Adam West Batman
Classic TV Toys have finally unveiled their prototypes for their upcoming 1966 Classic TV Batman line. These figures were announced a year or so ago, but up until now we haven’t seen any images of what they would look like. CTVT just recently released their Mego Batman recreations to mostly positive reviews, but these figures aren’t recreations of previous toys, but a new line altogether. The first wave includes Batman, Robin, Joker and the Riddler.

1966 Batman
I have to admit, I’m really impressed. If the final product looks close to this, it’s definitely going to warrant a purchase. I already put in a pre-order, because I just like the look of these.

Ceaser Romero
The Joker is clearly the winner of the bunch, but I think they all look pretty good. Mattel’s 1966 Classic TV Batman line had a lot of potential, but Mattel pushed the line through quick and ended it before it ever really started. The potential for Classic TV Toys to take this line to another level is very high. Continue reading

Today is a historic day for fans of retro action figures in the “Mego” style format. Figures Toy Company, the parent of the often disregarded Classic TV Toys have unveiled nine new licenses today, including some of the most popular and sought after figure designs in the format’s history. Earlier this week, rumors were leaked that Figures Toy Company was planning a retro Batman line. Almost immediately the reaction from the Mego community was one of interest, but resistance. CTVT has built up a so-so reputation in the community and isn’t generally considered a favorite.

Personally, I’ve always had great experiences with Classic TV Toys and have ordered hundreds of dollars of merchandise from them through the years. Of course, some of the backlash has been warranted as quality was not always at the forefront of their products. For every Will Scarlet, there was a Sandra Benes. However, in recent years CTVT has released a ton of new and drastically improved product. Their Kiss line which was introduced late last year, has been a roaring success for Mego and Kiss fans alike.

But now even the biggest critics of Figures Toy Company have to stand up and take notice, as Figures Toy Company have unveiled some truly impressive licenses covering a wide array of formats. Perhaps the biggest is that not only will they be producing a Mego-ish Batman line, replicating the classic Batman Megos and adding new characters to the mix… But they will also be doing a Adam West, Batman ’66 line as well.

Yes, they’re doing two retro Batman Mego lines. Rather impressive. Some names announced for the 66 line include Batman, Robin, Joker, The Penguin, Catwoman, Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne, King Tut, Mr. Freeze, Egghead (YES!), Shame, Bookworm and the Mad Hatter. Variants are planned as well.

But the news doesn’t stop there. They’re going to finally officially create Evel Knievel in Mego scale with his own line. They’ve got Conan coming out, including not just a recreation of the hard to find classic Mego Conan figure but also Solomon Kane/Kull The Conqueror and potentially other characters from the books.

They’re also adding Tarzan to the mix! You may recall my loveletter to the classic Mego Tarzan, so this news has me greatly excited. The Dukes ride again, as Figures Toy Company have added the Dukes of Hazard, an often overlooked but very popular Mego line into their portfolio as well. They’re also producing 12 inch exclusive lines, such as Dallas and Gilligan’s Island. It’s truly an amazing rollout of product, unlike any seen before in the format. To say that Figures Toy Company just immediately jumped out to the head of the pack in retro Mego-like licenses, would be an understatement.

Continue reading

Mad Monsters
Blue Hair Monster Frankenstein
8 Inch Scale
By: Classic TV Toys

Can you believe we’re already on day 7 of the 31 Days of Halloween? I promise it’s only going to get better from here with a ton of classic monster toy reviews coming up over the next three weeks. Today we’re adding a bookend to a review from last year with Classic TV Toys repro Mego style blue haired Frankenstein.

Mego’s Mad Monsters were an unlicensed series of classic monster figures, such as Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and the Wolfman. At some point, for reasons unknown, Dracula received a makeover with red hair while Frankenstein got himself a coat of blue. Speculation is that Universal accused Mego of replicating their Frankenstein without paying for a license and the blue hair was supposed to differentiate it.

The original blue haired Mego Frankenstein is very rare. When Classic TV Toys started making their Reproduction Mad Monsters, they made a smaller run of Blue Haired Frankensteins to commemorate the infamous Mego incident. These guys are still available on the CTVT website, but are starting to run out. They have been available since 2005, though.
Continue reading

Space 1999
Number 8
8 Inch Scale
By: Classic TV Toys

Space 1999 is a quirky, not particularly revered British sci-fi show from the legendary Gerry Anderson. It involves some rather wonky science, but is a fun show if you’re into a somewhat campy space adventure that’s not Star Trek. Palitoy, the UK wing of Mego produced a series of five figures that were fairly well received. In the US however, Mattel had the toy line. When Classic TV Toys (CTVT) took off into the reto market at the turn of the century, Space 1999 is the line they seemed to focus the most on.

CTVT not only reproduced nearly all of the old figures (except Commander Koenig, played by Martin Landau, who apparently did not want to sign off?!) but also produced several series more. It is far and away the most elaborate series that CTVT produced. Number 8 is one of the few characters who isn’t just a guy in a spacesuit. He’s a servant for the race of “human” robots, who are looking to learn the emotion that will allow them to kill. Number 8 is one of many “numbers”, but he chooses to help the Space 1999 crew (Alphans) against the androids. Perfect for an action figure!

