Thursday, March 31, 2011

I need sleep...

Damn, yo...been a minute since an update. I'm hurting as a motherfuck, but I really wanted to let y'all know what was up.

Well, I got in at almost 4AM last night (this morning?). Then right back up for work around 8. As usual: toy shit. It's a monstrous schedule, but most every Wednesday night, I find myself at the master's lab. Matt Walker. Chooch extraordinaire. TDF for life. My wild, wild west whitey n**ga.

This man, like Matt Doughty before him, makes shit happen. And his motivation is infectious. Without him, you likely wouldn't be reading this. There wouldn't be a Gin Gin. So every Wednesday, with no hesitation, I take a nap under my desk at work, Costanza-style. Around 8, I schlep about an hour straight to the lab, get my grub on, and meet Walker around 10. Then, into the wee hours, we make shit happen.

And that's exactly what's going on right now. Shit happening. The FINAL METAL GIN GIN FIGURES ARE IN. Production. They're being processed down at the lab as I type this. Acid etching, priming, sanding, stickers being cut. It's on now. Packaging is undergoing final tweaks. Shit is lovely!

And I'm ready to pass the fuck out!

Anyway, on top of the production figures, I'm working on my entry into Troy Stith's Kaiju For Japan, a great little way we can get together as Japanese toy enthusiasts and try to raise some money for those hit hardest by the Tohoku quake and tsunami.

I'm not revealing much about it now, but stay tuned...there will be hot shit!

And one more little tidbit...remember "baby Gin Gin"? That's what Joshb calls the deformed M.U.S.C.L.E.-style Gin Gin figure I had prototyped before. Well, for the longest time, elite CAD modeler, Mike de Coninck and I have been wondering about getting quick, dirty prototypes done by Shapeways, a company that encourages CAD modelers to "lease" their designs to consumers on the site by having the company print the ones they like in a variety of materials. Interesting concept...I guess. I mean, I kinda don't care, but it is what it is. As far as we're concerned, it's a fairly cheap way to get your prototypes done.

Well, compare this baby Gin Gin with the "chiisai" pics I posted at the beginning of the month:


Ain't too bad.

Almost as good as what my prototypers came up with...but then again, we're just talking hardware at this point. See, Shapeways just prints shit out for people. My prototyper goes dimensions beyond that, with layers upon layers of post-processing available. Through their efforts, a simple printout can transcend even the quality of the original STL file you supply them with! Heh...and naturally, they charge a good ten times more...but I guess it's not entirely fair to compare a professional toy prototyping company that's worked with the likes of Hasbro to a company that just churns out raw 3D prints for consumers. I mean, what you get from Shapeways isn't actually *usable* in any realistic molding process: they don't clean up the print layer lines, let alone do gloss coating, resin-casting, wet-sanding, etc...

So what's good about 'em? Well, that baby Gin Gin cost me a little over $13! Yes, thirteen fucking dollars, US. Ya kinda can't fuck with that. It's inspired me to work on some more M.U.S.C.L.E.-style figures and see what kind of shit I can come up with. I mean, if prototyping them is THAT ridiculously cheap, why the fuck not, y'knowmsayin? The only thing you gotta watch your back about is size. Shapeways charges strictly by volume of your part. Baby Gin Gin is only around 5 cubic centimeters...but parts for average-sized toys can get massive quick.

Oh, last thing before I forget--the Unicron stands are sold out AGAIN! Thanks to all who ordered them; y'all should have 'em by now. They actually sold out a couple weeks ago and I've already started taking preorders for the third batch, which was ordered early this week. So...same rules as before:

"So if you want a stand, you have a couple options right now: 1) you can contact me and pay for a stand now, which would *guarantee* one from the next wave, and it would be shipped immediately upon receiving them from our distributor (in a month or so), or 2) you can simply watch the blog for my announcement of the next wave's arrival, and just place your order then. Either way is fine me, so go with whatever makes sense for you"

Thanks again, y'all!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Home stretch?

Two quick updates today...

First, the second shipment of the mighty Throne of Chaos has arrived! All the preorders have finally been shipped; some even received, according to the very kind comments I've gotten from fellow fans. There are, in fact, a few pieces left, so get 'em while they're hot, y'all.

Second...Gin Gin. Well, rather than spit the usual verbal diarrhea, I'll let a picture say a thousand words:


Wednesday, March 2, 2011


What's happening, y'all? Just some fun experimental stuff to share with ya this week. Last night, I just got back a 3D print of the Gin Gin M.U.S.C.L.E.-style figure I was showing off last time. On the real, I really wasn't expecting much...but as it turns out, I'm actually pretty impressed with how nice it came out! Now, my prototyper warned me that 20 mils (.02") is generally the lower limit on 3D printed detail from their Objet printers. Anything under that will likely get lost...or end up looking like a pile of dog shit.

I didn't dumb down the Gin Gin design before I sent it, so all the tiny/sharp detail's still in there. But amazingly, most everything came through okay.


Now, as y'all have noticed by now, my camera work's aiight...if it were 1993. But on top of that, there's just something about the surface texture on that Objet print material ("VeroWhite") that makes it damn near invisible to my camera! Hell, even my early full-size Gin Gin printout shots look the same...


Anyway, rest assured--the majority of that surface detail is there.

I'ma send this lil dude to Joshb of Sharkfist Designs to see if he can resin cast it. He seems pretty confident based on the pics, but I dunno. Yo, it's mad small...and kinda delicate. We'll see. Anyway, it's all good--I was just fucking around with this whole thing. I really just wanted to have an example in my hands of what kind of resolution these machines can deliver.

As it turns out, in the next few months, my prototyper's actually looking into getting a new printer that's optimized for smaller, high-detail parts. Perfect for joints like this, y'knowmsayin?

And this may just be a pipe dream right now, but I've been considering getting a 3D laser scanner. The idea is that we can start developing hybrid CAD/hand-sculpted designs. Like, say you wanted to make a M.U.S.C.L.E. figure, right? Well, sculpting at that scale is nightmarish. Imagine being able to sculpt at a 2UP or even 4UP scale, 3D scan that shit, and pull the data into CAD. You could then add geometry that's a pain in the ass to hand sculpt like primitive shapes or other mathematically-precise shit...then ultimately scale down the data to true M.U.S.C.L.E. size.

And of course, that's where having a reliable prototyper who can come through with the sharp 3D print outs! See where this is headed? Some hot shit, right here...

More later.


Now update time, as usual!

The real Gin Gin is chugging along. In fact, I just got a call from my metal caster the other day: a sample of what could very well be the final figure is on it's way as I type this! She sounded pretty confident, so I'm cautiously optimistic. The next step--IF I approve it--would be to measure up the figure for fitting the stickers and do a final paint color test. Word the fuck up!

And lastly, all you poor transfans waiting patiently for an update on the next round of Unicron stands...FEAR NOT!! The fabricator I work with is notoriously slow, but as many have seen, their quality is always on point...and, of course, their prices are thankfully sane. Anyway, I got word from them last week that the stands are ready to ship. Only a matter of time now! As soon as they arrive, I'll immediately start processing the dozens of preorders I've received before announcing their general availability publicly. Heh...I have a feeling I'm gonna have to place another order for a new batch pretty damn soon...