Christmas 2015: A Toy Lover’s Gift Guide

Ahoy! There’s a little more than a month until that magic day where we all get stuff we didn’t pay for from people we sort of like and I figured what if you sort of like, or maybe even love, a toy crazed loony like me! Do you know what you’d get them? Maybe you’re a fellow loony yourself looking to get a Crimbo treat for your own satisfaction, or perhaps your looking to give the gift of toy-itis (formerly toy-mania) to someone you love this Christmas. Well look no further, for I have compiled this handy gift guide for the toy buying gift-giver to ensure all your loves ones will be grinning like a Ron English Dunny!

Before I begin I’d like to just say that I’ve been compiling this guide since September, so while I endeavour to make all facts and prices as accurate as possible all prices and availability are UK based and subject to change with demand. Anyway, small print aside, let’s get to the guide! I’ve broken it up into four handy price brackets so you can skip straight to the amount you love someone!

Under £10

1. Designer Toy Display Cases by Andrew Bell €2.95-8.50 (£2.18-£6.27)

  

Available individually or in packs of three, these clear display cases are a must for any collector and are a fantastic stocking filler for your most cherished toy pirate. An interlocking design as well as UV filtering plastic ensure your figures up to 3.5″ tall will be safe and sound for years to come. You can get get them here for packs of three, or here individually.

2. 3″ Android DIY Edition £7

  

Give the gift of creativity this Christmas with a DIY Android. Great for Android users, creative sorts or someone looking to give a truly unique gift, you can customise this little bot with sharpies, paint or sprays before giving to pass on a truly personal present or leave it blank and let your loved one decorate however they want. Combine a DIY Android with some craft materials for a perfect present for the creative (big or small) kiddo in your life. Get one here.

3. Funko Mystery Minis £9

  

While the mention of the name Funko might instantly make you think of their Pop! line of vinyls, and while yes a Pop! vinyl might be a great Christmas stocking filler, I’d sooner recommend their Mystery Minis line. Available in a startling range of franchises including Nightmare Before Christmas (shown), Frozen, horror classics, DC Comics, Game of Thrones and many more, Mystery Minis offer a fun blindbox experience for new collectors and experienced hands alike. In every box will be a surprise, plus you can’t be blamed if the character inside isn’t one the receiver wanted! You can find a whole range of Mystery Minis here, but be prepared for shortages in stock. I anticipate these will be hot…

Between £11 and £50

1. Art &Toys book by Toykio £35

  

A book will always be a good Christmas gift- the gift of knowledge can never be underestimated. But what’s better than just a book? A book about toys! While there’s lots of books by toy designers full of great art, Art & Toys is a showcase of just how to collect and curate a world-class collection, as well as a chronicle of the hottest designer toys past and present. Chronicling the collection of Selim Varol, Art & Toys is sure to become a collector’s bible, and will be a much-appreciated gift for any collector. Get it here.

2. Little Liberty 6.5″ by Erick Scarecrow £24

  

With a spray can torch and pencil headdress, Little Liberty is a celebration of all things artistic and while I had a few toys I could have put here, I chose this one as I thought it combined a celebration of art and toys at a great price point for a gift. Standing at 6.5″ tall, Little Liberty is substantial enough to make a lasting impact too. No one would guess it was just £24! A perfect mascot for the studio of any arty sort, Little Liberty also comes pretty in pink for a more glamorous gift and will be cherished by anyone with an artistic bent, toy collector or not. Get it here.

3. My:Dwatch x Instinctoy £49

  

What better way to show your love of collecting by literally wearing your heart on your slee… well, wrist. My Dwatch by Instinctoy is a sharp, understated, handsome timepiece that’s perfect for anyone, not just toy collectors. It’s simple design with a stealthy leopard print band and colour flash numeral marks is perfect for man, woman or child and any Instinctoy collectors will be thrilled to open up their present this Christmas to see the classic Instinctoy packaging. Find it here.

Between £51 and £200

1. Apocalypse Grin Dunny by Ron English x Kidrobot £82

  

Ok, I mentioned this one in my article intro and I felt like I had to include it after such a big name drop. A sinister culmination of Ron English’s art and love of subverting pop culture, this vinyl vermin first appeared in 3″ guise in the Apocalypse Dunny series. This, the 8″ Apocalypse grin, is great gift for any counter-cultural Kidrobot collector or dirty Disney fan and there’s even the chance to find a super rare pink and white chase colourway! Apocalypse Grin is sure to become the centre of any lucky individual’s collection and can be yours here.

