assassin with a printed chrome left arm, and the Pirate Assassin with a beautiful color combination, are my favorites from the current lineup.
As far as prices, Phoenix Customs is on the high side. Most custom minifigures with the same kind of quality and detail are usually in the $20-$25 range, while Phoenix Customs’ are $25-$40. I’m guessing this has to do with the company still being small, and should improve as they get bigger and can get better pricing on blank minifigs, printing equipment, etc. However even now Adam regularly offers a special pre-production price to his most loyal customers – usually up to $10 cheaper than the regular price – to help raise funds for new prints. This brings the prices more in line with other LEGO customizers.
It is a good idea to follow Phoenix Customs on flickr to get updates on new releases, and get alerted about special discounts. Adam is also active on FaceBook, and plans to start an Instagram and Twitter account sometime next year. And of course you can also visit the official website and shop at PhoenixCustomBricks.com.
Phoenix Customs is based in the USA, but will ship internationally. Shipping is a flat fee for both domestic and international orders. Shipping fees are reasonable. Phoenix Customs also have resellers in England, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and Singapore. For international customers contacting the closest reseller may be a better option. You can check the Phoenix Customs website for more details.
All in all, the design, durability, attention to detail, and packaging of Phoenix Customs is in line with the best known LEGO customizers, and in some ways exceeds even LEGO’s own printing quality. I don’t think you would be disappointed with any of their minifigures. Prices are high, but you can look out for special offers, and also know that your money goes towards not just buying a unique minifigure, but also supporting a LEGO artist who is doing excellent work.
I hope this review helps in introducing you to another great LEGO customizer. If you have any questions about Phoenix Customs, feel free to ask in the comment section below. I will make sure Adam sees your questions and answers them for you. 🙂