Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Upcoming Clutter piece on Ricky Wilson

I've been working on an article/interview with Ricky Wilson (Velocitron/Fortmeister extraordinaire) for Clutter magazine. The piece is in the final stages, and I'll be sending it to Clutter very soon. Just wanted to give you guys a heads up that this piece is going to be AWESOME. Ricky went to town on the interview, and the content is just chock full of amazing. Every sofubi head out there is going to want to get the next issue of Clutter, if only for the piece on Ricky, which should be at least 6 pages long. I'm serious, this interview is legendary. Plus the mag is only 10 bucks!

Interview with Peter Kato

The other day in New York, I had a nice chat with toy maker Peter Kato about his resin figures, sofubi plans, and a bunch of other stuff.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Interview with Joe Merrill (Splurrt)

Interview I did with Joe Merrill, the man behind Splurrt, on March 22, 2012. Lots of info about Splurrt plans, plus a nice chance to hang out with Joe. Sorry the production values aren't all there - that's the hazard of shooting outside of a studio! But I think it's a fun chat, and I hope you like it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Splurrt ram head character update

Over the last few days, Joe has made some slight design changes to the new ram head sculpt. I thought it might be interesting to look at the original + updated sculpts side by side. The one on the left is the earlier sculpt. The one on the right is the modified sculpt (click each one to see the full size):

First look at new Splurrt figure!

The other day in NYC, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Joe Merrill, the spurt behind Splurrt, a fast growing, creative, and FUN indy outfit.

Joe brought along a just finished sculpt (still unnamed), which I'm happy to debut for the first time today. It's a new ram head that goes onto the Diggler body. I think Joe knocked it out of the ballpark with this sculpt. It's fantastically crafted, has a lot of character, and fits perfectly onto the Diggler body.

Here's a look at the back:
I love the texture and proportions.
Size comparison next to a Diggler:
With this new ram head, Diggler, Cadaver Kid, and Joe's resins, a nice aesthetic thread linking Joe's figures is revealing itself across the lines.
Next, a few shots of just the head sculpt:
The teeth horns are an inspired feature, and so nicely integrated into the overall design.
 More after the jump:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Interview with Rich Montanari aka LASH/Mutant Vinyl Hardcore

Here's an interview I shot the other day with sofubi Rich at his studio in New Haven. We had a good chat about Rich's new figures, collabs, events, and Archie Bunker chairs.

Blogspot has been funky with video embedding, so if you can't see the video below, you can check it out on YouTube here.

Visit with Rich Montanari aka LASH (Mutant Vinyl Hardcore)

The other day in New Haven I hooked up with my buddy Rich Montinari aka LASH, the man behind Mutant Vinyl Hardcore and its fast growing sofubi empire. Rich is always a cool dude to hang out with, and he's riding a non-stop slipstream of creativity and ideas for new projects and collabs.
Let's start with some new pics of his studio. (Click here to check out my studio visit report from last year.)
Recently Rich received a a huge order of blanks, including the first pulls of his new figures as well as a big batch of Ollies. Here's a look at some of the figures in his studio - waiting to be painted!

 More after the jump:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Splurrt Garbage Garth resin test pulls

Splurrt sent over an image of the first test pulls of their new Garbage Garth resin figures. I think this is the first time these have been shown publicly. Some really nice colors on these!

Interview with Matt Doughty of Onell Design

Matt talks about toys, collabs, future plans, and the cosmic synergy that brings indy toy makers together.

Having trouble embedding it, so if you can't see the above video, click here to head straight to the video on YouTube.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Onell Design studio visit

As part of my travels through the Northeast, I was lucky to have the chance to visit my buddy Matt Doughty, the mastermind behind the Glyos system and Onell Design.

In addition to being a fascinating person with an amazing grasp of the continuity (and concentric circles) of indy and mainstream toys, Matt's a prolific artist, designer, and toy maker. I was thrilled to meet with him and see where the magic happens. Here's a look at the coordinated chaos of The Attic.
Matt's workspace is on the second floor of his home, and it runs the length of the structure, which is quite interesting. So you have three rooms subdivided by open entrance-ways linking everything together. Even his studio is Glyos-like!

The first impression one gets (besides the tremendous smell of action figures, which is the toy world sensory equivalent of being inside a Tibetan Buddhist temple), is that the place is simply covered with toys. There are action figures and vehicles everywhere...boxed, carded, loose, piled, strewn, and scattered. But there's a real beauty to it all, and it's certainly an endless source of inspiration.

