[DESIGNER VINYLS] Hot or Not?

Posted by Sanjeev 
Sanjeev (Admin)
Full-color printed plush inserts have been used, as well, in clear vinyls...so that wouldn't surprise me either. Either way, could be fun!
MattAlt (Admin)
I hope it's a double-sided, very cartoony-woony paper insert.

Actually, the insert seemed to be molded -- not sure out of vinyl or styrene, though.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Yo, this is not meant to disrespect anyone who digs the Grody Shogun stuff, but I just wanted to point something out...

The established trend (heh) of a designer vinyl's lifecycle is that there's a cryptic hint about its release, everyone hesitantly asks "will owning this make me cool?", someone affirms. and everyone subsequently blows their loads over it...then six months later, the shine wears off and the next-big-thing comes out. Mass-dumping of the toy immediately follows. Well, the mass-dumping phase is now starting to occur with Grodies.

It started with just a few sightings of the toys here and there in the past month or two on skullbrain's BST...and the toys were snatched up almost instantly. Now, they're showing up much more frequently...and often in lots. Big lots. And they're not selling out nearly as quick.

I'm sure they're still "cool" at this point, but it's clearly the beginning of the end for these things. Eventually, they'll be regarded the same as RxH/Secret Base/Gargamel fight figures. "They won't make me seem cool? Then I don't want 'em."

I swear, designer vinyl seems more and more like a giant idiotic Ponzi scheme everyday.


[Please note that the above is not a criticism of the Grody Shogun toys themselves, the toy maker, the release process, or anything like that. I don't have much of an opinion about the actual toys. I don't particularly like them...but I don't hate them. And I know next to nothing about the maker...though I hear the business model is actually pretty conscientious about mitigating hype.

My criticism is aimed solely at the "scene". I'll feel bad for the maker of these toys--whether I like them or not--if all the rabid "support" really does soon evaporate to the point where he can't make them anymore...]
Agree with Sanjeev's points, only like to add that part of the problem also is over saturation of product too quickly. Use to be releases were long thought out and not as recurring in succession as they are now. People's wallets and minds get burnt on this version and that version coming out in fast succession. Longevity is the key, make each release spread out and special. If your toy is that good people will not forget.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Well, ironically, Ben was suggesting the opposite when the Grody's were first coming out: because there were so many small runs of the figures, theoretically everyone had a chance to get one. But I guess lots of people tried to be "complete" and were snatching up whatever they could get their hands on...thus, the explosive popularity. I dunno...it's a tough one...

I mean, I'd argue that RxH toys are "good"...but folks have CLEARLY forgotten them... :/
Yeah, I don't think numerous small runs of different colorways of an item really help that much with getting one into the hands of every collector. There will always be a significant segment of the market who, once they like an item, will buy every color, and if each color is produced in small numbers, that segment will buy out every release.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
What do you guys think?

Sanjeev (Admin)
Not my thing. :/

@Paul... I guess you're right. :(
Still not my thing, but hey...


I have three Grody Shoguns from the first release, the unpainted cheap ones. They're okay. Just something to throw around or stack in a pile versus other stuff.

But after that, it just blew up. The releases just seemed so random and the following sculpts did nothing for me. And now they're all over ebay or BST.

My take, and I may be wrong on this, is that the toy maker runs a web store that used to see alot of traffic and business, especially after he cornered the RxH market in the US (essentially taking it away from S7). That market later collapsed as he rarely sells RxH and probably doesn't get any distro items from S7.

So the Grody Shogun stuff isn't a hobby or side business (of love) but the major source of income since web sales are down. If that's one's MO, then cranking out stuff is similar to printing money. Again I could be wrong.

I kinda disagree with RxH/Secret Base/Gargamel being lumped into the same category. There's alot of early/mid RxH and Secret Base that was really well produced, and will probably rarely surface again.

Gargamel's early stuff, IMO, is somewhat crude compared to their mid and later releases. Gargamel's 2012 lucky bags were very popular and I still think they can produce some great stuff. They're still the crown gem of designer vinyl IMO.

I still have lots of Secret Base (early and mid) and RxH (early and mid) and Gargamel. I'm happy that RxH is ignored these days as it allows me to pick up the occasional figure without fighting over it. Gargamel lucky bags were a bloodbath with them selling out in 50 seconds.

But something happened to the contemporary market for me. 2009 or 2010 it just started to get flooded with garbage and east/west fusion stuff that has no appeal to me. This is all good as I can ignore that stuff and focus on just a few designer toy lines.

Myself, I just moved on to other areas while still picking up the occasional RxH or Gargamel. And back to Grody Shogun, again, the first release was fun to me, but never went further.

Another thought, Blobpus used to release at such a frantic pace, it annoyed people. All of the early/mid stuff is really hard to find these days. All locked up in collections for the most part.

I think one needs to cherrypick from the contemporary scene versus just dismissing the whole category. I think one can still collect designer and vintage vinyl or tin or paper artwork or...
Here's a typical 2012 Garagmel lucky bag:



I think the standard figures are great, especially the clear Deathra w guys. The pink Hobo guy and green Seeker are some sort of collabs which I could care less about. The blue micros are cool, just for scale. The unpainted red Deathra is okay if one collects unpainted. The painted mini Miborah is okay but does nothing for me.

