Thursday, December 9, 2010
Jacob and MIB were the 4th most popular purchase by Museum visitors. As Museum chief Brian Heiler noted, this line DOES have some fans after all!
The top 5 sellers were:
1) Chris Jennings Dark Shadows Werewolf
2) EMCE Universal Monsters
3) BifBangPow Flash Gordon
4) Lost Man in Black/Jacob
5) Venture Brothers Doc Venture/Brock Samson
I'm not at all surprised by the top 3--the crowd at the Museum loves their monsters, and Flash Gordon is a natural for us 70's kids--but I'm pleasantly surprised that Lost did better than Venture Brothers and Twilight zone.
Ben/Kate and Locke/Hurley should land next month! Wave 2 has been pushed back from March to June, not sure what that's about, but I imagine they are taking more time to see how Wave 1 performs...
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Water Bottles! Where would we be withoutWrestling figures? They are close enough to Mego scale that their props are a gold mine. I wondered to myself if they might not have water bottles that I could stick Oceanic or Ajira labels on---and lo and behold, Classic Tv Toys (which also has a wrestling toy business) has them for 3 for $5 or better yet 7 for $10! Throw them in with your custom order.
Connect 4! I wasn't crazy (heh) about Hurley coming dressed in his Santa Rosa hospital outfit until I saw these miniature Connect 4 party favors on eBay. Sadly, at 3 x 2 inches they are too big to be 1:9 scale, but they are so neat it's close enough for me. What a cool and fun prop! I'm thinking of grabbing some folding chairs and a table from CTVT to make a Santa Rosa game room display. Along the same lines a basketball (the HORSE scene with Jack) would be nice. There are a few possibilities, I'm looking for a reliable source.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
There are a few possibilities on the market: Mego's Action Jackson Air Force outfit has a grey jumpsuit that will do in a pinch and could be dyed tan. AJ's standard dark blue jumpsuit will be a fine Dharma motor pool jumper. The recent Mattell Retro Action Ghostbusters line is a nice option but possibly pricier.
If you are looking for an easy jumpsuit that's the perfect color and has all the pockets in the right place, I recommend you get in touch with the Mego Museum's resident seamstress, the talented Theressa. She whipped up a set of super jumpsuits for me at a really great price and can do the same for you.
For this guy above I used a Mego Peter Burke from Planet of the Apes. He's one of your more handsome 70s dudes. He hasn't been reproduced, but he and his buddy Alan Verdon (who looks very Dharma AND very Others to me) are pretty common to find on eBay or at the Mego Museum marketplace.
The other go-to seventies stud is Mego's Sir Galahad/Will Scarlett who has been duplicated by both CTVT and Doctor Mego. The Mego Planet of the Apes Astronaut is a great 70s guy, he was reproed by CTVT but came out a litle on the small side. I'll have more head suggestions later.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Such as: The skeletonized corpse of Roger Linus! This may not be the first thing on your list, but it's one of those easy and fun customs that are possible thanks to the Mego revival.I sloppy-drybrush painted some brown acrylic paint onto a Classic TV Toys Skeleton and soaked my handmade Dharma Jumpsuit in coffee grounds to give it that aged rotted look. The beer cans are 3/8" dowel with grey painted ends and a printed sticker wrapped around it.
This is an easy and fun "kitbash" I have been wanting to do since I spotted the skeleton on their website. Classic TV Toys is a company that began making Mego reproductions and new figures almost 10 years ago. They still have a large backstock of clothing, bodies and accessories at dirt cheap prices. I'll be sharing a lot of CTVT product with you in the future.
Friday, October 29, 2010
In the meantime, photos of Wave 2 have been revealed, and the figures are available for pre-order at Entertainment Earth! The new 2-packs are Sawyer and Juliet, Jack and Sayid, Miles and Claire. Since they've been revealed they've come under a lot of negative criticism from the Lost fans and even some Mego fans. I've weighed in on a couple of discussions with some of my own issues and criticisms, and I may do a more detailed review later, but I think it's time to get positive about this line!
