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REVIEW: The Mythicals – Cthulhu

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Background

Toronto-based Monster Factory started a Kickstarter campaign in order to raise funds to produce The Mythicals line of handmade plush toys. The Mythicals started as a series of three characters: Spencer the Dragon, Margot the Unicorn, and Louie the Cthulhu. Thanks to hitting a number of stretch goals, they’ve added some yet-to-be-named Mythical characters: Pegasus, Yeti, and Sea Monster.

The campaign has already reached its funding goal. However, on Thursday August 14th 2014 at 11:02 AM ET, the Kickstarter run will be finished. The plush line won’t be limited to only those who back it on Kickstarter, so if you miss out, The Mythicals will be available to purchase from Monster Factory.

For this review, we were able to get our hands on one of the first Louie the Cthulhu plush toys.

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The Facts



Louie the Cthulhu
Series: The Mythicals
Manufacturer: Monster Factory
Material: Micro polar fleece
Dimensions: Approximately 10" tall
Pricing: $47.00 CAD (about $42)

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Tag

This was a pre-release version of the Cthulhu plush, which didn’t feature the swing tag. However, each Mythical plush will feature a special edition Kickstarter label and a hangtag displaying his or her name and hilarious personality. The tag will be signed by one of the creators.

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Our Opinion

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REVIEW: Jade Stars – Year of the Horse

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Background

To celebrate 2014 - the Year of the Horse – Mini Magellan has released the first of twelve limited edition plush toys from their book “Jade Stars: The Great Race”. The book is written by Charles Huang and Stacey Hirata and illustrated by Jerome Lu of Hyperactive Monkey. The Year of the Horse plush was designed by Jerome Lu and by Patty Variboa of Fat Rabbit Farm, and makes a great gift for anyone born in the Year of the Horse (1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014).

In the Chinese lunar calendar, a different animal represents each year in a 12-year cycle. People born under a particular year identify with that animal’s personality traits, strengths, weaknesses and compatibility with the other animals.

The Year of the Horse comes seventh in the Chinese zodiac and people born under this sign are talkative, cheerful and love being the life of the party.

Mini Magellan has provided us with the Year of the Horse plush for this review.

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The Facts



Year of the Horse
Series: Jade Stars
Manufacturer: Mini Magellan
Artists: Jerome Lu and Patty Variboa of Fat Rabbit Farm
Material: Plush
Dimensions: 17” tall
Accessories: The Great Race book (sold separately)
Edition Size: “Limited Edition”
Pricing: $59.99

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Tag

The mini hangtag features a pair of horse illustrations on it. On the inside, there’s information about the Year of the Horse as well as the Chinese lunar calendar (similar to what’s printed above).

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REVIEW: Monstermatic App and 3D Monster

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Background

After successfully funding their iOS app via Kickstarter, Monstermatic launched a unique iOS app that allows you – as the user - to select a pre-made animated monster or create one of your own.

You then have the option of swapping out parts, changing colors, and even drawing on the monster. The app gives you the ability to take your monster into the real world with Augmented Reality Technology. Take photos of it and share with friends via social media. You can interact with your new pal by feeding, shaking, and talking to it (it’ll repeat what you say in a chipmunk voice). There’s also a mini-game (Farting Simon) that will keep you entertained as long as a regular game of Simon probably could.

Finally, you can purchase a tangible version of your monster - sending your creation to a 3D printer at Shapeways. We ended up getting one of the pre-made animated monsters for this review. It pretty much resembles a monster ice cream cone (check out the app version below).

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The Facts



Monstermatic
Manufacturer: Shapeways
Artist: You
Material: Sandstone (3D printing)
Dimensions: about 2” tall
Points of Articulation: Zero
Pricing: $25.95

Packaging

The figure comes securely packaged in a plastic bag with lots of packing peanuts...inside of a shipping box. In other words, there was no product specific packaging. But the guy wasn't going to be broken.

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Our Opinion

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REVIEW: Hot Toys’ The Wolverine

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Background

Released in July 2013, The Wolverine is the sixth installment in the X-Men film series. The movie is based on the 1982 four issue limited comic book series from Chris Claremont (writing) and Frank Miller (pencils). In the X-Men timeline, the events of The Wolverine follow X-Men: The Last Stand, with Wolverine traveling to Japan to visit and old friend. Like the previous (and subsequent) films, it features Hugh Jackman in the role of Wolverine.

