Bulette & Rust Monster plastic toys
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:00 am 
 

b-36 wrote: It backs up what I've always thought: Given the fact that the designs we are discussing were being produced as plastic figures in the early 1970s, and would seem to pre-date many of the fantasy role playing publications in which they appear, I have always assumed that the concept for the Rust Monster and Bulette (and maybe some of the others) came FROM the figures and was used BY early role players and then TSR, and not the other way around (I think many assume the Hong Kong figures were "borrowed" from the
pictures in the Monster Manual, et al, and not the other way around).  But there are definitely others here who may know more about that, or can shed further light . . .


I'll ping Tim Kask....these would appear to be the "inspiration" for many a classic MM beastie, and Tim has been desperately looking for one of these Bulette figures for awhile. Tim has told the story many times about being given these figures (by Gary?) and making them into D&D monsters...

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:14 pm 
 

I updated the page at the link above (http://www.bhkwt.com/open/acaeum) to add some pictures and information on later Hong Kong and China plastic Fantasy Toy Soldiers that were DIRECTLY taken from TSR/AD&D monsters (drawings in the Monster Manual type hardcovers or taken from older Heritage/TSR/Grenadier lead mini designs).

I'm mailing two plastic bulettes (one small, one larger) to Tim Kask tomorrow - and I'm searching for the thread/threads where he may have discussed basing monsters on these figures.  Good stuff!!


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:49 pm 
 

b-36 wrote:I've been collecting these (and other "Fantasy Toy Soldiers" and knights of various lines) for many years.


Hello, b-36. Welcome to the Acaeum & thank you for your long and insightful post.

As others have stated, there are variations to the quality of the paint jobs.  Earlier Hong Kong versions are usually well painted (for Hong Kong plastic toys!!), later Hong Kong and most of the China versions have poorer paint jobs (eyes overpainted, missing paint, etc . . ).


This makes a lot of sense to me, as my original figures seemed to be of higher quality than later ones I've found at thrift stores/Ebay.

I've created a web page with some pictures of some of the figures from my collection.  Along with the Bulette and the Rust Monster, there are figures that resemble the AD&D Salamander, Owlbear, Su-Monster, and Umber Hulk.  Others that are slightly like the Troglodyte and maybe some of the dragons/dragonne.


I'm not yet convinced that the other figures were used as the basis of the specific D&D monsters you list above. The other figures look quite different (and I can't even tell for sure which figures are the monsters you are referring to), unlike the rust monster & bulette, which are identical. Hopefully, Tim Kask can provide some insight.

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:38 pm 
 

b-36 wrote:I updated the page at the link above (http://www.bhkwt.com/open/acaeum) to add some pictures and information on later Hong Kong and China plastic Fantasy Toy Soldiers that were DIRECTLY taken from TSR/AD&D monsters (drawings in the Monster Manual type hardcovers or taken from older Heritage/TSR/Grenadier lead mini designs).


Fascinating! I've had one of those nagas since I was a kid (and yes, it has appeared on my game table at times). I've never seen those other AD&D knockoffs before (althought for one or two of them, I've got the lead miniature they appear to be copied from).

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:11 pm 
 

Sorry I haven't been reading--my 'puter puked it's guts out and I have to get a new one.
Some of those pictured (the molds) are defintely out of the original set.

I'll be glad to elucidate tomorrow or Sunday when I have this 'puter shit solved.


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 12:05 am 
 

b-36 wrote:I updated the page at the link above...


Can you tell us the size of some of these figures? Are they abou tthe size of old cowboys and indians?


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:57 pm 
 

TheMilford wrote:Can you tell us the size of some of these figures? Are they abou tthe size of old cowboys and indians?


Yes, that's about the size; green army men would be taller than the back of the rust monster or bulette. The rust monster was one of the bigger ones (being long). The sets I had as a kid always came with a weird pterodactyl with feathers, which was the largest figure in the set. b-36's photos don't show this one, or the other more standard dinosaurs that came in the same set. The standard dinos were tiny compared to many Marx plastic dinosaurs - the brontosaurus-type being smaller than the rust monster.

