Saturday

About That Triclops Studio Interview

no need for fancy-schmancy-intros. no pointless meandering to bore you readers. let's skip the foreplay shall we? and jump straight into bed the fire with my interview with UK-design studio+toy-customizer-wunderkinds: TRICLOPS! (trust me, tis a massive one!)

TOYSREVIL: So what does TRICLOPS really really do?

TRICLOPS: Triclops really, really does customs and exhibition pieces, we also contribute to Clutter Magazine whenever they are so stuck for one last article that they‘ll take anything! Triclops Studio on the other hand is our new commercial venture producing product styling, illustrations, graphics, toys and games designs and character design for a range of toy and commercial clients.


TRE: so what’s happening in the world of Triclops now? I have felt a subtle shift in the toy-universe...

ROBOTBOY: Well, Triclops has spawned a mutant offspring, Triclops Studio co-owned by me (Robot-Boy) and the Apeman. We packed in our jobs to pursue fame and fortune, or at least enough money to pay the bills, with a design consultancy specialising in toys and games.


TRE: bills to pay, toys to play (heh) congrats on the launch of the new site! (i've heard mutant child-bearing is a real bitch) - why 'TRICLOPS'? Good things come in threes? trilogies only work in threes? what gives? whose bright idea was it in the first place?

ROBOTBOY: The stuff we cut up, stick & spray uses the burgeoning custom scene as a vent for the creative frustrations - pent up after years of working for a great big toy company.

I thought we should be called ‘Tripod’ but then Apeman suggested Triclops! It’s the name of a 80’s He-Man : Masters of the Universe bad guy . . . one of Skeletor’s goons ! We thought the 3 eyes thing would be a cool identity but, it seems like everyone does 3 eyes on toys nowadays so we’ve kind of kept away from it. It’s quite cool though cos it looks like we’ve got loads of toys out there!

TRE: how long has the Triclops collective been around? what happened to bring you folks together? and why the new company only now?

ROBOTBOY: Triclops has been on the scene doing customs, artwork and exhibition pieces for about 3 years now. We met whilst working as designers at Hasbro UK and were all into the Designer Vinyl movement, we all own strange and varied toy collections, so the shared interest first attracted us to customising.

Triclops Studio (our new company . . . have we mentioned that yet!) came along because production of Action Man (Apeman’s job at Hasbro) in the UK has moved on, so after 7 ½ years Apeman also decided to move on to pastures new. Robotboy felt he'd learnt everything he wanted to as a Concept Designer in the Games team and so (after many double Jack D’s) we decided to go for it on our own and set up the consultancy with a view to eventually producing our own toys. The third member of the original Triclops, Tattooman (our old customising buddy) is still at Hasbro - we’re flat out running the Studio so like the Spice Girls once said 3 becomes 2 or was that 2 becomes 1?


TRE: 2-becomes-1 (and now dammit the tune is stuck in my mind LOL) what do you think makes Triclops Studios any different from other design consultancies around? pitch me a hard one, sir! tell me why you're a winner!
 
TRICLOPS: We like to think that we have a foot in both camps, years of experience in the commercial world and then a few years of fun on the designer scene as Triclops gives us a nice blend of influences. There are plenty of other consultancies out there and it is quite hard to distinguish yourselves from the competition. We are trying to do a wide range of projects across toys, graphics, illustration, fashion, animation etc - to broaden our horizons beyond the norm. The dream is to eventually get some of our own product out there....in the commercial and underground scenes.


TRE: ya got me at "own product" - we'll get back to THAT shortly, meanwhile, tell us kind folks who did what and for how many years have you guys toiled in the vinyl-custom-sweatshop?

ROBOTBOY: I’m Luc Hudson aka Robotboy, former Concept designer for the games team for 3 years and my partner in toy crime is Rob Ames aka Apeman, former Senior Designer for Hasbro’s Boy Toys group. My job was pretty varied, working on character designs, pack graphics for games like Monopoly, Cluedo, Twister, Game of Life, all the classic MB and Parker brands really and also coming up with blue-sky concepts for toys and games. Lots of 2D blue-pencil sketches and photoshop and illustrator. Apeman’s job was a mixed bag of Action Man / ATOM / blue sky idea creating, toy feature brainstorming, character creation, sketching, rendering, model-making and computer arts. Our Hasbro experience was fantastic and it’s been a major string to our Studio bow, plus getting to play with toys all day & ‘ research' at Hamleys was pretty cool too !

