Thursday, June 28, 2012

Juveniland Tokyo - Haneda Airport Toy Museum and Shop

Toys are everywhere in Japan - even at the airport.
Haneda Airport, conveniently located in Tokyo, serves both domestic and international flights. You can get there quickly, but you still need to check in for flights 2-3 hours beforehand.

Haggard passengers anticipating another 10-20 hours of traveling bliss can either spend the slack time sipping subpar, overpriced coffee at a chain store, or they can wander about in search of something fun to do.

Fret ye not! Tokyo's Haneda Airport has you covered. Right there in the terminal is a free mini vintage toy museum and gift shop, featuring some spectacular tin toys, games, and figures from decades past.

It's called Juveniland Tokyo, and it's open from 9:00 AM - 7:30 PM. If you expand the above pic and squint you can get the full explanation, in English and Japanese, of the Latin derivation of the name. Vini Vidi Toy Time.

The display:

 More after the jump:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New from Star Case

New images from Star Case central:

Test shots

Original Dester Commando sculpt

Dester Commando second release. As Katagiri-san put it to me today, this release combines elements of Japanese pop culture (Kikaider - not to mention some really cool pipecleaners a'la early 70s toys) with elements of US pop culture (Star Wars). All adds up to a pretty amazing release - one of my favorites of the series so far.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

KK Reviews: Splurrt's HiYa

Over the last year, as so many amazing indy toys have been made not only sofubi, but also in resin, clay, and other mediums (shazbot!), I've also been expanding the bounds of what we cover and explore on KK.

Today I'm really excited to shine a spotlight on HiYa, a resin figure by Splurrt that is fantastically well made and executed. From the sculpt to the balance to the articulation, this figure just plain rockin on all cylinders.

I did something different with this shoot, taking multiple angle shots of HiYa using two different natural materials as backdrops. I thought that might make for an interesting look at the figure in different settings.

First, wood:
The balance on this figure is simply outstanding. From the top weight and asymmetrical design, you might think it would be a diver, but let me tell you HiYa is just plain SOLID. You set him down, and he's not like "Eh, I don't know....." He's more like "Boom. Done. Next!" Joe proves himself to be not just a talented designer and sculptor, but an accomplished craftsman.

 More after the jump:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New from Uamou

The latest from Studio Uamou, which takes overseas orders and ships internationally.

 More after the jump:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

New sofubi: Decapitated Head by Velocitron

One thing we've learned about Ricky Wilson (Velocitron) over the years is he's not afraid to take chances. He makes the toys he wants to see made, sometimes overcoming huge technical and design challenges in the process.

Once again, Ricky steps up with his new figure: A more or less life-sized head that looks like it's ready to join the zombie of the month club. Ricky's knowledge of the sculpting, waxing, mold making, and vinyl pulling process is so deep that he was able to pull this off as a two-part figure.

Making a vinyl toy is not as easy as sculpting something and sending it off for the silicon and copper mold treatment. There are important technical considerations: Will that part bubble up at one stage of the process? Is that part going to break every time the vinyl is pulled? If I use that number of parts, is it physically possible to have the molds made to that configuration?

These are the kinds of questions Ricky deals with every day as he does production work for sofubi toy makers from around the world. Personally I find the design and production side of things fascinating and will be writing more about it. For now, let's take a closer look at Ricky's latest creation:

Here's a clear look at the second part of the figure - the skull cap. Having the joint here opens the figure up to lots of fun possibilities. You could have the cap clear, revealing an internal maggot feast. Or maybe give it a ponytail and make it a zombie hippy...just typing out loud...

 More after the jump:

Friday, June 15, 2012

New resin figure from Double Haunt

Always nice to expand the umbrella of resin figures. Not only is a lot of resin work simply gorgeous, but for a lot of indy sofubi makers, it's the first step towards taking the leap to sofubi. And once there, a lot of folks continue making toys in both mediums. (I think I like this plural form better than "media." Mixed media sounds OK, but otherwise, "media" sounds so broadcasty somehow...)

Anyway, we're happy to show the work of Double Haunt for the first time. Here's a look at their new upcoming resin figure:
I love the attention to detail and dynamic undulating perspective. Head to their site for info about other resin toys, release info, and more info about Double Haunt.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nederland MonsterJam: Upcoming kaiju show in Holland!

I'm zeer excited to be able to deliver the scoop on this news. There are sofubi fans and makers in Europe, but it seems there are very few shows. Well, a whole host of sofubi figures (as well as a couple of resin pieces for good measure!) from around the world are about to descend on Europe and say Goedemiddag Nederland! (Is it just me, or does that smattering of Dutch sound like something from the Ring cycle?)

The show, curated by Brian Mahony of GUUMON, is called Nederland MonsterJam. It's set to run in Amsterdam from July 20-30, so if you've been thinking of traveling to Holland, it sounds like a great event to plan the trip around! (And don't forget to visit the Van Gogh Museum while you're there.)

There will be figures on sale from 14 toy makers including GUUMON, Paul Kaiju, MVH LASH, Max Toy, Will Long, Yamomark, Todd Robertson, BLObPUS, and more!!

Here's the full press release with all the juicy details:

"Watch for this new Kaiju Jam happening this summer in Amsterdam. Curated by Brian Mahony, owner of GUUMON Vinyl Labs. The show“Nederland MonsterJam” is a group show including unique pieces from some of the top Kaiju makers in the business. It’s a 14 artist lineup that will feature over 40 pieces at the Concrete Image Store in downtown Amsterdam.

