Sunday, February 23, 2014

Gargamel: The Thrashout Show (Feb 2014)

Gargamel's The Thrashout Show, Feb 2014 edition.

 More after the jump:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Announcement: Coming soon to Clutter - my interview with Joe Merrill of Splurrt!

I'm happy to announce that the next issue of Clutter magazine will contain an interview I did with Joe Merrill, the man behind Splurrt toys. Joe and I had a very enjoyable, wide ranging talk on many issues, including of course Splurrt toys, Joe's toy making process, the indie sofubi scene, and a lot more. Plus there will be never before seen photos. So make sure to check it out!

This will be issue #20 of the magazine, and it is scheduled to be in stores (DKE is handling store distribution) and in Clutter's hands by March 14. So keep an eye out on Clutter's site for more release details and ordering info.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wonder Festival 2014 (Winter) / ワンダーフェスティバル 2014[冬] Part 3: 3D Printing & the 3D-GAN Area

One of the neat things about recent Wonder Festivals has been a spotlight on the technology that's changing the toy industry. In the 3D-GAN (Geometry Application Network) area, a number of tech companies showed off their machines, products, and services.

In addition to straight-up 3D printers and toys made from them, there were companies with lithography technology, mass produced keshi gomu toys (made from molds that were created using 3D technology), and more.

Here's a video followed by stills of some of the booths.

These high quality keshi gomu toys are made using a unique injection molding process. The molds were made using 3D technology. Because of the precision of the process, they can make numerous molds for the same design, speeding up production, improving efficiency and consistency, and, I would think, lowering overall costs.

Interesting note: I had a nice chat with the person running the booth, and  he told me that these figures, along with a lot of other keshi gomu toys, are made from PVC resin. So although we often call them "rubber erasers," the material used to make them may be something else entirely.

More after the jump:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Wonder Festival 2014 (Winter) / ワンダーフェスティバル 2014[冬] Part 2: Indie Toys

Here is Kaiju Korner's main Wonder Festival Winter 2014 report: a look at indie toys, including sofubi, keshi, resin, and more.

Booths are arranged alphabetically.

Angel Abby

Bullmark and Yamanaya

Really cool info board about the way the Ultraman cast hands were made.
 200+ pics after the jump:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Wonder Festival 2014 (Winter) / ワンダーフェスティバル 2014[冬] Part 1: Medicom Toys

Welcome to Kaiju Korner's coverage of Wonder Festival 2014 (Winter). We start with a look at the always fantastic Medicom Toys display, with looks at dozens of new and upcoming sofubi figures.
This wasn't an ordinary WF, as it came on the day after Tokyo's heaviest snowfall in decades. That had a very big impact on transportation, as both fans and dealers slowly rolled in over the course of the morning.
 On to Medicom's display....
Heavy hitters right out of the gate! Kamen Rider...
 More after the jump:

Friday, February 7, 2014

Vintage Keshi Gomu Packaging

Keshi gomu ("rubber eraser") figures are among the most popular toy collectibles in Japan. Maybe because of their size, or the instant nostalgia factor, or maybe the way they were distributed in so many outlets, people still love the little figures.

Keshi toys were sold in gachapon machines, as "candy/premium toys" (ex: buy a box of chocolate and get a little freebie figure), individually packaged with bags and headers, in sets, boxes, get the picture.

I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the varieties of packaging for these remarkably detailed little figures.
Here are some Gegege no Kitaro figures in traditional bag/header card packaging.

Robo Hachan keshi set with backing board + clear plastic window
 More after the jump:

Monday, February 3, 2014

Vintage Wind-Up Toys

The variety of cool toys made in Japan in the 1970s-80s is amazing. We cover a lot of sofubi on KK, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. You've also got chogokin, keshigomu, jumbos, talkers, belts, masks, rigs for bikes to turn your banana seat Stingray into a Kamen Rider Cyclone (oh yes, indeed...)

Then there are tin toys, a staple of Japanese toys going back more than half a century. A lot of them are really tough to find these days, especially with the boxes. Here's a look at a bunch of wind-up walkers I came across in Tokyo.
Barom 1 and Getter Robo

Ultraman Leo, Zaboga, Ultraman MAT, Mirrorman


Kamen Riders + Ultraman Leo

Check out the cool wheel action on this Rider!

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