With Hot Toys having the license to produce sixth-scale collectibles based on various Marvel films, it was a given that they’d provide collectors their third Wolverine figure from the company. The figure from The Wolverine follows versions of the character from X Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: The Last Stand, and is graced with a brand new head sculpt.

Thankfully, Sideshow Collectibles has provided us with this piece to review.

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The Facts



The Wolverine Sixth Scale Figure
Series: Movie Masterpiece Series
Manufacturer: Hot Toys
Authorized Likeness: Hugh Jackman as Wolverine
Material: Plastic articulated figure
Dimensions: Sixth Scale
Points of Articulation: Over 30 points
Outfit: Outfit 1 - Black blazer; Black coat; Black shirt; Black tie; Black pants; Black belt; Black socks; Black shoes. Outfit 2 – White wife-beater; Grey jeans; Grey belt; Brown boots.
Accessories: Pair of fists with metal claws; Pair of fists with bone claws; Pair of fists; Pair of hands for holding sword; Engraved metal Japanese sword with sheath; Figure stand with Wolverine nameplate and movie logo
Pricing: $224.99

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REVIEW: AJ’s Toy Boarders – Surf Series 1

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Background

To date, AJ’s Toy Boarders has released four series of their namesake figures. Following the release of two series of Skateboard figures and one Snowboard series, they’ve dropped yet another board-based – Surf Boarders.

The Toy Boarders – Surf Series 1 is similar to the previous three. There are eight different designs, featuring different characters in different surfing positions, and each bag contains a total of twenty-four figures – three of each design. And they have all been produced with that same little green army men aura.

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The Facts



AJ’s Toy Boarders Surf Series 1
Series: Surf Series 1
Manufacturer: Alfa-Row Inc.
Material: Injection Molded Plastic
Dimensions: Around 2” tall
Points of Articulation: Zero
Designs: Cruiser, Drop In, Lay Back, Nose Ride, Pig Dog, Slash, Tube Ride, and Wahine
Pricing: $5.95 pack of 24

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Packaging

Similar to the previous Toy Boarders series, the Surf Series comes bagged with a header card. All 24 figures are displayed similar in fashion to those little green army men, and the rear of the header card features silhouettes and names of each of the eight designs.

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Our Opinion

It’s tough to write about AJ’s Toy Boarders and not mention the similarity to plastic toy soldiers – or little green army men. The rise of those little guys was thanks in part due to a lead-poisoning scare in the 1950’s. So while the WWII plastic figures took off, the once popular metal versions were less in demand.

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REVIEW: NTF’s B-KAWZ

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Background

The latest vinyl figure from Necessaries Toy Foundation is called B-KAWZ:

B-KAWZ there isn't enough shit at Comicon already. B-KAWZ you are not a very discerning toy collector. B-KAWZ absolutely everyone bastardizes everyone else. B-KAWZ art imitating art is still art, geddit?

Call it what you will, is it a blatant rip-off or a noble tribute? We at Necessaries Toy Foundation consider it a homage to two successful and very respected artists.

It is also commentary and parody.

Is it an original idea? We think it is, but only in an esoteric sense. In fact, it is a very original idea if you are a lateral thinker.

Appropriator? Perpetrator? Instigator?
It is what it is, and I yam what I yam.

B-KAWZ is a metaphor du jour. Merely this and nothing more . . .

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The Facts



B-KAWZ: Appropriating the Appropriator
Manufacturer: Necessaries Toy Foundation
Material: Rotocast vinyl
Dimensions: 11” tall
Points of Articulation: Zero
Edition Size: 250 pieces (Gold Edition)
Pricing: $100.00
 

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Packaging

The B-KAWZ vinyl figure comes packaged in a large box that features a dissected illustration of the character over the various side panels. (It’s not as elaborate as some of the recent releases from NTF.) On the inside, the figure is secured between a pair of snapping clear plastic trays.

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Our Opinion

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We Are Indie Toys (Make Your Own Resin Characters)

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We Are Indie Toys (Make Your Own Resin Characters) by Louis Bou is the follow-up to the 2010 published We Are Paper Toys. The 208 page softcover book features handmade art pieces from 30 different artists. Those artists include: Emilio Garcia; Jon Knox; Le Merde; Patient No6; Plaseebo; Dave Pressler; Cris Rose; Paul Shih; Suckadelic; Tado; Tesselate.

We Are Indie Toys Pages

The book gives readers a sneak peek at the handmade production of some of the most popular indie resin toys. There's a whole lot of behind-the-scenes photos of the sculpting, molding, production, and painting processes. Plus, each artist section features a short biography as well as a "Tips and Tricks" blurb from that artist.

