I’ve been aware of Kuma Central for some time now. They create cute little – theme based - plush and vinyl bears. (Kuma is Japanese for bear) As you can see below: Love, Ninja, Kuma and Urban. Kuma also has a line of smaller, vinyl figures. These characters are similarly based on a one or two word theme and sell in the $12-14 range. The larger vinyl figures are still in the “thinking stages”. The ladies at Kuma Central are looking for input as to how they would sell. I really like them. How about you? I think Maria Sarmiento has created a sweet line.
The first day of Toy Fair 2006 brought a TON of snow to the New York City area. Most of the companies were there and had great displays on hand. The snow didn’t slow them down! However, the most…umm...interesting…part of the show was listening to William Hung sing YMCA and She Bangs. It was great entertainment as I say down to eat my $10 hoagie and $4 Diet Coke.
(Disclaimer: us Eastern Pennsylvanians use the term Hoagie…you might call it a Hero or Sub)
Thanks to FreeBento.com for sponsoring Toy Fair 2006.
Plastic and Plush has some exclusive news: The Uglydoll Booth (#1353) will be displaying a brand new Uglydoll. That means we get to add a new character to the existing group of Uglys. The name and appearance of this new Uglydoll is now a mystery, so you'll need to check back on Sunday (Toy Fair).
Well, our Toy Fair 2006 coverage is starting to come together. I actually had a dream about being attacked by My Little Ponies at Toy Fair - so I know it's getting close.
The Toy Tokyo booth will be displaying Enjin Factory's Big Puff Maki figures. There are three versions of this sweet toy. I've seen them up close, so I know just how cool they are. Big and sturdy! So check out our coverage to see photo's of the first figure from the Instant Sapien line.
The most anticipated award of the 2005 is the Toy of the Year. This is only open to vinyl (as we’ve already given our Best Plush toy to Thomas Han’s Cosmic Quigly). This was a very difficult category to narrow down to only three…but we were able to do!
Gary Taxali’s Toy Monkey simply did not get enough press last year. It was an amazing art piece that reminds us of the early 1900’s. Who doesn’t love that sad look and removable fez? Hopefully we hear more from Taxali and Chump Toys.
Have you ever heard of Joe Ledbetter’s Fire Cat? It was made by Wheaty Wheat Studios and was, by far and away, one of the most popular figures of the past year. We actually could have included all of the Ledbetter toys…but I chose this one as my favorite of the lot.
STRANGEco had a runaway hit with their MARS-1 Observer. This figure had multiple colorways – the black version being my favorite. It’s for all of us fans of astronauts and outer space.
Winner: Joe Ledbetter’s Fire Cat
Ledbetter’s Mr. Bunny won our Reader’s Choice award…however, my favorite of Joe’s Wheaty Wheat figures is the Fire Cat. It’s a truly unique figure as you all probably know. With so many great figures is 2005 – what can we expect this year?
Time for a little site update to let you know what we have going on:
- Check out the all new discussion board! We want to build that thing up into a nice designer toy community. We already have a Rocket World and Blythe forum...with more to come!
- We will be announcing our final award 2005 Toy Award tonight - Toy of the Year.
- Toy Fair 2006 is in less than 2 weeks. We'll be there covering the events and uploading photos that same day.
- We'll be covering Wootini's Unnatural History (featuring Bloo Empire and Nakanari) on February 10th.
- Several reviews coming up: Petite Blythe, Big Puff Maki, My Beating Heart and more!
2005 gave us a number of new plush lines and it introduced us to some new characters from several well established lines. We chose our 3 favorite plushies (well...one might not actually be a plush) of the past year.
Thomas Han's trippy artwork came to life with his Cosmic Quigly plush line. With three super limited versions, this plush from Wheaty Wheat might have been the year's best kept secret.
The Uglydoll family added another member this past February. David Horvath launched the Ugly Dog plush right around last year's Toy Fair. It was the first Ugly to have two color variants - pink and orange.
Hmm...are Circus Punks considered plush? Well, they definitely aren't vinyl and they do have stuffing...so they fall under this category (in my book). Even though there were so many amazing designs, Sket One's Eggster Punk stands out as on of the year's best.
Winner: Thomas Han's Cosmic Quigly
This plush didn't nearly receive the amount of attention it deserved. With the applied vinyl detailing and super soft material, it was the most unique plush of 2005. I'm not sure if there are any available (or where they might be purchased from) but Wheaty Wheat did have a number of these available at SDCC.
Now start the big awards! For the next week, we'll be presenting our 4 big categories - Best Toy Line, Best Plush Toy, Best Vinyl Toy and 2005 Toy of the Year. The Best Toy Line Award comes down to 3 choices...all great choices. (at least I think so)
UNKLBrand's TinPo figures are pint-sized, less "urban" version of their HazMaPo toys. It's a line of 10 figures that are part cute, part freaky.
Neth Creatures by J were the surprise hit of San Diego's Comic Con. Tucked away in a back corner somewhere, some folks were lucky enough to catch the preview of this unique art toy line. The first series of 9 designs were just as spectacular.
One of the most controversial lines of the year was Camille Rose Garcia's girls from Necessaries Toy Foundation. It's one of my favorite lines of the year (you can read more about that in a future review) although some people have issues with some of the girls tipping over. I think the design and sculpting makes up for that.
Winner: NTF's Camille Rose Garcia Girls
I think 3 out of the 4 figures are amazing designs. Lula, Patch and Cherry Girl are my favorites. i have had some balance problems with the Sadie and Katie figure...but she was my least favorite of the bunch anyway. It's actually not tha uncommon for figures this size (and this complex) to have balancing issues. This really is a great set of toys. I love how NTF always puts out big toys for an affordable price and, from what I've seen, they always stand behind their products.
We asked our readers to submit their choices for 5 categories. These included the Best Vinyl Figure, Best Plush Figure, Best Toy Line, Best Company and Toy of the Year. The resutls are in and there were some very close races.
Best Vinyl Figure
This award went to Mr. Bunny from Joe Ledbetter and Wheaty Wheat. A close second was Huck Gee's Skullhead figures.
Best Plush Figure
The Uglydolls were a runaway winner...although folks seemed to differ as to which was their favorite (Ugly Dog, Limited Edition Wage, Mini Uglys). Readers chose Shawnimals for second place.
Best Toy Line
Readers were definitely fans of Kidrobot's Dunny line. Qees, produced by Toy2r, came in a close second.
Most Outstanding Toy Company
This was the most competitive category with Wheaty Wheat Studios (on the heels of their Ledbetter line) squeaking out a victory over Kidrobot, Toy2R and STRANGEco.
Toy of the Year
You folks chose Mr. Bunny as your favorite toy of thise past year. In a somewhat ironic twist, Fire-Cat (also designed by Joe Ledbetter and Wheaty Wheat) came in a close second.
The New Year has brought added new features to Plastic and Plush!
We now have a mailing list. You can subscribe by entering your email address into the field on the right hand side of our homepage. You will then be kept up to date with all of our contests, reviews and interviews.
In bigger news...we also have a brand spankin' new Discussion Board. I'm hoping to build it up as a place where we all can go to discuss what's hot and new in the world of vinyl toys. We'll be adding more discussion areas throughout the next week or so. Also, it is through EZBoard, so your old Kidrobot usernames and passwords should work. See you on there!