Designer Toys Killed the Vinyl Star!

Posted by pocketmego 
So he of the ever holy nipples says...

"Or, you know, we could talk about them here."
-Mason

This is followed up by the urging of Matt Alt, so here goes...

When I first got into Sofubi a few scant years ago, it was a TREASURE TROVE! Especially for me and my love of cheap-ass Standard Bandais. Oh you might have had to splurge and bring out the big bucks for your vintage Popys, bullmarks, and Marusans. You might have chosen to pay some slightly steaper prices for M1s or Modern Marusans,and exclusives but it was never ridiculous.

Then came Michael Lau and the start of the Designer Toy era.

Suddenly Vinyl toy prices are going through the roof and still doing so today. New companies coming out with 5 inch vinyl figures of UNKNOWN characters and charging upwards of 150-200 bucks per figure.

Some vintage pieces started going for the prices of Jumbos, even the cheap vinyl stuff has risen in price a bit since then.

Now, there are exceptions...

Mark Nagata's Max Toys are sold for a fine price point and he isn't trying to gauge anyone.

GoHero's Mechabot was a very good price and even the limited edition version was nicely priced. Although his Kaiju prices since the original Mechabot are abit more hefty than they probably should be. And sure enough, I see them in Designer Toy Webstores all over.

I mean, as we all know, its strictly Matt's fault that Astro Mu Five toys are going through the roof these days. But, I can't blame the guy for the rest of this.

I think what makes Sofubi so much fun and so cool is that they are cheap toys meant to be played with out in the yard and thrown in the dishwasher when they get dirty. I am somewhat less inclined to throw a 100 dollar Gargamel toy in the dishwasher.

What do you, oh brothers and sisters of the Japanese character toy addiction, think of this current state of affairs?

-Ray

GREAT BIG SOFUBI LOVE!
cae
My experience is in step with yours but I don't know that I would blame designer vinyls specifically as much as I would the internet in general.

Certainly, as people have come tumbling into the hobby via designer vinyls, the increased awareness of toys that I like (and I could care less for the bulk of these so-called designer vinyls) among the general toy-collecting public has gone up, along with the price of said pieces, but, too, another effect has been the increase of availability, which I refuse to bitch about. =)

But is it the designer pieces that have "caused this trouble"?

I dunno.

I poot around over at Skullbrain.org from time to time, showing off my goofy pics and the response is . . . muted. Is it that they don't like my pics, that I'm not enough of a regular to merit a warmer response? No - it is because I and my pics are not part of the designer vinyl crowd which makes up most of Skullbrain's community. Sure: there are numerous folks over there who collect lots of non-designer vinyls but, for that crowd, designer vinyl is the rage and all else is . . . meh.

People who are really into the designer vinyls have little time for the kind of toys you and I are discussing because, with designer vinyls, you gotta catch 'em all. And there's a lot of the little buggers: they're popping out another three colorways every ten days, and, as you noted, they're ridiculously expensive - who has the time or cash to invest in the more pedestrian fare, especially if it won't make your internet friends think you're as cool as the latest, r@rest designer vinyl will?

If designer vinyls have done anything to TEH MARKET it is to have helped legitimize vinyl as a toy material - and that's about it.

Certainly, this acceptance of the glorified dog-toy has driven up the price of said along with the perceived value but I suspect it is the internet and it's illuminating presence - not the surge of one, fleeting niche of an already very niche commodity - that has much more effectively done so to virtually all collectibles.

Without the internet, would there even be such a rabid market for designer vinyls as we know it today? I suspect not.

But what the hell do I know? I'm a glowie addict, fer chrissakes!

---------------------------------
hassenpfeffer



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2007 02:50AM by cae.
Now, maybe this is getting away from the original intent of the post, venturing into more American-made vinyl instead of high class Sofubi... anyways,

I thought the whole "Urban Vinyl" movement was originally a budding outlet for every average Joe with the spare cash to make his own (relatively) affordable toy.

The vinyl, simple sculpts, and limited articulation aspects were simply by-products of the cheapest but most cost-effective method of production (as opposed to articulated system-injection or pvc or something fancy).

Then somehow it grew from a cool underground DIY club into its own market. Its now in that upper tier of super-urban cutting edge cool and trendy, along with $500 Nikes and designer tshirts. Not quite mainstream, but too cool for toy geeks that enjoy a Gundam kit on a rainy day.

I feel like I'm not even allowed to shop at Kidrobot.com unless I have green hair, live in New York or Tokyo, have 8 piercings, change my name to K-JAM, and tag train cars in my Jordans while listening to underground hip-hop. Camo teddy bears are in yo face, bro. The whole "Urban Vinyl" scene reeks of pretentiousness. So does this post, perhaps, but I don't even categorize this market and its fans in the same crowd as the rest of the collectable toy world. It mirrors the pop-art, designer clothing, and collectable shoe markets more than anything.

And frankly, 90% of the designs are simple, cookie-cutter ass. They belong in an internet cafe's adjunct modern art gallery, not standing next to soulful Chogokins, Godzilla squishies, Tederos, and even the well engineered new-school designs.


As far as Japanese toys being so damn expensive, well, for every 10 of us hobos there's 50 of you guys that cave plunk down the $200 bucks.

Massive boycott, I say :)



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2007 03:34AM by nidaram12.
Wow, awesome responses already. First off, Nidaram, your like my long lost , Japanese Toy collecting brother. :D

I think you might have helped coin a new phrase for us too, Toy Hobos!!

I like it.

I totally agree the Urban/Designer Vinyl scene is pretentiousand has become MORE so even than when it first started. I still like and respect Michael Lau (can't afford his stuff), but he sort of set things running and hasn't really changed his sttitude any. His is still very honest work and even though he is much wealthier than when he started, he still does it for the art.

The rest...yikes.

Also I need to find away to incorporate Godzilla Squishies into all my posts from now on. LOL

CAE, for those people to treat YOUR photos like they are just "meh", tells me you are dealing with some very blind or VERY stupid people. I'll bet if you posted a pic of a Vintage Bullmark Takkong from Ultraman Jack [www.clubtokyo.org], those idiots would think it was a modern vinyl designer piece. It looks about the same. :)

The internet increases prices on all the toys we like. Ebay and Yahoo Japan continue to help the process along. If Matt's article on Astro Mu had been strictly limited to Super 7, even I'd be able to afford those figures now. But, he used the internet for evil. :p

-Ray

GREAT BIG SOFUBI LOVE!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2007 04:09AM by pocketmego.
Anonymous User
Buy the toys that make you happy. Don't begrudge other people their likes or dislikes in the process of arguing that your own collecting tastes are more worthwhile. We're all just guys (and gals) that buy expensive toys in the end.

As for price inflation, well, I find it ironic that collectors post on an online forum to gripe about how they're getting screwed by the Internet.

That being said, I collect both vintage mecha and Japanese neo-kaiju vinyl. I don't really try to draw comparisons between the vintage and designer realms of toy collecting. In a lot of ways, they're just too different to make a logical distinction.
nidaram12 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I feel like I'm not even allowed to shop at
> Kidrobot.com unless I have green hair, live in New
> York or Tokyo, have 8 piercings, change my name to
> K-JAM, and tag train cars in my Jordans while
> listening to underground hip-hop.

