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What scale are your "guest stars?"

Discussion in 'Action Figures' started by fuzzydice82, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. fuzzydice82

    fuzzydice82 Member

    For those of you who use the Palisades Muppet line to create dioramas and customs, what scale figures do you use for your human guest stars when you're re-creating scenes?

    I was thinking either Barbie size or Mego size might do the trick. However, I don't own any Barbies or Mego-style figures to double-check. Maybe Marvel Legends or DC Direct, but those are too buff for the guys and too busty for the ladies. Maybe some McFarlane line might be in scale.

    All you custom-people and diorama-makers, let me know what you think.
  2. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Ha, that's a good question. Especially if anyone's been able to collect the backstage playset or somehow cobble together a custom theater curtain playset.

    Yeah, I'd say MEGO style would work. Especially if you can find a Mark Hamil or Sly Stallone doll in that scale!
  3. Dearth

    Dearth Well-Known Member

    I posed this very question to someone at Palisades back in the day... I don't think it was Ken Lilly, it might've been Mike Horn? Anyway, I was wondering what the scale was, so I could track down a Luke Skywalker of the correct height for the Mark Hamill episode.

    Surprisingly, the answer was that they considered the toy line to be in scale to 12" dolls. The argument was that if you compared the size of Kermit's head to the size of the doll's hand, they were about the same size.

    I can kinda see where this makes sense, but the scale issue gets really tricky with the Muppets, because whenever they're in the shot with a human, they're technically 'floating' a bit too high off the floor.

    With action figures, the 'true scale' has to be fudged yet again, because you can see the entire character head to toe.

    Here's a photo that I took a while back, exploring which scales worked best...

    You can see several differently-scaled action figure lines alongside a Palisades Kermit.

    The Andy Kaufman (a wrestling figure) actually looks the best scale if you're just comparing him with Kermit. But put the Andy figure in the upstairs part of the backstage playset, and he's way too tall for the dressing room doors.

    This Tobey Maguire action figure is a really nice height for the dressing room doors, but he's clearly too small next to Lew Zealand.

    After conducting these tests, I read somewhere that the doors on the actual backstage set were built at something like 5/6 normal size, so they would look okay with the guest stars but not dwarf the Muppets.

    One of my favorite 'guest stars' was a George Burns doll who was only slightly too large...
    I fudged this shot by having Gonzo on an 'apple crate'.

    I also liked this extrapolated moment of George in the wings during Fozzie's 'Wotcher' number...

    My buddy John suggested this shot and loaned me the figure for it... this Hulk Hogan was on a different (smaller) scale than the Andy Kaufman figure, so not all wrestling figures are equal.

    But the Hulkster figure did make me think about his appearance in the Rocky movies, and that made me want to track down a good Rocky figure for Sylvester Stallone. I just haven't found the perfect one yet.

    To sum up, eventually I stopped worrying about the scale. I can fudge it and fake it to make the shot work. Like this recent 'apple box' shot, where Kermit is actually standing on a wooden clothespin to make him seem a little taller next to Piggy...

    I can artistically overcome the toy scale discrepancies. Either by doing something in-camera with forced perspective or hidden risers, or I can shoot elements separately and combine them together digitally...
    ... as I did in this shot where the Vincent Price figure was in reality twice as tall as the Scooby-Doo figures.

    So I say, if you find an action figure of someone who was actually on the Muppet Show, and it's a good likeness and a decent sculpt, throw them in there. Don't worry about the scale.

  4. fuzzydice82

    fuzzydice82 Member

    Wow Dearth, thanks for the good info. After looking through these forums more, your customs and dioramas are fantastic. I noticed in one of your George Burns shots, there was a stage connected to the backstage. Do you have a thread regarding a custom stage already on these forums? If so, please post a link to that thread, if not, I may be contacting you later as my collection grows.

    As far as my guest stars, I'll keep fiddling around and see what works best. Right now, I should probably be more concerned with acquiring more Muppets, but a good Mark Hamill would go nice in my brand new Pigs in Space playset :)
  5. Dearth

    Dearth Well-Known Member

    Actually, all my threads here are sort of the 'showroom' version. You can find far more pictures and info in two of my threads on the Rebelscum forums, entitled Muppet Customs and Muppet Dioramas. My username there is New_Bornalex.

    But to save you the search, here are some highlights on the particular topic you've inquired about...

    My main stage is comprised chiefly of two elements... a dollhouse hardwood floor by Mayberry Street, and some vinyl brick wall pieces by another company.

    At first I thought two hadrwood floors would suffice, but then I noticed than in some episode which actually showed the floor (Gilda Radner?) the slats were going the short way, not the long way. So I turned mine 90-degrees and bought a third section to pad it out the rest of the way.

    Two pieces of brick wall are about the same width as three pieces of hardwood side-by-side, so when I went back to buy more floor, I also got two more sections of brick so I could make the wall as tall as (and actually taller than) the backstage playset.

    I took those four pieces of brick vinyl, carefully cut them to blend the seams, affixed them to a large sheet of foamcore, and repainted them so the mortar visible between the bricks was black, not white.

    Afterward, someone informed me of this site...
    which sells larger vinyl brick pieces in a variety of color combinations. I'd recommend going this route to save time and money.

    The detail that really makes it 'Muppet Show' is the NO SMOKING advisory seen in several episodes which show an empty stage...

    I achieved this by grabbing frames from an episode and tweaking them in a photopaint program, then printing them onto thick cardstock and cutting out the letters as negative space to form a stencil. Then it was a relatively simple matter of painting them in with black acrylic paint. http://threads.rebelscum.com/imagep...hp?file=119281&imagewidth=652&imageheight=489
    Actually, I think I had to make a 'stamp' to form the O's better, but I'll leave that up to your own trial and error.

    Another shot of the main stage backdrop with several custom figures in there for scale reference.

    Now, if all of this seems like too much work, I know I've taken a photo of my painted brick panel in the past and sent it to someone to print and use as a backdrop. It wasn't 100% 'true' due to lens distortion, but it is a nice timesaver.


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