About twelve years ago, I lived in Mexico City and regularly shopped El
mercado Sonora, an open-air toy market where--among other things--one
could pick up all sorts of Mexican-made action figures, usually knocked
off from existing figures available in the States. They were cheap and
made great raw material for customizing. Below are some examples of the
figures that I made.
Captain America is made from a knock-off of the Super Powers Batman
figure (with a Superman face), again adding costume details with a Mexican
epoxy putty, Plasti-Loka.
This is the classic gray and black Batman--the colors that the Super Powers figure should have used.
It's made from another Super Powers knock-off that was molded in black, so all I had to do was paint on the gray and the other details.
The Robin is pretty painted up to look as much like the Super Powers figure as possible, although his cape is fabric and glued to his shoulders (instead of using that goofy neck clip that the Super Powers figures used), as are all the capes on my custom figures.
These are a bunch of characters that I made around the time when the Giffen JLA first hit the stands. Go figure.
Captain Atom is made from a Superman figure, with his hair altered and the trunks smoothed away. The paint was a metallic silver enamel that I ran across in the hobby store, which you can buff after it's applied. Unfortunately, it doesn't adhere very well to the cheaper plastic of the Mexican figures, so he's needed frequent touch ups. I should have made him in the original yellow and red Ditko-designed costume, and next time I will.
Booster Gold was the first custom figure that I ever made, although not the one pictured above. We put the first one in a small package in the display case at Comic City, with a little tag that said, "Rare Booster Gold Prototype." Then we waited to see what Dan Jurgens would say when he came in. We gave it to him after he saw it and his jaw dropped. Heh.
Anyway, this one is another modified Superman figure, with some carving to remove trunk-lines and putty to change the hair and add the wrist bands. The visor was originally made from an index tab, but got lost. The one above was a "virtual" replacement.
Blue Beetle is made from a Flash figure that was molded in blue and originally painted up to look like a very skinny Captain America. For some reason, the arms on the Mexican Flash figures seem too skinny, and don't fit well onto the figure. Anyway, this was mostly a repaint, with a putty holster. I intended to put blobs of clear hot glue over the yellow-painted eyes for his bug eyes, but that's still to come.
Mr. Miracle was another Flash figure, repainted and with details added using putty. The cape is made from material and Super-Glued to his shoulders. I think it came out pretty well, and I don't even like the Fourth World characters.
Guy Gardner was yet another Superman figure, with extensive carving to remove inapproprate stuff and a ton of putty to do his hair and his costume details. I never much liked the character, but I thought the costume was kinda cool.
Animal Man was made from a Flash figure, with the hair and goggles
added via putty. Otherwise, he's a straight repaint.
One of the first figures that I ran across at the toy market was a Flash figure, molded in yellow. Naturally, I grabbed it right up and when I started customizing, it was among the first figures that I did.
Obviously, it was pretty easy to do--I painted on the face and various costume detail. Later, I realized that this figure had different legs than do most of the other Mexican Flash figures--apparently based on the Super Powers Superman, rather than the Flash figure--and I probably should have carved away the trunk lines.
The Flash is painted up to look like the regular Super Powers figure, and is a little shorter that Reverse-Flash, because he has the right legs.
| GOLDEN AGE GREEN LANTERN & FLASH
Green Lantern is based on a Mexican figure that was obviously intended to be a Green Lantern figure, but clearly wasn't based on the actual Super Powers GL figure.
The Mexican figure looks like it might have been based on a Superman figure, with a mask--that's bulkier than the regular GL mask-- added before it was molded.
Anyway, the basic figure was molded in green, so everything but the legs had to be painted. The tunic sleeves were sculpted from Plasti-Loka. (And yes, I still need to add a collar to the cape.)
The Flash was a red-molded Flash figure, with the helmet, hair, ears and little booties made from Plasti-Loka.
| GOLDEN AGE HAWKMAN (with Silver Age cowl)
This one actually took a little more work than usual. I started with a Mexican knock-off of the Martian Manhunter figure, and had to do some serious carving to make the head look less alien. Then I had to decide whether to do the hawk mask. Since the regular Super Powers figure has that, I decided to do the later, Silver Age cowl.
For his wings, I had an eagle from an old Aurora Tonto model, so I cut the wings off of that and stuck them to his back with good old Plasti-Loka.
If I'd have waited a few more months, I could have made the whole figure from one of the Mexican Super Powers Hawkman figures that turned up in the Sonora toy market, but I have to admit that I enjoyed the challenge that this one presented.
(from the Watchmen)
This figure is based on a Joker figure, with a lot of Plasti-Loka sculpting to make the hat, trenchcoat and re-shape the head and face.
I posted the scan in black and white and did some "virtual" customizing--the hat band and mask markings--because this is still a work in progress, and has been for the last 8-9 years (since I last did any customizing).
(from the Watchmen)
Based on a Superman knock-off, this figure used a lot of Plasti-Loka to create the various costume details and accessories.
I'm thrilled with how it came out, but it seems to me that I need to stick a cigar into his mouth, for a little more authenticity.
Sometimes the Mexican toy makers would try to create a popular figure or character, for which they didn't have an example to copy. The Phantom is a case like that.
The base figure seems to have been a Super Powers Batman, with the ears trimmed off, then molded from lavender plastic. All I did was repaint this--the paint jobs on these figures are usually pretty awful--and add the holster.
This is the classic Silver Age Supergirl, Kara Zor-El.
She's made from a Super Powers Wonder Woman (a real one, but I got it in Mexico), with the WW details sanded or carved away, and the Jim Mooney-style hair-do and skirt made from Plasti-Loka.
If I ever can find the time, I want to do the Silver Age Batgirl, then Mary Marvel! (I bought a couple more Super Powers Wonder Woman figures off eBay)