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My Muppet Whatnot Broke!

Discussion in 'Muppet Merchandise' started by Brian Kendig, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. Brian Kendig

    Brian Kendig Member

    I've had my Whatnot since this past Valentine's Day; my sweetie ordered it from FAO.com for me. So that makes it, what, eight months of occasional use? It's not often I do anything with it, because it's a very tight fit for an average-sized adult hand.

    Well, tonight I was using it as my Halloween costume, greeting kids with it ... and suddenly the plastic mouth joint snapped!

    Let me explain - to give the mouth some rigidity, inside the puppet is a curved piece of plastic making the upper and lower inside of the mouth. The "hinge" is simply where the plastic is bent. The mouth is normally somewhat open; it usually tires out my hand after a few minutes of squeezing the mouth closed and open again.

    That's the piece that broke! Inside the muppet there was a *snap* and I can feel the edges of the plastic where the plastic was bent... and it's more of a fracture than a clean break. The *good* thing is that now it's easier to open/close its mouth; the bad thing is that now the upper and lower plastic pieces make snapping noises when I open/close the mouth, as if the pieces are being bowed and then snapping back to their original shapes!

    I am really, really disappointed by this. I wouldn't mind trying to fix it myself, except that I really don't know how I could possibly get in there to replace the plastic mouth piece.

    I am really hoping that FAO has a warranty on these puppets and that they can do something for me - but I would hate to have to send this one back to them and get another one!

    Has anyone else had the mouth piece on your Whatnot break?
    MikaelaMuppet likes this.
  2. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Mine did the same thing! I don't really mind, though. It still works.
  3. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I would think the mouth, in general, would work better if the mouth plate was in two separate pieces, as opposed to being a bent piece of whatever anyway.
  4. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Try Duck tape it will fix most anything.
  5. Yahnke

    Yahnke Well-Known Member

    I've been making puppets off and on for about 5 years now. I usually use patterns that other people create. Because I do not have enough experience building puppets, I am not 100% confident that my creation will "turn out." I'm not made of money, so i cut corners on materials (I use polar fleece instead of antron, styrofoam balls for eyes, duct tape for mouth plate hinges, etc...) just in case my puppet does end up in the garbage. Even though i cut corners, i still prefer one of my homemade puppets to anything i've been able to buy in a toy or hobby store.

    When I saw you could buy a Muppet from FAO I was immediately intrigued. I thought it would be awesome to reverse engineer one and see how "henson guys" really make puppets. BUt then I thought, "I wonder if they are going to cut corners and mass produce these things?" I've never seen a professional puppet for only 130$ especially not one that carries the name Muppet.

    When i read the inital review of the Whatnots I was excited to see that the majority of people were happy with their puppets. I thought maybe this is just an amazing deal. But I wondered about the mouth plate construction and how that worked. Reading that it was simply one piece of bent plastic is a little strange to me, as a very inexperienced puppet builder. But it makes me wonder about the product FAO is putting out under the Muppet name.

    I am not making a judgement on this, i would simply like to hear from other puppet builders who own a FAO Whatnot. How is the construction and ease of use? The whatnots look fantastic though. ANd even if the construction could be better, i could see my self buying one, simply for the novelty of it!

  6. Brian Kendig

    Brian Kendig Member

    The Whatnot construction really doesn't seem to be anything fancy! Have a look at the photos I posted to Flickr; they should give you a good idea of how the puppet is put together.


    I recently mustered up my courage and was able to cut the mouthboard out of the puppet. It's a thin piece of plastic sewn to a thin piece of fabric, and bent to fit into the puppet's mouth then attached to the puppet with five small stitches. With a small nail scissors and a lot of patience, I cut those five stitches and removed the broken plastic. I'll take and post photos at some point while I try the next step of my repair: putting something into the puppet to replace the broken mouthboard.
    MikaelaMuppet likes this.
  7. Brian Kendig

    Brian Kendig Member

    A long-delayed followup note to this thread:

    I did not have success fixing the mouthplate. We opened up the puppet, pulled out the broken plastic, and sewed in two separate pieces of plastic from some container (I forget what); but stitching it back together properly was beyond our abilities. As a result the mouth isn't held taut enough along the edge of the mouthboard, and you can see some of the red mouth fabric when his mouth is closed, and it just doesn't look right. Sadly, I've retired the puppet (to a comfortable spot in the closet).

    I wish I could just order some replacements from FAO Schwarz, but now I know they're just not made well - the mouth is difficult to work, and then it will break, and then we're not able to fix it.
    MikaelaMuppet likes this.

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