Cheap toys that break easy; Truly one of my biggest pet peeves as an adult. Even when I was a kid such items were quite heartbreaking. So with that said I can’t help but find the irony in the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed this 144 page tome dedicated to some of the cheapest hunks of plastic that were ever made.
Rack Toys by Brian Heiler is a fantastic collection of toys that you either never knew existed or broke so fast that you forgot about them until your subconscious kicked in while looking at these beautifully laid out pages.
For the uneducated Brian Heiler is the mastermind behind Plaid Stallions.com celebrating 70’s catalog cheesiness and of course the co pilot of the Mego Museum (second only to founder Scott Adams). Brian is a fantastic example of someone who truly enjoys his geekdom. I mean that in the most respectful way.
His passion for the aforementioned websites has led to the creation of some of the coolest collectibles I personally have ever been privy to. Specifically the Brick Mantooth / Super Collector Re-Mego figure and the 1978 Re-Imagined Mego Catalog (and of course the new Megozine) Brian and his collabrative pals have taken quite the personal hit for the team of fanboys and girls (like myself) to have a little extra fun with our hobies. For that I salute you all proudly as I get another paper cut thumbing through the item at hand.
Having acquired this particular copy through Amazon for a mere $19.99 (free shipping with your Prime membership kids) I have been imbibing each and every page. The brief write ups are just enough info on the provided specimens that actually speak volumes all by themselves. From absolutely terrible tie-in’s such as a Superman with parachute toy (really? Superman needs a parachute?) to the most vulgar water gun I’ve ever seen featuring the likeness of Batman I simply can’t get enough of this book. I have made mention on other sites about how I knew I would like this book but didn’t realize how much I would appreciate it.
The work that obviously went in putting this collection together is awe inspiring considering its audience is such a niche and limited one. But then again is it really? (Here’s where the appreciation comes in).
While the primary subject matter and title would lead the casual shopper to think “Oh. A book about crappy toys? Yay.” But to the persons who thumbs through the first couple of pages will see that there is so much more going on here. The art that was used on these packages are fantastic examples of a brilliant time in advertising and marketing. Mind you this long before Photoshop and digital laser printing. This is real, hand drawn art, lettering and coloring from talent folks that offer tons of glimpses at the styles that influenced the most celebrated digital artists of today. So who does that open the audience up to? Let’s do the breakdown: Artists: Marketing Professionals: Graphic Designers; Pop Culture enthusiasts; and even History Buffs. And that’s only five of I’m sure many others who would loose themselves in this collection if given the chance.
Back to my personal experience with “Rack Toys” I gotta tell ya, their magic is still potent. While gazing at the photo of the original “make your own Spiderman spider webs” the 8 year old in me was again staring at the package wanting to tear it open so I could make these webs and subdue bad guys before I went swinging off into the horizon. The Superman slide puzzle however still pisses me off. Thanks for reading, Now, Go Play! – Jim 02/18/13
Well,sort of. I’m not getting paid for the placement of this video, I just want to help every Mego and Re-Mego fan to enjoy the goodness that comes from the world of Plaid Stallions and Brick Mantooth! Check it out!
Greetings dear readers! It seems like forever since I’ve had a new item to add to the Toy Box but I promise you this one was more than worth the wait. Today I am introducing you to a figure that needs no introduction if you’re a fan of the Mego Museum or Plaid Stallions.com however if your not (I’m glad I can help remedy that for you) you’re in for a real treat. Ladies and gentleman I present to you Brick Mantooth aka the Super Collector.
I know the title makes for a bold and perhaps seemingly crazy statement as to this figures significance in the grand scheme of toy collecting but from my point of view it is the closest combination of words I can find at the moment to express my sentiments towards this guy(s). In an effort to pull back a little bit from what could easily turn into a “Brick Praise-A- Thon” I am doing a lot of self censoring and editing along the way to the bottom of the page. It’s a rather difficult task considering that this guy encompasses pretty much everything that I appreciate in pursuing one’s passions. Let me explain;
This action figure is the final product of lord knows how many years of development from the mind of Brian Heiler who is the mastermind behind the Mego Museum and it’s sister site www.plaidstallions.com where you will find a boat load of fun at the expense of 70’s fashion sense or lack thereof. I encourage you to visit both sites to educate yourself on a much better back-story and understanding of Brick and Super Collector. In a nutshell though what the characters and sites mean to me are that they serve as perfect example of a hobby being shared with the world but done so in a remarkably professional yet fun way. Moving on…
With this final real world rendition of the characters, I now have in my possession a trinket that serves as a real, physical item from a gift shop from the greatest place I’ve ever been to that doesn’t really exist. Sounds crazy I know but so what? It’s my world and how I choose to enjoy it. Again I am pulling back on the reins of what could become far too much of a suck-up-a-ppalooza for Mr. Heiler and the crew. Just know this guys if you ever read this; I truly admire your talents and your dedication to providing your fans something more than what any other site has or could ever do. And for such an insanely affordable price. Thank you.
