MEGO COLLECTOR'S FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Editor's Note: Illustrations for some of these procedures forthcoming. Thanks for you patience.
V. Repair, Restoration, and Cleaning
27. Cleaning Outfits
This technique is good for most of the cloth costumes. Keep in mind that any paper stickers or delicate lace or trim may not hold up to this process very well. Wash with care.
In a tub or pot of warm water (you should be able to put your hand in with comfort) put in a few drops of liquid dish washing soap, like Ivory or Dove. Put the dirty outfits in the soapy water, swishing everything around until there are bubbles, but not a whole bubble bath. Walk away for 10 minutes, then come back and swish around a little more. If the costume was just dirty, then it should be clean. If the color has faded, then there's not much you can do. Rinse out the soap, run cold water over it, and squeeze out the water. Hang it to dry, then redress your Megos. This is also a great way to remove any excess water soluble glue.
Written by Judy
28. Ironing Costumes
Rules of Thumb for Ironing Mego polyester costumes.
Be VERY patient and use a cool iron. Most newer irons have settings by the type of fabric. If you use a steam settings use the lowest one.
You can roll a cotton bath towel, or cotton kitchen towel into a "sausage" if you need to put something inside the garment. Or lay the whole garment flat on a towel or ironing board.
Turn clothing inside out. This way if anything messes up it's on the inside and not the visible outside.
Notice that the fabric has a "grain", up and down and side to side. When you move the iron, try to move the iron in the same directions. Going in a diagonal or circular motion will make the fabric move that way.
Since most of this fabric is man-made. DO NOT FREAK if the fabric changes color (unless you're burning it of course). This is a reaction the fabric has to heat. When it cools down it will go back to the correct color.
You can steam your clothing using the iron on a "steam" setting. Hold the iron about 1 to 2 inches away from the clothing piece. Be very careful DO NOT burn your hand.
Sometimes this is a good way to get the wrinkles out of something that has lots of gathers, like a skirt.
It's actually the damp heat that gets rid of wrinkles not the weight of the iron.
Written by Judy
29. Sticker Stuff
29a. Replacement Stickers
One of the most common missing items from Mego figures are the stickers for the Super heroes. Several companies sell repro stickers, although the quality is not the best.
Most repros are easy to tell apart. Most are color Xeroxed onto thick sticker stock and must be cut out. The edges are imperfect, the color not quite right, and occasionally there are stress marks on the edges of the sticker from peeling it off the backing.
Several fans have scanned and recreated exacting duplicates, that can be downloaded. Print them out on a color printer (laser for the best quality,) then glue them on.
29b. Affixing Replacement Stickers
There are a number of "fabric" glues on the market, one brand is Sobo. Any WHITE "Elmers" type glue that is water soluble would work. That means that if you messed up, you can remove the glue buy soaking the clothing in warm water, till the glue balls up. Then you just rub it off.
I would suggest that you actually glue the emblem on the clothes while they are on the figure, just wrap the torso in aluminum foil first. That way you're not gluing to the figure (wouldn't hold long any way) AND you're sure you get the thing in the right place the first time.
Just remember LESS is BETTER when using glue, you can always add more if it's needed.
29c. Tips on safely removing old stickers.
Since Elmer's is a "white glue" it is a water base glue. Water is really the best thing to remove it. I don't really think the ink on the decal will damage the costume. But to be on the safe side - take a couple of small cotton towel, turn the costume inside out, put one towel inside the costume. So that the towel is underneath the decal. With a second towel dab warm water on the glue. This way any ink that may bleed, will go into the towel and not the costume. Once the decal is off then put the costume in warm water till the glue gets tacky, then you just roll it into a ball and pull it off.
Written by Judy
30. Type I Body Leg Jobs
30a. Fixing Leg Splay
The problem of leg splay in type one Mego figures is caused by the way the elastic cord holds the figure together. In the typical way figures are strung, the cord starts in one arm connector hole, enters the torso, passes through the hips, goes through the first leg connector hole, back through the hips directly to the other leg connector hole, up through the top of the hips back into the chest to the other arm hole. Then the two ends are fastened in the middle of the chest. (Whew) In type one figures, the leg connector holes are placed at an angle. With the elastic strung in the normal way, these holes are pulled up and towards each other. If the holes are pulled towards each other, the feet spread apart. The type two figure avoids this problem with the addition of the plastic hip pins and metal hook devices that connect the elastic to the legs. These parts provide more points of rotation so the connection holding the figure together is not so rigid. So, how can splaying be corrected for in the type one figure?
