While Kenner may have been the first company to hit paydirt with “mini-action figures” in the 3 3/4″ scale (a scale determined by the size needed to make the accompanying Millennium Falcon toy affordable to both manufacturer and consumers), Mego that ball and ran with it at full speed, producing numerous figures in an identical scale. Formerly known for its large-scale Star Trek figures in the early 1970s – a line which coincided not with the series’ original broadcast, but with its syndication success and the animated series – Mego cleverly decided to try to siphon off some of Kenner’s (and Star Wars‘) market share by creating both licensed and original characters in that scale. The die-cast metal Micronauts led the way, though when Mego won the licenses for TV shows such as Buck Rogers, and movies like Disney’s The Black Hole, those figures were produced in a similar 3 3/4″ scale. […]
I’ll admit it. The Black Hole is less of a guilty cinematic pleasure for me, and probably more along the lines of a harmless obsession. When I saw this then-shocking PG-rated Disney movie at the age of seven, the thought of Maximillian drilling folks to death terrified me – this wasn’t make-believe stuff here like Star Wars, because my dad had a drill in his workshop! But I also knew that, if it came to that big red behemoth chasing me, VINCENT and Old BOB wouldn’t let me down. They’d have me covered. They’d know what to do. Because they were the two coolest movie robots to come down the pike since R2-D2. I later outgrew my abject fears about the movie’s most violent scene, but found that my affinity for its two robotic heroes never quite waned. Most accounts of the making of the movie have pinpointed these two hovering robots as the source of countless production difficulties, since the props were heavy enough to require piano wire to suspend them, and the piano wire then had to be optically hidden in as many shots as possible – back in the day when you couldn’t just “run it through the computer” to accomplish that. Ever notice how many opportunities the director took to get close enough that you couldn’t really see the robots floating in mid-air?