My Pop-Up Playsets

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Hey congratulations on getting your own feature on JTA! You may have to quit your day job!
Indeed! It is four months since I punched in to my former third-shift "day job"...the backdrops, playsets and dioramas have been paying the bills. It has truly been a blessing, because my younger son has severe autism and doing this has allowed me to care for him and work around his schedule. If and when this dries up I can go back to the real world, but for now I am having the time of my life building my own business and being the Dad I need to be right now!

And that JTA front page was a shocker! Had an uptick in sales today too, so I am grateful for it.
 
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Well done. Congrats. Being an independant contractor has its drawbacks, but being able to control your timetable is a fantastic advantage.

Your success is well deserved.
 
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Hi! Just wanted to drop in and say your work is fantastic!

I have a question about one of the displays I've been eyeing...where does the art on your "Vintage Star Wars Wave 2" Custom Backdrop display come from? The one with the sandcrawler, the Lars homestead dome in the background, and the Star Destroyer streaking by overhead? I thought I was pretty familiar with old SW promotional/display art, Kenner or otherwise, but have never seen that image.

Thanks!
 
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The display you refer to:



Uses a vintage Letraset Action Transfer background as it's base:




You can read more about the Letraset sets here: http://markwestwriter.blogspot.com/2017/08/


I plan to use the "Escape From the Death Star" set to make an alternate-version for the original 1978 12-back figure display stand soon!
 
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Thanks for the info! Wow, a whole "genre" of vintage Star Wars stuff I had no idea existed! You learn something new every day. B)

Keep up the fantastic work, I plan to get some of your stuff when I have a little more space to display the collection in!
 
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I had ESB ones when I was a kid...I'm glad to pass the info along. I search for images so routinely, and in this one I was looking for vintage art that would serve the purpose for a new item but not be so much of an instant Kenner callback. I was very happy to find it. (Though I will say cleaning it up and converting it to my needs took at least as long as some of the backdrops I have drawn up from scratch.)
 
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Muftak, have you considered doing some pieces that would interact directly with vintage Kenner bases? Like different backdrops for Land of the Jawas, the Cantina, maybe a whole... thing that would drop in to the Rebel Transport, turning it into more of a display/playset?
 
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I did this one:





I worked on a Mos Eisely version too, and a Wampa Cave that would interact with the Ice Planet version if the base. I also made a commissioned "Death Star Detention Level" backdrop in the dimensions of the Creature Cantina backdrop for a guy who had a black-painted Cantina base.

And now that I think about it, a while back I made some commissioned backdrops for the "Droid Factory" and "Jabba's Dungeon" playsets too...

...so I guess the short answer is yes!

I like the Rebel Transport idea, now if only I had one...:hmm:
 
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Pac-Man lives:



It's not really a pop-up playset, it's a three-tiered display stand, but it was spawned by my son's Super Mario Bros. playset, so I had to share...
 

Utinniii

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That certainly solves the structural problem I mentioned!

The nice thing about your format is you could use the structure but print out the other mazes. The structure could also be used for Donkey Kong, Q-bert, Frogger, et al.

I would make a blank version and have stickers of the pellets, fruits and ghosts so each one could be customized.
 
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Pac-Man lives:



It's not really a pop-up playset, it's a three-tiered display stand, but it was spawned by my son's Super Mario Bros. playset, so I had to share...
Nice! And worst case scenario - when Hasbro kills the Star Wars line, you'll have another booming business to fall back on! :grin: Retro video games never get old!
 
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Thanks guys! I am eager to get pictures from my client with his Pac-Man wind ups displayed on it! It's visually interesting as an empty piece by itself, but I want to see how it looks "in use."
 
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Dam it, Now I want to convert ERG into Ghost Monsters (again)
(unmasked Vader as Mezmaron & Figrin D'an as the Pac Man)

All set to a in Universe Pac Man Movie trailer.


 
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If shipping wasn't such a bear I'd send you my Rebel Transport to fiddle with prototypes, lol.

I ordered one of your Executor/Bounty Hunter 2 tier displays from ebay. I'll be sure to post some pics when I get it. :D
 
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Thanks! I never had that one as a kid, and after you mentioned it I looked through some photography of it to see what you meant. I couldn't really see much I could do with it, and without adequate reference materials, I'd be basically making it up much like they appeared to. Though my version wouldn't be an obvious action figure carrying case.:grin:
 
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I made an "accessory sheet" to go along with the Cantina Alcove sets. I will cut these out and include them with the set so multiples can be customized into different looking alcoves without much work. (Behind the scenes, I finally found a good double-sided tape with paper over one side so these accessories can be shipped ready-to-apply!)



I've had the sundial/turbine piece sitting on my desktop waiting to be finished for months, I finally found the impetus!
 
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Looks great! I'll definitely be wanting some sets eventually.

And it looks like you're getting even more free advertising from JTA. That's so awesome, man! You'll be stuck doing this stuff till you retire, looks like. Let me know when you start hiring, lol.
 
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Thanks for pointing that out, I had no idea...

