Good For Figures!

This spectacular setup in a restaurant in Greece still resonates with lost opportunity

Location scouts for our Motion Pictures

I really loved action figure playsets! I would obsessively stare at them all so relentlessly in the Star Wars Collections catalogues. If I could play with them just one time, what concept of game would I devise? Then I was introduced to the Playmobil playsets at Kilbirnie School that were unrivalled in their glory. All but lucky fleeting moments in our journey. These elaborate toys cost a fortune and were actually rare in the shops in New Zealand where I was based.

And there was the impetus for change..

The unattainable playsets went from dreams to reality! They were located everywhere and this really liberated our minds. It started with the simple approach of letting our imaginations run wild allowing nothing to be something, much like the green screen mentality in cinema.

But now and then our worlds would shake to their very core. We would see something to scale.. yes figures scale! meaning 3.75 inch. No need for imaginative filtering. Oh and forget Action Man 12″ scale he was always considered a giant and besides, he loved it anyway. It allowed him to conquer the figures with pleasurable ease.

“Good for figures!” became the rally call for such discoveries! Spotting narrow concrete ledges became precise roads for our VAMP Jeeps. Gardens with flowers became exotic trees in the ‘Nam. The amazing tree stumps at Kilbirnie School became spectacular Headquarters for my Cobra Officer. Even my fathers new Technics cabinet Stereo system became the Death Star with real switches for a “Standby” rush!

An abandoned road once frequented by VAMP

An amusing tale involved the mailbox across the street from the back of Kilbirnie School. I had noticed this mailbox many a times with it’s bunker like design and obsessed with my good friend Matthew about the rush of a game there, had we the courage. We had never seen the property owner venture out by the mailbox. Could we get away with it? Sure enough, the desire for an amazing game outweighed the courage and we went for it.

The school bell rang after school and we dashed into position!

There we were, what a game! Figures imprisoned in the bunker with their comrades attempting a break in. Now this was the life! Good for figures environments were so glorious when initiated, it was actually quite overwhelming. But it was brief…all too brief. A cry sprang from up the driveway! He was not friendly….nor accommodating when I said “Sorry but we liked your mailbox. It was good for figures..”. We got outta there fast feeling lucky to escape!

The next day at school we reported our brave game and eventual capture by the wild man to our friends. It made for wonderful drama. Spotting the ultimate location, being brave enough to go for it only to be thwarted by a crazy man! However, the event became defined by something else. It was those words he cried out. Though a terrifying to have lived through, we, like all good creatives, turned his rally cry into a catchy melody and we had a hit song that we sung for months to come…

“Hey you!.. Yeah you!… Get outta my letterbox!!!”

It was the way you played with the figures


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