CM: Any Personal Info you are willing to share: (married? Kids? Pets? Occupation? Where from? Other hobbies,/Interests?).
SP: I've been married for close to ten years. We have no biological kids between us, but she has two sons, one of which has a daughter which made me a 33 year old grandfather six years ago. She likes to come over and play with my Starsky and Hutch figures by re-dressing them in other outfits, so she's already heading down the Mego path for the next generation. I am a retail manager by trade, specifically Shoe Carnival. If you have any of these around you, I'm the guy who talks into the microphone about specials and other crazy stuff throughout the day. Working retail hours doesn't leave a lot of time to work on customs, so many of my projects may look rushed. I'm still working on that patience thing I've heard rumors about. I'm also a musician/singer of rock, metal and progressive stuff and am very much into NFL, NCAA Basketball and MLB. Living in Cincinnati, I've had every sports dream crushed to dust in the last two decades or so.
CM: How did you get started collecting mego?
SP: I'd always had them as a child, but when we moved the first time, I don't remember what happened to them. That was shortly after that little Star Wars movie came out and changed the toy world. I rediscovered Mego last year when I did some online research for making customs or having someone make some for me. I got a taste on Ebay and I was hooked again. I'm pretty selective on what I want to collect, though. For me, it's loose and minty. That limits me sometimes.
CM: What is your favorite original mego figure and line?
SP: Without question WGSH. Those figures defined my early, formative years up till about age eight. I had no sibblings nor were there any kids on my street my age, so I did the majority of my playing alone. They were like my best friends. Yes, it's pathetic. Now, back in 1977, the world was quite different. I would leave in the morning, fill my backpack with Megos, weapons and vehicles, find food and take off into the woods behind our house. About a half mile back was the foundation of an old cabin with walls around three feet high made of brick. This was Scott's fortress of solitude. That's where I would have adventure upon adventure with the Super Friends. I have vague memories of Star Trek and the bridge set. I have no recollection of Apes, Knights, Pirates or Robin Hood. I think I also had the Starsky and Hutch car too. I still need to track one down. My favorite figure is without doubt Shazam. His costume is so dynamic and heroic. I didn't know much about him at first, but when the TV series started, I was hooked. Superman and Aquaman are close seconds.
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).
SP: A proper business model for Mego would have been to include one villain for each hero. The line is overloaded with the good guys and could have used some balance. Superman should have had Bizarro or Luthor. Shazam could have had Black Adam. Wonder Woman could have had Cheetah. Captain America should have had a Red Skull. The company went on to do well without these, but they might have lasted a while longer if the hero to villain ratio were evened up a bit. Also, I'll state the obvious in that they missed Flash and Green Lantern. All customizers eventually do one or both of these.
CM: What motivated you to start customizing?
SP: Research. I've been writing, off and on, for about a year or so a superhero novel. I wanted to have someone create figures to display if I ever got this thing released for conventions and trade shows. I found a few links to places that sold parts to make your own figure. I took it upon myself to learn more and try it out. Then, once I learned that so many parts, suits, heads and other various accessoires were so readily available, I decided to embark on a new hobby. My wife always wanted me to show off the creative side I had, so figures of my favorite comic characters turned out to be the perfect outlet. She's really into it now, or pretends to be.
CM: What was your first custom?
SP: The first custom I did was for a character from my book. He's not Mego scale, so it really doesn't count. The first Mego-scale custom was also another of my creations, Major Power. With my rudimentary skills, he turned out okay. My first "official" custom was Doctor Fate. I got a suit, boots and head first. Then I pillaged a Famous Covers Vision figure and stole his cape, gloves and undies. I ended up not using the trunks and going with a Hector Hall version.
CM: How did it come out? (looking back on it now)
SP: Not too shabby. The paint I used for the head and boots was completely wrong and took like eight hours to dry. I wanted to spray paint as I wasn't sure if I would leave streaks on resin with a brush. He's got a big fingerprint on the back of his helmet as a result of my impatience. Otherwise, he turned out fairly clean, crisp and Mego-ish.
CM: What have you done/learned that has improved your customizing skills?
SP: I think I'm mostly learning the things that DON"T work. I've experimented with a variety of materials, substances and glues. Some of these turned out pretty well and others were a disaster. I came up with a way to make emblems look shiny and stick to the figure. I learned that super glue and spandex are a terrible combination, especially for my fingers. Now I'm trying the sewing thing. My mother was a crafter for decades and is an expert on this subject. Between her, BK and Derek, I've made the plunge. I've always been good with my hands, so I'll probably be decent at it eventually. Networking is a HUGE factor in going further in the hobby. Also, the tutorials work, folks. If you have anything you're unsure about, it's in there.
CM: What areas of customizing is your strongest points, or favorite things to do?
SP: Paint, paint, paint. I've always had a way with a brush, so this was natural. I'd painted 25mm figures for Ral Partha in the early 90's and I was a comic book colorist. I've been in and around the color wheel for 25 plus years. My eyes are oddly accute to small detail so painting eyeballs, corneas and pupils are no problem. What others may or may not like about my work is the realism I attempt with each head. As with most facets of my artistic life, I tend to render the crap out of an object. I don't think I'm even capable of painting a head in the classic Mego style. I guess that's just going to be my signature mark for my figures. I can have a type 2 body and basic suit, but the head will POP big time. That's the goal each time out. Maybe I'm subconsciously trying to overcompensate for weakness in other areas. Games Workshop paints are best, but the cheapo paint works good too if mixed properly with another color or shade for maximum pigmentation.
