Monday, 8 February 2016

Top 5 Toys - Nathan Aveyard

Time to switch back to the good old fashioned Top 5 lists - today we have a group of american action figure picks from Brisbane based mega-collector Nathan Aveyard. You name it and this guy probably has it. Nathan has somehow managed to pick five toys to spotlight and share with us - it sounds like it will be the first of many lists to come!

"Glenn spoke to me about doing a Top 5 list quite a while ago. I told him instantly that I was really keen to do one. But when it came time to put my list together I couldn't even come up with a Top 50 Toylines that I own, let alone a Top 5 toy list. He told me to just pick 5 that I really liked and that we could do several of these lists, which made it a little more manageable. So here are 5 that I'm really keen on. There is no order for them."

5) Torosaurus (with Gunnur and Magnus) by Tyco (Dino Riders)

"Released by tyco in 1988 this was the one and only Dino Rider I had as a kid. It was given to me by a family friend and oh how I loved it. Sadly this is not my childhood one, but it is a perfect example of the toy. As a kid I was fascinated by the light up "lasers" under the claw-like opening armour and the walking action. Nothing has changed, it still gets me stoked. Another thing I find really interesting is the way Tyco re used the same body for this dinosaur, the Triceratops and the very rare Pachyrhinosaurus."

4) Ghostbusters Buggy by Schaper (Ghostbusters)

"Released by Schaper in 1986, this toyline is often overlooked due to the popularity of the Real Ghostbusters. I'm into both properties but particularly drawn to this one because of the car and the Ghost Command. The Buggy could do everything, lift up with the wheels on stilts, turn into a plane, turn into a boat and also a submarine. And it could talk, not always great as it was very opinionated. It was a pretty cool old jalopy and had a neat rat rod style. Unfortunately it's a very fragile toy and most of the action features are generally broken. This one is perfect and it's a real treat when I pull it out of the cabinet and use the action features."

3) Panthro by LJN (Thundercats)

"Released by LJN in 1985 this is the earliest toy that I can remember owning. He went everywhere with me. The Nunchuks were so radical with the cats claws on the end, it inspired me to tie some sticks together and hit stuff with them. Of all the Thundercats, Panthro was my favourite, he was the toughest but also the smartest. The only thing I don't love about this figure is the squatted leg pose, which from good sources, was done to make Lion O larger and more appealing. I always display him on a little bit of foam which lifts him up to the size he should of been. I'm hoping that the new Mattycollector range corrects this."

2) Radiation Ranger by Playmates (Toxic Crusaders)

"Released by Playmates in 1991 there are several points that draw me to this figure. The Environmental craze was very influential on my childhood and life. I'm an absolute sucker for faceless Armybuilders, this one pictured is one of 18 loose complete ones I have. I'm extremely fond of the sculptor of these figures, David Arshawsky's work. I have so, so many of his pieces. And lastly I just love the aesthetics of the figure. As was common in the whole line, there are always differences in the paint jobs. Various fluorescent green "slime" splatters are all over the figure. The cool magenta hoses that connect the backpack to the helmet. Glow in the Dark mines and the holographic looking visor top it off for me."

1) Mutagen Man by Playmates (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

"Released by Playmates in 1990, it's hard to pass up this awesome TMNT figure for my list. I really like the throwback to the mid 80s Gross Out era of toys. The exposed organs, which are the remains of Seymour Guts, again sculpted by my favourite toy maker are just awesome. Add to that a clear body, (I've always loved clear toys that you can see the internal workings on) Purple hoses and the ability to fill the chamber with Ooze or water to float the body parts around in and this toy is close to perfect. It should have come with two hoses like I've photographed but instead it came with one presumably to keep costs down."

Friday, 5 February 2016

Top 5 Toys of 2015 - Renewed Kreations

Joe over at Renewed Kreations sent over one of our final Top 5 of 2015 lists featuring a lot of sought-after sofubi pieces from last year! A few of these were lottery-releases - some people have all the luck. Congrats Joe! Hope we all continue to score some great toys in 2016!

5) Hulk Ollie by Mutant Vinyl Hardcore

"This one was special for I always had an idea of how cool it would be to do a Hulk Oliie and MVH made it happen!"

4) Gamaotoko by TKOM

"Tkom really hit this guy on the nail, I've always like the short bulky almost even fatness of figures like this and have even tried to use this style when I'm designing my figures. This is currently my favorite sculpt."