Are you saying Josh Fraser shops at Kidrobot.com?
A couple of things about your original post, pocketmego:

- I haven't noticed any change in prices among US dealers for vintage Bullmarks or modern M1GO or Marusan pieces that corresponds with the urban vinyl movement. Prices for the old stuff is still inflated (compared to Japanese prices), the selection is usually limited to Toho characters, and the new stuff still has the same level of availability and pricing from what I see.

- In Japan, on the other hand, prices for vintage vinyls have cooled somewhat in recent years, similar to what has happened to the chogokin market. After the initial vintage toy collecting boom, everybody got the pieces they were looking for, and they aren't flying off of dealers' shelves the way they used to.

- The "pachimon" kaiju sofubi makers these days like Charactics, etc. are doing things on a much smaller scale than their progenitors. Whereas M1GO and Marusan will make a figure in quantities of hundreds to a thousand, these smaller operations only do small editions of 30 to 50 that are sold at shows and, as a result, have to charge much more for them. So that tiny 3" Charactics Hedorah may end up costing as much as that 9" M1GO Hedorah, even before it makes it to a dealer's site.

- Most, if not all, of these kaiju toys are still being made in Japan, which is more expensive than doing it in China, and then there are issues like the exchange rate. This keeps prices up for foreign collectors like us.

- GoHero's kaiju are HUGE, hence the higher prices.
I simply cannot get into urban vinyls, especially those with 'designer credentials'. I had a friend who splurged a small fortune on a limited edition 'Tattoo-Me Keith' designed by brit illustrator James Jarvis. The figure was a pear-shaped grey dude which came with a sheet of cool decals that you could apply as you wish. Except when I asked my friend how he would go about it, he looked at me like I was crazy: "You CAN'T do that! It's R@RE!!". My thoughts: "Yeah? F@#! that pretentious attitude!"
I appreciate the fact that the designer toy movement has taken the idea of creating toys and put it into the hands of the people, not just the corporation.

But what is happening is that what they are making are art, not toys. The only exception to the rule I see is Max Toy Co.

We need to harness this power and make some actual, affordable toys for the masses. Toys that are both fun and designed well.
JoshB Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I appreciate the fact that the designer toy
> movement has taken the idea of creating toys and
> put it into the hands of the people, not just the
> corporation.

There are still corporations involved, of course: the people that are doing the manufacturing. There are two major factories in China that are being contracted to do vinyl manufacturing for most of the larger American and Japanese companies, and there is now one company in Japan that produces the vast majority of sofubi for the smaller Japanese outfits.

> But what is happening is that what they are making
> are art, not toys. The only exception to the rule
> I see is Max Toy Co.

I'd say that GoHero is another American company doing what Max Toy Co. is: making figures that are intended as toys for big kids rather than an objet d'art. And, of course, there are many Japanese companies that fall into this category, too, like Marusan, M1GO, Gargamel, Secret Base, Charactics, US Toys, Sunguts, TTToy, the list goes on.

I don't have any "designer" toys aside from Presspop and STRANGEco's Jim Woodring toys, which I enjoy immensely. I believe they match and even surpass things that the aforementioned manufacturers have done. I hear there's a lot of crap out there, too, but I haven't experienced any of it first hand because I haven't purchased any.

> We need to harness this power and make some
> actual, affordable toys for the masses. Toys that
> are both fun and designed well.

But that's the trick, isn't it? Balancing "designed well" and "fun" only starts approaching most peoples' definition of "affordable" once you do it on a scale that is "for the masses," and most private individuals and small businesses can't do this without a major outlay of cash, especially if there's additional complications like licensing involved. It's a real juggling act.
I'm torn about this one. I like some of the toys, but wtf?

When I started hearing about vinyl toys and the comeback they were making, I thought "cool. cheap toys with lots of appeal". I've never been so wrong in my life.

I think the art-toy business takes itself waaay too seriously. I've seen some custom designs that are more creative and inspired than what the companies and original artist are putting out. They take a funky platform figure design, paint it in a different colorway and ppl go crazy. Wait wait wait! you're telling me that secret base released ANOTHER pumpkin head, but it's Blue and Orange now? GET OUT OF HERE! that's amazing! Genius!

But hey, I got caught up in it for a moment--I have to admit. I decided to give it a shot and purchase a couple items to experience the "magic" for myself. Ppl had told me that you can't really appreciate designer vinyl until you've held one--then you're hooked. I picked up three figures from different companies/artist/...whatever and I've had them on the shelf for a couple weeks and the only magic I saw was the "now you have money, now you don't trick".

What a horrible prank it would be to have $70 cash sitting on your dresser; you leave, and when you come back, a 4" vinyl designer toy is in it's place. Even if I liked it, I'd be pissed that they took ALL of the money. That's not an even trade!

Art toys, fart toys--and limited my hairy nuts. Everything is LIMITED! After the hype and the rush of snagging one, you end up with an empty wallet and your thumb up your cornhole cuz you paid doctor-appointment money for a shitty toy that you could've picked up at the dollar store for 50 cents with an additional 70% discount--oh but wait, we don't know the designer by name, so it's not as valuable. I'm too embarrassed to tell my "sane" friends how much I paid for this stuff. heheh...I almost feel ashamed. ...sigh...yeah, I do.

Yeah, and everything soft-vinyl is a small fortune now--or that seems to be the growing trend. I think the new Designer toy movement could be responsible. And what the hell is a designer toy anyway? a 3-D model of a cartoon character with no TV show and a message? get his broke-ass out of here! I want a character and a message, I'll watch cereal commercials.

I like some of what's out there, but the scene is so weak, that I have to break all ties.

SIGH!
Interesting thing here is that I've had the idea of trying to get someone to make a vinyl of some of my character drawings. I pretty much only do cartoons, and many of them would make a decent figure if only modified slightly. Still, I've always thought that the price was far too steep to try making anything like this. then on top of that you have to get someone to actually BUY a character toy designed by me, and at a high price just to break even. Rediculous.
kiriko Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yeah, and everything soft-vinyl is a small fortune
> now--or that seems to be the growing trend. I
> think the new Designer toy movement could be
> responsible.

Since you and pocketmego have now made this assertion, can you back it up? Present your case by outlining the cause and effect for us, because personally, I don't see this.

fujikuro Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Interesting thing here is that I've had the idea
> of trying to get someone to make a vinyl of some
> of my character drawings. I pretty much only do
> cartoons, and many of them would make a decent
> figure if only modified slightly. Still, I've
> always thought that the price was far too steep to
> try making anything like this. then on top of
> that you have to get someone to actually BUY a
> character toy designed by me, and at a high price
> just to break even. Rediculous.

And here you illustrate perfectly the "juggling act" that I described earlier. I think the people who have done this definitely deserve respect and recognition for taking the plunge. If there's one thing I've learned while researching this, it's that you need two things: guts and money, and you have to have the guts to be able to let go of the money.
cae
I've got a couple of Secret Base toys, some Woodring pieces, 2 Kozik Ika Gilas variants, and some others. I really like the ones I've gotten and lust after a few I've yet to justify. I choose not to join the "gotta catch 'em all" mentality of the designer vinyl paradigm but I don't completely dismiss the toys created under its aegis, either.

