Custom Playmobil Game Show/Newsroom/Talk show Playset Using System X pieces
by Mr. Stinkhead
I have been working on this custom playset for about
a year. Not that it's entirely difficult, I'm just really
picky, and lazy, and easily distracted by shiny objects.
Here's the thought. I wanted a game show television production
set for my playmobil
figures. They use a modular construction system for their
buildings called System X. Using nothing but playmobil System
X pieces (and decals I design) I would build a television
play set. Not only would it be an awesome game show
set, but by using the magic of System X, it would transform
into a newsdesk or a talk show
set as well.
I have a special affinity for old game shows. I loved when
GSN would play old episodes of Match Game or Family
Feud. It's a slice of life from the 70s. I love the wood
paneling and carpet from Tic Tac Dough, the witty
banter on The Newlywed Game. When
they originally filmed these episodes, they had no idea
people would be watching this stuff in the future, so there
was no concern for timelessness, like there is in scripted
programs or movies. They were disposable. If 70s movies are the equivalent
of posed yearbook photos, Game shows are like pictures
of you in the sink, as a baby, getting a bath. Uncontrolled,
and disgustingly embarrassing.
I also love playmobil. Though many playmobil collectors do not like how Playmobil updated their classic Castle playset to use System X, I do like how I can order as many blank pieces as I'd like from Playmobil USA, and construct a set up like this. On the record, I wish the castles would hang onto the Steck building system, but I do love that I have the opportunity to do this playset with modern pieces. One note, some of the pictures use the Playmobil Television crew from the early 80s. These pieces are hard to find, so I tried to keep them out of most of my photos, but look how great they fit! Read the review about that set, 3531, here.
I poked around online and in catalogs to see the pieces that were available. If you didn't know this, now is a good time to tell you as any. You can contact Playmobil USA and order specific quantities of any piece currently in production. (And a handful of items that have recently been retired). Did your kid brother lose all the swords to your Viking army? No problem. Do you simply not have enough monkeys? No problem.
Ok, so I ordered all the pieces I needed, it turned out to be around $45 in parts. (Well a healthy sized playmobil set is around the same price, so it's not awful) I designed all the decals in Adobe Illustrator®, and printed them out on single sheet sticky paper. A little trial and error, and I got it just right.
The Gameshow Set
I used the classically styled MPb logo (from the infamous MPb BBQs). Now I needed some podiums. Gameshow podiums should at least have a score (or monetary value) and a microphone. [Ed note: And a buzzer, but we haven't found a good match for those yet.] I went with the equipment drawer from the doctor's office (3926) set, because the base for the ultrasound monitor has a clip that perfectly holds the microphone from the Police Station's (3957) dispatch desk. [Ed note: Yes, there were many, many of those eureka! moments that didn't work] Plus, I can slide the podiums together to make the newsdesk, more on that in a minute.
cool thing about the ultrasound base is that you can lift
it off, turn it 180° and it snaps back on place. So
on one side I have a winning score, the other side is a
negative amount. That way, as you're quizzing your playmobil
citizens, you can change their score based on how well they
are performing. I mean, this is all pretend. I never lock
my playmobil in a dark closet when they under perform. Ok,
just that once.
I ordered a shower from the Modern Bathroom set (3969), to make into a sound proof booth, and I ordered the spinning wheel from the birthday party (5511) to make a Wheel of Fish (as seen in the Weird Al movie UHF). I also ordered the magician from that set, and I was lucky he was still available as that set is currently retired. The magician was the flashiest klicky I could find. (Although the groom has a nice blue tuxedo.) If playmobil ever produces this set, I'd like to see a wildly colored gameshow host. The next piece also plays double duty. I ordered the hanging map from the Police HQ, and put a Match Game styled board on it. On the reverse side is something for the newsdesk. I love being able to squeeze as much play ability out of this set as possible. Playmobil doesn't traditionally market transforming playsets, but they do love fostering imagination.
The other major component about the backdrop is the adjacent wall. I ordered just the stable doors (and frame) from the Farm set (3909), and made that Door #1 like from Let's Make a Deal. (There's another terrific "trapped in time" series.) On the reverse side is a sparkly curtain graphic. This can be used for Gong Show or American Idol type game shows. I found it is better to reverse how the doors hang on the frame rather than flipping out the whole doorway. And be sure to order enough hinges.
So there are tons of games you can set up, and with some imagination, you can recreate some of your other favorite gameshows. But much like the last dance at senior prom, that's not where the fun ends.
Now we gently pop the back wall off of the base and flip
it around, rearrange some of the base pieces, remove the ultrasound bases and microphones and slide the podiums together. The reason why I went with a plain wood-grain podium (As opposed to flashing lights or a score board) was so that they could be made to create the news desk. Flip around the Match Game board and it's a hanging weather map.
I also chose a city-at-night background for this wall so that it could also be used for the late-night talk show set. Remove one of the podiums to make the desk two units wide. Add the couch from the Modern Living Room (3966), and add back the barn doors as sparkly curtains. Now you can have your own Conan O'Brien styled late night talk show. I also recommend a couple of coffee mugs from the Modern Kitchen playset (3968).
Make your own! If you are interested in putting together a set like this, drop a line to bw AT millionaireplayboy.com. In compliance with Playmobil's guidelines for distributing part numbers, I can only give you the list of needed parts and PDFs of the decals if you e-mail me. If you also customize your own playmobil playsets, let me know! I'd love to feature them here.
Tell 'em what they've won!
Want to make a Las Vegas style craps table for your little
playmobil (or other 3" scale figures)? I have something
you can print and assemble right now! Check out our miniature Craps Table. Simply print out on light card stock paper, cut and assemble. It's fun!
We also offer tiling shelf backdrops you can print out and hang on the shelf behind your display. You can print out as many as you'd like and line them up the length of the shelf. I made an audience backdrop specifically for this gameshow set, but would it work great with the circus or any other performance set up. Download it, and several more themes here.
Stinkhead Spotting! There is a new edition of the Playmobil Collector handbook coming out. (Available in Germany now, hitting US soon), and there's a few surprises from Mr. Stinkhead in there. We'll let you know when it hits, but here is a link (in German) so you can see the info.
Places to see
First you should check out our complete playmobil coverage. It has all the reviews and articles we've done on the best toy on earth. Then you should check out Playmoboard.com the largest playmobil discussion forum on the web. You should also check out Collectobil.com which has pages on hundreds of playmobil sets. And there's also Playmobil.com, which has ordering information, a retailer locator, and info on upcoming sets. (Go to the German portal and check out the Roman Gladiator set due out next August!)
This web site is not owned, operated, sponsored or authorized by geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG. geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG does not endorse, and is not responsible for, this web site or any information or links contained herein; makes no express or implied warranties with regard to any information or links on this web site or any other linked web sites; and is not bound by any statements made on this web site, or by those who own or operate this web site. The trademarks PLAYMOBIL®, PLAYMOBIL® SYSTEM X, PLAYMOBIL® RC TRAIN and PLAYMOBIL® FUNPARK and the copyrighted images of PLAYMOBIL® products are the sole and exclusive property of geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG, which reserves all rights therein.