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


Here is a size comparison of the 9Art "Athletic Boy Hero" Dick Grayson / Robin The Boy Wonder with the 9Art "Heroic Adult Male" Bruce Wayne / The Batman:

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


FABRICATING THE COSTUME


Vest Tunic:

After some trial and error experimentation, I was able to create a pattern for Robin’s leathery vest tunic (in Adobe Photoshop) that had a nice, tailored fit on the “Athletic Boy” body I developed.

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Fabricating the vest was a bit involved, and even painstaking, and yet it was also a lot more fun than I anticipated it would be.

I printed out the vest pattern, and then very lightly coated the back of the page with spray adhesive. With the light tack consistency of maybe painter’s tape, I adhered the paper pattern to the back of the red fabric I selected. With my trusty, sharp cuticle scissors, I cut out a perfectly clean vest, which I then sewed into a wearable garment.


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Last edited by darklord1967, 1/29/2018, 5:33 am
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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


VEST DETAILS

I cobbled together very simple temporary green t-shirt and shorts "place holder" garments for the figure, so that I could perform accurate test fittings as I worked.

The next issue I had to contend with was the vest's final fine details: The creation of the lace holes upon the garment and the installation of the miniscule, micro eyelets through which the yellow tunic laces would be threaded.

This detail of the tunic was a real challenge to pull off because all the holes had to be PERFECTLY lined up in relation to each other, and they had to be functional enough to have the vest’s fastening laces fit through them. With even a single hole or eyelet NOT PRECISELY lined up, the vest garment would appear amateurish and cheap.

To ensure the lace holes perfect positioning, I mapped them out at the vest pattern creation stage, and represented them with little white dots.

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After the vest was cut and stitched, I laid the still tacky paper pattern back onto the vest and used a 1/16” paper hole punch to punch the lace holes into the garment, using the hole positions on the pattern as a guide.


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The layout of these lace holes had to be very carefully coordinated with a large holdout space (at the top of the vest) for the large collar of Robin's cape... another hold out space (at the bottom of the vest ) for the prominent positioning of the utility belt buckle, and even a consideration for the monogram "R" insignia on the left lapel (special thanks to Paul "laser-mego" Wasson for printing out these nifty vinyl stickers from the pattern I sent)!

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Once the garment was successfully perforated with the 12 holes necessary for 6 laces, I set about creating eyelet coverings for each of the holes. Now this is where maintaining a good stock of model building parts for kit bashing comes in. Among my stash, there was a tree of parts that contained micro circle loops that I determined would be PERFECT to create the eyelets for the vest’s laces. The truly unnerving thing about these “loops” was the fact that there were EXACTLY 12 of them on the parts tree I had… the EXACT number of loops I needed for Robin’s vest… and not a single one more! And since I had no idea what model kit this parts tree came from, I was not able to re-purchase that model kit to obtain more of these loops to have as extras.

This operation was going to have to be done with ZERO margin for error!


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After about six hours of very, slow, steady, and meticulous work, I managed to color all 12 laces in black with a permanent marker...


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...and then installed them in the PRECICE positions over the holes I had punched on the vest garment. As incredible as it may seem, I did not lose a single eyelet loop… AND I actually managed to attach them with superglue, so they are permanent! Not bad for a bunch of parts that are about the size of a pen point!


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Last edited by darklord1967, 1/29/2018, 5:40 am
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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


A UTILITY BELT WITH BRASS BUCKLE!


Over the years, as an action figure designer / customizer, I have amassed a variety of shapes and objects made of different materials that I thought would come in handy for future projects.

When putting together Robin The Boy Wonder's comic book based utility belt, I decided that I wanted the buckle to be made of real polished brass, as a reflection of the intended richness of the final figure.

Looking in my materials bin, I found a series of brass studs, loops, eyelets, and rods that would prove to be very handy for me to create the Boy Wonder's buckle...



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Last edited by darklord1967, 1/29/2018, 5:42 am
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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


BAT-A-RANG

Let me just say that as a life-long Batman fan, I do NOT consider the 1966 Adam West version of the Bat-mythology as the definitive version.

I DO, however, freely admit to having a favored preference for a lot of the production design elements first introduced on that show, into the Bat- mythology (Re: The Batmobile, The Bat Cycle, Bat Boat, etc.)

One such design from the 1966 Batman TV show that I consider an all-time favorite... even over all of the later versions seen in the comic books, cartoons, video games, or films... are the BAT-A-RANGS!

