This is a guest article by Jedd-the-Jedi. Jedd covered the Singapore Toy, Games, and Comic Convention for AFP and is based in Singapore.
This handsome-looking fellow is a Super Alloy Batman from Play Imaginative, and designed by Jim Lee. Before its release, few had heard of the Singaporean company, and to toy collectors in Singapore it is quite a big deal that a local company has managed to snag the rights to produce action figures of Marvel and DC characters. The exclusive figure was unveiled back at the Singapore Toy Games and Comics Convention (STGCC) in September, and is currently available over at Big Bad Toy Store.
Singaporean newspaper The Straits Times ran an article about Play Imaginative on Sunday, with interviews with the company’s two founders. Play Imaginative approached DC Comics in 2011 to obtain the licensing rights to create a 12-inch tall Batman action figure, which they were granted after DC saw and approved of the prototype made mostly of die-cast metal. The company is currently working on Super Alloy figures of Superman, Green Lantern and a new Batman. They’ve also signed a deal last December with Marvel Comics to make toys based on its movie characters, and a Super Alloy Iron Man coming out in March 2013 is the next release.
» There’s more… click to continue reading Behind Play Imaginative’s Super Alloy Figures
Jedd-the-Jedi got to meet a few of the good folks at Hot Toys during the Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention back in September. Over the weeks that followed, Jedd put together an interview with JC Hong, who is the chief painter and production director for Hot Toys. There’s some very interesting stuff on how 3D technology is affecting their business, and how the US and Asian markets are different. Read on!
Jedd: Hot Toys designers, artists, sculptors and painters are known for their stunning attention to detail, capturing tiny nuances in faces, costumes and props that the regular person wouldn’t be able to catch. How much access do you have to conceptual art, costume/prop designs, set photographs etc. when working on products licensed from movies? Can you walk us through the creative process that goes into creating a Hot Toys figure?
JC Hong: The Hong Kong team is very good at searching for photos, fully checking details, and giving good opinions to us. Most of my job is on human faces. For creating a collectible figure, communication is very important.
» There’s more… click to continue reading Interview with JC Hong, Hot Toys Chief Painter and Product Designer
I had never heard of Play Imaginative, but was very intrigued when the Super Alloy Batman was announced as an exclusive for the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention that was held at the start of the month. You see, as much as I’ve been a fan of the Nolan-verse Batman and Hot Toys with their 1/6 scale Dark Knight figures, my love of Batman started in the comics. The Super Alloy Batman hits on a sweet spot for me – its design is comics-based, from legendary artist Jim Lee, and it’s super-articulated. Add to that the intriguing notion that much of the figure would be die cast metal, and I was hooked – I had to get one. The big question was, how would it stack up to Hot Toys, who in my view dominates the 1/6 scale for pop culture action figures.
» There’s more… click to continue reading Play Imaginative Super Alloy Batman (Special Edition)
Source: Max Toy Co
Mark Nagata of Max Toy Co was kind enough to speak with Jedd-the-Jedi at STGCC. If you missed it, click here to check out the first part of the Mark Nagata interview. In the conclusion to the interview, Mark tells Jedd about finding his toy Holy Grail, his top five toys, and more!
Do you have a special story of a collectible toy of any kind that you obtained through extraordinary circumstances? Have you gotten a hold of something you never dreamed you’d be able to own in a million years, something so extremely special?
(Laughs) Yes, I do! Yes, I do have a story about that. So, there’s a Bullmark figure, which is a Japanese company from the 1960s and 70s, and they issued, in very small numbers, a standard size Ultraman figure in red vinyl. Now the reason why they released it in red vinyl is they were hoping the colour red would appeal to girls, instead of the grey or like silver colour of what Ultraman is supposed to be. But Ultraman never was red in the series, and then the girls hated the figure anyways, so it never sold, it was a flop for them.
So going forward when I started collecting the figures in the late 80s-early 90s, and I’m doing research about all the different types of figures I had to find, when I found out about the red Ultraman that was always at the top of my list, like if I go back to Japan I’ve gotta look for this, or if I’m looking at eBay or Yahoo Japan or something I gotta find this. So on one trip to Japan, we were in the Nakano mall, which is a very famous mall with like different shops, like Mendorake and toy stores.
One of my friends said “Hey, go look over in the case; I think that’s something you’re looking for!” So I walk over there and there’s a red Ultraman sitting there right, so I was like “oh my God”, and I had to find out, I had to go over and ask how much, right? So I went over and in my very, very poor Japanese asked “Ikura desuka?” – you know, “How much?” And the guy goes “$5,000” – USD $5,000. I just thought… ”I can’t, I can’t. My wife’s gonna kill me!” And I only had $2,000, that’s all I had – for the whole trip, so no way, and I don’t wanna use credit card or anything. So all my friends said “Oh, you know, I’ll loan you a couple of hundred dollars, maybe you’ll get enough to make a big pool or something,” and I said “No no no, I don’t want to have to owe you guys!” So, I left.
» There’s more… click to continue reading STGCC 2012: Interview with Max Toy Co’s Mark Nagata – Part Two
Mark Nagata and Jedd-the-Jedi
Mark Nagata is a Renaissance man. He just might have the largest Ultraman collection in the world. As a designer and artist, he’s worked for the likes of DC Comics, LucasArts, and Hasbro. For several years, he published Super 7, a magazine focused on Japanese vinyl toys, before going on to start the Max Toy Company, designing and manufacturing vinyl art toys. On top of all this, he’s a tremendously nice guy!
