I’ve been working on a graphic novel of Day of the Toys for several months now and have finished the script and begun thumbnails. The sketches make me pretty excited.
I love Ray Harryhausen movies. They’ve always been a favorite since childhood, and the Sinbad films are no exception. Each one is good in its own right and brings something fun tot he table, but no Sinbad portrayal was better than John Phillip Law. And no Sinbad Girl was hotter than Carilone Monroe as Margiana in the Golden Voyage of Sinbad.
JPL brought a likeable humanity to the character that was lacking in the other films, and he looked the part more than anyone else. It’s impossible not to like this incarnation of Sinbad whenever he’s onscreen. And every time I see Munroe in those Arabian outfits I swoon a little.
So I decided to pay tribute to them both in Mego form! Sinbad’s head is a repainted (thanks Metalhead Minis!) Gideon from the Bible Greats line, and really resembles JPL well. The costume is cobbled together from a variety of sources to match his costume in the latter half of the film, and an Aladdin sword from Mattel rounds him out nicely.
Margiana is a real prize, with a Zica Yvonne body and a vintage Demo Girl head that sort of resembles the actress herself. I added the eye tattoo on her hand myself, and the badass costume was made by O. T. Puente based on movie stills. They look amazing together, and all that’s missing is a monster for them to fight.
The title is actually a joke. EVERY toy line in the 90s went the Mighty Max route, from Power Rangers to Ninja Turtles. You name it, there was a micro-playset of it. One of the coolest was the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek: TNG!
This recreates the bridge of the Enterprise in vivid micro-detail, though I wish it came with a lot more figures. I had to grab a few extras from elsewhere. While the bridge is the main draw, there’s a few other nicely detailed areas like the brig, the captain’s ready room, and the bar!
I always wanted one when I was a kid, and managed to get one long enough to take some ridiculous photos.
The Shadowmobile is the latest addition to the Mego collection, a cool convertible coupe made from a Dick Tracy getaway car.
This is easily near the top of the list of my most grueling custom projects to date. It seats two Megos: one in back, one in front. You can also hide small items in the spare tire case on the back of the coupe. All I need now is to figure out how to get the doors to stick shut when I close them, since the roof of the Dick Tracy car was largely responsible for that.
A hillbilly space elf named Christine is arrested for collaborating with a despotic Shogun who is conquering the galaxy. After having a bomb installed in her skull, Christine is given a chance at redemption by braving a treacherous planet in search of a powerful artifact.
Arkista’s Ring is a nonlinear sci-fi fantasy adventure where you choose your path through the game. Doors open via single-use keys, and some paths to the end are easier than others. Wield a vast array of sci-fi weaponry and fantastical artifacts against the strangest creatures in the galaxy.
For Doom II
What started as a remake of Angst: Rahz’s Revenge ran away and became its own thing. After angering your woke bosses at the Global Insurance Company, you are deported to Lunica City, the only tourist trap/prison on the moon, to suffer the rest of your days in cubicle hell. A few days later the GIC’s experiments turn the moon city into a nightmare: dinosaur-like aliens have invaded, and the city is in chaos. Maybe now is a good time to find a way back to earth before the city falls?
In my quest to find a good car for the Shadow, I ended up finding a way to make the only interesting Phantom adversary that wasn’t a cookie-cutter yellow peril bad guy: the Baroness, leader of the Sky Band, a group of lady pilots who are also lady pirates!
Since there isn’t much for pictures of her online, I went with her only appearance in the Defenders of the Earth cartoon. I cobbled her portrait together from three different screenshots, and also borrowed that version’s the Sky Band emblem for the decals.
The plane is a Tri-Wing Terror from the Talespin toy line, which is a dead ringer for the style Mego used for their vehicles back in the day. All it needed was open space under the dashboard so the doll’s legs could fit (i did this myself with a dremmel).
She’s an awesome and stylish addition to the collection, though I had to replace her crappy FTC jacket before it completely disintegrated completely, sacrificing the cool fuzzy collar. For a while she was sporting a sexy low-cut pulp bombshell look before I finally got a decent jacket.
Initially I didn’t care to own Mr. Mxyzptlk, but after the ordeal of trying to clean tobacco stink out of a rare Type 2 (and only partly succeeding), getting a spare head, and finally cobbling my own version together out of spare parts, he’s kind of grown on me.