2. Lego Dimensions (PS4 and XBox One) £89.99

While it does require a PS4 or XBone to play, Lego Dimensions is a phenomenal gift with truly something for everyone (with a suitable console). Combining a toy and a video game, LD is as good as two gifts in one and the addition of a few carefully selected add on packs could transform Dimensions into a gift for literally anyone of any age. Lego Dimensions came out back in September, and you can check out plenty of  reviews online if you want to know more, or you can just take my word for it that LD is great and head straight to Amazon (or any reputable video game stockists) and pick up a copy now.

3. Sixth Scale Darth Vader by Hot Toys $299USD (£195)

  

Coinciding neatly with the holiday season this year is the release of the eagerly anticipated The Force Awakens, the next film in the Star Wars saga. I dunno, you may have heard of it. So what better gift to give someone than an incredibly realistic, foot tall Darth Vader? In reality, I’d love to recommend a character from the new film, perhaps Captain Phasma, but sadly the release schedule for the new TFA figures doesn’t guarantee delivery in time for Christmas (in fact the delivery windows range from December 2015 to May 2016) and what kind of guide would this be if I recommended items that weren’t available? I’ll tell you, not a good one. However, available to order right now is this startlingly detailed Vader figure- there’s no character more recognisable than Vader and no better gift for any Star Wars fan. Yes, Hot Toys are expensive, but it seems Sideshow know this and even offer finance! Handy! Oops, I mean “convenient”… Sorry, Darth. Head to Sideshow Collectibles to get yours.

Over £200

1. 20″ Dunny by Andrew Bell x Kidrobot £280

  

Technically the third creation by Andrew Bell on this list, this is the premier piece for Andrew Bell fans. In fact, the 20″ Dunny by Bell is so beautifully designed and finished its more than a toy, it’s a piece of art and would be a perfect pressie for any modernist man-cave or lady-lounge. A statement piece and a talking point at your thrilled recipient’s New Year’s party, you can pick it up here.

2. Kidrobot Labbit ‘Stache Stool €999 (£740)

  

The ultimate statement piece, the Labbit stool is a hulking behemoth of a thing that really is the ultimate level of lunacy for any fan or collector. Only the most dedicated will have a piece this significant in their collection and if you love someone enough to buy them a giant fibreglass Labbit they are a very lucky person indeed. Sure, there’s bigger, more expensive creations out there (like this giant Dunny), but as far as I’m concerned this is the ultimate gift for any collector cavern. You can get it here, complete with free shipping!

3. Sideshow Collectibles Arkham Origins Batman Cowl Replica £999.99

  

At £999.99 this piece of awesome is the ultimate gift in this list and at just under a grand its a hell of a gift  for any Bat-fan. Meticulously crafted and perched atop a Batcave themed plinth prepare to become the hero your gift recipient deserves. They can strut around doing Bat-things all Xmas day, or just marvel at the sheer and gratuitous coolness of a life-sized Bat-cowl forever more. I can’t say more than the picture can tell you of just how magnificent this thing is, and if you have basically £1000 spare and know someone who loves Batman click this here link and prepare to empty your bank account. Just don’t come complaining to me if your bank manager has you committed to Arkham! You’ve been warned!

————————

And that’s all the gifts! I hope you found this guide useful and I’m certain that whatever you get your loved ones this Christmas it’ll be perfect, it’d just be more perfect if you got them something off this list 😉

If you liked this guide let me know in the comments section below, favourite this post, follow the blog or share wherever you like! All that’s left now is to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and joy and plunder to all! Yarr!

Please note: this gift guide is not intended as a guide for children’s toys. All the recommendations made are done so as gifts for adult collectors, and most products in this list carry age warnings of 15 and up. If you are in any doubt whether the items on the list will be suitable for children please check the manufacturers’ website or leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks!

Review- Halloween Hugo & Geoff from Collect&Display!

Ahoy! A few of you may perhaps remember me bringing you the news of Collect&Display‘s first foray into the world of Halloween themed 3.5″ resin figures with the gloriously tangerine Hugo; well, time has passed and those figures are long sold out now. But guess what? I got one! And I decided what better compliment than to do a little review of this fine figure. Let’s commence.

