This month we are highlighting the work of Mego customizer Vincent Carnabuci, aka Vinny0026 on the museum boards.
Name: Vincent Carnabuci
EH: Any Personal Info you are willing to share: (Married? Kids? Pets? Occupation? Where from? Other hobbies or interests?)
VC: I’m 40 years old, and I live in Staten Island, New York. I’m married to my beautiful and very understanding wife Lauren. We have a set of two and a half year old twins – Michael Vito & Bella Vincenza – Bet you would have never guessed that I’m Italian- haha.
I have to say I think I may have one too many hobbies LOL! First and foremost is Megos, of course, which has been going on since I was five – so it has been 35 years in the making. I enjoy trying to complete my original collection and am always looking to create new figures for my custom collection. It is a stress reliever – and it really brings me back to a simpler, happy time in my life when I was little and care free.
I’m also a big Star Wars fan and have a pretty huge collection of both old (vintage) and current stuff, along with many prop replicas, statues and even a handful LIFE SIZE statues.
Other hobbies of mine include autographs – both sports and actors. I’m a big football fan (New York Giants) – so fantasy football is another one of my hobbies, along with playing in a flag football league, and I also play softball.
Other interests include spending time with my family (who are big Disney fans). We go to Walt Disney World 3 to 4 times a year. I also enjoy going to the movies, concerts and sporting events.
Currently, I’m an Electrical Designer & Drafter for BGA Engineering, LLC. Some of my past employments include: being a Manager for both Toys R Us and The Disney Store, and once I even owned my own my own restaurant (Napoli Pizza).
EH: How did you get started collecting Mego?
VC: I believe I was about five when I got my first few Megos. I have two older brothers (Anthony & Frank) and for the Christmas of 1976, between the three of us, we got the whole Mego Batman set of Heroes & Villains, along with the Batcave and Batmobile and I have been collecting them on and off ever since that glorious day!
EH: What is your favorite original Mego figure and line?
VC: My favorite line, by far, is the World’s Greatest Super Heroes – though I’m being totally bias – as I’m a huge Super Hero fan (Both Marvel and DC). As for my favorite figure – I love them all! – but if I had to pick one it would be Robin. I still have some faint memories of when I was little of taking him to bed with me.
EH: What is, in your opinion, the biggest “hole” in Mego’s original lines? (What figure or figure line is missing that should have been done?)
VC: The biggest void for me was that they never made a Flash or a Green Lantern in the DC line, or that they never made Uncle Jesse, Rosco & Enis from the Dukes of Hazard and they never made any bad guys for the Chips line. As far as a whole line missing – I would say figures of Hanna Barbera cartoons – who wouldn’t have bought a Blue Falcon or Space Ghost set of figures!
EH: What motivated you to start customizing?
VC: Like almost everyone – Mego left a huge void with me as to figures I wish they had made so I started tinkering with making them myself.
EH: What was your first custom (and do you have a pic?)
VC: My first custom was pretty easy – I picked up a Cochise Indian figure at a yard sale – my mother, who was a seamstress, made him an Apache Chief suit for me.
My second was the Black Manta – My brother owned an Auto-Body Repair Shop – I used a combo of silly sculpt and bondo to make the head (it was on a stick that I used as a neck plug). My brother painted it and then clear coated it with an air spray gun. I used a combination of pin stripe tape, and yellow electrical tape to make the eyes. My mother made me a purple jumpsuit for him.
EH: How did it come out? (looking back on it now)
VC: I really do not think I would have done a better job if I made them today. All I added over the years was a box, and wristbands and a head band for the chief years later.
EH: What have you done/learned that has improved your customizing skills?
VC: The first thing I learned is that I’m not a good head painter! I leave it to the skills of Dave McCormick haha! The second thing is just take your time and plan it out the right way. If it is not right in the planning stage – it will not be right in the finished stage.
EH: What areas of customizing are your strongest points, or favorite things to do?
VC: My strongest area is my imagination or love for the hobby. I’m not the guy who can sculpt heads or even paint them – but I like putting them together and also I like to work with Mike Rogers and Anthony Durso as to picking out what art they use to make me a box or board.
