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Old 05-05-2008, 06:09 PM   #1
Designasaurus
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Default Mattel Eagle: Restoration and Upgrade

Hi All,

I'm new to the forum as a poster although I've been a long-time visitor. I've recently completed the restoration and upgrade of one of my Mattel Eagle One ships.

As a toy designer by trade I got tired of looking at the Eagle toy and seeing all the things that could have been done differently to enhance it's look and play value. I decided to dismantle and rebuild the Eagle as though I were mastering a prototype for production and not building a studio model for filming. I didn't want to simply repaint and weather everything I wanted to create as much detail as possible but keep the look and feel of a 1970's plastic spaceship.

One of my biggest pet peves has always been the bulky support columns inside the passanger pod. These make it virtually impossable to place pose action figures inside and was a huge waste of space. As far as I can tell these were only added as an aide to assembly. On my Eagle thes were the first things to be cut off and ground down.

I patched the holes in the roof and added some frick-frack to match the rest of the roof detailing. If you look closely you can see the wire-nuts, model sprus, and a Monopoly house which I used to disguise the holes.

On the floor I patched the holes from the outside matching the paneling to the rest of the bottom. I then installed wall-to-wall eva foam carpeting in a luscious 70's turquoise which fits with the era of the toy. I looked at a lot of photo's and screen captures and it seems like the actual Eagle set had bronw and beige flooring. I tried this on the toy and it sucked the life out of it...too dull.

I mastered and molded bulkheads, doors, computer panels, and a revised weapons rack. All of these have been cast in resin and finished to match the rest of the toy. I then added Mattel-style stickers for a little colour. I also remastered main landing legs to be a little taller and closer in appearance to the look of the origional Eagles. It gives the toy a more aggressive stance. The final bits I made were the side thrusters which had long since disintigrated on my toy. These were made by casting the tips of some mechanical pencils I had lying around the studio. They're a little larger than the origionals and help add to the authentic "toy" feel I was going for.

The resin upgrade bits have worked out so well I'm thinking of offering them as a kit. Maybe I'll trying selling a set on ebay to see if there's interest.

Anyway, I'm proud of my recent project and happy to share it with you here. Please take a look at the photo's and let me know what you think. I'm working on rebuilding a couple other Eagle so I'm interested in getting the reaction to this first attempt.















Thanks for looking!
CHeers!
Paul
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:34 PM   #2
akoenig
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Paul,

Congratulations! You've updated the thing immensely, and it's still a toy.

By the way, I LOVE the little astronauts! Where they came from???

Last edited by akoenig; 05-05-2008 at 07:53 PM. Reason: Adding a question
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:35 PM   #3
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Awesome work.
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Old 05-05-2008, 10:03 PM   #4
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The little guys in the pictures are a work crew visiting from the Fisher-Price Construx starship on the other side of my studio.

I'm actually planning on casting, modifiing, and then rebuilding them to resemble the Space 1999 astronaughts. They're a little smaller than the origional Mattel figures and seem to fit the scale of the toy a lot better.
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Old 05-05-2008, 10:55 PM   #5
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Very nice! I also love all the stuff in the backgrounds of the pictures. Is that a Mystery Machine I see there on the floor in the 5th picture down?
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Old 06-05-2008, 02:32 AM   #6
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Well done Paul
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:28 AM   #7
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Very nice! If the original toy had looked that good, I'd have wanted a whole fleet of them! (I wanted a whole fleet of them anyway, of course, but still...)
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:55 AM   #8
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Really nice work!

The design philosophy that I used on Mattel Eagles that I restored was that Mattel found the molds and reissued the toy without redesigning it but leaving the spine off, to be snapped in after applying a whole lot of decals to the body.

I kept the columns in the passenger pod, but I boxed them in with a graphic of the computer wall that was based on the lab pod from "The Metamorph" and other episodes applied to a poster board backing. With the seats on posts in front of it, it looked very much like it did in the show.

The Eagles that I got had the Beak, the body core (most without the doors and windows), and the red engine unit, with each one having some amount of the other parts but no interior parts or rear engine bells. I omitted the winch parts and weapons racks, replaced the doors and plugged the holes in the underside of the passenger pod with sheet styrene and made a new underside panel of the pod that resembled the original more accurately.