Of course, there are several variations of the lucky bags with different contets.
Oh wow that Spongebob's skull. Wow.

Weird that the skull's mouth is open wider than the outer sculpt's mouth, though.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sanjeev (Admin)
I could dig that Spongebob...IF it were painted on one side, and clear on the other. The all-clear look doesn't interest me.


liquidsky Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My take, and I may be wrong on this, is that the
> toy maker runs a web store that used to see alot
> of traffic and business, especially after he
> cornered the RxH market in the US (essentially
> taking it away from S7). That market later
> collapsed as he rarely sells RxH and probably
> doesn't get any distro items from S7.

That was basically my understanding.


> I kinda disagree with RxH/Secret Base/Gargamel
> being lumped into the same category.

^^I agree with this. Sorry if I implied otherwise. These are long-standing makers with lots of sculpts and years of releases under their belts. My criticism of the designer vinyl toy scene was more about these random one-shots that spring up here and there. I guess for me, it's not about whether the toys are "garbage east/west fusion" or not. I find it harder and harder to care (and therefore hate). For me, it's more about the scene itself...and the knee-jerk reaction to new releases.


> I think one needs to cherrypick from the
> contemporary scene versus just dismissing the
> whole category. I think one can still collect
> designer and vintage vinyl or tin or paper artwork
> or...

True. I pay attention to a just few makers' offerings, and even though I don't buy all their releases regularly, I pick and choose the individual toys that speak to me.

...

Incidentally, I'm surprised to hear that the Gargamel Lucky Bags sold out so quick. I mean, it's not like I don't believe that they're popular--it's just that I've seen ALL of those toys (except maybe the standard Zagoran) available multiple times on skullbrain recently. So if one wanted ANY of those, it shouldn't be too tough...
I can see why the Lucky Bags sold out so quickly... Gargamel hasn't released any other toys in so long that if you're a Garg fan, it's the only game in town. Plus, I think the Deathra has only had a few releases, so there are probably people out there that want but haven't managed to get one of those. What's weird is that the value proposition of this year's LB seems to have been a bit better than in the past... I think they were $325, and you got two standard sized, which are basically $125 toys each these days. Factor in all those minis, shipping, and S7's cut, and I guess if you are into Gargamel, it was much more attractive than last year's $300 bag with only one standard sized toy.

The Grody Shogun thing bums me out, because I started off really liking those toys, as well as being kinda enthusiastic about the rhetoric Luke was using about trying to make an accessible toy line without the hype and speculation. Unfortunately, it seems like the way GS got started accelerated and made the hype and speculation even worse than in other recent lines, with toys that basically can't be bought, but sure end up on ebay and being trade flipped mighty fast. Now they've tried to combat it with sudden, unannounced releases at all odd hours of the day and night, which seem to even further reward the dedicated flippers more than the fans and collectors. I like the couple I've managed to accumulate, but I don't like them enough to jump through any hoops. Add the fact that they've pumped out a MILLION releases since October, but I still haven't received any word about the custom painted NYCC figure they offered and I paid for, and I'm not too impressed.

And to clear up any confusion, Grody Shogun is Luke Rook, who is the Japan-based half of Lulubell Toys out of Arizona. Amy runs the shop in AZ, and Luke was the guy on the ground making deals and securing toys for the shop, from what I understand. Not to make too big of a leap of logic, but I don't think Pete's too far off that the well of Japanese toys dried up, with guys like RxH seemingly cutting off the US completely, and it makes sense that Lulubell would have scrambled to come up with a new way to stock the shop.

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
Damn it.. missed out on the latest Kaiju Negora.. It was a neat colourway too..


Not to piss on anyone's cornflakes BUT I KNEW that Grody trend would be short lived. Seems like everyone is unloading them as quickly as they bought them up over there.
ed
Is this really surprising though? It's less about collecting and more about showing off and seeing who can "out-brah" everyone else.
Boring. Next.

I've been enjoying looking around at stuff and talking about it with friends lately. The minute you post that you're looking for something, someone has it and tries to get something hard to find from you in a trade. Doesn't seem like a nice way to collect.
Sanjeev (Admin)
ed Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It's less about
> collecting and more about showing off and seeing
> who can "out-brah" everyone else.

Haha...as silly as that sounds, the Grody thread really reads like that. Well, I also still enjoy lurking a bit just to see what's new and to catch the random deal here and there on the BST (of which there surprisingly are a few!).

Now that the disappointment has sorta passed and my expectations are sufficiently low, the few sporadic and random bits of genuinely sincere passion for these toys (for what they ARE, not what they arbitrarily represent to people trying to be "cool") come as a nice little pleasant surprise!
ed Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Is this really surprising though? It's less about
> collecting and more about showing off and seeing
> who can "out-brah" everyone else.
> Boring. Next.
>
> I've been enjoying looking around at stuff and
> talking about it with friends lately. The minute
> you post that you're looking for something,
> someone has it and tries to get something hard to
> find from you in a trade. Doesn't seem like a nice
> way to collect.