My Mxyzptlk is unique: he sports the arms and legs of a Lion Rock soldier dude, making him an impish 7 inches tall. He actually better resembles the character this way when compared to the others in the line.
So despite my dislike of Superman characters, I’m actually glad I added this one to the collection.
I’m a sucker for both the cute and the creepy, and that’s probably why I had a ton of these toys as a kid, yet never watched the show. Krumm especially steals the show in this toyline with his amazing sculpt and supreme weirdness. He somehow manages to be scary, gross, weird, and endearing all at once. He’s right at home on my shelf of oddball crap.
The toys were designed by toy designer Mel Birnkrant, whose website chronicles the creation of an awesome line of monster toys that eventually became the Aaaahh Real Monsters figure line. This probably explains why the characters from the show were somewhat half-baked feature-wise when compared to the other, more fully fleshed-out designs. While the Gromble probably has the sculpt that comes most alive out of all of them, Krumm is definitely the best all-around of the cast members that were rendered in plastic.
I’ve mentioned before that the Shadow was perhaps the most impressive addition to the collection, originally made to round out a sub-category of pulp heroes to keep Conan and Tarzan company. Since then I’ve expanded the Shadow into a small line of customs all its own.
The Shadow himself is very cool, and can transform into Lamont Cranston with a quick costume change.
Margo Lane was one I had entertained off and on for some time, but once I ended up with all the parts by chance, I made it happen. She’s a lovely addition and looks great in green or red!
Finally, a toy line is only as good as its villains, and I’ve got a Shadow baddie so popular, he got an action figure in 1994 even though he wasn’t in the movie: Dr Rodil Mocquino, the Voodoo Master! I reimagined him as a larger-than-life priest of Baron Samedi, which is way more interesting than the generic robed villain he originally was.
Who knows how many more I may add when inspiration strikes…?
You know the rest.
Here I post alternate fashions I screw around with for fun.
No idea who made this sexy Jessica Rabbit style torch singer dress, but it’s a hot little number and makes Jem look like a spitfire.
Clash looks great in pretty much anything, especially this purple and white fur ensemble.
I saw this Wild Hearts Club outfit at Walmart and immediately thought of Roxy. The pants took 45 minutes to force onto her big rubbery legs. Now I need an extra Roxy so I don’t have to change her back…
Jetta only looks good when wearing her namesake. This Barbie outfit was a bit too “soft” for her, but cute as hell nonetheless.
She looks tougher in the halter top.
My biggest Mego custom project to date is Dr Octopus. I ordered two different Doc Ock dolls from the 90s to make him happen: a 9″ Spider-Man Origins doll for the head, and a Toybiz Special Edition Series 12″ doll for the bitchin’ tentacles. I’ve seen a couple custom Doc Ocks and their tentacles are always on the short side. I wanted mine to be able to stand on his!
I believe this was the project I originally bought my dremel for, which has proven invaluable ever since. I used an extra fat body to practice drilling holes in the torso–juuust big enough for the tentacles to fit snugly without otherwise needing to be attached. The practice run paid off and I nailed it on the first try once I started on the real thing.
Now I can remove them for maintenance as needed.
The costume was made by pal O. T. Puente, and the box was made by Greg Jensen as always. It had to be an extra wide box to fit his tentacles!
On the DC side of the spectrum, I lucked out at the Tucson Toy Show and happened across a custom I had wanted and missed on ebay some time ago: Doctor Fate, with a head sculpt that doesn’t look like a squash!
The Justice Society veteran was a fixer-upper when I found him. He needed new arms, as one hand had broken off, and his face was in need of a good scrubbing. Once that was all done, I made a custom amulet and pasted it onto his chest. Voila!
I remember having the Super Powers Doctor Fate as a kid and thinking he was the coolest looking dude of them all, so this guy was kind of essential to the collection.
Despite my plans to only collect the Misfits, I ended up running out of space to store my impressive collection of Holograms.
The Holograms use a lot of warm, harmonious colors versus the wild, clashing patterns of the Misfits, owing to their personalities as what is essentially the Get-Along Gang with face paint. As I’ve said before, the epidemic of moral pariah protagonists in 80s cartoons made the heroes we grew up with pretty unmemorable outside of their outward designs.
Despite this, these dolls are gorgeous. It’s hard to pick a favorite Hologram as far as aesthetic goes.
