CM: Any Personal Info you are willing to share: (married? Kids? Pets? Occupation? Where from? Other hobbies,/Interests?).
OD: I hit the big four-oh this month so it's a real treat to be Customiser of the month in October. I'm a professional actor when I'm not making toys and I live in a sleepy little English village with my other half who I've been with for twelve years. The only kids we have, so far, are two cats. I was born in Belfast N. Ireland and then moved to Scotland where I grew up and was educated, so I see myself as being Celtic and a bit of a gypsy.
CM: How did you get started collecting mego?
OD: I've always had Megos from my earliest childhood memory and never really grew out of having toys to be honest, as I started making my own at the age of twelve or thirteen. I think my first Mego was a Planet of the Apes Urko which my Dad bought me. Each week the collection of both Apes and Trek would be added to when we went shopping for my Dads business, I got a Mego for helping him with his shopping which in those days was something like ś2 or $4 . I got the better half of that deal!
CM: What is your favorite original mego figure and line?
OD: Has to be Mr Spock from the Trek range, but if the 9 inch Palitoy range of figures are included in this question then it is of course the Tom Baker Dr Who doll which I took everywhere with me as a child. My parents couldn't prise it from my fingers I loved it so much. I still have the original but it rests in a display case now and I can leave the house without it...... occasionally.
CM: What is, in your opinion, the biggest "hole" in mego's original lines. (what figure or figure line is missing that should have been done).
OD: Eh...quite a few for this one. The limited range of figures for both Dr Who and Star Trek and the lack of 7 « Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon figures. Fortunately we'll soon have a full Star Trek crew thanks to Emce.
CM: What motivated you to start customizing?
OD: My very first customs were all Dr Who figures and all in 3 _ inch scale using Black Hole figures. This was back in 1980 and though I still have that first figure, Tom Baker, it has been renovated many times as my skills improved over the years. I still make this scale of figure but there are many other action figures in the market to use for customs. I've also made several TARDIS console rooms and Police Boxes for these figures.
I started making my own figures because they were the sort of toys I wanted to have and no toy companies where producing them. Star Wars was huge at the time and I wanted Dr Who figures and toys just like Luke, Han and Leia, so I made them for myself.
CM: What was your first custom?
OD: I made my first Mego custom when I was about 15. It was a Dr Who Sea Devil to compliment the Palitoy range of Who figures and yes I still have it along with about 20 other monsters and companions and past Doctors, all naked which I’ve never got round to finishing or clothing.
CM: How did it come out? (looking back on it now)
OD: Oh poor old thing that it is. I’ve just dug it out of it’s display case to look at it. Em…It’s seen better days. It was made with Daz Pronto which was, or still is, an air drying clay, some of which has chipped off the figure over the years. Em, I think it looks quite basic and isn’t up to the sculpting standards I have today, but hey it was made by a 15 year old 25 years ago!
CM: What have you done/learned that has improved your customizing skills?
OD: The discovery of a two part liquid plastic to make heads and weapons revolutionised my customs. That happened 7ish years ago when I discovered Alumilite then about five years ago I discovered Smooth-on or Smooth-cast which is a white liquid plastic which I adore and go through an enormous amount of.
CM: What areas of customizing is your strongest points, or favorite things to do?
OD: I think my strongest point is my sculpting which I love doing, even when it takes 4 tries to get the look exact but I get a great deal of pleasure and relaxation from painting. Sewing 10 or more uniforms which are all the same can turn me a bit stir crazy.
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?).
OD: Oh where do I start. First off the internet is invaluable just for researching pictures and getting details for costumes right. Dr Mego, CTVT, Toy fanatic, Paul ‘Hulk’ Clare, and of course the one and only Dave Mc, used and would recommend them all. Single item for use as a customizer has to be a knee pin. Oh and on that subject would someone please make and sell a replacement hip pin which doesn’t break!
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?
OD: Up until last week my favourite custom was my Blake’s 7 Avon season 4 figure. Seen here alongside Tarrant, Soolin, Dayna and Vila the crew of Scorpio all of which are seen here for the first time.
But I recently finished a few figures which had been at the half way stage for months. Notable the 1st, 2nd and 7th Doctors, the latter being my new favourite even though I haven’t finished his hat. Each of the Doctors have new limbs in a shorter size, lower leg and forearm which allow a difference in height size alongside normal Megos. Also seen here for the first time.
Other people say my Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes is my best work.
CM: Why do you choose the projects you choose?
OD: I think for the same reasons that I started making toys, no-one else is making the figures I want to collect. Perfect example is my Blake’s 7 range in which I’ve created about 40 figures from all 4 seasons of the program.