TRE: so does it mean that Luc loves robots and Rob lurves monkeys? and hence your monikers? inquiring busybodies wanna know!
 
ROBOTBOY: Yeah, when we started up we had to have aliases cos we didn't know whether Big Brother (Hasbro) would be cool with us working on customs outside of the day job. Apeman DJs as DJ Ape, mainly because he wears exclusively Bathing Ape and if you met him on a dark night you might mistake him for a gorilla.

"Robotboy" = I am a big robot fan, from Tetsujin to Ashley Wood's Popbot and everything in between. I feel cheated to have missed out on Gundam and Macross programming as a kid but it never got to the UK. I'm not actually that good at drawing robots, mine always look a bit simple but there's always room for improvement!
 

TRE: how do you guys get inspired? what gets your creative juices pumpin’ overtime?

TRICLOPS: Brainstorming in the pub is a good one . . . !


Our inspiration comes from researching of all kinds of things. As soon as we have an idea we get online to make sure nobody else has already done it, we like to try to do something fresh because the market is so saturated that a lot of people are quite ‘meh‘ about it all at the moment. We keep our eyes peeled when we’re out and about and it’s been great brainstorming together on the Triclops Studio stuff, cos we never worked in the same team at the 'Bro.

Robotboy’s influences include: Tim Burton, Jim Henson, Kaiju, Giant robots, original Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Batman and clanky mechanical things and video games


Apeman’s influences include: Marvel comics, Bape (A Bathing Ape), Sneakers, Supreme, Music, Monsters, Graff + Street art, Ghostbusters / He-Man / GI. Joe / Garbage Pail Kids / The A-Team / Mask / The Goonies / Skateboarding / Madballs / Care Bears : joke ! ! ! Basically I’m a child of the 80’s, so everything around that time influences me so much.

TRE: damn! we be practically 80's-bruddahs! (sorry, my lame'o-attempt at rubbing virtual-shoulders LOL) what with the similar influences and all (CARE-BEAR-STARE!) LOL - you mentioned saturation of the market - personally, im seeing a whole range of diversity, and yet at the same time a whole shelf-filled with similar influenced toys ... where do you think the current market is headed? and what/who do you think could/will turn it around?

APEMAN: Triclops! LOL. I kind of agree in terms of diversity, there is new stuff coming out but you kind of feel that the people pushing that are just doing it to break up the norm.... ?

ROBOTBOY: Yeah, I think there is diverse stuff being released but some of it is just plain weird for the sake of being different and wouldn't look right on your shelf next to the rest of your collection. I think that the market will evolve as the audience and the people feeding it mature. At the moment it seems that most of us are from the same generation with the same influences, all the 80s retro stuff for example is what we grew up on, when the next generation get into toys, they will have grown up alongside designer vinyl and they'll be aping the 90s or whatever and giving different answers...


TRE: totally agree - icons from our collective "pasts" (and childhood) to call our own ... my fear is for the current youth, for what else do they have except recycled-icons from our past? do they even have anything to call THEIR OWN? (another topic for another day :p) ... coming back to the NOW, Triclops are primarily know for their customs - with that, what are your fave platforms for customisation and why?

TRICLOPS: We like it when we get asked to customise something really different, we enjoyed the Stikfas customs we just finished for Meanwhile UK because they’re such a small scale. Having said that, Apeman’s giant monkey hands had trouble with the fiddly little bits and kept muttering ‘bugger’ as he dropped them on the floor. We like working on a variety of blanks, we recently did the Vader Project and Simpsons Qee which were both great fun because they're so iconic. Also we were lucky enough to be asked to contribute a Mini-Munny Mobile for the Kidrobot gallery. It's a big privilege to be invited as a guest artist when we're in the company of our heroes from the customising scene like Sket One and Doktor A.

TRE: smoking-work, guys, IMHO - any words of wisdom, for noobs (like me) in the realm of customization? any no-nos? etc?
 
APEMAN: It's kind of like stick to what you know, stick to your trusted tools and your way of doing things but try to push the boundaries a bit with everything. You got to try new things. When we do a custom, we totally look at what it is, where its come from and remix it, we don't just slap our label/latest design on it (not that we have one!). It's also important to see something in the shape that's not necessarily associated with the original shape or product. A no-no, don't try and take too much on unless you've got the time. These things always take much longer than you think!