Jem lacks her cool original dress in favor of the silver jumpsuit I find much cooler and sexier for some reason. Her earrings still light up after all these years. She’s a version 1 Jem as well: later versions used a Barbie-esque smiling head sculpt that looks downright creepy, and I could never stand looking at it. Like the protagonist should be, Jem is the center of attention wherever I arrange her on the shelf.
Her sister Kimber is no slouch, though, especially since I replaced her Prince outfit with this hot pink and orange getup. She’s downright adorable, unlike her obnoxious animated counterpart.
Kimber unfortunately has the distinction of being the only complex personality on the show: she’s the only one who isn’t just there to spout her lines and get into trouble. Jem does the moral posturing, Aja drives the car and makes snide comments, Shana…designs clothes? Kimber throws tantrums, has mood swings, bungles her way into love triangles that leave everybody hurt, and pines for her late dad in ways that tug at the heart string, to the point where she develops a sweet bond with Pizzazz’s dad on Father’s Day. She even helps save a veteran musician’s home and the musical museum it contains, learning to respect her elders as well as musical history. Kimber gets around and her character runs the gamut of emotions and life outlooks, making her more well-rounded than the rest of the Holograms combined.
It’s a shame she’s such a twat most of the time.
Aja is also hard not to like. She stands out from the warm palette of her bandmates by covering herself in cool blues and purples from head to toe. She has a unique head sculpt with a smile that is quite endearing–the opposite of Jem’s later head sculpt. I think someone took scissors to my Aja’s hair though, since it’s cut unevenly. Or maybe that’s her style. I have no idea. In a nice edgy touch, Aja’s skirt has a snakeskin pattern, suggesting she’s a bit tougher than the other girls.
From what I’ve read, Aja is generally highly sought after because of her excellent overall design. Can’t deny she’s an aesthetically pleasing piece of art.
Shana is arguably the prettiest of them all, from her kinky purple hair to her sweet face to her poofy pink bow. Another work of art from the 1980s toy shelves that more than makes up for her boring counterpart in the cartoon. I imagine a lot of young girls went ga-ga when they saw her on the shelves.
Synergy is basically the holographic ghost of Jem and Kimber’s dead mother. The show kicked things off on a high note, didn’t it? She’s rocking out with her 80s space workout spandex, which normally comes with a headband, but I leave it off since she looks prettier without it. She mostly hangs out in the background, making Jem look cool. I think she’s one of the best-looking pieces in the line.
Video is so cute I just wanna pinch her cheek, although I’d worry about her hair collapsing on me like a condemned building. Her outfit and hair are probably the most outrageous of them all–the detailing on that jacket alone is out of sight.
Video is another lost opportunity on the show. In the Father’s Day episode she gets riled easily and her big mouth makes a bad situation worse in the heat of the moment. They could’ve written a number of episodes or scenarios around Video’s bungling temper being the center of the plot, if not another obstacle. I wish they’d played off of that in other stories–the Holograms are so lacking in character it’s a shame!
Raya is the newest member of the Holograms, a sweet Latina with a fiery temper and a terrible original outfit. I ditched it immediately in favor of Kimber’s Prince getup, which already looks much better on her. Raya is the drummer, and as such came with an extra long stand with a hole for her drums to plug into–as if the stands for these dolls weren’t big enough! Because of her rarity, I don’t have a complete drum set, so that’ll be fun (and expensive) to cobble together. Or I could just leave her a backup singer.
Raya is probably my favorite on the show. She’s a sweetheart. And you also don’t wanna fuck with her. Although I can’t help thinking she would’ve worked as a new Misfit if they’d run with the “angry cholita” thing.
The Holograms shelf is so crowded I had to get creative with her placement.
Wonder Woman has no shortage of weird adversaries, but none are as fun, in my opinion, as a short-tempered sociopath who can grow to the size of King Kong. I am of course talking about Giganta.
Giganta turned out to be quite a beautiful piece of work, beginning life as a 14″ Mego Poison Ivy. After hacking her hair to half length, I had a custom outfit made for her, and threw together some yellow bracelets out of a yellow file folder (lacking for better materials). The end result is as charming as a fifty-foot psycho redhead can get, and towers over the 8″ megos! They’re only as tall as her leg!
I suppose it helps that I have a thing for redheads AND for tall women. Anyway she’s far easier a custom to make than Cheetah, and I don’t see Cheetah swatting helicopters out of the sky while dishing out dumb one-liners.
She even got a cool stand-in box, complete with a properly scaled Pocket Heroes Wonder Woman to victimize!