I was granted a sneak preview of these prototypes at San Diego Comic Con and I thought they looked tremendous in person, better than the photos show. They may not be to everyone's taste, but if you are attracted to this style of figure and are a Lost fan it's up to you to help support this line! Share it with your Lostie friends, join my Facebook group, post about them on Lost message boards, Tweet it, stuff messages in bottles, send smoke signals, do what you can to spread the word so this line can survive and continue.
BifBangPow has done a tremendous job producing a dizzying amount of Mego style figures in a short span of time. Their Twilight Zone figures are some of the best figures made in this Mego revival, with excellent detail, imaginative design and quality production. After a similarly rough reception from the online fan community the Venture Brothers have done very well and the line is expanding in exciting and new directions.
I have faith that BBP! will overcome the setbacks the Lost line has met with and we will see some great Lost figures arriving on our doorsteps in January. If all goes well we could have a DOZEN fully articulate costumed Lost figures in our collections by March. If a Wave 3 got made (Desmond? Sun? Jin? Charlie!!! Who knows??) we could have 18 Lost action figures by summer. That would be pretty damned amazing for an adult show that isn't on the air anymore.
UPDATE: BBP! has updated the photos of Ben Linus, John Locke and Hugo Reyes on the Entertainment Earth website with what appear to be factory-made heads that seem to have much improved quality from the Jacob/MIB set. Overall, I'm quite pleased with how these look. They seem to have tweaked Locke's face from the prototype. His neck seems a tad long, but otherwise I think it's a good likeness of the character, he has that kind of gee whiz look Locke got sometimes. I think Hurley's head looks better than the prototype did. The stuffed belly is a bit funky, but it's a fine solution to the problem. I think Ben looks good as well, I can't wait to put him in some civilian clothes and come up with some eyeglasses for him. I can't wait to see the updated Kate when they post it.
This is a good sign that they are working to fix the problems they said they would fix and that samples is coming in from overseas. I know this line has a lot of critics, but I'm feeling much much better about it.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
One of the best scenes in Lost meets one of the best Mego World's Greatest Super Hero accessories! I've been wanting to do this one ever since Tricia Tanaka died.
Here's Dharma Dave (with the awesome Dharma winch) and his new co-worker Dharma Pete. They are both sporting brand new jumpsuits made by my friend Theressa. More on that later!
Here's some info on how I did it.
First, I purchased a Mego Mobile Batlab on eBay. I'm loathe to alter original Mego toys that are in good condition, and of course I don't want to pay top collector dollar for something I'm going to customize. In this case I did kind of shoot myself in the foot. I impulsively hit the Buy It Now on a junker Batlab for $40 shipping included. However, it did not have a roof, so I was going to have to improvise something and it probably would have sucked. But then I got incredibly lucky and someone was selling a roof on eBay. This is very rare to begin with, and I got it for $30 shipped. So I ended up paying $70 for a Batlab that still needed replacement headlights ($25 from the laser cutting service) and a back door (handmade, looks pretty good) as well as the Dharma Logo ($25 lasercut) and about $15 worth of paint as well as the totally superfluous yet awesome sound card ($10). So I'm into this thing for about $150. I probably could have been patient and scored a better condition Batlab for less than I ended up paying. But I had a great time solving problems, so I guess that's it's own satisfaction.
Okay, here's some notes on customizing the van:
Start with a nice soapy bath. The stickers came up pretty easily, I didn't need to use any Goo-Gone on them. The only caveat is the chrome paint on the wheels scratched up very easily with a minimum of scrubbing. The biggest thing to keep in mind is how fragile this plastic is. Simply cleaning it I broke the back door cross bar and the side door cross bar, survivable breaks but unfortunate.