The first option is to re-string the figure so that the elastic pulls the leg connector hole directly up, and not towards the center of the hips. To do this, the figure should be strung with two pieces of elastic and not just one. Cut two pieces of round elastic cord approximately six inches long. Take one of the pieces and thread it through one of the leg connector holes. Then, take both ends of the elastic and pass it up through the hips, into the chest and through the arm hole directly above the leg. String both ends of the elastic through the hole at the end of the upper arm and pull until the cord is snug. Now do exactly the same for the other side. When both sides have been strung with the four ends passing through the arm holes, take each end of the elastic and pass it into the chest and through the neck hole. When all the ends are through the neck, tie them off in the usual fashion. The figure's legs should now point straight up and down and have improved mobility.
A second possible way to correct for this problem is to imitate Megos own peg and hook solution from the type two body. To do this, buy a package of fairly small gauge fishing swivels that can be opened or closed. Connect a swivel to each of the arm and leg holes. String the figure in the normal fashion. Be careful not to use swivels with very fine wires or tie the elastic too tightly, since this could cause the swivel to dig into the plastic hole, or possibly even break it.
When you re-string the figures with different cord configurations, the poseability of the legs change. The figures legs do not hold a seated pose as well. Because the cord is now pulling the leg connector holes up, the legs will spring back to their standing position.
So, if you want to display a type one in a standing posture, go right ahead... experiment. You can always go back to the old way if you are not satisfied with the results.
Notes: There are at least two variations of type one hips. One is made of the same plastic as the torso and is a single piece. The second is a harder plastic, made from two pieces, and has a 'pin' through the center of the hips. Splaying can be minimized in figures with this second type of hip simply by stringing the elastic cord over the pin instead of directly across to the opposite legs connector hole. This redirects the force of the cord, and cuts the splay in half. The legs should lay at a nice angle between a full splay and fully straight. This is a very easy fix. If you can't remove the head of the figure because of a tear of an ancient glue job, you can still re-string the figure as described above, only instead of passing the cords through the neck hole to be tied off, pass them through to the opposite arm hole and tie them off. This is less easy than using the neck but still works.
Written by John Smokowski
29b. Type I Leg Display Tricks
Poster mounting stuff, called Fun*Tak, made by DAP, is a great tool to help post Type I figures. A little on the soles of the boots will help figures will stand nice and tall. Don't constrict the legs too much, but a little is okay. I tested it on a couple different types of footwear, as well as on a naked foot, and nothing stained.
DO NOT, however, use it on clothing, as you'll never get it out.
31. Re-stringing Type I Bodies
First take a piece of the original string to a fabric store and try to find a thickness of white elastic that approximates the original. Do not cut a length of elastic. It makes the job that much harder. Begin at the neck through the right arm hole thread the elastic through the right arm from the back and onto the arm hole. Push the elastic down the inside of the torso and through the right leg hole. Thread the right leg and across the groin to the left leg hole and through the left leg then back up through the torso. Next out the left arm hole and thread the left arm from back to front then back into the arm hole and finally the elastic comes up the neck hole next to the other strand.
Firmly gripping the right strand, pull the left strand until the figure and the elastic are taut. Adjust the tautness to insure the figure will be able to stand. Now comes the tricky part: tie the two strands into a triple knot and cut the excess away. If done right the knot will rest at the center of the torso under the neck hole.
Remember: practice makes perfect.
Written by: Paul Clarke
32. Repairing Rubber Bands on Type II Bodies
Rubber bands can be fixed with super glue. Just glue the pieces back together, and leave it overnight to properly mend. I've fixed a band that snapped in half, and a band that broke at the hole (where the metal pin goes in).
Written by Jon Hendy
33. Repairing Knee Joints
Put super glue in the joint (not the pin portion, but the area where the legs actually rub together). After putting the super glue in the joint, be sure to work the knee back and forth. Don't bending the knee, as you might stick the knees permanently. After 4 or 5 minutes of bending the knee, you should see a much stiffer knee!