This whole "genre spirit" thing kills me. Which side are you on, dude? Have you a star on your belly or not?

Either the toy appeals to you or it doesn't.

> What a horrible prank it would be to have $70 cash sitting on your dresser; you leave, and when you come back, a 4" vinyl designer toy is in it's place. Even if I liked it, I'd be pissed that they took ALL of the money. That's not an even trade!

I totally disagree with this - value is relative - but I couldn't help but laugh out loud at the concept because it is so true on an intrinsic level - none of these things are really "worth" the inflated values we are willing to pay.

Do you think a Bullmark Bullpet would be a better placeholder for your missing money? A stack of baseball cards? Why? How?

---------------------------------
hassenpfeffer
Hi Guys,
Hmmmm very interesting points .. I guess I'll chime in.. sorry if I repeat what has already been said ...first off thanks for the Max Toy mentions. On that I try to offer what I would like.. 99% would fall into what i collect.. although I guess the upcoming edward figure by Bwana Spoons is not a kaiju.. but in my mind I thought it "cute" and Bwana is a long time japanese toy collector, so I see the line drawn from his japanese toy interest to what he does now. Perhaps thats what is the difference between SkullBrain and here ? Alen, Matt, Roger, etc are all long time collectors, who grew up with alot of these toys... I think the recent crop of collectors are not so much attracted to Bullmarks because they have no history or feelings towards it.. also the old toys were almost always based on live action or anime or managa characters... alot of the new stuff is not based on exisitng material.The other attraction is because of the DIY attitude these newer toys exude. In a way it's like a garage band putting out their own record ( for you young folks that's one of those strange black discs that don't fit in your cd player ) , plus the limited nature makes the collector feel like they have something that not every other collector will have. I totally understand the economics of this from the makers point of view.. it costs a lot to make these toys ( for little businesses )so to recoup, they must do several versions. Anyways, this all mirrors the comic heydays of the 90's ( Spawn or Spidey multiple covers anyone ? ) and the action figure boom and bust of recent times... the Market ? Yes..indeed.
But like most things in life, things tend to repeat, or that is history repeats itself. Us old guy collectors have seen this all before ;-) Yes buy what you like, but don't count on retiring on your collection. On a side note, one thing I like about collecting some of the newer figures from Japan is you can actually meet the guys who made them ( like if you go to wonderfest ) and to me this makes collecting the toy even more meaningful.It's like collecting original art and "seeing" the artists identity in their painting.. I "see" their toy as an extention of them. You don't get that from a mass produced toy.
Making your own toy: Captain Maxx for me had to be made. Call it my obsession... I was prepared to take a total loss on it.. but for me it was something I had to do. In the end, to my great surprise, of the 500 figures we did, I have less than 40 pieces left. I don't know what lessons you can draw from that, but I guess if you have a clear vision and plan, and can afford it, than now's the time to do it. This is the only time in toy history that someone can have a toy made and market and sell it on your own..without any corporate help... really amazing times.... enjoy it folks ;-)

Mark


www.maxtoyco.com
www.toykarma.com
www.ultramantoys.com
www.marknagata.com
www.captainmaxx.com
[toykarma.blogspot.com]
I am a huge fan of the cheap stuff and I whole heartedly agree with pocketmego as you can see from his previous thread here:

[toyboxdx.com]

What I am waiting to find out is how the market for these high priced vinyls will fare as the years go by. Virtually everyone who has access to a television will know who Godzilla is, and that, in part, helps a cheap vinyl toy of Godzilla hold it's value, and even ,potentially, increase in value. Now let's look at a Secret Base Skullbee. Limited production, not being a licensed character , and a bajillion different color variations mean a huge spike in price right after they are released (just look at those Balzac releases). The real question is what is the long term outlook for this hobby.

I know that there is no way that folks can continue to snap up the Secret Base stuff at $50 US to $200 US apiece. Something has go to give...Interest, Money, Space...who knows what will tip the scale, but it can't continue like this.

And that is just the Secret Base stuff, don't even get me started on KAWS. I mean the design of that piggy bank with the teeth is cool and all but $70 US is, let's face it, nucking futs. Not to mention that if you weren't logged in at just the right second then you missed your opportunity to sign up for a lottery to get in line to buy one...

Now don't get me wrong I think that the Secret Base stuff is great, and I will probably pick one up when I find just the right one (come on clear purple). Similarly, the Kaws cut away vinyl is pretty darn cool and has tempted me more than once.

My bet is that when the shiny newness of the urban vinyl craze start to wear thin there will be some good deals to be had at the hands of the ones who want to bail out.

In the mean time I'll just stick to my Soul of Sofubi, Ultraman, and Godzilla vinyls from the usual sources.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2007 02:19PM by fel9.
At first I was really drawn to the 'urban toy' thing, because of the DIY aspect of it. But now it does seem a bit overblown to me. Very creative folks in it, though.

I think what's missing for me is nostalgia. Urban's are all 'new' by definition, and I guess I kind of mentally lump in 'new' high-demand collectibles with beanie babies, 80s-90s comics, and YuGiOh cards.

On the other hand, even I might be tempted by a new HeroGo vinyl Nekosaur or something.

I don't think I own a single vinyl new or old, so this is all strictly outsider's opnion.

LeMel42
Roger Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> kiriko Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Yeah, and everything soft-vinyl is a small
> fortune
> > now--or that seems to be the growing trend. I
> > think the new Designer toy movement could be
> > responsible.
>
> Since you and pocketmego have now made this
> assertion, can you back it up? Present your case
> by outlining the cause and effect for us, because
> personally, I don't see this.


Hey slow down, I wasn't making any declarations there. "SEEMS to be the growing trend...COULD BE responsible". I, myself, am not totally convinced here; I just think it's possible. Some of the sofubi stuff out there doesn't come cheap--and you don't get a whole lot for your $--and I'm not talking about just art toys either. Some may know what I'm talking about--and some people's feelings get hurt and/or they don't agree. I'm OK with that. But I tried the designer/art toy stuff for myself, and I wasn't impressed.

I mean, Sakamoto Showten can make just 60 8-9" vinyls in his spare time (licensed and all) and sell them for maybe around $50-60 bucks or so--doing almost all the work himself. Touma on the other hand, can make 500 of a particular Goon and they cost about $60 a pop. Usually, when you make something in bulk, the price per unit goes down, but it doesn't always strike me that way when I see what's out there. Maybe that's how the numbers work out; maybe ppl just want to get paid.

In high school, I was in a band and we went to a studio and recorded our first CD. 16 songs. We did the photography, inserts, lyrics, and bought all the paper and blank discs. We were very proud of our effort. We made about 100 of them, they sold-out at $8-10 a pop at our shows and through hearsay and we still made our money back and a decent profit to fund the next one. Sure, it would've been great to jack the price up and not have to work for 2 months from one CD run, but in the end, everyone was happy. My advice to all the toy artist who are totally (deep down inside) trying to rip everyone a new one: get a day job--if it's about the art. I just get the impression that it's about coasting on the hype.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2007 03:02PM by kiriko.
I think Corey's first post says most everything I think about this- both the inflation of vintage vinyl prices and the popularity of designer vinyls are supported by the internet, and the wider audience and commercial opportunity that the internet allows. The expansion of availability goes hand-in-hand with the rise in prices.

nidaram12 Wrote:
>
> I feel like I'm not even allowed to shop at
> Kidrobot.com unless I have green hair, live in New
> York or Tokyo, have 8 piercings, change my name to
> K-JAM, and tag train cars in my Jordans while
> listening to underground hip-hop. Camo teddy bears
> are in yo face, bro.

i love you, man. don't ever change

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
kiriko Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hey slow down, I wasn't making any declarations
> there. "SEEMS to be the growing trend...COULD BE
> responsible".I, myself, am not totally convinced
> here; I just think it's possible.

