Friday, December 31, 2010
Obviously, I've been pretty anxious about getting something to release for everybody...especially before the end of the year. 2010 has sure had some fucked up ups and downs, but I wanted to end the decade on some hopeful shit.
There was a delay with the molds for the final Gin Gin figure (are you surprised! haha!) so still no final, fully-painted joints...but one small side project has turned out shockingly sucka free.
Check it: "Yojimbo" Gin Gin
In honor of one of my favorite chambara of all time, Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, starring the brilliant Toshiro Mifune, this figure is a pull from an older mold featuring full embossed/engraved 3D detail.
The figure is all-pewter, lead-free, and just like the final figures will have, they feature magnetically-linked joints. Now, pewter normally comes out of the molds a very bright, almost gleaming white. What the fabricator has done here is applied a special rub to the metal to "antique" it. Think some secret family recipe barbeque sauce-type shit! Mmm...ribs... Anyway, the finish is lacquered for protection...and I happen to think the shit looks pretty fresh.
Keep in mind that the nature of the beast is such that there'll always be little cracks and crevices everywhere. These are hand-made figures made in the image of the classic Popy STs. I consider each of these a work of art from some very cool people I've had the honor of working with. The final fully-painted Gin Gins will have similar surface flaws, but with these "Yojimbo" joints, part of the beauty lies in emphasizing those flaws...
Anyway, some of y'all who're real familiar with Gorman/Gin Gin, and obviously Grendizer, should get a kick outta these next couple shots!
Ghosts from the past:
Punks step up to get beat down:
I wish there were a TFO in-scale with these ST-sized figures that I could show Gin Gin stepping on. Heh...I love this shit!
Aiight, so check it. This obviously isn't the "official" final toy. Hell, I wasn't even planning on using these molds ever again! Heads seemed down with this "antiqued" idea, so I decided to see how they'd turn out.
I'm only making ten of these motherfuckers. Five are ready now, but the other five will have to wait a few weeks (consider it a preorder...afterall, the final full-painted figures will pretty much be made-to-order, so everything will eventually be a fucking preorder).
This limited Yojimbo run will feature an older style of the box art that won't be printed again. Sorry--I haven't actually assembled the boxes yet, so no packaging pics...
Anyway, remember, this shit's kinda underground, y'knowmsayin? So if you like what you see, hit me up.
As y'all know, this is all a part of my love letter to ToyboxDX. The last decade's been pretty crazy, but I've made some amazing relationships with some pretty incredible people. Talented. Driven. Passionate. Creative. Without the 'DX, there would be no BN. Word is bond.
Here's to another year and another decade...where we take this silly hobby to another level! Go play. Peace.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Simple math lesson.
You take this
And you get this:
And what that is, y'all, is the final prototype for this motherfucker!!
Last night, headed to my grimies' after work...got a little nice, got a little lifted...watched the Pats utterly LAY WASTE to the Jets. Got home around 1 and was greeted with this...work of art. Straight up and down, my photography ain't shit. You pick this thing up in your hands, it's like holding solid fucking water! That's how gods damn clear it is. Flawless like a gemstone. Blew my fucking mind. And maybe a little load.
Then I passed out.
This morning, I grabbed my shitty-ass camera and dipped to the suburban-hell backyard--crawling on the fucking ground & shit, freezing my nuts off--and took some more pictures. B-b-b-b-rrap!
At work, I very reluctantly boxed up this jewel and overnighted it to the metal caster. I was talking to my prototyper the other day--he was saying how excited they are that this shit's finally going down. Apparently, he and his crew have various multi-colored test shots laying around their office! That's what's up!
As I've mentioned before, they do lots of work for Hasbro and other big name toy companies, but this is pretty much the first time they've ever done something like this. Like, for real, who's this dick coming outta nowhere with the bomb CAD skills and a little scratch but no actual faceless corporation to back him up??? That's me, motherfucker, and we're doing it.