I put that Death Star up on eBay to take advantage of that 25 dollars off a 119 purchase they had on Tuesday, and sold one in 20 minutes! So I put up a second, and it has been sitting gathering views and watchers for a few days. It was all just a test, I have been selling them outside eBay (the fees there do make it higher-priced than I'd like to do) but picking up the JTA mention is great.

I had to laugh that in one of the comments someone said it was "allegedly hand-made..." I guess that's a compliment?

I will take your completed Death Star build as your resume...:p
 
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Deal!

Did you see the SDCC reveals for Hasbro's Solo playsets? I could almost swear they've been taking cues from some of your work! Even so, I think at the pace that they come out with new product, you wouldn't have to worry as you already have quite a nice assortment that would take Hasbro ages to match!
 
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Yes, I had seen the Vandor set a few weeks ago, and now the Kessel set too. I had a bit of fun Friday on my FB page welcoming the "new guys" to the cardboard playset venue.

Obviously I have always loved playsets almost as much as the figures...I am glad to see something, though it was odd to have that stomach-tug feeling of competition upon first look. I want them to succeed, I want to own them, I want to see more...

I'm not too worried...if anything I am relieved that I won't have to invest the time to make a pop-up playset to go with the Vandor 4-pack coming out with the video release. If those retro-styled playsets are something they start doing aggressively its no problem because my bread-and-butter has always been display stands, and with the very favorable way my new Blast Door Shadowbox set was received, I can lean into screen accuracy to give myself a niche to fill. And then I've got the big stuff like Death Star, Rebel Base, Vader's Castle, Star Destroyer Bridge, etc.
 
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Oh definitely. It could actually help you, too, if they start gaining a little popularity by bringing attention to that particular niche or whatever you'd call it. I was really happy when I saw those because at least Hasbro is trying something with playsets, and I think they are really cool and a good way to approach it while keeping the cost down. And of course I thought, man, I wonder if Muftak is worried now. But yeah I think it'll be cool. Especially since you, as a fan, are more in touch with what there is a demand for and have a lot less red tape to deal with in bringing an idea to the stage of finished product.
 
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The newest Pop-Up Playset, "Gantry Duel..."









This one was suggested by a client who was looking at the "Super Mario Bros" playset I made for my son and realized this scene would work in it. (Chalk up $1 for my son!) It was going to be a commissoned one-off but as it came together it looked so good we decided to make it available to everybody in a limited edition instead. I totally geeked out on being able to put a real railing on here, that was a first for these sets!
 
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Completely agree with your sentiment! I had (almost) never even attempted the gantry because of the problematic rocket/antenna. Once someone else said "well, just make the middle section" then the whole thing opened up and I was able to make this display. Maybe someday I will team up with a 3D printing seller to finish it off...

I say "almost" because my attempted giant Cloud City Playset from years back did have a truncated version of the full gantry:

 
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Long time fan, (we've spoken by email and on Facebook before) but nice to see you're also active on RS.

I've been buying these sets for awhile now - in fact, I'm struggling to keep up - but they've totally transformed how I display my figures. I've got one of those full scale Death Star sets on order at the moment and I can't wait to see it set up. :)

I'm glad that these are selling and that they've turned into a paying business for you.

I really liked the Rebels set you did recently, and I really must speak to you about commissioning some Expanded Universe and Prequel sets when I get the time. I've got a Kamino display that is crying out for your work... :)
 
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That Bespin playset is great. Really nice how you approached that scene. This is the type of stuff I always wanted to see Hasbro do.
 
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I've been buying these sets for awhile now - in fact, I'm struggling to keep up - but they've totally transformed how I display my figures. I've got one of those full scale Death Star sets on order at the moment and I can't wait to see it set up. :)

I'm glad that these are selling and that they've turned into a paying business for you.

I really liked the Rebels set you did recently, and I really must speak to you about commissioning some Expanded Universe and Prequel sets when I get the time. I've got a Kamino display that is crying out for your work... :)
Darkbill, it is great to see that you are a part of this community! Thanks for all that, and thank you for your business and support. It really means a lot to me for you to say my work has impacted your display. 10 years ago when I moved out of the OCD part of Star Wars collecting and just wanted a nice set-up for my "finished collection" of figures, there weren't any off-the-shelf options and I had to literally build my own display shelves. The idea for the displays I build today come straight from that frustration...I am glad that there is now something out there to help a collector build a nice display for their collection.

The day is coming when I get to the Prequels...I don't have many figures from that era, but I know I'm the exception and if my displays are going to be a "system" for others to use that era will have to be addressed.

kk1 and Trooper31 thanks for your kind words as well. The Cloud City was a little too ambitious for my skill level at the time, but I do hope to get back to it and do it justice someday.
 
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I need to get around to posting/sending some pics of these displays. Maybe I'll do it via Facebook. It's just that every time I think I've got it finished you issue another ****** piece of art and I need to fit that in somewhere. :)

I officially have more displays than shelf space now. I already have a dedicated SW room, but it looks like we might have to move house to accommodate that Vader Castle set.
 
