Review > Mad Monsters 8″ Figures (Classic TV Toys)

I’d intended to post this review in October to go with the Halloween theme, but I never got around to it. Not going to make excuses–I just didn’t.

I’ve never been a fan of Mego figures. They were passé by the time I got into action figures as a kid, having been supplanted by the 3 3/4″ revolution of Kenner’s Star Wars line. When I did encounter Mego figures at yard sales and so forth, they seemed a lot more like my sister’s Barbie dolls than my Luke or He-Man figures, so I was never even interested in them. That lack of nostalgia, coupled with a general dislike of soft goods on action figures, is why I have little to no interest in the current Mego revival.

However, it’s not like I vowed never to buy a Mego figure, and when I came across this image on Flickr, it occurred to me that the Devil and Skeleton might make great Halloween decoration figures. I own a number of such that I wouldn’t own otherwise except for their holiday association. For instance, my entire Playmates Simpsons collection consists solely of two of the Treehouse of Horror playsets, which get hauled out every Halloween; ditto for the Forever Fun Great Pumpkin Peanuts set.

I found the “Demonic Devil,” and the Skeleton, along with a third figure that interested me, the Grim Reaper, at Classic TV Toys. (I don’t know a whole lot about the company aside from what their About page says and what I could find on the Web.) The Devil and Reaper were a mere $6 each, while the Skeleton was only $5. What’s more, when the box arrived, there was an extra, headless Mego body in there–not sure why, exactly, but it was a nice touch.

These three (and a half) figures constituted my first-ever Mego-style purchases. And I was very happy with them…until I opened the packages.

Packaging: I love the packaging on these toys. They’re bright and colorful, reminiscent of the old Mego packaging, and feature some very attractive retro graphics. If I were a Mego collector, I might actually consider being a MOC one.

The Skeleton just comes in a plastic bag, perhaps because he was so simply as not to warrant a

Design & Sculpt: Let’s talk about sculpt first.

I’m no expert on Mego sculpts, but some of them seem more “realistic” and detailed while others seem more cartoonish. The realistic heads tend to create something of a disturbing dissonance with the simplistic body. That happens here, with the Devil and, to a lesser degree, the Reaper. Both have excellent head sculpts, particularly the Devil, who reminds me of Neil McCarthy’s Calibos in the original Clash of the Titans. The Reaper’s head, which is identical to the Skeleton’s, is also a sharp, creepy sculpt. The Devil’s head is more realistic, clearly, clashing with his outfit.

The Skeleton, of course, is entirely sculpted. It’s a fairly straightforward Skeleton body, though the head does look a bit too large (which doesn’t really bother me, as I see this as something I’ll just have standing around as a Halloween decoration, not as part of a serious figure display). Unfortunately, it’s a bit too tall to look right next to a MOTUC figure like Skeletor.

The Devil’s outfit is nicely made and tailored, although its design has an almost futuristic look to it (it reminds me of both the Visitors from the original V and Mork from Mork & Mindy). The Reaper’s outfit is just a robe tied around his waist, with a hood stitched on top. Both outfits are very well made.

It’s worth noting that you could put the Reaper’s outfit over the Skeleton and have a Reaper without the hip problems (see below).

Plastic & Paint: The Devil’s head has the best paint work, as you can see from the photo at the top of this review. While some of the black paint strokes are a bit heavy-handed, for the most part it comes out looking sharp. It certainly makes the Devil’s hand stand out in relation to his more cartoonish body.

The Reaper’s head has a yellow/orange wash that really brings out the details in the sculpt, and make it look a lot like a real skull.

Disappointingly the Skeleton, while have the same head sculpt, has no wash at all on either the head or the body. A wash would have done wonders for this figure, bringing out the details and making it a much more appealing toy.

Articulation: The Devil and the Reaper have what I’m guessing is fairly standard Mego articulation: swivel necks, ball-jointed shoulders and hips (sort of–see below), hinged elbows, knees and ankles, swivel-and-hinge wrists, and a ball-jointed torso.

Where I was disappointed by these figures was the bodies–specifically, the legs. I was unaware that Mego shoulders and hips are attached via rubber bands. The arms are fine, but this construction makes the legs stick in various directions–mostly inward, duck-footing the figures, crossing their legs entirely, etc. It makes it virtually impossible to get them to stand, and any sort of interesting poses are out of the question. You basically can’t move the hips into any good configuration.

On the Devil, this problem is slightly mediated by the costume, which is tight enough to keep his legs fairly straight so he can stand; however, that’s the only pose you’re getting. The Reaper’s legs, however, are duck-footed and cannot hold any other pose and straight up-and-down.

If I were more familiar with Mego figures, I might have anticipated this and not have been as disappointed. But I wasn’t, and therefore I am greatly disappointed.

