Name: James "Captain Dunsel" Brady
CM: Any Personal Info you are willing to share: (married? Kids? Pets? Occupation? Where from? Other hobbies,/Interests?)
JB: As a child of the `80s, I was a relative "late-comer" to Megos-but while other kids my age were playing with Masters of the Universe, Transformers, M.A.S.K, and the new G.I. Joe, I was immersed in the world of Mego! In those days, there were enough toy store discount shelves and flea market finds to supply all the inexpensive World's Greatest Super Heroes, Star Trek, and Planet of the Apes figures a kid could want. Now, 29 years old and married, I still find myself rummaging garage sales and antique shops for Megos. with less luck these days of course.
My wife Vanessa, did not grow up with Megos, but she has embraced our collection as her own and we display them proudly in our home. Kitty, our resident feline loves (to chew on) Megos. Our dog, Zefram, is pretty good at retrieving Megos. If you don't mind a little slobber. As much as I have enjoyed Megos, so have I enjoyed art. Sketchbooks, paintings, sculptures and various craft projects fill the shelves and nooks of our home. I suppose it was inevitable that I would eventually combine my love for Mego with my predilection to create-and join the ranks those called "customizer". Megos aside, I also enjoy. watching movies, warm weather, science fiction, science fact, poker night, jack-and-coke, photography, rainy nights at home, weekends with no plans, meaningless existential discussions and picnics in the park with my wife. Things I dislike.Taco Cabana, reality shows, soup and unglazed porcelain.
CM: How did you get started collecting mego?
JB: My older brother and sister grew up with Megos. By the time I came along, theirs were behind cases (like mine are now). I gazed longingly at their collections day in and day out. particularly the Star Trek crew, as I was a "Trekkie" from the beginning. Christmas 1985, I opened a gift from my sister; a box packed with what was her collection of the complete first series Star Trek figures-I was in eight-year-old heaven! Though these were my "play" Megos, I count them as the beginning of my "collection" because I still have them to this day.
CM: What is your favorite original mego figure and line?
JB: Being such a Star Trek geek, I am heavily biased toward this line. Leading me through countless childhood adventures, Captain Kirk wins the place of favorite individual Mego.
CM: What is, in your opinion, is the biggest "hole" in mego's original lines. (what figure or figure line is missing that should have been done)?
JB: As you might guess, I'd have to say Sulu and Chekov from the Star Trek line. Never is this more obvious than to those who have a Mego Enterprise Bridge Playset-but no one to steer the ship!
CM: What motivated you to start customizing?
JB: Actually, the Mego Museum had a lot to do with that. But the genesis of it started well-before the days of the internet. While I was still playing with Megos, I had of course heard that Mego made one of my favorite Star Trek aliens, the Gorn. "What better foe for Kirk", I thought. So I began going to toy and doll shows at any opportunity. Eventually, I came across a printed catalog with Megos listed for sale and sure enough, they had a Gorn! I begged, borrowed and finally placed the order. Now, keeping in mind that none of my siblings or friends had ever seen a Mego Gorn, nor did this catalog have a picture. you can imagine my spectacular disappointment, when one of my favorite Star Trek aliens arrived in the mail as a brown version of the Spider-man lizard in a Klingon costume. Even for a child, that was a stretch of the imagination. Years later, I stumbled upon the Mego Museum and noticed the customs section. Though I don't recall whose customs I first saw that day, they sparked the idea of making my own Megos, and immediately I thought of the one Mego that had disappointed me all those years earlier.
CM: What was your first custom?
JB: The Gorn Captain was my first Mego custom-and still my favorite. The challenge was to build a Gorn using a Hulk body, but not be shorter than the other Megos. So, in addition to the head, I sculpted new lower arms and lower legs for the body.
CM: How did it come out (looking back on it now)?
JB: Twenty-some customs later, I look back on the Gorn and can see where he needs work. I went through a few versions of the head before I got it right-so I'm happy with the head sculpt. But the limbs are a little rough. they work, but I could do so much better now. For the costume, I wanted to stay "true to Mego", so I did a really simplified version of what the character wore in the show and I'm happy with the way it came out.
CM: What have you done/learned that has improved your customizing skills?
JB: My greatest improvement has been in the quality of each sculpt-I have striven toward the betterment of character likeness with each new custom. The practice of sculpting itself has been the most helpful experience to this end. Using different clays and learning about their properties has made a big difference. I've also become more comfortable with various sculpting tools and techniques. With each new sculpt, I pick up new ideas and techniques on how to better transform clay into the shape I want.
CM: What areas of customizing are your strongest points, or favorite things to do?
JB: Of all that goes into customizing: sculpting, molding, casting, painting, sewing, etc. the sculpting process is by far my favorite part-and by default, probably my strongest point. Though I will add that painting the first cast is a close second for favorite. There's nothing like seeing what your sculpt looks like painted for the first time.
CM: What resources make it easier for you as a customizer? (is there a source for parts? Information? Etc. that aids you more than anything else?) JB: Paul Evans and Dave McCormick. They have been my go-to guys and biggest support behind all my "Captain Dunsel" customs. Dave has, of course, provided the meticulously hand-crafted costumes for almost every Trek custom. Paul has taken on the molding and casting process. It is due to their collaboration that I am able to concentrate more on sculpting and produce a more refined finished product.
CM: What is your favorite custom you've done and do you think it's your best work? If not, what do you think is your best work?
JB: Well it's tough to choose, but I think because he's still one of my favorite characters, the Gorn remains my favorite custom. For `best' custom, however, I would choose General Trelane. This is my best likeness-and Dave really out-did himself on the costume.
CM: Why do you choose the projects you choose?
JB: I think of all the Star Trek characters that I would have wanted as a kid (and still do)! I choose the characters I feel are "staples" of the show-or at least the ones that impressed me as a child growing up with the TV series.
CM: What are your favorite customs others have done and why?
JB: There are so many good customs out there. Bobbait's X-men are really nice. Joe Centenio's Superfriends series is unbelievable! And DaveMc's growing Star Wars set is everything I wished Mego had made! There are so many others though. I wish I could literally "collect them all"!
CM: What is on your "to do" list in the near future?
JB: First thing's first-I've got to fill the empty spot in "Wave 3" of my Trek customs!
CM: How do you think customizing affects the mego collecting hobby?
JB: It depends on the collector. While the purist may completely overlook customs, they can be a great opportunity to get those never-produced figures you always wanted as a kid. To those open to collecting or making custom figures, it keeps the hobby fresh because you never know what somebody will create next!
CM: Any tips or words of customizing advise to new customizers?
JB: Jump right in and have a good time! For specific questions, the Mego Museum's Customs Forum is the best place to get answers.
CM: What do your family/friends think of your mego custom work/hobby?
JB: Well, I've always wanted to make toys of my own. Even as a child, I would "customize" Megos and other figures with clay prosthetics, paint and so forth.
All my family and friends see how I've refined the process and are happy for me. I get the greatest support from my wife, Vanessa-who always lends an artistic eye and offers the advice I often need to transform a mediocre sculpt into a really great likeness. I'd like to extend my deepest thanks to the Mego Museum and everyone in the Mego community for all your kind words, constructive feedback, and just-plain-good-times over the last few years!
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us James! For more pictures of James' customs, and links to great mego customizing information and resources, visit www.megomadhouse.com