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Jonny Quest Models from Mark Klingerman
© 2000, Lyle P. Blosser
I got in contact with Mark Klingerman after having seen his Jonny Quest Robot Spy
spider model up for auction on eBay. In the course of several e-mails, Mark told
me his story, which he has graciously allow me to publish here.
"I am 41 years old and an avid Jonny Quest fan since it's inception, watching
from the very first episode, "Mystery of the Lizard Men". I watched them all straight
thru in order of broadcast as a child in the middle 1960's. This story is a long
one but you asked for it.
I also grew up during the AURORA figure kit years, so building kits was a priority
for me in the 60s and 70s. In the late 1980's I started collecting Aurora kits again,
I built up a large collection and decided to start producing my own kits. My first
interest was Jonny Quest. I have a friend who is a talented artist and wanted to
do the sculpting for me. I wanted to do the following Quest figures: Jonny, Hadji,
Dr. Quest, & Race. I would follow that up with a villian, Dr. Zin, and then
some of the monsters Sumi and the 2 Komodo dragons, the Mummy, the Invisible monster,
the werewolf, the robot spy, the Yeti, I had them all penciled in. This whole idea
surfaced in the year 1990.
My sculpting friend and I decided we would start with a Monster, so I asked him
to begin sculpting the Amphibious Monster from the episode "The Sea Haunt". He would
sculpt the creature and I would make the base and barrel (that the creature would
be throwing). We decided to take our creation to the midwest's premium modeling
event, WONDERFEST held in Louisville, Kentucky in the spring of 1991. As we had
already made molds to cast our resin model we were going to give away a free model
at our dealers table if passerbys would stop and fill out a questionaire. We had
a huge response!
But anyway getting back to one of your questions, the night before we left for the
model show I made my first Robot Spy Spider. It took me about an hour to complete.
There are 2 tricks to making one. First is finding a plastic ball the right size
to make the eyeball (it's about 2-1/2 inches in diameter). Second, I use a small
freeze plug to braze the spiders legs too, this must have the right radius to fit
the contour of the plastic ball. The rest is easy. We took the robot spy with us
and everybody that passed our table knew what it was and loved it. Unfortunately
the amphibious creature wasn't so well recognized. My sculpting buddy, talented
as he is, had departed from the original look of the amphibious monster, in an effort
to make it look more ominous and scary; he changed its look enough that people had
trouble recognizing it.
Still our experience at the show had built our confidence and we were ready to take
the next step. But before I get ahead of myself, at this show my friend and I met
Matt Whirt, of "Shape of Things" (this was before their company even got started)
We discussed with him what we were trying to do. When we got home I immediately
started looking into licensing rights. I contacted Hanna-Barbera who informed me
that I would have to obtain rights from Ted Turner. This I attempted to do but immediately
ran into a brick wall. They wanted many thousands of dollars before they would even
let me start. I didn't have the kind of money they wanted, so our whole idea skidded
to a halt.
Should I be an outlaw and do it without the rights? No, I'm not that kind of person.
So we put the idea on hold. Well next year guess who had Jonny Quest kits at the
model show? Matt Whirt of "Shape of Things". We were bummed out, too little too
late. Was I upset? A little. But what could I say? I tried to get the rights; he
went out and got them! I must have not been too upset because eventually I went
out and bought all 4 of his kits. Anyway, I decided to make a Robot Spy and see
if it would sell on eBay. It sold for $39! I would like to make more and sell them
for a modest price but I don't want to get in trouble with the copyrights. So that's
where I'm at. As preposterous as this story sounds it can be substantiated by looking
at the magazine KIT BUILDERS and GLUE SNIFFERS issue #6 dated December 2, 1992.
It shows a picture of my collection on page 59."
Thanks, Mark, for that interesting (albeit frustrating) story! We look forward to
seeing more from you in the near future! (He is thinking about possibly tackling
the energy monster from the episode "The Invisible Monster" -- sounds intriguing!)
Jonny Quest and distinctive likenesses © Hanna-Barbera.
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and may not be shared or re-published without the consent of the author.
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