First, let me just say, I’ve been itchy all week to get me hooks on this figure- ever since the shipping confirmation hit my inbox on Monday I’ve been chasing the postman round my street like some kind of crazed sea dog. Well, it’s finally here and I’m so pleased about it, mostly because it means I can stop hounding men in red shorts for cardboard boxes. Anyway, let’s check out the figure, because it’s a goody!

  
Even though Hugo is just 3.5″ tall, his purported size belies some serious heft. Being resin, not vinyl, there’s a really gratifying weight to the figure and his girth, ahem, makes for a very tactile toy indeed and, unlike some other resin figures I’ve had in the past, his feet are perfectly finished resulting in a very stable stance. At under 1″ Geoff, the accompanying, unexplained and rather random awesome Halloween pumpkin seems miniscule in comparison, but despite his diminutive stature still feels well modelled and finished. By comparison, Hugo isn’t quite as perfect, but he’s good. Noticeable on my set is a very slight, but very definite discrepancy in colour- Hugo is a lighter shade of orange than Geoff. I’m not sure if it shows up in the images I’ve captured (they’re crap to be fair, thanks British weather) but it’s there for sure. Unlike some others have reported I’m not seeing any noticeable casting marks, bubbles or splits lines in the resin of either piece which is a definite mark of quality and kudos to Evan Morgan the manufacturer.

  
Something I’m not quite sold on is the idea of the “digital sculpt”, done by Dave Boydell. Traditionally, cast toys (resin or otherwise) are first sculpted in clay, whereas this one has been rendered in some 3D software and then, presumably, either 3D printed (more likely) or CNC machined from a block of foam before being used to make a mould. As a qualified industrial designer (I bet you didn’t know that, did you?) I know about this stuff, and both these processes leave the master model with a series of concentric, horizontal lines over the entirety which, unless hand sanded before casting, will result in these lines transferring to the resultant casts. That’s what’s happened here and, to me, indicates a missing stage of mid-process hand finishing that would just elevate Hugo to a level of perfection. Personally, I’ll always prefer a hand-sculpted master model over digital as the idea of a digital sculpt doesn’t offer the level of detail or high-finish that clay does without the input of an artisan to finish the model before casting. This is just a minor niggle and something that most people wouldn’t even notice, it’s just that my background makes details like that stand out to me. I couldn’t even capture it in photos, that’s how minor it is.

  
In terms of packaging, this model features a pretty awesome plasticised header card with a bag that opens from the bottom which just makes everything that much easier, and every edition is hand numbered out of 30. I got number 9 as you can see. I really can’t fault the packaging design and I’d love to see more manufacturers do it this way!

  
Overall, while I can find fault with Hugo and Geoff (be it the colouring or manufacturing process) I think Collect&Display have to be applauded for having the means, want and sheer testicules to go to the effort of producing their own toys and merch. As I’ve said previously, recently C&D have been bringing us rafts of awesome exclusive themed merch and I think their dedication to their own brand and their customers is what sets them apart as something rarified and unique in the market- I can’t speak highly enough of them or this edition of Hugo. I’d love for Lee at C&D to pass on my little tip to Dave/Evan about the lines in the model, as a delicate lick with some 800 grit prior to casting could make any future iterations of Hugo perfect. And I mean that. Perfect. 

  
And as for future iterations? More. Please, more. I’d love if C&D resist the urge to make larger editions, batches of 30 is just right, and I can see Hugo in so many colours- I’ll definitely be queuing for any future editions, like maybe a Christmas edition? Hugo with a Santa hat and a Chistmas pressie? Or how about Hugo as he is here and a be-hatted roast turkey? I dunno, I have ideas that’s for sure (I’d love to help design a version of Hugo one day and I’m not too proud to say so, I am a designer after all).

Anyway, I’ve gone on too long, and as is customary with my reviews I just need to give Hugo and Geoff a St-arrrs rating. How about… 4.5! It’s a great edition, losing just half a star for some very minor niggles, and to confirm its rating, here’s 4 and a half pirate heads, just to make it clearer! Huzzah!

  

And that’s it! As per usual, do hit that “like” button if you liked reading this review, leave a coment to have your say and be sure to subscribe to my blog for more reviews like this and, of course, keep collecting! Yarr!

UPDATE: Ahoy! Having emailed Lee over at C&D to congratulate him on a fantastic toy, he has graciously offered to elucidate upon some of the finer points of my review so below is  an excerpt from his email, enjoy:

I have responded to some of your points below, not because I was not happy with what you have written but more to give you a further insight into our way of thinking. 

