Because we just can't get enough of ourselves and our toys.

Ironically, you can contact us
on our CONTACT page.

Page One was written in a top-down fashion, so chronologically you start at the top and read down. The rest of SmBlog reads in reverse chronological order, with the newest entry at the top of the page. That's just the way it worked out, and we thought you should know.

Start at the Begining : SMBLOG PAGE 1
Wade into the Fray : SMBLOG PAGE 2
Tour the Quagmire : SMBLOG PAGE 3
Run through the corn : SMBLOG PAGE 4
Be Here Now : SMBLOG.html


April 1, 2006 ::: WELCOME TO SMBLOG

No, this isn't a joke. Well, maybe some of it.

I've been kicking around the idea of a Small Blog for some time now, but a few kind words of encouragement from a compadre and fellow Mego-kin recently pushed me over the edge of inactivity. My goal here is to maintain an open and timely journal of creative efforts, wild tangents, and all other things Small. Raw and prolix is my motto. Well, if I had a motto that would probably be a contender.

I have been playing with my toys the same way since the age of five but I still have trouble providing good answers to simple questions like, "WHY do you do this?" and, "HOW did you make that?" and, "WHO do you think you are, anyway?" Maybe this SmBlog will help to clear up these greater questions for everyone, including me. Then again, maybe not.

At any rate, I am going to start recording basic concepts, radical ideas, works in progress, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, ugly gossip, and even questions and answers from anyone flummoxed enough to write in. At this point my plan is to scribble throughout the week and then post on Saturday evenings while my wife is absorbed in COPS and AMW.

I guess a place to start is with the revamp of this web site. I started putting pictures of my freakish toys on line in 1997, and in Sept. 2000 I launched I've never advertised, I don't update regularly, and I have never made a thin dime of profit from the site, but I consider it my real and actual child much like a crazy person with hundreds of cats. Let me know if you are bored already, ok? has always been my secret playground. Unabashedly primitive, prone to the dense and the obtuse, my wee web site remains a great personal pleasure. Over the last few years, however, I noticed that it was beginning to look dusty, and a lot of the Links were dead, and well... it was just feeling and looking stagnant. I was content to look that way for years to come, but after the recent awesome remodel at The Mego Museum I decided that enough was too much. I monkeyed with the index, rearranged some things, added some others that I had been stewing on (like SmBlog) and here it is, still unabashedly primitive and prone to the dense and the obtuse. I may have one foot nailed to the floor, but turning circles can be fun.


He's a player. He's a collector. He's our spokesmodel.
He's the man with the thumbs-up hands; he's Bevel

4/2/06 ::: How Small Things Happen(ed)

The method by which all things Small come into being is pretty simple; I play with the toys, and then I build on that play. For example, with my Smallonauts, I started with a simple idea like, "Hey, those plastic dome packages you get cheap toys in at the supermarket would make excellent Mego space helmets!" So I made one, and then made a toy spaceman to wear it. Then that got me thinking, "Hey, he can't go into space on his own - he needs a team!" So I made more helmets, and then more Smallonauts to wear them.

After a while it occurred to me that proper spacemen need a spaceship, and a while later I realized that a single spaceship would be in real danger if it didn't have other spaceships to help out in times of critical woe. Every time I would write about my Smallonauts I would drop in a new name or concept, and then I was forced to make good on that invention. Like a poly-plastic avalanche, things just continued to get bigger and more elaborate with each passing week, until I found myself making huge ships out of septic tanks and spending long weekends in the barn, wiring them with lights and Dremeling like a major headcase. Every time I made up something in a story I was compelled to realize it with an actual toy, and each new toy spawned a batch of new ideas that I would need to write about, then create, and so on and so forth. And that's just the Space Program, but you get the idea.

All of this play is subject to the same rules and exists in the same world that my friend Shane and I made up with our Megos when were were kids. Although we were always impressed with Mego figures the way they were right off of the card, Shane and I had an unspoken commitment to the idea that no matter how cool the factory made something, we could make something cooler with the parts. We treated our Megos more like Legos and we were elaborate in our constructions, both plastic and mental.

First of all, there are no separations between toy lines. Star Trek and Planet of the Apes and World's Greatest Super Heroes and Mad Monsters all meant diddley-squat to us, they were all just "guys" and they all lived in a single toy universe. The apes and the humans lived and worked together, but not without their skirmishes. The more unusual figures were included with a bit of back story. Hulk figures were obviously amphibians from the planet Grog, and Spidermen were painted black and became a mystic insect race of monk warriors. Oversized, undersized and otherwise stranger (than normal) toys were all bad guys.

It was a universe of unique characters who had jobs and personalities and special powers. It was a world of daring escapes, of jeeps covered with duct tape and over-packed with gear, and heroic battles in the side yard where Good faced off with Evil every weekend.


I play by the same rules today as I did when this was the center of my creative world. This was my underwater fortress, so you needed a SCUBA suit made from 2 AA batteries and duct tape to even get there.

Note the 3rd floor of the Wayne Manor, where you can see the sword fight between a robin (dressed in a Batman uniform) and a batman (dressed in Robin's outfit).

I'll cover all of the many important details in this picture at some point in the future.

4/6/06 ::: Projects

I've been chipping away at my revamp. Little chips, but tangy ones. I hope to have the whole enchilada on line by the end of the month. I guess we'll see if that happens...

I'm also working on a cardboard Western Saloon playset, based on a series of late night chats with Paul Clare about what to do with our cowboy figures. Paul and I are also dreaming up ridiculous "exclusive" figures that nobody or their uncles will buy, but we have fun thinking about it none the less.

Also this week, I'm working on a creepy space ship for my Reaver figures made from the wreckage of a Millennium Falcon. And every once in a while I go out to the barn to gaze at my huge work-in-progress, Trinket 19.