Okay, then. I am curious as to what makes you think that it could be possible. I would like to understand what makes you think this, so please connect the dots for me. How is the designer toy possibly affecting the price of other toys?

A couple of things:

> Maybe that's how the
> numbers work out; maybe ppl just want to get paid.

> My advice to all the
> toy artist who are totally (deep down inside)
> trying to rip everyone a new one: get a day
> job--if it's about the art.

Is there something wrong about wanting to "get paid?" And why would someone need to do something else to support themselves if it's "about the art?" Is there an unwritten rule that an artist shouldn't be able to support themselves solely by selling their artwork?

You compare Touma and Sakamoto. I don't know anything about Touma, but Sakamoto makes under 100 VOTOMS vinyls every year. Aside from his production and licensing costs, he needs to pay for a table at Wonderfest every six months, and hosting fees for his web site. He also runs the business as a hobby. He is in it purely for "the love of the game," so his pricing probably will compare differently to other people like Gargamel, who have to pay for a larger staff, a retail store, etc.

Going back to the example of your band in high school, what if circumstances were different. What if you were serious about pursuing music as a career? What if you weren't living at home and had to support yourself? Do you think you would charge more than $10 a CD? Do you think it would be justified if you did so?

I really don't expect answers to all of these questions.
cae
> those people to treat YOUR photos like they are just "meh"

It's not their attitude to the photos - it's the content, the toys I choose, that don't bring much response.

I don't want you to think I'm whining. Of course they know I'm a god.

---------------------------------
hassenpfeffer
I would say that what Corey, Mark, and Roger are saying all reflect what I would believe..to address Ray's original point:

Vinyl, like ALL Japanese toys, seem to have gone from curios of the odd-minded collector to full-on bore hobby. As you do that, toy companies say "hey look at what they're buying" and so the market explodes with MORE stuff for people to buy.

What's being seen is NOT the overall price of the standard retail vinyl going up (although collectible vinyls certainly are more in demand thanks to the hobby going apeshit crazy) but the availability of collectible vinyls aimed at collectors. So we have more diversity of "urban vinyls" and so forth...different niche markets for different kinds of buyers.

The price of your 'standard' mass-produced sofubi or any cheap plastic toy has both stayed low and gotten, if anything, cheaper with a higher quality toy. Bandai Ultrakaiju are now easier then ever to obtain...even overseas. And candy toys and action figures have made raised the bar for plastic toys. I'm sure anyone could name five toy companies that make high end CHEAP plastic toys that are more than worth the price.
We now have a world where ANYONE can mass produce their own vinyl figure with a relatively low run of figures (several hundred) and there is now more competition than ever for Marusan and M-1. So, again, I would say that what is perceived as an overall increase in toys is simply the availability of MORE toys aimed at collectors who are willing to fork out 80-125 bucks for one. And they do.

plus, corey is a god. This, we must never forget....
Lots and Lots of responses, way more in fact than I thought I'd see. But, I wanted to respond to Roger first. Largely cause I loves him. :D

I left the hobby officially 2 maybe 21/5 years ago, first because of personal problems and then because of having to relocate due to hurricane katrina.

When I left the Designer toy thing was starting to ramp up, but hadn't quite hit the rise in popularity it has now. Kidrobot and maybe one or two other places even stocked the stuff.

When I came back into the hobby, the stuff was more expensive (with the exception of Ultra Kaiju which stays cheap and I love them for it). Now, my original post should have come off as more speculative, which it didn't. Maybe it is the Toho licesne that is making Godzilla-specific toys (such as Godzilla Squishies :D ) a bit more expensive (although this seems unlikely since a million small companies besides Bandai seem to be able to get that license and make vinyls). Maybe its the Internet, or oil embargos, or maybe it really is the sudden popularity of Vinyl as a medium.

I mean even companies like Hasbro, Toybiz, and Mattell are starting to use Rotocast vinyl to make large size figures.

The niche-hobby that I sort of fell into exploded while I was away, this is fact.

As for Go-Hero are the kaiju he has made since Mecha-Bot bigger than Mecha-Bot? Keep in mind when I left, Mecha-bot was the whole of his product line.

Finally, yes, anybody can make a toy. But when I see a box with arms selling for like 60 bucks, i question if it really is art or the idea that someone is going to buy it because its trendy and I can guage the price right now.

I agree with the poster that said they want to see where this is going. Because, currently, the most expensive Vintage vinyls are still the most recognizable characters. Case in point would be the infamous Bronze Godzilla.

Anyway, that is why I started this thread to get some speculation going on the whys and wherefors of the market. Well that and deep desire to see Mason post a picture of two vinyls hanging from each nipple :D. I especially like the input I am seeing from some of the non-vinyl collectors. Different perspectives from across the baord are what makes these kinds of discussions interesting.

-Ray



Roger Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A couple of things about your original post,
> pocketmego:
>
> - I haven't noticed any change in prices among US
> dealers for vintage Bullmarks or modern M1GO or
> Marusan pieces that corresponds with the urban
> vinyl movement. Prices for the old stuff is still
> inflated (compared to Japanese prices), the
> selection is usually limited to Toho characters,
> and the new stuff still has the same level of
> availability and pricing from what I see.
>
> - In Japan, on the other hand, prices for vintage
> vinyls have cooled somewhat in recent years,
> similar to what has happened to the chogokin
> market. After the initial vintage toy collecting
> boom, everybody got the pieces they were looking
> for, and they aren't flying off of dealers'
> shelves the way they used to.
>
> - The "pachimon" kaiju sofubi makers these days
> like Charactics, etc. are doing things on a much
> smaller scale than their progenitors. Whereas M1GO
> and Marusan will make a figure in quantities of
> hundreds to a thousand, these smaller operations
> only do small editions of 30 to 50 that are sold
> at shows and, as a result, have to charge much
> more for them. So that tiny 3" Charactics Hedorah
> may end up costing as much as that 9" M1GO
> Hedorah, even before it makes it to a dealer's
> site.
>
> - Most, if not all, of these kaiju toys are still
> being made in Japan, which is more expensive than
> doing it in China, and then there are issues like
> the exchange rate. This keeps prices up for
> foreign collectors like us.
>
> - GoHero's kaiju are HUGE, hence the higher
> prices.

