8 Inch Scale
By: Classic TV Toys
There’s something inherently awesome about the classic 1966 Batman TV show. While the show played up it’s campy nature, with ridiculous concepts, over the top fights and well placed humor, it all worked for one reason or another. For decades fans have flocked to this show and it’s become a cult classic with a massive following of fans. At one point Adam West was so recognized for being Batman that he couldn’t escape the role and the public had a hard time separating West’s campy portrayal from any incarnation of the character.
Despite the show’s continued licensing longevity, there was never much in the way of action figures and toys until this year. Mattel was the first to market with their 60’s Batman 6 inch figures, but that toy line flat-lined almost as soon as it stepped foot out of the Batcave. None of the figures quite worked and Mattel made it clear they weren’t intending to make it a full fledged toy line, thus killing it before it ever really hit shelves.
Enter Figures Toy Company and it’s Classic TV Toys brand to bring us their take on the 1960’s Batman show in action figure form. Classic TV Toys have had mixed results in the past with their 8 inch figure brands, but to many folks the vintage 70’s Megos served as the unofficial toy line of the William Dozier show. So it’s a pretty natural fit that this “Mego-like” style of figures would be a good vessel for a classic TV series Batman toy line. Over the next few days I’ll be reviewing all of Series 1 of these new Batman figures, but today we start with Batman himself, as portrayed by Adam West. Continue reading
An interesting story is developing in the world of online Ebay auctions. Many Mego collectors have been noticing that their auctions have been pulled. The reason? The use of the word Mego. As of this writing, it’s unclear if particular listings are being sought out by a vengeful seller who is reporting the auctions or if it’s an internal change within Ebay’s own policies. Even if it’s the former, it seems to have resulted in some of the latter.
The problem originates as Mego has become a term to describe a specific style of toy. Often here at Infinite Hollywood and other websites, you’ll hear the term “Mego” bandied about to describe the 8 inch style of retro action figures. Even for modern action figures that certainly weren’t made by the long defunct Mego corporation. For a while now Ebay has cracked down on the use of terms such as Mego-Like, but it’s mostly been a non-issue. However in the past week Ebay has taken to removing dozens of auctions as they deem them to be a “search and browse manipulation” issue.
Traditionally a “search and browse manipulation” would be something like me listing a box of Crayola crayons and putting “Lady Gaga Underwear” in the title. Now my auction is getting lots of attention from people who are looking for Lady Gaga stuff, as opposed to crayons. Another popular violation would be for me to put the term iPad on a different tablet listing. Some unsuspecting bidder might buy my auction because they THINK they’re buying an iPad, when it reality they’re buying another tablet. However in the case of toys, you run into a unique set of circumstances where brand names can acutally be used to help describe different types of toys. Mego in particular falls under this umbrella.
Ebay is completely insensible to the reality of the issue. Brands like Cipsa and Lili Ledy worked in conjunction with Mego, using their molds to create toys. Auctions have been pulled using those terms with the word Mego. Even though Mego shared in the creation of them. Ebay’s stance is that you can apparently only use one brand name in the title of these auctions. Of course this doesn’t apply to lots of auctions throughout Ebay’s site, but for some reason Mego has caught the ire of the world’s biggest auction site. 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.
Yes Mego Month hasn’t exactly been a rousing success here at Infinite Hollywood, but we do have some breaking “Mego” news. 3A Toys, who’ve made some really cool toys through the years have just announced 3AGO!
What is 3AGO? Well it’s 3A’s version of 8 inch Mego figures. We don’t know what they’ll look like or what kind of articulation or design they’ll have. As is the norm with 3A, we may not know exactly what these figures are like until they’re shipped… But Ashley Wood has said he’s a big Mego fan and still collects them to this day.
If previous 3A products are any indication, they’re liable to be wild and perverse and unlike anything else currently being done in the Mego 8 inch format. 3AGO will also likely be super articulated and much more revolutionary than some of the toys we’re currently seeing in the land of Mego-like toys.
Thus far they’ve only unveiled the logo, but if you collect 3A figures, you know that they’re always top quality and not really conventional. We’ve reviewed some 3A stuff here at Infinite Hollywood (and I’ve got a backlog of other 3A stuff to review) but if you’re interested in seeing what they can do check out these reviews:
Six Million Dollar Man
8 Inch Scale
The Six Million Dollar Man is the quintessential 70’s property. I’m not sure if any TV show quite defines the 70’s like that one. It’s the story of an astronaut (at the tail end of those being in vogue) who gets brutally mangled in an aircraft accident and is rebuilt into a bionic man with atomic powered cyber limbs that give him all sorts of amazing powers. One of the things that makes this property so 70’s is it’s style, pacing, effects and of course a heaping dose of machismo and chest hair.