ROBOTBOY: We try to put some humour into our customs too, especially when you are up against the cream of the toy scene, it's important to make your piece stand out so if people are scanning the line up of a show and yours make them chuckle, it's pretty cool! Try to be original with customs, they are a one-off so they should be special.

TRE: now a question that's on every Triclops-fans chapped lips - your own line of Triclops toys = when and where?

ROBOTBOY: Aaah, the question on everybody’s lips, well, yours and my Mum at least. Apeman and I have a couple of Trexis that hopefully will be out by the end of the year and a couple of Dunnys which are going to be featured in the UK artist series.

We have a project we are currently polishing and hoping that it will be our first range of collectibles, working title 'Gutterbirds' very early sneaky peek pic attached.

EXCLUSIVE_gutterbirds
aaaand another:
EXCLUSIVE_starwars_chess

TRE: aaaahhhh cheers for the schweet-sneakie-peekies, gents! looking forward to their development :) ... besides "toys" what else do you guys like (to do, to collect)


ROBOTBOY: I have a love-hate relationship with my 1962 VW beetle, I had it fully restored last year and it’s really cool but the cost of maintenance is a bit of an issue. When it’s raining I think I’ll sell it but when the sun’s out I get all Homer Simpson and say ‘let’s never argue again.’ I also enjoy building vegetarian customs in my space invader themed kitchen and walking my dog Barney in my homeland, the Lake District.



Apeman likes playing records out & about in LDN –mainly hip-hop, soul, funk & a splash of soulful drum n bass. He also n*joys reading old (mainly 80’s !) and new comics, drinking beer, making his signature meal : ‘ Pot Bean Noodle ‘ mash-up, playing football & shopping for t-shirts & trainers !



TRE: cheers for the time and trouble, Luc and Rob! (but of coz ima gonna be still pestering you for goodies LOL) - in closing, please do share with the readers (and your hungry-fans) what we can expect from the NEW Triclops? let slip your plans for world domination!

TRICLOPS: The new and shiny Triclops Studio will be hoping for that ‘big buck‘ project that pays well enough to plough back into manufacture. We really want to get some products out there with the Triclops Studio badge on!

EXCLUSIVE_Qee-Sport-Legends

We’re doing a load of t-shirt designs / fashion based products at the moment (our first venture into fashion is the Uzi bag) and pitching games and toys to all the major toy companies and we have a few IP concepts that we’ll be trying to flog.


On the custom front, we picked up a Giant Gwin from October Toys at SDCC for an upcoming show in California.. . we’re also spending a lot of time schmoozing and boozing – hoping to get our huge robotic-monkey foot in the door!

Peace & Love
Luc & Rob
xx

WEB: www.triclopsstudio.com
BLOG: www.blogclops.blogspot.com
EMAIL: info@triclops.co.uk

[original post circa 03.09.07]

Come Over To The Dark-Vinyl-Side with Sucklord

making a "surprise debut" during SDCC'07 @ DKE Toys' booth were a duo
of upcoming new vinyl figures from SUCKLORD, dubbed: SUCKLORD600!
SUCKLORD600
there will be 2 colorways made available: a GREY (with blue+silver) with a Black Radio (limit to 700pcs), and an All-SILVER with a White Radio (limit to 300pcs). the vinyl figures will have 8-points of articulation and four accessories: a removable-cap, turntable (which can be plugged to back of figure!), boombox and a lazer sword - prices are yet to be finalized (read my interview to find out more :p) with a possible Fall'07-drop = *cool* ... i had a chat with the SUCKLORD himself about the upcoming enigmatic vinyl-duo, as well as his influences and plans for galactic domination:

TOYSREVIL: so what's up with SUCKLORD600? what was it's genesis?

SUCKLORD: It started out as a glob of sculpey which I formed into a figure. Then it found it's way into a silicone mold and then came out as a resin cast figure. That figure went off to china and is in the process of becoming a vinyl toy.


TRE: after all these years of "bootleg" Star Wars-figures, what made you go "legit"?

