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Manic Street Preachers super fan immortalises her heroes in toy form

20 Aug 2021 5 minute read
The custom made Funko Manics (Credit: Mish O’ Leary)

David Owens

It’s not sleaze rockers The New York Dolls nor pretend punks Toy Dolls, but it is Manic Street Preachers like you’ve never seen them before.

The Welsh rock heroes have been immortalised in toy figure form modelling a range of eye-catching looks from their early days.

These highly collectable Pop Vinyl bobblehead dolls from American company Funko are hugely popular and highly collectable, covering a range of licensed brands and popular culture such as video games, television, movies, and music.

However, you can’t buy these Manic Street Preachers figures in high street stores. They have been custom made for Manics mad fan, Mish O’ Leary.

UK-based company Glitz Customs who customise and create unique Funko figures worked with Mish, who lives in Cardiff but is originally from Essex, to produce these stunning figures.

The boxed up Manics figures (Credit: Mish O’ Leary)

All the company’s figures are made to order and are so popular they have a waiting list until 2022.

Mish, 39, is a massive fan of both the Blackwood band and the Funko vinyl bobbleheads. When she saw that the Japanese company produced various music figures for retail sale, including The Beatles, Kurt Cobain and Freddie Mercury – but there were no Manics figures – she was keen to rectify this oversight.

“I saw Glitz Customs on Facebook a while ago,” recalls Mish, of how she came to have four toy Welshmen in her possession. “I kept an eye on the page for a while and saw some of the pictures they were posting of the custom figures and realised they were really good.

“So I initially had the James Dean Bradfield figure made in March. I thought I would try one first to see what it looked like, and it was brilliant. I was so happy with it.

“I then decided to get the others made and was on their waiting list because they’re pretty busy. I had to wait about six months to get the other three done.”

Flowery dress

Sending the custom company pictures of the band members with various looks, she couldn’t have been happier with the results.

“I tried to choose iconic looks for all four of them, so that they would be instantly recognisable,” she says. “The James Dean Bradfield figure I went with this Holy Bible balaclava, because that’s quite unique.

“I wasn’t really sure whether the balaclava thing would work to be honest. I did speak with the custom people beforehand to say, ‘look, what do you think?’ And they said, ‘Oh, yeah, we think that’s really cool’.

“With the Nicky Wire figure, there are some iconic photos of him from 1993 wearing a flowery dress, which he said in an interview once he bought in Dorothy Perkins in Southend.

“I used to live in Southend, so I’ve always loved that fact, so that’s why I picked that one.

“With the Sean Moore figure, it had to be him wearing his beret from the Holy Bible era, which is quite an iconic look. And with Richey (Edwards) there were so many different looks I could have picked, but in the end, I went for his leopard print coat, and white jeans, which was probably his best look.”

Richey and James (Credit: Mish O’ Leary)

Mish, whose first Manics’ gig was at Southend Cliffs Pavilion in 1993, and who cites the Manic Millennium gig on New Year’s Eve 1999 as her favourite Manic Street Preachers gig, was not only hugely impressed with the figures, but also the contact she had with custom makers.

“They sent me photos throughout the process, to check that I was happy with what they were doing, and also sent me mock ups of the box design. I also had the opportunity to give feedback at any point before they sent them out to me.”

Each figure cost Mish £65 each, and she says it was more than worth it.

“They’re unique, a one off, so I think they are completely worth it,” reckons the Manics’ fan, who has had a 28 year love affair with the band.

“I just loved the band straight away when I saw them in ‘93,” she says. “They were just so different from everything else. And they didn’t care what anybody thought. They were intellectual and switched on about stuff. They were more articulate and more intelligent than any other band.

Sean and Nicky (Credit: Mish O’ Leary)

Now Mish’s Manics’ figures will take pride of place in her home, as a lockdown gift to herself.

“I’ve got a few other Funko Pop dolls which are quirky and fun,” she says. “I would see them in the shops all the time and think, oh, that one’s really cool. I’d really like that if I had space for it. I just thought the custom Manics’ figures were a cool idea. Something different. Plus I didn’t go out for most of last year, so I had plenty of time to save and treat myself.”

Find out more about Funko Pop HERE

You can contact Glitz Customs HERE

Manic Street Preachers release their new album ‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’ on Friday, September 10th. Find out more HERE

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