Customizer of the Month- January 2007- Todd Waters
Name: Todd Waters (AKA Illegal Mego)

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

TW: I live in Midland Michigan.  I have a cat that seems to be interested in my Mego hobby. She comes running when she hears the sound of Mego bodies and heads being dumped on the floor.  My dog just likes to chew on the arms and legs. I don't know what to call my occupation.  I do a lot of this and that.   Probably do more playing than work but I guess I do what I enjoy.  I collect a lot of stuff, sell a lot of stuff, make Mego figures and play in a rock band.  The band has been taking up most of my time lately.

CM: How did you get started collecting mego?

TW: My first Mego was probably a Superman. I would have gotten it when I was four in the mid 70's. My brother and I liked the superhero Megos. We had the standards: Superman, Batman, Robin, Hulk and Spider-Man.  Our neighbors had the removable mask Batman and Robin.  I'm still not over the jealousy.  My brother and I went to toy stores just to drool over the Mego figures.  I still remember seeing the Green Goblin and Lizard for the first time.  That was Excitement. However I don't think we owned those figures until we were late in our teens.  It was just as exciting to find those figures a little dirty and played with at a flea market.  I helped my brother find the entire superhero Mego collection by hunting at flea markets. Then I started making my own collection through Ebay.

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

TW: It's hard to pick just one favorite Mego. I think they all compliment each other so much. I guess it's easier to describe what I like best about Megos is the bright colors.  They are very alluring and fun.  I like the realism of the faces and bodies and then the simplicity of the suits and clothing.  They are almost surreal.  The accessories were the icing on the cake.  Just too fun. You just can't pick one. My favorite Mego line will always be the superheros.  I will always be stuck on comic hero's of the 1970s.   I am now starting to appreciate some of the other lines Mego made.  They were just so well done that it's hard not to like them all.

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).

TW: That's a toughie.  Mego was all over the place covering superheros, TV shows, Movies, historical figures and rock stars.  I would have loved to see any further comic superheros they would have made. A Lost in Space series would have been perfect!

CM: What motivated you to start customizing?

TW: I was collecting and selling a lot of Mego's and was having fun completing each figure with spare parts.  I would visit this forum and picture galleries to make sure I had the correct original parts to each figure.  I took a peek at the custom section and thought it would be fun to make some of my favorite characters that were never made.  I probably never would have started if it wasn't for this forum.  I probably wouldn't have approached customizing without Dr Mego's site.  I wouldn't even have known how to get started.  But once you get a few body suits, boots and gloves you're ready to rock.

CM: What was your first custom?

TW: My first custom was a battle ravaged removable mask Spiderman.  I still got it.  Actually, I did my first customs with my brother when we were kids. We drew pictures of our favorite comic super heros.  It's funny because they are the same characters I make as Mego Customs.

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

TW: I was happy with it once it was finished and was excited to complete some more characters. It was a good start for me.  I couldn't sew at the time so I made use out of a ripped Spidey suit.

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

TW: I learned to sew.  I am able to make many of my own suits now.  However, I glady buy a solid color body suit from Dr Mego for the simpler costumes. I have learned to search flea markets, craft and dollar stores for materials to use for customizing. I often buy decent paint brushes at Michaels.  I get a set that has thick, flat brushes for smooth coats, and fine brushes for small detail.  I use a light coat of brush on satin varnish to finish my painted resin heads.

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

TW: The funnest part for me is picking a character to do and choosing the right head to make the character work.  Usually I end up doing a lot of filing on vinyl and resin heads.  I keep whittling away at them until I see the features I am going for.

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?).

TW: There are so many good customizing suppliers now.  I use many different websites for resin heads, body suits, boots, gloves, figure boxes, ect... Toyroom for boxes, Dr Mego for suits and accessories, reproheads for heads and silk screened suits, Customslab for heads and accessories, toyfanatic for heads and CTVT parts, Hulk store for CTVT parts.

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?

TW: My favorite custom I have done is my Lost in Space Dr Smith. It was kind of exciting to see how a Mego Lost in Space series may have appeared. I like it because I saw some resemblance of Smith in a Mego Kirk head and worked at it until I saw Smith.  With that figure, I don't have to explain to people who the character is supposed to be.  They seem to already know. My second favorite custom is my Vampirella.  I like the character and she was fun to do. I made one for a member here and he told me a neat story about it.  He went to a convention and showed the custom to a Vampirella illustrator.  The illustrator got excited and wanted to know where to get one, and then sighed when he learned it was a custom.

CM: Why do you choose the projects you choose?

TW: I try to pick characters that I would have liked to see Mego do. I mostly stick with characters that I am interested in.  Otherwise I wouldn't put much care into it. I guess I also try to avoid doing characters that I have seen done many times before. It seems that most of my characters are icons from the 1970's. I'm kinda stuck in my childhood from the 70's because the comics and toys were so exciting to me.

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

TW: My favorite custom is any custom that is posted.  I wouldn't have gotten started myself if I hadn't seen all the cool customs people were posting.  I admire the effort people put into the customs.  There is also some bravery in submitting your work for others to see.  I admire that as well.

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

TW: I would love to finish my 1960's Lost in Space series.  I only got a few more to go.  I like Doctor Strange so I'd like to do some more Strange characters.

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

TW: I think it brings new excitement to Mego collecting.  Although we love our Megos, we've been looking at them for about 30 years now.  It's exciting to see a new Mego version of The Creeper or Man-Thing.  Some people collect the customs to pose them along with their originals. Also it helps me appreciate the original Mego's even more.  Now that I'm into making costumes I realize the costumes on the Wizard of Oz series were quite brilliant.  In fact, I am impressed with almost any Mego for their realism, quality and character.  There's nothing else like them.

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

TW: Visit this forum often and get ideas and tips from others.  Also, I would advise against trying to do everything completely by yourself (printing your own box, sculpting your own head, sewing your own costume...  Chances are you will never get started.  So, buy some different color body suits from Dr Mego. Get some colored boots, gloves, hands.  Pick out some resin heads and just get started.  Also search on ebay for big lots of used Mego bodies, heads and clothes.  Recycle.

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

TW: After I make a custom I put it on my dresser.  When I don't have room any more on my dresser I select my favorites and sell the others to make room.   Then I buy more custom supplies to make more characters.  This hobby can become very expensive so selling customs really helps me to afford to make more.

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

TW: My family thinks I'm a bit nutty with how much time and money I put into this hobby.  My brother makes some Megos now and has helped me on a few. I haven't told any of my friends about this hobby.  They just wouldn't get it.   They already think I do nothing all day long.

CM: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us Todd! To see more of Todd's work, visit his user gallery