GREAT BIG SOFUBI LOVE!
Roger Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> kiriko Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Hey slow down, I wasn't making any declarations
> > there. "SEEMS to be the growing trend...COULD
> BE
> > responsible".I, myself, am not totally
> convinced
> > here; I just think it's possible.
>
> Okay, then. I am curious as to what makes you
> think that it could be possible. I would like to
> understand what makes you think this, so please
> connect the dots for me. How is the designer toy
> possibly affecting the price of other toys? I just think that maybe it's possible that other toy companies might have noticed that people will pay for soft vinyl. For example: CM's is putting out some sofubi Patlabor stuff at $40+ each. That's a bigger company, so why so much money? Especially when Sakamoto is doing the same thing in his spare time--with a whole lot less to go around.

>
> A couple of things:
>
> > Maybe that's how the
> > numbers work out; maybe ppl just want to get
> paid.
>
> > My advice to all the
> > toy artist who are totally (deep down inside)
> > trying to rip everyone a new one: get a day
> > job--if it's about the art.
>
>Is there something wrong about wanting to "get
>paid?"

What if I think there is? How about instead of JUST getting paid, we see some new ideas once in a while? especially when I see $10 toys going for $65 and what I feel is little sincerity going into the actual product. That's how I see it. That's my opinion. Some of the artist out there appear to be coasting as far as I'm concerned.

And why would someone need to do something
> else to support themselves if it's "about the
> art?" Is there an unwritten rule that an artist
> shouldn't be able to support themselves solely by
> selling their artwork?

No, but can I disagree with the scene, please? As an artist, I feel it's more important to let people enjoy and to make an impression/friends than to make money. Money is great, but when I don't feel the love, then it's different.

>
> You compare Touma and Sakamoto. I don't know
> anything about Touma, but Sakamoto makes under 100
> VOTOMS vinyls every year. Aside from his
> production and licensing costs, he needs to pay
> for a table at Wonderfest every six months, and
> hosting fees for his web site. He also runs the
> business as a hobby. He is in it purely for "the
> love of the game," so his pricing probably will
> compare differently to other people like Gargamel,
> who have to pay for a larger staff, a retail
> store, etc.

Yeah...so I respect Sakamoto for keeping things reasonable in light of all the circumstances--I respect his passion! I'd support him so he could keep working at it. I don't think Gargamel is being reasonable with their prices. Whatever they got going on...all i see is a 4" unlicensed vinyl toy going for $40-100. and here's Sakamoto doing much more single-handedly as a HOBBY, but giving you more for less. day jobs kick ass.

There are plenty of designer clothes out there too, but should I respect what they're doing because they want a bigger car, bigger staff, bigger this, bigger that? No. Jeans are jeans. vinyl toys are vinyl toys--I don't care how many someone made or that I know the designer's name. make a profit, but not a killing. BUT ppl are going to what they want. Do i HAVE to agree?


> Going back to the example of your band in high
> school, what if circumstances were different. What
> if you were serious about pursuing music as a
> career?

Then we'd have to make more CDs and work longer hours at our jobby jobs. Just because there may be more needs to be met, and just because people might actually pay big money to have a copy of something we did doesn't mean we can "afford" to ditch our values. Ppls values are different--as well as situatons. I don't have to support them if I don't see the beauty in what their doing.

What if you weren't living at home and had
> to support yourself? Do you think you would charge
> more than $10 a CD? Do you think it would be
> justified if you did so?

Then we'd price 'em at $17each--more if people will pay. OR we'd just keep our day jobs and fight the good fight. That's what my heroes did, anyway. Yeah, they didn't make it "big", but they get a lot of respect where I'm from and ppl love to come out and support them.

Alright, I answered your questions--and I don't feel like I changed the world either way. We just come from different schools, so we're gonna disagree on some things until more info/experience is gathered. And even then, the world might not be a better place.
Mark_N Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This is the only time in
> toy history that someone can have a toy made and
> market and sell it on your own..without any
> corporate help... really amazing times.... enjoy
> it folks ;-)
>
> Mark
>
>
> www.maxtoyco.com
> www.toykarma.com
> www.ultramantoys.com
> www.marknagata.com
> www.captainmaxx.com
> [toykarma.blogspot.com]


Amen to that.

-Ray

GREAT BIG SOFUBI LOVE!
pocketmego Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lots and Lots of responses, way more in fact than
> I thought I'd see. But, I wanted to respond to
> Roger first. Largely cause I loves him. :D

This is understandable. To know me is to love me. (no smiley)

> When I left the Designer toy thing was starting to
> ramp up, but hadn't quite hit the rise in
> popularity it has now. Kidrobot and maybe one or
> two other places even stocked the stuff.

One thing that might help clarify this discussion: what do you consider "designer toys?" Just stuff by Western companies like STRANGEco or Kid Robot? Do you also include US Toys, Charactics, Gargamel, and Secret Base?

> When I came back into the hobby, the stuff was
> more expensive (with the exception of Ultra Kaiju
> which stays cheap and I love them for it). Now,
> my original post should have come off as more
> speculative, which it didn't. Maybe it is the Toho
> licesne that is making Godzilla-specific toys
> (such as Godzilla Squishies :D ) a bit more
> expensive (although this seems unlikely since a
> million small companies besides Bandai seem to be
> able to get that license and make vinyls). Maybe
> its the Internet, or oil embargos, or maybe it
> really is the sudden popularity of Vinyl as a
> medium.

I'm interested in what you base your perception on. Mine is based on conversations with American dealers (a dying breed) and their Japanese counterparts, and, of course, seeing prices for things at shows and stores here and in Japan, and on the internet. My personal experience is that the majority of kaiju toys from vintage Bullmarks to more recent ones like M1GO reissues are getting cheaper and easier to obtain.

Mind you, I'm not saying your opinion about this aspect of the market is "wrong" or "right," I just wonder what is informing it.

> As for Go-Hero are the kaiju he has made since
> Mecha-Bot bigger than Mecha-Bot? Keep in mind when
> I left, Mecha-bot was the whole of his product
> line.

Yes, they're humongous. Tentikill is about a foot long by a foot high, and Yira is about a foot and a half long. You will be surprised when you see these in person. Yira is the size of a small watermelon.

> Finally, yes, anybody can make a toy. But when I
> see a box with arms selling for like 60 bucks, i
> question if it really is art or the idea that
> someone is going to buy it because its trendy and
> I can guage the price right now.

If you see something that you describe as a "box with arms" (not a very endearing term, so I'm assuming it's perjorative), and you think $60 is too much to pay for that, then that toy was not made for you. It's made for the person who thinks it's worth $60. As we were discussing on the Skullbrain board recently, all of this stuff is very subjective. Someone who buys that box with arms may look at the Hedorah figure I treasure and think it looks like a vinyl dog turd, and be unable to understand why I paid $60 for it.
kiriko Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I just think that maybe it's possible that other toy
> companies might have noticed that people will pay
> for soft vinyl.

Great, thanks. This is what I was looking for.

> For example: CM's is putting out
> some sofubi Patlabor stuff at $40+ each. That's a
> bigger company, so why so much money? Especially
> when Sakamoto is doing the same thing in his spare
> time--with a whole lot less to go around.

I posted a response addressing this in the other thread, but I disagree with your perception of the variables in this case. I don't believe CM's Corporation is a very large operation, and I don't believe that 5,000 yen is a high price for a toy of that size, with that level of sculpting and paint detail, that size production run, and only two color variations. Of course, we don't have the toy in hand yet so we can't tell if it lives up to the price tag.