As for stiff knees, try bending the knee a lot until it loosens.
Written by Jon Hendy
VI. Make Your Own Custom Figure
37. Phil's Guide for Making a Custom Head
I began with a Mego head that had roughly the right shape/size I wanted. I made a rubber mold of this original head. To do this, glue the neck/"plug" part of the head to a flat surface, like the lid to a margarine container. Then, brush the latex in thin coats over the head, being very careful to work it into all the crevices and being careful to not create any air bubbles. Put it somewhere warm to dry (I put mine on the stove-the warmth of the pilot dries the latex quickly). Repeat this process until the mold is about 1/4" thick (or almost completely opaque). When you have reached the desired thickness, powder the latex with either baby powder or cornstarch. If you don't, the latex will adhere to itself like rubber cement. I prefer to slice mine up the back with surgical snips, just enough to work the mold loose. Whatever works for you. Powder the inside of the mold. Then boil some water and throw the mold into the boiling water for ten minutes. This "vulcanizes" the rubber, toughening it up, and preventing shrinkage.
Next, melt down your wax in a double boiler. Pour it slowly into your mold (which, by the way, should be nested in a cradle of some kind, like the chamber from an egg carton. This will keep it from tipping while the wax dries. And if you slit the mold up the back, duct tape it closed -if you're careful, you'll have no seam on the wax head.). The wax should be left to dry for at least an hour. I suggested crayons above; other waxes shrink and cause wrinkles, or dry in waves, creating flaws in your cast. Crayons really work. Carefully peel the rubber from this wax form. You now have an exact duplicate of the original head, but in wax. The reason this is necessary is that even if you are not grinding down or removing part of the head, you need to carve down the neck plug, so that the hard, final head will fit into the Mego body. Shave it down, but not so much that the head will rattle around loosely in the neck
socket. Some guesswork involved here.
Now you can sculpt the features you want onto the wax head, and remove the features you don't want. For Taylor, from the Planet of the Apes Movie, I altered the figure's hairline (Chuck was starting to lose it up there), molded the strong brow of Heston, added a beard, and tweaked everything else until I was satisfied. To sculpt, I used dental instruments (I found dozens of different kinds in a thrift store) but regular sculpting tools will do. Again, whatever suits your needs. I've used forks, fingernails, poker chips. I whittled away wax where I wanted less, added Sculpey where I wanted more. Little of the original head remained, but the eye sockets and the Mego copyright on the neck(I couldn't resist leaving it).
Next, you will make another mold exactly as above, but first painting a sealant over the clay (oil from the clay will corrode the latex). When this mold is ready, brush a coat of mold separator into it, let dry. Now you will fill it as you did with wax, but you'll mix equal parts A & B of Alumilite. Stir the Alumilite according to its directions, and pour into the mold until half full. Swish around the Alumilite, so that it gets into crevices and such, then fill the rest of the mold. Warning: As this dries, it gets VERY hot. You have about a minute to gently squeeze the mold to work loose any air bubbles. I begin pouring the resin into a mold that I'm squeezing, then when it gets full, I lessen the pressure on the mold. This "sucks" the resin into the mold, lessening air bubble occurrences.
This stuff is ready in five minutes (give a few minutes to cool), and when you peel the mold off, you'll have your head. You'll need to sand the neck plug a bit for a snug fit. Give the head one or two coats of primer, the paint with acrylics or enamels. (I prime the heads, attach them to the body, then paint them. The reason for this is that you have to sometimes jam the head into the neck, and if you painted it first, you could ruin your paint job by shoving too hard.) A note on painting - look at other Megos and note the same tricks (white dot in pupil, etc.) Copying Mego's design style is key.
Liquid latex molding material
Alumilite brand A-B plastic resin kit
Wax (melted down Crayolas are perfect )
Sculpey Molding Material
sandpaper, small files, or a Dremel tool
Brush on sealer
Acrylic and/or enamel paints
Written by Phil Nobile
38. Color Removal of Existing Costumes
1) WHITE is the absence of dye, you can NOT dye White.
