Customizer of the Month- November 2007- Dr. K.A. Thomas (a.k.a. K)
Name: Dr. K.A. Thomas

CM: Any Personal Info you are willing to share: (married? Kids? Pets? Occupation? Where from? Other hobbies,/Interests?).

KT: Single. I've lived in Connecticut all of my life. I'm a chemistry professor and I have two cats, both of whom were abused earlier in their lives. They're sort of "special needs" cats, but I love `em to bits (even though I'm allergic to cats!). In addition to Megos, I enjoy a few other toy lines from the 70s but I don't collect them obsessively like I do Megos. I do collect anything Bette Midler-related and I've been a fan of hers since I was 10.

CM: How did you get started collecting mego?

KT: In the early to mid 1990s, I spotted a tiny article somewhere referencing a `retro' issue of a magazine called "Swing", which I'd never heard of. Long story short, I got the Swing magazine and saw many of my childhood toys, including Megos in the article. Then later, I bought a copy of Toy Shop that discussed the upcoming launch of the Famous Covers line by Toy Biz, in the "Mego style". That did it for me. I have all of my Megos from childhood, but I began to pick up a few more that I didn't get or didn't even know of as a kid. I'd get them from Toy Shop (I got a subscription) or one of the two collectible toy stores that were in Connecticut (both have since closed). Ebay, of course, opened up an amazing supply of Mego figures, parts, etc.

CM: What is your favorite original mego figure and line?

KT: I'd have to say that my favorite Mego line has to be the World's Greatest Super Heros. They were the figures I predominately bought as a kid and I loved watching Super Friends or Shazam! on Saturday mornings and then acting out new adventures with my figures.

As far as favorite figure.hmm...I guess I'd have to go with Spiderman. I've always had sort of a soft spot for the character and the simplicity of Mego's Spidey is just wonderful. He's well detailed without having any accessories. As a kid, that's perfect: good playability and no pieces to lose! Besides, I always found him sort of "friendly" as a kid.literally My Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman.

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).

KT: As a kid, I tended to read more Marvel Comics than DC Comics, but I always liked The Flash and I couldn't understand why Mego didn't make him. To me, Thor was less mainstream than The Flash, but they made a Thor figure. It didn't make sense. Ditto with The Falcon and a few others.

CM: What motivated you to start customizing?

KT: My first customs were alter ego figures. My motivation was never being able to afford real Mego versions. *laughs*

CM: What was your first custom?

KT: My first custom was Clark Kent. I took creative license and made Clark have a black suit. I always thought the Mego blue suit looked a bit cartoon-y. I also gave him more newsreporter appropriate hat, glasses, and briefcase.

Next came Peter Parker, painted off of a Mego Shazam head. Then I did Bruce Wayne. For some reason, I never did a Dick Grayson. Someday.

CM: How did it come out? (looking back on it now)

KT: Not bad, but then it wasn't all that complicated. I recall having an awful time with the sewing, as I modified some clothing that I found someplace. Now I look back on it and realize that it was minor sewing and I can do that much more easily now.

CM: What have you done/learned that has improved your customizing skills?

KT: My sewing skills have improved, as has my face painting. Both through trial and error, I might add. I also did my first head sculpt and cast (David Letterman) and that was something I never thought I'd be able to do.

CM: What areas of customizing is your strongest points, or favorite things to do?

KT: I think that I can often spot something: a piece of clothing, an accessory, material, etc. that can be modified for use in a custom. I try to always keep my eyes open for things I can squirrel away for use later on.

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?).

KT: Initially, years ago, the only bodies to use were original Mego bodies and that's what I used. Now, however, I use repro male bodies (I've used both Dr. Mego and CTVT) and I like the Breyer female bodies for my female customs. I've gotten boots, clothing, and body parts from Dr. Mego, Hulk, CTVT and Megostore in the past and I find lots of items in craft stores. Sometimes browsing is a good thing! Mefiboschet has shrunken heads for me and I've also purchased unpainted heads from Dave Mc and Paul Evans and screen printed suits from David Lee over the years.

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?

KT: Wow..this was a tough decision! It's so hard to choose between them, as I like all my customs for different reasons.

