The Boys & Their Bricks: Eclipsegrafx & Clone Army Customs
Most of us can remember our first LEGO convention or are still dreaming of our first convention. We dream of all the cool MOCs that we’ll get to see and all the great stuff that we’ll blow our earnings on. To some of us this LEGO convention dream has become more than a dream. It’s become a way of life. Some are even able to turn it into a business. Recently two of these convention goers have been spotted together not only sharing space but cross promoting each other’s products.
Rook: Q1. Over the past 6-12 months you (Eclipsegrafx & Clone Army Customs) have been on quiet the travelling tour. Can you list the Conventions you’ve attended separately & together this year?
Eclipsegrafx: Yes it has been a busy year! It’s been fun though. Meeting the fans is a big part of why I do it. I need an excuse to travel half way across the country you know ;)!
BrickFair New Hampshire
Brickworld Indy ’13
Brickworld Chicago (with CloneArmyCustoms)
Brickfete Toronto (with CloneArmyCustoms)
BrickFair VA ’13
Brickworld Ft Wayne
BrickCon Seattle (this one was a particularly nice event because we spent a couple nights in Michigan with the CACs (as we call them :P) and drove straight through to Seattle. We even stayed at the same hotel.
Planning on doing NILTC in Northern Illinois and inviting Clone army customs again in December.
Clone Army Customs: Yes we have and it’s been awesome. Meeting other Lego fanatics and enthusiasts has been amazing. I first took my wife to BrickFair VA ’12 and she just loved it. Before then this was just a hobby and after that she told me “You’re signing up for everything.” 😛 Since then we’ve attended 10 more events:
BrickFair VA ’12
Brickworld Indy ’13
Scouting for Bricks VA
Wizard World Philly
Brickworld Chicago (with EclipseGrafx)
Brickfete Toronto (with EclipseGrafx)
BrickFair VA ’13
Brickworld Ft Wayne
and most recently BrickCon Seattle, that was a fun 33 hour drive from Michigan 😛
Beyond that we’re also signing up for many events next year as well.
Rook: Q2. Please share a couple of your favorite pictures from 2013 conventions. Tell us what it was that made these your favorite pictures.
I really like the fact that they captured the figure so well. (that I designed of course) 😀
Stuff like this, with all the details and it tells a story is ART! I love it I came to this display so many times to see all the details I could find. I looooove this MOC.
You said share pictures;). Kevin Hinkle and I had a running tradition at the events we attended this year. He would come by and I would pose with my fingers like this at each event. It started out because I was joking around with a fan and he caught it on camera so I decided to keep it going. 😀 Honestly the builds are great at the cons and events. Especially the ones with more details. I love details if you haven’t been able to tell by our custom products. 😉
Clone Army Customs: Honestly anything from the events we’ve been to. BrickCon stands out a bit more than the rest though, the builds we saw there were just amazing.
Here’s a small list I came up with quickly
Brickworld, Ft Wayne
Entire Harry Potter Display
Geo (lion mech)
Space Rancor’s Base
BrickFair, VA 13
Sci Fi Salvage ship (with light up display) and Space Frog Factory
Toothless the NightFury
And of course our display (best pic I could find)
Rook: Q3. Has joining two companies into one at Conventions helped to improve business?
Eclipsegrafx: Well the Pages have been awesome friends. We never merged for those events but they offered to show up at those events to help us out at the booths. It really allowed us to get to know them better and honestly it’s been a blast ever since. We always look forward to seeing them at events and if they aren’t coming we invite them to come to our booth again. 😀
Clone Army Customs: Well we haven’t joined entirely yet. He’s still a reseller of mine at this time and he asked my wife and I to join him in Chicago as helpers. It worked out wonderfully, we really learned about each other there and it actually lead to us helping out EG up in Canada a month later.
Rook: Q4. Without disclosing your business plans for the future, what can we expect to see more of from Tyler & Victor?
Eclipsegrafx: Being able to work closely with Tyler allows me to plan ahead and also give feedback on projects He is excited about. I am very excited about what he has in store and I always help him with ideas to take it up a notch. As for EclipseGrafx, now that we have our machine we plan to really hit a lot of different genres faster. We have plenty of figures coming out soon and loads of tiles that we are excited about.
Clone Army Customs: From CAC you can expect to see much more SW and some other Sci-fi which I’m overly excited about. I don’t want to speak for EG but I know he’s also excited about quite a few projects he’s working on.
Rook: Q5. You use a lot of other companies’ items as part of your business marketing strategies. For 2014, do you see yourselves continuing to use these resources or replacing them with completely your own designs and products?
Eclipsegrafx: 2014 has a lot in store. We will continue to use other vendor’s products as we are in constant negotiations with several of them in order to bring the best to the table when creating a full custom figure at a reasonable price but we do want to also have a vendor make designs specifically for us. I think 2014 will have that for us.
Clone Army Customs: CAC Strictly uses Lego official bodies (and heads) and our own custom weapons, helmets, and other accessories. As for EG, he wants to bring the best possible product to the market at the best possible price. I believe he’ll continue to bring several different custom vendor pieces together to make awesome figs for the fans. (Plus it saves the customers shipping on buying from several vendors).
Rook: Q6. Right now you have a great market on minifigures and accessories and the combinations that you make of these to provide unique custom products. Do you see yourself designing sets as part of your future business projects? If not what were the main reasons for you not lunching these products?
Eclipsegrafx: We do want to make sets. It has always been a major goal for us. Resources haven’t been available to spread out to the kits again but it is something we foresee for 2014.
Clone Army Customs: The great thing about minifigures is they’re small and don’t consume too much space. Both Victor and I had/have plans to sell custom full sets. We’re just so focused on getting the figs right that’s our top priority at this time.
Rook: Q7. At one time you were both members of a small Star Wars the Clone Wars fan fiction forum. Was this shared interest in Star Wars and the forum, Clone Army Builders Guild, the key that brought you two together or was there an additional factor that helped seal this union of custom brick companies?
Eclipsegrafx: It helped but there were other factors in the works. I knew of him from there and he is surprised to know that he was one of my inspirations to go into the custom field. I saw his business was successful and I wanted to put my talents to work as well. I also hired his services in the past to print a set of figures for early 2012 conventions. After meeting at BFVA 2012 I think we just continued our talks and got to know each other better. After becoming a reseller we just kept growing our relationship. To be honest, The Pages have been a great blessing to the Fernandezs :).
Clone Army Customs: Surprisingly no, this was one of the revelations we had at BrickWorld Chicago, discovering we were both on that forum. Honestly I believe the key that brought us together was simply our conversations. He became a reseller of mine as soon as my first abs injected items released and we’ve just maintained a great relationship since then.
Rook: Q8. Is there something else that I’ve missed that you would like to share with the community?
Eclipsegrafx: Though EclipseArmy Customs isn’t officially an entity ( 😉 ) you can be sure you will see several planned collaborations for the near future.
Clone Army Customs: Although CloneArmyGrafx is not an entity yet, we are very active in the community and plan to continue so in the future.
Rook: Thank you both for taking the time to do the interview and thank you for the insight into the life of a vendor.