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Resources for LEGO minifigure customizers

Jared K. Burks is known as one of the most accomplished LEGO minifigure customizers ( he goes by the name Kaminoan in the LEGO fan community). His first book, Minifigure Customization: Populate Your World! has become the bible of LEGO minifigure customizers. And recently he released a second book, Minifigure Customization: Why Live in the Box?, which is an update as well as continuation of the first book. I will show you both of the books below, so if you are interested in LEGO minifigure customization you will know where to start. 🙂

LEGO Minifigure Customization Books

MINIFIGURE CUSTOMIZATION: POPULATE YOUR WORLD! – This was the first book published by Jared. It is a 78-page paperback published by TwoMorrows Publishing. The book goes though every aspect of customizing LEGO minifigures, including designing and applying decals, using paint dyes and more, and making custom parts and accessories for your minifigures using fabric, paper and other materials. It also discusses in detail clay sculpting, molding and casting. Once you create those incredible custom minifigures you will likely want to display and photograph them for others to see – these topics are also covered in detail at the end of the book.

Custom LEGO Minifigs by Kaminoan

This LEGO book is a hands-on, do-it-yourself manual, so all the tools, materials and equipment you will need for customizing your LEGO minifigures are listed, along with prices and where to get them. Also step-by-step instructions are included for learning and applying the different processes and using the various tools mentioned.

Minifigure customization is a very creative and pretty much unlimited art-form that takes the LEGO hobby to a whole new level. Some people prefer to stick with what LEGO gives us in terms of elements and minifigures, but if you choose to do so, you can go much beyond that and enter a whole new world of what is possible with LEGO. This book gives you all the tools, tips and tricks to begin and become an accomplished LEGO minifigure customizer yourself.

LEGO Customization Book One

Here is the official description of this LEGO book: Minifigure Customization: Populate Your World! shows you the wide range of techniques you can use to alter the lovable LEGO Minifigure into any character you can imagine! BrickJournal columnist and author Jared K. Burks (known online as Kaminoan) has created thousands of custom minifigs over the last 13 years, and this full-color book assembles his knowledge into a series of step-by-step tutorials on decal design and application, color alteration, custom part modification and creation, plus tips on minifigure displays and digital photography to capture your custom figures in the best light—all the way through complete custom figure creation! Essential tools are identified, plus there’s a tips and tricks section, and a gallery of some of the best custom figures ever created! Don’t live inside the box—populate your world with any alien, superhero, historical, action, horror, or science-fiction figure you can “just imagine”!

MINIFIGURE CUSTOMIZATION: WHY LIVE IN THE BOX? – This book was just published recently and it is an update as well as continuation of the previous book. Since the first book was published something very important happened in the world of LEGO; a lot more focus on minifigures by The LEGO Group itself. The LEGO Minifigure Series has been released with a whole array of new characters and accessories, as well as almost all LEGO themes now come with a lot more minifigures with significantly more detailed printing and detailing.

LEGO Customization Book

You would think that LEGO releasing more detailed minifigures and more accessories would slow down the LEGO customization hobby. After all the reason LEGO customization began in the first place is because there was a lack of variety in what LEGO was giving us. But in fact the contrary has happened. The new minifigures and elements given by LEGO provided even more opportunities to LEGO customizers, only fueling their creativity. Also, the advancement in technologies like 3-D printing, printing directly on plastic, and design software – as well as prices of these technologies coming down – opened up the possibilities of making professional custom minifigures and minifigure accessories easier and more affordable.

The second book addresses these developments, spending more time talking about the new technologies available for LEGO customizers. Also, many of the subjects covered in the previous book about customizing LEGO are either repeated, or updated with new information and resources.

LEGO Customization Book Two

Here is the official description of this LEGO book: If you enjoyed Minifigure Customization: Populate Your World!, don’t miss the sequel, Minifigure Customization2: Why Live in the Box? MC2 takes an advanced look at the hobby, introducing more complex techniques to alter the lovable LEGO minifigure, and building on the techniques introduced in the first book. It features tutorials on virtual customization; designing decals and advanced decal application; custom part modification and creation, including 3-D printing; advanced painting techniques; lighting figures with LEDs or EL wire; tips on minifigure displays; and digital photography tips to capture your custom figures in the best light. Essential tools used to create custom figures are identified and updated, and it even includes a Gallery of custom minifigures from top customizers, where they share their favorite tips and tricks. Why live in the box? Populate your world with any alien, superhero, historical, action, horror, or science-fiction figure you can “just imagine!”