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Post Posted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:37 pm 
 

TheMilford wrote:Can you tell us the size of some of these figures? Are they abou tthe size of old cowboys and indians?


The Bulettes range from 52mm to 60mm nose to tail - Rust monsters about 1 and 1/2 times that (Antennae to funny propeller tail).

The DFC and Arco figures are all 52mm (like many older knights, cowboys, soldiers) - except the DFC Orc which is a bit larger.


Zenopus76 wrote:The sets I had as a kid always came with a weird pterodactyl with feathers, which was the largest figure in the set.


Yeah - I remember those - with the pointy head and beak!!!!


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:30 pm 
 

b-36 wrote:I updated the page at the link above (http://www.bhkwt.com/open/acaeum) to add some pictures and information on later Hong Kong and China plastic Fantasy Toy Soldiers that were DIRECTLY taken from TSR/AD&D monsters (drawings in the Monster Manual type hardcovers or taken from older Heritage/TSR/Grenadier lead mini designs).

I'm mailing two plastic bulettes (one small, one larger) to Tim Kask tomorrow - and I'm searching for the thread/threads where he may have discussed basing monsters on these figures.  Good stuff!!


Sorry to take so long; computer died. Still getting new one up to speed.

The set on eBay is NOT the set we got them from; that original set was almost all weird stuff with just a couple of "sort of dinosaur" looking figs.

On your site, in the row of three individual bullette pictures, the right-most looks most like it.

In the group shot, the one to the left that is a more subdued green looks like it also.

There were at least six monsters created from that set. When it was time to get a drawing of one we would loan the figure to whichever artist was doing the drawing to base it on. The purple worm was one, too.

Go to DF and Search the word and my name; I wrote about them several times.

PS Do you have my address to send them to? I'm out of town from Sat to Tues once I log off computer later tonight.


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:30 pm 
 

b-36 wrote:I updated the page at the link above (http://www.bhkwt.com/open/acaeum) to add some pictures and information on later Hong Kong and China plastic Fantasy Toy Soldiers that were DIRECTLY taken from TSR/AD&D monsters (drawings in the Monster Manual type hardcovers or taken from older Heritage/TSR/Grenadier lead mini designs).

I'm mailing two plastic bulettes (one small, one larger) to Tim Kask tomorrow - and I'm searching for the thread/threads where he may have discussed basing monsters on these figures.  Good stuff!!


Sorry to take so long; computer died. Still getting new one up to speed.

The set on eBay is NOT the set we got them from; that original set was almost all weird stuff with just a couple of "sort of dinosaur" looking figs.

On your site, in the row of three individual bullette pictures, the right-most looks most like it.

In the group shot, the one to the left that is a more subdued green looks like it also.

There were at least six monsters created from that set. When it was time to get a drawing of one we would loan the figure to whichever artist was doing the drawing to base it on. The purple worm was one, too.

Go to DF and Search the word and my name; I wrote about them several times.

PS Do you have my address to send them to? I'm out of town from Sat to Tues once I log off computer later tonight.


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:22 am 
 

Thanks for the info, Tim.

I doubt that Ebay auction is an original set of anything - more likely a random assortment of leftover dinosaurs, including a few of interest to us here.

Found these posts on your DF thread:
http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewt ... te#p687801

As I said, I created it for two reasons.

First and foremost? I had an empty page in that issue of The Dragon because a full-page ad either cancelled or was late, and I had to go to press.
Now Gary and I had had several talks about creating monsters, and he had frequently encouraged me to let my imagination run wild. The umber hulk and the rust monster were fabrications (by Gary) to "explain" two plastic monsters from a bag of weird critters from the dime store that Gary had found and used in Greyhawk. (Now it would be a Dollar Store.) There was still had one that had not been taxonomically identified and defined yet that intrigued me; they called it the "bullet". I frogged-up the name a bit. At this same time, SNL was hitting it's stride and had become a cultural phenomenon, and the Jaws movies were just hitting their stride, and SNL ran with the "landshark" parody. People were going around going "Landshark" "Candygram" all the time as they became a temporary buzzword. No doubt influenced by some really good " Oz oil" that was going around (statute of limitations is long expired), my excursive mind hooked them together as I imagined what a "real" (in D&D terms "real") landshark might be. I had probably been watching a PBS program about moles or armadillos.

