Tuesday, April 21, 2009

[Super7] It Came From Skullbrain!

It Came From Skullbrain!, or ICFSB for short, was held in the fuzzy walls (flocked Stormtroopers, baby!) of Super7's San Francisco Post St. location on Saturday, April 18, 2009. The first of its kind, ICFSB invited the professional, semi-professional and admitted amateur artists of the Skullbrain.org forums to showcase their best photographic and three-dimensional works on the store shelves. These are the same shelves that have hosted many a show of the notables of the soft vinyl world. That is to say, it is something of an honor to participate.

I arrived a bit late to the show due to heavy traffic in The City and other scheduling conflicts. To make a long story short, I took a nap. The party was in full swing at Super7 with KISS (??) mugging for the cameras, out-of-towners in town, the tub of free beer almost empty and the temperature 20 degrees above the outdoors. Truth be told, I have never seen the store more crowded than it was that night, so it can probably be safely said that the event was a success.

On the left as you enter, all of the photographic works were on display. I didn't take shots of these, but Joe (ever the diligent photographer) has them up on his NEW blog. My personal favorites were the two from Hawaii's Zakka, which were done on unframed, raised canvases. Did I mention he is from Hawaii. Da kine?

Toys were displayed at the back of the store on two levels of shelving.

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One of my two favorite customs of the night, Hiro Hayashi (aka, Lil' Japan, aka BEYOND) had these smooth Beetlars on display. The colors on these were earthy and subtle, with the feel of traditional Japanese pottery or ironware. The brown 'spattered' Beetlar on the left (photo is not great) would have been my pick of the lot had I some additional cash that night.

The two Madball-esque fellows were from motorbot.

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Customs by Skullbrain's hellopike (far left) and scottygee (right). Custom Dream Rocket Doguma... neat!

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Customs by Bob Conge (skull in box, and Hedorah?) and Mr. Grzlli Atom (Dragamel, Killer and Smogun).

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Can't remember who most of these are from. The "Satan King" Ojo Rojo is by hellopike. How 'bout one on a clear body... hmm?

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LASH customs on right (Bawer and Hood Zombie)- there are lots of (better) photos on his blog, so I feel a little less bad about giving them the edge cut of two photos. Don't know who did the Secret Base in the middle.

Fulfilling the neon quotient of the show, VELOCITRON gave us a Kemuru Ningen (what do you call these?) and a custom vintage Garuban. He assured us that no viably collectible vintage pieces were harmed in the process. I feel like I wasted my time sharpening my pitchfork.

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Assorted customs...

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Paul Kaiju gave us another helping of classic kaiju with his custom M1Go Vira Seijin and Marmit VP Baran customs. Also: Zollmen Monster Parade set up front and a Rumble Monster to the left (it is shown in another photo). I've got to say that a nice, thick clearcoat really does wonders for a custom. Not that Paul K's airbrushing techniques are lacking in any way, but the glossy surface definitely gives customs a professional, finished look.

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Killer "Battle-Damaged" Combat-R Zeros from Robert DeCastro (who is also the creator of the toy!). These were just "off the hook" as the youth say, and reminded me of my formative years spent flipping through Hobby Japan. And hey, you can buy the production models on his website: Atomic Mushroom.

The Squirms are custom works from an artist called "Reactor-88," if memory serves. They're clean and well-executed, but I am not a fan of customs that use a toy as a blank canvas. There's lots of platform toys for that kind of thing.

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I really have to apologize to whomever entered that Majin Bander into the show- I took two photos and both cut off its head.

My attention was just stolen by the Amapro Mecha-Gonira custom from Grumble Toy Chris. I broke into a bit of a nervous sweat when I saw this one because there was no price tag on it. Had it already been sold? Fortunately, when I inquired about it at the from counter, Josh said that it had just arrived and that there had not been time to prep it for the show. And, yes- it was still for sale! We'll see more of evil Mecha-Gonira in a few weeks.

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A handful of customs from Leecifer on the left and some fantastic metallic pieces from Skullbrain's redhanded. I don't know how he does it!

