Sunday, June 9, 2013

DIY twerp

Heh...that's the term I used to describe myself on TBDX the other day. A bit of self-deprecating humor, to be sure--and certainly NO disrespect meant to other independent artist, toy-makers, and DIYers--but it was simply a statement comparing myself to Yamato (now known as Arcadia), purveyors of rather controversial Valkyrie toys from Super Dimensional Fortress Macross. The point I was making in that thread was that there are myriad in's and out's when it comes to bringing something from product idea through resource allocation, licensing, design, iteration, approval, packaging, distribution, etc.--things that we, as fans, are often 100% oblivious to.

I wasn't trying to "apologize" for the flaws in Yamato's VF-1 Valkyrie or make excuses for their numerous bunk releases leading up to the current iteration. I was just offering possible explanations for the junk they've pulled. Sure, they may have done some unsavory things from a fan's perspective...but my point was simply that it's likely that other factors we can't possibly know about were the cause of these questionable practices--NOT that they're bad or lazy engineers. Clearly, that's not the case. They're making licensed goods, so they have extremely tight schedules to meet licensor and retailer agreements...

Which brings us back to me, the DIY twerp! The stuff I'm making does NOT require expensive tooling. The stuff I'm making does NOT require licensor approval (*ducks!*). I don't have to worry about deadlines and whatnot. I have the luxury of taking my sweet-ass time with everything I do. Sure, I still have to iterate the hell outta designs even as simple as my Foe-Gokin Gin Gin--and you lucky kids get to hear me complain about it all right here!--but ultimately, I can afford to take all the time necessary to make my baby "just right" before releasing it.

^^Those are just some thoughts that've been on my mind as of late.

Anyway, what the hell happened to May??? Yeah, I went two months without a blog post. Not good. But what can ya do? I spent a week in Costa Rica with my girlfriend and some new buddies...good times, but that didn't exactly help with my crazy schedule. And speaking of crazy, who'da thunk...but I've actually up and registered my ass on Instagram! Yup, I've pretty much bypassed facebook, and I'm going straight for the jugular with this significant upgrade to my onlineness. Oh, I'm still gonna maintain my blog--it's the only way for me to post more detailed updates. But now, I'll be able to post a LOT more teasers a LOT more often via Instagram. I've only been on for a couple days, but I've already seen some incredible stuff. Most definitely recommended for the DIY crowd...

Okay, you want more crazy announcements? Well, I think June will make up for May's doldrums. How's this grab ya?


Wednesday night, I finally got a chance to head down to Dead Pre$idents Designs new Monster Kolor shop down in Middleboro, MA. That's a LOT of room...for toys, artwork, events--you name it. With FOE Gallery in Northampton, Murda Mass is becoming the spot. Of course, *we* always knew that...and we're used to waiting on the rest of the world to recognize. ;)

But back to the topic at hand, Walker's got a couple events coming up quick that I wanted to put on blast. First up, on Saturday, June 22nd, head over to the shop to Paint Your Own Tripus. For the price of admission, you get one of Mark Nagata's Tripus kaiju toys, some genuine Monster Kolor paint, and hands-on instruction from the Man himself on how to liquefy people's eyeballs with your custom-painted creature! On the strength, it's a pretty amazing deal.

Next, on Saturday, June 29th, Walker will be hosting his first gallery event at the shop: Locals Only, featuring Brian Mahony (Guumon), Todd Robertson (Mechavirus), and Will Long. All awesome dudes...and all will be there in person. I'm most likely gonna miss the Tripus class, but I definitely want to be there for Locals Only. Should be a killer event!

Okay, I have some more event announcements, but they're for later this summer. I'll hold off until my next post (maybe that'll force me to be a little more timely, y'knowmsayin?)...

I think that brings us to our usual progress reports! SOOOO much good stuff cooking. Don't worry--I wasn't sleeping last month! Pretty soon (hopefully), I'll be unveiling a new source for Foe-Gokin Gin Gin plastics. I'm in the process of testing things and playing around with options, but if this pans out, it could amount to one of the most significant developments in the years-long process that has been this toy project! It could potentially be higher quality and vastly cheaper than printing parts out via Shapeways or some other online 3D print shop. As this vetting process continues, I'll be sure to update you guys, but for now, here are some pics I took today:


Yeah, I know he's missing the middle horn. Working on that... :P


Looks pretty damn good so far though, if I do say so myself!

Meanwhile, I have a new sticker source who is extremely unlikely to screw me over. I know where he lives. ;) And with Walker having the paint mixed and ready to roll, we're almost set to make these things happen. Finally!

And now, the most exciting news of the month...remember my second keshigomu collaboration with Alec at, Spinning Head Sunshine? Well, if you were following along, Alec was able to make just a few of these figures before the first mold collapsed...and unfortunately, the geometry was just too complex to re-mold the suit portion without causing him some serious injury. It's a miracle he was able to mold it the first time without losing a fingertip to the X-Acto gods!

Well, peep this!

Alec has been diligently casting up *just* the Spinshine tops that he'll be selling directly through his site. Yup, genuine hand-cast rubber from one of the true masters in the hobby! But remember: this figure was born out of 3D printing and my "digital sculpting". Well, with this offering, we're bringing it full circle.

At some point this week, I'll be posting a 3D printed SHS suit in my Shapeways store! The suit will be offered in 3D Systems (Shapeways' so-called "Frosted Ultra Detail") because it has the best resolution while still maintaining a nice, sturdy figure. That's the strongly recommended material, anyway. Unfortunately, it's also the *most expensive*! While the original hand-cast rubber suit from Alec was $20, this Shapeways version will likely be about $40.

It sure looks pretty, though...

Anyway, I'll also offer it in different colors of polyamide ("Strong and Flexible") for those who want one but can't deal with Shapeways' steep middle-man markup, but I fear the low resolution may make the polyamide version kinda suck. Choose it at your own risk.

Flip the script entirely, I may also offer the suit in the different stainless steel finishes. That's for the true ballers out there! Hey, there was demand--albeit not that much--for AshuraShine in why not the SHS suit???

You've probably noticed by now that this new Spinning Head Sunshine suit is different from the one Alec originally cast in rubber. Well, since we're not planning on molding or casting this version, I could alter the design in ways that would make it even less feasible for molding (but that 3D printing could easily handle). Hence the gada, a traditional Indian mace! I wanted to add something that would differentiate it slightly from the original. Now, even if you already have Alec's original rubber version, you can also get this Shapeways figure for some dome-cracking fun!

Of course, 3D printed materials are usually rigid, so I had to get a little creative with the design. See, Alec's rubber version was simple: you just flexed the shoulders on Spinning Head Sunshine (the suit) apart, and pop in either your Spinshine (top) or the original #195 Sunshine F top...and you were off and running. Can't do that anymore. So this time, I just chopped a wide opening in the back of the suit so that you can press either top figure in! Pretty slick.

Anyway, I'll post again once I've got the figure finalized and available in my Shapeways store. I'm looking forward to seeing how folks feel about this offering. If there's enough interest, we might arrange the same sort of thing for #107 Sunshine E at some point in the future.

Well, I think that's enough for now. I have a couple more things brewing, but they're either super-secret collaborations or just way too early in the conceptualization phase. All part of the game when you're a DIY twerp! ;)


  1. I'll be adding to my collection...

  2. Nice, Tony! Thanks for the support, man!


Got anything to add? By all means...