An interview with 3D sculptor and artist Walter De Marco

Artist Spotlight: Walter “MASS Customs” De Marco

Artist Walter De Marco

To get started, please introduce yourself!

My name is Walter De Marco, I´m a Digital Sculptor and Illustrator and I live in Buenos Aires (Argentina), with my wife Mercedes and our little daughter Mayumi. I have worked for different markets, such as videogames and architectural visualization, before working as a digital sculptor. I´m a lover of action figures, role-playing games and all kinds of fantasy and horror movies.

How did you first get introduced to Mythic Legions?

In some Internet search, almost certainly, since I´m always in constant search for news (or historical data) about Masters of the Universe and other franchises of the 80s, and it did not take me long to come across the work of the FOUR HORSEMEN for MOTU 200X and MOTU Classics during the 1st decade of the 2000s. Reading articles on forums and websites and seeking to be updated on the matter, years later I came across the first images of the Mythic Legions line and my head was blown to pieces by the wonder I was seeing!

How did you get started doing 3D sculpting?

My first experiences go back to the year 2010, using Mudbox, a limited software for 3D sculpting (my first sculpture was a bust of H.P. Lovecraft). Later, I continued experimenting with ZBrush and enrolling in a course at a local university in 2015 to expand my knowledge on it and, in subsequent years, I continued experimenting and practicing at home. In 2019 this process accelerated exponentially, sculpting parts for Mythic Legions custom artists and then taking on the name “Mass Customs” to design my own stuff or do private commissions for clients.

  • Customs made using sculptures from Walter De Marco
  • Customs made using sculptures from Walter De Marco
  • Customs made using sculptures from Walter De Marco

What are your favorite kinds of parts to sculpt?

Definitely the heads and torsos are my favorites. I think all kinds of pieces are wonderful to sculpt, but with a head and torso you can already create a great story for a character, without needing to put it into words. The imagination of the custom artists does the rest!

Talk a little bit about your process for sculpting heads and other parts, as well as the tools you use.

My process in general involves starting with an input (it can originate from my own creation or a request from a client) with which everything starts, for example "A skull with horns". A good way to create characters or parts is to connect a couple of seemingly unconnected concepts or inspirations (a humanoid skull + horns + a Sci-fi helmet, for example). At this point, I look for inspirational images (art by other artists, concept art from movies and videogames, etc.) I create a sketch using Photoshop (the client can also provide the idea and the sketch in certain cases). Then I start sculpting with ZBrush (digital sculpting software) following the concept art as a guide, leaving room to add new things or allow "happy accidents" in the process if they help improve the design. Then comes the 3D printed prototype on my home printer, which is a rudimentary printer whose main purpose is to check compatibility with the action figures it will be used on (size, scale, fitments, etc). At this point I usually get some kind of feedback from the client or from a producer/contributor like Len LaGuardia (of Wolf King Customs) where the design is approved or there may be some changes to make it work better. Finally, the model goes to the production stage where it is printed in high quality and definition resin and finally goes on sale to custom artists. . Throughout this process, I use a Wacom pen tablet, which responds to different levels of pressure (which would be impossible with a mouse).

Do you have any favorite customs that you’ve seen that use your parts?

Yes, of course! My favorite of all time is without a doubt the Kitsune (creation of Mythic Customs, I only did the sculpting!), because it marks the beginning of several years of projects (lots of critter custom parts) ogether with Jeremy Girard and was a part that was very popular among customizers.

  • Customs made using sculptures from Walter De Marco
  • Customs made using sculptures from Walter De Marco
  • Customs made using sculptures from Walter De Marco

Recently, the Troll head with goblin rider has been released. The images below show the custom made by Jeremy Girard in the painting and setting of the entire custom. That one is currently my favorite top. It's a great collective project that combined my sculpting, some great 3D printing by Wolf King Customs and Jeremy's paint job. Not to mention the goblin, which is another piece of art in itself, created by Steven Bushotte, sculpted by Emil Wickman and painted by Jeremy.

  • Customs made using sculptures from Walter De Marco
  • Customs made using sculptures from Walter De Marco
  • Customs made using sculptures from Walter De Marco

Many other artists (Steven Bushotee, Melissa Somerville, Anthony Houseal, Eric Borries (Zombie 13), Luis Torres and many more) have made customs with my parts, and I could not name all of them here so as not to lengthen the article too much, although I was particularly impressed by the Ghost Pirate made by Patrick Boyle using the Skeleton Torso sculpted by me. It is a great piece and mobilizes in me certain cool vibes related to the universes of Monkey Island and Pirates of the Caribbean

  • Customs made using sculptures from Walter De Marco
  • Mythic Legions custom from Luis Torres
  • The customs of Melissa Somerville

Besides Legions, I know you are also very much into some other toy lines. What other lines fuel your collecting hobby?

Those of us who were born around the year 1980 (a little earlier or later, it doesn't matter) lived in a golden age of franchises and action figures based on them. Since I was little, I was able to play with vintage Star Wars figures (from KENNER, which in my country were manufactured by the legendary TOP TOYS) Transformers, G.I. Joe, Thundercats (produced by PlayFul in Argentina), and more. My all-time favorite was Masters of the Universe (also made by local licensee TOP TOYS) and today it shares 1st place on the podium with Legions. I love to make illustrations about MOTU characters in my spare time! In my opinion, moving from MOTU to Mythic Legions is an almost natural transition, and I'm not saying that just because of the tributes from Legions to MOTU, but because Legions offers that level of fantasy, albeit with a higher level of complexity, realism and versatility, that accompanies the arrival to adulthood of who was MOTU guy since he was a child. With Cosmic Legions the same thing will happen in relation to the old Sci-Fi licenses.

Anything exciting that you are working on currently that you care to share with the readers?

Something I'm working on is what would be my first official custom with a Mythic Legions figure. Of course, over the years I've done some "lazy boy" customs, changing some heads, but in this particular case I've gone a little further, painting more parts and trying to match certain armor pieces. It is a Styracosaurus-Man, formed by the body of a Cavern Dwarf (without its head and feet), to which I have added a Styracosaurus head and Turtle Feet produced by LegionsShop (they were sent to me painted), as well as a Saurian set made up of a Saurian torso and tail. This experience may be something familiar to those who are used to producing pieces almost weekly, although for me it has been exciting and exhausting in equal parts. It has made me understand the enormous effort that custom artists put into their pieces by painting and presenting them.

  • Customs made using sculptures from Walter De Marco
  • Customs made using sculptures from Walter De Marco

I'm also devising some kind of dioramas or larger pieces. I recognize that they would be difficult to produce due to their high costs, but maybe I made them for fun, to place my figures in different scenes!

The art of MASS Customs

In closing, where can fans follow you and see more of your work?

Fans can see Mass Customs developments and news on my Instagram @masscustomsok and my more personal experiments on my Instagram account @wallydemarco

Published on 09.09.22

Back to all Blog articles