Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sweet Dreams Are Made of These...

Didn't go to San Diego Comic Con, but I did manage to score one of my 'most wanted' over the weekend...

What could it be?


I like sparkly things.

Monday, July 30, 2007

[Review] K-T x EXOHEAD Galtan

As referenced in the entry below, Kaiju-Taro recently celebrated its first year of operations on July 15th and 16th by releasing a bevy of website exclusive toys. Among these were a pair of EXOHEAD Galtans in bright shiny new colorways. Not surprisingly, these were the first gone, mere hours after the preorders opened, and in seconds on the release night. They also achieved levels of flippage heretofore unseen even in the flippy world of neo-kaiju vinyl (think 6 x retail).

I was originally planning only to pick up the OG colors of the Galtan in clear purple, but on an impulse I bought both colorways (yes, oink oink). Toybot has already put up his own spiffy gallery of the purple version here, so I'll be taking care of its udder bruddah.

You've probably all heard the hype on these toys before, so I'll just add a few of my own comments.

First, I love the packaging. EXO and K-T went above and beyond by packaging the Galtans in color-coordinated baggies, attached to a full backing with a holographic bromide. The holographic card totally rocks that early 90s styling- reminds me of the special inserts in trading card packs!

Second, the entire figure is made of clear green vinyl, with just the faintest of silver spray on some areas. In particular, the vinyl on the head is ridiculously paper thin, and the silver spray is just light enough to make it translucent in the right lighting. The photos don't show this well, but it's amazing.

Of the two colorways, I was less sure about this one, but the vibrant greens and dark reds really make it stand out. I hope EXOHEAD kept some of that clear purple and green vinyl for some future releases, eh?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Garbage Digger!

I apologize for my blatant theft of Take-shit's column title from the late Super7 magazine (having been reincarnated as the 'mook'). It's just that every time I go to one of these collector fairs, the phrase runs through my mind. Maybe it's because that's what I'm doing, albeit with slightly fancier garbage in this case.

Yesterday was the second day of the Hawaii All-Collectors Show (I always think that it should be "All Collectors' Show", but apparently the show's originators disagree with me. Oops, comma outside the quotation marks.) Anyhow, I was all gunning to go on Friday evening, but I was occupied by lots of work and an after-work office event. I think it was probably for the better, though, because I would assume the dealers would be in full force on Saturday, whereas on Friday a lot would either be operating their shops or doing the thing that pays them money. So this morning, shaking off an office-and-Dramamine hangover (don't ask), I shuffled off to the show at 9:30 a.m. in the morning.

I arrived at the show and found some parking with little hassle; by about 9:50 a.m., the line was already forming. After having observed the contained insanity that was the Wizard World convention last year in Los Angeles, I was a little surprised that the line wasn't longer, or that the people weren't more aggressive about entering. I guess I was, after all, attending a collecting show whose primary audience is over 50.

Methodically making my way through the rows, L-to-R, my first stop is a booth on the far left, with a goodly selection of older Toybiz Marvel figures. No older Iron Man stuff to pique my interest, so I move on.

Partway down the first aisle, I come across a booth with a bunch of older Bullmark kaiju and large vinyl dolls set out on the front table. The pieces were in pretty good shape (aside from the names on foot), so I immediately made with the turning-them-over-and-feeling-them-up, only to be told that they were not for sale. Argh, such a tease! I'm a little surprised, however, that if they were from someone's personal collection, that they wouldn't be in a display case to keep people like me from touching them inappropriately. There was a second booth with a good vinyl offering of some kaiju and assorted Kikaida, Kamen Rider and Rainbowman stuff about midway in the show; I didn't even bother looking for prices because (1) the stuff in the booth was old and in good condition and (2) the guy obviously knew his stuff. He had a friggin' Hawaii Gorosaurus on a mirrored turntable in a display case and a bunch of beautiful Rainbowman nodders in a flat case. Awesome!