SUCKLORD: Well I always wanted to, it was just a question of money. It's weird cuz I was trying to get my artwork made into toys way back in '89. At the time there was no access to that that I could connect with. When the vinyl thing really started picking up I was sure I could get a deal easy, but it never happened. I know EVERYBODY in this game (almost) and I was never able to get a production hook up. I turned to the bootlegging out of frustration and a desire for revenge. I did one "fuck you" figure called the Sucklord66. I didn't expect that it would catch on and that I would be doing this years later with now almost 20 figures and counting. I never gave up on the vinyl idea, I just finally found myself in a place where I was able to afford to do it myself.


TRE: was SUCKLORD600 always a top vinyl-contender? i remember first seeing and knowing about you via your ghetto-Fett get-up online! why the Fett-ish Boba?

SUCKLORD: I decided to start with that character because he is my most well known appropriation. I have been a Fett fan since 1978 when the Star Wars Holiday Special and mail-away figure offer came out. I just liked his anti-hero stance. I always loved the villains. I started my Fett costuming in 1979, before EMPIRE even came out. I was kind of a nerdy kid as well as a nerdy adult. Being behind the mask made me feel like somebody else. Somebody cool...


TRE: well, tis been a long evolution, i reckon - from Fett to the SUCKLORD! why SUCKADELIC? and why SUCKLORD600?

SUCKLORD: Well I came out with the name SUCKADELIC on an acid trip when we were trying to describe in great detail how much something really Sucked. That word just popped out and I held on to it. I have a pretty cynical view of the world and of the dubious value of art (like mine) so I thought it would take some air out of any pretensions I may have had about my work. All this art/ toy shit is a racket to me anyway. Calling it Suckadelic is just a way to laugh at it and see it for what it was, Just some douchebag who likes to play with toys and refuses to get a real job. BUT, on the other hand I don't want to be too humble and self deprecating, so I added the title SUCKLORD to my name to elevate myself to the supreme and ruthless ruler of this sucky universe. My world may be a bit shabby, but when you are in it, I am God! The numbers don't mean anything. I just think they sound cool. All the bootlegs have 2 digit numbers, so I moved the vinyl up to 3 digits.

TRE: so what are SUCKLORD600's upcoming plans for galactic-domination? when is he dropping, in what colors, how many and how much?

SUCKLORD: Right now there are two colorways. A grey, blue, and silver joint with a black radio, and an all silver one with a white radio. I am doing 1000 pcs for now. I think it's 700 of the Grey one and 300 of the silver one. The figures have 8 points of articulation and four accessories (cape, turntable, boombox and lazer sword) You can remove his cape and plug the turntable into his back. Not sure about the price yet, still need to finalize the costs, but it will be priced to move. Between $50- $75. It's "on the boat" as they say, so he should be available by the fall.

seen@SDCC'07

[images via VinylPulse]

TRE: what is pumping out of his ghetto-blaster?

SUCKLORD: Suckadelic stuff: STAR WARS BREAKBEATS, SUPERVILLAINS, BAND of the LOST...

TRE: and what are SUCKLORD's plans for universal-domination? what else do you have up your sleeves?

SUCKLORD: I have been making internet "webisode" movies for my other site the ORIGINAL VILLAIN NETWORK. Doing little short soap operas about New York Supervillains and their problems. It's a good way to give backstories to the figures. Also it's a good showcase for our music. I make a lot of commercials for the toys as well. It helps develop this world that I'm creating, to have stories and stuff about your characters. It's better for me than just putting out a lump of plastic that looks cool but doesn't relate to anything.


TOYSREVIL: cheers for your time and trouble, SL! in closing could you share with everyone: Who is SUCKLORD?

SUCKLORD: The SUCKLORD is that guy who made never growing up into a business and artform...

[original post circa 21.08.07]

Conquer The Galaxy With Onell Design's Glyos System Series

Onell Design, a new independent toy and comic company, is pleased to announce the debut of its Glyos System Series toy line. the new line features three different versions of Space Traveler PheydenStandard (blue), Gear’s Edge (sepia) and Phase (clear green) – and three versions of Prototype Sincroid ExellisStandard (midnight), Hyper (yellow) and Aves (red).
The Glyos System Series figures are produced using a full-color classic injection molding process, as opposed to the current rotocast toy trend. The durable PVC construction results in a unique aesthetic that appeals to the seasoned toy collector but can also withstand the rough play that comes with child’s active imagination.
each figure stands 2.75”-ers tall, has 12 points of articulation, and is guaranteed to “Survive the Pocket” - as an added bonus, all parts are fully interchangeable! window-boxed in unique packaging, both the Pheyden and Exellis toys come with a mini catalog and collector card. The figures are now available for US$10 each @ www.onelldesign.com :)


... i had a chat with Matt Doughty (creator of Glyos System Series and
owner of Onell Design) about his creations ...