The star, Lee Majors, was a man’s man in the show, always doing his own thing and usually getting the girl in the process. He had a very dry wit and his Steve Austin character (not to be confused with Stone Cold) was something every kid in the era idolized. The Six Million Dollar Man had a toy line in the 70’s but it wasn’t made by Mego. By that point Kenner had already began to realize how much money there was in licensing and they created a very successful Six Million Dollar Man line.
To many Mego collectors, not having the Six Million Dollar Man was a huge gap in their collections and he’s been one of the most customized figures in recent memory. Thankfully, BifBangPow have stepped up to rectify this issue 40 years later with official Six Million Dollar Man figures in a Mego style. Although there were some SDCC exclusives, for all intents and purposes Steve Austin and Bigfoot are the first characters in the line. So has BBP rebuilt Steve Austin to be stronger, faster and better?
The package is a great design of classic SMDM art and honestly it’s quite striking. Some people have complained that is doesn’t accurately reflect how “Mego would have done it” but good God, I’m so tired of everything having to be done in that style. Enough with being so slavishly beholden to how Mego would have done it. These “retro” lines need to stand on their own.
Of all the recent Re-Megos, the Six Million Dollar Man feels the most right to me. That’s why I appreciate these different packages. It shows some growth from the license and it really nails the feel of the show and the products of it without being a retread. The back shows off the other figures in the series, although technically many of these figures aren’t available yet. I should also mention that the cardboard feels sturdier than a lot of these releases and the figure has an inner tray to keep him from flopping around.
Mego and Mego-like figures are built on base bodies with different clothes and head sculpts. For the most part there isn’t much in the way of paint application and such, but Steve Austin has quite a bit of paint and tampo applications on him actually. More on that in a minute.
Let’s get the bad out of the way first. The head sculpt is just so-so. When BifBangPow first showed off this sculpt, red flags should have been raised. Many including myself, expressed some concerns that it just wasn’t very good. When you consider that the head sculpt is arguably the most important thing in a “Mego” figure, you need to make sure you really nail that aspect. Despite quite a few criticisms, BBP assured everyone that this was the sculpt they were going with and they thought it was grand.
Unfortunately this sort of mentality is probably BBP’s greatest weakness. Through the years there have been quite a few SMDM head sculpts done in this scale. Customizers like Bionic Joe have produced heads that look far greater. In fact in Peru, there was a bootleg Mego called El Hombre Nuclear that has a head sculpt that looks a thousand times better than this one. That’s a serious problem and one that shouldn’t have been so easily dismissed by the company producing this figure.
I’ve heard people say this figure looks like everything from Mel Gibson to Roger Moore. The truth is, many people don’t immediately see Lee Majors in the head sculpt. Again, I’m inclined to agree. Thankfully, there is a bit of Lee in there and if you look at it from certain angles, squint or pretend nobody ever made much better head sculpts, it’s not too bad.
Enough about the bad for now. The good is, that the rest of this figure is pretty fantastic and you can tell BBP put some heart and soul into this release. Everything feels quality about this figure. The plastic is harder and just feels sturdier than some of their previous releases.
The outfit is also nicely tailored at this scale and does a pretty good job of replicating one of Steve’s infamous jogging suits, even though it’s made of a different material. It’s a nice job in that regard. Likewise, although the head sculpt itself isn’t my favorite, the paint applications are pretty good on it. There’s a few layers of color that help to really make it stand out.
The head sculpt also isn’t too big (as sometimes these types of figures are) and the skin tone isn’t too translucent as earlier BifBangPow releases sometimes suffered from. This all adds up to make a pretty nice Steve Austin figure. It’s definitely retro and fits the motif that it’s going for like a glove.
Of course the best part about this figure are the bionic limbs. Rather than do some of the more complex things that Kenner did to replicate the bionic parts, BBP decided to crib a bit from GI Joe’s own Atomic Man Mike Power and give Steve some translucent limbs with bionics tampoed on them. It’s a great effect.
Granted it would be great if they could have figured out some way to get this inside of the plastic, as opposed to printed on top, but beggars can’t be choosers. I should also mention that the ankles on this figure are nice and tight and the shoes seem to support him well, so he doesn’t have any of the falling over issues that my BifBangPow Doctor Who had. Huzzah for improvements!
