Sunday, April 6, 2008

Posts of Firsts: First Prototypes

October 2006: I don't know how long I've been thinking about making Mego style vinyl playsets. Ever since I started recollecting Megos as an adult, I guess. After I made the Mego Museum logo in Photoshop
it had been on my mind to make it for real (that's a whole other story). As the obsession grew I finally took the first step and sealed this scrap of a Jet Jungle Trading Card between two pieces of vinyl (using our now ruined household iron) and drove a brass rivet through it. It may look a little stupid to you, but to me it was the essence of what I wanted to create: Mego playsets...artwork sealed in vinyl...held together with rivets. This little object was SO SATISFYING. that I carried it in my pocket all the time for inspiration. It launched me off on an odyssey I could never have predicted. Perhaps I should have stopped while I was ahead.

But one thing inevitably leads to another.

More ambitious now, I sealed larger pieces of illustration board in vinyl to try to make boxes. A nasty business, I was melting the edges together with our iron, using a metal ruler to try to keep the line straight, working outdoors and breathing through a ventilator to try to save what few brain cells I have left. Again, the results may not impress you, but here was a structure with sealed hinges. This meant I could do more....

The next idea was to produce a vinyl/chipboard backdrop that you could simply insert artwork into much like a clear-view 3 ring binder. The first designs were nothing more than a folding panel, like a game board. Simple and cheap, but underwhelming.

I wanted something with separate panels that riveted together in an interesting way and I wanted something that would act as a display STAGE as well as a playset. So I settled on a wedge shape that would make a box but also face the side walls out to the viewer like a stage in a play. Again with the iron in the backyard I made my first displaybox. I wanted to be able to take it apart, so I moved away from rivets and towards snaps. The first snaps were the large ones you can find in any hardware store, huge and bulky, but inspiring.

I had recently finished the Mego Museum Star Trek card set so I had backdrop artwork immediately available. I hadn't set out to design a Bridge playset, but that's what this was turning into. If you took two of these and put them together....hmmm....

More on that another time.


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