And as a point of comparison, Sakamoto sells his VOTOMS vinyls for 7,000 yen each. They have a lower level of sculpting and paint detail, and the vinyl is relatively thin and soft compared to something like a 5,000 yen M1GO toy. (Don't get me wrong, I love Sakamoto's stuff to death but there is a noticeable difference.)

Again, licensing is a variable here, too. I don't know for sure but I would speculate that CM's pays more to Sunrise than Sakamoto does to Takara.

> What if I think there is? How about instead of
> JUST getting paid, we see some new ideas once in a
> while? especially when I see $10 toys going for
> $65 and what I feel is little sincerity going into
> the actual product. That's how I see it. That's my
> opinion. Some of the artist out there appear to be
> coasting as far as I'm concerned.

Okay, fine. As I said above, the appreciation aspect of this is subjective, so if you think that there is no sincerity in the design then that's your opinion. But where do you get the impression that toys priced at $65 are being produced for $10? What facts inform that?

And as far as "new ideas" go, the mechanics of these toys have remained pretty much unchanged for decades, so if you're looking for something new, it's not going to come from the metal and plastic itself, it's going to come from people, and their time and effort is worth something.

> No, but can I disagree with the scene, please? As
> an artist, I feel it's more important to let
> people enjoy and to make an impression/friends
> than to make money. Money is great, but when I
> don't feel the love, then it's different.

No one is saying that you can't agree or disagree with anyone and if you choose to conduct yourself that way as an artist, that's fine. I know I'm asking a lot of questions but be assured that there is nothing confrontational about it. If you say something, I'm going to question and perhaps challenge it, and you are welcome to do the same.

Because I'm genuinely curious as to how peoples' perceptions are formed in regards to this issue. It's something I've been very close to lately.
Roger Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> kiriko Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I just think that maybe it's possible that other
> toy
> > companies might have noticed that people will
> pay
> > for soft vinyl.
>
> Great, thanks. This is what I was looking for.

Was it that so hard to put together? It just seemed like you were giving me a hard time because I didn't look at things the same way you do. We've seen pricing trends--it's nothing new, really. But I'm glad that you understand me in any case.

> I posted a response addressing this in the other
> thread, but I disagree with your perception of the
> variables in this case. I don't believe CM's
> Corporation is a very large operation, and I don't
> believe that 5,000 yen is a high price for a toy
> of that size, with that level of sculpting and
> paint detail, that size production run, and only
> two color variations. Of course, we don't have the
> toy in hand yet so we can't tell if it lives up to
> the price tag.

If you beleive that it's worth $40 (made in china?) from CM's--then go for it. If you like it enough, go for it.


> And as a point of comparison, Sakamoto sells his
> VOTOMS vinyls for 7,000 yen each. They have a
> lower level of sculpting and paint detail, and the
> vinyl is relatively thin and soft compared to
> something like a 5,000 yen M1GO toy. (Don't get me
> wrong, I love Sakamoto's stuff to death but there
> is a noticeable difference.)

yeah, but he's not a company. he's just one guy making toys he likes. so what the vinyl is softer? If he can do all that by himself, I would imagine that a toy company can do much much better on all levels.


> Again, licensing is a variable here, too. I don't
> know for sure but I would speculate that CM's pays
> more to Sunrise than Sakamoto does to Takara.

I thought VOTOMS was Sunrise too. Either way, we don't know so why break it down?


>
> > What if I think there is? How about instead of
> > JUST getting paid, we see some new ideas once in
> a
> > while? especially when I see $10 toys going for
> > $65 and what I feel is little sincerity going
> into
> > the actual product. That's how I see it. That's
> my
> > opinion. Some of the artist out there appear to
> be
> > coasting as far as I'm concerned.
>
> Okay, fine. As I said above, the appreciation
> aspect of this is subjective, so if you think that
> there is no sincerity in the design then that's
> your opinion.

Of course it's my opinion. I wasn't trying to make anyone agree with me, but you had to dissect everything I wrote.

But where do you get the impression
> that toys priced at $65 are being produced for
> $10? What facts inform that?

The fact that I own a couple and they don't seem so great. They might cost more than $10 to make, maybe not, but I don't think I'm too far off when they're making 100-500 copies.


> And as far as "new ideas" go, the mechanics of
> these toys have remained pretty much unchanged for
> decades, so if you're looking for something new,
> it's not going to come from the metal and plastic
> itself, it's going to come from people, and their
> time and effort is worth something.

I'm talking about art toy lines who've been spitting out the same molds for way too much money for way too long. I, personally, start to see less of the "artist" and more of the business. If they slap a !$$$! price tag on a little vinyl figure, am I expected to take them seriously as an artist? No.


>
> > No, but can I disagree with the scene, please?
> As
> > an artist, I feel it's more important to let
> > people enjoy and to make an impression/friends
> > than to make money. Money is great, but when I
> > don't feel the love, then it's different.
>
> No one is saying that you can't agree or disagree
> with anyone and if you choose to conduct yourself
> that way as an artist, that's fine.

Gee thanks. I felt like with you challenging everything I said, you thought it wasn't fine.


I know I'm
> asking a lot of questions but be assured that
> there is nothing confrontational about it. If you
> say something, I'm going to question and perhaps
> challenge it, and you are welcome to do the same.
>
> Because I'm genuinely curious as to how peoples'
> perceptions are formed in regards to this issue.
> It's something I've been very close to lately.

Fair enough, but the million question thing isn't always a hit with me.

I became aware of the art toy/ designer vinyl scene; Looked into it; had an initial impression; TRIED it; chewed on it; thought it was overrated. Movin' on.
Wow, I've been on this issue on Skullbrain and i think its a matter of self preference. Either u like or u don't. Personally I started out collecting chogokin but slowly I got more attracted to the vinyl toy scene (especially Japanese sofubi). The cost of manufacturing these guys are cheap i know because I'm in the wholesale business (non toy related) dealing with factories in China. I mean its vinyl for god's sake. All u need is a the mold and u can make countless figures until the mold breaks.

Some may feel its just vinyl, why pay so much? And its true. But we're collectors right? Do we really care about a toy's actual value (original cost)? Can't be a toy collector and be constantly concerned about VALUE prices, whether it be chogokin, vinyl, plush, vintage stuff etc. Its a hobby, an interest, some cases an obsession. I mean people that don't collect toys look as us as geeks and wasting our money. Just as we see people spending their paychecks on nice clothing. Its all about preference. Apples and oranges. What certain people like may not be what u like. No right or wrong answer for liking designer vinyls.

What i strongly oppose (the main issue on this thread) are the skyrocketing vinyl/sofubi prices. At some point there has be a line drawn because we're not all the same in terms of willingness to spend. I find vinyl/sofubi prices under $120 to be acceptable but thats cheap compared to what some people are paying. For example, Gargamel released a set of clear mini zag & smogun figures that sold for 5000yen. But as u would expect they were gone in seconds and later flippers are auctioning them off on YJA & eBay for US$300 - US$400. And it sold!