These guys know their shit, but they've never developed prototypes to be used in making vulcanized rubber molds for jewelers to hand-pour white metal. They're used to casting up simple, sharp resin bits for steel injection molds in China! Not this damn time--this shit stays local and stays gully. Heh...as "gully" as a homemade toy of a robot from a 30+ year old Japanese cartoon can be! WHAT!? :P
But I guess the point is that it's real nice to have these cats just as excited about this project as I am...even if it is mad underground and my "account" probably ain't worth a whole lot! One dude trying to make a little metal robot ain't exactly "supreme clientele", y'knowmsayin? But this is how we roll and they're on board.
And now, it's on the metal caster. Let's see what they can pull off...
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I'm a curmudgeon...and the actual holidays most Westerners celebrate this time of year only remind me of rampant, ingrained materialism and the thoughtless destruction of indigenous civilizations. But as with all things, you pick your battles. There are things to be hopeful about at this time of the year. I mean, Diwali was earlier this month. The Patriots and Celtics are fucking DOMINANT. This is the best time of the year for Boston weather (in my opinion anyway; I fear no cold). And there's lots of time offa work so I can chill with my people.
At first, I wasn't planning on showing too much more shit before the big release. But fuck it. Before I throw down, here's a little pre-turkey update...
Material testing is done, y'all! The special prototype urethane we've been messing with has checked out a solid 95% suitable...and that busted 5% can be made up for with some special tricks up our sleeves. That means that the actual final prototype--yes, we're talking white, blue, yellow, red RX-78-3 type shit here--is in the midst of being created. I'm hoping to have it in hand next week...then on to final fabrication!
Aiight...so what do I have for you today? Well, since I can't quite give away all my secrets just yet, I'ma have to break your balls some. Peep this busted-ass preview pic of the outer packaging!
Yeah, it'll give you a fucking headache if you stare at it too long! But...you get the idea. VERY Popy. Hella flavor. This shit is real-deal, folks. To keep the cost of this toy within the realm of "affordable" (yeah, fucking right!), the packaging's a hybrid of ideas we kicked around for *a while*. A full blown 100% dope Popy style cardboard box would have increased the retail price of the toy almost $20...no joke. AND...that doesn't even include the styrofoam tray...good luck getting that shit sourced.
So what we've come up with is a slick compromise. The primary packaging is going to be a plain white heavy corrugated cardboard shipper. Inside, convoluted foam (yup, egg crate material!) will be used to cushion the toy. But to make this shit rock domes, we have a slipcase that goes over the whole rig. That is what you see above. And it's bangin'! I seriously think you will be pleased!
As always, stay tuned for more...
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
But I can give you some dope news this time around. Check it...so why are there so many prototypes shown in that last blog post anyway? I mean, it ain't like we playing around and just pumping these figures out in different colors & shit! :P
We are knee-deep in the material testing phase right now. Don't that sound fresh??? That yellow joint below is currently over at the fabricator's shop getting tested for suitability. Suitable for what? Well, it'll all become clear eventually. That lil dude's getting sacrificed to the volcano as we speak...but the sacrifice will NOT be in vain. I'll just say for now that if all goes well with these tests, a final prototype will be built...and it's off to get produced. Actual production toys!
Could y'all actually see this motherfuckin' toy by the holidays??? Maybe...just maybe!
And in the meantime...the packaging is complete.
Stay tuned... ;)
Monday, October 18, 2010
First of all, the name of the game is prototyping. Okay, okay--it's got other names like "hurry up and wait", "delayed and over-budget", and "where's your fucking toy!?" HA! But for real, like I've been saying all along, we're developing a process here. I know I haven't given y'all much in terms of details yet, but on the strength, we're pulling some shit that VERY few people have tried before. And early on, I committed to dropping this joint the absolute best way I can.
Haha...aiight, I've pretty well left my late summer/early fall release date goal in the dust. I didn't wanna start blogging and diddling y'all until there was something real about to touch down. It's all good, though.