Jedd-the-Jedi had a chance to sit down with Mark at STGCC. In the first part of their conversation, they spanned toy collecting, the differences between working for the big guys vs. running your own show, and if it’s alright to play with your art toys. It’s really a fantastic interview. Read on!
Jedd: Hi Mark, great to be talking to a fellow lover of toys. First off, what got you into collecting toys? You wrote on your site “I think it’s safe to say that most of us collect because of our childhoods,” so do you have any childhood memories of a particular toy or action figure that you want to share?
Mark Nagata: Oh boy, for sure. Well I think the first impression I had for Japanese toys is when I was about 9 years old, and I had an aunt who was living in Japan, and for Christmas she sent a very big box to me, and inside were about 20 different Japanese toys. So Henshen cyborgs, Bullmark figures, kaiju toys… but at the time, I didn’t know that’s what they were called. To sort of back up a little, I’m third generation Japanese American, so my parents were born in America and my grandparents came from Japan to America, but me being third generation, actually I don’t understand Japanese and I don’t speak Japanese, so when I got this box of toys, I couldn’t read anything except for the company name Bullmark, ‘cause it was printed in English. I didn’t know the names of the characters, I didn’t know that they had TV shows; I just thought they were toys.
So, from that point, it was really… I fell in love with the visual part of the toys. The way it looked, the packaging, because all the packaging had like very dynamic artwork and colours, very crazy colours, and all the kaiju for me… were just… I couldn’t even put into words what it did to my imagination. Because at that point, my toys in America were GI JOE 12 inch, Major Matt Mason, so very… 60s, 70s types of toys, but um very plain, based on like a real astronaut, or an army man. No imagination, right?
So when I opened that box, and I saw these crazy colours, and these kaiju and these spacemen, I was like… you know, what is this? I haven’t seen this before. So when I look back all these years, that’s the point that started me on this journey to this day, which is being able to make actual kaiju toys in Japan.
» There’s more… click to continue reading STGCC 2012: Interview with Max Toy Co’s Mark Nagata – Part One
Jedd-the-Jedi has sent more Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention pics from the Hot Toys Booth.
Here are photos of the Avengers that Hot Toys has assembled, including a diorama of the fab team facing off against Loki, as well as every single model of Iron Man armor Hot Toys has produced. There’s Iron Man in the “suit-up” gantry, an exclusive variant with Tony Stark in a matte grey Iron Man suit and wearing sunglasses and an exclusive repaint of War Machine featuring his original white and black Hammer Tech color scheme.
» There’s more… click to continue reading STGCC 2012: Hot Toys Avengers
Jedd-the-Jedi has sent in these Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention pics from the Hot Toys Booth.
Here are the Hot Toys pictures of their Batman/The Dark Knight Rises figures. The highlights of this display were definitely the ginormous “The Bat” vehicle and TDKR Catwoman unveiled for the first time. There was also the exclusive SWAT Gordon, and a 14″ scale Ultimate Batman (he’s the one with the loads and loads of accessories). Also making an appearance were the 1989, 1966 and camo Tumbler versions of the Batmobile.
» There’s more… click to continue reading STGCC 2012: Hot Toys Batman and The Dark Knight
The Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention opened to the public today, and Jedd-the Jedi has sent in these images from the Play Imaginative booth. Play Imaginative recently announced their Super Alloy line of 1/6 figures – super articulated with a lot of diecast metal. Their first figure is the Jim Lee comic-styled Batman. For STGCC, they have a glossy exclusive that was available for pre-order and on the show floor. The broader release will have a matte finish.
Jedd also let us know that the next Super Alloy release will be the Marvel Iron Man Mark VII armor. Can’t wait to see it!
» There’s more… click to continue reading STGCC 2012: Play Imaginative Super Alloy Batman
Jedd-the-Jedi was onsite for us today at the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention’s Press Preview Day, and has sent us some pics!
These are the photos from the press preview today. Most of them are of the three Hot Toys figures. There’s a photo of the exclusive Thundercats Lion-O (Mumm Ra version) as well, and of ZC World’s Vinyl Collectible Astro Boy. Today’s line-up of toys and collectibles is just a teeny tiny sampling of what will be on the show floor when the convention proper takes place over the weekend.
Comic book artist Leinil Yu happens to be a big fan of Hot Toys figures, the first one he bought being an Iron Man 2 War Machine. He told me that he’s thinking of using them as reference material, drawing portraits based on the figures, and was surprised at how articulated the Sucker Punch Baby Doll figure was – you can cock the hip!
Stay tuned for updates from Jedd at STGCC over the next few days.
» There’s more… click to continue reading STGCC 2012: Press Preview Day featuring Hot Toys and More
This Bandai exclusive Lion-O from Singapore retailer The Falcon’s Hangar has been making the rounds. For those of you wondering, this is from a Thundercats episode entitled “Fond Memories” in which Mumm-Ra transforms himself into a doppelganger of Lion-O… and then they fight! Sorry, Mumm-Ra, but Faker came first!
No word yet if this exclusive will somehow find its way beyond STGCC, but it’s likely the only way TCats fans will be able to get their hands on an official Mumm-Ra in the 8-inch scale, even if it really is just a redecoed Lion-O.