Remembering the Tomy Mighty Men and Monster Maker kits

On TheFwoosh, Themanintheanthill has a detailed remembrance of Tomy's Mighty Men and Monster-Maker kits, which John at Super Punch calls "the toy from my childhood I most regret not keeping." I'm with John. I loved these things -- you assembled templates for monsters/superheros in a frame, inserted a sheet of paper overtop, did a "brass rubbing" of the outlines, and got a custom line-drawing to color in. My set got a second life when I fell in love with Villains and Vigilantes, a superhero RPG, and made the world's greatest character sheets.

The tiles represent heroic and monstrous archetypes of the 20th century. You’ve got both Marvel- and DC-style heroes, a Flash Gordon/Buck Rodgers-type spaceman, a Frankenstein Monster and Mummy, as well as some truly interesting “alien” designs that look like something out of Barlow’s Guide to Extraterrestrials. The art is terrific, top-notch spot illos by Dave Stevens, who later went on to create a little comic called The Rocketeer.




    1.  Heh – my childhood memories met up with my Makerbot, and I started a series of plates–along with a base and crayon holder–earlier this year. With newer 3D printers’ larger build platforms, it should be much easier to replicate (no pun intended) the size of the original; mine were small-ish based on the size of my Thing-o-Matic. :-)

  1. I remember this toy very fondly.  I played for hours with it.  My parents kept mine in storage, and they actually took it out a couple of months ago for my 6 and 9 year old boys  to play with.   They loved it as well.  It’s great fun rediscovering old toys that I had forgotten about.

  2. I thought about this just the other day. I never had it – but a friend did. I played with it every time I went over to his house. LOVED it. IIRC there was one for girls as well.

  3. My dad had a skill for finding the dopest toys at tag sales in his tony Connecticut neighborhood (yes, rich connecticuteers have tag sales). Between this, the toxic-goop-cooked-to-plastic-bugs kit & the tiny (and now probably priceless) Star Wars playsets (and untold numbers of hotweels, Robotix/Capsella, legos, etc) this was one of my favorites.

  4. I used to have this.  And I’m pretty sure, somewhere among my possessions, I have at least one of the template parts (probably a torso)

  5. WOW!  That was a blast from the past.  Saw the drawings before I read anything and had the most vivid flashback of mixing up the tiles and making supermen with lizard legs, or spacemen with gorilla arms.  Man that thing was great!!  My kids would love it too!  
    I wish I could go back in time and bring some of my great toys back with me.  I’d grab my GI Joes, my Evel Kneivel stunt bike, all my action figures and my Hot Wheels tracks.  

  6. I might still have mine in storage somewhere. When i was 7, i taught myself the principles of 3D using one of those with red & blue crayons, shifting the paper right or left slightly as i rubbed different body parts to bring them more or less into the foreground. Hours of fun.

  7. For a second there, I thought “brass rubbing” implied the use of actual brass.  I guess I picked up some notion somewhere about things back then being built to last and incorporating senselessly durable materials, but that would probably be going too far.  (It would also make the plates into rather painful projectiles, but that would be in line with my notions of old timey toys as well.)

  8. This toy was awesome – a nice little foray into assemblage and culture-jamming all in one cardboard box. 

    And the line art and character variations were awesome – devils, superheroes, aliens, demons… Something for everyone. 

    As an earlier poster said: What a great idea for 3D-printing out the original kit components, as well more plates to interchange with new content. 

  9. Still have mine, which was a hand-me-down from some older cousins of mine. I think one or two of the plates were missing in the transaction, but it was still one of the best things ever. I should dig mine out from wherever it may be…

  10. I had one of these! The thing that bugged me is that the edge of each template would show through as part of the rubbing.  So, each character had what looked like a big, exaggerated Grandpa Munster/Bela Lugosi collar (from where the template sloped around each side of the head).  I don’t have access to YouTube at the moment, but I remember this had an enjoyably silly television commercial. 

    My sister had something similar called Fashion Plates (“It’s got all those fashionable traits – and they call it Fashion Plates! Fashion Plates, la-da-da…”)

    EDIT: I also remember the plates were different sizes and shapes, so you couldn’t take the woman’s torso from Fashion Plates and mix it with the demon-thing’s head.

  11. Still have mine! Weird little thing but I loved it. I think I even still have one of the black rubbing-sticks that came with it.

    That sounded dirty but I can’t think of another way to phrase it that doesn’t.

  12. Wow, I haven’t thought of these in YEARS.

    And Cory, you weren’t the only person who used them for that purpose.  I had a friend who made a ton of V&V and Champions character sheets using it.

  13. My brother and I endlessly fought over this thing… our little black crayons used until they were nubs. Went missing in one of our many moves and much lamented. I graduated into making paper dolls in the shape of robots, monsters and sundry…

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