See, I'm happy with where we're at--if not with how much dough I've dropped into researching this shit! Heh...but like I said, I committed to sparing no expense--time or scratch--whatsoever in exploring every idea and paving the way for many more toys like these to be produced locally and (relatively) cheaply. I just didn't think it'd take this motherfucking long! :P
But we have results! Developing a unique toy production process by dolo may be a bit daunting, but it's happening, word is bond. And here's some shit for y'all...consider it proof that I'm not just sitting here, poundin' off to delusions of grandure!
That's a whole lotta prototypes. And, no, I'm not about to take a clearer or better-lit shot for y'all. C'mon now. I'm trying to keep this shit at least a LITTLE under wraps, y'knowmsayin? But anyway, with the system we have in place right now, I'm hoping that in the next two weeks or so, I'll have a finalized prototype to send to my fabricator. Yeah, some RX-78-2 type shit...just no whiney Amuro getting smacked like a bitch all the time! ;)
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Well, before I do, I wanna remark about some interesting shit I've been noticing. One of the funny things about being involved in the creative side of a typically consumer-based hobby like this...is SECRETS! A lot of us are doing making websites, making comics, painting toys, making toys...with out-of-pocket money. And ain't none of us lamping on any fat yachts. Punk rockers call it "DIY", and I'd like to think that spirit isn't dead. But the thing is, in order to keep doing this stuff, and keep it fresh, and keep from over-hyping your shit, ya gotta maintain your secrets!
So what generally happens is you keep all your shit on the down-low, then pop as soon as you're ready to drop. Sure, you can release a little teaser info here and there (like the pics below) just to connect with your people and generate a little buzz before shit blows up. That's legit. But that's MAD different from some of the bullshit out there--not to digress--like the NagNagNag soft vinyl toy (don't know? better not ask somebody--trust me). But the reality is that you don't want to over-promise...then under-deliver later, y'knowmsayin? What sucks more than having your expectations for an ill movie get inflated...only to have it suck when it finally comes out? And not only that: it also sucks to drop all this info about a release...and then have delays after delays after delays keep pushing it off until no one fucking cares anymore (hey, that sorta happened with the Super7 Jumbo Stormtrooper).
Heh...so my "plan" was to create this blog only a couple weeks before the first toy was ready to ship. Didn't quite make it, huh? ;) It's all good, though. Make progress every day, they say. And that's what's happening. Packaging is finally almost done...and y'all should thank your gods that I spared you that nightmare (let's just say I'm on my third fucking printing company). And most importantly, I should have what I'm hoping is the final prototype in my hands by the end of the week. I think at that point, some legit photos will be in order!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
But enough of that, I just wanted to talk about the Summit real quick. This year…fantastic. The turnout was incredible, but more importantly than that, we just had a dope time having great conversation with a solid crew of heads. We had a lot of the local Massholes including the Godfather, Alen, and of course greats like Josh DX (JoshB), Josh ST (fraser), Ed (atease), Mason (mcfitch), Keith F., and Dave (Nekrodave). We had cats from all along the eastern seaboard like Jason (Jerilock), Mark (machinesoldier), Dan and Nadia (shogundan, and shogunnadia), and Chris (ChrisM). Solid heads like Ben (Prometheum5), Jon (repairtechjon), Charles (chachipower), Dan (Anavel), and Josh (The Enthusiast) were on hand as well and added much to the event. Legends in the vinyl game, liquidsky and locomoto566 were there to rep kaiju…I just wish there was more time to pick their brains about what they collect and what they think of the “vinyl scene”…
Naturally, assorted toy widows and widowers abounded.
And I’m sure I’m forgetting tons of other “regulars” (apologies)…
But what blew my mind the most was the number of new folks that showed up. There were local folks like the brothers, Chris and Scott, and Mecha Zone’s David White, who knew about us through these sites, but had never registered. Well, they not only showed up to the Summit to meet us all (a tremendous honor), but also brought tons of toys and a genuine desire to hang out, get to know the crew, and share the love.