The show’s purpose is to present a varied display of Kaiju that gives someone who comes to the show a good perspective view of what’s being done in the genre and how much it has to offer.

The Netherlands has such a strong history of art and design pervasive through the culture. What better place to have a group show,especially at the Concrete Image Store. Dirk and company always have top shelf products and shows in the gallery space that feature hard-to-find, new and rare quality items.

Whether you’re into one-offs, customs, hand paints or collaborative pieces, this show has all that and more. Pieces can be purchased at the show, and some pieces will be available online after the show’s opening day.

The dates for Nederland MonsterJam are July 20th - July 30th. The address is: Concrete Image Store, Spuistraat 250, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland 1012 VW

More info will be available soon via the GUUMON fan site on Facebook."

I've plotted the store on Google Maps. Click here for the exact location.

Sounds like it's going to be an awesome show. Big ups to Brian and the Concrete Image Store for putting the show together. As we would all say (turns out it's true), in English, Dutch, and Japanese, bonzai!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Splurrt Mecha Brain Cadaver Kid test pull

Here's a test pull of Splurrt's other new figure: Mecha Brain Cadaver Kid. For this one, the flashing on the head and brain cover hasn't been cut yet.

On the finished figures, the exposed brain portion will be covered.

And here's the cover. The bottom part is flashing, which will be cut off before the cover is glued onto the exposed brain.

Splurrt Usir test pull

Here's a look at Splurrt's new vinyl figure: Usir. The figure features a new head sculpt on a Diggler body.

This figure is a test shot that was just pulled at the factory this morning:

Ricky Wilson introduces Kuchisake Onna

Yesterday, in this post, I put up still shots of the original sculpt for the upcoming Velocitron x Shikaruna X figure: Kuchisake Onna. In this video, Ricky Wilson (Velocitron) talks about the figure, its development, and the Kuchisake Onna legend.

Kaiju Korner toy giveaways!

Holding a Facebook/Twitter drive toy giveaway.

Once we hit 300 Facebook likes, I'll hold a toy giveaway. Click here to visit our Facebook page,

Separately on Twitter, I'll hold another toy giveaway once we reach 500 Twitter followers. Click here to check us out on Twitter.

Everyone, from our earliest to our newest Twitter followers and Facebook likers, will be eligible for the giveaways, so get your friends involved and help get the word out!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

KK Reviews: Miles Nielsen's Shishi

Shishi is one of Miles Nielsen's fast-growing stable of brilliant clay kaiju (or clayju, if you like) characters. Miles, who has been working in ceramics for years as part of Munktiki, does everything for each release. He sculpts, casts, assembles, glazes, and fires every figure, making each release an intense labor of love and fantastic execution of craftsmanship - infused into what are really very fun figures.
I was thrilled that Miles sent over a Shishi for us to review. Immediately I thought of Asagaya's Shinmei-gu shrine as the site of the shoot. Not far far from Asagaya station, it's a peaceful, serene, and very picturesque site dating back to the Edo period. It's also a popular shrine, so I performed the shoot discreetly and respectfully.

A visit to a shrine starts with the washing of hands. Let's start there.
There are a number of small and large shrines in the complex:
 Not to mention some gorgeous architecture:
 More after the jump:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Toy development process behind the scenes: Melting Wax

Yesterday I visited the Fort to catch up with Luke and Ricky. The Fort Boys are always working on toys at some stage of the development process, since they're doing pre-production-> production work for more and more designers, not to mention for their own lines: Grody Shogun + Velocitron.

An important part of the process is making wax casts from silicon molds. Those casts then go through a labor-intensive process as they're prepped for the joint + mold stages. However, not all casts are ready for prime time, and that wax, instead of being thrown away, is melted down, strained, and reused.

During my visit yesterday, Luke put a bunch of wax pieces into a metal bin, brought out a burner, and started cooking. After a few minutes, it had a cool melting effect as the pot bubbled and the various parts were reduced to a formless liquid. Here's a video I shot to capture the action:

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pandemonium (June) Show at One Up Akiba

This was the latest indy toy show at One Up Akiba, featuring short-run and one-off sofubi figures as well as toys in other media by a bunch of different designers. Looks like nearly everything sold out. The sofubi world certainly seems to be on the upswing in Tokyo!

 More after the jump:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Rockin Jelly Bean Mug + Taiwan Signing Appearance

A couple of years ago, Rockin Jelly Bean rocked the Taiwan Toy Festival with an awesome booth, prints, and signing session. It's nice to know he's carrying on fostering those Taiwan connections with new licensing collabs and another visit to Taiwan.

Monster Taipei is selling a new mug featuring an RJB design. The mugs are made in Yingge, one of Asia's most renown pottery centers. (Makes a really nice day trip from Taipei.)

The mugs, retailing at 450 NT, first went on sale at Monster Taipei, and I believe the distribution is set to expand to other outlets throughout Taiwan.

They come in a nice sturdy box:
 Detailed looks:
 More after the jump:

Saturday, June 2, 2012

GUUMON + Todd Robertson figures dropping at FOE Gallery!

The Massachusetts sofubi train rolls on! Here's look at figures by GUUMON + Todd Robertson that are about to drop TODAY at the FOE Gallery for a one day limited release. Spectacular work!!

Some of these images are being shown for the first time:
Brian calls this the Bone Virus KRUNK. Very few were made.

The Bone Zombie Virus KRUNK!
 Up next here are some of Todd's Ammonaito resin figures:
Check out the Mecha Ammonaito on the left!

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