Sunday, May 19, 2013

Design Festa 37: Indie Toys

Today's Design Festa saw quite a lot of activity in the indie toy world. The show was eclectic, at times confusing, and sometimes downright chaotic. That could be because we've entered round peg/square hole territory. As we've reported, over the last couple of years DF has grown in stature in the indie toy world - mostly, I think, because of the demise of other shows like Pachi Summit, and WCC, WHF, along with the closure of Kaiju Blue and overall decline of the custom show/gallery circuit.

So DF became more and more prominent toy wise, and for a while there was some order to it all as the indie makers were mostly clustered in one area. This time around, that fell apart. There were a few booths alongside one another (Max Toy, Sunguts, Yamomark, + Blobpus), but most others were scattered all over the Big Sight. On top of that, some customs and releases were brought out at random times, and there was a lot of booth sharing, which is cool but it took a lot more figuring out what was whose and what was up.

Having said all that, if you put on your walking shoes and stuck to it, there was quite a lot to see. A number of makers debuted for the first time, there were new sculpts released and protos revealed, and in general folks seemed to have a good time.

Here is probably my largest ever DF report, with more than 200 photos, arranged alphabetically by maker. I've added links to the websites/Facebook pages/blogs of some of the newer makers.

Black Rabbit
 200+ photos after the jump:

 The following are all customs - for display only:

The BR dude told me he used to use this phone - so cool!

Custom pro-wrestling masks!

Most of the releases were one-off customs:

Kaji-san had a bunch of these sushi themed releases, with two painted and two unpainted figures in each set:

Cerrito (Cesar Zanardi)

New resin figure: Pan Pan Mosquito. "Pan pan" comes from the sound made when tapping a full belly with your palm.

Cesar's brother Jose explained to me how quite a lot of expert optics design went into making the red ball, so it has really cool reflective properties.


The figures are made of resin, and many of them have a distinct Argentian theme.

Chima Group

Dol Roffo

Always fun to see craftsfolk at work.
Dream Rockets

New figure: Vampire Batman


 The next two proto sculpts are upcoming Ultraman-based figures, licensed from Tsuburaya:
Kawata Syu-Ichi
A new maker on the scene. His booth got a lot of attention when the show opened. Facebook:

New sofubi figure. The package says Mogu Ring in big letters, and on the top it says: The Deep Sea Sofubi Series


The blank Migoras were sold in two ways: In a mega pack, and via blind bag.

If you bought a blind bag, you got a scratch off card. Winners got a free mini Migora handpainted by Konatsu-san.

Print set

Upcoming figure proto sculpt




Marmit's boss. He designed the armor.
Masayoshi Hanawa

Max Toy Company

Sofubi Eyezon

Another stunner by Todd Robertson

So this is a really interesting set of releases. They're being sold pre-order, as a tie in with the Dai Kaiju Salon, a bar in Nakano run by Pico Pico.

If you pre-order the big fellow + micro Negora, you can pick them up at the bar on June 22 and also get free drinks - no limit!
Order this fellow + the micro, and you pick them up at the bar + get a free drink + food!

An interesting twist is, because the bar can't fit everyone who pre-orders (by the way, there is a limit to the number of figures they're making), you're given a time slot at which to roll up. From the looks of it, it's 10 people per time slot. It should be a really fun time!
 Monster Factory

Pico Pico

Rampage Toys

Hints and Spices x rampage

By Todd Roberston
Refreshment Toys

Lots of new figures at the booth!

Sold blind bagged. You got one of the two (painted or unpainted) in the bag.
Rika Shibazaki


Shimomoku (Kinokeshi)
Another first timer. Blog:

Kinokeshi sofubi. Four parts to this version. The arms are jointed, and despite the small feet, the balance is excellent. These are about 1.5" tall.

On the right you can see the gas mask version. (I'm not sure why, but gas masks were a major theme at this DF.) The mask attaches via s magnet. Superb execution on this mini figure!
Here's their website:




Uky Daydreamer

Upcoming exhibition for the hard working Uky, who lives in Nagasaki.

More sushi package releases.
The big question on some people's minds is what the future will hold for Design Festa. Apparently a new company is running the show. Due to the large demand for booths, for at least the next show, booth selection will not be first come first served. Instead, there will be a lottery to see who can attend.

Not sure if that will mean future shows will be completely fragmented. Let's hope not, because I think it's a lot better - for toy makers and fans - when booths can be grouped together - at least in the same section of the Big Sight.

Thanks for reading!


krakit said...

Eye love seeing the new Eyezon sculpt
in vinyl!...which means it's going to
available soon.

The ometeotl figures by uky Daydreamer
are cool with the double sided heads.
Jon (Rampage Toys) painted some up
not long ago and he did a great job
with them.

TG9's PeaKY creature .. so glad
TAG is making these available
here in America.
yellow version
grey version

Thanks for the thorough coverage, Andy!

andy b said...

Nice to see Uky getting some love. He's been working his tail off flying to shows and exhibiting his stuff.

The new Eyezon is a real departure from the first one. Should be interesting to see them painted up!

max toy said...

Thanks for the great coverage as usual Andy ! It's a lot of work on your part .. so Thank you !

andy b said...

Glad you like the coverage Mark!

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