It wasn't all kaiju and cheap bootleg toys, however. I came across a booth with very little in it, aside from some nondescript anime goods and a small laptop. Right as I came up to the booth, I was greeted by a middle-aged blonde woman who quickly told me that nothing there was for sale. They were part of an anime club, and were there to share their love of anime, and wouldn't I take their flier? It was then that my eyes drifted down to the laptop screen, to see that they were looking at pictures of some person cosplaying in a big, furry, pink animal suit. You really don't need to know much about cosplayers beyond that furries engage in activities not to be spoken of in polite society. Then it occurred to me- what kind of people would pay the booth fee to sit there for 7 hours to tell people about the joys of anime? Yeeeeeah. Backing away slowly now.

One of the better booths that I came across this show was run by a Japanese-speaking guy with a black "eBay" t-shirt. Awesome. His booth was packed to exploding and nonnavigability with every sort of Japanese toy ranging from $300 Bathing Ape stuff, to vintage sentai stuff, to a big bucket of gashapon prizes. As I was examining a few of his S.I.C. Kikaida toys, I overheard him explaining to a family in back of me why they should and should not attempt to drink from certain vintage Coke bottles (all of which, I assume, were filled with cola).

I picked up a couple of Banpresto crane machine prizes of Mazinger and some other super robo whose name I cannot recall at this time (EDIT: It's Grendizer.), both designed such that they are half vinyl, half clear plastic with vinyl innards exposed. I love "visible" toys; they are my secret fetish. I also found an old, mint, unopened Bird-Robo figure by Mark company (it is Kujaku-Robo). Most of you may better know these as the "Convertors" line, as they were branded in the U.S. Despite it being a pretty crappy toy, Peacockbot has a special place in my heart because my parents bought me the candy-toy version of it on our first trip to Japan. It was one of those shut-up toys. You know, "here's a toy, so shut up." The original version also has awesome shiny decals. Both purchases ran me a grand total of $13.

After passing a 30-something Japanese guy buying Disney princess dolls, the last cool booth that I came to had a bucket of discount kaiju and sentai stuff for a few bucks a pop. It was pretty deceptive, because the rest of the booth was covered by old Christmas ornaments and McDonalds toys. I managed to pick up a vinyl mini-doll of Shadow Moon and a mini repro Bullmark Antler for a grand total of $5. They had heavily discounted their vinyl dolls, so I was highly tempted to go balls-out crazy on their Kamen Rider stuff, but I restrained myself.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of toys and vinyl stuff available at the All-Collectors Show this year. My last visit had been to the 2005 show, and late in the day, so most of the vendors were in the process of packing up. For the kind of stuff I picked up at a total cost of $18, it wasn't a bad way to spend a Saturday morning at all.

So here we go:

Again, Mazinger and the other fellow in front. I feel like a bad person for not knowing its name.

Peacock Robo. You just can't dig much deeper for alt-mode inspiration than this. I do dig the shiny rainbow decals, though.

Lil' Antler and Lil' Moon. Antler is ready to roll with my Galtan. Looks like someone got lazy on Shadow Moon after they finished the legs.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Happy Anniversary Kaiju-Taro!

Has it really been that long? Crikey! That means that I'll have been collecting kaiju for nearly a year soon!

Yes, tonight Kaiju-Taro, the Japan-based webstore that fulfills all of our vinyl dreams left undisturbed by the efforts of Super 7 and its staff, tonight celebrates its first anniversary. In standard fashion, K-T will be dropping exclusive figures from such makers as EXOHEAD, Atelier G-1, Sunguts Honpo, Real x Head, TTToy and Range Sky Toys. K-T has even improved on its original recipe of free buttons and keychains by developing its own branded cups, t-shirts and stickers. Yes, now you can integrate vinyl kaiju collecting into all areas of your life. Casual day at the office, here I come!!

Check out the exclusive offerings to be sold very, very soon here.

And then check out the "History of Kaiju-Taro" as shown on this page. Very interesting to see the development of the webstore.

Happy anniversary, K-T, and we can't wait to see what you have in store next.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The Evolution of Gatchigon

Being surrounded by colorful monsters throughout the day has brought out that drawin' urge.

