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REVIEW: Ledbetter’s Fire-Cat and Ice-Cat

About two weeks ago, we reviewed Joe Ledbetter’s Mr. Bunny and Sno-Bunny rotocast vinyl figures from Wheaty Wheat Studios.  As you all know, Fire-Cat and Ice-Cat were also released around the same time as the two Mr. Bunny colorways.

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Folks seem to have a distinct preference as to which figure and colorway is their favorite of the group.  At this moment, mine is Fire-Cat.  However, that might change with the release of Ringo Bear in the coming year.

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Ledbetter’s work appears as if it would be extremely difficult to transfer from canvas to vinyl.  However, Joe and Wheaty Wheat have done an amazing job with the sculpting, shading and coloring on these figures.  The dark black lines are transferred to the edges of the vinyl toy, giving it a unique look.

2005 Toy Awards: Best Toy Line – Ladies Choice

As we all know, it's not just us men who are designer toy collectors.  So it was decided to add this category for the female collectors. (We're not all Andy from the 40 Year Old Virgin) So what actually constitutes a girlie toy?  We'll we're not sure...but check out these three nominees.

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The Little Uglys mini plush dolls were the hit of San Diego's Comic Con.  They were literally selling them by the garbage can full.  People were collecting the entire set (2 series so far), which means a ton of plush in the house.

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The Blythe Dolls have been around since the 1970's...but just recently have they been re-introduced to collectors.  They might be a little difficult to find in the US (since CWC is overseas), but with a traveling exhibition and Hasbro beginning to sell them online...It'll be easier to find everyone's favorite fashion doll.

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and STRANGEco's Insurgents Wilderness Gruppo mini line not only appeals to the vinyl toy collector...but to animal lovers as well.  I noticed a number of people who had no real interest in the "scene" just heaping praise on this line.

Winner: Blythe Dolls
CWC has done an amazing job bringing the Blythe dolls back from the toy vault.  There is now a traveling exhibition as well as books, dolls and doll clothes.

2005 Toy Awards: Artist of the Year

Choosing the one artist who has had the biggest impact on the past year is always somewhat of a challenge.  It's especially a challenge when there are so many amazing artists working their magic in this realm.  Narrowing it down to 3 was hard enough...but then selecting one was even more difficult.

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David Horvath is most widely known as 'That Uglydoll Guy'.  This past year has introduced us to a few more Uglys as well as 2 series of Little Uglies.  We also got a glimpse of the Pounda vinyl figures from Critterbox and a Little Bony vinyl from SEG.  Not to mention his Dunny, Trexi and Qee designs...

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Joe Ledbetter appears to be the talk of the town over the last several months.  He's not entirely new to the vinyl scene, as a number of his customs have been showcased in exhibitions.  However, he has introduced his first original line of toys with Wheaty Wheat Studios, and the Fire Cat and Mr. Bunny vinyls are at the top of every collectors wish list.

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Frank Kozik has been doing his own thing for years now.  He is one of the kings of customs.  We saw Bone Bunnies, Smorkin' Labbits (big and small), and a number of Kozik Dunnys over the past year.  He's now working with Toy2R to release a line of Dr. Bomb figures...can't wait!

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The Darling Blythe Book

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"Darling Blythe", the book for Blythe fans filled with just about all the fun activities and features on Blythe, is now available.  It comes with many tips on how to enjoy Blythe with sewing patterns and other useful information for your enjoyment. Needless to say, the book is full of photographs, illustrations and comics of adorable Blythe.  I just received one as a Christmas present from the folks at CWC and I must say that it's a very cool read.

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2005 Toy Awards: Best Mini Line

2005 was a good year for mini figures (anything under 4 inches in height).  Of course, there were more lines of Qees, Kubricks and Dunnys than you could shake a stick at.  We chose 3 of our favorite lines of the past year...

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The world of designer toys took a step in a completely different direction when the USB Flash Drive mimobots were introduced by mimoco.  With artwork by Yahid Rodriguez and the ability to store all of your important files, what could be cooler?

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Rocket World and STRANGEco shrunk their Insurgents Wilderness Gruppo line of figures down to mini figure size.  All 9 figures were released at the same time and aren't blind boxed.  Woo who!

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STRANGEco and Mars-1 launched their Invisible Plan line at Comic Con.  It sold out promptly...and just won our best sculpting award.

Winner: Rocket World and STRANGEco's Insurgents Wilderness Gruppo
This line won our Best Toy Line of 2004 (when I was writing for a different site) back when it was a line of 6 inch tall figures.  The minis are just as cool as the larger figures.

Qee MOTUG Egg Series

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The limited edition series of MOTUG Egg Qees is set to launch later this month.  It must be soon, since there are only a couple of days left in December.  MOTUG stand for Monsters Of The UnderGround and is a collective of about 10 artists.  Eight of their designs are represented in this series from Toy2R. We also have photos of the 3 secret (not any more) Qees below.

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Sideshow Announces 12-inch LOTR Line

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The many heroic and indelible characters who populated The Lord of the Rings film series, are also among the most familiar and cherished images in Hollywood history. Sideshow Collectibles, a specialty manufacturer of iconic television and film collectibles, in association with New Line Cinema, is currently producing a line of Lord of the Rings Premium Format figures. This 1:4 scale figure line follows a very successful Lord of the Rings collectibles line, created when Sideshow Collectibles partnered with award winner effects studio, WETA workshop, to produce more than 180 high-end, collectable statues, busts, and helms. Sideshow Collectibles has worked closely in the past with New Line Cinema on licensed 12-inch figures from New Line's House of Horror, including such films as Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And, starting in second-quarter 2006, Sideshow Collectible's own Lord of the Rings range will expand to include 12-inch figures from the landmark film series.

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INTERVIEW: J of Neth Creatures

We had a chance to chat with the man behind one of this year's new, hot designer toy lines - Neth Creatures.  It's a very unique collection and one that warrants a lot of attention.

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What was the inspiration for the Neth Creatures project?

Honestly, just about every experience of my life has inspired and influenced this project. I get a lot of design inspiration just from traveling around the country and the world, experiencing different designs and different design philosophies. It's also an inspiration to meet people who are out their doing their own thing and are passionate about it. I began working on the figures on the weekends as an escape from my corporate gig. Neth Creatures was my chance to develop something on my own and create something deeply personal. I wanted to do something that wasn't mass market, that wasn't concerned with mass appeal.

Please tell us more about J. ­ the artist.

I basically have used my work experience to refine my aesthetic eye. I think the figures have a good mix of my past experiences in toy, product, graphic and fashion design. I love that I'm continually growing as an artist and I want to continue to show my growth in my new work. I have always been drawing creatures, but they used to be very elaborate in illustration. Over the last few years, I've grown to appreciate design in a very raw, simple form. Lately I have been developing more print and canvas pieces exploring color, patterns and my love for nature and the beauty of simplicity.

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Did you do all of the design work and artwork for the 9 Neth Creatures?

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Yes, I designed, redesigned, mocked up, changed, reworked and tweaked everything. I never really showed the designs and figures to anybody during the development except for my wife, who is also an artist. I wanted the figures to only be apart of us. I've always felt that too many people giving opinions waters things down.