Here are some looks:
More after the jump:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Todd Robertson + Will Long talk toys

Here's an interview I shot during my visit to Will + Todd's studio the other day. They talk about customs they're working on, new resin figures, and upcoming plans. A lot of the figures are for the upcoming Bits show (opening May 4), which will have work by Todd, Will, + Bob Conge.

Having some issues with embedding videos into Blogger, so if you can't see the video here, check it out on YouTube here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Visit with GUUMON

Last night, I had the pleasure of taking the T to beautiful Jamaica Plain to visit with Brian Mahony, the mastermind behind GUUMON. I had a fantastic visit, and not only did Brian clue me in on all kinds of GUUMON news, but he sent over some awesome pics to share with everyone.

Let me start off by talking about Titanium, a new color application technique Brian is developing. It creates the appearance of an iridescent sheen flowing over a figure's contours. The effect is stunning. Here's a shot of the Titanium colorway applied to a Marusan Hedora:
Next here's a look at Brian's workspace:
As you can see, Brian has a TON of projects in the works.
Speaking of new projects, Brian has not one, two, but THREE new toys in development, two of which are scheduled for release this year and the third next year. He'll also be submitting 6 customs to the FOE gallery for their upcoming Monster Mayhem show, which opens on May 11.

But that's not all! Brian is also cranking the Euro scene dial to FULL TILT by curating an upcoming event in the Netherlands called "Nederland MonsterJam." The show, scheduled to be held in Amsterdam in July, will feature customs by 18 artists. Geweldig!

More after the jump:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Video of Todd Robertson + Will Long's studio

In my previous post, I wrote about my visit to Will + Todd's studio in Boston. Here's a video I shot to give you a better sense of the dimensions and layout of the place:

Having some issues with embedding videos into Blogger, so if you can't see the video here, check it out on YouTube here.

Todd Robertson + Will Long Studio Visit

There's some amazing creating going on in Boston. In fact, the whole region is a fast-growing nexus of toy making, worked in sofubi, resin, metal, and other materials. You've got new figures, customs, mashups, and new creations that I'm not sure we even have words for yet. And it's all awesome.

Down in South Boston, Todd Robertson and Will Long share a space where they work on all kinds of incredible figures, paintings, and other art. Yesterday, I visited them and took some snaps.

Their space is in an old rum distillery, which has been converted to a bunch of loft-type spaces that are rented out to artists and other creative types.

First up, let's look at Will's stuff. He's kind of a newcomer on the indy toy scene, and his background is in fine art. Will brings a really fresh aesthetic sensibility with an incredible eye for detail.

Here's one of Will's mecha creations, a mashup of an Optimus Prime head, some other toy parts, and a ton of found items.
More after the jump:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

New England, Clutter, and long layovers....

Amazing, I know - a KK post without 300 photos. That's because there's a whole lot going on, which is going to lead to some pretty amazing content very soon!

As I type this, I'm at JFK, waiting to head to Boston, and from there I'll be making a few other stops on the East Coast. I'm really excited to be visiting some super cool toy people, and I'll be road blogging all along.

I'm also working on my next piece for Clutter magazine. It will be a feature article/interview with Ricky Wilson, one of the core people at the center of the modern sofubi movement who not only is the force behind Velocitron but also the man with the plan helping sofubi makers like Splurrt and MVH get their toys made in Japan. Ricky's a really thoughtful guy, and I think you're really going to dig the piece. Support Clutter - it's just $10 for a really high quality mag!

Oh yeah, before I headed out from Tokyo for this trip, I took a grip of behind the scenes photos, as well as pics of custom and rare figures. I'll be turning those into posts in the coming weeks.

Fasten yer seat belts!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Coming up: Konatsu Nagata Show

From March 31 to April 1, the venerable Design Festa Gallery in Harajuku will host a show featuring the work of Konatsu and Mark Nagata of Max Toy Co. Mark is planning to fly to Japan for the show, marking his first appearance in Tokyo in around 1.5 years. Unfortunately, KK won't be on hand to cover the event. Don't worry though, we've got some pretty amazing stuff planned in the coming weeks. ;-)

If you're in Tokyo, make sure to stop by. Mark always has amazing figures on hand for his shows, and Konatsu, the designer of Max Toy's red hot Negora + Big Fish figures, is sure to impress.

Here's the back pic of the show's flyer:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Games Workshop Miniatures in Japan

I usually cover the sofubi side of the indy toy world, but there's much more going on in Japan, and when I get the chance, I like to shine a light on some of those other pursuits. Plus, you've got so much artistic cross-pollenation going on across different media these days - with sofubi, resin, wood, clay, etc. - that you never know what will lead to what. Anyway, I think fantasy miniatures are just plain cool, and the craftsmanship of creative types here never ceases to amaze me.