– Geoff, the accompanying, unexplained and rather random Halloween pumpkin – We added him to make it more halloweenified, also from my own perspective it makes the figure more unique. We did not want to do just multiple colour ways so each one we do will likely come with some sort of festive related accessory and a neat little background story. 

– Hugo was indeed 3D printed and then cast from the print but we do have reasons for this…. So the first Hugo that we initially made for ToyCon 2013 received alot of criticisms and honestly getting the sculpt right is a difficult task with Hugos multiple chins etc. This is why we favoured the 3D print, it also allowed us to get the details right on such a small sculpt. 

– More? Of course there will be more 😀 we may increase the edition size slightly on some but I can imagine it will never exceed 50.”

News- Double, Double, Halloween Trouble! Spooky news coming in twos! New Lego and Micro Anatomic!

Yaharr! Just when you think there’s something new worth reporting on, another announcement comes along and forces you to make a double post! Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not complaining! Plus, the releases I’m about to avail you of both share a few things in common: they’re both spooky, they both involve Lego and they’re both awesome!

First things first, perennial favourites on my humble blog, Mighty Jaxx are back with another iteration of Jason Freeny’s awesome Micro Anatomic. Yes, if you ordered any of the first wave of colours (like me) you probably haven’t even recieved your order yet (also like me) but MJ are back again with another sweet colourway just in time for Halloween.

  
This new colour features 7 colour print and a positively gruesome (if a bit piddly looking) GID anatomy half and, frankly, I think the addition of the printing makes this new colourway the best so far. The fact that the originals had no features meant that they didn’t quite have that full minifig look, but now they’ve resolved that issue this Halloween model looks perfectly like a scaled up and vivisected Lego-mon. As ever, this version is available through all the best retailers, you can get it direct here or fellow Britishists can get it at Collect&display. Obviously.

However, perhaps the bigger news this week is the newly announced (not leaked) info regarding the promised Lego Ghostbusters HQ (courtesy of Leg Godt)! Yes, it’s here in all its resplendent glory and sporting a (near) complete cohort of peoples and poltergeists. There’s the Ghostbusters themselves, obviously, but also Janine, Louis Tully, Dana Barrett and a selection of movie-featured spooks, including Slimer. If you’ve already got an Ecto-1 you’ll be all set to recreate all your favourite Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 (notice the pink slime creeping through the pavement on the lower right) scenes!

  
Weighing in at 4,634 pieces and a purported $350 (£250-275) it’s definitely a hefty set made more for collectors, not kiddies, and this is also a fact backed up by the January 1st release date- no one’s going to be getting this one for Christmas, sadly, but really I’m personally happy to wait as this looks to be the most promising set I’ve seen in a good while.

As ever, I’ll be sure to update you with availability when I know more, but for now you can head over to Leg Godt to find out more.

And that’s it for now. As usual, hit like etc etc and check back for more soooooon!

P.S. The title of this article is, in fact, accurate to the work I’m quoting. So don’t leave comments or email me that I got “Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble” wrong because it is one of the most frequently misquoted lines of Shakespeare save for “all that glisters” and is actually “double, double” not “Hubble, bubble” or any other variation. Anyway, bye!

Micro Anatomic image via Collect&Display 

Lego image via Leg Godt

News- Kidrobot’s Halloween Haul 2015

Boo! 

Did I scare you? No? I didn’t think so. I’m not very good at tricks, but if you’re looking for a treat instead of a trick you can check our Kidrobot’s new range of Halloween goodies! Yes, coincident with the forthcoming release of Brandt Peters’ “The 13” Dunny series, KR have released some pretty sweet Dunny, Labbit and DIY Munny masks to make choosing your costume this year that much easier.
  
  
I’ve not seen anything quite like this before, especially from Kidrobot, but if you’re planning on buying into “The 13” then these masks, particularly the Brandt Peters Dunny masks ( the Labbits are by Kozik) will make an excellent addition to a collection- no one’s saying you actually have to wear them this Halloween!

I think these are awesome and it’s great to see a variety of products on offer from Kidrobot. I feel as if they’ve been a little lazy in the last couple of years but I genuinely think 2015 has been strong for them and with the release of these, “The 13” and loads of other good stuff on the way they’re really powering to the finish. Personally I’d love to get my hooks on the Peters Pumpkin Dunny mask, but as yet I haven’t seen any availability in the UK and believe they are only available direct from KR. That being said, if you want one for Halloween, especially if you aren’t located in CONUS, I’d order right now! I don’t think I’ll be ordering one as I’ve already ordered my treat in the form of a Halloween Hugo from Collect&Display, but I know I’ll regret that in time and can sure recommend you get one while you can!