T19 is a massive space ship that hangs from the ceiling, suspended by four chains. "Space Chains," we like to call them. The main hull is an upside-down Barbie camper van, with a lot of plumbing parts added on and an RC robot's head for a Command Center. The next step is wiring, but it has been too wet in the barn for that kind of thing...

I started building T19 last summer for the same reason I set to work on all this stuff; I was unable to resist the urge. Like most of my projects, I had a general notion of what I wanted but not a clear vision. By a very special process that Catherine calls "intuitive construction," I began to bolt and saw and glue and Dremel without direction or planning, letting the plastic tell me what it wanted to be, and how I needed to proceed. Plastic can be a very demanding mistress.

Right now, Trinket 19 just hangs there with standing water in the Engine Room and a cardboard template where its giant triangular Wing will be, someday. In concept, from the beginning, I wanted a huge ship that would serve as a base of operations for space adventures. It needed to have a large crew, it had to look kind of like a Star Destroyer and an aircraft carrier had mated hastily, and it had to have good cinematic viewing lines. When the cold and wet season began I stopped work on the ship in the barn and started to develop her crew inside, and the twisting tale of T19 started to unfold.

I'm going to save those details for a bit, but I will give away the fact that the ship has been decommissioned due to an insurmountable problem in her computer's mainframe, which has lead to the formation of a cult-like faction of her crew who call themselves the "Invalid Siblings of T19."

I may have said too much already.


Trinket 19, my latest and greatest hanging monstrosity for toys will someday soon get lights and a real WING...

4/7/06 ::: G7: The New Bingo
where to start explaining that one?

While I am as happy as a happy clam in the sea of happiness when it comes to, I confess that I long to be a maker of printed pages. I like paper, and I enjoy ink, and telling popular stories starring my toys would be a great career move for me. Is that really too much to ask?

One spastic grab at that notion was The Encyclopedia Galactica: Toys in Space, which attempted to detail all of my aliens and space toys in a dense and obtuse "resource manual" format. I started this project when I was 8 or 9. I kept star maps made with colored pens showing the locations of alien toy galaxies in a 3-ring binder. This latest version looks like a web site.

After a comprehensive sales analysis the project I have decided to put EG:TiS on line in the new SPACE section. Sadly, the BETA version of EG on the G7:e1 mini-discs included an array of humiliating spelling errors that I hope I have fixed. Please report discomfort. I'm pretty pleased with the way EG took form and I think at some point I will expand on it. I like writing from a position of ultimate authority, and I don't know if I'll ever get another chance.

My other attempt at authorship came in the form of a comic book, called G7:e1 The New Bingo. I'm not a comic book guy by nature but the graphic novel format involved everything I wanted to play with; script writing, photography, and the printed page. I'm still happy with G7:e1 as a whole, even the parts that tend to stink a little, and I hope everyone gets a chance to take a crack at it. You can get a copy from the Megoville Store.

G7:e1 was hatched at a very difficult time in my life. I was miserable on unemployment, and a guy I knew was getting ready to kill himself, which he eventually succeeded in doing. I guess it is no wonder that loss, work anxiety, reflections on teams and rules, and good old fashioned alienation all found their way into the story. And I thought I was getting away from it all!

The New Bingo tells the tale of Smallonaut Agent 1st Class Glenn Russell's first day on the job. He is fresh out of the Smallonaut Space Academy and has been assigned to Gecko 7 BASE, a central filling station and security outpost for toy space travelers from all over Beta Zone, and beyond. And I made it with pictures of Megos, did I mention that? I have a story board for e2, and pretty good notes for episodes 3-10, also.

I used a Nikon Coolpix 3100 digital camera for the whole thing. I made sets from garbage and lit most of it with bare household bulbs, LED pumpkin lamps, and standard flashlights.

G7:e1 took a long time to plan and execute, and a small rowboat full of money to realize. I got to a point where I thought I was finished and sent it around. A guy I know defined my experience very well recently when he said, "It's like firing a gun in a crowded room, and seeing nobody duck. Hey, didn't I fire a gun just then? It can being depressing!"

I guess I need to be reminded every so often that life is bigger than toys, and I have most of my perspective back now. After being boring for a few months I now have new projects in the works and I can even see G7 growing, and that vision makes me very happy.

Players Win, and Winners Play!


Encyclopedia Galactica: Toys in Space


Agent 1st Class Glenn Russell, newly assigned to the moonbase on Gecko 7, is one of the approximately 10% of modern action figures who dream.

4/9/06 ::: Toys and Dying

I promise that this SmBlog won't be heavy all the time, but today the topics of death and family, and how toys play a part in those, came knocking at my door.

Logging on to the Mego Museum Buzz Forum today I saw a post from a guy a I know named Paul Clark, a.k.a. Doctor Mego. Paul was the first one to start a business making reproduced parts for Mego figures and it was my great pleasure to meet him once in San Francisco.

The post was a tribute to his mother who passed away on Friday. It ended with this line, "That's why there is no real value to this stuff - it's worth all the money in the world to be able to connect with your childhood, even for a brief second."

As another fellow collector, Benjamin, put it, "That sentence, alone, is one of the most succinct statements about the pathos of collectors, that I have ever read." I could not agree more. For a lot of us, the connection to our past is the important part, and the ties that we maintain to our families and memories through the toys are the driving force behind the collecting. How can a price guide reflect that? When I pick up a Mego, part of me is actually 7 again. It is a great Secret Power.

