Frankenstein-like Amalgam Figures & Tweaks is a part of Art 100. The purpose of this visual archive is to catalog the various examples of Frankenstein-like Amalgam figures and their inferior counterparts – Tweaks.
If you have any figures that you would like added to this section, then please send them to the University of M.U.S.C.L.E. with a brief explanation and pictures of the figure. Thank you in advance for all submissions!
The success of M.U.S.C.L.E. brought out plenty of greedy manufacturers that wanted to take M.U.S.C.L.E. figures and simply copy them. The success of M.U.S.C.L.E. also gave birth to the collectible mini-figure market and brought an influx of entirely new products inspired by the phenomenon of M.U.S.C.L.E. toys.
And then there are the manufacturers that seemed to land very oddly in the middle. They altered existing product, by varying degrees, in an effort to create “new” product. However it is clear that the “new” product was supposed to be associated with the M.U.S.C.L.E. brand. The greatest question surrounding these Frankenstein-like Amalgam figures is, “Why did they do it?”
There seem to be two most likely scenarios: (1) they felt it protected them from lawsuits; and/or (2) the “new” product gave them a competitive edge (e.g., unique product). The truth will likely never be discovered as the vast majority of Frankenstein-like Amalgam figures lack branding or markings that would identify a manufacturer who might be able to provide any insight.
Counterfeit M.U.S.C.L.E. figures have so many sub-categories – and even brands. The lovingly terribly named Frankenstein-Like Amalgam Figures (FLAF’s) are one of those interesting sub-categories. For a long time most collectors were pleasantly surprised to find a new sculpt or different color of these figures. However, there may actually be two distinct types of FLAF’s.
The first type is a harder, almost resin-like version. It isn’t breakable like resin, but the plastic has a very brittle feeling stiffness. Mini-figure collectors sometimes talk about the “feel” of the figure. The feel of the harder versions are not very satisfying.
The second type of FLAF figure is much softer. In fact, the softer versions almost seem like a perfect balance of original keshi eraser and M.U.S.C.L.E. plastic. The figures are firm, but flexible. And not so flexible that it feels as if they may tear.
Kyle H. submitted some great pictures of the first ever examples of packaged Frankenstein-Like Amalgam figures.
The University of M.U.S.C.L.E. reached out to the creators of these figures – Unique Industries Inc. They were unable (or unwilling) to provide any information about the figures. Although, the customer support person could not hide her surprise when someone was asking about such an old product.
The biggest surprise that accompanied Kyle’s discovery was some information, and pictures, shared by Lucas Rage. He had a carded 4-pack of figures, Ninja and Stars, with identical packaging.
Given all of this information, it appears that the Frankenstein-Like Amalgam figures’ brand has finally been identified. They are the Strong Men.
Overall, the Frankenstein-like Amalgam figures will mostly remain a mystery – but they provide an interesting subdivision of M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting. Showcased below is a visual archive of various Frankenstein-like Amalgam figures (Strong Men) and their names (submitted and voted on by M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors):
Tweaks are figures that were original Kinnikuman/M.U.S.C.L.E. sculpts but tiny, almost insignificant, changes have been made to the figures. These figures appear to be a very specific niche of counterfeit figure and the laziest possible version of a Frankenstein-like Amalgam figure.
If you would like to add a figure to the Tweaks visual archive, then please email a picture to the University of M.U.S.C.L.E.