There’s something very satisfying about having a new Six Million Dollar Man toy in my hands. The show is a lot of fun and these toys are definitely something that have that in mind. There’s more collector mentality here than the old Kenner figures, but there’s still some play value too. It’s a nice mixture of the two.
To replicate socks, he has painted feet. I think the jury may still be out on this one, but I understand why they did it. It gives a great sock effect and if they tailored the shoes to allow fabric socks to be put on over, it likely would have made them a tad too big.
BifBangPow produces these figures using the designs of EMCE toys. The two have worked together since the beginning and it’s become very beneficial to both parties as BBP seems to be able to throw around a bit more money to help EMCE create some new molds. This is great in some respects, but I do wish they had gone a bit farther.
The basic design here is following the general EMCE/Mego model with “strings” inside keeping everything together. Technically those strings are rubber bands and truth be told, the one on my Steve Austin is far too tight. This gives him a terrible posture and complicates his standing ability. My brother had one of these snap on him and I suspect it was because it was too tightly strung.
As you can see from this shot from the back, the “natural” posture of this guy is off. I think it’s time we start to figure out a better way to do these figures than the rubber bands or figure out a better system of implementing them. Again, it’s frustrating that some vintage Megos can pose better than these modern Re-Megos.
To that end, one of the big improvements on these modern BBP figures is the addition of swivel biceps. It’s a great thing to add. Cast-A-Way toys has had these swivels for years, but since Cast-A-Way is basically out of the Mego business for the foreseeable future, it’s nice that EMCE and BBP have upgraded.
Unfortunately, they weren’t copying Cast-A-Way so much as they were copying the old LJN figures which had a bicep swivel. They should have just completely aped the Cast-A-Way concept, which replaced the clunky and often useless string ball shoulders with swivel hinge shoulders that still connected via a string. That allows a much greater range of motion and it’s SO much easier to pose. Please BBP, hear our pleas and develop this yourself.
What ends up happening is that his arms have a very limited range of motion before they pop out of socket or move very clunky. Even with all that said, you can pose him fairly well. Especially in the lower half. He looks pretty good in quite a few poses and I think kids would enjoy playing with him. I just wish his arms worked better.
You know my stance on Mego figures, they should come with accessories.
Steve Austin does come with one, although it’s more of a trinket than an accessory. It’s a key chain that plays a few sound effects. It’s pretty cool, especially since electronics usually jack up the price of a toy but it didn’t here.
You can check it out in action in the video above.
At $18.99, Steve Austin isn’t perfect. If this was at retail, you’d almost want him to come a bit closer to the $15 range to truly be a solid value, but since he’s done in smaller runs for largely an entirely online market, the price is fairly reasonable. Of almost all the modern Re-Mego lines that have come out in the past few years, this seems to be the one that most “gets it”. Right now Steve is only sold in a two pack, but you can pick him up here along with his pal Bigfoot for a nice two pack combo. Use code 2102122 for free shipping!
Packaging – 9
Sculpting – 7
Paint – 8
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Sound FX Key Chain
Value – 8
Overall – 8.5 out of 10
In the end, yes this figure could use some improvements. I can get past some of them, but not everything. The weak head sculpt alone is bad, but when combined with being too tightly strung and an articulation model that needs to be tweaked just a bit holds this guy back. With just a few changes it could be practically perfect while still being “retro”.
Despite all that, this figure still scores a pretty high 8.5 because he’s a lot of fun. There’s more right than wrong here and the overall improvement in quality for these products is definitely noticed. That’s why it’s frustrating that just a few more things weren’t tweaked before the final product.
Still, it’s hard to deny that these are fun toys. It’s great to finally have an official version of the Six Million Dollar Man in Mego scale. BifBangPow may not have gotten a complete homerun here, but they definitely got a double or triple base hit.
One simple improvement I made that requires no skill at all, is to cut the front of the jacket with a pair of scissors. Steve Austin seemed to always wear his jacket about 3/4’s of the way zipped up. I’m not sure why BBP didn’t do this to begin with. Instantly the figure’s overall likeness improves with a simple snip of the scissors.
It looks WAY better. Hopefully this won’t lead to much fraying or depreciation over time. All in all, this is a pretty great figure, held back just a bit but could probably be rebuilt to be perfect. Funny thing, that. Stay tuned tomorrow for a review of Bigfoot and plenty more Megoish stuff in the days ahead during Mego Month here at Infinite Hollywood!