Paul's loss was also very poignant for me because my grandmother, Doris, is probably going to die very soon. My childhood friend Shane and I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house playing with our guys and she was always a keen supporter of our imaginations. I can look back now and see that her passion for story telling influenced us kids greatly. She would always ask Shane and I, "So who is this guy? What is his job? Where did he come from?" In some ways, our whole process of breathing life into plastic can be traced right to her questions. She lit fires in our minds and turned us loose in the yard so we could burn all weekend long. It was a gift that I'm still receiving today.

Our prayers are with you and your family, Paul. Your mother's love for you inspired your collection and business, and through those she has inspired the rest of us, too.


Dr. McCoy can be seen just behind Shane and I, in my grandma's back yard. Grandma took this picture, too.

4/12/06 ::: The Boxtop Hill Saloon and Hotel

Except for Grady, I really don't have a lot of Small western figures. A few of them wear cowboy hats but for most of them it's just a fashion thing. I do have a plastic cow. With these things in mind, it surprises me that I was compelled to start work on a western saloon playset.

Hulk and I were in chat one night pretty late when he mentioned wanting to construct a cardboard western display for his personal cowboy collection, the scope of which remains unknown to me. I had long been keen on the idea of making cardboard playsets in the grand spirit of Mego Corp and, like so many with the same dream, I had done not a single thing about it.

But the next day I rounded up some cardboard and started cutting. Dreams crushed by my own architectural ineptitude, I then made some drawings (sometimes called plans), and started cutting again. What I came up with is

The Boxtop Hill Saloon and Hotel.

Of course the original idea was an entire old west main street, with a Bank and a Lawman's Office and a General Store. You've seen Bonanza, you know what I mean. Think of the fun you could have with your own Mego-scale cardboard Gallows? After giving it almost no thought at all I decided that the best place to start would be the Saloon, a known hub for cowboys and western folk in general.

It has most of what was called for; a bar, swinging doors, a big window to get thrown through, and a few rooms upstairs with windows for gunfights and falling. At this writing it still needs a few things like a card table, and some way to get to the second floor (sometimes called stairs). We trust these things will make themselves available in time.

I'm going to see about getting these pieces scanned, or trace some patterns. I feel like I need to reproduce the experiment and send it to Paul. If anyone else is interested in them, let me know. I think it would be pretty cool if other people built other buildings and shared those plans, because we could actually make that dream playset together.

I vote we call our little town Boxtop Hill.


4/17/06 ::: Expansionism and The New World

I have spent more time hauling toys than playing with them the last few days. Part of my Latest Master Plan (LMP) was to clear some space in the Red Room, hub of all things Small. To do this I decided to set up "Studio B" in our barn, which means I moved the G7 moonbase and also built a new, bigger moonscape table right along side it. Both giant sets are now (mostly) installed in Studio B and I anticipate a very active summer there. Except for some interiors and close-ups that I can do in the Red Room, the G7 series now has a secure and mostly dry home.

All of this was to free space in The Red Room, which has been crammed full ever since the space program started to take off. With the extra room we are thinking of adding new shelves for Small living, and maybe splitting the room with shelving to make distinct gallery and workshop areas, which is pretty austere for a garage. In any event, the real and actual truth is that Small Enterprises just expanded into a second facility, and projects are in motion.

(insert diabolical laughter here)

I also nearly broke myself with a rotary cultivator today, but nobody wants to hear about that.


4/18/06 ::: LINKS

I have been brushing up my LINKS page and I thought I'd spend some time on that here. My old LINKS page was one of the best reasons to rebuild the whole ding-dang site. I think the new page is more fun, and at least most of the links work now. Boy, talking about the LINKS page is even duller than the page itself.

Sorry, I can't write much today. I roto-tilled a patch in the front yard yesterday and my hands are dumb blocks right now. This could prove to be my most painful entry, ever.

(insert puppy whimper here)


4/19/06 ::: Today in History

Back in the fight today. I spent some time hanging The Spirit of Compliance and ASA Grunion from ceiling wires and exploring docking procedures. The place is a heaping junk pile right now, but after I get a few days to sort things out I'll take some new Red Room shots, including some of the new Studio B.

And don't forget, kids; today is the day that US tanks destroyed a church in Waco, TX and the day a dead jerk blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City. Of course, Joan of Arc received beatification on this day, Charles Manson was sentenced to life in prison today, Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann deliberately took LSD for the first time on what he thought was today, and FDR announced that the United States would abandon the gold standard today. History is a crapshoot, I guess.

Today I went to work, and I wrote this. It is a sobering thought that by the time Mozart was my age he had been dead for several years already.



4/21/06 ::: To Post, or Not to Post?

My goal was the end of the month and it is only the 21st, but I've been thinking about putting this revamp on-line soon. I figure, "Why not?"

There are still lots of things I'd like to do to the site, like get some pictures of Studio B and new shots of the Red Room, and also fix the dead links in the Census so Anthony will get off my back about that... There are lots of other things, too. I guess what I'm saying is that I might get to those projects and updates soon, and then again I might not, so what's the big whoop?

The thing about Play is that, when you are an adult, you have to do it during the time you aren't working. Like when I stop typing this, I'll be working again. It is tricky until you get the hang of it.

I guess when you get right down to it my "new site" isn't all that new. STORIES are now called EPISODES, but other than that it's mostly the same stuff in new places, or with a fresh bow. Even the new stuff like EG and this SmBlog look like old stuff from where I sit. What a slacker.

And this could all evaporate at any second, so Play to Win!



4/25/06 ::: And Stuff

Well, things haven't evaporated yet.

Driving home today we saw a sign at the local VFW Hall advertising a chain saw competition and a blood drive on the same day. I couldn't write material that good.

Moon rocks are spread, Space Marines are dispatched, and pictures of Studio B are forthcoming, pending their review by the Dept. of Maintenance and War (obviously).


Studio B, Moon Table

4/28/06 ::: How to Play With Your Toys, Part 1: The Box

1.A: Take them out of the box.

