The Kit Factory Professional Props And Models
COMPANY POLICY AND ORDERING INSTRUCTIONS
PLEASE TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO READ THE COMPANY POLICY, PRIOR TO CONTACTING ME ON ANY PROJECT YOU WISH TO HAVE BUILT. THIS WILL SAVE BOTH OF US A LOT OF TIME.
THE KIT FACTORY IS A SMALL, ONE MAN, OPERATION, AND PRODUCES ONLY A FEW VERY SPECIAL CREATIONS, EVERY YEAR. I WORKED SEVERAL YEARS AS A PROP MAKER, AND SCENIC/SET ARTIST IN THE MEDIA INDUSTRY. CLIENTS INCLUDED, PARAMOUNT PICTURES, WARNER BROTHERS, MTV PRODUCTIONS, DISNEY PRODUCTIONS, NEW GROOVE CONCERTS, CHEVROLET MOTORS, HAWAIIAN TROPICS, AND MANY OTHERS. STAGE, SCENIC AND SET WORK FOR MUSICAL ACTS, SUCH AS NEIL YOUNG, STEVE WINWOOD, LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, FOREIGNER, THE MOODY BLUES, CHEAP TRICK, JEFFERSON STAR SHIP, IGGY POP, THE PRETENDERS, AND ALICE COOPER. STAGE, SCENIC AND SET WORK, FOR THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS SUCH AS, CATS, 42ND STREET, BIG RIVER, SWEENY TODD, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, AND MANY OTHERS… A LOT OF PATIENCE IS REQUIRED FROM CLIENTS, THIS IS NOT A FAST PROCESS. HIGH QUALITY PROP REPRODUCTIONS CAN TAKE SEVERAL HUNDREDS, IF NOT, THOUSANDS OF HOURS TO COMPLETE. SIMPLE PROJECT CAN BE RELATIVELY INEXPENSIVE, HOWEVER, TOP NOTCH CREATIONS, ARE PRICED ACCORDINGLY. ONCE WE HAVE AGREED TO A COMMISSION PRICE, AND REQUIRED DETAILS, A DATE IS SET FOR THE PRODUCTION OF YOUR DESIRED CREATION. THE WAIT TIMES ARE USUALLY IN MONTHS, AS THIS WORK IS IN VERY HIGH DEMAND FROM STUDIOS, AND COLLECTORS. IF YOU ARE NOT THE PATIENT TYPE, I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO WORK FOR YOU. THERE ARE USUALLY PROJECTS IN LINE, SO YOUR PATIENCE IS VERY MUCH REQUIRED. HOWEVER, THIS SHOULD TELL YOU THE WORK IS APPRECIATED, AND 90% OF MY CLIENTS ARE RETURNING TO ORDER AGAIN! SOMETIMES YOUR PROJECT CAN BEGIN SOON, AS THERE CAN BE OPEN TIME SLOTS.
AFTER OVER 23 YEARS IN THIS BUSINESS, WE CAN SUPPLY MANY EXCELLENT REFERENCES ON PRIOR WORK. WE HAVE 100% CLIENT SATISFACTION. I WORK ON A 50% OF THE COMMISSION DOWN, AS A DEPOSIT, THE REMAINDER, PLUS SHIPPING FEES, ARE DUE UPON COMPLETION OF THE PROJECT. YOU CAN ALSO CHOOSE TO MAKE A SMALLER DEPOSIT, AND SEND MONTHLY PAYMENTS. PAYMENT OPTIONS ARE GIVEN AT MY DISCRETION.
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR UNPACKING A SHIPPED ITEM, PER MY INSTRUCTIONS. THESE ARE SOMETIMES VERY FRAGILE, AND DUE CARE MUST BE TAKEN TO ENSURE A SUCCESSFUL AND HAPPY DELIVERY. NO CHANGES TO A PROJECT CAN BE MADE DURING IT’S PRODUCTION, HOWEVER, YOU CAN ADD OR REMOVE OPTIONS, THAT WERE INCLUDED (OR NOT) IN THE ORIGINAL PROJECT, BEFORE THE PROJECT BEGINS.
BY SENDING YOUR 50% DEPOSIT, OR CHOOSING THE PAYMENT OPTION, YOU CONFIRM THAT YOU HAVE READ THIS POLICY, AND THAT YOU HAVE TAKEN THE TIME, TO READ THESE “COMMON SENSE” GUIDELINES.
AS THIS IS A SMALL OPERATION, THE PRODUCTION SLOTS ON THE SCHEDULE ARE FEW. ONCE A CLIENT MAKES A VALID ORDER, ALL SUPPLIES ARE PURCHASED TO ENSURE THINGS WILL GO SMOOTHLY, AND ON TIME. THEREFORE, THERE ARE NO REFUNDS. IF YOU ENCOUNTER SOME DIFFICULTY IN FULFILLING THIS AGREEMENT, CONTACT ME TO WORK OUT AN ALTERNATIVE, I DON’T BITE. ALL FUNDS SENT IN, CAN BE USED AS A CREDIT FOR A FUTURE PROJECT, IF YOU WISH TO DELAY YOUR CURRENT PROJECT. YOU WILL BE REMOVED FROM THE SCHEDULE, BUT GET BACK ON IT AS SOON AS YOU ADVISE THAT WE ARE “BACK ON TRACK.”
COMPLETED ITEMS MUST BE SHIPPED WITHIN 30 DAYS OF COMPLETION.