With an SRP of $29.99, Amazon.com

currently has it available for $22.43.

2013 PAPAs: Plastic Toy of the Year

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Our final Plastic and Plush Awards category is the Plastic Toy of the Year. While the term "plastic" encompasses a whole array of collectibles, we are mainly looking at vinyl toys here. So here are the top five plastic toys of the year 2013...

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5. Oliver & Mortimer from Artoyz Originals (Kathie Olivas and Brandt Peters)

Released in several colorways, the Oliver & Mortimer figures were released by Paris-based Artoyz. The husband/wife team of Kathie Olivas and Brandt Peters each designed a character in this set...both characters easily fitting in with other toys released by the artists.

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4. Ion Men from AOI and turboPISTOLA

The smoky black sofubi Ion Men feature plenty of interchangeable bits and pieces. Different heads, hands, bodies, etc. And while the quality for these little guys is great, what was also special is a price point around $20.

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3. Mecha Greasebat from Monster Worship (Jeff Lamm)

We've seen Monster Worship release the Real Fighting Greasebat along with the Mini and Micro Greasebats...but the Mecha Greasebat gave Jeff Lamm's character a little different twist. Looking more like an old school Japanese sofubi, it was just as popular as the other lines...like it sold out fast.

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2. A Clockwork Carrot from BlackBook Toy (Frank Kozik)

This was likely the closest race in all of the categories this year. We've seen the influences of A Clockwork Orange in plenty of Frank Kozik's work, but A Clockwork Carrot is a pure homage to the iconic film. If I wasn't such a fan of Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, I likely wouldn't have been so drawn to the vinyl...or maybe I still would have.

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2013 PAPAs: Plush Toy of the Year

PAPAs 2013 Plush

We haven't seen much of a change in the realm of plush toys. While some of the smaller brands have become much bigger, there still are a number of artists out there making small run releases. This year, we take a look at five of our favorites from 2013.

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5. Universal Monster Uglydolls from Uglydolls (David + Sun-Min)

With the expansion of Uglydolls to various licenses, one of the first series to be released was the Universal Monsters. Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, the Mummy...they're all there. Scary + Ugly + Cute = so confusing.

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4. Horndribbles from Explorers Playground

The Horndribbles are a series of four characters that were released as plush toys. Spawning from Herbert Joel and his Zapp and the Oogah-Oogah-Nut book, the series of four very different plush toys really appeal to the youngsters.

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3. MadKnits Minis from MadKnits

Since the face is hand-cast resin, the MadKnits Minis could technically fall under the resin category. But the plush body is enough for it to grab a spot here. MadKnits went the blind-bagged route - one that we don't usually see in the plush world.

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2. DC Comics Uglydolls from Uglydolls (Sun-Min and David)

Superheroes and Uglydolls. By teaming up with DC Comics, kids and collectors are able to get an Ice Bat Batman or a Wedgehead Robin. It's one of those license deals that just makes sense.

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**WINNER** 1. Vince the Videotape from Dan Goodsell

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REVIEW: Iron Man 3 – Series 2 Cosbaby (S)

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Background

Iron Man 3 was the seventh installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the first film following the enormously successful 2012 film – The Avengers. Starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, it was just as successful at the box office as the first two. And like the first two films, collectible and toy tie-ins were readily available.

Hot Toys, which has produced toys based on the first two Iron Man films, has released sixth scale, collectible busts, and Cosbaby figures based on the Iron Man 3 license. For this review, we’re taking a look at Series 2 of their Iron Man 3 Cosbaby (S) figures. Featuring six Iron Man Cosbaby figures, this series gives us a different spin on how we think about the Cosbaby line.

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The Facts



Iron Man 3 – Series 2 Cosbaby (S)
Series: Cosbaby (S)
Manufacturer: Hot Toys
Material: Plastic snap kit
Dimensions: Approximately 3” tall
Points of Articulation: Zero
Designs: Mark XLII, Mark XLII (Battle Damaged Version), Mark XLII (Pepper Potts Version), Tony Stark, Iron Patriot, and War Machine Mark II
Accessories: Each Cosbaby will includes a special diorama base
Pricing: $69.00 set

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Packaging

The Iron Man 3 – Series 2 Cosbaby (S) set comes in a long rectangular box. This comes packaged as a set, so you won’t need to purchase individual figures to complete your set. The box features a plastic windowpane front with minimal Iron Man artwork highlighting it.

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Our Opinion

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