Or someone will message you asking where they can find the toy you are looking for (especially the older ones you thought no one would want or were not cool enough)?
ed
Agreed on that Sanjeev.

I spent the other night perusing youtube, watching old movie snippets, and found some rad things from those old flicks that I really was into.

First time in a while I've been "excited" about getting new things.

Chris, I ignore those emails. The general sense of entitlement is still astounding to me. It bugs me a little bit more that people think they're "owed" something for being in the hobby for a while.
That or they just use you for information when it suits them without thanking you or giving credit where it's due.

This is what happens though. I think all hobbies have cycles like this. It's important to just trudge on and ignore the annoyances.
Oh well, back to the toys. Black Shikaruna Tetsujin 28 Gigantor anyone?:





Cool header:


Not as cool as your M1 Giant Brown T-28 Sanjeev but he's pretty sweet! He has 9 points of articulation which is cool. That waist swivels nicely.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2012 10:12PM by Lixx.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Definitely hope that the damage done to the unlicensed vinyl market isn't irrevocable like Ed suggests. Maybe this IS just a downturn in the cycle...but I have my doubts...

Anyway, that T-28 is gorgeous, Chris! Heh...of course, even though we tend to consider Siccaluna a "designer vinyl" maker, they're really not! Most (if not ALL) of their toys are definitely licensed...which I feel puts them in the same category as M1.

Anyway, my only beef with the toy is that it's kinda posed in a weird way. I know that's kinda Siccaluna's thing, but I tend to prefer my robots neutrally posed. Still...I wouldn't kick it outta bed! ;)
Not my thing, but, these are the latest hyped shiny thing on Skullbrain.
Zollmen zombies:


Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Anyway, my only beef with the toy is that it's
> kinda posed in a weird way. I know that's kinda
> Siccaluna's thing, but I tend to prefer my robots
> neutrally posed. Still...I wouldn't kick it outta
> bed! ;)

Well, at least it is a weird pose that you would expect T-28 to be in instead of something random...I hate it when you get a toy that is posed strangely and completely out of character....and sometimes a neutral pose is out of character...
Well his arms move any direction so there is a multiple number of poses I could do. I just chose hands in the air because he only 9.5 inches tall and I wanted him 'less hidden' behind minis in front of him.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Oh, don't get me wrong--that's a DAMN fine T-28. I just prefer neutral poses. I really like the use of slightly-angled joints on vinyls that allow a surprising amount of posability!

And as for the Zollmen zombies Peter posted [reposted below because the image above links to a page with NSFW ads]...meh. They're not the most offensively crappy thing I've ever seen on skullbrain. But not particularly impressive either.

I dunno, I love zombies, but the true horror of zombies to me is hordes of them meandering about. There's just two of these guys...and they're probably well over $100 a whack. Can't really field a "horde" of them, can you? ...Even if they DID make a bunch with unique sculpts/paint versions (which obviously ain't gonna happen).





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2012 12:45PM by Sanjeev.
Attachments:
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Sanjeev Wrote:
>
> I dunno, I love zombies, but the true horror of
> zombies to me is hordes of them meandering about.

Really! This is off topic, but to me the fundamentally scary thing about zombies is the absence of any traits that we identify with humanity. They can't be reasoned with, or even communicated with - they can hardly be confused or distracted, because there's only one thing they care about, and you've got it. They're a moving human body without a human inside, and to me, that makes one single zombie scary enough.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sanjeev (Admin)
asterphage Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ...They're a moving
> human body without a human inside, and to me, that
> makes one single zombie scary enough.


Nah, pretty sure guts hanging out trumps that existential shit!

:P
Let's try posting another picture again:


uwaaaaaaaaaaa~~

When and how can we buy one!?

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
So, the arms are not posable? Kinda relegates it to a shelf piece only. And while I don't actually care either way, I have to agree with some comments I've seen that the skeleton teeth and mouth features not matching up with the external features is kinda lousy. Paint looks sharp, though.

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
Prometheum5 Wrote:
> I have to agree with some comments I've seen that the
> skeleton teeth and mouth features not matching up
> with the external features is kinda lousy.

The eye socket, too. It bothers me a lot. But I'll still buy one.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sanjeev (Admin)
Haha...I actually kinda *like* how nothing on the skeleton lines up with the painted features!

But yeah, the lack of arms might be a deal-killer...
Ok, I give up. What is this?


MattAlt (Admin)
A whole lotta awesome?
Sanjeev (Admin)
It's a hydrogen atom. A female one. Duh!
Separated at birth?


Sanjeev (Admin)
And that would be a male one! ;)

Alt, hillsy, and others will probably have better info than I, but these guys were made by a company called Emupaiya ("Empire"), so if you do a search for that name, you'll see their various offerings (including a neat tokusatsu-style robot called "Heater"). Hydrogen is one of three pachi kaiju taken from trading card artwork, I believe. Neat stuff, but not exactly my thing.
Yep...that's the male Hydrogen monster. ;) Same company; Emupaiya. They did all sorts of vinyl renditions of the pachi monsters.



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OK! Thanks for the info.
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