rubber uglies

Hunting Dragons

They used to be everywhere back in the good old days. Ugly plastic & rubber beasts! During the golden 80s & early 90s KO era, the dino-mania reached another peak. Factories in Hong Kong and China flooded the Western market with all sorts of cheap monster toys. One of the most popular KO makers of that time was Imperial Toys.

KOzilla family: Dor-Meis and Imperial Godzillas. 

Years before Imperial put out licensed Godzilla figures, they released a whole toyline of 3rd party steeds, vehicles and accessories called Dragons, Knights & Daggers. These were advertised as additions for play with all 5.5” laser, sword and sorcery action figure lines. 

Unmarked Gigan knock-offs. 

Imperial Beasts from Dragons, Knights & Daggers.

Mixing up scifi elements with prehistoric monsters was a concept that proved very successful in the 80s. It also gave birth to great toylines such as Sparkle’s Defenders of the Planets (1985) and Remco’s Warrior Beasts (1983).

Defenders of the Planets Quasar with “Rhino-Beast”.

Warrior Beasts “Fire Dragons”.

Dragons, Knights & Daggers started out in 1983 as well. Which is four years earlier than Mattel’s MotU spin-off Powers of Grayskull (1987) btw. Imperial also released numerous beasts that originally weren’t intended as 5.5” extensions. Some of the molds were put to use years before He-Man and pals came to life, back in the 70s or even late 60s, when the company was founded.

Two-headed Dragons by Imperial.

Some particular beasts were evergreens in the KO recycling bin. Their molds and designs were used over and over again throughout the years, handed down from one KO factory to another. One prominent example is “Remco’s” Fire Dragons. These came out both boxed as Warrior Beast steeds as well as loose no-name dino toys, you could find at any cheapo store back in the days. The beasts were still around in the late 90s. At least in Europe.

Two-headed T-Rex by Dor-Mei (middle) and his brothers.

Other big suppliers of prehistoric beasts and such were Chitech and Dor-Mei. Chitech’s most popular piece is probably their three-headed dragon, released in numerous color variations. Not all releases are marked Chitech though.

Marked and unmarked 3-headed Chitech Dragons & Winged Chitech Dragon.

Multi-headed dragons were a very popular concept during the golden KO age, as well. IMO they also defined the “Imperial Beast” genre. The bigger beasts were often made of multiple pieces. Interchanging heads and bodies resulted in a broad range of produced combinations and variations, which is typical for knock-offs. 

Dor-Mei was well known for their articulated giant Godzilla rip-off figures. Actually they looked alot cleaner than Imperial’s licensed non-bootleg releases. Because of their dirty casts and shitty paint jobs, Imperial Godzillas are often mistaken as bootlegs. Whereas the original Dor-Mei’s KOzillas had clean casts and decent paint jobs.

Dor-Mei molds have been in use for at least a decade, from the mid 80s until the late 90s. Later releases weren’t marked Dor-Mei any longer. They also varied in body texture, paint and articulation. 

Rare KOzillas “Made in Spain”.

I think no other KO sub-genre offers so many oddities and mysteries like this. Some figures show up quite often. Some very rarely, like the two “Made in Spain” KOzillas shown above. And others only show up once, like a two-headed Godzilla bootleg I found in a Bodega store on Tenerife, buried under a pile of fake Action Man Barbies.

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The infinite number of releases seems unmanagable. And whenever you think you are done, another suprise is gonna come your way. At some point collecting rubber beasts is comparable to the work of a hunter of rare specimen. You just don’t know yet what you gonna get. 

Mixed pickles: Dor-Meis, Chitechs, and unmarked stuff. The winged beasts are contemporary KOs, released by KiK in 2014.

Fire Dragon gift set by Remco. Source:

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Dragons, Knights & Daggers Battle Beast MIB. Source:

Trying to delete you from my life is like trying to erase with one of those ugly pink rubber erasers: you can remove the marks from the paper, but you’ll always know there was something there that shouldn’t have been.

Tonight, I took the train back to the apartment. I’m not used to public transportation; I always drove my own car, blasted my own music, decided where and when to go places and how long I’d spend getting there. But the train forces you to adapt, and you don’t get a whole lot of choice over your travel style. So you get a lot of time to think.

And today, your words were louder in my head than the echoing roar of the train speeding through subway tunnels. I love to people watch; San Francisco’s stations, people, and frigid air only remind me of how much I wanted to move here. I remember telling you that; I remember asking you if you would mind.

“I don’t care where you go. As long as I’m with you.”

Those were your words; never actually spoken, only written, but louder than this train nonetheless.

It’s been over a year since you said your love for me wasn’t “growing” and you left, and yet, when I think of a potential future here, you’re still very much a part of it—a part I can’t seem to fully omit—even though we’re no longer a part of each other.

“I don’t care where you go. As long as I’m with you.”

Sadly, the current truth is closer to just that first sentence: you don’t care where I go.

You easily deleted me from your life, like a typo. And I’m trying so hard to erase you, but all I’ve got is one of those ugly pink erasers that just kind of smudges pencil lead around, and you left some pretty deep marks on my paper heart. And I can keep trying to rub you away, but I’m afraid it seems the marks you left will always kind of stay.


Final pic of the Jagdpanther hull for now. I’m not happy with a lot of things but I’m also pretty burned out on this model by now. Painting the wheel rims was neverending hell. For now I’ll put some varnish on the model.

I’m kinda hesitant about doing the tracks, since they’re ugly rubber tracks, especially since there’s metal ones on ebay that I’m ogling right now but can’t afford at the moment.

spooky scary skeletons (in the closet). (ao3)

for (the currently aptly named) @spookedchester <3

Halloween loses its magic when Dean is eleven.

It just so happens to be the same year he learns to handle a gun well enough to make his own sawed-off.

Or. Well. Maybe it’s not actually that much of a coincidence. John doesn’t say it outright, but Dean gets the message loud and clear: Halloween is for kids, and Dean no longer falls into that category.

He never really did, though. If he’s being honest, Halloween has never held magic for him in the way it seemed to for his classmates. He always wanted to get caught up in the excitement, of course, but considering the fact that the whole holiday is basically a celebration of monsters, a romanticization of the very things that are responsible, on a daily basis, for everything he hates about his life, he thinks he can be excused for feeling a little ambivalent.

He had tried, for a while, for Sam’s sake, even when he had to steal second-hand costumes because knives and bullets and lighter fluid were always more important uses of money. Even though he could never quite explain why he would never let them dress up as witches or werewolves or ghosts, only as superheroes.

It had been fun, while it lasted, pretending that such a shining ideal was something that could exist. Or, even more laughably, that it was something he could be.

And then Sam had broken his arm believing Dean’s bullshit, and that had put an end to that. Even if it hadn’t, Sam learning the truth a few years later certainly would have.

In other words, it’s safe to say, as an adult, that his feelings about the whole thing remain a little mixed. On the one hand, he’s bitter over missing out on the whole experience, over never having the chance to feel simple youthful joy over dressing up and going trick-or-treating. And on the other hand, why the hell is he so bitter? It’s not like he can’t eat candy any damn day of the year he wants. He didn’t need the excuse of a costume as a kid, and he sure doesn’t need the excuse of kids coming round to his door nestled in some suburban neighborhood as an adult. He’s gonna do whatever he wants, annual holidays be damned.

Which is why, bright and early on November 1, Dean decides to head to the freshly discounted Halloween aisle of the closest grocery store.

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