Fun with Shrinky Dinks (and an all new Franks and Beans!)
I don't consider myself particularly nostalgic, but trips to Pop! Culture Connection in Greensburg, Pa do seem to have an effect on me. Case in point - hanging on a rack I managed to find an unopened box of Marvel Super Heroes Shrinky Dinks from 1983. The price was right so I bought the package and brought it home.
For those of you not familiar with Shrinky Dinks, it's almost useless for me to try and describe them, because they don't sound like they'd be any fun to actually make. It's just something you have to experience. Shrinky Dinks are still being produced today, but the 1980s were certainly the boom time for the company, and the licensed products (such as the Marvel brand) were at their height for sure. In short, Shrinky Dinks were sheets of plastic that one would color, cut out, bake, and watch shrink to a miniature size to be placed on a little display stand. Doesn't sound like much fun, but man...I loved 'em as a kid and I wanted to try them again. Thanks to the vintage toy store Pop! Culture, I was able to.
One of my concerns was whether or not the Shrinky Dinks would actually still "work" after 27 years in a box (and, you know, if the plastic sheets were coated with toxic chemicals not regulated in the early '80s), but the contents of said box looked, for all intents and purposes, brand new once I got a look at them.
The eight characters chosen were fairly obvious ones, except for the hideous exclusion of the Thing. Seriously, he could have easily replaced a C-lister like Doctor Octopus. It's not like Marvel had to keep up with a villain quota or something. Having, I don't know, a female character might have been nice as well, but that obviously wasn't a big concern with the people who put this package together.
Here I am with Franks and Beans cohort Larry, preparing the characters for the oven. LOOK HOW EXCITING THIS STUFF IS!
Ready for the oven. The set only came with four colored pencils, so a few sacrifices had to be made. The Hulk is wearing blue pants (sacrilege, I know), and any other visible skin is pretty much a softer shade of red. Dr. Doom's armor is "colored" in with a regular pencil. Larry decided to go with the opposite color scheme for Doctor Octopus...maybe he's the Mirror Universe Doctor Octopus or something.
Shrinky Dinks curl up in the oven before flattening back out. All except for Doom, because Doom curls for no man!
And here they are, out of the oven. Cap was a casualty, but that's a risk you always take.
As you can see, the results were SPECTACULAR! Oh, and Iron Man also doubles as a love note to Larry's girlfriend.
Shrinky Dinks turned out to be as fun as I remembered them. As I said before, they don't sound fun at all until you actually give 'em a try for yourself. It's too bad they aren't as available as they used to be...in any case, I imagine that I could make these at least once every 20 years. Maybe even more frequently! Awesome.
And speaking of Larry (and awesome), there's a new episode of Franks and Beans out. So you should watch it. Everyone should. Here it is!