For dramatic weight, thus endeth today's lesson.


4/30/06 ::: Ask not what your toys can do for you...

Well, it's the end of the month. This April, besides remaking the web site, we also tilled a huge garden, gave all of the Small Marines gloved hands, opened our luxurious Studio B, built the largest moon table so far, and recorded a blistering Buzzetti version of Fruity Oaty Bars. We were lucky to be turned-on to and to Robert's Mego Adventure Blog. And how did I ever miss this excellent toy film, The Incredible Calvin? Wow, good month!

We also found out that we will be (doing some kind of something) at a Monday staff meeting for Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects. I'm not sure why educated, successful young hipsters would want me to come to their meeting with my toys, but apparently they do, and so we will, on July 17th.

I imagine it will sound like this... "Hi everyone! I make cardboard saloons, and spaceships from septic tanks for my toys... Any questions... ?" And then security shows up.


Studio B, G7 Command Center and Hanger set.

5/02/06 ::: Innertainment Tonight!

First of all, Happy National Mower's Unification Day, and let's all salute the beginning of the Official Mowing Season (OMS)!

I got email from Flip-Master Callum of the Incredible Pish Dolls. He obviously suffers from good taste and acute smartitude because the email was full of praise for!

After watching the film of Pish Dolls on the street in Edinburgh I started thinking about the broad entertainment value of toys, like when you are trapped in a car or train for hours and all you have is a package of sugar and two sporks to keep you company. Before you know it, those seemingly innocent objects take on life and find meaning in your mind, and their story starts unfolding on the stage in your head without any prompting. (Did you know that artificial sweeteners fear all forms cutlery?) I mean, you are still in the car and those are still sporks, but you are having fun anyway. Let's call this new escape ability Innertainment.

And that's what I saw in Pish Dolls; it was innertaining. When I watch them flip around on film I'm really doing more than just sitting there slack-jawed, wondering how it is all happening and convulsing to the music. I'm also wondering where they hang out at night, and which Barbie is with which Action Man, and how can I get the T-shrit? Hydraulic? Pneumatic? Electric? Alchemical? What's the deal?


5/04/06 ::: "Build it low, and they will come."

A delayed shipment at work last week meant that this week I got some time off to work on the Red Room! Reconstruction started with building a low 24 inch shelf about 20 inches off the floor in an L shape, about 12 feet long. Hoisted into position were The Small Mall, Club Small, Army HQ, The Dept. of Accessories Office Building, and various parts and playsets. Smaller shelves above have become The Playset Projects, which is low-rent housing district for toys with no other living space applicable to their nature.

Obviously, everything is in ugly piles now so I can't take pictures. Aliens are displaced, unsupervised Joes all over the floor, Pulsar and Electro-Man and are plotting something complicated... and then there is all the dusting to do. This clearly means that more Studio B shots are delayed, but in the long run The Dept. of Putting a Foot Down decided it was worth the bump in the schedule.

But fear not, mental readers! We will get pictures of the new stuff, and when we do you are going to say, "OOO!" and also probably, "AHHH!" Maybe even a whole bunch.



5/9/06 :: Notes from Toy Land

Every once in a while it is good to take all the old things one has gathered and become familiar with and dump them in the middle of the floor. In a big pile, one can assess one's situation based on the various parts in the heap, and the balanced but chaotic nature of the pile form can be helpful in determining which parts of the heap mean more to one than others. For instance, I haven't touched a 12 inch action figure in almost two years; bottom of the heap.

It seems clear to me that what I did with the revamp in April I am repeating in May with the Red Room. With plenty of other things to do, I seem to have thrown myself into a restructuring of the physical nature of all things Small, and the results so far have been very compelling. Our lavish new Studio B facility left a great deal of junk and space exposed in the Red Room, and I think we have made good use of both.

The Red Room has a few key defining elements. It is a central hub for all of the toy-based activity we do around here, and we do a good deal of just that, I can tell you. The room is a converted garage that helped to launch a successful custom framing empire some years back, and ever since that enterprise outgrew the space it has been devoted exclusively to the pursuit of fun involving toys, often called play.


5/10/06 ::: more Notes from Toy Land

I have identified three basic functions that the Red Room serves, each intertwined with the others but also identifiable as a unique part of the Whole Small Experience (WSE).


If one has toys, one must put them somewhere.

Although I have often been tempted, I believe it would be impossible to store all of my toys in a single Toy Box. This pure storage path denied, the next best option in this modern era is shelving. When I was a kid I had brick-and-board shelves for all my Star Wars figures and I set up different scenes from the movies on them. On the ground and everywhere else I had Mego figures, who were different in spirit from their 3 3/4 SW cousins in that they were active, and not "on display." The Megos had the Wayne Manor and satellite play sets pictured above in this Smblog.

I mention all of this because it dawned on me while building my new display area that what I have done is combine the two concepts from my childhood. The Red Room display area, with shelves and play sets that sprawl out and up, is now a living storage city. They are active display spaces, and if they ever get their own magazine it will be called Shelf Life.


When I was six I had a box that I kept toy parts, and now about 1/2 of the Red Room is filled with parts bins. I've managed to put all of the modular sets from G7 in one corner, and organize the important tools and bins used in Small construction, which has left a lot of glorious free space in my usually cramped "Studio A." I find making new custom toys and toy environments so much more pleasurable in a clean, well organized cell. Don't you?


Against all odds, understands that sometimes, when nothing else is going on and no one is looking, some people actually visit at our web site. In order to deal with that whole fame experience, and to process the many wonderful Episodes we occasionally churn out, we also have a computer in the Red Room. Heck, I'm using it right now.

