Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kaiju Korner Review: Todd Robertson's Ammonaito

Todd Robertson is well-known for his amazing toy customs, especially his signature mecha virus treatments of figures, which range from the tiny to the gigantic. His work has been shown at events and in galleries from Boston to Tokyo and many places in between.

Todd's place in the indie toy world solidly established, he now brings us an original resin figure: Ammonaito. This one-piece toy has a lot going for it, and I'm thrilled to have not one, but two Ammonaitos to show you.

This time, I did the shoot indoors. Let's start by looking at each figure, and then we'll look at some side by side shots:
Ammonaito strikes me as a kind of a sci fi crustacean, just as home at the bottom of the ocean depths as he is on a deep space freighter.

You can see the complexity of the sculpt here. Though it lays flat, its angles, curves, and recesses make it burst out from whatever surface it's on.
Another side look
More after the jump:
Protruding from the back is a really intriguing feature. You don't know if this is some wretched soul stretching to escape the beast, a symbiotic life form, or a controller. The ambiguous expression adds to the mystery and makes the figure even more interesting!
 Now some closeups:
This shot and the following pics give a sense of the intricate detail that went into the sculpt. Personally I love the counterbalance of smooth, flowing sections with coarse, sharp indentations. The variation makes it feel like this is a beastie that slithered its way up from the seabed.

Look at those beautiful breathing holes! Suction cups? Weaponized air ducts?!?

Now let's look at another painted Ammonaito:
I think Todd has come into his own with this figure. In the indie toy world, we often see talented painters who make really nice customs, and then when they start making their own toys, it's like the sculpt evokes their full range of skills. That makes sense, since the toy is literally made by that person, for that person.

I love the base green accentuated by the gold, purple, and blue highlights.
I love this look!

Another look at the excellent detail. The paint splatter works so nicely here.

The base is completely flat, but you sure wouldn't know it looking at the figure.
Now let's look at two Ammonaitos side by side:
One of the true tests of a top shelf figure is how it works across more than one paint application. If a sculpt is too bold and overpowering, it makes it difficult to present it in a fresh light from version to version. Yet if it's too vague, it doesn't hold its own character, which can thwart the figure's evolution. The best toys are able to stride both worlds. (Think Real Head's Chaos as a classic example.) Take a look at the stark differences between these two versions of Ammonaito, and you get a sense Todd has really struck a nice balance here.

Top down angle

Who watches the watchers???
I hope you enjoyed this look at Ammonaito. Click here to check out an interview I did with Todd + Will Long and here to see a video I shot of their studio.

You can follow Todd on Twitter + Instagram @mechavirus
To send Todd an e-mail, use:

As always, if you'd like your toys reviewed on Kaiju Korner, drop me an e-mail:

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