The second reason had to do with Outdoor Adventures (or lack thereof) and a herd of hobbit ponies. But that's another story...


http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewt ... st#p774183
The bullette (boo-lay), as it was first called, was the first monster I invented. Why is the more interesting part of the story. I had decided to add a feature to DRAGON that would mean a new monster every issue; problem was, I had to launch an issue early because an ad didn't come in. I wrote it up very late at night; the nickname "landshark" was a reference to a character that the original Not Ready for Primetime Players had done on Saturday Night Live. I went to Dave Sutherland for an emergency drawing (drawings could be submitted to the printers after the copy was set) and he did a dandy job on almost no notice.

There once was an unknown company in Hong Kong that made a bag of weird animal-things that were then sold in what once were called dime stores or variety stores for like $.99. I know of four other very early monsters based on them. Gary and I talked about how hard it was to find monster figures, and how one day he came upon this bag of weird beasts. It might have had a sci-fi marketing hook. He nearly ran home, eager as a kid to get home and open his baseball cards. Then he proceeded to invent the carrion crawler, umber hulk, rust monster and purple worm, all based on those silly plastic figures. The one that I chose was known in the Greyhawk campaign as "the bullet" (for it's shape) but had only amorphous stats and abilities, not being developed. Gary told me to take it home, study it, and decide what it was and what it could do. He wouldn't tell me what it did in GH. So I took it home, "frenchified" the original name, made it bigger in scale and made up the rest of that stuff.

I heard that it was popular with a lot of DM's. I sure liked it when I had a pod of them eat a bunch of adventurer's horses, severely stranding them for a while. I thought that a giant armored mole-thing with a taste for horseflesh was about as bad as anything you could not wish for on an open plain. Comes from growing up in the Corn Belt, I guess.

I have a bunch of monster ideas: I have invented some for every adventure I have written in the past year. I think that its real "old school" for the players not to know the anatomical details and reproductive habits of everything they meet.

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Post Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:40 am 
 

Image

(Picture from b-36 photos above).

Okay, this figure is probably the inspiration for the umber hulk. I even had one of these that was brown (umber) back in the day.

Not sure about the others.

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Post Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 2:51 am 
 

Well, there's a mystery solved.

I have often wondered about it when I have seen what is clearly a rust monster in packs of plastic critters.


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:15 am 
 

Zenopus76 wrote:[ Image ]

(Picture from b-36 photos above).

Okay, this figure is probably the inspiration for the umber hulk. I even had one of these that was brown (umber) back in the day.

Not sure about the others.


No, that's not the one.


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 9:22 am 
 

Hmm...well, that was my best guess - that's the only one I've seen from these sets with "mandibles". None of the figures identified in this thread really looks like the Sutherland umber hulk illo. If it is one of the others, I think we'll need some more guidance. b-36's photos have all of the "creatures" from these sets that I remember (missing only the dinos), but it's possible there were other figures.

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 4:47 pm 
 

A google thanks to b-36 for the two figs. They even had the hideous sprue connections, just as I remembered.


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 7:20 am 
 

No Problem and Enjoy!!  

I'm glad to finally have some better insight into the connection between these toys and some D&D Monsters!!


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 9:44 am 
 

Zenopus wrote:Hmm...well, that was my best guess - that's the only one I've seen from these sets with "mandibles". None of the figures identified in this thread really looks like the Sutherland umber hulk illo. If it is one of the others, I think we'll need some more guidance. b-36's photos have all of the "creatures" from these sets that I remember (missing only the dinos), but it's possible there were other figures.

The various illos were not intended as exact prototypes or models; the plastic figs were "the inspiration" for those beasties. I recall a conversation Gary and I had about just that; I even seem to recall a couple of those figs being "modified", whether with X-Acto knife or pet-chewing or just rough play I couldn't say. I seem to recall him saying that the prop-like appurtenance on the rust monster was simply ignored as being "too Beanie & Cecil-ish".

The original set, or at least the set that we had, had several figures not yet shown in any of the photos.


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