Monday, December 15, 2008

King Kong by Mego

Well, now we have a vintage toy that didn't bother making a fake King Kong... they give us the real thing! Here is a figure from the 1970s: King Kong (キング コング) by Mego.

Mego is an American toy company established in the 50s, but they really caught on full steam in the 1970s. The company obtained King Kong rights for toys along with the much hyped 1976 King Kong movie remake. Oddly, there was only one figure of King Kong himself actually produced in the U.S. (which came with a big shooting game), and there was also a plush doll. Other items released in the U.S. in this movie marketing campaign were punching bags, models, even a weird straw that had Kong climb a building as you slurped liquid through.

In Japan, however, there were a couple King Kong figures produced for Mego by Bullmark. Gotta love Bullmark! There was a funny wind-up that had long arms stuck up in the air, and the classic waddly feet that you always see on wind-up walkers... and there was this more realistic vinyl figure with a silly little car to hold on to.

I was very fortunate to come across a Mego King Kong page at the Mego Museum website, so thanks to them for the info on Mego's Kong releases!

The main head attached to the top of the bag for this toy, despite being the same on both sides, it really cool. The King Kong illustration is one seen on much of the Mego Kong packaging at the time, but it still looks great, and is cropped well for this card. The sunburst and big red text to the side is kitschy and fun, and the loud colors and rows of stars make it stand out... just as a giant ape would I suppose.

They make up for just having the same front and back to the header card by actually including a background card in the bag along with the toy. I included flat images here of the front and back, but in the package, the bottom folds underneath, making a little platform for the toy to stand on. It's a cool little backdrop with an illustrated city street behind the big ape himself. On the back, there seems to be some King Kong stats and other information.

Very nice overall packaging, especially for a vintage vinyl toy!

For its size (about 6 inches tall or so), this is a nicely detailed figure. The vinyl isn't the greatest quality, but you run into this a lot with older toys. (I was also lucky to find this still sealed in the bag, so the condition is great). The hands and feet in particular are nicely sculpted.

I like the menacing face, but the teeth/fangs are a little crooked as they jut out of the mouth at a weird angle. And the fur is kind, but adds a lot of detail all over.

The arms are articulated at the shoulders which is nice, even though with the arms down the figure appears awkward for some reason. I think the legs are a little long for a gorilla, but they may have been left that way for balance sake. It stands relatively well, although the car in his hand makes him a little top heavy when his arms are raised.

And the car... wow this thing stinks. It looks like a battleship with waron wheels. It totally does not fit the scale or style of this figure, and I have no clue why they even felt it necessary to even include it. If they wanted to include some cheap plastic accessory, they should have chosen a hollow skyscraper roof or something for him to stand on. This crappy car doesn't even stay in Kong's hand all that well.

Not the greatest paint application on the figure. You can tell this toy was mass produced in a hurry, as the paint appears to have been sprayed on in the general location without much attention to detail. Same story with the brush applied teeth and eyes.

While the colors work well... there is some nice, subtle coloring on the toes... there are places on the chest and under his nose where the paint is uneven. A more deliberate application would have been better here to ensure proper coverage. Also, the brushed paint on the teeth is very sloppy, even extending onto the lips. The pupils are crooked also, we are seeing a Kong lazy eye.

This toy can still be found around for pretty cheap considering the age. I even found one still stapled in the bag for not much at all. I assume these were made in mass quantity to hype the King Kong movie, which leads to the lower price.

Positives: Cool, medium sized King Kong toy, nice hands, great packaging

Negatives: Shitty car accessory, too-quick paint job

The package may be the saving grace for this toy. While it's pretty cool having an actual Kong as opposed to a bootleg, it doesn't have the same feel and charm as some of the cruder vintage pieces that were also mass produced. Not sure exactly what it is. Regardless, Mego (and Bullmark) still did a good job with these, and I would recommend it to gorilla/King Kong completeists without hesitation.

1 comment:

RedYoda said...

Great score...I just missed one of these the other day :(...

Yeah, I agree it's all about the packaging for this one... I love the 7o's Kong art.
Ha! That is the worst car accessory ever.