Yes they are pieces of art and i can accept that their value will accumulate over the years. But within minutes?? 3 words come to mind when i think about the reasons for these prices:

1st--LIMITED-- It seems to be a trend nowadays from limited edition shirts to limited edition shoes. What started this? I dunno... Bathing Ape? If its limited it has to be good!! So why not limited edition fruits and veggies? Why not limited toilet paper? Because it only works on what we WANT and not what we NEED. The fact is businesses are using 'limitation' as an advantage to market what we want. Its getting annoying now that the prices are getting out of reach. Simple solution, increase production runs.

2nd--BUYERS-- Not just any buyer. But the people that pay $400 for a set of tiny vinyl figures! Or how bout a $400 Bemon? Are these people even real?? They're setting the bar higher than it should because they buy them. Yes u can't blame or stop them for willingness to splurge. But every time they buy, they're sending a message to sellers saying "NOT EXPENSIVE ENOUGH!!"

3rd--FLIPPERS-- Yes, the people that have few interested in toys but grasping u're wallet's weakness. Just as bad as a used car salesman. They just buy and resell. And the reason for their success? Online auctions like Yahoo Japan Auctions & eBay which expands their global presence. When they make a successful sale, it's sending a message to BUYERS saying "PRICE IS RIGHT!!"

Okay, I'm just venting here. Honestly I don't see anyway of stabilizing prices unless a sudden pour out of companies/designers propose to increase availability by 100%. But with they way things are going, I'd have better luck the lottery.
Excellent post, with some very solid points and I like the fact that your more of an insider. So let me veer off and answer one last question for Roger, based on something you just confirmed for me.

Vinyl is a cheap medium to produce in (possibly the cheapest). Roger I didn't need to do an exhaustive amount of research to see that the prices of this stuff had gone up since I was away, its that simple.

Now, back to Mikeee...

The funny thing I have noticed is that Vinyl Figures are the polar opposite of everything else on this website. It is the only field where the character related toys are actually considerably cheaper than the non-character related toys (with some obvious exceptions of course).

I often wonder what would happen if I put a bunch of my Ultra Kaiju in Mego-sized clothing and then had a gallery showing of them. Would my Bandais suddenly become hip and happening art toys?

But, I do want to make something absolutely clear. I am not downing any single person that buys or enjoys these expensive Designer Vinyls. It is, of course, the right of everyone to buy and love what they enjoy.

My biggest fear is that the mainstream companies will start to look at what people are willing to pay for vinyl and really jump up the prices. This is unlikely (as I would imagine the manstreamers are making plenty of cash on quantity alone.)

The interesting thing is that Vinyl figures are a wonderful way for Bandai, Toei, Tsubaraya, and Toho to make lots of money on characters that haven't seen fresh films or TV shows in many years (discounting the modern characters and whatnot).

Then I wonder...

Will the Vinyl figure hobby suffer badly once the inevitable BUST his the current Vinyl Boom?

Just some stream of consciousness stuff for you all to ponder...

-Ray

mikeee Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wow, I've been on this issue on Skullbrain and i
> think its a matter of self preference. Either u
> like or u don't. Personally I started out
> collecting chogokin but slowly I got more
> attracted to the vinyl toy scene (especially
> Japanese sofubi). The cost of manufacturing these
> guys are cheap i know because I'm in the wholesale
> business (non toy related) dealing with factories
> in China. I mean its vinyl for god's sake. All u
> need is a the mold and u can make countless
> figures until the mold breaks.
>
> Some may feel its just vinyl, why pay so much?
> And its true. But we're collectors right? Do we
> really care about a toy's actual value (original
> cost)? Can't be a toy collector and be constantly
> concerned about VALUE prices, whether it be
> chogokin, vinyl, plush, vintage stuff etc. Its a
> hobby, an interest, some cases an obsession. I
> mean people that don't collect toys look as us as
> geeks and wasting our money. Just as we see
> people spending their paychecks on nice clothing.
> Its all about preference. Apples and oranges.
> What certain people like may not be what u like.
> No right or wrong answer for liking designer
> vinyls.
>
> What i strongly oppose (the main issue on this
> thread) are the skyrocketing vinyl/sofubi prices.
> At some point there has be a line drawn because
> we're not all the same in terms of willingness to
> spend. I find vinyl/sofubi prices under $120 to
> be acceptable but thats cheap compared to what
> some people are paying. For example, Gargamel
> released a set of clear mini zag & smogun figures
> that sold for 5000yen. But as u would expect they
> were gone in seconds and later flippers are
> auctioning them off on YJA & eBay for US$300 -
> US$400. And it sold!
>
> Yes they are pieces of art and i can accept that
> their value will accumulate over the years. But
> within minutes?? 3 words come to mind when i
> think about the reasons for these prices:
>
> 1st--LIMITED-- It seems to be a trend nowadays
> from limited edition shirts to limited edition
> shoes. What started this? I dunno... Bathing
> Ape? If its limited it has to be good!! So why
> not limited edition fruits and veggies? Why not
> limited toilet paper? Because it only works on
> what we WANT and not what we NEED. The fact is
> businesses are using 'limitation' as an advantage
> to market what we want. Its getting annoying now
> that the prices are getting out of reach.
> Simple solution, increase production runs.
>
> 2nd--BUYERS-- Not just any buyer. But the people
> that pay $400 for a set of tiny vinyl figures! Or
> how bout a $400 Bemon? Are these people even
> real?? They're setting the bar higher than it
> should because they buy them. Yes u can't blame
> or stop them for willingness to splurge. But
> every time they buy, they're sending a message to
> sellers saying "NOT EXPENSIVE ENOUGH!!"
>
> 3rd--FLIPPERS-- Yes, the people that have few
> interested in toys but grasping u're wallet's
> weakness. Just as bad as a used car salesman.
> They just buy and resell. And the reason for
> their success? Online auctions like Yahoo Japan
> Auctions & eBay which expands their global
> presence. When they make a successful sale, it's
> sending a message to BUYERS saying "PRICE IS
> RIGHT!!"
>
> Okay, I'm just venting here. Honestly I don't see
> anyway of stabilizing prices unless a sudden pour
> out of companies/designers propose to increase
> availability by 100%. But with they way things
> are going, I'd have better luck the lottery.

GREAT BIG SOFUBI LOVE!
Can anyone imagine back in the days of classical Greece?

"Honey, why did you buy another marble statue???"
"Well, I like it! It's what I enjoy collecting."
"But it's so expensive, and that nobody sculptor is charging an obscene fortune! And it's just ROCK...
"..."
pocketmego Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Vinyl is a cheap medium to produce in (possibly
> the cheapest).

And this is where I think there is a fundamental perception issue here. If you are just looking at startup costs, yes, rotational vinyl molding is cheaper to get going than injection molded styrene, or die-cast metal. On top of this, the factories that do the latter two types of toy production won't bother to produce them in smaller quantities.

These are the primary reasons why smaller companies or individuals choose vinyl as the medium for their figures instead of solid plastic or gokin. These small operations can't afford the higher start-up costs or large production runs, so they don't always benefit from the economies of scale that they would normally experience.

I won't go back into the pricing thing or pursue how "Designer Toys Killed the Vinyl Star" with you any more, but I really don't think you made your case.
No roger, i don't think you made YOUR case.
pocketmego Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I often wonder what would happen if I put a bunch
> of my Ultra Kaiju in Mego-sized clothing and then
> had a gallery showing of them. Would my Bandais
> suddenly become hip and happening art toys?