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Thanks! My mentality wit hall the stuff is that I have been trying to get displays out there for people to match up with their action figure collections, but over time I have found there are quite a few distinct ways of displaying figures. So I do Desktop Displays for people who like tiered shelves of figures, and Spotlight Displays for people who like lots of environments and set up pictures. I started doing these Pop-Up Playsets last year for people who like to pose their figures in specific scenes diorama style, and of course the Big Playsets I have been doing forever as add-ons to the figures and vehicles in the main line (I see these types of collectors as setting up a "museum at home" of all the items.) Just this year I started a line of "Archival Displays" intended to ape the shape and design of Kenner's original Action Display Stand for the "first 12" and carry the design over with a dedicated spot for every vintage figure on multiple stands. (I'll start a thread here for those once I get the vintage figures completed.)

I never expected there to be as much cross-over as there is between the different lines, but people seem to like the stuff and mix-n-match the different lines way more than I thought there would be.

I can understand the running out of space!
 
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The next in what appears to be a continuing line of "Fathers and Sons on Rickety Walkways" playsets:









 
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Beautiful work, I love it! And lol at fathers and sons and rickety walkways! Do hand rails just not exist in space?

On a side note, it's interesting how the chasm on this one fades into a bright glow, whereas others fade into blackness. It's a neat effect.
 
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Yeah, the glow is weird because in my mind's eye I remembered Solo falling into blackness but that was clearly not the case. It makes sense, too, as the energy build-up for the big laser was supposedly down there in the core. I was happy for it because it did at least make this a unique-looking piece (with yet another forced-perspective base that I told you before I didn't want to do!)

Here's the next one I made. I have been moving that platform at the mid-line of the playset template around, and it (finally) occurred to me that if I moved it all the way to the top I could have a roof. Why would I want a roof? There's only one scene that screams for a roof:



This idea has been on my plate for two years, but only now was I able to visualize it, using this format that has become a default template for the pop-up playsets.



The front ice pillars keep the roof supported so Luke can hang from the ceiling, and I had to invert the normal tabs and slots with the up-top position. I also knocked the height down from 8" to 6" because Luke needed to be closer to the floor when upside-down aesthetically.



Unfortunately, I broke Luke's scarf while doing the photos. It could spin, until it couldn't. :(
 
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That Starkiller Base piece and this Wampa cave are great. You're outdoing yourself!

When and where (and for how much) is the Wampa cave set going to be sold?

BTW, we need more First Order pieces. Do you have anything else coming up?
 
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Thanks! The Wampa Playset is up on me eBay store now...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/183406226427

or to avoid eBay fees you can always follow my FaceBook page and hit me up for an order directly there...

https://www.facebook.com/CardboardGalaxy/

As far as the First Order, I still really need to find time to do the Starkiller Base Rally as a display in some form. And Snoke's Throne Room is on my list too, that one ought to show up before the end of the year, and will probably be the next Pop-Up Playset I tackle (after finishing up Vader's Castle and the long-awaited Star Destroyer Bridge!)
 
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Great!

You've got an order from me as soon as you finish that Starkiller Base Rally display. There are three other displays I need from you. Keep me posted!
 
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So what's going on everybody?

It looks like a lot of the links to pictures from last summer are broken now. That stinks. For the future I will make sure to upload them to the Rebelscum server so that they last.

I have a couple new sets tp show off, a bit of a different style than I had been doing. It seems I am moving closer to the style Kenner used on the POTF2 Pop-Up Playsets in the 90s, as opposed to the "Vintage" style playsets. I am having fun with it.

Here is a Blockade Runner I put together, based on a picture sent by a customer who wanted me to replicate a custom display he had seen. I changed up quite a few details after reverse-engineering it, but the process really opened me up to a whole new approach:







After that, I had to try my own "original" design in that style. And I had become really taken with the new Retro Tarkin figure, so I built him a home that made sense as a display with other Retro figures...his Overbridge. I have done this one a few times in various forms, so this was still a bit of getting my toes wet before diving in.







Did you notice the viewscreen changing? I made 5 interchangeable cards for multiple display options...



In lieu of all the construction work that would have gone into command stations, I instead added an attached Superlaser Control Room, with a cut-out window to allow interaction between the two:



And on the opposite side of the playset is the hallway entrance. In the future, this is where Iplan to have the playset be able to "connect" to new pieces:



These were a breath of fresh air to me, I had gotten worn down a bit with the same-old same-old I have been working on (plus going back to full-time work--60 or so hours a week!--took a lot of Cardboard Galaxy time away) but finding time for these has gotten the juices flowing again.

Thanks for looking!
 
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I love the evolution of your style! Making the playsets even more dynamic with attached rooms is a great idea and I'm all for making things connectable. The details on your graphics are astounding to say the least. All those discs in the superlaser control room for instance - this kind of thing really makes the playsets pop. The interchangeable cards for the death star are a grea idea!

I'm looking forward for more :)
 
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