I used my Dremel tool to cut away the posts inside the van holding the Batman shield to the front. I would later have to use this to also cut away the posts and tabs holding the windows in. Mego did a pretty sloppy job putting these together, so you aren't losing much by fling a few tabs away, there's still going to be all kind of flaws on the inside surfaces, but you won't see them, so don't stress.
The bottom section unscrews from teh chassis. I masked off the seats so I could paint them white but still have a black floor. I sprayed white primer over the entire van outside. I masked out the windows as you can see in this shot. This was a mistake--it's hard to fully seal them off and there was a lot of misty spray paint artifacts and leaks I had to later scrub off with paint remover. Just carefully remove the windows. At first I thought I'd leave the inside black, but it looked stupid, so I removing the windows and painting the inside white was the way to go. I masked off the black dashboard and steering wheel.
I sprayed the blue first so I could spray white over any mistakes, but I also masked the white areas so I didn't have to do too much clean up later with white. Use nice medium-tack masking tape.
I was pretty proud of this job. The beater van I bought was missing the back door. I cut out the shape in PVC board and used a heat gun to give it the slight bend it needed. Then I sanded down a strip of balsa wood to match the shape of the profile strip that goes around the sides of the van. Looks great for display purposes.
I sent an .eps file of the Dharma logo to a laser cutting service and they cut me a nice gray plastic logo to put on the front of the bus.
I'd been wanting to add sound components to my custom toys for awhile, and this was the perfect opportunity. How can this van NOT play Shambala by Three Dog Night? And further, how can that Dharma logo NOT be the button you push to make the song play. A little research led me to bigDawgs promotions and their usb recordable greeting card modules. I picked up the 200 second model and eagerly awaited it's arrival. I downloaded their software (pc only--I hate that, but we have an old Dell laptop. It took some updating of software to make it work) and added the song to the chip. It works pretty great, but I did have to remove the batteries twice in order to reboot it, but it seems to be working fine now. Still, for $8 it's a hell of a product. I put it on the floor under the seat, which is the perfect place for the sound to reverberate through the floor and inside the van. Then I snaked the button through the Batman shield hole and glued it in place, then glued the logo around it. I eventually covered the button with the flat end of a rubber gasket I used in my Batman playsets that miraculously fit like a glove.
I final touch is a handmade dashboard radio with an 8-track of Three Dog Night's Cyan album. In the show the 8-track was mounted under the dash, but I liked this look better. The AM radio tunes to 4, 8, 15 and 16, of course. I used photos of vintage dials for the dash stickers.
Now, get down to the Swan site ASAP! And watch out for hostiles!
That's it, thanks for looking! Namaste!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
The first thing I did when I arrived was march to the Entertainment Earth Booth and pick up Jacob and Man In Black! It was a thrill to see the new Mego style figures so prominently displayed at the Con. MIB scowls down on the crowd along side Bobblehead Crazy Claire!
It 's been a rough start for Lost figures. There were questions about costume choice (ABC's decision), prototype heads looked large (a common problem--the heads shrink a bit when manufactured) and first wave character selection (Also ABC's call). But preorders were strong enough to go forward with the line and at last we have them in our hands!
I am overall very pleased with these figures and incredibly excited about the future of Lost Megos. But I do have quibbles.
I have to be honest and say Jacob did not turn out as well as it could have. The prototype sculpt was very spot-on, a great likeness of the actor/character. Too much of the detail dropped away in the final product and the likeness is not as strong. Additionally, people often think the heads are slightly translucent, but it's really that the color of the vinyl is a bit paler and yellower that it should be.
I say all of that and then notice that Jacob photographed beautifully for me, and in profile the likeness is really good. I feel like these two figures are growing on me the longer I live with them. I love Megos and I love seeing a show that I am passionate about come to life in Mego form.
I spoke with BifBangPow!'s Jason Lenzi and Jason Labowitz (pictured to the left with Dr Mego--the man who brought Mego figures back from the grave). They recognized that improvements can be made and are optimistic that the rest of wave one coming in August will look great.