TOYSREVIL: how did the concept of Glyos System Series come about? what was it's genesis? what was it's influence?

MATT DOUGHTY: The Glyos System Series came as a response to the lack of an independently produced toy that was designed to actually play with as well as collect. My dream since childhood was to have a figure that you could carry around with you and play with, but would still hold together and embody the experiences that you had, like a mini-memory holder. During the 80’s the focus was on play patterns that banked on kids taking their toys outside. Those kids have grown into the present day collector market that has redefined the meaning of what a “toy” is. My intention is to take a slice from the old days and mix it with today’s visual aesthetic, creating a hybrid that appeals to adults as well as children. The major influence for the Glyos System Series came from Japanese and American toys from the early 80’s like Dougram, Votoms, Microman, Air Raiders, Manglords, and Battle Beasts just to name a few.


TRE: man, those names totally rung a bell or three for me! (im an '80's-child meself) reminds me loads of Microman/Micronauts - lurved them! ... so which came first? the comic or the toys?

MD: They happened simultaneously. It’s not unusual to be sculpting the figures and drawing the comics at the same time – one feeds the other. All the comics that we do are connected, with characters appearing in each others’ story lines all the time. Pheyden in particular appears in the Rechlen and Aves comic as a regular, and pops up in the Gear’s Edge comic as well.

TRE: was Glyos System Series ever conceived to be turned into a toy?

MD: Yes. The original goal was to have independently produced figures that were supported by original comics.


TRE: why 2.75"-ers? why not bigger? 6"-er? heck, a 12"-er! LOL

MD: To Survive the Pocket”. All of my favorite toys were always tiny, and spent most of their time in my pocket. That was always the test … could the little guy withstand a day of rough play? Eventually these select toys would make it into the “Hall of Fame” and be retired. I actually still do this! That being said, we will be releasing some slightly larger figures around December.

TRE: you're currently launching Space Traveler Pheyden and Prototype Sincroid Exellis - what about the rest of the squad?

MD: Sarvonic Gendrone Gobon is next, created by my wife Michelle. We also have a small scale alien called Crayboth in the works for mass production. You can see these guys on our blog at www.onelldesign.com and check out what we’re kicking around for new ideas.


TRE: *i <3 robots* LOL ... any further plans for the Glyos System Series-figures? any accessories? weapons, vehicle sets? (all the hallmarks of 80's toys LOL)

MD: We plan to produce accessory kits that contain weapons, tools, alternate body parts, mini aliens, etc. Hopefully we will get around to making some vehicles … or maybe Biosuits.

TRE: me eyes lit-up on "bio-suits"! LOL - what are Glyos System Series' galaxy domination plans?

MD: We just want to bring something fresh and fun to our fellow collectors and their kids.


TRE: i liked that you mentioned "collectors and their kids" - becoz it's not just the collectibility of a figure, but also shared fun, IMHO ... tell us a bit about Onell Design, Matt...

MATT DOUGHTY: My wife and I have owned and operated Onell Design for about four years. We started out selling a few original comics and hand cast figures at a convention or two, and it grew from there. We hope to continue producing original figures and comics that people enjoy.

TOYSREVIL: thanks for your time and trouble Matt! good luck and looking forward to more cool stuff from Onell Design!

About Onell Design:

Onell Design, a small independent company owned and operated by a husband and wife team, is dedicated to producing original toys and comics. All products are created in limited runs to ensure collectability, paving the way for innovative new projects. The Glyos System Series is the brainchild of Matt Doughty, founder of Onell Design, who is responsible for the conceptual artwork, character design, sculpting, and figure packaging. Onell Design also produces several original comics, including Gear’s Edge, Rechlen and Aves, MicroShow and Sidrick.
[all images via]

[original post circa 17.08.07]

Travel The Cosmos With Michael Kwong's Galaxy Bunch

The Galaxy Bunch: Virus Series -
is a new series of 3"-er tall vinyl-figures designed by Michael Kwong of Locoism (HK) with 9 distinctive characters in a set and are limited to 1500-pcs each worldwide @ a SRP of US$11.95 per - scheduled for an August-drop

according to Michael, currently the figures are available blind-boxed only in HongKong, while they will be sold as a set in plastic packs in the US.

i had a chat with Michael about The Galaxy Bunch, his works and upcoming plans...

