I thought the Sunday Paper was dead. I was wrong.
Remember the Sunday Paper is open to anybody. If you have a M.U.S.C.L.E. topic/question/rant that you want the world to see, then please feel free to send it in. I know M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors would love an extra day of content.
Another Part 21 Error
by Jason A.
I started thinking pressure must be critical to the process of filling all of the figure moulds in the part. If the beta figures were removed before the SC figure (meaning the gates to the beta figure moulds were plugged to block the flow of plastic), and if the plugs did not seal properly (allowing a bit of plastic to escape, causing a drop in pressure), maybe that would explain the errors in the poster figures from part 21 as well as the errors in the SC figure (I assume SC was in production after the beta figures were removed because SC is more common than the beta figures).
I looked up injection moulding on Wikipedia and found a Table of Moulding Defects.
Indeed, one possible cause of what they call “sink marks” is “holding pressure too low”. Holding pressure would decrease over time if there was a leak in the system, like the one described above. With confirmation from a troubleshooting guide like this, I think it’s a probable explanation.
What May be a Polymer Degradation Error; Flow Marks and BlisteringWhen I was in my second or third year of undergraduate studies, it would have been 1995 to 1997 or so, I came across a large box of loose, unpackaged figures at a discount toy store in Winnipeg. The box was maybe 2.5 feet by 2.5 feet, by 3 feet high. It was half full of what looked very much like flesh colored MUSCLE figures. I didn’t know what their story was, but I decided to buy a few (Pictures 2 and 3). Years later, I discovered on a MUSCLE web page that genuine figures have a Y/S·N·T mark and bootlegs don’t. Checking the figures from the discount toy store, I found they all had this mark. Still, I didn’t know quite what to make of them. During the last year, I let my daughter take a random MUSCLE out of a cardboard box every day. We called this ritual “The MUSCLE of the Day”, ha! I also completed a mixed flesh-andcolor 233 set, which is probably where I’ll stop. After handling MUSCLE figures every day for a year, I’m now quite sure that at least 7 of the 8 figures I bought at the discount toy store are genuine. They have the right appearance and feel. The 8th figure, #230, has an unusual color and gloss (Pictures 2 through 5), and the plastic is quite a bit stiffer. However, I think that all of the figures in the discount toy store must have had the same story. Either all of them were bootlegs, or all of them were factory leftovers/rejects that sat around somewhere from the mid ’80s to the mid ’90s. Since the first 7 look and feel genuine, the 8th one could well be a “polymer degradation” error as described in the Table of Moulding Defects. If this is the case, I think it’s very interesting. I would like to get your opinion on it… for example, have you ever seen a figure that is clearly a bootleg yet still has the Y/S·N·T mark, or is the Y/S·N·T mark considered a rock-solid indication of authenticity? If the figures in the discount toy store that day were factory defects, the other figures may have unusual characteristics too, right? Or not, because I think some batches were probably categorized as problematic without an inspection of every figure. In fact, some batches may have been categorized as problematic based on equipment readouts, without an inspection of any figures at all. I can’t find any problems with the first 6 figures, but the 7th figure, #146, seems to have a “flow marks” error (Pictures 6 and 7) and a “blistering error” (Picture 8).
Finally, I’m wondering if this says anything about the geography of MUSCLE production/distribution. If class A figures were most often sold in western Canada, and I found a box of factory rejects at a discount toy store in Winnipeg, it could say something although I’m not exactly sure what. Maybe Canada is where Mattel disposed of its unwanted products, such as unfinished production runs and factory rejects.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these things, especially the Y/S·N·T question.
If you’re feeling inspired, then please sent in your article and pictures to UofMUSCLE@gmail.com.
I have some answers to Jason’s questions, but I’d rather someone else try to answer first. If the Comments don’t get any answers, then I’ll add some later.