The guys at BBP! are clearly dedicated to producing the best product they possibly can and of the nearly two dozen figures that they are currently offering only Jacob and MIB seem to be a bit off. If future Lost release look as good as their Twilight Zone or their Big Lebowski Dude, we are in very good hands indeed.
MIB has the same head color issue, but for some reason his likeness seems to have translated better from the prototype. I think both figures could have used a better paintjob, the eye's iris seems a little small, the eyebrows are a little thin perhaps. Despite paint on them the lips still get lost, I think this is where the detail of the original sculpt really disappeared.
Both figures have highlights painted into the hair, and I like that. They did a nice job painting the beard stubble, which will be a factor in almost all of the Lost figures. It's not just a paint-job, either, there is some surface texture on the cheeks.
The clothes are well made, the seams are thin and tight and the weight of the fabric is perfect. The costumes on these particular characters are not that exciting to begin with, but they did a good job translating them. My biggest complaint is the decision to go with shoe-feet. MIB is not wearing removable sandals and it's not a look I care for. I noticed Hurley has the same thing with his slipper feet and I suspect John Locke is also not wearing removable boots, though I wasn't able to confirm that. So we will be having to do a bit of customizing to these guys to get them where we want them. More on that later.
I understand why ABC chose to push for these two characters, as important as they were in the mythology of Season 6, and there is a certain logic in making them the Comic-Con exclusives. It may be a weakness to start the line off with two of the less popular choices. On the other hand, if you are going to have any manufacturing problems at the outset best to not have that happen with Jack or Sawyer.
Speaking of which, I was given a look at the prototypes for the upcoming Wave 2 of LOST! They had the prototypes in hand at the Con but chose to hold off revealing them until later. I had to promise not to take pictures or reveal specific details. What I can say is they look FANTASTIC! The characters had been listed on the back of the Wave1 card: Jack, Sawyer, Juliet, Miles, Claire, and Sayid. The sculpts all looked amazing--Sawyer and Miles were the real standouts, but they all looked very good. I had no complaints whatsoever on costume choice, each one was iconic and perfectly appropriate. They seemed to have a slightly higher level of detail overall, and some of the costume choices were more intricate than the first wave.
Photos will probably be up in August for preorders on Entertainment Earth.
I hope and pray that preorders are strong enough to ensure these figures get made. BBP! was quite clear that weak preorders would doom Wave2, and it would be a shame if this line died with less than half of the main cast produced. A Wave 3 with Jin and Sun and Desmond and Charlie may be too much to hope for, but let's at least get Jack and Sayid and Sawyer on board this plane!
One of the highlights of the trip was meeting Jay Glatfelter of the Lost Podcast with Jay and Jack who turns out to be a fan of Megos and the Mego Museum. I didn't get a chance to say hi to Jack, unfortunatly. I went to their party Friday night but couldnt stay very long and the podcast panel on Saturday had a huge turnout. I Love their podcast, I don't think I could have stayed with Lost as passionately as I did without them. Listening to their show after an episode and then later in the week in preparation for the next episode was an important part of my Lost regimine.
BBP! sent some free figures and a Claire bobblehead along for Jay and he was as happy as a kid at Christmas with him. I suspected he was a Mego fan, and I had a great time chatting with him about it.
Jacob and MIB sat together at the panel, but didn't speak to each other the whole time, it was kind of sad.
The rest of the con was spent catching up with old friends in the toy and animation worlds, covering the new Mego-style offferings for the Mego Museum, and in general trying to not get overwhelmed by all Comic-Con has to offer.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Updating my tests on building airline seats and solving the scale problem on the Barbie plane playset...I'm building a platform floor to raise the seats so the headroom isn't so extreme. Then it has an "aisle" that slides out like a drawer so when the set is open you have an aisle to walk down that you can slide away when the set is closed. I think it's a pretty nifty solution.