SHIPPING IS NOT INCLUDED IN COST, UNLESS PREVIOUSLY AGREED UPON, THIS IS COMPANY POLICY. ANY ITEM THAT IS UNSHIPPED, AND NO EFFORT BY THE CLIENT TO GET THIS ACCOMPLISHED IS DONE, THE CLIENT WILL LOSE POSSESSION OF THE ITEM AFTER 6 MONTHS EXPIRES. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING WE WISH TO DO, BUT ITEMS CANNOT SAFELY STAY IN THE STUDIO. WE HAVE NO ROOM TO STORE THEM, AND CANNOT BE CERTAIN DAMAGES WILL NOT OCCUR IN THAT TIME PERIOD. PLEASE BE CERTAIN TO HAVE PLANS TO TAKE DELIVERY OF THE ITEM, ONCE YOU ARE NOTIFIED THAT THE COMPLETION IS IMMINENT
THESE ARE ALL UNIQUE WORKS OF ART, AND BUILT TO YOUR INDIVIDUAL SPECS. PROJECT ORDERS ARE NON-TRANSFERABLE. FOR CONTACT INFORMATION, PLEASE CLICK ON THE CONTACT TAB, ON THE LINKS BAR, AT THE TOP OF THE EACH PAGE.
SHIPPING CHARGES MAY INCLUDE SHIPPING MATERIALS, SUCH AS INSULATING FOAMS, WOOD FOR PROP CRATES, HARDWARE, AND THE TIME REQUIRED TO BUILD CERTAIN ENCLOSURES, TO ENSURE SAFE TRANSIT, AND DELIVERY. FULL VALUE INSURANCE IS PART OF EVERY DELIVERY PACKAGE. DELIVERY FEES ARE SET BY THE SHIPPER, WE DO NOT HAVE CONTROL OVER THEIR PRICES.
DIFFERENT LEVELS OF SHIPPING SPEED ALTER PRICES. IT IS NOT UNUSUAL FOR DELIVERIES, ESPECIALLY OVERNIGHT TYPES, OR INTERNATIONAL TO DISTANT COUNTRIES, TO COST 15% TO 20% OF THE VALUE OF THE ITEM BEING SHIPPED. THIS IS AN ESTIMATE ONLY, WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER SHIPPING FEES, BY COMPANIES LIKE UPS OR FED EX.
THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THIS! (UPDATED 6/10/2019)
SIMON “PAPA SMURF” MERCS
The Kit Factory is not associated with CBS, or Paramount Studios, all creations are unique works of Art.
RECENT ARTICLE ON MY WORK BY RICHARD STELLAR
Meet Simon Mercs, YouTube’s Model Maker Extraordinaire (Guest Blog)
This former Hollywood prop master’s how-to videos are like Captain Kangaroo on acid, going solo without the support of Mr. Green Jeans and Bunny Rabbit.
RICHARD STELLAR July 8, 2019 @ 2:31 PM
Courtesy of Simon Mercs
To Simon Mercs, a.k.a. Papa Smurf, the lines between fantasy and reality are blurred and then redefined via scaled-down versions of skyscraper-length starships belching out smoke and emitting death rays.
The former prop master and scenic artist for Disney, Warner Bros., MTV and other studios has carved out a niche as one of the greatest movie prop re-creators of all time, with a YouTube channel that has garnered 1 million-plus views by catering to those with a youthful enthusiasm for model-building.
Starting with the same plastic kits you can buy on Amazon or at neighborhood hobby shops, Mercs unboxes his purchases and then creates step-by-step video primers that mix inventive and highly stylized technologies, occasionally punctuated with shticky characters and routines best suited for Borscht Belt retrospectives. Think Captain Kangaroo on acid, going solo without the support of Mr. Green Jeans and Bunny Rabbit, and you’d be close to the attraction that Simon holds for those of us who seek to regain the youth once found in boxes of scattered plastic parts and decals.
This is Simon’s art, and not too far into his videos, he switches out the all-too familiar tube of Testor’s glue for deftly delivered rivulets of cyanoacrylate adhesive, coaxed into action by whiffs of CA accelerator. Gaps in the plastic are puttied, imperfections are sanded, and color is seldom applied with a brush. In Papa Smurf’s world, reality is colored with airbrushes and feathering techniques. This is where our youth leaves while technology and craft are ushered in — and Simon makes it appear as if you can also create reality from chaos.
Hobbling about his garage-lab-workshop-soundstage, Mercs cocks his head and peers down to evaluate his work. He not only breaks the fourth wall, but also walls five through eight as he takes the viewer into his confidence. Feigning intimacy while summoning the ghost of Otto Preminger, he appears in an extreme close-up. Then, in a hilariously inappropriate mock-German voice that is more “Hogan’s Heroes” than “Judgement at Nuremberg,” Simon extols his abilities in no uncertain terms.
“A model is only a scaled-down version of sets that I used to build. I have this amazing skill set that enables me to master what I did in full scale down to miniature scale,” he effused in one clip. “Also being obsessive-compulsive and bipolar works.”
Those who pay up to $60,000 for one of his models look at Mercs not as a basket case but more as a demigod. Dan Rosen, former Warner Bros. production head and executive at Digital Domain, was all to happy to sing Mercs’ praises. “Simon has produced a couple of models for me, a Martian War Machine and the Disneyland TWA Moonliner,” he said. “His attention to detail is simply unequaled. In my time in the movie industry, I have had occasion to deal with many model makers. They were all excellent, but I rarely saw a model produced on the first try that was exactly what was asked for.”
You don’t need a big wallet to appreciate Mercs’ completed models. Watching him build a model, and sitting through his incessant parade of characters doesn’t cost anything — and it sure beats the hell out of today’s network and cable reality television fare.
Mercs, who had one leg amputated after a freak accident, does reality TV one better. His YouTube channel continues to grow with new subscribers and fans who rabidly wait until the next installment. He doesn’t demonstrate how to make a flambé, he doesn’t pimp rides, he doesn’t flip houses. What he does is flip reality into a realm that seems attainable by us all, step by step.