Thursday, February 9, 2012

Some weather we're having...

Or...not having I guess! But despite this disquieting lack of winter, ya still have to watch out for your health. This weather's enough to throw folks off their natural rhythms, y'knowmsayin? It's enough to give ya pneumonia, I'll tell you that. Well, maybe not ME. And maybe not YOU. But certainly someone. Someone who ought to be perfectly healthy...and busy painting Gin Gins right now.


Haha...yo, I know that's foul...but I can't help myself. A certain someone we all know and love is currently suffering...and all I can do is make jokes about him NOT servicing my damn needs! :P Well unfortunately, folks, that's where we're at at this very moment. Some damn bug has infiltrated my unnamed partner's body...and it's messing with my steez. What can ya do? Pray for our loveable chooch's speedy recovery!

Meanwhile, I have some cool stuff brewing...that I can actually share with you! First up, I've teamed up with the Veef, himself--Andrew (or "VF5SS") of CollectionDX and TBDX fame--to produce yet another "3rd party" add-on for an existing toy. This time, it's not so much an accessory meant to enhance an existing toy; instead, it's more of a replacement part.

Some of you may be familiar with Yamato's 1/60 VF-1 Valkyrie toys from the hit anime, Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (or if you like, Robotech: The Macross Saga). Well, these toys are considered by many to be THE DEFINITIVE toy representation of the aircraft-robots known as "Valkyries" in the show. Alas, apparently, their shoulders are prone to 'sploding. Rather than wall-of-text you to death with the details, I'll let Andrew explain it himself. Apparently these parts are sorely needed, so I expect the replacements I designed to be a hit! They will be sold directly from Andrew's Shapeways store (they will be printed in polyamide). And good on Andrew for stepping up and spearheading this project. We're infusing a little positivity into a fandom that has issues with staying positive, y'knowmsayin?

Oh! And before I jump into the big news for this month, I just want to give our boy, Mike D, a big shout-out! Especially since we're on the subject of 3D printing, Mike is getting set to ROCK people's domes with a full size, 3D printed Popy Jumbo Machinder Garada K7 replica! If you're familiar with the original Popy toy, then you know what time it is. You know full well how utterly insane this project is. Words kinda can't describe just follow Mike's blog and watch this incredible replica slowly come to life. Hard to believe, but it's been over ten years since Tom Franck scratch-built his legendary replicas of this toy--arguably one of the single most coveted Japanese character toys in history...

Anyway, I said "big news", didn't I? Okay, I've got some REAL fire for y'all... Brownnoize Productions has teamed up with MUSCLE to bring you (finally!) a straight-up legit release of ASHURASHINE!!

Feast your eyes...

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Please believe me when I say this...this toy UTTERLY SMITES pretty much every other custom MUSCLE I've ever handled. No, I'm not even talking about the sculpt--we've all seen AshuraShine on my blog for months now. What I'm talking about is the casting, itself. I mean, look at it:

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It looks good, right?

Photobucket Photobucket, it doesn't.

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It looks AMAZING. Simple as that.

And I know what y'all are thinking: okay, yeah, that's dope...but what's so special about that? That's real. I mean, resin casting is commonly known for super-"high resolution". Every tiny, sharp detail--flaw or otherwise--that can be seen with even a magnifying glass will come out in your resin casting. That's the beauty of the medium.

But check it. This ain't resin.

It's rubber.

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I have never handled something "homemade" like this before. It's absolutely nuts...and my mind is *still* blown by this lil guy. My man, Alec, at MUSCLE Things is a mad scientist, straight up and down. There's no getting around it.

So basically what happened was, a little before New Year's, Kinnikuman/MUSCLE super-collector, Tyler, discovered months old pics of AshuraShine from last summer during a routine websearch...and he decides to post them on facebook. He dropped me a line outta the blue about buying one...and the very next day, I get a PM from Jay "Clawfreak" at October Toys (who saw Tyler's facebook post!) asking the same damn thing. Well, I told them my resin-casting woes...and they step up and volunteer to do some research to find a legit caster for me! Eventually, this all leads to Alec...but there's a catch: he only casts in rubber. What's the difference? Well, how about a four-day cure time for starters. Yikes. But everyone raves about this dude, and since the final product has a durometer similar to classic MUSCLE figures, we decide to drop him a line.

The rest is history. Or rather, it's about to be. Because, yes, we're going into production with these bad-boys! Brrrrrrap!!!

We're still working out the details, but we're shooting for a reasonable pricepoint for such a large, complex hand-casting. "Reasonable" for such customs is probably gonna be between $20-30USD. Heh...I'm STILL blown away by the sick resolution on this guy. The prototype Alec was working from was just a $35 3D Systems hi-res polymer printing from Shapeways...and if you look real close, you can actually make out the faint print lines going across his upper chest!


Yeah. That's NO JOKE.

Anyway, I've been comparing him to some other figures I have:

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As you can see, the color is DAMN close to these vintage US-release Mattel MUSCLEs. The durometer is actually a tiny bit lower (softer) than the PVC MUSCLEs that we got in the US. I then compared him to a reissue Kinkeshi (Spinning-head Ashuraman, of course!):


As it turns out, AshuraShine's a bit tougher since the original Japanese-release Kinkeshi were closer to eraser rubber than denser/harder PVC. So overall, we have a bit of a compromise in terms of how hard the material is.

But whatever, man--this thing's hotness, and I'm psyched to be able to offer these. The initial run is only gonna be ten of these guys, and we're shooting for early April. They'll be bagged with a header card. If they do well enough, we'll obviously make more. And yes, Alec and I are looking into other colors...including glow and color-change!

As always, stay tuned here for the latest. And by all means, tune in to Little Rubber Guys for the discussion! Thanks for all the support...on- and off-line! One love.