Sunday, December 23, 2012

Issues in Playscale: Do You *Buy* 1:6 Politicians?

Election 2012 is over. Done. But maybe someone out there would like to relive or replay the event ... in playscale. Or you might want some other political figures brought to your playscale world. Guess what? There are playscale action figures for you to do so. You'll need to get online to buy them, but they are available.

You can go humorous with Herobuilders or serious with Dragon in Dreams, Hot Toys, Hasbro, or That's My Face. Me, I vouch for Dragon in Dreams' President Obama. Would I have preferred the Hot Toys Obama figure? Yes, according to DBG's post comparing the two figures. Here's a list of some politicans and pundits available:

President Barack Obama (Dragon in Dreams, Hot Toys or Herobuilders)

Governor Mitt Romney (That's My Face)

Ron Paul (That’s My Face)

Eric Holder (That’s My Face)

The cost for Mr. Holder is $99.00 for his customized head mounted on a 12" action figure body with your choice of outfits: military brown, Indiana Jones, business suit, or casual wear of jeans and a tee shirt. Colin Powell (Hasbro)

Herman McCain (

Prince William (Herobuilders or That's My Face)

Kate Middleton (That’s My Face)

So far, I only have Dragon in Dreams' President Obama. Space and funds permitting, I would get several of the others, just to have new faces in my collection. Space and funds NOT permitting at this time though ... so the others go on my Someday List.

What do you think of them? Do any of you have any of them? Would you add them to your collection?

Kari Michell (Kari Mitchell) Fashion Links

Okay, this post is for Cindi Mortensen and any Kari Michell fans out there.

I found a PhillyCollector post showing a Kari Michell fashion set. Miss Spotty Jane also has a post showing another KM set. And on Flickr, there are some deboxed outfits shown. But Google wins the prize for most KM sets shown.

Anyone else have any Kari Michell or Kari Mitchell fashion photos to share? Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Must See Holiday Display at The PNC Bank Tower

Okay, you’ve watched the television holiday specials. You have seen the Nutcracker. You’ve experienced the ChristmasVillage. The kids have seen Santa. What can you do next? Take in these lovely shop facades being shown at the PNC Bank Tower* located at 1600 Market Street. The display is by Hoffman Design Group, Inc. This post is for anyone visiting the Center City Philadelphia area during the holiday season OR for those unable to stop there. Why? Because the shop facades seem playscale size - and they look festive enough to inspire carolling.

Any diorama ideas triggered? Well, I hope they provide enjoyment and inspiration to you.

Happy Holidays!

*aka The Darth Vader Building ... in my view.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Herringbone and Houndstooth in Logan Square

Could you name two formal, yet resilient fabrics? I nominate herringbone and houndstooth. I mean, what famous fictional character do those fabrics bring to mind? Sherlock Holmes, yes? Whether it is his hat or his overcoat, Mr. Holmes usually wears some kind of herringbone or houndstooth print. Very staid look. However, in the playscale world, herringbone and houndstooth prints have come some way from sartorial stoicism. So I pulled together some of my doll fashions using those patterns.

Here are some examples of new-style herringbone and houndstooth.

Who is wearing what? Shown from left to right, the dolls and fashions are:

Smartees Amanda wearing her original blouse, skirt, and hose and borrowing Anne Klein Barbie’s black-white houndstooth jacket and L.A. Luxe’s boots.

Mattel’s Nikki wearing an off-brand tan-cream houndstooth jacket, matching solid tan skirt, and Liv boots.

Aoshima/Skynet’s Girl's Mission Mai wearing Barbie Millicent Roberts’ beige cable sweater, Fashion Fever white-pink houndstooth mini skirt, white stockings, and Integrity Toys’ Rock Ringmaster Lukas’ boots. (Now that is a crush when you borrow his boots.)

Gemma (formerly Mattel’s Hermione Granger rebodied onto a Mattel HSM body) wearing a black herringbone Kari Mitchell coat, a Kari Mitchell black glitter top, a My Scene mini skirt, Takara Jenny socks, and her original Mary Janes.

Roxanne (formerly StarDoll Fallen Angel 2) wearing her original pants and boots and borrowing a Liv houndstooth jacket.

Integrity’s T.J. wearing Sinatra Barbie’s houndstooth suit and white blouse and black-white spectator pumps.

If these patterns interest you, you can read more about them on Charles Tyrwitt's website or see Google's offerings.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Little Mix Fashion Dolls by

I understand how toy manufacturers can go a little off the mark when it comes to resemblances, but sometimes the difference between the two strains credulity. Was the company really trying to get a resemblance? Probably. I suppose some features can be difficult to render realistically in 1:6 scale. Check the recently launched Vivid Imaginations' Little Mix dolls; do you think that the issued fashion dolls resemble the actual group members?

While I don't find that the dolls strongly resemble the singers, they do offer four new faces for playscale collectors. The purple-haired doll - Jade - looks as if she needs a fashion make-over. Bows? The bow at her waist and on her shoes seem one bow too many. Otherwise, she looks okay. The black-haired doll has interesting hair and an odd mouth as though she lost her front teeth. I would add gray streaks to her hair and make her someone's grandmother. The blond doll looks the most "normal," although I "guessed" who she is intended to be by her hair color only. (When the singer is blonde.) Finally, the last doll with reddish-purple hair does have a slightly crazy look in her eyes similar to the singer. And the pink leopard print leggings with the droopy crotch would not become anyone.

The cost of £19.99 (GBP) for the 12-inch replicas becomes roughly $32.19 in U.S. dollars. Here they are on for anyone interested in buying them.





