Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Robert DeCastro, one of the Skullbrain boardmembers recently let us know he is in the process of creating his first vinyl toy. I'm totally digging this guy. Big, bulky, with attitude!! I'm loving the huge fists. I want a set on my shelf immediately!! This is his story of it's conception originally posted on Skullbrain. Check back regularly as we will be documenting the process from now until it gets released in about 5 months!!!
Back in the early 90's before there where companies that make those hyper detailed 1/6th scale military and sci fi figures I was already making custom figures. I made the clothes and all the equipment from scratch to fit vintage 12" GI-Joes. My mail order business was known as SPECOPS.
I guess I was pretty OK at it cause I caught the attention of two really cool guys, Don Levine and Kirk Bozigian. Don is the man that invented GI Joe back in the 60's and coined the phrase "action figure". Kirk revived the series in the 80's after the line was cancelled in the mid 70's. Needless to say it was an honor to have worked with the guys that invented my favorite childhood toy. I did several projects with them and even had a couple of write ups in some magazines. After the projects that I did with Don and Kirk, several other oportunities came up from different toy companies needing design work ranging from small weapons and equipments to plush toy designs and such. It was strange to say the least that what started as a hobby became my full time job. For several years atleast. But then I started missing designing and making my own toys but realized that i can't do it anymore because of the labor intensive nature of custom figures. So i looked into how much it would cost to make my own 12" action figure in a factory. I WAS NOT FINANCIALLY READY. The injection molding cost was astronomically expensive. eventually I gave up on the idea. As 1999 rolled into 2000-6 I was rediscovering another childhood love Shogun/machinder robots and vinyl Kaiju (Godzilla,Gamera,Ultraman/Ultra7 stuff). I was buying more of the robots and was more of a spectator with the other.
this eventually lead to the newer "art" vinyl. Something I could really sink my teeth into. Here was something that I can apply my art background as well as my toy design experience to. It was around 2004 when I started looking into the cost of producing vinyl toys using contacts that I established during my stint as a toy designer. It looked promising. I had money saved up for a car and decided to continue adding to that. So forget about a new car for now, I want to make my toy. So for a long time after that I had to do without alot of things specially toys.. Heck I even had to sell some. Anyway after thousands of sketches ranging from cute little monkey guys to mutant evil iguanas I realized I loved Robots....So I drew robots LOTS of em. I finally came up with a design that struck a good balance of detail and simplicity. It is not easy to do. I was inspired by an old favorite of mine from my earliest memories of whatching TV ...Gigantor/Tetsujin. I love that 60's style design and decided to adopt it for the series of robots I was drawing....Winter 06 I started making first contact with several factories in china and narrowed my choice down to 1. I told them what I wanted to do and sent them drawings so they can prep a quote. By this time the noose around the "no buying toys" was starting to loosen up since I had finally socked enough $$$$$ to take care of binezz. I was looking for a place to hang out and talk and learn more about my new vinyl addiction but the KR site was just not cuttin it. Several other sites finally led me here and I've been livin and lovin it ever since.
So finally after doing it for other people for the longest time I'm now doing it for myself. I gone went and done it. I'm making my first toy..a vinyl toy. It's my wifes favorite colorway (havn't decided if I'll ever do it in that color) but you guys have been looking at parts of it for a few weeks now. See my avatar. It will be produced under my new label "Atomic Mushroom". The website has not been constructed yet but should be up way before release day. No press release yet you guys are hearing about it here first. MY RFSO buds. I was thinking of approaching VinylPulse but since I'm a nobody they'd prolly think I was full of BS. I'm kinda low key so I'm still figuring out promotional angles. Anyway I just got the first pictures of the clay model from HK. Tweaks are needed naturally but overall it's lookin real good. Combat-R (combatar) Zero stands 9-1/2" tall. Several colorways planned including a GID. pics will come as soon as I get them preped.