Games Workshop, a UK company, has branches in a bunch of places, including one in Nakano Broadway. Also, at events like Wonder Festival, they sometimes have booths. Today I stepped into the Broadway shop and took some snaps of the figures on display. Of course, miniatures are sold blank -  kind of like the way resin kits are displayed painted and sold blank at shows - but it's always nice to see how they can turn out.

Here are some dioramas and figures on display at the shop:

 More after the jump:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Plaseebo x Leecifer Tropical Night Gamer

Plaseebo (Bob Conge) and Leecifer (Lee Gajda) have teamed up for a glowing, glaring, super limited collaboration. For the team up, Leecier painted 8 of Bob's Night Gamer.

Each figure has glass eyes and a motion sensitive LED inside that lights up when activated:
 The figures can also be black light activated:

Finally here's the figure's backstory:
Standing at 7", each Night Gamer will sell for $250. Six of them will be sold on the Plaseebo webshop on Wednesday March 14. It's always fun seeing Bob's creative customs and collaborations since just about anything is possible!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Japan 7-11 x Star Wars merchandise blitz strikes back!

It's time to party like it's 1999! Walk into a 7-11 in Japan, and you'll feel like you've been transported to the unforgettable cross marketing product blitz that accompanied Star Wars Episode 1...which was followed by countless bouts of fan angst, hand wringing, and cries of "Why, George, why?!?!?"

This current wave of "No we will never let you forget the prequels" marketing ties in with the theatrical release of Episode 1 in 3D in Japan. (Yes, it takes light years for movies to reach here.) Midichlorian counts aside, all the old imagery is back, and at every aisle, Darth Maul, Jar Jar, and crew stare you down and try to Force choke or stultify your brain into buying something.
Buy the bread, Luke....

...because dreams of plastic glory await!
Meiji chocolate isn't half-bad.
 Next we move on to product branding.
These frozen treats - Gari Gari - are kind of like big square popsicles. Not my favorite, but I was at a restaurant once that had this Gari Gari x soda x whiskey concoction, and it was goooood!
More after the jump:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Max Toy x Mandarake Dualos

To commemorate the relocation of its Sapporo shop, Mandarake is releasing an exclusive Max Toy Dualos. This is Max Toy's first collab with Mandarake.

The figure will be released on March 17. It will first be sold at the Sapporo shop starting at 11:00 AM. Then, online sales will start an hour later at 12:00. The price will be 8,400 yen per figure.

Here's a shot of the back of the figure:

For the full release details (Japanese only) click here.

Coming up: Rampage Toys x Uamou show!

 From 3.22 - 4.02, Studio Uamou will host a new show of Rampage Toys x Uamou collaborations in Akihabara. Jon will head down to Tokyo for the show.

He'll be bringing along 30 Uamous, 25 customs, and a bunch of other stuff.

Make sure to check it out!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New Assemble Borg exhibition at Akiba Zone

On the B2 level of the new Akiba Zone complex, Kaiyodo maintains a group of display cabinets that it uses to show its different figure lines. It's a great chance to check out new and upcoming figures out of the box. Also, Kaiyodo sometimes puts loose figures out on the tables of the surrounding food court. Pretty cool.

Today I spotted a new Assemble Borg display there. Like Revoltech, Assemble Borg is a super poseable line but with a kind of cyber punk sci fi bent. Here are pics of the display:

 More after the jump:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ricky Wilson talks toys + Paul Kaiju's newest sofubi figure: Pollen Kaiser

Yesterday during my visit to the Fort I had a chance to catch up with Ricky Wilson (aka Velocitron) while he was working on the wax proto for Paul Kaiju's upcoming sofubi toy: Pollen Kaiser.

In the video, Ricky talks about Pollen Kaiser, upcoming Velocitron toys, the next batch of figures for the TAG Karoshi show, and a lot more.

I brought a tripod this time, so I think the video quality is a tad higher than for previous videos. Luke makes a cameo at the end and proves the ancient adage: left to right tripod swivel good. Limited up down tripod swivel makes photographer look Hobbit sized.

Here are a couple of stills of Ricky working on Pollen Kaiser:

Monday, March 5, 2012

New from Grody Shogun 3.5.2012

Today I had a chance to hang out for a while with the gang at the Fort. Here are images of Grody Shogun works at various stages of development:

New figures Luke is working on:

 Here's an upcoming Grody Shogun x Uamou collab:
 Finally, here are a bunch of En-man heads from a recent release:
As always, these are snapshots from Luke's studio, not official preview shots. Official release info, pricing, etc will go out through the Lulubell newsletter, homepage, Facebook page, Twitter, carrier pigeon, etc.
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