A few weeks ago we introduced you to Miss Monster (aka Melita Curphy). If you have not checked out her website since then, you’ll be surprised by the changes that have taken place. She’ll be adding a store shortly, and if you are interested in any of her handmade toys…you can email her to ask questions.
Miss Monster sent in one of her plush creations as well as a painted wall mask. The plush figure also includes a monster face that has been cast in plastic and painted. Both of these should be available through the online store at MissMonster.com.
Art Asylum had a number of exclusives available at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. Among the exclusives were two brand new lines – Jump Tribe and Napster. We’re going to be reviewing both of the exclusive plush dolls that were introduced to us way back in July.
The expanding realm of designer toys has introduced us to several useful “toys”. Mimoco’s line of mimobots is one of these very impressive lines. By combining a designer toy with a USB flash drive, mimoco has given us a justifiable reason to spend money on a toy.
Available in 256MB, 512MB and 1GB, these 3-inch tall figures can easily be plugged into your computer’s USB drive. Mimobots are compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems. Just plug them in and you’re ready to go (unless you have Windows 98 like myself – then you’ll need to download a driver).
Wootini again has partnered with STRANGEco to bring collectors an exclusive art toy. This time, the figure is from the wicked mind of Scott Musgrove. Brought to life from his paintings, the Booted Glamour Cat – scientific name Felis Glamorous Nigripes – can be found in a number of various color combinations.
Musgrove has created several paintings of supposed extinct animals. The Booted Glamour Cat figure is an exact shrunken scale model of the original creature, which roamed North America until the 1800’s. This is all made up, of course.
As most readers realize…I really enjoy Rocket World’s Insurgents Wilderness Gruppo (I.W.G.). The line of figures received my award for the Best Toy Line of 2004 with their initial release of animal characters. Since then, Rocket World (otherwise known as Patrick Ma) has added onto their very popular – and successful – I.W.G. line with a number of new characters. Also, look for the mini figures to be released later this year…and we are anxiously waiting for the Astral Overseers (the extraterrestrial friends of the I.W.G.) to be revealed.
So we all should know the basic premise behind this line. The Astral Overseers infected the members of the I.W.G. with a virus that has allowed them the ability to communicate and form a cohesive group. This group has set out to end poaching and the destruction of the environment.
The 3rd set of 3 I.W.G. figures was released at Comic Con. This included Irra the Owl, Desmond the Dolphin and Astrid the Jaguar. There were also 2 exclusive I.W.G. figures – one through Rocket World and one through STRANGEco. Taharka the Black Rhino was made available through Rocket World and sold out promptly. Huey the Black Panther was sold through STRANGEco – I was able to snag one of them.
Unfortunately, sometimes in the designer toy market, a new company will be slightly overlooked. Case in point: Chump Toys. Chump Toys is a very small company just trying to start out…and they have put out a truly amazing first figure. It’s by far and away one of my favorite releases of 2005. Jason Amendolara (the designer and producer) has chosen a great piece of artwork to base a toy on.
The Toy Monkey, Chump’s first delve into the vinyl world, is your prototypical art piece. It was taken from the artwork of Gary Taxali (if you haven’t seen his rustic approach…you need to check it out) and transformed into an 8-inch tall vinyl toy. Now, there are no moving pieces or points of articulation. It’s really just a 3-D representation of a work of art.
There is a removable fez, and the monkey looks good with it on or off (I prefer leaving it on). The fez is not connected in any special fashion. It simply sits atop of the Toy Monkey’s head.
There are 2 different versions of this figure. The first is the Original Toy Monkey – the blue version you have probably seen around. The second is the Whitney Toy Monkey – a greenish-tan version that was created exclusively for the Whitney Museum in New York. The original figure is limited to 500 while the exclusive is limited to 200.
The original Toy Monkey is selling for anywhere between $60-70 around the internet. You can email the folks at Chump Toys to inquire about a signed version they are advertising for $80. Also, if you check out the Whitney Museum store, they have their exclusive version for sale at $85.
So let’s talk about why I feel this is a very cool, as well as underrated toy. (At only 500 units…I really would have expected it to sell out by now) The packaging is a basic cardboard box that has been designed with Gary Taxali’s artwork. So if you enjoy his art...you’ll definitely like the box. There’s always a lot going on in his artwork – with several different layers, as well.
As you can tell, the toy itself is somewhat basic. But it is such an amazing representation of the piece of art it was based on. A lot of the time, figures are based on an artist’s painting…and then don’t convey the same look or mood. You truly feel sorry for this little toy monkey.
No complaints as far as paint applications or sculpting. All around fine job. Let’s just hope that Chump Toys and Gary Taxali continue to release quality vinyl figures such as this.
Android 8 and UNKL Brand have teamed up to release one of the coolest and cutting edge vinyl figures – Octopo. If you enjoyed UNKL’s HazMaPo figures, you will really enjoy Octopo. It’s about double the size – 6 inches – and has a special secret…well it’s not really a “secret”.
According to the packaging: “Octopo comes with a stowaway. Mini-8 is Octopo’s base communications center, but he’s also Octopo’s best friend. Held in place by a magnet, Mini-8 is never far from Octopo and his responsibilities.” So think of Mini-8 as Gilligan and Octopo as the Skipper…except they don’t share cots.
Now, the Mini-8 figure actually detaches from Octopo’s back. Is he a backpack, a little friend, a communications center…or all? He attaches to the dock a pretty powerful magnet. So you should probably keep this toy away from your computer unless you are looking to erase your hard drive for some reason. It’s not going to pull out your fillings, but it might wipe out all of your illegally downloaded Journey tunes.
Much like the HazMaPo figures, Octopo has 3 points of articulation (head and arms). It’s made of several materials - more than just rotocast vinyl. Mini-8 has a metal antenna, Octopo has a removable hand that shows some off some frayed wires and they both contain magnets.
The box is above average. There is no window, so you’ll need to remove the figure for display, but this is one you won’t want to throw away. It’s colored blue and green (the same colors as Octopo) and has several drawings – as well as information about the figure you just purchased.
Octopo is a limited edition run of 500. Even though it was exclusively made for Android 8 by UNKL Brand, it should be hitting other online retailers. If you want one now, I would suggest checking out the Android 8 website where they are selling for $50 apiece. This is a fairly average price for a figure of this size.
Personally, I really enjoy this figure. The colors, the fact that you can remove the Mini-8 and hand...it all works for me. When you team up 2 of the up and coming designer toy companies, you should come up with a super cool figure like this.