Into The Jaws Of The Golem With Tragnark

The Golem is the ancient protector of the King of the Hlin people from the Kingdom of Soledad.  Devastated by the bloody 2nd Lotus Rebellion, the Hlin culture was destroyed and with it any and all recorded traces of the Hlin and  the Golem. Two thousand years after this devastating blow, a group of archaelogists excavating the remains of an ancient city two miles below the water's surface have unwittingly awakened the enormous protector that is the long-forgotten Golem.

designed by Tragnark (aka Nick Reid) and produced by Kaching Brands (distributed by DKE Toys) this 10"-er tall X 9"-er wide vinyl mystic warrior is slated for a year-end-drop (quantity and price undetermined at this time) ... i finally had an opportunity to chat with it's creator Tragnark, about his inspirations, Golem's genesis, the true function of his jaws and of his role in the enchanted kingdom ...

TOYSREVIL: what was the genesis of Golem's creation?

TRAGNARK: Every single drawing I do, whether it's more sketchy or thought through comes from a story first. I learned that approach from my animation teacher in school years ago. He worked on all the classic Disney films (Lion King, Beauty and Beast, etc) and shared with us a whole new way to creating characters. He showed us that building a character from the inside out is the most important. That's what gives it soul and makes people believe in what it is. The form always follows function. It was the most important art lesson I learned, and one I know I'll be trying to improve on for the rest of my life.


TRE: totally agree with "form follows function" and the necessity of a "story", if not tis just a pretty piece of plastic (which i reckon is fine for many) ... was Golem designed specifically to be a toy, or did he have a life prior to this current vinyl-incarnation?

TRAGNARK: He had a life prior to this as a previous design I had done on my own time years ago. I had a rough story and world that would lay dormant until the toy project. MD (Young of Mindstyle) liked the drawing when I showed him my work and it grew from there. I kept thinking about the character and focusing on its personality, and then I would go to sleep. Often I will end up having dreams where I am walking through the world or planet the character exists in. I interact with the world for a bit before waking up and keeping it fresh enough in my mind to continue documentation with a pencil.


TRAGNARK: I have been a lucid dreamer ever since I was younger, and learned to train my mind to be aware while in REM sleep. It took me several years of heavy concentration. Some of the Golem also evolved when I was passing into REM sleep from consciousness. Somehow I'm able to stay aware during the whole process until I am fully dreaming....I have several tape recordings while I am talking in this state of mind.

TRE: would've loved to view those dreams (as opposed to listening to the tapes :p) - i remember a movie; Until The End Of The World, where the main protagonist, William Hurt was trying to conceive a machine which could 'record dreams', so that folks could view what was doing thru a person's dream (but i digress) ... this may sound frivolous, but how did Golem get his name?

TRAGNARK: It was an evolution through a series of different names. There were other and more complicated ways I originally wanted to express the Golem. Eventually through feedback and the process it was settled on that GOLEM was simple, direct, and spoke to the allegory that he represented to the world as a character.


TRE: how did his chest become the jaws of death? does he chew or swallow? forgive me for that's the initial impression i have of Golem's chest-jaws (darnnit im totally diggin' the medieval/enchanted-warrior vibe tho)

TRAGNARK: His mouth is an entrance point for the spirit to be placed into. His mouth can be used in battle, but its main purpose is a gateway.

TRE: aaahhhh nice one! how tall is Golem, in both the story and in vinyl-life?

TRAGNARK: The Golem as a vinyl will be approximately 10" tall by 9" wide. In real life he is about 25 feet tall.

TRE: Golem has to have a weapon! what is it (if there is any)? a hammer, a battleaxe! a shield? ... to go with his battlescars on his armor, of coz :)

TRAGNARK: He does not need a weapon because his armor is enchanted with spiritual energy. He primary purpose is to defend, not to attack, so he does not battle unless he is summoned specifically by the king.


TRE: the defender of thee King's realm! (sorry, my thoughts wandered to the fabled city of Asgard) ... are there more in Golem's tribe, that you'd hope to see the light of vinyl-day?

TRAGNARK: I cannot reveal any information on this, sorry!

TRE: yumz. when is he scheduled for a drop? and will there be other colorways of him?

TRAGNARK: Sometime near the end of the far as colorways I cannot reveal any information on that!

TOYSREVIL: hhhmmm that sounds intriguingly cool to me already (im voting for a Mono-Shadow-Warrior-vibe colorway myself muahahaha) ... cheers for your time and trouble, Tragnark - looking forward to further developments of GOLEM, as well as your future creations! in closing, please share with us; Who Is TRAGNARK?

TRAGNARK: I am Tragnark and I really like to draw and tell stories.
I feel fortunate that I can continue doing the same things I was passionate about as a kid. Hopefully you will enjoy my stories, characters, and the world I want to share with you.

- peep Tragnark's website and myspace :)

[original post circa 04.11.07]

Of Pixels And Peecols: An Interview With eBoy

it took me quite a while to come up with an intro (took me a coupla weeks! :p) for this post, as i felt i couldn't accurately categorize the new eBoy X Kidrobot PEECOL figures, but mayhap i was trying too hard to fit them into current collector-labels (ie: urban vinyl, kaiju etc) ...