Each of these elements are better served by our recent reorganization and dusting campaign. You can see pictures as soon as I have them - maybe this weekend! If you would like a tour of the Red Room, please write for a fee schedule.



5/11/06 ::: How to Play with Your Toys, Part 2: Feelings

The most important element in posing an action figure is what you feel about that toy.

Anyone can purchase any number of highly detailed articulated toys and put them on an array of shelving solutions, but if you don't actually feel something about the plastic formed into that peculiar shape then you should probably toss it on the nearest junk pile and find something that interests you more. Life is short, and I sift through junk piles...

When I dusted and set up Bevel's Pad in its new location this week I sneezed a whole lot, and I felt keen joy. Here is this simple molded plastic man with thumbs-up hands, and just holding him I become giddy because he is the spokesmodel for my secret toy empire. He lost a button from his plaid shirt, and I have neglected to tie off the end of the thread so he is in danger of losing a second. He has a pool table that is covered with piles of games and toys, and pretzels on his barbecue.

Bevel fills me with mirth and toy joy. I'm pretty sure I couldn't take a bad picture of him in this condition. Every pose he strikes is genius, too.


5/16/06 ::: I must be sick or something.

I know I'm in the middle of a bunch of other projects right now, but for some reason I find that I've started work on a line of custom Firefly figures!

I probably don't have to explain to the both of you that I don't usually make toys based on characters from other people's imaginations. I makes my Smalls by animal instinct and divine reckoning, and that has always suited me just fine. Besides, making someone else's character into a toy has always felt like an intrusion of sorts, and I'm far too shy for that kind of thing. And anyway, comic book characters make me sleepy.

So imagine my surprise when I found that I had started work on the nine main characters from Joss Whedon's Firefly and Serenity! I made some Reavers recently because I thought they were scary as hell, and I had the spare parts. Then, true to form, I made them a space ship, and that began a process of wondering what parts I had on hand that could be used to make the whole Serenity crew. It was a flashing flight of fancy at the time, but that's how we do things around here, so I went with it.

I admit that I'm a geek for the show, but I'm a geek for a lot of things that I haven't made fan dolls for... This is a whole new experience for me, this "custom toy" thing, and I feel excited and dirty about it all. I'll post daring and maybe succulent photos as soon as they have cleared the Dept. of Horrid Little Secrets.

To get this line right, I think I have to shave and re-root an Uhura, get a Black Action Jackson flocked with gray fuzzy hair, and sew some kind of dress for a space hooker.

Great Mother of Marty, what have I become?


First pics of
Capt. Mal Reynolds:

5/17/06 ::: Jon Joe Mama is an Evil Robot, and I have pictures.

I didn't want it to come to this, but I think someone needs to out this guy before someone gets hurt. If I end up dead in some unfortunate seal clubbing accident, I just want the world to know the truth.

Jon Joe Mama first contacted me in the fall of 1996. I had contacted the Mego Museum for the first time a few weeks before, and apparently they sold my address or something. Anyway, Jon sent some badly damaged parts for a type-1 Mego Batman and demanded that I build something from the pieces. One of the arms had a bent sewing pin where the hand should have been, and the other one was an ape hand.

Needless to say, I was petrified. It has been said that the price of fame is having to deal with the mentally ill, and I took JJM's mysterious demands as a sign of my increasing popularity and expanding market potential.

Over the course of the last decade I have received literally hundreds of pounds of freaky stuff from Jon in the mail, sometimes 2 or 3 boxes in a single week. There were toys, yea verily there were glorious and absurd toys in those parcels, but there was a lot of other outlandish nonsense, too. Anyone out there need a mint-in-baggie Basic Instinct key chain? What about a lime green extruded plastic lamp shade? Anyone? How about anything pictured HERE?

What I think I have discovered about Jon is that he can't throw anything away, and prefers to buy stamps. It's a mental disorder that I've read about or made up, and Jon has it. Sometimes when I go to visit him in his cell he tells me about the things the post office refused to let him send to me, and how upset he used to get on the bus with strangers because of that. Some of the letters I've received from those innocent transit patrons just rip your heart out.

A few years ago I got a great big box from Jon, bigger than any other by far. My first thought was that he had finally calculated the postage and shipped himself to me, but as it turned out the box held all of Jon's many freakish playthings. Most of the crazy stuff Joe Mama has been posting on the Custom Mego Forum this week were sitting under P8 for the last 2 years, and they have been that ugly and funny the whole time. I would sometimes paw through the box looking for parts to steal, but I'd end up just laughing at the contents and forget what I was looking for. So I just stole stuff at random.

I mailed the unused portion of that box back to him a few weeks ago, and the rest is medical history. I have to admit that I once saw Jon Joe Mama kill a chicken just for snoring, but other than that he's been a peach, and I have not accepted money in exchange for this endorsement.

So consider yourself warned, world! Jon Joe Mama seems funny, what with his two-headed dolls and his toys made from meat, but in reality the guy is an evil robot bent on bringing down the entire toy world from within. Just look at the picture if you don't believe me. Rumors that he can be controlled by tiny singing japanese twins are not based in science. Think of the children! Tape off your doorways and head for high ground!


This was the first thing Joe Mama sent to me after I returned his big box of toys. See what I mean?


Joe Mama is an Evil Robot. Ask anybody.

5/22/06 :::


Long and slow my acids pour
through the sod to you. May your
grinning socketed old head
drink them in your pineboard bed.

Slow and long my anger squirms
because before you met your worms
you gave to him your evil ways
and they'll hold me all my days.

Long my hatred, dead my love
for you, old man. I leap above
the green abiding earth you crave
and dance dilemmas on your grave.

-Doris Moore, 1998


5/24/06 ::: Firefly Frenzy

You know how sometimes you are just walking along, minding your own business, and then you just suddenly make a whole team of dolls? Well that same thing happened to me recently.