Replacing the landing pads does make a huge difference, as does adding the black panels on the underside of each side pod. You can get the spine off without breaking it, and grey paneling and home made decals based on the studio model's detailing helped here, too.

I got the small astronaut figures that Space Voyagers put out about 7 or 9 years ago, repositioned the legas and reshaped and repainted them to look like Eagle pilots.
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:42 AM   #9
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Paul that's really nice work, it looks great. The more I see these the more I'm impressed by them as toys.
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Old 06-05-2008, 01:19 PM   #10
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God, I would so love to get my sticky mitts on one of those. If it was a 'light and sound' toy, so much the better. If it featured things like the inner hatch opened with a 'swish' sound grabbed from the series - I'd swoon, and clap like a girl.
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Old 06-05-2008, 02:37 PM   #11
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A well done and attractive modification. One of the best I've seen.
My Mattel Eagle is still an "Ugly Betty".

Well done, Paul.
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Old 07-05-2008, 03:53 AM   #12
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Very nice, designasaurus. I'm not terribly fond of the aqua carpet, but the rest looks very good. I've started customizing one of my Mattel Eagles and hope to make it a bit more "realistic" too. I'll share pics when it's looking presentable.

Dana
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Old 07-05-2008, 07:19 PM   #13
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Note your toys, like your Eagle, but I'd love your job!
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Old 07-05-2008, 11:42 PM   #14
Designasaurus
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Thanks to everybody for the great comments.

Spacecraft Guy: I'd love to see pictures of your models.

cmdrkoenig67: I agree, the aqua carpet's not for everyoe. It looks better in reality though. I made the flooring in a variety of colours and, true to the origional toy, it and all the other components are simple pressure fits so I can swap everything around as needed.

The tan carpet was more correct to the studio set but it just made the model seem bla in the real world.

EVERYONE: Keep the comments comming! I've just aquired another broken-down Eagle so now I'm restoring two. Today I'm working on scratch building some engine bells which I will photgraph and add to a new post. I'm planning on posting the restorations in stages jut for the hell of it.

Cheers!
Paul
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Old 02-06-2008, 03:53 AM   #15
collectinmikey
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Default Great job Paul

I do custom Mattel eagles too. They are sure fun to work on. If you make more you can make the side directional thrusters easier by using the 3 sided lego ones and adding the 4th nosel (they look just like the ones you have made). I have used the same tvs and comp pannel you have re-worked in the past ( im sure you have found too it is very hard to find stuff that will work with this unique scale) your doors are very cool I wouldent mind getting more info about them (scratch built ? Plastic ?)I think you can still see my nuke hauler eagle on this site if you search for "nuclear custom mattel" in the search bar so you can see my style.Its nice to see more mattel eagle customizers out here
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:49 PM   #16
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Designasaurus that is the most beautiful Mattel Eagle I've ever seen. You, sir, have my respect. Mine never looked that good.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:03 AM   #17
enoelgae eagleone
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Default Starting from where my Brother left off

Hey All,
Being an Advid SW collector I recently received my Brother Jeremy's collection of 8 Mattel Eagles. Each in some form of array from Perfect unopened to missing everything.
In his memory I would like to restore all 8 in the best ways and am looking for Advice and everything needed from casting, painting scheme to Decals.
Any and all advise is welcome.


Michael Donegan
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:16 AM   #18
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Welcome to the forum Michael, you've come to the right place.
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Old 06-06-2008, 11:47 PM   #19
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It hardly even looks like a toy in a couple of those nose-on shots. Wonderful work! That's a pretty sweet ship!
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:16 PM   #20
Designasaurus
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Default More bits about restoring Eagles

Thanks for all the great comments so far. Since the origional post I've aquired a few other derilect Eagles which I have gutted and begun rebuilding. I've also mastered or revised additional components like landing feet cockpit hatches with sensor dishes, and revised computer walls for the interior. I even made a completely new decal/sticker set with replicas of the origional exterior decals and my custom interior art.

I'm hoping to start offering these parts as kits either privately, through eBay, or on my own website. So far I've had several interested people contact me so it seems like a good idea.

I'd also like to do custom restorations for people where they send me a crappy old Eagle, I fuss with it for a couple weeks and then send it back bright and shiny...Like New!

Right now I'm also working on replica parts for a MEGO Buck Rogers Starfighter.

Cheers!
Paul
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