The seats I am making myself with a jigsaw and PVC board (I have a ton of scrap left over from all those Stately Caverns ledges...) The cushions are craft foam, I think it's a beautiful solution to making seats...I got quotes to do it lasercut, which would be nicer and with more detail, but it's just too expensive and I don't want to spend a ton on this one. Since I have no plans to make multiples of this I don't need to worry about mass producing seats. I may make a sticker to go on the outside of the chair so it has some more details, but this pretty much works for me. I have to make 12 plus a pilot's chair....
Still some adjusting to do: The headrest is too high and the platform is a bit too tall, I need it to be in line with the door. Like a dork, I built this before I removed the Barbie seats and kitchen so my measurements were totally brainless.
Still need to work out how to do the baggage compartment--the doors may be printed and won't actually work, but maybe that sucks, I don't know--I do kind of want to have oxygen masks to drop down in crash mode...
Friday, July 9, 2010
This next project, however, uses an existing playset--Mattell's Barbie Friendship Airplane, one of the classic playsets of the 1970s. I've been obsessing for while about how to convert on to an Oceanic 815 Mego playset. These videos below describe the playset and discuss various strategies I've come up with to do the job. Come back later to see how the project progresses.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I found a thread at the Mego Museum that mentioned a Jakks Pacific Wrestling figure that for some reason has a wheelchair. Wrestling figures are great because they are pretty much in the same scale as Megos and have a number of interesting props. They are the single greatest source for all Mego scale folding chairs, for instance.
I don't have to tell you how fast I hunted one of these down. I got it loose on eBay for $20. It's a pretty much perfect fit. I can't wait to get the John Locke from BifBangPow! and outfit him in some sensible traveling clothes. He's got a plane to catch.....
Sunday, June 20, 2010
So let's say you are a huge Lost fan but are disappointed that the new Lost figures are these goofy looking Mego dollies and not some highly detailed plastic sculptures or more expensive 12 inch collector showcases.
Well, I may not be able to help you with that, sorry. I hope at least you enjoyed the Finale...
But let's say you're a huge Lost fan looking for something else to do with your passion now that the show has ended. Maybe you're sort of interested in the new Lost figures, but you're just not sure that Megos are right for you.
Let me make the case that for a Lost fan who likes fun toys, Mego figures are the perfect vehicle for creating a new Lost world.
8. Someone already made Peg Bundy. That's right. Katie Segal, who portrayed John Locke's girlfriend Helen has already been immortalized in Mego form as Peg Bundy for the Classic TV Toys line of Married with Children figures.
Ok, I know it's a bit absurd, but it's actually a pretty good likeness of the actress and with a new outfit, trim the hair, maybe change the lipstick color...I'm telling you. McFarlane Toys was never gonna get around to making a Helen, and you can have one for FIVE BUCKS!
You'll find tons of inexpensive Mego custom fodder at CTVT, especially lots of civilian types. Check out the CTVT gallery at the Megomuseum to learn more.
UPDATE: Lost fan Andalone tried this project with mixed results. Some of the CTVT heads are a little too big , but it was a good attempt.
7. Sawyer and Miles: Dharma Cops Say what you will about the Flash Sideways, the one thing we can all agree on is that a spin-off cop show starring Josh Holloway and Ken Leung would be fan-freaking-tastic! But let's face it, it ain't gonna happen.
But if BBP! Series 2 gets made, they've promised both Sawyer and Miles which means you get to make the line of toys for the cop show that never gets made. I'm just going to show you this Mego Starsky and Hutch Commercial and let you imagination do the rest.
I'm going to have a contest for who can create the coolest show concept and toy line, it's a can't miss fun project.
6. Apes may once have ruled the Island.
While we never saw evidence that Planet of the Apes culture once visited the Island along with the Romans and Egyptians and Ann Arboreans, there's nothing that says it didn't. And even if Dr. Zaius going toe to toe with Smokie doesn't excite you---you can at least count on Mego's Ape line to deliver the moccasins, rifles, earth tone clothes, and funky wooden weapons (like a rock catapult!) to help outfit your Others army.
