Paint 'N Foil - Ming the Merciless

Ever Hear Of Crafco’s Paint ‘N Foil Sets?

Friends, the other day I was happy to have a visit from fellow Retroist Author, Phillip Cary. He had a few minutes to kill and dropped by the arcade to chat as well as bring me a pretty nifty surprise. A 1978 Paint ‘N Foil by Crafco featuring Alex Raymond artwork of none other than Ming the Merciless from the iconic Flash Gordon! I will have to admit that while I’ve seen and used numerous paint by number sets in my youth – I’ve not ever heard of a Paint ‘N Foil set. Looking online for a bit it appears that not many others have either although I did come across an eBay listing for both Ming as well as Flash Gordon himself. My first thought was this was released in conjunction with the Flash Gordon film but that of course came out in 1980 – which is actually where I first laid eyes on Alex Raymond’s artwork for the comic strips!

[Via] Romeo Five Hotel

Of the company that created these Flash Gordon Paint ‘N Foil sets – I only have what was provided on the box and on the instruction sheet. Crafco was based in Cincinnati, Ohio and then…well…that is absolutely all I could find out about them from looking online. Are these two Paint ‘N Foil sets for Flash Gordon all the company produced? I highly doubt that but that is at the moment all I’ve been able to find out. Except for the fact the contents of the set are pretty amazing.

While I will not use any of the provided paint in the 1978 set…because they’ve have dried up. I have to point out that the plastic sheet featuring Ming the Merciless looks pretty awesome as is.
Paint 'N Foil - Ming - Plastic Sheet

Apparently you would tape this plastic sheet to the paint by number guide and trust me, there is an incredible amount of instructions for this. For example to create a specific shade of green, you would paint it upon the plastic sheet itself – let it dry overnight and then add another layer of a different color upon that. The paint by number guide is reversed of course as you need to apply the paint to the backside of the plastic sheet.
Paint 'N Foil - Paint by Numbers Guide

Honestly, if I had received this Ming the Merciless Paint ‘N Foil as a kid I would just have placed the aluminum foil behind the image and been done with it. Granted if you’ve had the misfortune of seeing the results of my Transformers paint by number work featuring Hound…that probably won’t come as a shock to you.

Paint 'N Foil - Ming the Merciless - Aluminum Foil
Boom! Done!

I like the closing information for this Ming the Merciless Paint ‘N Foil…it just might be words to live by.

“When looking at your finished work it might look sloppy and streaky, however, when you place the aluminum foil behind your work, you will be amazed to find these slight flaws are hidden and your work will look beautiful.”
“Ming demands you go to your room!”

In all seriousness though if you happen to have some information on the company or the Paint ‘N Foil line of crafts – let us know in the comments!

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Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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