So the next logical question would be “Do I need both books if I want to learn LEGO minifigure customizing, or should I just get the updated second book?” If you want to get deeply into LEGO customization I would suggest to get both books. Even though some of the information is overlapping and repeated in the second book, they are different enough that it is worth getting both. In the first book some of the low-tech methods are explained and illustrated in more detail, and also the featured custom minifigures and accessories in the two books are different.

LEGO Customization Book on Amazon

If you can only get one LEGO book on customizing, I would suggest the second one as it will cover everything you need to know about minifig customization. And maybe later you will decide to pick up the first one too for the sake of completeness. I own both of the books and I enjoy using and referring to both. You can get either or both of the books directly from TwoMorrows Publishing and through Amazon:

If you have read and used either of the Minifigure Customization books and would like to share your own review feel free to write your thoughts in the comment section below. And if you have any questions about these LEGO books don’t be shy to ask. 😉

And you might also like to check out the following related posts:

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Chris December 20, 2013, 11:38 AM

    I want these books. The first one has been on my “to Buy” list for awhile. But since my miniatures space is covered up I have bought the book yet. I’ll have to clear the workspace and pull out paints.
    I didn’t know about the second book.

    • admin December 20, 2013, 11:43 AM

      Chris, the second book just came out about two weeks ago. I liked the first one so much I bought the second one as soon as I got an email about it. Both books are phenomenal and the ultimate guides for LEGO customizing.

  • ninja of stealth December 20, 2013, 11:54 AM

    I’d have to say if I where a “newbie” customizing my minifigures with paint and all that I would go and buy the first book. after I got that book mastered I would move on and buy the second book. 😀 but I prefer customizing my minifig “out of the box” in other words, how they are already printed. and also third comment!

  • Beardless Dwarf December 20, 2013, 12:03 PM

    Awesome! I didn’t even know these books existed. I’ll have to look into getting them.

  • ninja of stealth December 20, 2013, 12:05 PM

    speaking of customizing minifigs, does anyone here know how to make those Chima wings work? and I don’t want to use the armor, or the bulky idea everybody thinks of. I was going to use hot glue but my sister wouldn’t allow it. even though she’s done things much worse to our minifigs! 👿 so maybe when my sister sees this comment she can give me permission? hopefully. 😀

    • admin December 20, 2013, 12:22 PM

      Are you saying that you want to attach the wings to the minifig without the armor? I would suggest to make a simple neck-bracket that doesn’t have a front but still has the clips at the back. Also, BrickWarriors makes a really nice armor piece where the clips are part of the armor so the wings stay closer to the body without needing any extra attachments. It’s called a Demon Armor, but I actualy used it to make angels: http://brickwarriors.com/DemonArmor.aspx

      • Håkan December 21, 2013, 5:24 AM

        Neck bracket on Bricklink. Add a 1×2 plate and 2 clip tiles, and no customization would be necessary, I think.

        I agree about your sister’s skepticism towards hot glue. It’s very easy to make mistakes and create a gooey mess.


        • Fikko3107 December 21, 2013, 2:00 PM

          That’s always my solution when I wanted to make organic-looking birdmen without armor. But the thing is, at least in my opinion, this method has two pretty problematic flaws:
          1. Since the connection is to one stud, the 1×2 plate is kind of shaky on the neck bracket.
          2. The whole construct just sort of stick out to the back a bit too far.

          • ninja of stealth December 23, 2013, 12:41 PM

            yeah, I’ve tried doing that, although a good idea, it falls off all the time and looks bulky. but thank you for answering my question hakan! I appreciate it! 😀

          • ninja of stealth December 23, 2013, 12:43 PM

            thanks guys for answering my questions! 😀 I appreciate it!

      • ninja of stealth December 23, 2013, 12:38 PM

        thanks admin! nice advice! 😀

  • LK2 December 20, 2013, 1:11 PM

    Ughhh.. Hate customizing. It’s just my opinion, but, anything which try’s to replicate LEGO (BrickArms, MegaBLOKS etc) is horrible.
    I know these guys are really talented artists, but, it just shows that sometime soon MegaBloks will be creating LEGO quality stuff…

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