3) Domino Jack by Paul Kaiju

"My first PK figure, so it'll always be special. I loved this sculpt from the first reveal. This was scored at Dcon 2015."

2) Serpent Sata by Splurrt

"This little figure has so many great things that I love, I love mummy's and ancient Egypt, that whole time period is so interesting to me so it's only natural I really dig this figure."

1) Pushead Siamese Skull Orm by Secret Base

"The marbling on these figures are truly beautiful. The colors are so vibrant it stands out so much, no matter what's on your shelf this piece won't be blend in."

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Top 5 Toys of 2015 - Mark Helm

Today's Top 5 Toys of 2015 list comes from Mark Helm, a long time collector and mega enthusiast of anything to do with toys! Mark has one of the wildest collections I've seen, massive in size but very focused. Here's some words from the man himself on how he got into artist toys:

"I have been collecting something ever since I can remember from stamps, coins, sports cards, Rock & Roll magazines, etc.....I started collecting Living Dead dolls after going Star Wars toy searching with my buddy in Tokyo. I saw the Penny version that was a collaboration with Toy2R. From there I started buying Qees. I went to my first SDCC to meet Tim Biskup and have his sign a large double Qee set. After getting what I was after I happened to walk past the Super 7 booth and someone handed me issue #9 of the Super 7 magazine. That had the Secret Base center spread and that was all she wrote. From there I stumbled upon and never looked back."

5) Fuchico x Tokyo City

"I was in New York City when Tokyo City had this exhibition. I have never been over to the Mori Art Museum + Tokyo City View before. Once I returned to Japan my wife and I went to the Mori Art Museum for the Takashi Murakami exhibition, while there I saw the Tokyo City View area and realized this is where the Fuchico exhibition was and by being there made me want to track this one down even more. I probably paid close to three times retail on, but I have zero regrets with this one."

4) Orange GID Skull Captain by Pushead and Secret Base

"From my understanding this piece was never actually for sale so he's been pretty elusive. Getting my hands on him was really special. I love glow pieces and having different color glows is something I really love."

3) Purple Cococroc by Pushead

"No figure before or since I first saw the Cococroc has made me feel the same. He just clicks on so many levels and Purple, well that is hard to beat."

2) Itamu by Pushead x Hirota Saigansho

"This Beast towers over my Fight Figures and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to display them. So I bought a new display case...problem solved. This piece has so much character and this particular one-off just blows my mind."

1) Pink/Purple marbled Cococroc by Pushead

"From the very first second I saw him I knew he was the one I wanted. I was so fortunate to be able to score him. Seeing a wall with 35 different one-off Cococrocs was mind numbing. It was really had to focus because really I would have been happy with any of them, but for me Pink and Purple are tops and well this guy had it all."

Friday, 15 January 2016

Top 5 Toys of 2015 - Beukhoven Sloopwerk

Beukhoven is back (check out his first post here) to share his Top 5 pickups from 2015. The majority of these were purchases he was able to make in person during a trip to Japan last year - toy shopping oversea is dangerous business!!

5) Bukiminda by Elegab

"I found this Bukiminda in a well hidden toyshop near Nakano station in Tokyo. Hadn't seen the design before but loved it at first sight!"

4) Kingyozaurus by Yamomark (Super Festival 2015)

"I'm a big fan of the Kingyozaurus design by Yamomark and could not resist when I saw the monster in this fantastic Super Fest January 2015 colorway."

3) OG-AT + Kuramahoushi set by Dr Mirock

"In my first post last year, this release of Devil Man by RealxHead and Mirock was my No.1 pick. Not surprisingly, Dr. Mirock's 2015 toy releases awed me again and I was lucky I could lay my hands on this beautiful set."

2) Zanga by Max Toy Co

"Grail time!!! A few days after meeting Mark Nagata in person at Design Festa 42 I found this beast in a toyshop in Osaka. To me this is the Max Toy Co flagship. A clear one is still on my wantlist but waiting for it isn't hard with this beast of glowing vinyl by my side."

1) Zagoran by Gargamel (Guumon custom 2015)

"In April of this year, just before ToyCon UK, Brian 'Guumon' Mahony stayed at our house and I asked him to customize this Zagoran by Gargamel. Only condition was that he had to apply his trademark colorway. He succeeded and created my No.1 piece of 2015."

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Top 5 Toys of 2015 (Older Releases) - Glenn Manders

Glenn Manders is an artist from Brisbane, Australia and is the creator of the Top 5 Toys blog. He produced his first vinyl toy, the Cheestroyer, with Double Haunt and Unbox Industries in 2013. You can see some of his artwork at Bad Teeth Comics.

