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...
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Did you do all of the design work and artwork for the 9 Neth Creatures?
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.
Most of the figures in the Designer/Vinyl Toy Scene are based on simple designs and sculpts. However, you do have your occasional intricate piece. This award is to single those figures (and sculptors) out, because without their hard work...it would be difficult to go from an idea or a painting to a tangible figure.
Wheaty Wheat and Joe Ledbetter's Mr. Bunny is up for another award. This time, it's due to the way the figure's tail and ears are attached to the body. You would think it would snap off in your hand, but it's a very durable toy. They were able to create a toy that is the spitting image of Ledbetter's drawings.
STRANGEco and Mars-1 released their Invisible Plan line in San Diego. This was the special SDCC line in a bluish-grey. The details on these figures (some under 2 inches in height) is great. I'm looking forward to seeing the full color lines - see below.
McFarlane Toys just recently released their Napoleon Dynamite line. These toys speak lines from the movies, but are more statues than "playable" toys. They look just like their real life counterparts...and get ready for more characters in series 2.
Winner: STRANGEco and Mars-1 Invisible Plan It's a very impressive line (probably why it sold out) for it's size. The sculpting work on some of the UFO looking figures are amazing.
Since it's the time of year to send cards and let folks know that you are thinking of them and appreciate them...I though I would share some of the Holiday greetings I have received with you.
The first is a little animation from the folks at Red Magic...with their flying mini destroyer and CiBoy. It takes a couple of seconds to load up, so be patient.
The 2nd animation is from a friend of mine and it tells a very special story of how he wanted a Huffy Vortex bike for one Christmas. So check out Envisionboy's special holiday greeting for a good laugh.
Toy2R is showing off a brand new 8-inch Qee from Tim Biskup. It's the Egg shaped Qee - named Polska Cyclops Egg - and will be retailing for $80. Look for it to hit store shelves beginning in January. This specific design (the red version) is limited to 300 pieces.
Frank Kozik's Dr. Bomb - Lime Sherbert Edition - is my favorite variant of the Dr. Bomb figure. Yeah, there are a couple with the scary razor blades...but the big elephant eating his lime sherbert is my favorite of the bunch.
Any product that is in plastic clamshell casing is automatically thrown out. The more twisty ties, the less likely you'll be considered. Artwork and interesting reading always help. In 2005, this category was dominated by 3 companies: Necessaries Toy Foundation (NTF), Wheaty Wheat and STRANGEco.
NTF always does a great job "aging" their boxes to look as if they came straight out of the 1950's. They created Todd Schorr's BunnyDuck and did an amazing job with the packaging. Nice tidbits of info, great artwork and their aging effects.
Wheaty Wheat Studios' Ledbetter line is a toss up as to which figure has the better packaging - Fire-Cat or Mr. Bunny. Both are works of art in their own right. I would probably choose Mr. Bunny's box over Fire Cat just due to the evil and happy bunnies adorning each side.
STRANGEco and Wootini worked on the Booted Glamour Cat. The twisty tie doesn't deduct because the overall packaging is so cool (and it doesn't take an engineering degree to get to the toy). It looks like the figure is in it's own little traveling sideshow display. There is reading and background artwork as well.
Winner: Wheaty Wheat's Mr. Bunny If you are looking for an amazing work of art that houses and even more amazing work of art...this is it. If you like great, displayable packaging...the Booted Glamour Cat is the way to go.