Saturday, 28 May 2016

Mortal Kombat Keshi, more Double Dragon stuff, conventions... Too much fun I guess. More 3D printing evangelism.

Got a shipment through from Shapeways. Proof-copies of my Mortal Kombat-style ninja keshi, and treated myself to a Spinning Head Sunshine keshi from Brownnoise in the same shipment. Gotta love 3rd party production. I bought something someone else designed and something I designed made in the same factory and shipped in one. 3D printing in toys (aside from the mech/ MOTU community) isn't really believed in yet. I understand. Why buy something that's still got a reputation for being rough in finish from before various polishing and smoothing techniques were invented, when people are pooping out really nice chunks of resin using gimmick resin pigments - that stuff looks nice! Even a rubber ball looks pretty swish with enough glitter in it. I feel the reasons behind the apprehension!

3D printing has its limitations. Definitely. But if you approach the design from a practical toymakers' perspective ... are you still reading? ... If you do that, you can sculpt and optimise the figure to look good in its designated format. Same as vinyl toys vs PVC. The material matters to the sculpt.

So I picked up the first 3D Printed figure that I saw and thought "This is legit!". Brownnoises' SHSH.
First off, the spinning top (blue) fits MUCH better into the 3D printed part (orange) than it looks here. The plastic is flexible and after taking this pic, I fit it in super tight. Still poseable, no sign of potential damage at all. REAL sturdy. More than most resin, definitely.

Also - and I know this attitude of mine won't win me many friends outside the community of fellow toymakers - for the cost of Shapeways production and a tiny cut for the sculptor, you're buying a legit art piece. No, it isn't endorsed by a rapper who wants to make money from Kidrobot collectors, but this was designed really REALLY well.  That's hours of sculpting, trial, and error. It's not an old MUSCLE figure. Pretty revolutionary if that's not too dramatic. Isn't it? I think that's worth the price of a handul of old MUSCLEs you can get any time.

 That spinning top - the same one I've had since '89,  has a body now. Thing looks like a beast. If I get another top, I'll likely get another sometime.

Onto my stuff. The Mortal Kombat keshi. I sculpted it to be 3D printed. Making sure there were no points less than 1mm thick. I dunno, I think it's pretty sick, isn't it? Looks pretty cool to me, anyway. I'll keep buying them for myself. They're available in my Shapeways store in every available color for not much at all.
I spent at least a thousand hours having mass MUSCLE vs Ninja MITE wars as a kid. Effing loved ninjas. Still do. Incorporating characters inspired by video games into the design mix was definitely fun.

Toy blogs aren't big hyping 3D printed keshi it would seem. There's enough of them out there that have had no coverage to suggest as much. Maybe it's a debate of how artistic it is to design, and have a machine make something, vs casting it by hand, whether you designed it or not. Probably being too analytical. Not cool, man.

Been invited back the toy convention with heart, Roll Out Roll Call, as a guest again. Really happy about that. It's in London this time too. If you have a legit interest in toy history and behind the scenes in how all your favorite lines were made, I can't recommend it enough. Plus, FLOORs of Takara, Hasbro, Mattel, and even stuff by little poopers like me.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Tanks and statues. 3D printing is the pajamas!

Been a while again. Counter says I've got 42 thousand visits. That can't be right? I'm calling bot shenanigans, unless people are genuinely interested in what goes on behind the scenes of an indy toy-making house.

Been busy as flip here. Actually decreasing time in the resin room to focus more on sculpting, and got a better paid day-job with more hours so I can drop some skrilla into mass production. Also talking to some people about getting big stuff done with some legit licenses. Not sure if it'll happen but I'll definitely give it my best shot.  If I can put in 30 hours a week on TOP of my day-job to to make hordes of resin toys that may or may not sell well, I can definitely graft the role of project manager and marketing on a crowd-funding project,which may see affordable PVC toys of my favorite horror characters to the masses. Think MWOTR but with horror and game characters.

So, I'm basically making the art I want to make project-by-project on the weekends and trying to work on bigger, long-term projects in the background. I am DONE casting other people's sculpts. I'm not "dissing" the bootleg scene at all. I am a customer and fan of it, with the exchange rate being what it is (me being in England and most collectors being in the States), casting and sanding for a living is no lark, I can tell you.

So here's a little info on two recent projects I have started. Might make more down the road, but for now it's been a labor of love seeing how far an imagination and a 3D printer can take me.


I sculpted this to see how big I could go, how sturdy a 3D print of this scale could be, and because I like to do something original. 

I got Ralph Niese to help with gimmicks, such as having the idea of pivot-able axe-cannons on the sides. I was mostly sculpted as one big piece in Z-brush, then cut into sections with pegs added, and finally printed out bit-by-bit, and assembled using an ABS and acetone mix as both glue and filler. Sanded it to hell and coated in acetone to smooth the striations. Already one of the best things Ive ever made.

I took a lot of inspiration from The Action Force Roboskull I had as a kid, and Skeletor's head, of course. This thing is STURDY!! Really amazed with the quality of it. Gonna be proud to have it at a few shows.


 As I learned quite a bit about how to re-pose and kitbash models in Zbrush, I was pretty sure I could come up with something cool using Simon Grell's original MWOTR minifigure sculpts.
I got in touch with Mark Vasquez and run the idea by him, he sent me the STL files for the figures, and I got to work!

One thing I love about sculpting in 3D is that without an armature, you don't have to think too much about supports. The ABS material I use is pretty tough and you can adjust the density of parts. On this statue, which was printed in sections and assembles with ol' fashioned garage kit skills, the legs are much heavier than the top. To make sure it's nicely weighted and that the bottom structure can support the top easily.
 Wolfrom is hitting the "Wolfpack" (double underhook powerbomb) on Sabre. After drawing 4 issues of the comic, I know the characters well and as these two fought in the first issue, they have stayed in my mind the most as the alpha hero and villain.

Later versions, if they get made, will hopefully see full color paint jobs. But in case you couldn't tell, Wolfrom's standing with one foot on a ring mat, and the other on concrete. Thought it'd be more interesting that ring canvas, or gridiron.

Right. Gotta get painting. Dropping a select number of Double Dragon, Mortal Kombat, and Puppet Master ONE OF A KIND pieces in the Bigcartel shop this weekend.