Anyway, that’s it for now. Kidrobot have quite a few awesome new products out; I’ll probably be posting more news very soon but it’s likely I’ll only be able to cover the products that catch my fancy since there’s just so many! Check back again soon for more, I’m aiming to post every day so I’ll most definitely have more tomorrow and, as ever, hit like if you like this, follow me for more and tell your friends, neighbours, dog and friendly neighbourhood spider-man all about it! 
Images via Kidrobot

eBay Finds: Part 1- 2012 Dunny by Kronk!

Sometimes collecting can be a pain in the wooden leg. Really. You know what’s out there and you know you need it for your collection but you can’t find it! But where do you go? Due to the very limited nature of designer toys the best stuff is always the rarest- you can’t just go to a car boot sale and pick this stuff up as it wasn’t mass produced like a lot of toys in the 90s and earlier. So where do you go? Who ya gonna call? No, not them- you get on eBay!

Most of the time there’ll be someone, somewhere selling off something good. Yes, you have to traverse the sellers asking way over the odds for something cack but occasionally you’ll find something awesome, and that’s what I want to share here! This first instalment: Kronk 2012 Dunny!

Continue reading

Yarr, Spooky Halloween News-  Collect&Display Halloween 3.5″ Hugo & 1″ Geoff!

Avast Ye, me scurvy buggers and bask on the poopdeck in Halloween’s orangey glow with me! Yes, tis the season to be spooky and Collect&Display arrrr getting us in the mood with a special release of their mascot Hugo in 3.5″ resin form. This is the first 3.5″ incarnation of Hugo and comes complete with complementary Geoff pumpkin!

  
Designed by JC Rivera and crafted by Evan Morgan this 3.5″ Hugo is a pretty awesome little edition, looking resplendent in his tangerine form. Admittedly, this edition of Hugo isn’t quite as accomplished and well modelled as C&D’s 6″ version by Creo Designs, but I still think this edition is an awesome little Halloween treat, and I’ll sure be getting one. Well, if I can since there’s only 30 being made.

And that’s it, there’s not much more to say, really- I just had to share this little beauty. Recently C&D have been getting some awesome branded merch (like this awesome flatbill) and long may it continue, I say. As far as I’m concerned C&D remain the zenith of perfect curation and service and these new exclusives are sure to usher an age of amazing C&D booty. I couldn’t be happier to report this release and all if you need to do that if you want one is go here: Halloween Hugo.

As always, if you liked this tell me! Hit like  or share wherever you fancy! Yarrrr!

News- Jason Freeny Friendly Fire sculpture available for Pre-Order Now!

Ahoy! It is seemingly becoming a daily event (and no bad thing) that I can share with you the new release of a vinyl toy or figure and as we grow ever closer to the holiday (and convention) season I’m sure the releases will only continue to appear day by day. Today, more news from the good ship Freeny as perennial collaborators Mighty Jaxx announced they’ll be producing a polystone sculpture of his Friendly Fire original.

  
At 9″ tall Friendly Fire is a substantial piece and a fitting centrepiece for a collection. Limited to 200 pieces, it’s fairly exclusive too and while I can’t be 100% sure MJ make it seem as though Freeny himself paints each one. I don’t know if that’s the case, but being polystone means painting is a necessary process and it wouldn’t surprise me if each is in fact hand-painted, which is always a big-seller in my book.

  
I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like subverting the whole Disney image, with Mickey taking the most flack, is fairly de rigeur right now- between Ron English, that whole Dismaland thing, historical South Park and this (at the very least) I’m getting a little bored of the whole “Disney are evil” thing. I get it, we’re supposed to hate the big, evil corporation, but I’m just a bit over it, time for something new if you ask me.

Anyway, that’s just my opinion, and in any case if you’re the sort of collector already kitted out with a few Mousemasks, Apocalypse Grin Dunnys and other general Popaganda the Friendly Fire will fit beautifully in your collection. Plus, at $100(£65) direct from source or £90 in th UK it’s not a bank-breaker. 

If you want to know more you can check out the Might Jaxx sight here. I’m sur I’ll be back tomorrow with more, plus I have some new articles up my hooked sleeve so as ever, hit like if this article floated your galleon and check back again soon for more. Yarrrr!