The cards are pretty nice and have some great graphics on them. Of all the CTVT cards, these are probably the nicest. Of course the plastic and cardboard are both, very cheap… But the overall premise is nice enough.

The back of the cards show off all the other figures on it. It has a Star Wars vibe to me, but perhaps it’s just me. Of course there were also a few other variants produced that aren’t listed here, but this is pretty much the rundown of the series.

Mego sculpts in general aren’t very good, but Palitoy’s original work with Space 1999 was a cut above most Mego fare. Such is the case with CTVT’s take on the line as well.

The face has a little bit of paint rubbing on the hair and feels quite rubbery, but that’s par for the course with most CTVT stuff. They made their toys particularly cheap, but given that you can purchase them for very little, it more or less evens out. The face sculpt is good enough that it could work for a variety of old guys.

The sculpt has a pretty good likeness of character actor, Geoffrey Bayldon. It’s not perfect, it’s not Hot Toys, but it’s not the worst I’ve ever seen either. Considering it’s CTVT, this is a nice sculpt. I assume they paid for the likeness rights as well… Which is always a good thing.

The outfit is very nice. In fact it might be the nicest Mego outfit I’ve had my hands on. It’s made of a very thick material and fits over the character well. The hood is large and fits fairly close to where it did on the actor in the Space 1999 TV show. The “8” sticker is a joke though. While it’s hanging on in these pictures, a small amount of wind, even a fart, would knock it off. It’s less of a sticker and more of a piece of paper held on by static electricity. It doesn’t bother me much cause the sticker adds very little to the overall presentation, but your mileage may vary.

There are a few loose strings here or there, but they could be snipped with scissors. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to unravel or anything. The hands are a special gold plastic, giving the illusion of gloves. It’s pretty sweet. The boots (which are removable) are the same gold color. They appear to be a bit thicker and of nicer quality that the other CTVT boots I have.

Underneath the costume is a fairly pale body. It’s nothing to write home about, but is on par with the rest of CTVT’s Mego-like bodies. You either like it or you don’t. It’s clearly not the best body out there in this scale… But it’s probably better than Mattel’s recent crack at it.

Sometimes a Mego figure will have a head sculpt that’s a little too big. However, CTVT, in the Space 1999 line in particular, had a real issue with this. Number 8’s head sculpt is gargantuan in comparison to his body. As well, he’ll look a bit big headed next to some of the other Space 1999 figures. Mostly the repro figures have small heads and the new additions to the line have big heads.

Mego and Mego clones tend to have a decent amount of articulation. The one area that they’re really lacking is a swivel joint for the arm. Of course, ball joined heads and thigh swivels would help as well. You can pretty much tell the articulation breakdown from the “naked” photos above.

Number 8 seems a bit stiff to me though. Perhaps because the rubber band inside him that holds him together is a bit tight? His outfit also doesn’t exactly allow for a ton of posing, because it’s of a thicker material. Still, he can stand up on his own. That’s gotta count for something.

Megos need accessories. It’s my philosophy.

All he gets is his scary mask. It’s way too big, but it fits on him well enough. I can’t really complain because they needed it to be big to cover his gigantic noggin.

In this market, $5.00 for just about any toy is a good value. However, in the interest of full disclosure, shortly after I took the pictures for this review, while trying to remove the outfit on Number 8, his body broke into a million pieces. Well actually, his internal rubber band snapped. He can be restrung with a little effort (there are guides on the internet) but I haven’t bothered. If you like these guys and don’t mind a potential need to be restrung, then $5.00 is a pretty good value.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 6
Sculpting – 6
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Mask
Value – 5
Overall – 6 out of 10

This figure is nothing special. He’s par for the course with Classic TV Toys. Do you want a little bit of Mego fodder? Then these guys are for you. It’s always a roll of the dice with these toys. Sometimes they’re fairly sturdy and hold up well. Sometimes they break apart. It’s best to see them as potential toys to put on better bodies… But you might score one that’s perfectly fine as is.

I’ve reviewed a couple other Space 1999 figures from this line. One broke apart at the ankles and the other is perfect. You can check out those reviews here:

Space 1999: Sandra Benes Review
Space 1999: David Kano Review

Robin Hood & His Merry Men
Will Scarlet
8 Inch Scale
By: CTVT (Mego?)

Last year when I started reviewing Mego figures, I did it on a whim because I thought it would be neat to look at some old style toys. Little did I know that by the end of 2009, Mego-style figures would no longer be retro but TOYS OF THE FUTURE! At least that’s how it seems with everything from LOST to Venture Brothers to DC Superheroes and Ghostbusters getting the “Mego” treatment…

Robin finds a finely dressed young man shooting deer in Sherwood, and offers to let him join the band; they quarrel and fight. Robin asks who he is; he says he is Young Gamwell, who killed his father’s steward and fled his father’s estate to seek out his uncle, Robin Hood. Robin makes him welcome and renames him Scarlett.

