#ICYMI – Mr. Michael Comeau, the mastermind behind Display Joe Figures has launched a kickstarter campaign to bring series 1 of his all new, redesigned display cases to collections everywhere! Here’s the scoop:
A case to protect and showcase your favorite vintage action figures.
As a kid I spent most of my time at my best friend’s house. Evenings, weekends, snow days, maybe even the occasional “sick” day. Sometimes we would play a video game, sometimes we would go for a bike ride, but most of the time we were playing G.I. Joe. It was always the same thing. I would pack up all my action figures and vehicles and head down the hill to his house. When I got there, we would lay everything we had out and hold a draft to choose our favorite figures and vehicles. Then began the building of our impenetrable fortresses. This part took by far the most time as everything had to be perfect. Then we would spend the rest of the night engaged in battle.
As we grew up, we stopped playing with toys as most do. Then I moved away, and we lost touch for a while. I never got rid of my action figures though because every time I look at them, I was reminded of my friend and the good times we had. It’s hard to remember a time in life when I was less carefree and happy then those years playing Joes with my friend.
I’m sure many of you have a similar story. Like me, I’m sure you have some special connection to these action figures. They aren’t just a toy they hold memories for most of us. Unfortunately, our beloved toys have become fragile throughout the years. The plastic has become brittle and, in some cases, discolored. What should we do? Should we put them in a box and store them away in a closet? What would be the point in even having them then? No, we must display these figures!
The Series 1 is an injection molded case that is designed to protect vintage action figures and allow us to showcase them and their accessories.
What’s the problem?
There is a laundry list of issues that these vintage action figures have. Some of it is due to age and some of it is due to poor design. Below are some of the big issues.
Here is an example of an all-too-common problem. The heal of the figure has broken off because of stress. Some action figures are designed with holes in the bottom of the feet so they can be mounted to vehicles or figure stands. A peg on the stand in this case was inserted into the hole on the bottom of the figures foot. The figure is held in place by the force applied between the hole and the peg. That force can eventually cause the plastic to crack.
Some figures were also prone to having the thumb and/or fingers break off when you tried to put accessories in their hands. The plastic used on vintage figures was fairly rigid and would often break rather than bend or deform a bit.
Finally, we see an action figure that is yellow and white. This figure should in fact be entirely white, but it has been damaged by the suns UV rays. White figures turn yellow, blue turns greenish, and some colors just seem to become less vibrant.
What can we do about it?
All isn’t lost. I have a plan I believe can protect the figures from these dangers.
Mounting the figure to the display safely is the first step. For this I’ve chosen to use the hole found in the backs of some vintage action figures. This is often where the figures backpack would be inserted. Still, I don’t want to apply too much pressure on the figure. Therefore, I designed an object that had rubber fins that will insert into the hole with little force and resist coming out because of the direction of the fins.
Next, I had to decide what to do with the figure’s weapons. Clearly holding them will eventually lead to the figure breaking. Furthermore, I’m now using the hole in the back where the backpack would go. To remedy this problem, I’ve designed an accessory rack. The display case will come with several hooks and doodads to attach the figures accessories to the rack. Now we can proudly display the figure and his accessories. This has an unintended effect of it looking like the figure is standing in an armory. As if it were part diorama.
Last in the way of protection is a UV filtering dust cover. I don’t know the science behind it but there is apparently an additive they put in before injecting the plastic into the mold that makes it so the plastic will filter out UV light. It also has the added benefit of keeping dust out.
Where are we at?
Currently I have sent the designs to a manufacturer in China. They have reviewed them and made some changes and tweaks for manufacturability. The said it will be about two to five weeks to make the tools and about four months to make the displays. I’ve padded the deliver time because of delays we’ve been seeing in customs.
Risks and challenges
The timeline for rewards is a concern due to delays in US customs. I’ve tried to mitigate this by almost doubling the time frame expressed to me by the manufacturer. There is a possibility the post that goes into the figures back might not fit properly as I cannot prototype it because of the rubber over plastic design. To mitigate this risk I am also going to include an all plastic post that I have 3D printed and I know fits.
My entire Iron Grenadier and Slaughter’s Marauders collections are housed inside of Michael’s amazing 3D printed cases. Seeing how well those are made, I can only imagine how awesome this new version is going to be!
Now, “real talk”? – Things aren’t looking too good. The campaign is currently sitting at roughly 5% of its initial funding goal, with 14 days left to go. Know what though? It can still happen!
Go, get your pledge in and let’s help Michael bring this dream to reality!