I’ll be sure to get my pics uploaded soon…I’m a fucking lazy chooch. But for now, there’s plenty of shit for y’all to sift through. There’s a brog on TBDX, it’s accompanying thread…and a completely separate lead-up thread on the OT. On CDX, there’s a dope photo thread and a wrap-up thread with some killer video.
Cookout. Toy talk. Retiring to Mason’s lair for some Grandizer-watching and a skype call from the Chairman. Dinner at local diner. Dim sum the next morning. All amazing. If y’all are around the Boston area next summer, holla.
I'll leave you a nice shot JoshF took at the Summit...and yet another random teaser:
Friday, August 6, 2010
I was hoping to show off the completed packaging (and a figure in some state of completion) at the East Coast Chogokin Summit. But no dice. I'll spare you the agony of detailing the nature of the delays, but let's just say that Photoshop bugs can be a bitch to work around.
But whatever, man...the gears keep on grinding...
In the meantime, here's some more Photoshop teasing!
Thursday, August 5, 2010
We're in production as we speak (or...as I type) on Brownnoize Productions first major release. I'm going to start leaking info out slowly now. Stay tuned, y'all!
And here's something other than my long-winded blabbering for y'all to check out:
Here's a hint: save up about a hundred bucks...
Friday, July 30, 2010
And my goal isn't to shove my political views down anyone's throats, but it's important to me that y'all know that these things we make will be made by hand in the US...and my prices will be set just a hair over what they cost me to make them. If I have to, I'll make them one-by-one to order. As a middle-class USer with a job, I have the privilege to do that shit...so I'ma do that shit.
Okay, so the near-future plan. My first major release is on some top secret shit like Val Kilmer. Plenty of madness is going on behind the scenes as I type this. Why the secrecy? Well, I'm not trying to make all these ill announcements and generate all this bullshit hype to whip up heads into a frenzy...only to have delay after delay piss people off. As a fan, I hate that shit...so why would I make others go through that nonsense just for my shit? And besides, even if there aren't any delays at all, like Chuck D says, Don't Believe the Hype. Remember, toys that stand on their own merit. Nah, I'ma start leaking info when shit's really ready to drop. And then, when everything's boxed and ready to ship, I'll make the big announcement. That'll give me the time necessary to work the bugs out of my system at a chill pace. No deadlines to meet means I can focus on getting shit right.
But believe me...this is fucking killing me! I'm a fan first, remember, so I want to share everything with you guys. So, basically, I'ma tighten up the whole manufacturing process on this, my first run. Once the cat's outta the bag, there'll be no reason for any further secrecy, so on future projects, I'll finally be able to post every excruciating detail of the process as it happens! Now, that will be some sick-ass shit!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Well, I've commandeered the term for my toy production label! In a little double-entendre magic, I'm also using it to refer to the fact that I'm brown...and noisy. Hip hop's been in me since before I was old enough to buy my first cassette tape. I really should amend my previous post: not only did Voltron and Optimus Prime teach me right from wrong, but I also had KRS-One and Chuck D to help me cope with this world we live in. And, hey, I'm a first generation USer...it's not like my parents had much experience with racism to pass on to me and my sister.
So what's in a name? On one hand, I'll be fucking damned if I (or anyone else associated with this label) end up taking this shit too seriously. Yeah, it's more "artwork" than actual toy making. But make no mistake, anything I/we produce will be no more or less noble than anything you can pick up at Toys R Us. Word is bond. This shit ain't about dick-riding the right "artists", listening to the right music, or belonging to the downest hipster clique. If you like what you see here, bet. I'm just a fucko with some CAD skills, a sense of humor, and desire to make some shit.
And on the other hand, I'm also an Indian man in an overwhelmingly white hobby. Y'all gotta know that. Putting my shit out there like this just isn't that simple for me...and it's not a struggle I often feel safe enough to talk about, y'knowmsayin? I'm blessed to be surrounded by these knuckleheads in the local Boston toy crew. They may not understand *everything* I tell them about being brown, but they damn sure give me that room to tell them. Nuff respect due.