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The Mummy Boy and Gorosaurus on the far right are customs by Josh (joshuajh) and Josh/Alex (bannedindc), respectively, both of whom were pulling double-duty that night as Super7 employees and artists.

Joe (or as you may know him, JOE) was responsible for the Rangeas and Gaiking Gachados. I've been told that the reason Gargamel will not produce many paint masked Gachas is the complexity of the sculpt. So yeah, I'm guessing this took a while.

Comic artist / toy guy, Ben Seto (mangakaben), created the custom Secret Base Devil Dog on the far left. The toy that no one wanted is back with adorable, robotic vengeance. Be sure to check out his website- I would love to own a poster or a print from him someday.

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Kirkland Jue (aka, Toybotstudios), the man who does not need a link to his website (because it is on the right side of this page) gave us the 4 customs in front. Each of the Space Troopers has a little skeleton inside, exposed through the cracks in their armor. Where do you buy little skeletons like that?

Tan-ki (from France, I think) painted the Kanegon on the far right.

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Custom Himalayan (cut off), Globby and Jet Jaguar from Bert Gatchalians (aka, gatchabert). The green Bop Dragon is from a new face, Dustin Cantrell; the patterned Bop in back is from OsirisOrion. Although Rumble Monsters appears to have picked up the style on the left for a future production run, I think I like the less intricate blue-green version by Mr. Cantrell. Good use of the texture and smooth areas on the sculpt. I look forward to seeing more from Dustin.

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The two pieces on the left and in the middle are customs from devilboy, who is also the creator of the sculpt! They have a totally different feel when painted with the speckles and stains of stone textures versus a normal, "full color" paint job.

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Assorted customs from people whose names I can't remember. Sorry guys. I like the Goga- simple and oceanic.

And two of the other stars of show (in my humble opinion, anyhow):
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Up top is custom Jumbo Machinder from artist Jeff Lamm (aka, greasebat), best known for his distinctive kaiju-centric prints and posters. It takes a little bit of nuts (the good kind, that you're gonna love) to customize a freakin' Jumbo, and this thing towered over the other customs at the show. I love the design, which reminds me of what could be an obscure Argentinian bootleg of a Jumbo. I'd totally buy a smaller toy of it.

Bottom is a custom Dempagon from RedYoda. Not only is his kitbashing job admirable, but it is also a functional piece (emitting squealing electronic static is technically a function). Something in the eye is sensitive to light; by shining the light pen into its eye, it translates the intensity of the beam into sound. I don't know how it works- so, hey, it's magic. So he gets "mad propz" for building something in addition to destroying a toy. Wink.

I went into the show with somewhat mixed feelings on the subject matter. In some sense, elevating fan customs to the level of show pieces rubs me in a bad way because it brings out the sharks in the designer toy world. And, true to form, there were a lot of artists there that I had never heard of personally, although they seemed to be well-known (?) in the western world. Did they really "come from Skullbrain (forums)"? I guess I can't blame them for pimping (oops- displaying) their stuff at the store- an eyeball is an eyeball in the end.

But the show did have the effect of bringing folks together who might not normally fly out to SF for a Super7 show. This is really the strength of the hobby- community. The shows at the store are great for getting to know new collectors/faces and reconnecting with old acquaintances. And you know what? Most of the customs were really good, and to see them all displayed together was fascinating in its own way. So damn the opportunists, I'm looking forward to seeing another show like this in the future. Make it happen you creative bastards.


Dustin said...

Hello there, this is Dustin Cantrell. I made the Sea Monster Bop Dragon (the blue-green one) and I'm really glad you liked it. Just thought I'd let you know that I am NOT OsirisOrion and have no plans at this time for an official Rumble Monsters release. The Sea Bop was my only contribution to this show. Thanks for noticing my work though!

RobotXMonster said...

Hey Dustin... thanks for the correction. I guess the two Bops sitting next to each other confused me!

Great meeting you at the show.

Jeff Lamm said...

thanks for the nice photo and comments about my custom jumbo. It would be excellent to have a 9 inch vinyl made of that someday....
I only wish I could've been at the show.