The Skeleton, incidentally, has most of the same articulation, with the exception that he has solid construction (no rubber bands), and only a swivel joint at the waist. His articulation works fine.

Accessories: The Demonic Devil comes with a wonderfully-sculpted trident. The detail is as sharp as that of the head, again contrasting with the rest of the body.

Similarly, the Reaper comes with a scythe with a wonderfully detailed head. The head sits on a rather simple stick, however.

Also, neither figure can hold the accessory very tightly.

Quality Control: Since I’m guessing the hip issue is something endemic to Megos, does it count as a quality control problem? I’m not sure. But aside from the hips, I had no major problems with these toys.

Overall: I really, wanted to like these toys as campy Halloween decorations. Perhaps it’s my own fault for not knowing enough about Mego figures to be aware of the hip issue, but it was definitely disappointing.

Ultimately, the excellent work on the Devil’s sculpting and outfit, along with the fact that it keeps him standing straight, earns him three ravens, while the Skeleton’s lack of the hip issue and general coolness makes him a 3.5. But the Grim Reaper’s lackluster outfit and terrible hips kills his value, even at $6 for the figure. I’ll probably bring the Skeleton out again next Halloween to spruce up my cubicle at work, but the Devil and Reaper’s fates are more uncertain.

Demonic Devil:

11100

Grim Reaper:

11000

Skeleton:

1111/20

Comments now closed (14)

  • I have never cared for Mego styled figures at all…

    These, however, I like! They're relatively inexpensive and I like the somewhat hokey/horror look to them. I just grabbed the devil, the ghost, the skeleton, and all 4 clowns for 10.00!! These definitely have a fun old timey Halloween vibe to them. (Plus, I ended up with a free "The Fonz" figure.

    Aaay!! Indeed.

  • I don't think any character or theme could ever get me to buy a Mego-style figure. It'd have to be packaged with something like a life-size replica of Ash's chainsaw-hand, or an invitation to rub sun tan lotion on Megan Fox.

    Point being, that like Minimates, urban vinyls, super-deformeds, and bobble-heads, it just ain't my thing.

  • The detail on those heads looks fantastic. I've never owned a Mego, I think I was just a tad too young for 'em. I don't even think I had heard of 'em until fairly recently with all of the Mego nostalgia/revival. I can't think of any property that I would buy if produced in Mego style. I was buy-curious about a couple of the LOST Megos, but after having seen them up close and in person I have to say no thanks.

  • These certainly have a fun 70s vibe to them, even though I'm also a bit young for that.

    I'm a bit thrown off by the sudden influx of Mego style stuff. It seem like we went through this in the late 90s or so with Toy Biz's Famous Covers and DC's 8 inch attempts as well as some others. Maybe the current batch is finding success in embracing the Mego style rather than trying to improve on it. Somebody's buying it, my TRU is full of just Sinestro.

  • Actually the hip issue isn't really a MEGO style problem, it has more to do with ClassicTVToys buying rubber bands that were slightly too small and metal connectors that were too soft inside the figures, meaning the rubber bands bend the metal bits out of place and which causes duck feet and poor posing.

    There are actually some pretty darn cheap fixes for this is you care enough to put some time into them for next Halloween.

  • Agreed on the construction, Poe. I had the same problems with the Grim Reaper figure I ordered a while back… and then the band broke shortly thereafter, rendering the figure a useless pile of limbs. Once I restrung it, however, it was bloody awesome — such that I think I'd intentionally break and restring any further CTVT figures I get to ensure maximum enjoyment of them.

  • I've used the first method outlined on this page
    http://www.megomuseum.com/custom/ctvtfix.shtml

    to fix CTVT bodies with good results. With a little trial and error (make sure the stringing is tight), it's easier than it looks.

    Most of the modern Mego lookalikes suffer from similar stringing problems (EMCE and Mattel especially) and need varying degrees of work right out of the package. I have vintage Megos that hold poses far better than EMCE figures produced in the last few years.

  • And I've done the second method in the article Paddy Fitz linked. Though I've tried both, I mainly stick to the second as I tend to do alot of customs that involve the character being shirtless but with those two I'd imagine the first solution would work fine.

  • Yup, the first method on that page is what I did. The second one looked pretty daunting, and I didn't have any of those little ring thingies on hand! I didn't use the tape, but it still works fine.

  • Thanks, Poe. After reading this article, I caved and bought the Devil and the Gruesome Ghost. It doesn't hurt that they're $5 each…I'm not the biggest fan of Megos either, but these have a cool, retro Halloween feel, which is always welcome. Any desire to get series 1 (Frankenstein, Dracula, Mummy and Wolfman)?

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