Last summer we had a party in our barn. We had the Carnival set up, and T19 was hanging in Mostly-Dry Dock. Partygoers Clare and Jefferson were impressed with my enormous toy space ship and asked me if I had ever seen a little sci-fi show called Firefly...

I had heard of it, and had passed it over like a snob. I remember seeing a trailer for it when the show came out and thinking, "yuck." It had a gorgeous cast, and I recall an abundance of amber in the ad, so I associated it with Andromeda and gave it no more thought until Clare and Jefferson let us borrow their 4-DVD set. Now I love it.

Born on (and shortly thereafter killed by) FOX, Firefly and the motion picture follow-up Serenity feature a compelling vision of the future of the human race, and some really great characters. Everything about the show is stellar and we recommend it in glowing terms.

I like the Planet of the Apes movies, too, but I have never once given a thought to making custom characters from them. I have a really great Taylor custom made by Phil Nobile, and I admire Anthony's apes a great deal, but making other people's characters myself sounds like inviting frustration to an otherwise lovely party. And besides, it ain't fittin'.

So what do I do? I turn right around and make some Reavers.

Then I had one of those passing thoughts, and it seemed very innocent at the time. "Huh, I wonder if I could make a Malcolm Reynolds action figure..." That lead me to cogitate on the entire crew, and that sent me to the parts bins.

Commercial attempts at Firefly toys have been dismal thus far. I had an extra Uhura. All the stars were aligning correctly. With a little borrowing and busting I found that I could mentally assemble a majority of the crew with parts I already had on hand. All I needed to find was a Black Action Jackson head, and thanks to Merlyn1976 that's covered!

I don't think these Firefly dolls mark any kind of turning point in my toy career. As fun as it was to build these, I just can't see myself getting into making custom toys. It is a lot more like work than I'm used to, and, as I believe I have stated previously in this SmBlog, TOYS ARE FOR PLAYING.

Joss Whedon, 500+ tiny plastic people salute you!


Jayne, Kaylee, Simon (River is in the box), Wash, Zoe, and Mal.
Still working on Book and Inara...

NEW!! 7/24/06 BOOK!

5/27/06 ::: How to Play with Your Toys, part 3: Listen to the Floor

One theory about the imagination is that it comes from underneath the earth. In myth and legend, our un- and sub- consciousnesses are said to reside in low areas, often including water, and when a shaman takes a spiritual journey he usually starts at the mouth of a Cave.

If our creative energies are located underground then it would follow that the closer one is to sea level, the more innovative and expressive one becomes. For instance, children are notoriously shorter than their parents and, as a group, they are given to finger painting and mud pie baking in vastly greater numbers than their adult administrators. Coincidence?

This is why it is critical to play with toys on the floor. In fact, due to cheap modern construction practices, there may be areas of the floor that are actually lower than the rest of it, and you should play there. Or better yet, go play outside in the dirt. Just remember that good times pool in low places, so go find them and you'll soon be enjoying ladles of fun all day long!

Another theory is that mustard can give you second-sight.



5/30/06 ::: Still no Pictures

That's right; still no pictures. For good reasons though! We have been fixing and building and painting and setting up in the Red Room, and there are so many good things in the works we just think we need to wait until a few of them are wrapped up before getting all photographic on you. Nobody wants to see just 3/4 of a toy empire, anyway.

Catherine is making the best Carnival Fortune Teller's Wagon you have ever seen! I am the luckiest man who ever lived.

I worked a bit on my top secret spaceship this weekend, too. Lots on my mind usually means ship building. I decided on a black stealth plane appearance, but at the last second added gold foil to the wings. Top Secret, with a dash of style. Anyway, no pictures of that one yet, either.

I also penciled out three short story boards for new G7 segments this morning. They are G7:e1.25, G7:e1.5, and G7:e1.75 respectively. Each is a 2-3 page episode taking place just after G7:e1 ends, and before G7:e2 begins. Math doesn't lie. Anyway, with these I want to get to know my old sets in their new environment (Studio B), and also I thought it would be good to plan and execute some smaller projects. G7:e2 is 28 pages, and apparently I'm not ready to dive into all that just yet.

Play to Win! Now more than ever!



6/2/06 ::: My 404 Error page is Almost Funny, says Russians.

Ok, maybe I'm the only person who does this, but I like to run my web site through Google and Yahoo every once in a while and see what pops up. Mostly I do it to make sure that I still exist, but also I like to see who out there is linking to or mentioning this web site. Recently, I discovered this:

In case you just read the whole page and didn't understand anything, it's in Russian. They do make reference to's "404" error page, the page your browser displays when it goes looking for a file that isn't there. Here is mine.

My Russian is pretty terrible (my native language is hoots, clicks and whistles) so I emailed a friend who kindly translated the page for me. Here is what Natasha said:

"On that website they talk about what the message "Error 404" means. It's kind of silly. They say that this message is often associated with the theme of death because it is accompanied with pictures of a skull or a dead body. But not always. Sometimes Error 404 is illustrated with cute pictures. Then they describe several error pages. One of them is yours. Here is their description:

The standard message The URL you requested wasn't found on this server! is followed by the picture of a human like being fastened to a chair, by the computer. Probably, he is a system administrator. Sign: "Stop looking at me! I'm hideous!" A good joke, almost funny: really, when you see Error 404, you sometimes feel like a fool coming into someone's home without an invitation."

...almost funny. Nearly. Just short of. All but. Approaching.

Isn't the information age grand?


Laika, the first Earthling in Orbit, was Russian.

In total, the Soviet Union launched
missions with passenger slots for at least 57 dogs.
The actual number of dogs in space is smaller
as some dogs flew more than once.