"These are some of my favourite toys that I have stumbled upon in 2015. Some of them are grails that I have been hunting down for years and some of them are toys that I only discovered recently. They are all older releases so I feel extra lucky being able to grab them. It's always a matter of luck when you miss the initial release of any toy - you just have to hope that one pops up through a secondhand sale somewhere."

5) Garamon by Butanohana

"Garamon is one of those classic characters that deserves a spot in every sofubi collection. The only problem for me was deciding on which toy producer's version to purchase.. You can't go wrong with classic sculpts by Bullmark/M1, especially M1's giant Garamon with doll eyes. Although it's a fraction of the size of the M1, the Butanohana version of Garamon has always stayed in my mind. However, there has always been a problem with acquiring any Butanohana figure though - they are virtually impossible to purchase outside of Japan! Luckily this little guy popped up for a reasonable price on the secondhand market so I snapped it up within a heartbeat with no regrets at all. The crude yet detailed sculpt is full of charm and character with the OG colourway sprayed on top gives this figure a permanent spot on my always changing shelves."

4) Vinydum by Ilu Ilu

"What needs to be said about Vinydum?? Just look at this thing, packed full of texture and colour it is truly a weird/crazy toy! Produced by Ilu Ilu, you know that you are getting some of the finest quality toys in the scene. He may not make the largest toys but he puts just as much detail, time and effort into these little guys as others would put into a 10 inch monster figure. Also Ilu Ilu packaging is rivalled by no one. Most producers are happy to bag n tag their figures - which is totally fine and is beautifully done by many toymakers, creating memorable a hand-drawn or painted artwork for their header cards. However Ilu Ilu takes things to the next level with his custom-made packaging for his figures. Mostly utilizing boxes with display windows for a lot of his releases, Vinydum gets extra special treatment with these custom made "handbag" packaging."

3) Matango (Hawaii Version) by M1Go

"Like many M1 sculpts - this Matango figure has a timeless quality to it. Even though it was first produced in the late 90s, it would be easy to assume this figure was produced in the 50s. This particular version incorporates one of my favourite paint schemes - the "Hawaiian" paint application which was first used in the 70s on the Hawaiian Bullmark Hedorah release. I get the same feeling of nostalgia looking at this figure as I do when I look at some of the artwork in classic Little Golden Books or while watching early Disney animated features - it's almost a perfect toy!"

"This Hawaiian version is fairly uncommon to see for sale these days so I had to think quick when I stumbled across one listed online. I may have overlooked the description at the time because even thought the toy was still sealed in it's bag with header card it arrived in less than perfect condition. After opening the bag I noticed that the figure looked like it had dense spiderwebs in most of it's crevices and the colours were dull. After a few seconds I realized that not only was the character of Matango a fungus monster - my Matango vinyl toy was covered in some type of mould! I quickly hit the Skullbrain forums and did some research about the problem, which turned out to be fairly common with older toys that have been kept in storage. A quick and easy fix was to give the vinyl a bath in detergent and then scrub the harder to reach areas with a q-tip. After drying off, the toy was like brand new!"

2) Standing Hedorah by Hukkokudo (IKB Reissue)

"My first experience with any of the IKB Hedorah figures were through the Gargamel versions of these toys. Very similar to the IKB originals, the Gargamel versions are based on the same three "brothers" but are more cartoonish/smooth sculpts and to be honest were more appealing to me when I first started collecting sofubi. Like many vinyl toy collectors, I started out with western vinyl companies like StrangeCo in the early 2000s so a company like Gargamel was a good introduction to Japanese vinyl for me. A couple of years ago I wouldn't have bought a toy like this, but my tastes are moving more towards crude sculpts like this. The details on this toy can be overwhelming, but they aren't without purpose - for example the head has some of the deepest eye sockets I have ever seen on a toy which gives the silver disc eyes even more contrast in those deep black pits. The IKB sculpts were originally produced in the 70s and are just as good, if not better than any Bemon/Nag toy out on the shelves today."

1) Zanika by B-Club (Bullmark Reissue)

"This is probably my favourite Bullmark sculpt - the perfect example of how the company took kaiju designs from Godzilla/Ultraman/etc and sculpted cheap looking toys suitable for children. The costume worn in the Ultraman tv series was pretty horrific but Bullmark did a great job turning Zanika into a friendly, cute looking monster for children to play with. The bug eyes, simple sprays and expressive pincers make Zanika a total winner for me - so much so that I tracked down and bought both versions to display."