You will all understand that I am NOT getting any of the young singers unless or until they reach bargain bins as expected. What do you think of them?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Barbie I Can Be Kmart Exclusive

Do you follow the Barbie I Can Be series? If yes, then you won't want to miss the new Barbie Fashion Photographer. This Kmart exclusive doll is a basic blond Barbie who comes with a doll-sized camera, camera bag, and silver plastic tripod. Just in case you do not like or cannot find the more realistic doll-sized tripod Muff found, this could be the tripod for your dolls.

This is how the boxed doll looks, front and back.

Anyone tracking the Barbie exclusives? Know of a website doing so? I wonder if it is worth doing a Webshots photo folder of them?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Power Team Guy in Movies: Interview with Philip C. Lane

Longtime doll and action figure enthusiasts may recall seeing Philip C. Lane's fun and action-packed videos starring M&C Power Team members as well as other action figures. I came across my DVD of Storm Cloud and decided to contact him. He graciously provided this interview.

PhillyCollector: What inspired you to create playscale videos? Why did you begin?

Philip Lane: I have to admit that I got the idea from a friend who is a huge G.I. Joe collector. He and his brother had made a movie using their Joe's. They didn't use stop-motion but moved the figures with their hand just off camera. It was very cool to watch and gave me the inspiration to do one too. I wanted my movie to make it seem the figures were really coming to life and I decided stop-motion was the way to go. Only thing, I had never done stop-motion before. So I did some research and practiced. A lot.

PhillyCollector: How long have you been creating action figure videos?

Philip Lane: I started my first movie in around 2001, so for 11 years now.

PhillyCollector: How did you decide to use playscale action figures? As opposed to smaller or larger figures?

Philip Lane: It just made sense to me to use that scale for the ease of animating. Plus at that time there are plenty of accessories available such as furniture, clothes, and vehicles.

PhillyCollector: How did you gain the permission to use M&C Toys, Dragon, etc. figures from the manufacturers? (Mattel is notoriously jealous of Barbie.)

Philip Lane: That's a funny story. I contacted a lot of American Companies along with M&C Toys, Dragon, and Lanard. All the American companies said no, but the other above mention companies all said yes. One of them even sent me a small truck load of free toys. I promised I would never reveal who it was. So please don't ask.

PhillyCollector: How do you go about creating a video? Do you start with a story in mind or do you get inspiration from the figures? 

Philip Lane: I do have figures that I really want to use, so the figures do play apart in the inspiration. But only in the way that it would be cool to them animated. I usually start with an outline first that my long time friend and writer Christopher Valin helps me with. He helps me gather my thoughts and work on a plot. Once that is completed, I write the script which is based off the outline. I also start recording the voices for the parts from all the actors once the script is finished.

PhillyCollector: How long does it take to create an hour long video?

Philip Lane: It took me over two years to make my first movie (Storm Cloud Anti Terrorist Operations) and it was about 35 minutes long. My second Movie (Storm Cloud Revenge, Truth, & Glory) took about 4 years and was 1 hour 17 minutes long. My third movie (Heroes Faith I) took about six years and is 2 hours 35 minutes long.

PhillyCollector: What is hardest to do when you choreograph scenes? I LOVE how I can recognize certain martial arts techniques performed by your figures like roundhouse kicks, etc.?

Philip Lane: It really isn't that hard to me. I just try to think what happens next. The hardest part, which is also the most fun, is to make the characters execute the moves. It's very time intensive. A fight scene can take hours if not days to shoot. I take lots of breaks.

PhillyCollector: Did you ever have martial arts training? What knowledge or background inspires or helps your fight scenes?
Philip Lane: I did take some martial art when I was a kid and again when I was in the military. I also let movie fight scenes inspire me too. But only if they are done well. I only like the fight scenes where the camera pulls back and lets you see, what I like to call "The Dance". You get to see all the moves clearly. I hate when the director puts the camera so close it's hard to see the moves.

PhillyCollector: Are there specific books or websites that you would recommend for people interested in following in your video-creating footsteps?
Philip Lane: The first site I found was There, I would look up the answers to my questions. The first question I had was how do I make a figure jump? I found the answer there. In fact I found two different answers and went with the one that was going to work for me. The best way I would recommend is just do it. Practice is a must. Also watch other videos and see what's being done. You can also ask questions, if the other film makers are will to write you back.
PhillyCollector: How do you create your backgrounds?
Philip Lane: I use to be a comic book artist and drawing background was something I really enjoyed. My goal with the movies, is to always make them believable. I build them using either foam core board or masonite and usually build at least three walls for filming.

PhillyCollector: Will you be writing a book or creating a website detailing how to make animated videos of action figures?

Philip Lane: At this time I have no plans to do that. I'm too busy wanting to make the next movie. 

PhillyCollector: Is there anything you would like to add about creating videos?
Philip Lane: At first it was all about entertainment and making money, but after reading a book called Purpose Drive Life by Rick Warren, I now make films that utilized my God given passion for action figure and movie making to try and teach people about the Love of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a lot of bad and misinformation about God and the Bible and I want to present an accurate portrayal of both and God's Love and Salvation plan. I want everyone to experience how awesome it is to know God and learn that He loves them even more and has a plan for all our lives.

PhillyCollector: What is the best way to contact you for those wanting to learn more about you and your works

Philip Lane: The best way is to go to the youtube channel: My third film (Heroes Faith I) is there and [can] be seen for free there. I will also be putting the sequel Heroes Faith II there. I do sell my other movies on DVD and those that might be interested can contact me through youtube. 

Here's my photobucket link to see what figures I'm working on or customizing - click the "Show Albums and Stories" link on the side to see ALL of the photos in the Library there: 

PhillyCollector: Wow, I see some of your background work and kitbashes in your Photobucket folders. I will be following your Photobucket account. Thanks, Philip for sharing your faith and your creativity with us.

All text in this article belongs to Philip C. Lane and Dana E. Cooper.