To me, Christian Slater will always be the immortal Will Scarlet… Hey, I like that movie. Anyway, this figure is a Classic TV Toys reproduction of the original Mego figure. For various reasons these repros didn’t light the world on fire back in 2004, but now that the style is what all the cool kids are talking about these days, I suspect we’ll see even more of these guys pop up. Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s Mego was smart in offering figures of public domain characters like Robin Hood and Frankenstein, because they didn’t have to pay for licensing rights.

Early Mego figures came in window boxes. They were probably one of the first real collector toys to do so. Of course back then, nobody knew they would be “collectibles” in the future. I assume people just figured we’d be too busy with our flying cars and interstellar space ships to care about retro toys from the 1970’s. Turns out, they were wrong.

The box art is a pretty good reproduction of the original art, or at least I assume so. I didn’t really examine them a ton. Even so it’s a nice little box with pretty cool artwork on it that screams 1970’s.

The side of the box shows off the other figures in the series. Interestingly, Robin Hood didn’t get any villains. You’d think a toy of the evil Sheriff of Nottingham would be a more natural selection than Friar Tuck. Then again, who am I to question a toy company that urban legend has it passed on Star Wars in favor of Buck Rogers? That’s Mego I’m referencing of course, CTVT would have loved to get some Lucas love.

There’s also a great picture of the toy on the back. This is retro artwork, so there are a handful of differences between the actual figure and this picture. Either way it looks pretty cool. These boxes used to sit on registers in cases until kids were opening them too often and the blister card was invented.

Hardcore Megoheads can tell you all the minor differences between the vintage Will and the repro Will. Since there is a Whole Website dedicated to that sort of thing, I’ll just say that generally speaking this is a pretty good reproduction. If anything the details overall have been softened somewhat.

Even if the details have been softened on this replica, the end result is still pretty full of depth. This is one of the more charming head sculpts for a Mego. I suppose that Mego knew that too, because they reused this guy’s head several times for other popular characters.

He’s got a bit of a grin and a smugness about him, but while his cockiness and confidence shine through it works very well for the character. Again maybe Christian Slater’s performance in the 1990’s Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie have clouded my judgement, but I imagine Will Scarlet as a bit of a smug fellow.

Of all the Mego replica bodies out there, CTVT’s is arguably the worst… Well, actually Mattel’s is hands down the worst, but for a different reason. The CTVT body isn’t bad it’s just made out of really brittle plastic which makes it prone to breakage and such. I haven’t stripped this guy down but I don’t see any problems with him at all.

That doesn’t really mean anything… You sort of gamble when you get these bodies. Sometimes they fall apart, sometimes they don’t. At least they LOOK good, which is definitely better than what Mattel’s offering. The hands have some excess plastic and such on them and generally look pretty cheap, though.

Mego-style figures have always been surprisingly poseable. They are sometimes referred to as the “father” of the modern action figure. That might be a bit of a stretch, but even by today’s standards they have a fair amount of points.

They start out with a simple cut neck, but they have a simulated ball joint shoulder. I say simulated, because it is a ball, but is constructed with a rubber band holding it in place. That means you won’t get a full ball joint movement without it snapping back down.

Hinge elbows, swivel hinge wrists, swivel waits, simulated ball joint hips, hinge knees and swivel hinge ankles complete the articulation. Again the entire inside is held together via a rubber band, but these bands are notoriously strong.

As well, you can restring a figure if the band was to get too loose or snap. Pretty cool. You can pose this guy quite a bit, but since he uses real clothing, that will restrict movements. Something you don’t run into with most modern figures without soft goods.

This vintage reproduction comes with replicas of all the original stuff that Mr. Scarlet had on tap. Some Megos came with absolutely nothing, but others like this guy were loaded down.

“Take that imitation Sheriff of Nottingham!”

He has a cool little dagger which fits into the top of his boot. Make sure to take note of that, I almost lost this knife right off.

He has his bow and quiver of arrows. Both are decent little sculpts, but nothing to write home about.

Scarlet rounds out his arsenal with a detachable belt with a holster for his sword. The sword is a nice piece but it got a little warped by being in the holster. I suspect setting it between two heavy books would straighten it out.

These Megos originally retailed for a couple of bucks in the 1970’s. I’m not sure what these replica went for in 2004, but I’m guessing about $10 or so. Now they can be found for about $5 which makes them a pretty decent value. Sadly, that’s a markdown price and all of the stuff coming from EMCE and Mattel are closer to $20. I love this throwback stuff and it has a certain charm to it, but it’s not worth premium pricing, in my view.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 8
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Sword, Bow, Quiver, Knife, Belt
Value – 9
Overall – 8 out of 10

I’m giving ol’ Will Scarlet a pretty high rating. Why? Well he’s a gosh darn fun toy at the $5 price point. If this guy was $20 like most of the recent Mego-like figures his rating would be closer to a 6. So there’s a big gap here because of price.

If you’re interested in looking at some reviews of other Mego-esque figures, here’s some I’ve done:
Space 1999: Sandra Benes
Space 1999: David Kano
Commander X
POTA: Ape Soldier