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Founder and CEO of Illuminatoys and Midas Wilder Teams Up with Musclethings Laboratories to Unleash Mini-Figure Toys Inspired by Video Era Character Icons as VIDEO NASTEEZ! EXCLUSIVE FIGURE REVEAL! DIG IT!

Most magnetic magic maniacs will remember those too groovy mini-figures like Monster in my Pocket and M.U.S.C.L.E. toys that populated our pockets as we roamed the aisles of our local video store in search for our next VHS adventure. Those pint-sized playthings are in the midst of a killer comeback among the custom toy crowd (along with a ton of other custom cast figures and throwback toys), and are now even expanding into different sub-cultures and making for some truly radical mash-up manifestations. Cue Illuminatoys / proprietor and video era aficionado Midas Wilder. He’s teamed up with custom casters Musclethings Laboratories and heavy-hitter master sculptor James Rogers to vindicate some of the most iconic video era characters with tiny but incredibly detailed effigies that are sure to make any fan of analog era flicks foam at the mouth. Read on, my fellow Videovores, and dig that rubbery rewind re-animation…


A look at the original advert for the VIDEO NASTEEZ! While supplies last, indeed!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you got into making figures? First off, many thanks for allowing us to be interviewed for your fun, fabulous and enriching 'zine. Personally, I grew up in Georgia and also lived for a decade in Miami Beach, Florida. I have been a toy collector and enthusiast since I was single digits in the late 70s and early 80s. My first passion was Diener Space Creatures, tiny eraser-like monsters that I could purchase at my 2nd Grade pencil and paper store. When the video store culture boom took off in the 1980s, I was immediately hooked on the culture and lore, and spent many hours (and days) hunting for new horror titles, and bugging the store owners for posters and standees. I was always into cereal, candy and fast food premiums as well, and wanted to see more video stores issue premium figures with the movies. As I got older the idea of releasing a "fantasy video store premium figure line" would sometimes tickle my thoughts. The cyberspace explosion and the launch of my mini figure website (in 2009) opened up even more opportunities for me. This is where I met the master caster himself, Alec Ouzounian aka Musclethings Laboratories, which further boosted my focus and drive to launch this cool and exhilarating mini-figure line.


There he is! VN's Video Ted figure in action with his housing containter! Looks DEAD on to me!

Why go for the video era icons? What is it about those characters that inspire you? Well, for one, these characterizations are diverse and flawed in many different ways... like all of us. Secondly, they projected a very dynamic persona from the posters that graced the walls of video stores across America (and the rest of the world). In the 1980s Deep South, video stores were surrealistic hybrid stores that were quite fanciful, colorful and awesome to a young boy’s eyes. You could walk into a mom and pop chicken shack, barbecue joint, or bait and tackle Stop N’ Shop and find that half the store had morphed into a horror/porno video heaven. I just can't let go of that. This toy line allows us to embrace it much more.


A teaser advert for the upcoming mini-figure for analog essential Rawhe... err... RawEd Rex! YUSSSS.

The runs seem to be very limited. Is there a particular reason, or is the process fairly arduous thus making it difficult to create a large amount of these bodacious creations? No, sir. The line is currently launching at a slow trickle, but we are certainly aiming to build up steam. Alec, the founder of Musclethings Laboratories, and myself were hit with so many initial demands and requests to buy the toys that we were a bit taken aback, quite frankly. We do consider these as deluxe "art toys" and we are issuing them in limited (and numbered) runs, which will hopefully add to their value in the long run. Our main asset is legendary Disney, Warner Brothers and Lucasfilm artist and sculptor James Rogers. James gives us that "bonafide 80s premium look" and is known for his work on the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys, the Kenner Starting Lineup figures, Star Wars and much more. So, we got a "name" face and somebody actually from the 80s who could properly execute our niche and cool video store premium look, which are meant to mimic conceivable fantasy toys from that era. I always wanted to see Rawhead Rex as a mini, we just made it happen (as RawEd Rex). Life is full of magic and wonder. Anybody can take materials and make something beautiful out of nothing. Hopefully, our profound love for toys, sculpting, monsters, horror movies, video culture and more will rub off on others for many years to come.


A close-up detail shot on the upcoming Rex figure. He's a beaut, Clark!

Yo, I hope so, too, mang! Where can we keep up with you? What’s next for you, mang? Well, keep an eye out for Cheaptoyman (aka Midas Wilder) and Musclethings Laboratories on Facebook and Youtube. Also, if you want to keep tabs on Video Nasteez, check out or contact us at to inquire about availability. Thanks again and it was a pleasure providing you with these insights and titillating factoids about the Video Nasteez and our passion for premium mini figures.


There she is!!! You saw it here FIRST, Tapeheads! The Video Nasteez CHAINSAW HOOKER MINI-FIGURE!! Coming VHSoon!

Yo, it’s our absolute pleasure to spread the word, Midas! As you can VHSee, Tapeheads, these analog inspired mini-figures are super-rad, and are sure to soup up any Videovore’s tape shelf. Their Video Ted figure sold out almost instantly, so be sure to stay tuned to the Offical Illuminatoys Webstore and the Musclethings Laboratories Facebook to keep updated on the release of their upcoming RawEd Rex and Chainsaw Hooker figures, coming to a VHS shelf near you in the next couple of weeks! Your inner-kid will thank you, mang.

Groove and Groove and Never Grow Up.

Josh Schafer

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