I’ve been quietly hard at work, re-visiting the custom MEGO bat-character action figures that I made several years ago.
I decided to give them all improved bodies with better anatomy and greatly improved articulation (ball-jointed shoulders, mid-bicep swivel, etc.)
Here is my second approach to the body of Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot aka The Batman’s dastardly nemesis… THE PENGUIN !
I wanted my custom action figure to feature a removable top hat accessory and a separate monocle accessory (with lens), both of which MEGO only represented as a molded/painted parts of the original Penguin head sculpt. They also never bothered to include the signature cigarette and holder that the character was always seen puffing on, so I would have to fabricate that as well.
I wanted the head sculpt for my custom figure to resemble the character as he appeared in the comic books, and I had an idea for the perfect starting point:
While growing up in the 1980’s, I watched The Dukes of Hazzard television series, and I always thought that Sorrel Brooke , (the actor who portrayed Boss Hogg) was a PERFECT choice to portray The Penguin… if they had ever decided to make a Batman film that was faithful to the comic book. He had the perfect face and stature for the role.
It is only fitting, then, that when “casting” a likeness for my custom MEGO Penguin action figure, my natural choice for the starting point was MEGO’s excellent Boss Hogg head sculpt.
I carefully added arched “evil” eyebrows taken from a Star Trek MEGO Klingon sculpt, and then made a wax casting of my altered MEGO vinyl head.
Next, I added a longer “ski nose” and a widow’s peak hairstyle to the wax casting, and then re-cast the whole thing into a (slightly flexible) polyurethane head.
Here is a comparison photo showing MEGO’s original Boss Hogg head versus my final painted custom head sculpt.
TAKIN’ IT TO THE BODY
Alright… can someone please explain to me how is it that MEGO could design an articulated thin male, heroic male, and even male child bodies (all of which looked reasonably anatomically correct) and yet they still came up with this… this bizzare TROLL to represent the body of an over-weight man?
My question is obviously a rhetorical one, but… HONESTLY! Just what were they thinking? Absolutely no pelvis or waist articulation to speak of… and (inappropriate) slender arms and legs (re-cycled from the thin or heroic bodies)!! Sheesh!!
The MEGO fat man body was specifically developed for The Penguin back in 1974. In the comics, this villain was typically portrayed to be an obese character… relatively short and squat in stature (just over 5 feet tall in height)
Instead, MEGO designed this character to stand nearly as tall as his adversary The Batman. His pysique is downright lanky , and he resembles something that is not quite human!
In fact, he kinda looks like a cross between Planter’s Mr. Peanut character and that mid-1970’s PSA character “Timer” (as in “Time for Timer!” “I hanker for a hunk o’ cheese!!”)…
I don’t know, but to me, this is WORLD’S away from the vicious fat little Gotham City gangster that The Penguin is supposed to be. Not good. Not good at all !
In order for me to create an updated, nicely articulated, anatomically correct action figure of The Penguin, I saw that I was going to have to completely re-invent his body and push my modeling / customizing skills to the max.
Well, after a LOT of kit-bashing, re-sculpting, sanding, and glueing. This is the new super-articulated MEGO-scaled fat-man body I’ve created for my custom Penguin.
All he awaits is final paint.
This new MEGO-scaled Penguin body features:
Standard swivel head
Waist / Pelvis articulation
MEGO-styled ball-hips (with MEGO elastic band)
He stands 6.75 inches tall (head to toe measurement). Only slightly taller than a MEGO “Our Gang” character. At 1:9 scale that’s a man who stands 5 feet 1 inch tall. PERFECT for The Penguin!
Now, I should point out that a LOT of brave and generous action figure characters donated body parts to give custom Penguin his impressive new physique. They should be acknowledged:
MEGO Boss Hogg -Head (extensively re-sculpted)
MEGO Fat Man Body- top shoulder neck hole, shoulder arm sockets
Jakks Pacific Umaga- Torso
Jakks Pacific Colin Delaney- Arms (extensively re-sculpted)
MEGO “Our Gang” Spanky- Hands
MEGO Fat Man body- Used to fabricate articulated pelvis section.
MEGO HULK- Ball- Hip joints
Jakks Pacific Tony Atlas- Upper Legs
Fred Goodspeed- “Heroic Man” custom lower legs (cut down shorter)
MEGO type II- Feet
When I finished The Penguin's new body, he was SO happy with his anatomy and greater range of motion that he actually started to dance. It was quite embarassing, really, because he insisted that I sing him a waltz as accompaniment. And then my wife walked in and caught us...