Author Topic: DPS Showcase ~ DEATH CYBORG  (Read 472 times)

The Maskahuna

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DPS Showcase ~ DEATH CYBORG
« on: February 15, 2017, 12:50:30 AM »


Conceived many years prior to 'The Terminator' and other characters of that ilk,
the Death Cyborg was originally presented as a semi-robotic hitman in
1977's catalogue ~



Roto-cast in durable black vinyl they've probably outlasted most of their latex comrades
from the '70s, yet the character is rarely discussed these days and hard to find in
other collections.



Rob Tharp was on the scene during Death Cyborg's initial run and recalls
some interesting technical aspects of its production:

“It was sculpted by Bill Malone, using Roma oil clay.  The small mechanical detailings
on the mask were various plastic model tank parts pressed into the clay. Bill sculpted
the Cyborg well before ‘Star Wars’ and Darth Vader came along although Halloween '77
saw a big demand for the Cyborg to substitute for the unavailable Vader helmet.
The Cyborg in the old catalog photo is wearing Robby the Robot's hands. The Cyborg's 
two-way mirror gold eyes are the same vacuformed plastic as was used for the original
DPS ‘Fly’ mask. There was a problem with some of the model tank part detailing on the
Cyborg's neck having very sharp edges that caused thin spots in the mask.  These details
were eliminated from the mask on later moldings. This was one of the few masks that got
no paint.  The painters only had to glue the eye inserts in place.”




'Wish I had some clear close-ups for you of the detailing Rob mentioned.
Death Cyborg never really photographed that well with its dark flat face.
This is the closest I have to a profile shot ~



Photos of it can also be seen in magazine ads of the late '70s although
the disclaimer "prices may vary" is certainly in evidence ~





I had a first edition Death Cyborg mask by April 1977 but somehow
neglected to ever snap a good portrait of it. Mine did turn up in one of
my oldest photo files, grouped with other DP characters from its era ~





It also appeared in one of my amateur super-8 film productions,
our early homage to 'Star Wars' ~



I had even rigged its eyes to light up for one scene in the movie!









Speaking of which, Death Cyborg's eye lenses changed from gold to silver
at some point before it went out of production after 1980. It was never marketed again
although what looks to be a heavily modified version was briefly catalogued later in
the decade. I know nothing more about this "mystery mask" with its funny ears ~



As you can tell, this Showcase is in desperate need of better Death Cyborg images.
If you have any, post them in reply and let's pay the big guy some respect, lest he put a
contract out on all of us!







« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 08:54:12 AM by The Maskahuna »

Doh!

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Re: DPS Showcase ~ DEATH CYBORG
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2017, 01:52:30 AM »
Interesting read, Mask -- as always. I remember seeing these advertised in Famous Monsters magazine back in the day (or maybe it was Starlog?) and thinking, "Geez! What an obvious Vader ripoff!!"

Who'da thunk this actually predated Vader?
"You're dead, son.  Get yourself buried."
--J.J. Hunsecker

MonsterMatt

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Re: DPS Showcase ~ DEATH CYBORG
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2017, 06:28:59 AM »
Wow what a great read as always. Lots of awesome info in here. As always love the pics showcasing all of the vintage masks!  Death cyborg is such an awesome piece. Thanks for sharing and taking the time to continue providing us with these threads!

Kidagain

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Re: DPS Showcase ~ DEATH CYBORG
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2017, 09:05:07 AM »
Another great post Huna, I just want to thank you for your time and effort that you put into these Showcases for us here at the HMA.

Gory Glenn

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Re: DPS Showcase ~ DEATH CYBORG
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2017, 11:25:37 AM »
Talk about a time saver. A mask that needs no paint. Cool thread 'huna as always.

Kirk BK Magnum

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Re: DPS Showcase ~ DEATH CYBORG
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2017, 05:57:27 PM »
Awesome info!  I was lucky enough to get both styles with the eye inserts intact a couple of years back. 

Another Symbiote

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Re: DPS Showcase ~ DEATH CYBORG
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2017, 06:02:18 PM »
This is a really interesting mask. The design kind of reminds me of Skull, leader of the Black Ghost organization, and the main villain from Cyborg 009. Considering that DPS is located in California, I wonder if they saw the show by chance, and picked up a little inspiration?




lblambert

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Re: DPS Showcase ~ DEATH CYBORG
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2017, 03:38:29 PM »
My copy with a few of his friends, Raider & Mach II:




As photographed for the book:




The bit about the Death Cyborg from the book:

"One unintended benefit to Don Post Studios was that sales of their Death Cyborg mask increased dramatically when there were no Darth Vader helmets to be found on shelves anywhere.  The Death Cyborg did create a bit of tension between Don Post Studios and Fox due to its similarity to the Darth Vader character, however any potential issues were quickly defused when Post was able to prove to Fox executives that the mask had been designed and put into production in 1976, well before any images of Darth Vader had been provided to DPS."

jupiter2

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Re: DPS Showcase ~ DEATH CYBORG
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2017, 08:43:50 PM »
I won't have to cover this one on Collection Corner!
My first generation Death Cyborg. Another of my all-time favorites.


Another Symbiote

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Re: DPS Showcase ~ DEATH CYBORG
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2017, 09:15:27 PM »
I found a clip where the man himself talks a bit about this mask. Skip ahead to the 13:00 mark.