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Top 5 Toys - Kirkland Jue

Kirkland Jue is based in San Francisco and runs Toybot Studios - a toy blog full of show reports and features and an online store for his custom pieces. He has been around the scene for a while however he chose to highlight some recent releases for his Top 5 Toys list. As collectors we all change our favourites constantly so this is a good solution for people who are struggling to pick a Top 5 - treat your Top 5 list as a little time capsule of what you're into at this particular time of the year! Here's some comments from Kirkland to kick off his selection of sofubi:

"Finally got around to busting out the DSLR and shooting these new toys. it felt good to get behind the camera and take these shots. It's been too long but it reminded me of what really got me into collecting vinyl toys in the first place, so thank you. I can't say these are my all-time top five toys, but these are my top five toys right now."

5) Camo Space Mode Man by Itokin Park (Vinyl Pulse 10th Anniversary edition)

"I was very fortunate and grateful to score this guy. I am a huge fan of Itokin Park and I have never been able to get my hands on these little space men until now. They are smaller than I thought they would be. Just over 3 inches tall which is the perfect size. The clean Play Mobil aesthetic with the futuristic design and camo paint job makes this little guy an instant classic."

4) Gobo King by Paul Kaiju

"The stars were aligned for this one as I won the recent raffle for the first edition Gobo King in black vinyl with metallic paints. Holy smokes is this thing a beast! 12 inches tall, 7 points of articulation and get this: a removable helmet. The details on this guy with the tank treads, chest gatling gun, disc blade, wooden back door and chain are amazing."

3) Skull Hevi by PUSHEAD x Secret Base

"It had been several years since PUSHEAD came out with a new toy. When he busted this guy out a couple of years ago completely taking San Diego Comic Con by surprise, I was floored and beyond excited. Both the Astro Zombies Skullwing and Kaws vs Pushead Companion were two of the original toys that got me into this hobby. This particular version is complete with the new Hevi arms in a marbled translucent orange with turquoise vinyl."

2) Domino Jack by Paul Kaiju

"This toy absolutely is one of my all-time favorite toys. For me, this toy has it all. It's a robot with a nod to 70's Popy design. I love the rocket fist and the Giant Robot-esque missile-tipped fingers. This particular version is from DCON 2014 and features clear vinyl painted in my favorite colors with plastic jacks and wires as guts and brains. It's perfection."

1) Doublethink by Takahiro Komuro x TAG (painted by Mutant Vinyl Hardcore)

"Several years ago, I saw this picture of this Doublethink character in fiberglass with white hair. I think it was 3 or 4 foot tall. It was amazing and aside from wanting the original sculpture, I longed for a smaller vinyl version. Luckily Gino from Toy Art Gallery helped make this possible produced the Doublethink vinyl toy. A custom toy show was held at TAG and I was lucky enough to score this version painted by a good friend and amazing artist and toy designer in his own right, Mutant Vinyl Hardcore."

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Top 5 Toys - Yuck!!!

Yuck!!! is an Oregon native and lifelong toy collector mostly interested in glow in the dark (GID) Japanese soft vinyl. You can see more pictures of his collection on Flickr ( and Instagram (

“Starting with TMNT, Ghostbusters, Transformers and Star Wars as a child, I moved into vintage MOTU bootlegs and knockoffs, Remco, and other weirdo obscure American stuff as I aged into an adult collector. I received my first piece of Japanese vinyl in 2007, and knew from that moment it would become my primary focus as a collector, the acme of toys as art in my opinion. I have also always loved things that glow in the dark, with vivid memories of sitting in a dark closet with a flashlight, “charging up” cheapo GID toys and my GID sticker collection which was pasted on the back of my closet door. Considering GID vinyl is a relatively standard base on which a large portion of Japanese sculpts are released, it was only natural I would end up exclusively collecting GID Japanese vinyl figures.”

5) Sleeping Godzilla by Marmit / Sofvi Life

"This was one of my first big wants when I started collecting kaiju specifically. Obviously the “King of the Monsters” needed to be represented, and while there are hundreds of different Goji figures of all shapes and sizes, I’ve never seen another in such a cute pose, so it was a must have. He also functions to me like one of those motivational “Hang in There” posters of the cat, I look at him and it reminds me to stay cool."