So with that support backing me up, along with invaluable wisdom from the Godfather, the Chairman, and many more...Broinnoize is born.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Well, there's a funny thing in the air right now. Western civilization crumbling? Well, yeah, but that's not what I'm getting at. I'm talking toys. I grew up in the Boston area in the early 80's...and gods bless the little Hindu boy's latchkey upbringing. See, marketing toys directly to children via cartoons was just coming into vogue...
Oh yes. In lieu of parental supervision, I had Starblazers, Force Five, Tranzor Z, Battle of the Planets, and of course, Voltron to teach me right from wrong. Sure, we couldn't really afford most of those toys, but hell...I woulda killed just to have the chance to go to Mr. Big's Toyland.
And apparently, I wasn't alone.
My friends' own personal histories notwithstanding, there is a pretty tight crew of Japanese robot and monster toy nerds that has formed in the past decade or so...right here in the Boston area. I blame WLVI (channel 56) and the Saturday morning Creature Double Feature [Ernie Boch, Jr., one love!], as well as the aforementioned English-dubbed Japanese cartoons and mom & pop toy stores.
Well, I should really say that those cartoons were the seeds planted in our fertile young greymatter. But who watered them and cultivated the land since our adulthood? Enter The Godfather...Alen Yen. If Alen hadn't created ToyboxDX, who knows where we'd be? Well, most likely, many of us wouldn't be friends at all, and our participation in this hobby wouldn't even remotely be where it is today (if anywhere at all).
There was Tom's CJT and Bonner's Jumboland...and obviously sister-sites like JoshB's CollectionDX, Flynn's skullbrain, and Sanford's robot-japan. But when it comes to contemporary talk of vintage Japanese robot and monster toys, TBDX remains king. It's where we all met over the last several years (as much as it pains an old-fashioned curmudgeon like myself to admit to "meeting people online"), and it's where some REAL solid relationships have formed...on- and offline.
Okay, touching...so beyond the history lesson, why this blog? Why now?
Well, there's that funk in the air I mentioned. Been sensing it over the last few years. Over time, our hobby has matured quite a bit. A lot of the great toy mysteries have been unraveled. A lot of the staples of our wildly varying collections have been filled. Grails have been fought for and won. What's next? I mean, there are only SO many *vintage* toys out there, right?
After a while, consumption gets kinda dull. Hey, don't get me wrong: it's never been a blind "gotta catch 'em all" mentality. I sorta look at my toys as collecting artwork, of a sort: studying what these toy-makers did, and why the aesthetic has transcended generations, continents, and language. But still...not a lot of new discoveries are made these days. And a lot of the big WANTS have long since been acquired. But here's the thing: the passion is still there. The love for these crazy Japanese toys still burns. We spend long hours sitting back and appreciating what we have (I can't help picturing Duban in a crimson velvet robe, sitting before a fire in a gigantic easy chair...a tumbler of brandy in one hand and a Bullmark Zaboga vinyl in the other). We wax poetic online about various "pieces". We chat online about the latest drama in teh MARKET.
So, clearly, what's left after acquiring is creativity and sharing. Some of us have taken to creating new websites or expanding existing ones. Some of us are producing podcasts and internet talk-shows about toys. And some of us have decided to take the leap of actually making toys. Doughty showed us it could be done. Walker showed us the very cutting edge of color. We have reached critical mass...and only amazing can come of it.
Not surprisingly, Alen is leading the way with his own production label, Incubot. He's produced a rubber USB stick action figure made in the US and a soft vinyl figure cast in Japan and painted here. These toys feature "Nekosaur", an original humanoid cat-dinosaur-robot character of his own design...and they're glorious! The man's bringing back the funk you've been missing.
And now Brownnoize Productions is here to show and prove. In collaboration with Incubot, we will be designing and producing toys of our own. DIY. Made in the USA. And of course, keeping it in the family.
We may just have something cooking right now...and trust me: it's been tough keeping a lid on it. Our first release is going to be big, but I ain't saying shit until ALL the bugs get worked out of our system. I want this shit tight and on schedule. No hype machine. Just raw skills.