If u're famous enough, its quite possible. But in the end its all about the toys. Not all designs are successful. Classic designs like Godzilla or Ultraman are nice but fail to attract the 'Hip' or even generic crowd. It's the new wave such as Gargamel, Secret Base, Real Head, Balzac that's causing the uprise. Why? They're different, they have more flare and are more acceptable to the general public.


> My biggest fear is that the mainstream companies
> will start to look at what people are willing to
> pay for vinyl and really jump up the prices. This
> is unlikely (as I would imagine the manstreamers
> are making plenty of cash on quantity alone.)

Yes I totally agree. It's bad enough that we have flippers but if large companies start monopolizing the vinyl scene, who knows what might happen? Will they increase production and make it more readily available because they have the $$? Or will they continue the trend of limitation thus pushing it further into the realm of luxury?


> Will the Vinyl figure hobby suffer badly once the
> inevitable BUST his the current Vinyl Boom?

Designers and companies are finding more creative in improving designs. Vinyl's are better and a more flexible canvas from a designer's standpoint. Plus, as stated previously, they have a lower start-up cost. And lets not forget, shipping costs are also lower for them since they are light. They're here to stay. I presume the interest in vinyl as a hobby or business will slow down (just like everything else) but i don't see how they can suffer. It's a genre on its own (must like chogokin). The only way for the vinyl toy industry to plummet would be a sudden appearance of a new trend that overshadows everything else. This new trend will have to be damn good for it to have an affect on all other hobbies.
"Vinyl is a cheap medium to produce in (possibly the cheapest)."

Don't forget the price distinction Roger made between those made in China and those made in Japan.


"My biggest fear is that the mainstream companies will start to look at what people are willing to pay for vinyl and really jump up the prices. This is unlikely (as I would imagine the manstreamers are making plenty of cash on quantity alone.)"

We must remember the target audience. The audience for most of the Gargamel, Secret Base, Ballsac, etc. is adults. M1 and Marusan are going after adults as well, but they are going after fans of the shows/movies of the respective characters, so they're not going to price that group out because the previoulsly mentioned companies do. Bandai is still producing cheapie vinyls for kids, pure and simple. I don't see that ever changing. I guess I don't really see price fluctuations in one genre affecting those in another. The one exception is when you see folks hyping up a particular figure (ie. Hedorah, Matango etc) on particular messageboards and there is a momentary spike in "value", but that rights itself fairly quickly.

---------------------------------
[pgaijin.blogspot.com]
Roger Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> I won't go back into the pricing thing or pursue
> how "Designer Toys Killed the Vinyl Star" with you
> any more, but I really don't think you made your
> case.


Which is good...since I was not really trying to make a case for anyone. I was just giving my impression of things and trying to generate some discussion about Vinyls (which did happen). I think I'm going to go ahead and live with my failure to make a case to ya, Rog.

-Ray
One thing I notice about this topic is its significance in ToyboxDX forum compared to Skullbrain. This subject was discussed on Skullbrain but there seems to be less informative feedback and concern. Some of the responses just deter from the problem by stating there are always other cheaper toys available or the prices will drop later.

Whereas here in ToyboxDX, there are an enormous amount of ideas and feedback which explains the situation. Much more critical analysis which is great because it means there's an awareness.

I guess one good reason for difference in response between 2 forums is because Skullbrain is strict vinyl discussion and ToyboxDX is a variation of toy genres. You could say Skullbrain is more "for" than "against" the current vinyl/sofubi industry development. Just something i observed and wanted to point out, not trying to start a war.
cae
No! We must march to the Skullbrain fortress and mount an assault!

To your war towers! Man the catapults! Someone go to Walmart and get a pallet of Greek Fire!

---------------------------------
hassenpfeffer
It is also the "types" of Vinyl discussions going on. In truth, i doubt if I went over to skullbrain, I'm going to get any kind of decent discussion about Kaiju or Godzilla Squishies :D.

They are probably more inclined to discuss Secret base, Gargamel, Woodring, Michael Lau, etc. If Skullbrain is still the same as it was when I was last there. It was just getting started before my hiatus.

Plus, the concern and discussion here is more focused. We being Otaku, are more interested in how world wide vinyl trends are going to affect the Japanese Toy hobby.

Much as I might love Mark and his Captain Max, and despite it being designed and produced by a Japanese American in a factory in Japan, it is still an American toy and probably gets wider dicussion at Skullbrain, along with Secret Base, Neo Kaiju, and Go Hero.

Or I could just be talking out of my ass. It's always possible. :)

-Ray

mikeee Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> One thing I notice about this topic is its
> significance in ToyboxDX forum compared to
> Skullbrain. This subject was discussed on
> Skullbrain but there seems to be less informative
> feedback and concern. Some of the responses just
> deter from the problem by stating there are always
> other cheaper toys available or the prices will
> drop later.
>
> Whereas here in ToyboxDX, there are an enormous
> amount of ideas and feedback which explains the
> situation. Much more critical analysis which is
> great because it means there's an awareness.
>
> I guess one good reason for difference in response
> between 2 forums is because Skullbrain is strict
> vinyl discussion and ToyboxDX is a variation of
> toy genres. You could say Skullbrain is more
> "for" than "against" the current vinyl/sofubi
> industry development. Just something i observed
> and wanted to point out, not trying to start a
> war.

GREAT BIG SOFUBI LOVE!
"Much as I might love Mark and his Captain Max, and despite it being designed and produced by a Japanese American in a factory in Japan, it is still an American toy and probably gets wider dicussion at Skullbrain, along with Secret Base, Neo Kaiju, and Go Hero. "

Actually you almost got it right .. but the toy is made in china ;-) Just to get it straight, I don't pretend to be a "true" Japanese toy company.. at least not in this lifetime. That would be impossible.. as you need to be born and raised in Japan ;-)

In fact when I first showed Captain Maxx to Gargamel they liked it .. but the colors I chose they said were American colors (!) as they laughed at me ;-P I thought that was funny... or were they making fun of me ? ( just kidding ) I'm third generation Japanese-American, and as such I don't speak, read or understand Japanese ( yes I did go to Japanese school when I was young... but forgot it all - damn it ) anyways you can say my tastes growing up were typical American toys ( 12 inch Joes, Major Matt Mason etc ) plus being a huge Jack Kirby comic book fan .. those are my influences... Ultraman did not enter my life till I was 9 or 10 years old.. and even than no one told me the who or what he was. Anyways, without boring everyone this is where I'm coming from and why my stuff looks the way it does.. same is true for Steve Forde or even Tim Biskup. But like all fads and trends this all will peak and than there will be some left standing and some who leave the scene. Unlike art, making a toy is expensive... so in my case if I can not sell the current toy than there won't be a follow up..it's really that simple. I'm sure if one had a bigger bank acoount you could go on and on .. but in the end these figures are for sale - for sale equals profits... no profits, no toys.
oh ya, I never see anyone talking about my toys over on SkullBrain for what its worth ... ;-)


Mark

www.maxtoyco.com
www.toykarma.com
www.ultramantoys.com
www.marknagata.com
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