If I had to pick an overall favorite, for pure playability versus displayability, I'd say my Lone Ranger/Silver, Tonto/Scout, and Butch Cavendish/Smoke. I always loved the Gabriel LR line and having the three main LR characters scaled down to 8" to fit in with the other Mego figures is great.

Hmm...I think I'd have to list "bests", if that's okay. I'd choose these four because they represent to me "leaps" in my progress as a customizer.

First, I'd say my Seven of Nine figure with rooted hair. I spent a lot of time trying to make a Seven figure in her plum biosuit (my favorite suit and one not ever made on a Seven figure). I did one version, but always thought the Playmates head looked a bit like a "helmet" with its painted on hair. I did a lot of work with rooting hair and finally made a version (two, actually: I made a version in a silver suit, as I had a Playmates silver suit handy) with the more accurate French Twist hairstyle. This lead the way for me to make more figures with "real" hair: Guinan, Capt. Kathryn Janeway, and Jadzia Dax.

Second, my Batman Beyond. I spent a lot of time making moveable wings and making the suit skin tight, like the animated version. I also made stirrups around the boots. I think his reflective belt is zippy, too. More work went into him than probably shows.

Third is my Xena Warrior Princess. I learned a lot about changing hair color and face paint and I took apart a 12" Toy Biz Xena outfit and scaled it down to 8". Argo came out good, too! Like my Batman Beyond, more work went into her than is probably apparent.

Fourth are my David Letterman and Paul Schaffer figures. I did more extensive work on these than on any other figures and Dave's head was my first sculpt and resin cast.

(I also like my Wolverine and Jill Danko. LOL! )

CM: Why do you choose the projects you choose?

KT: I try to choose characters I genuinely like. It's a lot of work to put into something that I'm half hearted about. I also like to make customs that have a Mego-like quality so that they'll fit right in next to original Mego figures on a display shelf. Lastly, although I've done The Flash, Wolverine, etc. I like to choose more "off the beaten path" characters like my Jill Danko (from `The Rookies') and David Letterman and Paul Schaffer (from `The Late Show').

CM: What are your favorite customs others have done and why?

KT: Oh, boy. If I start listing customizers whose work I admire, then I'm sure to leave someone out accidentally. Overall, the quality of the customs on the Museum board is just amazing. So many figures posted there look like commercially available figures. Many are so inventive, also. Just a couple of many that I find really imaginative: the Scooby Doo set of figures, the Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling figures, the awesome Iron Man customs with pivoting ankles. Oh, there are so many and I'm blanking out on most of them right now!

CM: What is on your "to do" list in the near future?

KT:'s a LONG list! I think I'd like to do more Trek females, as they were so under represented. I'd also like to do more of the Letterman show cast, such as Calvert DeForest (a.k.a. Larry "Bud" Melman), Dave's Mom Dorothy, Biff, maybe even Alan Kalter.

CM: How do you think customizing affects the mego collecting hobby?

KT: Just speaking for myself, it keeps people interested in a more consistent way. For many of us, once we have completed a line, the WGSH, for example, it's done. So if we add new figures to it, it's almost like getting an additional Mego WGSH to add to the collection, only it's better because we can choose the character, the look, etc.

CM: Any tips or words of customizing advise to new customizers?

KT: Patience, patience, and more patience. Also, I've learned that if some project is taking longer than I intended and I'm not up to it or not in the mood, it's best to leave it for another time. It's easy sometimes to push to finish a custom, but it almost always ends up in frustration and if that happens, then what is supposed to be a "hobby" begins to seem a lot like "work"!

CM: Do you sell custom figures or parts? If so, why?

KT: NO! *laughs* I'm far too much an obsessive packrat to do that. I get way too attached to my customs. I couldn't part with them.

CM: What does your family/friends think of your mego custom work/hobby?

KT: Oh, I'm sure they think I'm nuts, but they're nice enough to leave the room before saying it. LOL!

CM: Thanks for chatting with us K!

KT: I'd just like to say that this site has been an incredible resource for die hard Mego heads, for curious visitors, and for those with questions. People here are so willing to help and share their knowledge, skills, and expertise. The atmosphere is friendly and civil and it's a great place to share our Mego addiction.

I will leave a few photos of my Jill Danko, Wolverine (claws "come out" of his hands) and of some of my Star Trek customs.