6/6/06 ::: Dolls of Hendy Unleashed

We are shocked and awed to report that Jon Hendy has started his own a toy blog! Jon's toys are weirder and more stuffed with cunning than the vast majority of other toys in the whole world, for all time.

Jon takes raw plastic and brings to life his keen daily observations, his complex fantasy world, and all of our nightmares. He's one of the realest and nicest people I have ever met, and if it weren't for the whole Evil Robot thing, I'd be all for him.

Sadly, he must be exterminated for the good of the children. Too many times we have seen Evil Robots take advantage of our good intentions, and each of those too many times good men have done nothing to stop them.

Won't you take the time right now to foil an Evil Plot? Show the world that you care by visiting his web site and making a donation to the End the Evil Robots in America Today Coalition for Parents Who Care and are Mad Fund (EERATCPWCMF).

Go to his web site because you care, but stay because I told you to.


dolls of hendy

6/8/06 ::: How to Play with your Toys, part 4: Making Sound Effects.

A majority of former children agree that oral sound effects were critical elements of their childhood play. If you can find children actually playing with real toys in this jejune modern age, listen in a spell and you'll see what I mean.

Here we will explore the value of making sounds as you play, and provide phonetic maps for a few basic toy sound forms. Be advised that practicing some of these critical play effects can produce Unexpected Moist Projectiles (UMP), so be considerate of your playmates.


Anyone who ever played with a pair of Fist Fighting Mego figures, or Rock'em Sock'em Robots for that matter, knows the value of making battle sounds while the toys are engaged in fisticuffs. First of all, it makes them hit harder. Everything from a single punch in the kisser to a series of animal kicks and scratching fits can be made more effective with sound effects. And don't forget, sounds are not the exclusive privilege of the victor! Any toy getting the tar beat out of it can find solace and gain time with plaintive sound effects of suffering and defeat.

Running :
When we where kids our toys ran around loudly, everywhere. Dr. Zaius boots were the best for running but you could do it in your bare hero feet, too. Basically, the running sound is a series of thrusting clicks timed with the toy's steps. Hitchcock movie soundtracks are a great resource for both walking and running patterns that work well.

Obviously, the sound depends on the type of weapon employed. Ancient weapons usually have metallic sound forms, like "ching!" and "tish-tish-tish!" Note that some automatic weapons produce sounds very much like super-fast running, and the addition of victim noises can help to distinguish one sound effect from the other.

Cars, trucks and jet packs all have their own unique engine sounds, and the formation of each depends on the toy's nature and history as much it depends on the orthodontic structure of the child in question. Several general categories emerge upon investigation, "vrooooomm" and, "bzzzzzzzzzzzz" being the most popular. Note that toy engines failing to perform have some of the funniest sound effects known.

The best monster sounds are made by sucking air into the throat, just below the vocal cords, and growling. This can be achieved in more than a few vocal registries and is very scary, but anyone using this technique in the outdoors must give special attention to the possibility of sucking bugs directly into the lungs, a discomfort worthy of avoiding. For added effect, try flailing your hands like sharp claws while holding your elbows close to your ribs. I find it helps a great deal.

Magic and Technology:
Easily the widest category with the most wiggle room, sounds of magic and technology are predominantly variations of vowels. Forms like, "wooooo," and, "ee-ooo-ee-ooo," are common, but a wide array of soft consonants can be included for color and thrills.

One of my favorites to this day is the hum-whistle. Basically, you whistle with your lips, and hum with the rest of your mouth. It's tricky, but you can do it. This is an especially good sound for play involving levitation of any kind.

Obviously, children who speak in different character voices for their toys can be anything from precious to evil. Quality toys help to sway the balance toward precious, but a lot depends on the child, I'm afraid. It is good for toys to talk (especially to each other), and even grownups can do it sometimes, but the consequences of adult shame exposure are usually prohibitive for most of yesterday's children.

Speaking in different voices, having imaginary adventures out loud, building complex social structures with predominantly mental materials... all of these are sure signs of more than casual nut-ittude, science has recently proven.

But look where all their funding comes from.










Some Other Key Phonic Maps:

"ching-ching... ching-tish-ching"
Running: "cht-cht-cht-cht"
Six Shooter: "p-sheew"
Automatic Rifle: "uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh"

If you have a favorite childhood sound and can provide a phonic map of it, please contact us.

6/09/06 ::: Funny ha-ha, like a troop of clowns.

I have recently been reminded of a joke that (sort of) reflects a current situation in which I find myself. It goes like this:

A disgruntled man sits at a bar, drinking. He is overheard to mutter,

"...when I was in the war I saved the lives of 50 men armed only with my pocket knife! I'm a hero, you hear me? A HERO! But when I walk down the street does anyone stop and say to their kids, "there goes a war hero who saved 50 men!" ??? NO! They DON'T say that!"

"...and after the war I started a construction company. We built hospitals for orphans, and laboratories to advance scientific research... but when I walk out to get my newspaper in the morning do the neighbors ever shout, "Look! It's the guy who built the orphan hospitals!" NOOOO, they don't say that. And when I'm out to dinner does anyone come over to the table and say, "Hey, you are the guy who helped paved the way for the cure to cancer, right?"

"... heck no, they don't say that..."


"... but you sleep with one goat..."


(If you get it, thank you! If not, I forgive you. There; I feel better already!)




6/17/06 ::: Ways to See ::: "The Space Between"

I love modern styro-packing forms, and I'll tell you why. It isn't because great things can be found fitting perfectly inside of them, although that is a real bonus, and it's not because they are included "free" with many major purchases, delightful as that may be. Not to get all philosophical on you (or maybe psychological) but I love packing forms because they remind me that I need to regularly examine the world in alien terms, out of context, once or twice removed.

