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darklord1967 Profile
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My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


As a boy and avid Batman fan, growing up in the early 1970’s, I obsessed over owning a MEGO action figure of my favorite character.

Yes, I was fully aware of the campy Adam West TV show, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the TV adventures every afternoon after school.

But it was the dark, grim, mysterious character from the COMIC BOOKS that most intrigued me.

There was something about the HUGE cape (much, much bigger than Adam West’s), the long ears and the blank eye slits on the Bat-Cowl, that really spoke to me. This Batman stalked around at night on Gotham City’s rooftops and scared the bejeesus out of criminals by crashing through skylights and beating them to a pulp.

No corny, campy jokes. No ridiculously convenient gadgets pulled out of his utility belt for just the right situation. No “fully deputized agent of the law”.

This was a masked manhunter… an unstoppable, vigilante creature of the night.

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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


Even at the age of 7 (back in 1974), I recognized that MEGO’s version of the character was NOT the one that I admired most.

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Over the next 30 years, I never lost my passion for MEGO Superhero action figures. And I certainly never let go of my obsession to own a “spooky” 8 inch MEGO Batman in my collection.

As I began experimenting with action figure customizing in the late 1990’s, I started to imagine what details should be featured on my ideal MEGO Batman figure: A big, shiny bat-cape that could spread into wings… a detailed utility belt… leathery boots and gloves… cool accessories like a Bat-A-Rang and Batrope…

But no detail of the figure was more critical to me than the mask/cowl, which I wanted to be removable (just like on MEGO’s original Batman figure).


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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


As far as I was concerned, the design of The Batman’s headgear was going to define the entire look and tone of the figure. I really didn’t want the cowl to fit like an enormous, ill-fitting football helmet. And I really didn’t want any visual associations with the look of Adam West’s mask.

In the end, this custom-made cowl/mask proved to be the greatest challenge in the (already difficult) creation of my custom Action figure, and pushed my sculpting / model-making abilities to the max.

A PROPER “WAYNE-FOUNDATION” FOR A BAT FACE

When it came to designing The Batman’s overall masked face, I first needed to come up with a face sculpt for Bruce Wayne that suited the character, and that would look properly grim when wearing a mask cowl.

The various lines of MEGO 8 inch scale action figures were full of dozens of interesting male face sculpts. Ultimately, it was my hope that with some minor cosmetic changes, a suitable sculpt would present itself to become my Bruce Wayne.

In the end, it was the Mr. Fantastic sculpt from the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes line that most excited me. I thought it was a ruggedly handsome sculpt with beautiful detail, that required very little in the way of re-design to become a proper Bruce Wayne. A simple hair re-sculpt would suffice. Best of all, the sculpt featured one of the very BEST heroic square chins and sunken cheeks that I had ever seen on ANY action figure anywhere! I imagined that those lower face details would look great framed by a Bat-Cowl.


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HEAD GEAR, AND COWLS, AND MASKS… OH MY!

Well… I certainly wish that creating The Batman’s mask/cowl for this figure would have been as simple and painless as my selection of MEGO’s Reed Richard sculpt to double as Bruce Wayne.

No such luck.

I had so many specific criteria in mind for The Batman’s mask cowl, that integrating them all into a single head garment was going to be a colossal challenge... beginning with my Bruce Wayne head sculpt foundation:

For the sake of an action figure that wears a removable cowl mask, a (flexible) vinyl head and / or cowl was going to be preferable.

And for the sake of sharpness of facial detail, and overall seamlessness, it was clear to me that my custom MEGO Batman action figure was going to have to wear a tough, rigidly-sculpted cowl.

It would have to be made out of a more rigid plastic than MEGO’s original “rubbery” removable cowl. BUT the lower portion of the bat mask / cowl (neck and front closure portion) would still have to be soft enough to allow for the Action figure’s head movement, form-fitted closure of the mask (along the sides of the face and under the chin), and seamless integration with the planned leathery bat wing-cape.

That’s a tall order.

Somehow, I was going to have to invent a way to combine a rigidly sculpted (but flexible) plastic mask /cowl with a soft fabric neck in a way that was totally seamless, strong, and permanent.
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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


PEZ AND MEGO GO GREAT TOGETHER!

Most customizers are aware of the relatively frequent compatibility of the heads of Pez Candy dispensers, and MEGO 8 inch scale action figures. This compatibility came to my rescue when trying to devise a mask cowl for my custom Batman action figure.

In 1998, Pez created a candy dispenser head sculpt to represent The Batman. I immediately recognized it as a decent sculpt for creating a nice removable mask cowl for a MEGO Batman.

There were sizing issues and detail issues that were going to have to be addressed, but for better or for worse, THIS was going to be my starting point.


I began by cutting away the sculpted details of this mask that were inappropriate for my needs (rounded rabbit-like cowl ears, overly exaggerated brow ridge, exposed chin portion, etc). Then I extended the front to back cranial measurement of the cowl by cutting out the back of the head and attaching a larger portion of a second Batman Pez dispenser head sculpt.

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After sculpting on all-new bat ears and a new brow ridge, I used my Dremel Rotary tool and hollowed out the cowl. I tested its fit on my “Bruce Wayne” MEGO head.


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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


Using tiny paper cut-outs, I began preliminary lay-outs for the blank eye slits in the cowl.

But in this first attempt, I determined the eyes to be too large... almost Animated Series in their style. They would have to be reduced a bit.

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Last edited by darklord1967, 1/23/2018, 10:00 pm
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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


At this stage, I put together a basic MEGO Type 2 body with a cobbled together bat-suit and test-fit the cowl until I was satisfied that it had a proper fit. I wanted to be sure that this new cowl did not give the overall figure a “big-head / football helmet syndrome”.

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Last edited by darklord1967, 1/24/2018, 11:02 am
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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


I needed to begin final smoothing of the sculpt work on the cowl. In order to do that, I needed to see the cowl in one uniform color, so I tinted it with a marker.

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In my mind, The Batman's costume should be VERY organic in its appearance with dominant natural textures (mostly leather). The idea here is that The Batman's garb is a throw-back to primitive, tribal warrior traditions of killing a LARGE BEAST, and then wearing its preserved skin as a garment. The vanquished creature's face (up to the upper jaw) becomes a feral mask with the warrior's own lower face (mouth and chin) exposed below.

This caused me a slight aesthetic dilema since I really wanted the final cowl to have an almost leathery texture (with tiny wrinkles and whatnot). That meant I would have to avoid smoothing out my sculpt work too perfectly... leaving in some organic imperfections.

Last edited by darklord1967, 1/24/2018, 11:05 am
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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


Being forever vigilant that the final figure NOT suffer from the "football helmet syndrome" that is often associated with removable cowls, i decided to do a more complete preliminary "dress up" of the figure. This time, I threw together a preliminary utility belt and big wing cape.

Naturally, my intentions for the final figure were for it to wear nice form-fitted spandex tights, leathery trunks, cape, gauntlets, and boots, and a removable cowl that will be completed (seamlessly) with the fabric-made neck portion allowing for full articulation of the figure's ball-jointed neck.

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Last edited by darklord1967, 1/24/2018, 11:09 am
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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


FROM REED RICHARDS TO BRUCE WAYNE


In this series of photos, you can see that i've managed to successfully re-sculpt a stretchy scientist from Marvel into a brooding billionaire playboy from DC!


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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


I molded my rigid plastic bat cowl, and cast it...

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... into a soft, flexy, and wearable cowl!! No more hard cowl cracking apart as I try to place it over the figure's head! Yayyyyyyy!!!

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Last edited by darklord1967, 1/24/2018, 11:14 am
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