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?).
SP: Of course I hit all the common places like Doc Mego, Reproheads, DaveMc's, Customslab and CTVT. Now, though, I find myself cruising the hobby shops looking for material to use in customizing. Having a Hobby Lobby, Michael's and Jo-Ann Fabrics within three miles is pretty cool. There are some other smaller shops that specialize in specific genres too. I pretty much just Google whatever I happen to be looking for. I also ask a lot of questions from other customizers.
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?
SP: My best work is probably Flash. He's very basic in his makeup with a CTVT body and suit and Brian Leitner head. It was the Captain America head, and there wasn't too much detailing to be done, so I had doubts. I was able to pull off a realistic head and added the yellow trim. This time around, minimalistic and simple worked best. I think my favorite is probably my Alex Ross Shazam or perhaps Superman. Both of these were my first suits I attempted sewing. The heads just popped once painted and completed what I had envisioned beforehand. My best work is still ahead of me and my choices will eventually change, but those figures along with Black Adam really are special to me.
CM: Why do you choose the projects you choose?
SP: It's equal parts character, dynamic looks and uniqueness. I might make a figure of a character I don't really care about if I think it'll look good. I attempt figures of those I always liked in comics. DC is my main source of inspiration and has always been my comic company of choice. I'll do some Marvel guys in the future too. I also find myself gravitating towards figures that have never been attempted before. I enjoy projects that will be a unique and fun experience. Obscure characters are some of the most fun to see posted and to make. A true measure of success is to have people dig the figure you made even though they have no clue who it is.
CM: What are your favorite customs others have done and why?
SP: Three instantly come to mind. BK's Superman, Megospidey's Captain America and Type3's Spiderman. All of these figures go way beyond what normal customs accomplish, they actually contain the very essence of the character. These are defining figures of their chosen characters and are oozing with the very soul and purpose from which they were originally created. They managed to capture and interpret the best aspects of the characters and bring them into a 3-D world. They have accomplished what 99 percent of comic artists cannot.
CM: What is on your "to do" list in the near future?
SP: I've got plans for an entire line of Superman/Shazam clones like Mighty Man, Supreme and a Majestic re-vamp. I also plan to tackle Batman soon too once I figure out how to make him unique and different. My dream project, which will definitely take some time to plan out, is Mark Gruenwald's Squadron Supreme, the most underrated comic series ever. I'll also do additional versions of Superman and Shazam highlighting various eras and using different heads and materials.
CM: How do you think customizing affects the mego collecting hobby?
SP: I really don't see customizing and Mego collecting mixing that much. I see them as separate but related hobbies. I know many diehard Mego guys who won't even consider purchasing a custom because that's money better spent on the real thing. Now, repro parts are another story entirely. Those have definitely affected the after market big time especially for the Ebay sellers who do not fully disclose the true origins of their figures. Most are pretty good with honesty, but I'm sure many have been taken advantage of. Personally, customizing has affected my Mego collecting, though I'm sure I'm the exception rather than the rule. I stopped buying vintage and started using all disposable income on customizing. That may change in the future, but my main focus now is to improve my craft. I still want a LiLi Ledy Shazam and Type one Supes, though.
CM: Any tips or words of customizing advice to new customizers?
SP: Networking. Contact as many current customizers as possible to get advice and help. Do not be afraid to ask questions. We all started the same way. Start with the basics and work your way up as not to get frustrated. Study the pictures of those customs you like and try to figure out how it was done. Part of the fun with this hobby is figuring out the how's and why's. Determine what you are best and weakest at. Use your best attribute to it's fullest while working on your opportunities. Patience is of importance here, something I lack and need to work on. Also, use the best available materials. Do not go cheap on brushes, fabric or other parts. Use the good stuff and good results will happen.
CM: Do you sell custom figures or parts? If so, why?
SP: One. I sold a Flash on Ebay. I had to practically give it away, but it finally sold. At some point I may be in a position to sell stuff on a regular basis, but that is far down the road. My ultimate goal would be to sell just enough to support my hobby. Any more than that is wishful thinking. I'd pondered the idea of a head painting service, but there are already others out there who do a better Mego-style than myself. I don't think, at this point anyway, my personal paint style would command much business. It's always a possibility, though.
CM: What does your family/friends think of your mego custom work/hobby?
SP: My wife says she likes what I'm doing, and she always watches me to see the process. My mother has made some stuff for me. She made me a 12 inch Captain America suit that is beyond cool. She's highly supportive of this hobby and has volunteered to make me body suits. I occasioanlly show stuff at work, but I think they are pretending to be interested. This is quite an encapsulating hobby that few "civilians" understand. You either get it or you don't.
CM: Thanks for your time Scott!
SP:I'd like to thank those on the board who have gone out of their way to make me feel welcomed and who have helped big-time along the way. Black Knight(Jason), Megospidey(Derek), Type3(John), DaveMc, Meule, The Bat, that batmanguy, Brian Leitner, the Toyroom, MegoWGSH(Austin) and a whole bunch of others, Some I talk to on a regular basis and others have supported me in different ways. Your friendship and brotherhood means more than you'll know. This has been a bad year for me and my wife, and Mego Museum has lifted me up when I needed it. A big thanks to all!