LEGO

Boglins are back

swampbog
Boglins are back, baby! I was a huge fan of the rubbery monstrous Boblin puppets in middle school in the 80s. I saved up my money for weeks to afford a Bog-O-Bones. (That’s my original Bog-O-Bones in the photos below, that I kept safe all of these years). But here we are, 30 years later, and Boglins have gotten a new opportunity to creep into your houses and wreak a little mischief, thanks to a super successful Kickstarter campaign with TriAction Toys. Click below for more details and tons of pics.
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Original Boglins
Boglins first sprouted on shelves in 1987. I remember the first time I spotted them at my local KB Toys. I hadn’t heard of them at all, I hadn’t seen the TV commercial, and none of my friends had mentioned them yet. I scrambled for my velcro Orioles wallet and had just enough cash to buy Shlump. (Side note, actually I didn’t have enough. I forgot about tax, and just before the panic attack set in at the register, the man who checked out before me gave me some pocket change to cover the tax. I remember this vividly. Thank you sir.)

Then when the Halloween Boglins came out, I saved for weeks and weeks to get Bog-O-Bones, the skeleton redeco of Drool’s mold. I played with my brother and friends for hours with our Boglins, we made home videos, we drew comics, and made a multi-level fort (with holes for us to stick our hands and operate them.
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A decade later, I was freelance writing for ToyFare Magazine and I had the opportunity to interview Tim Clarke, creator of Boglins (and Sectaurs). We talked about his involvement with Dark Crystal, The Muppet Show, and my favorite Henson show, Fraggle Rock. We met up at New York Toy Fair a few times, and have stayed friends since. He sculpted urSu the Mystic, above, for The Dark Crystal.
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The In Between
In recent years, after some deliberation, Tim secured permission from Mattel to produce all new puppets under the Boglins name (who still owned the name and IP). Tim sculpted, cast, and hand-pulls these new Boglins from his home and sells them directly from his website Totims.com. Above is a photo of Grumph, loosely based on the original Boglin prototype used to pitch the line to Mattel in the 80s. I love these home-grown Boglins, and they’re a fun addition to my collection. I also like the personal connection that Tim pulled this puppet from the mold himself.
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The Kickstarter Campaign
As nostalgia for all things 80s grew and grew Tim has teamed up with TriAction Toys to try and bring Boglins back to the masses via Kickstarter. The campaign was funded within hours and several stretch goals were passed before the deadline. All told 1,714 backers raised $247,424 (from a $25,000 initial goal!) I’m glad I jumped in! I was close to 100th backer.

A few months later, and I’m unboxing brand new Boglin puppets. Seeing the Boglins looking at me from behind those wavy bars brought me right back to the KB in 1987. It was joyous.
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Now they’re in my hands, how do they feel? They feel great! One of the things I liked about being a backer of the Kickstarter campaign was all the updates along the way. The team explained that a new rubber was being used in the production. This type of rubber is stretchier and will last forever, in comparison to the vintage Boglins which could deteriorate over time. Also the sculpts match your favorite large Boglins from 30 years ago, but they’ve added three horns as to not diminish the market value of the vintage puppets. They look completely natural to the sculpt, and fit in well with the aesthetic, as well as building up a new storyline.
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Also the eyes glow in the dark like the originals. I found the eye mechanism (an up and down lever moves the eyes to look left and right) is practically the same. It’s a tiny bit looser, and gravity pulls the switch to a down position more often than not, giving the Boglins “resting side-eye”. So I used a little bean sized lump of Silly Putty to keep the eyes looking forward for most of these photos. It removes very easily. But this is a small nitpick, I’m very happy with the overall experience.
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Speaking of experience, there are a few steps you need to take when you first receive your Boglin. They’re really not hard, but could sound daunting when first hearing about them. So I took some pics along the way. It’s really not hard at all. Barely an inconvenience. As seen above, carefully undo the flap on the side of the box, and carefully slide out the inner layer. You may need to remove the plastic cage door first.
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To save money on materials and shipping, the Boglin’s packaging crate is around 20% smaller than the original box. The Boglin is the same size, and honestly, it’s a better fit. (And it leaves room for more together on your shelf). One of the steps you need to do is attach the Boglin’s tail. It’s very easy.
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Place the clear plastic plug through the three holes on the tail, facing out. Then line up the tail with the body so that the three pegs go through the Boglin’s holes.
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Now pop the appropriately colored puck-shaped plug onto the pegs with a satisfying snap, and you’re done. I wasn’t sure how much force it would require, but it really popped on there, and has stayed secure since.
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To make sure the tail didn’t fall out during shipping, the hand hole in both the outer and inner later have been left uncut. But it is perforated. Take a small blade and get it started and it popped right out. Carefully put the layers back together and voila, you’re back in business. Your hand will fit through the hole and you can operate your Boglin still in the crate. I got to surprise the 6yo daughter of a friend. I had all three crates in their shipping box. She asked what was in the box, and I told her it was monsters. She didn’t believe me. So I produced one of the crates with my hand already in, and pulled it from the box so it started talking to her and she squealed in surprise. Then she said “THAT’s a puppet!” but we had fun.
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One of the other joys of being a Kickstarter backer is receiving bonus enamel pins. I love these! I cover my camera bag flap with pins representing various interests, so now I need to make room and add these. I may add one and swap them out as the mood fits. Kind of like how girls decide which shoes best match their top. I also got a sweet Boglins t-shirt, that I regret not taking the time to model for a photo before writing this article.
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This isn’t a Kickstarter backer exclusive, but look out for the Boglands map fragment when you get out the tail. Hidden inside is part of a map of the kingdom of the Boglands. Collect all of the Kings to form the whole map. What’s that? This looks incomplete? That’s because the Halloween Boglins are already on their way (stay tuned for a pre-order next month) and you’ll need to snag them too!
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Overall I’m super psyched to have Boglins in my hands and more to dream about. There was a slight revival in stores a little more than a decade ago, and I regret not biting then. But here we are. I have new Boglins to play with, and I’ve got my eye out for pre-orders and all new Boglins coming soon. These Boglins fit perfectly with both vintage Boglins and the hand-pulled Boglins from Tim Clarke. I can’t wait to grab up all of the new Halloween Boglins, and see what’s in store next year. After this run’s success I believe we’re getting some all new sculpts.
If you missed the Kickstarter, you can hop on GameStop or check out the exclusive red eye variants at ToyNK.com, and see more news and updates on TheBoglins.com

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