JIM DORAN

Make your own Monsters

sorting

Some years ago, I wrote about how to “Make your own Action Figures.” When I was a boy, I used to melt various plastic figures into new, fantastic creatures. In a celebration of the last Sunday of August, Leezle and I created prototypes of new monsters using dinosaurs from the dollar isle at Target.

melting

First, we dissected the figures using X-acto blades. Then, we attempted to melt/fuse the parts together with a magnifying glass and the sun. It was late afternoon, and we didn’t have much success (although we did let the smoke out of a couple of leaves and twigs).

us

We ended up using a mini-butane torch, which worked really well.

Hydra

moew

moeww

I must say the following: ANY KIDS READING THIS – DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION. MAKE ALL FIGURES IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA. The plastic is really smelly and bad for you. And the butane flame is not good for general health, either.

Luckily, I had Leezle to supervise me.

piles

More to follow.

Make Your Own Action Figures

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time wishing I had a long skinny monkey tail like the Pink Panther.  I  imagined how I’d use it to help perform everyday tasks.   I still think it would be useful, although I’d opt in for a pointy devil tail these days, which is good for spearing circus peanuts.

When I was a kid, I got in really bad trouble for playing with matches.  I had a lot of army men, which I thought were kind of boring. I decided they needed to undergo genetic anthropomorphic mutation to become more interesting/useful. So, in my basement laboratory, with my assistant little-boy-from-next-door, I set out to create better toys. The trouble was, little-boy-from-next-door burned himself with a match, which brought a world of parent trouble down on me and my genetic anthropomorphic mutation toy laboratory. If I’d had a tail, I wouldn’t have needed an assistant in the first place and wouldn’t have lost my laboratory.

Some of my creations were awesome – a three armed ax wielding warrior with no head, a two headed cowboy, a barrel chested headless monster…etc.

Being an adult is awesome because I don’t have to worry about parents shutting down my lab.  I only have to worry about the fumes from melting plastic. NOTE: KIDS – DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT PARENTAL SUPERVISION.

I’ll be back – there’s some pretty interesting action happening in the backyard right now.

At the End of the Universe

I was a basement dweller as a kid.   I was messy, asthmatic, introverted and not very good at sports. The basement was my fortress of solitude. It provided shelter from neighborhood bullies and the pressures of being a bright yet lousy student. It housed the metaphysical sword in the stone of my inner Once and Future Nerd.

My basement had an orange linoleum floor, brown wood paneling and very bright florescent office lighting.  It had ample bookshelves,  a filing cabinet for comic books and a long chemistry cabinet that Dad brought home from a job site. That Cabinet became the cornerstone of my Universe.

For Christmas one year, I received the Navarone play set.  For a birthday, I was given a pre-historic dinosaur play set (both by Marx toys). These were permanently stationed on top at either side of the cabinet. They were completely awesome.

I found the above picture on e-bay – I can’t seem to find an actual photo of the play set.

I had a handful of Star Wars figures – Chewbacca, Darth Vader, C3PO, R2D2 and a Storm Trooper. I eventually acquired a Jawa, a Tuskin Raider, the Death Star Droid and Boba Fett.

Chewy is still with me

Then, I discovered the Micronauts.

The Micronauts were my all-time absolute favorite toys. The Time Travelers were fully pose-able and made the Star Wars guys seem like ridiculous manikins. Needless to say, the Star Wars guys always lost in a fight (well, except Darth Vader because he could use the force – he was practically a wizard and wizards always win).  With the Micronauts, you could use parts from some toys and make new ones – they were “interchangeable.”  They also had a variety of architectures and styles for different ships, robots, aliens, good guys and villains.  The Micronauts were endlessly interesting.

Biotron

The Astro Station – portable and clever

Acroyear was a villain, according to Mego, but a hero if you read the comics

Baron Karza, the Micronaut equivalent of Darth Vader, is held together with magnets and had fists that fire.

Repto

Antron

Centaurus

Membros (all of the above have glow in the dark brains – you can’t top that)

Marvel Comics produced a decent comic that had two successful runs – the stories captured my imagination (although I had my own story running in the basement).

I would spend hours on top of the cabinet at the end of the Universe planning ginormous battles between the Time Travelers and Baron Karza, who had often taken the Navarone by force.  My  usual soundtrack was  a cassette of Orson Wells’  War of the Worlds radio broadcast (played over and over and over).  I could write several posts on the Micronauts by themselves, so I’ll move on to the supporting cast of the cabinet wars.

There was a die-cast metal Raydeen from the Shogun Warriors. I still don’t know much about the Shoguns – but Raydeen was metal and could change into a bird (this is all pre-Transformers, by the way), so he was useful in a fight.

And there was giant Godzilla. He had flame on his tongue and could shoot his fist. He was the best. As tall as the mountains, he could upset any battle, provide the perfect chaos and destruction to BOTH sides at the most unlikely moment.

19 1/2 inches tall!

The second drawer in the cabinet held all my Lego, which came in handy for building stuff for the Mirconauts to destroy. I had pieces from an erector set, too, which made my hands smell like metal and made me wonder if I could get metal poisoning.

Less related to the Cabinet at the End of the Universe were other cool things I ran across in my childhood – some of which factored into my Cabinet adventures, and some that did not.

The Vertibird – a simple yet really fun helicopter that could be made to go up, down, forward and backward in a loop.

Which Witch – a game was fun no matter HOW you played with it. Kinda like mouse trap – fun to look at, set up, and useful for holding the Micronauts as prisoners.

I had forgotten all about this Girder and Beam set (below) until recently  – perfect for constructing potential targets for asteroid collision damage or Godzilla attacks.

There were usually a handful of action figures around, too – they were useful meat puppets, if not actual super heroes.

This guy was on my 3rd or 4th birthday cake – he’s also still with me.

Marx castle – they made the best stuff.

I didn’t have these, but thought they were cool.

My youngest daughter reminds me of my Cabinet at the End of the Universe. She will sit on our steps in the house and play with whatever she happens to have in her hands – lost in an imaginary world. She doesn’t need TV – she could be holding a spoon,  a pony, a shoe box and a couple of  figures and she’s happy for hours.

Hat tip to Mr. Old-Toy-Blogger himself, Jim Groom, who wrote a series of posts just before Christmas  that brought me some nostalgia. I’d been wanting to write a post like this for a while, and I’m contemplating rebuilding that cabinet in my barn. Jim helped get my blogging gears going.