CM: What are your favorite customs others have done and why?
OD: I think the James Brady/Dave Mc Trek customs are fantastic and what inspired my to start my own Trek customs too. They really are beautiful and the fact that we are soon to see a commercially available TOS Khan using his Khan sculpt speaks for itself.
CM: What is on your "to do" list in the near future?
OD: My to-do list is enormous, no really! I have a full crew of figures from Star Trek the Motion Picture to finish. Got heads on bodies including new sculpts of Rand, Chapel and the Alien Ensign. Got all the uniforms sewn and almost all the medical monitor belt buckles made in two sizes, one for male and a smaller for female, as well as the phasers and wrist communicators, just need to put them altogether. Made my first Firefly figure, Capt. Malcolm Reynolds, with plans to make the rest of the crew. Seen here for the first time.
Need to finish the remaining Blake’s 7 range, but that is an big and on-going project. Finish the Dr Who customs I’ve started which include, 1st Master, 6th Dr, 10th Dr a Vervoid, Styggron the Kraal, waiting on green bodies to finish a Sea Devil and a Draconian, and the 2 Voc Robots I’ve started, new series Capt. Jack, Rose and a Slitheen. Then there’s the Battlestar Galactica ‘then and now’ range of figures for which I’ve sculpted almost all the heads for the new series characters and have finished and moulded all the heads for the classic range. Most costumes have been designed and material sourced but again it’s time consuming sewing 10 of the same thing such as uniforms, or hand painting the black and gold/silver check detailing. I’ve started a 12 inch range of Trek figures to compliment the Motion Picture Kirk, Spock, Decker etc the first of which is McCoy, which I hope to photograph and show soon. I’ve sculpted heads for a four figure range of Sapphire and Steel figures. The David McCallum Steel head sculpt isn’t mine but the Joanna Lumley Sapphire is as are the other two figures, Silver and Shape which people might remember as the faceless humanoid from the story about photographs. Then there is the continuation of the Great Detectives range which I intend to expand with a Watson to go with my Jeremy Brett and a Hastings and Miss Lemon to go with my Poirot. Then I’ll add a few more Sherlock Holmes figures in the shape of Peter Cushing using a Tarkin head, a Basil Rathbone which I’ve sculpted and a Rupert Everett version which is at the half way sculpt stage. If that wasn’t enough, I’m also toying with the idea of making the Farscape crew and a range of Robin Hood figures from the mid 1980’s tv version Robin of Sherwood.
CM: How do you think customizing affects the mego collecting hobby?
OD: Every new custom adds to the Mego family which keeps the whole range alive and in demand. I hated action man when I was a kid, he was too big. Even the 9 inch Palitoy range is a bit too big for my liking, but Mego 7 ˝ is the perfect size for an possible action figure with cloth costumes. I don’t think we would have the new Emce Megos if it weren’t for customizers. It’s all helped to keep interest in the figures and shown that there is a market for the accessories which people like Dr Mego and CTVT have been making over the years. Thank the lord for Emce, the new figures are beautiful. I, like many others I’m sure, had a moment for moment flash back when my Emce Capt. Kirk arrived through the mail and I opened him for the first time (again) in over 30 years.
CM: Any tips or words of customizing advise to new customizers?
OD: Eh…keep on practicing, and keep on enjoying, and don’t be scared of feedback on the forum, it can all contribute to improving what we do, it’s a hobby after all.
CM: Do you sell custom figures or parts? If so, why?
OD: I do sell my figures and I make boxes for them too.
I also sell heads, hands and feet of most of my customs. I sell because people contact me and ask for things they’ve seen here in the forums which is a fantastic compliment. ( Oh and a big thank you to all of you who’ve done so over the years!) Last year I was commissioned to create a boxed custom of a ‘real person’ as a birthday present for the man who had everything. It turned out really well and both the client and the birthday boy were very pleased with the end result. That job came about by local word of mouth.
CM: What does your family/friends think of your mego custom work/hobby?
OD: They think it’s great, time consuming but great. They’ve all reached the stage of keeping certain things like material they think I could use or old jewellery and chains and odds n’ ends most people would throw out. I love it when they recognise a new sculpt without my saying who it is. They are usually the first to see any new work and advise on it’s likeness.
CM: Anything else you'd like to add?
OD:A few more recently completed customs which are, guess what……..seen here for the first time. From Dr Who a few creatures, Scaroth last of the Jagaroth.
and an original Silurian
My blogspot where most of my heads and full customs can be seen is:- http://otherdudesfigures.blogspot.com/
So, mid-month, all together now after 3.………Happy Birth……………………
CM: Thanks for your time Paul!