For instance, when you hang your head over the side of the bed and stare at the room upside-down for a while, pretending that gravity is reversed and people everywhere walk on the ceiling, you see your same old room in new ways. Getting from the kitchen to the den now involves stepping over the transom, obviously, and a lot of indoor lighting is centralized, and below your ankles. And don't even ask me what happens when you go outside in a world like this because the possibilities are terrifying.

Another example of this kind of shift in context is something I like to call The Space Between. It is an examination of the emptiness that surrounds and absorbs us, and how that nothingness also links us all together. But that Obi Wan is a crazy old wizard, and I told you to forget it.

Like; there is a toy, and there is me, but there is also a distance between us, and that is a major part of the relationship between me and the toy, but not one that gets thought about much.  "The Space Between" almost entirely defines Earth's relationship with Mars at this juncture. My wife and I are very close indeed, with hardly any space between in most cases, and that also has enormous relevance and defines a lot of my life. In jazz, the notes you don't play are as important (or more) as the notes you do play. The Space Between is the containing emptiness, the silent encompassing un-mass, the "negative" space, the network of nothingness we all subscribe to without much notice. And it can make all the difference.

Between each word of this blog there is a space, andwithoutthemyouwouldhaveahardtimeunderstandingthings, huh? This same kind of space can define people and ideas in much the same way; simply establishing the critical line between this and that, and maybe offering insight as to the current relationship between X and Y. In a string these parts might make a nice whole. They may also be in direct conflict, or reveal the author as a total mental case. But it's about toys, so get off me already, jack.

This Space Between is largely a secret place of shadows and invisible forces, where ghosts and revenants collude, and ambiguous affections find safe fusion. Magnets probably harness The Space Between, and so do lullabies. If you don't have the proper protective tiles in place you can burn up trying to reenter The Space Between. Like I said, it can make all the difference.

Some think space is also an expression of time. I'm not sure about this, but let's for fun say that life is the space between birth and death. Doesn't sound like much when you put it like that, but it sure covers a lot.

And so anyway, packing forms... Packing forms are the modern industrial manifestation of The Space Between.

2XL+ and Gecko 7 are mostly packing forms. My twin epic space toy odysseys, free gifts from the higher consumerism deities, were made from simple, luscious packing forms. So between the computer I bought and the box they shipped it in, there was this sexy Space Station. Check your garbage, you know it is true.

The trick is that you can harness The Space Between and make it whatever you want. It isn't easy but it works every time it is tried. Since nothing is there, it can be anything you want it to be! Ever seen Paris? Ever seen New Deli? Well that's just it; you see what you want to see, and you hear what you want to hear. Dig?

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to examine the space between my pillow and tomorrow morning.


The 2XL+ Mess Cabin - packing forms and modern fancy.


Gecko 7 BASE :::
A lot smaller than it looks on-line.

6/21/06 ::: $1.95 Baby

Today, Evil Robots finally wore me down to the lowest point yet. Oh, Fortuna! When will this cycle of misadventure end?

The task was simple enough. Unless I wanted to be shot with powerful eye beams, I had to construct a logo for the nose of a new and probably evil space capsule, something reminiscent of this.

After locating a model who had no compunctions about working nearly nude I thought my troubles were over, but his hideous personal details make the project a special horror the depths of which I can not reveal on an unregulated internet. Let's just say that isn't psoriasis, it's teeth marks.

Funny... when I started this project I though "Eleven Dollar Baby" would be a good name. You can see the discount in the final product, and who knows how low it can go from there?


6/23/06 ::: MEGOS I DON'T HAVE YET:

In my Adult People Who Play (APWP) group this week we have been discussing things we don't have, not with a mind toward acquisition although that's a nice thing, too, but rather we were debating the value of collecting, as they say, Them All.

I've always looked at Mego's "Collect Them All!" sales banner as a personal directive. How ruthlessly diabolical! That hip art department of that awesome toy company has inscribed a personal note to me on every box ever printed, spelling out one of my deepest secret drives in brief and cunning logic. Oh yes; I will collect them all. In their entirety!

Of course I had to settle for a lesser goal eventually, you know, like you do. So I decided that I could respect myself if I had at least one of each Mego head produced. Kirk and Robin were easy. Iron Man is only on the list because it's true - I really don't even know what I would do with one.

This largely ridiculous goal was set years ago, and I have not actively pursued it in the meantime. I only bring it up because I'm condemned to write about what I know, and also because last week I finally found My Cat Woman!


Mego Heads I Still Don't Have:
Daisy Duke
Vance Duke
Iron Man
Wonder Girl
Kid Flash
Smirking Myx
Health Spa Dinah Mite
Black Dinah Mite

7/06/06 ::: The Bottom of the Page

Well, I guess it's come to this now. At last, SMBLOG needs a second page and it is customary to end one page before you start another. That's my new custom anyway, so here we are at the end of the first page.

I think we've had a good Page One, considering market forces. There are some toy pictures and a wide range of inane ranting; something for almost nobody!!

I did post a new NEWS section yesterday. It's one of those hard hitting pieces of emotionalism that passes for journalism these days, introducing a trio of new Smalls who still believe that they are super heroes. I mean come on, they are toys. You could see that from space! But these guys are either faking it, nuts, or just plain ornery. We cavort, you deride!

As far as Page Two goes, there are going to be a few changes around here, People. To begin with, we are switching to a reverse chronological format, so that the newest entry is always at the top. Apparently this is how things are done in Blogland, and I obviously want to be in compliance.

Since nobody reads anymore I will save the rest of the SMBLOG changes for Page Two, which should be available in a few days.

I'll leave Page One with a picture I took just seconds ago in Studio B. This is the front of T19 with some newly installed electrical wonders.