Now that “Black Friday” is safely past, look for me to rerun ALL my Christmas-themed Minions at Work cartoons this month, starting today!

I liked doing holiday themed Minions at Work cartoons, especially for Christmas, and I was always on a quest to get a good, 1/6th scale Santa to use. It was harder than it sounds, and I think I went through three attempts. I believe this is the first one. It isn’t really evident in this cartoon, since he’s with Penguin, who is only about 6″ tall, but this one was pretty small, even for a jolly old elf. Also, he wasn’t very posable. The arms were wire and could be bent into a few positions, but that was about it. I also didn’t like how the beard and hat (which is glued on) his his face and made him photograph poorly.

Later I got a second one who I though looked better, but he was kind of large. He was as tall as the Minions, or even a little taller, and pretty thick, giving him rather Hulk-like proportions. Also not ideal for a “true” Santa. And he wasn’t very posable either.

What I REALLY wanted was an actually 1/6th scale Santa ACTION figure, basically a 12″ GI Joe in a Santa costume and beard, and I couldn’t quite pull that off. I also wanted the classic Santa suit of my childhood, red with white trim, black boots and belt. None of this gold or “father Christmas” stuff for me! I looked for a doll or figure with the right suit and head that I could transplant onto an action figure body.

Finally, I found an animated mechanical figure with a pretty nice cloth suit, and even a MOSTLY reasonable looking head. The beard and hair were molded plastic, which meant the features stood out, and it photographed well, if not very realistically. The problem was, this Santa was animated playing the saxophone, and his face had glued-on, dark, sunglasses! Well, there needs to be something slightly off-kilter about a Minions at Work character, so I was down with the sunglasses. No reason “real” Santa can’t be “cool.” I actually used this figure, as-is, for one holiday cartoon, and turned the sax playing into the joke. The figure was permanently mounted on a pedestal that had the batteries and electronics, so I had to hide that behind props and scenery.

But after that, I tore “robo-Santa” apart, salvaging the suit, head, hat, and the foam padding from the robot-torso as a “fat suit” for the action figure. For the body, I just grabbed a random, highly-articulated figure from my collection for which I didn’t have any other immediate plans. Said figure was from a military set, just happened to have this angry, kind of frightening, “I am about to frag you” expression. This didn’t bother me, as I’d intended to remove the head and replace it with the Santa head. (Hey, it gets kind of gruesome around here at times!) But when I took the Santa head off and examined it, it had a big hole in the bottom, and it didn’t take much to have the whole head fit over “angry combat guy’s” head like a mask or helmet.

And thus, the concept of “Doctor Santa” was born, a somewhat evil (or at least angry and misguided) “false Santa,” as opposed to the “true” Santas who had appeared in previous cartoons. The head looks kind of unnatural because it IS unnatural. The Santa head goes on like a helmet because it IS a helmet, for a Santa-shaped suit of weaponized power armor! The great thing about Doctor Santa is that, unlike “real” Santa, I could do Santa jokes all year long!

I came up with a bit of back-story for him, in that he had been a long-suffering mall Santa, mistreated by his bosses, and by the terrible, spoiled, over-tired children he had to deal with. Bit by bit he kept “upgrading” his suit in response to those abuses, until it was the weaponized nightmare we have today.

Unfortunately, though he was created so I could use him more, “Doctor Santa” was created late in the Minions at Work 1.0 run, and didn’t appear much. He’s never, to my knowledge, showed up at any “Legion of Doom” meetings, and his interactions with the other Overlords are few, if any. That will be changing. He may get some upgrades too. Some scary gauntlets in place of his hands would be nice, and I’m thinking of giving him some glowing LED cyborg eyes to remind people he’s not the real Santa, even when his helmet is on.