4) Hayabusa by Butanohana

"Hayabusa (the kanji on the figure’s chest) translates to “Falcon”, and was the name of a model of vacuum cleaner by company National in Japan, because obviously a person wants all the qualities of a bird of prey in their vacuum. The character is taken from a 70’s commercial produced by Tsuburaya, where a housewife is transformed by her son into an Ultraman like warrior with wings and a vacuum arm who battles a dust kaiju, which is basically the coolest esoteric backstory for a toy ever. Maker Butanohana has a great style all it’s own, but has only done a small handful of GID figures making this mom warrior even more special."

3) Hedoran by Gargamel

"In 1971 company IKB released three differently posed Hedorah figures, which may or may not have been licensed. Flash forward 30 something years later, modern company Gargamel released their own interpretations of these sculpts which were very similar, but smoothed and refined compared to the very rough textures of the originals. They also renamed their versions Hedoran to avoid any licensing issues, and referred to the different sculpts as being brothers, this being the “Second Son”. While earlier versions referenced the colors of the IKB releases, this version from 2006 is an original color release, double poured vinyl, clear green over GID. Green is absolutely my favorite color and there is something very special about this particular shade. Even 9 years later, despite a huge volume of output, I still consider this to be among Gargamel’s very best releases."

2) Ecchi by Emupaiya

"This bazaar figure was one of the first to draw me to Japanese vinyl, the first time I saw a picture I was confused and delighted and knew I had to acquire one. I have always loved character design and never had seen anything quite like this strange beast. It turned out the character was from a deck of promotional playing cards from the ‘70s made by the Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise company of all things, with each card featuring an original kaiju design in the vein of popular monsters of the time."

1) Giant Garamon by M1GO

"It’s a 15” tall, glow in the dark Garamon, hand painted by Yuji Nishimura of M1GO himself. Nothing more need be said."

Friday, 12 June 2015

Top 5 Toys - Martin Harris

Melbourne based fine artist Martin Harris sent in his Top 5 List this week featuring some classic vintage pieces.. You can definitely see how his collection of toys has influenced his paintings over the years - make sure you check out his artwork here.

5) Wolf soft vinyl toy with real cloth costume made by Bandai (circa early 1960s)

"The wolf is part of a set, which included three piglets, and is extremely rare even in Japan! He is a character from a children’s TV show called 'Boo Foo Woo' produced by NHK-TV (The title refers to the names of each of the three piglets). I don’t know much about the show because it was only screened in Japan. It fascinates me that they have basically taken the theme of the Three Little Pigs and set it in a Mexican styled town."

4) Dr.Seuss soft plastic toy (with attached rabbit fur?) made in Japan for the US market by Poynter toys.

"There were 6 different designs, each with two different colourways. I first bought this exact toy when I was a child, at my local toy store. It was very cheap! But of course at the time I did not realise that these toys were based on several Dr Seuss illustrations, which appeared in Liberty Magazine (1930s?) and were made without a license or approval from Dr Seuss resulting in legal action to have them withdrawn from the marketplace."

3) Okozeruge soft vinyl doll made by Bandai Japan (circa 1973)

"A fish like creature from a TV show, BAROM-1. I love everything about this toy! It was the first vintage toy I purchased. And the most expensive!"

2) Chibull (or Tiburu) by M1-Go

"I first saw this character in an old Ultraseven photo book which a friend of mine had in his collection. It stood out from all the other monsters (kaiju was not what I referred to them at the time as I did not have the knowledge!). I was completely mesmerised and fascinated with it’s visual appearance. Then I stumbled across a book titled SO CRAZY JAPANESE TOYS in 2003. Inside I found a photo of a soft vinyl Chibull! They had actually made a toy of this character. I had to have it! I searched and finally found it via agents in Japan. It was my very first soft vinyl kaiju toy! I was hooked from there on. It opened up a Pandora’s box for me and it felt like I was reliving my childhood with all these exciting new toys to discover. I also realized at this point on that M1-Go was a company I held the highest regard for. They are at the top of the Kaiju tree as toy makers in my opinion!"

1) Camel Train series (and Zoo Choo series) by R&L Australia

"These take me right back to my childhood and the thrill of finding a prized free toy in the cereal box! These were all designed, created and manufactured by R&L in my hometown Melbourne, Australia, and exported to other countries like the US and UK in the early 1970s. Each toy came in packets of Corn Flakes, Coco Pops and other cereals. These made a huge impression on me as a child and I’ve portrayed some of these characters in my paintings. At no more than 3cm in length they are micro size marvels of wonder!"