Saturday, October 18, 2014

New York Comic Con 2014: Indie Toys

Welcome to Kaiju Korner's NYCC 2014 indie toys report. Once again, most of the indie toy booths were in the corner of the convention center called The Block. That made it nice and compact, and you could jump from booth to booth easily.
One trend this year was booth sharing. Though the number of booths selling indie toys wasn't large, many booths featured toys by more than one maker, so the total number of toy makers represented was pretty decent. This year, though, I noticed the absence of Japanese toy makers. Some of their toys were present (especially at the Kaiju Monster, Lulubell, and Clutter booths), but unlike with previous years, I didn't see any makers manning the booths.

However, there were quite a lot of vinyl, resin, and plush toys by Western makers who were there in person. Some, including Joe Merrill (Splurrt) and James Groman, manned different booths at set times to release their toys.

Here are pics of the indie toy booths, alphabetized by booth name:

481 Universe

 More after the jump:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Interview with James Groman at New York Comic Con 2014

At NYCC 2014, I had a chance to interview James Groman - long-time toy designer and creator of Rotten Rex and other vinyl toys - at the Lulubell booth.

James doing an illustration at the Lulubell booth

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hyperstoic Toy and Print Show with Pushead, Horkey, Usugrow, Benscoter, Lango, Holt

New Pushead toy debuting at Hyperstoic
Yesterday in New York at Toy Tokyo Underground, the Hyperstoic event featured works by Pushead, Aaron Horkey, Usugrow, Benscoter, Lango, and Brandon Holt. There were new toy and print releases, and the artists were on hand. Event pics:

One of several exceptional display only Rebel Captains
 More after the jump:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Batman slot machine

Pachinko parlors are ubiquitous in Japan. They're the one thing you're nearly guaranteed to see near a large train station. These extremely loud places have quite a variety of machines, blending traditional pachinko with slot functions, video, interactive elements, and so on. Previously I've written about the intersection of pachinko machines are pop culture.

The machines I've seen advertised have mostly featured crossovers with Japanese properties like Kamen Rider, Evangelion, pro wrestling, AKB 48, etc. Recently I saw a poster for something that caught my eye - a Batman machine. It's not surprising that out of the thousands of candidates for Western licensed properties, Batman was chosen. There are a good number of fans in Japan, which has a 50-year-plus history of producing some really interesting Batman goods.

Here's a look at a poster with Batman and a bunch of other machines:
 More after the jump:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Super Festival 66 - スーパーフェスティバル 66

Today's Super Festival saw quite a nice range of toys, including lots of familiar faces, new toy makers, and figures making their debut. Here's a rundown of the indie toy booths:


 Around 130 pics after the jump:

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Extremely rare vintage 12" Takara figures

Here's some real vintage lore. I wanted to put these up for general reference, as I've never even seen one of these boxed, and here is a large group. These are 12" tokusatsu figures by Takara, made in the early 70s.

Most of them are priced at $3,000-$4,000 each but are all unsold, so who knows if that's a realistic price. I guess when there are so few of them out there, whoever has them can make up the price.

With apologies in advance for the image quality. It was dark and raining.
Ultraman Ace. This is priced at a cool 1 million yen ($10,000).

 More after the jump:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Kamen Rider Big Picture Book 仮面ライダー大図鑑 (+ Ultraman + Super Sentai)

Sometimes the coolest things are the ones you spot by chance. Like the line from The Wire goes, you have to have "soft eyes" so you can spot what's out there. Well, technically, in the show a vet teacher was schooling the new cop turned teach about running a classroom....anyway I like the phrase.

On a random shelf scan, I spotted this excellent Kamen Rider book published by ポプラ社 -> Poplar. It's called the 仮面ライダー大図鑑 -> Kamen Rider Big Picture Book  The cover advertises it as an all-in-one guide to Kamen Rider, and from the pictures and content, it's hard to argue.
The book introduces the Kamen Riders + their villains, starting from 1-go.

Gorgeous photos of the heroes, villains, and bikes.
Stronger + baddies in Disco/Rocky/WWE/Come-hither poses.

 More after the jump:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Medicom Store Pics

Be@rbrick Transformers!
Pics I recently shot at the Medicom Project 1/6 shop in Shibuya.

 More after the jump:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Epic vintage Godzilla movie poster and movie program display

Yesterday at Nakano Broadway I spotted one of the best assortments of vintage Godzilla posters, programs, and other movie materials I've ever seen for sale.

It looks like Mandarake was saving a bunch up to sell all together in honor of the big guy's 60th birthday. It's also probably no coincidence that we're in the middle of the Obon holiday season, during which stores are packed with shoppers.

Some really rare posters for sale.

King Kong vs. Godzilla
 More after the jump:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Digital toy sculpting - the future is now

One of the pluses about SDCC is it lasts 4.5 days (including preview night), allowing attendees to take in quite a lot of the show. After checking out the big booths, attending panels, buying toys, and lining up for all of the above, you can still build in slack time for wandering the aisles. And this is where some of the best SDCC experiences can be had, especially if you take off your toy or art or comic or whatever "focus blinders" and take a chance to soak in something new.

One of my unexpected pleasures of SDCC 2014 was the Varner Studios booth, where I learned a lot about new trends in action figure sculpting. I even had a chance to try my hand at cutting edge toy design software.

The booth was populated by a knowledgeable and friendly crew who brought along an excellent assortment of their design work.
Most of the figures in the two cases were crafted the old-fashioned way - by hand. Varner clearly has a great relationship with Playmates, as the shelves were chock full of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles prototypes from yesteryear and today.

Also on hand were figures based on other properties including Disney characters, Star Trek, Austin Powers, The Simpsons, and so on. We'll continue after the jump with a gallery scroll through a number of these figures:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

SDCC 2014: Bwana Spoons talks about the Suns of Brodarr toy line

My interview with Bwana at SDCC. He introduces the Suns of Brodarr line, shows a prototype of an upcoming figure, talks about contributing artists, and more. Good times.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SDCC 2014: Cosplay

Cosplay at this year's event. Click on each image to see its full size.
Famous cosplayer Yaya Han. There was a long line of people waiting to meet her. One guy was literally shaking after his visit. I guess cosplay is getting to be serious business!

 More after the jump:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

SDCC 2014: Indie Toys

Welcome to Kaiju Korner's coverage of SDCC 2014. We start with the main event - a look at the indie toys released at the show.  As always, booths and organized alphabetically.

3D Retro

 175 pics after the jump:
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