TOYSREVIL what was the genesis for the Galaxy Bunch's creation, Michael? what were your influences?

MICHAEL KWONG: I first created the story of Galaxy Bunch in 2000 when I lived in Ohio, America, I was an illustrator and had painted for living then. Ever since I was young, I liked fantasy Art and Robotic stuff, and have tried to create my own Universe with different creatures and living environments. As for influences, I watch the National Geographic and Discovery channels all the time ... I also liked Star Wars and the Lord of Rings-kinda stuff, because their stories have a whole sense of dimension, full of imagination and not just with a funny looking character.

The Galaxy Bunch was first launched at the year of 2003 at Hong Kong Comic Festival. As you can see from the images, they were very stylish and flat-graphics at that time, but personally, I liked them a lot :)


MK: In the year 2004, I decided to work on the characters' personalities, to make them 'closer' to us and at the same time, would make it easier to be a cartoon story ... to be honest, that period of the Galaxy Bunch was kinda "too kiddish" ... But I think 2004 was a big milestone for the Galaxy Bunch as I had created 20 more side characters; like monsters, different kind of creatures and aliens, for the story. And the story background and structure had been formed and set by then. Big year for me!

In 2006, we decided to make our stuffs into vinyl figures :)


TRE: what was the concept you were looking for?

MK: Well, for the Galaxy Bunch, although they are all facing different kinds of problems ... but they always move forward and take on the adventure ... Just like us, I think people now, especially the younger generation, they lack confindence and are so afraid of losing ... maybe they should be like our little guys, just taking on their adventures and are trying to make a better future...



TRE: there's a local saying here in Singapore too: "scared to loose" ... LOL ... did they start off as comicbook characters, or were they designed as toys first? ... am really diggin the illustrations too - did you do them yourself, Michael?

MK: They started as graphic images...then Stories and Comics...then Toys... and Yes, I do quite a lot of illustration and if you want to see more of my works, go to www.locoism.com.hk ...you can see some of my older stuffs.


TRE: are the Galaxy Bunch figures currently available? and will they be sold individually? or as groups? sets? blind-box?

MK: Yes, The color version of the Galaxy Bunch toys called the "Virus Series" with a total of 9 characters are available for the market right now and available for wholesale-order, actually ... the first shipment to America will be made on August 2007.

We are selling it in two ways right now, blind boxed and as a box set. In the blind box, we will put some special edition monster or aliens into it from time to time to make this cool. Of course, I hope people can bring them all back home. Unfortunately blind box are only available in Hong Kong right now.

We will make at least 1500 for each character worldwide. And This coming September, our second toy, The 8 inches vinyl "The Ultimate" will be coming, will update you about this. I have already made the model..I like it so much..


TRE: looking forward to The Ultimate, Michael! ... these images from from Taipei Toy Festival 2007 - the creatures they ride on - are they available as well? or just for display?

MK: this big monster fellow is only a display right now, but will be made into a toy next year.




TRE: that'll be cool, IMHO ... what are the future plans for Galaxy Bunch?

MK: I am focusing on the comic book right now ... the toys will be launched at the same time, and we plan to break up our schedule into four quarters a year, in keeping to the promise to our fans to make at least four series of toys a year....


TRE: what do you hope for Galaxy Bunch to do for collectors?

MICHAEL KWONG: My galaxy bunch have different personalities and i hope our collectors will follow me to let the imagination explored and we have so many crazy idea coming out form our mind....like we are going to make all the alien and monster with the little guys trying to create a whole alien world...so folks, better save up your money because it will be so many cool characters coming soon.

seen@SDCC 2007:

TOYSREVIL: cheers for your time, Michael! best of luck for Galaxy Bunch and looking forward to more vinyl-goodies from Locosim! :)

[original post circa 09.08.07]

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