Okay, enough with the Valentine to Brian, Scott, Sean, Steve, Dr.Mego and EMCE Toys. Let me break it down to you what all my gushing is about.
Point #1. What it is / they are.
Brick Mantooth / Super Collector 8 inch Classic Style action figure.
Where to begin? There’s really nothing about this figure(s) that I don’t like. The head sculpt is a perfect representation of the characters, the new swivel arm body from EMCE is an excellent example of what could have evolved from the original Mego Corporation, the costuming is again dead-on to the characters likenesses and the packaging is beautiful. In a moment I will point out some “Bad” points only for the sake of balance to this review. Honestly I’m pretty much going to simply be nitpicky in those points as you’ll soon see. But before all of that I have to share with you the thing that is the absolute coolest part of this Brick Mantooth / SC puzzle: The Mego Museum play set that SC uses “to acquire rare Mego artifacts in the 1970’s for citizens of the future to enjoy at the Mego Museum.”
This solid resin, real world representation of the Mego Museum is beyond cool. It’s also a mind numbing difficult sticker application that Brian had to do by hand. While I was really taking it in I couldn’t help but imagine how much of a real pain in the *fingers* these stickers were to apply. But rest assured Mr. Heiler your efforts are truly appreciated. As an afterthought, these would also make for cool key chains. Well at least for me.
Point #4. The Bad.
In this section the only really “Bad” that I can note is from a lazy man’s standpoint. If your not a customizer by nature this kit could be a bit frustrating. However I will say that if you are not of the customizing persuasion this would be a perfect opportunity to try your hand at this psuedo kit-bash. The heads are a little bit of a chore to get on the body. It’s recommended to boil them and soften the plastic. I on the other hand simply got them into the slot by doing sort of like you would when putting a tire on a rim; I positioned the head at a 45 degree angle, getting one point started and then used a blunt object to push along and down the plastic ridge into the torso cavity. Worked like a charm.
The body suit is also a bit snug to get onto SC. It’s been explained that the suit was originally designed for a regular Dr. Mego body versus the new LJN style swivel arm body. In the end the struggle is worth it as the broader shoulders really set this guy above and beyond his hero counterparts. Another thing to point out is that the fabric used is much sturdier than a traditional spandex or the flimsy material found on Mattel’s Retro Action Super Heroes, so don’t be afraid to tug on it. It can take it.
The only other two would be gripes involve SC’s emblem and Bricks belt. This however has little to do with their quality as much as it does with my own personal skill. You see the emblem in this kit is indeed separate and must be applied by you the consumer. Not really a difficult task but as you can see in my pics I didn’t get mine exactly squared up. The other point with Brick’s belt is that for it to look right you need to trim. Again not difficult to do, you just need to ensure you have a steady hand when you make the clean cut. I haven’t trusted myself enough for that yet.
Point #5. Why I like it.
Outside of all of the gushing I’ve already dome what more can I say? Plenty actually. A couple of points that I would like to mention here would be the price and the quality. Brick and SC came into my collection for the insanely low price of $23. You can bump that up to $30 if you got the extra, new LJN style Dr. Mego body. I had recently acquired a regular Dr. Mego body and used it for Brick so I didn’t drop the extra $7 bucks but still everything else for about the same price as one Retro Action hero is unbelievable to me. What a deal! The other point with quality is also an opportunity for me to take another swing at Mattel. Each piece of this Brick / SC puzzle is first rate. I see absolutely nowhere that corners were cut. You can rest assured that your money is very well spent on this figure. Honestly even these bodies are superior to my beloved Venture Bros. figures from Bif Bang Pow. So Mattel, with all of your years of experience in the toy industry and with the council of Dr. Mego at your beck and call how could you possible drop the ball so horribly? Losers.
Point #6. Why you should or shouldn’t get one.
Why you should:
See everything I listed above. If that doesn’t sell you nohing will.
Why you shouldn’t:
The only reason being would be that you suck. Seriously there is no reason for any toy fan, marketing fan, 70’s pop culture junkie or modern pop culture enthusiast shouldn’t get a set of these guys (or two).
No more gushing I promise. The Brick Mantooth / Super Collector as created and produced by Brian Heiler, Scott C. Adams, Sean Samson, Steve More and EMCE Toys is a must have for me and should be for you too. Consider owning this guy the same as the 21st Century version of a pet rock except in this case you get a much cooler “pet Brick”.Now – Go Play! – Jim 08/01/11
Jim Bumgardner is a 20 year veteran of the broadcast industry and currently serves as the news director for television station TKO 8 in Harrison, Arkansas. Jim is the father of two the husband of one and firm believer in the power of toys for both the mind, body and soul. You can contact Jim via email at email@example.com or visit his website at www.jimsmegos.com
All images and products are the sole copyrighted property of it’s respective owners. Specialty photographs and graphic work used for this article were done by Jim at the TKO 8 Studios located at 500 N. Main St in Harrison, Arkansas. “Little Jim” was created by Dawn O’Connell of Little Buddies Action Figures. Learn more about getting your own Little Buddy at www.littlebuddiesactionfigures.com