EH: What resources make it easier for you as a customizer? (is there a favorite source for parts? Information? Etc… that aids you more than anything else?)
VC: The resources today are just off the charts as compared to 15/20 years ago. First – you have the Museum which should be your first stop with information and or help. Second – Back then you would have to buy a whole figure just for parts today you can get most from Doctor Mego, Classic TV Toys, Ebay, etc. Third – You have talented people, such as Hughes, Rogers, Durso, Leitner, Dave Mc, Black Knight that can create any head or suit that you need if you can’t make it yourself.
EH: What is your favorite custom you’ve done and do you think it’s your best work? If not, what do you think is your best work?
VC: My Favorite would be my Captain America with no mask on. I do not think it is the best – But I feel it really captures what I tried to accomplish. I do not think it is my best – for my best I would have to say –it’s a toss up between Kraven and J.J.Jameson – But both of those figures, I got a lot of help from people so I would not feel comfortable taking full credit for them.
EH: Why do you choose the projects you choose?
VC: Most times I think of a figure I want to make and then try and create it. Other times I see something and an idea just pops into my head – and then I just run with it.
EH: What are your favorite customs others have done and why? (if there is one- for example, Leitners Catwoman, David Lee’s Ghost Rider, etc…)
VC: I really I could never get this down to just one figure or person. I am a huge fan of everyone’s work here at the museum. The figures, boxes and playsets these guys have created are just unreal – they are better than any toy company could have ever produced. Today’s artwork as far as Cards/Boxes, Sculpting & Suit making is just incredible and the detail is just insane. At the same time, some of the earlier customs have really paved the way for people today. I feel I would really be doing an injustice by picking out just one person or just one piece. I find all of the artwork displayed here at the Museum to be awesome and, most of all, inspiring. In short – They are all my favorite!
EH: What is on your “to do” list in the near future?
VC: First on the list is to try and finish about 15 that are already half way in the works – but just missing pieces or parts. Second would be some more alter egos and supporting cast figures like Adam West, Aunt May, Lois lane, Alfred, etc.
EH: How do you think customizing affects the Mego collecting hobby?
VC: I think it is amazing. It keeps people interested in the hobby and sparks the imagination of what could have been made by Mego or gives you ideas for figures that you want to make. It also helps you make lifelong friends – even if it is just through the forum and/or e-mail.
EH: Any tips or words of advice to new customizers?
VC: My biggest piece of advice would be homework and research – to come up with a plan on how you want it to look – not just try and make it on the fly. Also, patience – take your time and do it right the first time. No need to try and rush a figure out and then break or mess something up and then have to redo it over again. It is a marathon – not a sprint. My other advice would be to post a figure you want to make on the message board here at the Mego Museum – people are always great at giving you pointers and advice. Most are happy to help you out with tips on how to create that figure – and some may even have the parts you will need to complete it.
EH: Do you sell custom figures or parts? Why or why not?
VC: As you know, this is a very expensive hobby – so I do sell a few custom figures and/or parts upon request and also on Ebay to try and help ease the expense. Any work I list on the Mego Museum I give full disclosure on how I make an item and where I got the parts from so everyone can try and make it on their own without having to pay for it.
EH: What do your family/friends think of your Mego custom work/hobby?
VC: My family and friends are very supportive of me in my joy of the hobby (though some may think I’m a little crazy) – they all seem to think it is pretty cool – and almost every time some one comes over the house the first thing they want to see is there is a new artifact in “The Museum” LOL! They have also taken to calling me Geppetto…(from Pinocchio)
EH: Thanks for taking the time to tell us about yourself Vinny. Any closing thoughts?
VC: I would like to thank you & The Mego Museum for choosing me – it is truly an honor to have my work displayed here.
Also, I would like to thank Matt Jaycox, Mike Barrett, and Anthony Durso for all the help in my early days of customizing – Dave McCormick, Austin Hough, Mike Rogers, Brian Leitner, & Anthony Balasco for my modern era customs – Classic Tv Toys and Doctor Mego for all of my parts.
All of these people have really helped me over the years with the hobby by making me heads, clothes, parts, cards or boxes – and without them and their hard work – most of these figures would have never come to life.
EH: Thanks Vinny![Gallery not found]