Toy Biz's Famous Covers (FC) line has generated plenty of positive
interest, healthy sales and shows that a line based on comics
characters alone can succeed in today's mass media oriented toy
industry. But the secret to their success really isn't much of
a secret - give the consumers what they want and add a dash of
What the consumers have wanted were toys that could display well
in their packaging and were highly articulated and scaled similarly
to the fan favorite Mego lines from the 70's. While the new figures
have a look that's similar, once you go under the surface you
find a whole new and exciting world. The nostalgia keeps its place
on the outside while inside Toy Biz has taken advantage of the
advance of technology to make better toys. These aren't Megos
of the 90's, but a whole new ballgame!
The goal of this article is to benefit all FC enthusiasts, from
the casual collector to the crazed customizer and everything in
between. We'll be looking at a near-complete deconstruction of
a FC Storm action figure to show the innovative designs, technical
details and attention to detail and high standards that set this
Before we proceed, a word of caution. Please don't try this on
anyone else's figures without their permission and keep in mind
that the Storm I disassembled will never go back together again.
To follow all these steps will render much of your figure useless
except for parts and curiosity. And finally, follow any safety
procedures when you are using tools (like knives and even screwdrivers)
that can hurt you. And kids, get a parent to supervise so you
don't get hurt.
'Sue, I've located a point of interest
Looking at the picture probably reminds you of an archeological
dig on the new species of action figure - 'famouseri coverasaurus',
but it's just the sum total of the parts of a former Storm laid
out for your (and Reed and Sue's) inspection. As you can see,
there aren't any rubber or elastic bands as you would find in
a Mego. And you'll also notice that some parts haven't been delicately
removed. The reason for this is that these toys are very solidly
constructed and take a lot of effort to take apart even if that's
what you are trying to do!
Probably the extent of part swapping and disassembly that most
people will want to use with these figures is simply head and
hand/feet swapping. The simple reason behind this is that these
are not nearly as simple to take apart (nor to reassemble) as
old Mego figures. I don't want to discourage the hardier breed
of customizer, but you've been warned. It took many hours to get
all the parts separate and also a good deal of cursing and cutting.
Looking at the overall body in its exploded form you can see the
full extent of the articulation which includes the following:
hands and ankles that can twist and bend, ball jointed thighs,
jointed knees and elbows, a modified ball jointed shoulder that
approximates a ball joint with a shoulder/bicep twist, a waist
that allows bending and twisting and the head that twists and
bends on the female figures (like Barbie's head) and simply twists
on the male figures (due to a larger neck). The male head is currently
being redesigned to allow for more articulation, as revealed in
the interview with Tom McCormack of Toy Biz. Counting each plane
of motion as a point of articulation we arrive at an impressive
figure of 25 points (2 for each ankle, wrist and thigh, 1 for
each elbow and knee, 2 for the waist, 3 for each shoulder and
1 for the neck). In the American market, only the twelve inch
GI Joe has more.
But don't worry if all this seems confusing at first, we'll go
into detail on each part and joint and discuss ways to remove
and replace the pieces (which should be of aid to customizers).
And if anyone out there has some improvements to the removal and
replacement suggestions, or any other comments please don't hesitate
to share them.
'Alas, poor Ororo
I knew her
The FC body uses some standardized parts in several points. This
is done to reduce manufacturing costs by limiting the number of
total parts that need to be designed, and also make assembly less
complex since workers will only have to familiarize themselves
with a smaller number of parts. All the pieces are injection molded.
There are at least two types of plastic used in the construction
of these figures' bodies. One is very ductile (able to be bent
and then returned to previous shape) and the other is stronger
but more brittle. The softer, more ductile plastic is used for
the arms and legs while the brittle type is used on pieces like
the body, the waist ball and female characters' shoes. There is
a third type that is softer than either of these and is used by
the heads, but as far as I can tell that's all.
One other material will be found inside the figures and that is
a white rubber-like material. It's used to pad some of the joints
and prevent actual plastic to plastic contact, which will increase
the life of these toys and also shows Toy Biz's commitment to
quality for these figures.
The ductile type of plastic can be greatly deformed and return
to the previous shape with little or no sign that it had been
deformed. Even marks will fade from the surface. The brittle plastic
will not deform much before you start to see stress marks and
the plastic will turn very white. At that point you may break
the part or have weakened it severely, so be careful.
Also, some of the holes will have some extra plastic that may
act to cover or obscure the joint. If you've ever built a model
and had a part with a little extra plastic on a piece that had
to be trimmed, you know what I mean. This extra may have to be
trimmed in order to reassemble some joints. Just use an x-acto
or model knife to carefully trim the excess out of the way. The
extra plastic is usually quite thin and easy to remove.
Each section of the body will have a section below with pictures
to make things clear and removal and restoration suggestions for
customizers. REM will cover removal and REST will be restoration
steps, with DESC for descriptions of the parts and their construction.
To the Second Page which covers the little
pegs, hands, feet, ankles and wrists.
To the Third Page which covers elbows,
knees, thighs and the groin area.
To the Fourth Page which covers the waist
ball, upper chest and shoulders.
To the Fifth Page which is the final page
with the neck, head and final comments.