To me, the 1966 versions look really cool. They looked dangerous, they were functional as weapons AND grappling hooks, they had a strong Bat-motif as part of their design… AND… more than any other design I can think of… they actually seemed to be based off the size, shape, and function of an actual BOOMERANG!

The kind folks at Figures Toys Company created a 1966 Bat-A-Rang for their 8 inch scaled Batman figures. They were the first (and only ones) to do this in that scale. The trouble is they created an accessory which was considerably under-sized. The sculpt appeared blunted and roundedly dull… not at all dangerous-looking.


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Most egregiously of all, FTC seemed to forget (or ignore) the fact that Robin (and Batgirl) both used much smaller “sidekick” Bat-A-Rang props as the weapons of their personal arsenals. These sidekick Bat-A-Rangs were a completely different design (although within the same style "family") as the Batman’s “hero” prop.

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While I was lucky enough to get a “headstart” on the fabrication of The Batman’s Bat-A-Rang for this project (via a parts bin discovery from a model kit), I was NOT similarly fortunate when it came to creating Robin’s throwing weapon.

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I had no choice but to create the sidekick weapon from scratch.

I downloaded an image of Robin’s 1966 Bat-A-Rang to my computer, and re-sized it to 1:9 scale in Adobe photoshop. This essentially allowed me to have a workable pattern that I could use for cutting some white sheet styrene into the Bat-A-Rang’s basic shape.

Using styrene rods, and modelling putty, I have managed to create Robin’s classic (1966-styled) sidekick Bat-A-Rang in precise 1:9 scale for my custom figure.

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When completed, I would use my sidekick bat-a-rang sculpt as the basis for clean castings to be used by Custom Robin and Batgirl.

Last edited by darklord1967, 1/24/2018, 12:37 pm
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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


CHAINMAIL TRUNKS


I always intended that my custom Robin figure would wear shorts that would depict the scaley chainmail look as seen in the classic comics.

And while it is the typical MEGO / FTC tendency to represent scaley shorts with graphics silkscreened / printed directly on the fabric, I wanted to represent the chainmail with actual texture upon the fabric.


When gathering up the fabrics to create this figure, I searched pretty extensively for a fabric that could stand in for making Robin's trunks. I finally located some kelley green stretch spandex that had tiny little green dots embedded into it. It was not exactly the chainmail look I wanted, but I figured it would be close enough… especially at this scale.

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Unfortunately, when I began experimenting with making the shorts out of this fabric, I found their final texture to be too “glitzy” and shimmery. The shorts ended up looking more like the sequined / bedazzled trunks that might be worn by a flashy, flamboyant professional wrestler!

I was about to resign myself to just making The Boy Wonder's shorts out of plain green stretch fabric.

Then one day something very interesting happened:

I was sitting around during a break from the work, reading the MEGO Museum forums page on my iPad. Suddenly, I took notice of the pattern on the old, worn, stretchy, rubber-grip carry case. In terms of scale, size, texture, and detail, this fabric would appear PERFECT to represent Robin’s detailed shorts!!


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An online search helped me locate a retailer in china that sold this very same faux leather textured embossed grain surface stretch fabric in various colors… including in green!


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When the fabric arrived, I found that it accepted artist acrylic paint very well. This allowed me to convert the fabric into a PERFECT match for the shade of green which I had already established for Robin’s costume.

I quickly cut the colored fabric into the pattern I had established, and stitched them into a very neat set of shorts.

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


PIXIE BOOTS


After careful consideration, I decided that I preferred footwear for Robin that was styled more accurately in the design of a taller, winged pixie boot…like the ones worn by Robin throughout the Bronze Age and into the 1980’s in the comics). I wanted the figure’s conspicuous ankle joints and top foot to be more concealed by his footwear.

Presenting the TEXTURE of the boots as FABRIC was very important to me. I wanted the boots to instantly recall the Medieval Age of Robin Hood in style and texture. This was a flavor that i simply did NOT feel was forthcoming from typical plastic / rubbery molded footwear like on typical production action figure toys.

I realized that Robin’s pixie boots would have to be fabricated like a GARMENT… patterned, cut, and assembled... almost entirely in FABRIC... form-fitted onto the figure’s feet!