2) BLEACH is BAD!!!!! Do not use bleach on anything, it EATS the fabric.
3) There is a product called COLOR REMOVER.
You should be able to find this in the same place that you find "Rit" dyes. It requires heat. Do NOT use it in any pot that will ever have food in it. Go to the thrift shop or a yard sale and buy a pot. It stinks to high heaven, make sure you have a very well ventilated area. I would suggest a hot plate outside rather than your kitchen. The rest of your family will be much happier with you.
There is a difference between a dyed color and inked color. Dye becomes one with the fiber. Ink sits on top of the fibers. Turn one of the Mego unitards inside out (Penguin is the one I just checked). You will see where the pattern/color on the front doesn't go through to the back of the fabric.
The problems is we're dealing with a fabric that is not 100% natural (like cotton, wool, etc.) It's some kind of man-made combo thing. Some of the man-made fabrics will not "take" color (that means you can't dye them) - Polyester is the best example of this. Polyester is colored when it's in a liquid state and then the fibers are extracted, (think about those hot glue strings). So what ever color it starts it's life as is what it will always be.
Silk-screening is the process, not the type of coloring agent used. You can screen print with a thickened dye (one of my favorite ways of doing surface designs). As well as an ink, which is what most commercial stuff is. As to how to remove the printed designs.. My gut reaction would be to use acetone. BUT because I don't know the fiber content of the cloth I WOULD NOT recommend that. It could melt the fabric. Nor do I know what kind of ink was used.
Written by Judy
39. Re-rooting Hair
WARNING: THIS DOES TAKE A VAST AMOUNT OF TIME AND PATIENCE
Craft hair (curly or straight)
Tapestry needle with large eye (preferably with a blunt tip)
Cup of water
Clear nylon thread (for light hair colors) or dual strength black thread
(for black hair only)
Prepare your figure's head by removing it from the body. With scissors, cut the hair externally as close to the head as possible. Take your blunt-tipped tapestry needle and insert it through the neck hole. Scrape the interior of the head, pulling the internal hair out of the hole as you go. Since the heads were originally rooted by machine, you will be able to pull most of it out in wads, especially around the part. Make sure every bit of existing hair is removed before you continue.
*Special Circumstances: Here is where you may need your special tools. When re-rooting a Catwoman figure (as I did for the Huntress), because of the density of the hair rooted at her bang-line, after the hair was removed, there was a gaping hole in the top of her head nearly form ear to ear. You must use nylon thread and a sharp needle to sew the hole closed so the hair will stay in the head. When your head is ready, select the hair you will be using. I have only used curly hair thus far. I have re-rooted a Medusa and a Huntress. The curly hair is easier to style and perfect for making the "Regulation
Trademark Mego Female Flip". It is important to leave the hair in the bag while working, as it will get tangled and matted if you remove it. I like to begin at the front of the head and work my way back because you can see your progress, and get a better idea of how the figure's face will look with her new hair. You can follow the pattern already in the figures head, or create a different pattern.
Begin by wetting the tip of a lock of hair, and threading it through the eye of the blunt-tipped tapestry needle. It is important not to use too much hair for each hole. With the curly hair, I generally fold a strand in two, cut the center, thread it, and work that way. You will notice however, that some holes are larger than others, use your own judgment to fill the hole accordingly.
Next, thread the needle through a hole in the top of the head and pull the strand through the neck hole. Pull enough hair through to enable you to tie off the strand. Once you tie the strand in a knot, trim the excess, being careful not to let the knot unravel, and pull the strand back out carefully through the top of the head. Cut the strand and begin the process over for the next hole. Make sure when you cut the strands after rooting, you leave them pretty long, you can cut and style the hair when you are finished re-rooting the whole head. Be careful with curly hair as it tangles and mattes very easily. You can wash it with shampoo and cream rinse before you cut and style.
As you can see this is a lengthy and tedious undertaking, don't expect to finish this project in an evening or in a day or two, it can take several hours to do a very small section (it took me about 7 weeks to root each doll, doing a little every other evening or so). Don't get discouraged, if performed properly, the end result is well worth the effort and it makes your customized figure truly unique.
Written by Eric
MEGO COLLECTOR'S FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS