As everyone knows I am an eBay-a-holic. I search that site constantly for ventriloquist figures and I have to admit that for the past few months it seems that there has been very little to surface in the way of really nice figures. There have certainly been some repeat listings of figures that have been posted more than once and those as well have gone un-purchased. I find it most interesting that right now the conversion figures seem to be ruling the roost for eBay sales with amazing prices.
As everyone knows I really have a hard time with the conversion figures being sold as pro figures but I do believe there is a definite place for them in the trade. I certainly think that they are worthy of mention because a great amount of time is put into converting them from a toy and into a “Semi Pro Figure”. A set of eyes with moving mechanism must be inserted, sometimes raising eyebrows and of course a head stick. A wig must be cut and attached too. Then a body must be fabricated to fit the new pro style head. And of course repainting to try and give them a more pro look. Over sculpting will change the face but be careful not to take them from one temperature to another or leave it in your hot trunk. When the over sculpt cracks off you just might find the toys original face. What gives me the most problem is looking at the figure and seeing Juro’s Charlie McCarthy face or Howdy Doody’s face or Groucho Marx’s face but now being called a pro figure? As I have said in the past a toy is a toy and a new buyer in the trade should be informed up front about what they are purchasing. And most of all the pricing should be in line with what the item really is.
You can purchase many books about building ventriloquist figures and then go to www.braylu.com you can get all the parts you need to convert one of these toys yourself. I believe you can even purchase one of these toy heads already converted for you for less than $100.00 right on this site. Braylu also sells some terrific bodies with vacu-form fronts done on solid wood frames with the routed head hole already done for very little money.
My biggest problem right now is that I have seen some of these conversion figures recently sell on eBay for over $1300.00…. YES… that is a correct price. Seems like a fortune for a toy to me but what do I know. I am just a collector. For this type of money a wonderful antique vent figure can be purchased or one of many other REAL pro figures can be found.
Anyway as the old saying goes let the buyer beware and you should always contact the seller of the figure you are about to purchase on eBay, and ask in no certain terms what you are buying.
I know this will cause a fire storm but I just could not help myself and had to talk openly about my feelings on this subject.
All writings here are copyrighted by Dan Willinger and Ventriloquist Central. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.
You say when the over sculpt cracks off you might find the toy’s original face. I say the life of plastic is such that if the over sculpt is wood there will be plastic coming out the mouth. Compare a piece of plastic like a broken frisbie left in the yard exposed to the elements and how brittle it becomes in only a year’s time. The half-life of plastic is not that of wood.
Your post says it all. As you might recall, I started a thread on the forum regarding these figures and what I felt was a rip-off of newbies, but buyer beware as you say.
Its wierd that on ebay, the most valuable (antique) figures go for prices that are even lower that a dollar. For example, there’s another broken effanbee charlie maccarthy.
these people are dealing with a factor of such magnitude they cannot possibly comprehend… LOL