After a few days of trial and error (and several sleepless nights) I managed to come up with a footwear pattern that seemed to fit the character appropriately. I cut the fabric, folded and sewed it into a basic ankle "bootie" (with a slightly pointed pixie toe).

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I next created a shaped boot sole from plastic sheet, painted and glued it to the underside of the fabric ankle boot.

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The unsightly construction seam on the rear of the boot required a conceal panel for a finished, neat appearance. A tiny length of 1/8”-wide ribbon glued into place fit the bill adequately. I painted the ribbon with some flat hobby acrylic to eliminate it's satin sheen and to more closely match the texture of the green stretch milliskin that I used for making the basic boot.

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I created a winged pixie collar pattern in fabric and carefully glued it to the raw cut top edge of the boot to finish it off. It was absolutely VITAL to me that the cut edges of the winged collar be clean and razor sharp! I wanted absolutely NO FRAYING of those edges!
Also, I wanted a fabric that had some stiffness to it because I intended to fold the collars into a slight recessed depression, and I required them to hold these shapes permanently.

In the end, I used two layers of a simple green poly / cotton broad cloth. These layers were permanently bonded together with a light mist of spray adhesive. The fabric was then treated to five or six coats of green artist acrylic paint (to perfectly match the shade of the green milliskin fabric of the base booties) The glue and the paint upon the fabric served to do two other things as well: They stiffened the fabric adequately so that i could permanently shape the collar to my liking once installed on the boot. Also, they allowed me to cut the broadcloth fabric without worrying about rough edges that might fray later.

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I was quite satisfied with the final look of the finished boots.

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Last edited by darklord1967, 1/29/2018, 5:46 am
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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


ANOTHER QUICK TEST FIT



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Getting closer. Almost complete now.

I've finished all green garments of Robin's costume, (ensuring that they all perfectly match the same shade of green).

The finish trim on the edge of the t-shirt sleeves has been installed.

The gauntlets have been finished (with a rough velvety /suede texture that I had hoped for). In the 1966 Batman TV series, I always preferred the very first pair of gauntlets worn by Robin in the first two episodes (and NEVER worn again for the whole rest of the series). Those first gauntlets were a bright shade of kelly green (matching the rest of his uniform), and they had a suede-like texture. After that first (2-part) storyline, the gloves were switched to a much darker green leather pair (which i did not like as much). The original gauntlets DO appear in every episode, though, in the stock footage of our heroes taking off from the Batcave in the Batmobile.

Anyhow, (although this custom figure represents Robin as the character of the classic Bronze Age comic books) I paid homage to my preferred Robin gauntlets of the '66 TV series, by creating these gauntlets with a suede texture as well.


I've placed ALL of these finished garments on a freshly assembled 9ART "Athletic Boy" body with nice, tight, firm limbs (since I wore out the limbs on the body I was using when I built this figure by manhandling it so much).


Next up: Final black leathery face mask... flowing golden yellow satin cape... yellow lace closures for the vest tunic... And then... final air brush and hand paint detail work, then it's off to MEGO MEET!!


PS: Plans for sheer leggings for this custom figure have been scrapped. I was disappointed to learn that the 3 pairs of tight leggings that I had stitched together thus far compromised the sleek contour of the boy's athletic legs. Also, the fit of both the green shorts and the pixie boots were compromised by the added bulk of the sheer leggings. The sheer fabric was also far too fragile for use on an action figure that will be even occasionally hand held! With even the slightest skin nick, flaky dried skin, dried glue residue, or dried paint residue on the fingers or fingernails when holding the figure, the fabric on the tights instantly becomes hook/ snagged like velcro and permanently bruised! Very frustrating!! Moving on now. No more leggings! I'm done with that!

For the sake of aesthetics of this figure, I am perfectly fine with The Boy Wonder having bare legs LOL!

Last edited by darklord1967, 1/29/2018, 5:47 am
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Re: My Own Line of Custom Batman Toys (MEGO style!)


ROBIN: The Boy Wonder 9Art Elite Edition Custom Action Figure (1:9 scale / 6.5" height)


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


What a joy to read your posts, and what a great result for all your hard work, just fantastic! I wish I had your skills. Artists like you are inspiring me to try out new techniques. Thank you for taking your time to post all those interesting details and photos!

---
RED BATWORKSHOP
Vampire-Bat-Capes, Gloves, Bat-Boomerangs, Emblems, Belts
http://www.phantombatman.webs.com/
"Minds, like parachutes, only work when they are open!"
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