Archive for the 'Arts and Crafts' Category

Evel Knievel Paint By Number Coloring Set (Hasbro, 1974)



Paint by number didn’t have quite the allure of the poster pen sets. I never liked being told what to color, and I’m betting I wasn’t alone.

One of the things that interests me is how kids’ heroes—and the toys that represented them—have changed so much. They were once based on real people—cops, cowboys, the original G.I. Joe, Matt Mason, the Fisher-Price Adventure People, and so on. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s they became more bionic and less terrestrial, more perfect and less human. Superhuman is now the baseline for action entertainment.

In retrospect, I’m not sure why I loved the idiotic Evel so much. But at least he wasn’t a talking turtle, or a robot that transformed into a robot riding a motorcycle.

Lefty Limbo’s Papercraft `Huey’ Drone from Silent Running




The best part of the eco-sci-fi drama Silent Running (1972) is watching Bruce Dern’s character, adrift and alone in space, interact with the three service drones he programs to do various tasks, one of which is playing poker. Years ago Greg at Lefty Limbo found some “dinky” papercraft models of the robots (Huey, Dewey, and Louie) and decided to make one of them—enlarged to life-sized proportions. The impressive end result, minus some hydraulic hoses, is above, but you should read the whole story and check out all the work he put into the project here.

Masters of the Universe Fast Dry Paint By Number Set (Craft House, 1983)

MOTU Paint 1983-1

MOTU Paint 1983-2

MOTU Paint 1983-3

Nobody likes slow dry paint. Nobody.

(Images via eBay)

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Color & Build Castle (A.R.C., 1983)

AD&D Castle 1983-1

AD&D Castle 1983-2

AD&D Castle 1983-3

AD&D Castle 1983-6

AD&D Castle 1983-7

AD&D Castle 1983-8

AD&D Castle 1983-9

AD&D Castle 1983-4

AD&D Castle 1983-5

It’s not this incredibly amazing paper model of Prague Castle from the 1970s, but what is? At least it took some imagination to devise (paper craft combined with poster art), and a lot of effort to complete (you’ll see that our first owner did not get very far). And it’s versatile enough to be gaming-relevant, especially for younger players.

Warduke and friends are here, of course, prime for catapulting. There’s even a page of torture devices!

Battlestar Galactica Poster Art Set (Craft Master, 1978)

BSG Poster Art 1978-1

BSG Poster Art 1978-2

I had this one. Note the coloring hints, especially “These pens contain more than enough ink to complete all the posters in your set.” I call bullshit.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind Poster Pen Set (Craft House, 1978)

Close Encounters Poster Pen 1978

Close Encounters Poster Pen 1978-2

Poster pen sets and poster art became popular during the latter half of the 1970s, part of a general arts and crafts surge that included everything from latch hook rugs to paintable figurines. (The oversized, “fine art” coloring books innovated by Troubador Press were an obvious inspiration.) There were poster sets before Star Wars, but Star Wars kicked the format into overdrive, making it relevant and exciting to the emerging geek generation.

(Images via eBay)

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cool, Cool Candles (NSI, 1983)

AD&D Candles 1983-1

AD&D Candles 1983-3

AD&D Candles 1983-2

They’re not just cool candles. They’re cool, cool candles. Do they represent the most obnoxiously irrelevant D&D product license ever to come to market, or does that honor go to the AD&D Woodburning Set, also from NSI? Either way, the candles are colorful, fun, and cool times two (times three, even!). I would like to line them up on my desk and light them while listening to First Quest: The Music.

(Images via G-Shop Games/eBay)

The Empire Strikes Back Yoda Figurine (Craft Master, 1980)

ESB Yoda 1981

ESB Yoda 1981-2

$3.97! I could get two action figures for that. What the hell am I going to do with a “figurine”?

The Empire Strikes Back: Yoda Latch Hook Rug Kit (1980)

ESB Rug 1980

ESB Rug 1980-2

An eyesore I am.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Quicklatch Rug Kit (Craft Master, 1982)

E.T. Rug 1982

E.T. Rug 1982-2

Quick-latch rugs were a thing in the late ’70s and early ’80s, but I’m not sure why. There was a general crafts resurgence, and I remember going to various stores with my mom to buy the rug kits and figurines to paint—there were E.T., Return of the Jedi, and D&D paint-a-figurine sets, among others, and a company called Craft Master was the leading producer. Craft Master was also a leading producer of the Poster and Pen sets unique to our generation.

The rug kit came with a color coded template and a latch instrument, and you would take the appropriate strip of yarn with the latch, run it through the correct square, tie it off, and so on until you died from boredom. When finished, the rug was very unfortunately made into a pillow or hung on the wall. I may have completed one of the things before I realized that I was being duped and went back to my action figures and D&D Basic Set.




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