First up is one of Mori Katsura's newer creations from his "Lord of the Jyujin" series, the Gatchigon. This sculpt seems to be unpopular overall with even the limited phone order version sitting idle in S7's online store. For the longest time, I've meant to pick one up, but it sort of was shuffled down the 'to buy' list, as these things tend to be. I finally picked one up in a trade with a board member, and I have to say that this is my favorite RealxHead figure after the Chaos-types. So much so, that it apparently inspired me to begin sketching again.

So here's the penciled lineart for Gatchigon. I'll show more photos as I take it into PS and 'ink' it and spray in the colors. I can see the final product in my head; hopefully I can translate those mental pictures (sorry, Jon Secada) into something on the screen.

And here's some of my preliminary reference sketches. One of the challenges in drawing this guy is that Mori's toys are all semi-super-deformed, whereas I wanted to do a piece in 'real-life' proportions. Some of the earlier sketches ended up looking too much like el Chupacabra, so I had to mess with the legs a bit.

If you're wondering what the rosebud thing is in the bottom left, I was playing with this concept of making Gatchigon's claw arm an artificial limb that he could shoot out like a grappling hook. Not this time.

Anyway, we'll see where this goes. Just thought it might change up the endless stream of toy photos.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Night Frights

A quick experiment with my Maverasu. I think I'll try this again; the original photo is too noisy.

Today was a so-so photo day. My camera has a slight, frustrating quirk in which it filters out the yellow-green of GID vinyl under the lamps. Maybe I'll set up a table outside this weekend and get some natural light...

Happy 4th all.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

[7/1/07] Superfestival 43 Release List

As many of you probably know, Superfestival Numbah 43 rained down a new assortment of vinyl goodies upon us this past weekend. Most of these have been displayed in the photo galleries, which have been timely provided by datadub and Kaiju-Taro.

But, for those of you on a slower connection (or if you're just lazy), here is a list of the major vinyl releases from SF43:

BloBpus / Munie Maderie

Blobpi 3-set (Takoyaki set, GID w/ spray)
Blobpus (GALA ver., solid black w/ gold/orange spray)
Dokugan (Atomize ver., clear green w/ silver wipe)
Kaijin Blobpus (Sunglow ver.)
Kaijin Blobpus (unpainted GID)
Mini-Docross (Hellion ver., solid black w/ purple spray)


Dorogami (solid pink w/ black/white spray)
Dorogami (clear green w/ blue/gold spray)
Nougaki (camo spray)
Nougaki (Nerd One x Cronic, clear red w/ silver spray and resin head part)
Zyuraiasu (solid dark blue w/ spray) (edition of 10)

Dream Rocket

Gabari (OG color)


Gaigan (secret release, black w/ spray)
Jet Jaguar (RealxHead colorway, black w/ metallic spray) (edition of 50?)
Jet Jaguar (secret release, black w/ green splatter) (edition of 25)
Mosugoji (red w/ spray)
Mosugoji (secret release, red w/ spray)


Bigaro (solid black w/ metallic spray)
Ekitai Ningen Pop Soda (solid red w/ black/gold spray)
Ekitai Ningen Pop Soda (unpainted solid red)
Mutant Chaos (unpainted glittery red)
Mutant Head (solid black w/ green splatter)
Pop Soda walker (solid red w/ yellow spray)
Pop Soda walker (clear green w/ red spray)
Ryusei Ninja (solid black unpainted, green eye)


Skuttle (Taipei Toy Festival release, clear purple w/ inner GID mold)
Skuttle X (Taipei Toy Festival release, clear orange painted)
Skuttle X (clear orange unpainted)

Vinyl Junkies

Skull Zombi Viking (red w/ black wash)
Skull Zombi Viking (yellow w/ red wash)

For those of you who are Marmit, M1Go, etc. fans, sorry, but I didn't have the stamina to categorize those releases.

Finally, several toymakers gave previews of their upcoming releases. Sadly, these were not for sale.

Cronic - Dorome (flesh unpainted)
RealxHead - Jinja R (flesh unpainted)
Sunguts Honpo - Camguts, Betagon and Beta Seijin set, KT anniversary exclusive release...

That about wraps it up for now. Next up, Taipei Toy Festival from 7/5 to 7/8 in Taiwan!