EMCE Toys reproduced some of the Mego Apes, so plenty of custom fodder is available.
5. There's like... 108 things Action Jackson can help you with.
Good old reliable Action Jackson. Mego's first man of action, this GI Joe inspired hero has plenty to offer your expedition to the Island. His adventure sets are still plentiful in the marketplace at very affordable prices. You'll need ARMY OUTFITS, jungle khakis, walkie talkies and camping gear and knives and boots and a scuba outfit...Plus with 3 or 4 different heads, including a handsome African-American AJ, this is one versatile Mod Stud. I'll save the biggest AJ surprise for later...
4. It's your best chance to get Shatner on board.
This may not the the most practical point, but Mego made the best Captain Kirk figure ever, which meant you could cross universes and mix Captain Kirk with Superman, Planet of the Apes, Wizard of Oz, whatever adventure you'd like.
If someone hasn't done the fan fic story yet, they should. Kirk showing up on the Island could really work out well. Sitting there in his giant foot temple, luring unsuspecting travelers to his baffling jungle realm, speaking in riddles, if ever at all--Let's face it, Jacob is a lot like a villain in the original series. He just needs some orange skin and a buxom sister and I can guarantee you Captain Kirk will get some answers out of him.
You want rules? How's the freaking Prime Directive for ya?
The good Captain was recently reproduced by EMCE toys, he's yours for the asking. Vintage examples are also quite common on eBay.
3. Sideburns. You're gonna a wide assortment of scruffy seventies dudes in Dharmaville and even for the Others. If Lost figures were made in almost any other format you'd never get a wide assortment of Dharma Initiative workers or Others. At 12 inch it's a ridiculous expense for a customizer, and at 3-6 inches, no company would ever get around to making redshirts. But
Mego made over 100 different figures, and many are found cheap on eBay or have been widely reproduced. You can kitbash a good number of Extras without taking up a lot of space. We'll talk about the female Megos later, they are trickier, but still around.
BONUS. I'm just gonna go ahead and call this guy Charles Widmore right now. Done.
2. CASTAWAYS! It is ironic and handy that one of the big players in Mego customizing is called Castaway Toys. If you are planning on stranding a bunch of dolls on a dangerous electromagnetic island, you better check with these dudes. They have an especially nice selection of Pirate gear which is bound to come in handy, as is this fabulous white LAB COAT! Paging Dr. Sheppard and Dr. Chang!
1. DHARMA VANS! It's obviously destiny, or possibly the result of time travel back to the Mego offices in 1971--but either way it can be no mere coincidence that Mego actually produced several variations on the 70's era Volkswagon Bus. The Batman Mobile Lab, The Jokermobile, Dinah-Mite's Campmobile, and...perfectly...the Action Jackson Campmobile.
In all honesty, this is a bit of a tease, because the AJ Campmobile is astonishingly rare. I think Ive seen 2 or 3, it just doesn't come up that often.
However, the Batlab and Jokermobile are more common and can be found in rough enough condition that giving them a custom paint job is warranted. I'd never advocate turning a nice example of one of these vans into a Dharma van---it would probably be fairly expensive, a nice loose example can go from $150-300 on Ebay--and as a Mego "historian" I wouldn't want to see good vintage toys altered in that way.
But I have two rough Batlabs ready to be repainted in Dharma blue. I'm looking forward to making a dead Roger Linus figure and a case of Dharma beer to stick in the back of the van. When the Bif Bang Pow! Hurley figures land on my doorstep I want to have a van and a new Hurley Island outfit ready to go!
I have no doubt that to a lot of people this will seem pretty absurd, but I also have faith that there are more than a few Lost fans with enough imagination, humor, and creative talent to have a great time collecting, making and "playing" with Lost Megos. I hope we can find a way to connect and have some fun sharing the hobby.
Contact me here or through the Mego Museum forums where you can share your custom work and get tips and tricks (and toys!) from the friendliest bunch of toy geeks around.