Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Bit About Toy Customisation

For my exhibition Haunted House Rock I list Toy Customisation as one on the many mediums I use to create artwork. For me toy customisation has very humble beginnings. As a kid growing up I used to love to play with toys in particularly Super Hero Action Figures. As with most kids my age I  went through a Superman, Superman, Superman phase. He was my favorite toy I used to fold his legs up behind his head, put him in my top pocket and take him everywhere with me, I liked him so much I lost his cape and wore the “S” right off his chest. For Christmas that year I received a second brand new and (in my opinion) all powerful Superman Action Figure It was great I was so happy, but there is one problem, when your playing Superman and you have two Supermen there is only so much flying around you can do before you need to find a bad guy to beat up. I remember taking to one of my supermen with some plasticine to make him “more muscily” and a coiled up pipe cleaner crown which I placed  on top of his head, he now became the mighty-evil leader known as King Spring, and a new hobby was born.

Now days I mainly start my customising with a Generic 8-inch Mego styled body, I sculpt the head or add facial features to a resin cast of and existing head with modeling clay. I then go about creating a costume and accessories for the figure via many different means. 

For those of you that don’t know, The Mego Corporation was a toy company that dominated the action figure toy market during most of the 1970s. The Mego Corporation was founded in the early 1950s and was mostly known prior to 1971 as a producer of dime store toys. Starting in 1971, Mego began purchasing license rights to a variety of successful motion pictures, television programs, and comic books, and started producing lines for Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, and the Wizard of Oz. Mego used various licensed Marvel and DC superhero characters to create their World’s Greatest Superhero line, which became their most successful toy line. They also produced an original character, Action Jackson, an unsuccessful competitor of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe. The secret of Mego’s success was that their action figures were constructed with interchangeable heads. Generic bodies could be mass produced and different figures created by interposing different heads and costumes on them. Mego also constructed their figures primarily in an 8-inch (200 mm) scale - setting an industry standard in the 1970s.

I prefer to customise using the Mego’s 8-inch figures for a few reasons, firstly I love them as a base because you can really go crazy with the cloth costuming secondly they have a very classic look to them, and thirdly there is a really established community around customizing Mego Action Figures and it is pretty easy to purchase reproduction parts and accessories.

1 comment :

  1. Talk about a makeover – Frankenstein is now a hip rocker, the processes you go through to get the detail in his rockabilly hair style is really interesting. Plus it looks like fun!