.. and while personally i doubt that they are specifically produced to be the next platform toy, so too are the possibilities of them being one, but not necessarily of a particular genre, becoz essentially they are/can be virtually limitless in their ability to be the EVERYMAN, anyone from white to blue collar, from the suits to the handyman, and becoz their forms are humanoid (and not your garden variety 'designer vinyl-form'), their aesthetics may appeal more to the design-in-crowd (practisioners of the trade, as opposed to the general urban vinyl-collecting crowd) - very much like Groovision's Brockmann-figures, or even a mass-market-appeal of Playmobil (as opposed to Legos) without the (for the sake of argument) 'banality' of a fixed form, like Bearbricks or Qees (which whatever designs or colors go on their surfaces, they still retain their original form and 'identity') - IMHO, of coz.


what struck me most when i first saw PEECOL, was the memory of PLAY, of a time when innocence of playability was not hampered by a fixed in-grown perception of price-point-value, for sure as heck i would not 'play' with my designer-vinyls, (with the exception of taking pictures) as much as i would only display them ... but with PEECOL, i could imagine bringing them out for some fun in the sun and generally mucking about, and if time permitted, build dioramas for them! the size is generally handy and can be shoved in the pocket etc.


and while i leave the decision and opinions of toy-collectors at large to their own devices, i bugged Steffen Sauerteig, Svend Smital and Kai Vermehr; collectively known as eBoy, for a lowdown on their new PEECOL-line of figures ...

TOYSREVIL: what does PEECOL stand for? (i thought PEECOL was a font? :p) what was PEECOL's genesis?

eBoy: The original peecol concept was to take reusable 36x36 pixel image bricks and build images with them. The idea was to save bandwidth because one transmitted brick could be used several times on a webpage. We started to make sets like and ambulance set or a terrorist set and used them in pictures. Basically it was a simple modular concept -- something we always have been interested in.

At some point we had the idea to make fonts with these bricks -- the result were the ff-peecol series with lots of b/w bricks that are distributed by Fontshop. Each letter triggered one brick -- you could build images by recombining letters.

Now as we worked on a concept for a toy series, we soon realized, that again we wanted it to be modular. Not as atomic as LEGO -- we wanted it to be really really simple, and it turned out that our existing PEECOL pixel people were exactly of the grade of modularity and simplicity we were aiming for. So we look at it as a new chapter in the life of PEECOL -- now on real toys.


TRE: could you describe PEECOL as a toy? what's it's playability-factor? im not really sure, but im guessing the bodies/heads/legs are removable and can be interchanged with each other?

eBoy: Well the main idea is to make people -- a combination of generic and weird people. Also we wanted to make a sturdy *playable* and simple toy. The toy has a joint on its waist (like the pixel PEECOL people) so you can "break" each figure into upper body and legs and the re-combine these parts inside the series. It's a very simple concept but it means that there is some playground for the user to explore. And for each new figure added to the series, the options become more.

eBoy: There was some discussion about taking off the heads too, but at the end we decided we wanted to avoid too many small parts and we wanted to keep the basic character of each figure. After making some tests we decided to just offer this single joint at the hip of the figure.

I think the series will evolve over time ... most of characters will probably be available all the time and some will be limited collector stuff only.

TRE: personally, im liking the the modular-aspect and adaptability of PEECOL - how big is the figure actually?

eBoy: They range between 70 and 90 mm of height.

TRE: why was PEECOL created? what was it's principle message?

eBoy: We wanted a beautiful character based toy that would be playable and extendable.

TRE: when PEECOL was created, did you imagine it would be turned into a designer toy? or were they created specifically to be toy-figures?

eBoy: No it evolved as described above -- but the underlying concept is modularity, and that has been one of our main interests right from the beginning.

TRE: i've seen some event-images of your Pictoplasma-presentation in 2006 - are the designs still relevant? how much as changed / evolved thru the period? are you all happy with the evolution of the final toys?

eBoy: It evolved in details, but the basic concept was there already at 2006. And yes we are very very happy about the toy now. Kidrobot has turned out to be wonderful people -- you never know this at the beginning of a project like this. They are very proactive in every aspect -- and at the same time respect our work. It's turning out to be a very inspiring partnership.

TRE: 2D pixel work versus a 3D toy - how does it feel to have your creations given a 3-dimensional form?

eBoy: The second stage in drafting was done by using Illustrator (a vector tool we had not used for years) and after that we worked with Douglas Lassance on the 3D models which he ported from our 2d designs into 3d. We had to re-learn some 3d modelling in order to communicate ideas with Douglas and that again was something we had wanted to do for a long time. It is exciting as your designs become things ... the only problem might be that you can't stuff away your toys on your harddisk.


TRE: too true! is this your first toy? and how do you feel about this new series?

eBoy: Yes it's our first physical toy -- besides some small prototype stuff we made previously. I hope this series will last -- the concept is open ended -- there will never be shortage of ideas for characters.

TRE: i've 'noticed' a catalog-image on your PEECOL-flickr group, featuring more characters! = what are they about?

eBoy: Yes you can already see the second series, and there will be more later ... very sweet stuff to come ...

TRE: and also NUKE is slated for a Oct 11th-drop while the rest drops Oct 25th - why is that?

eBoy: Nuke will be a limited edition figure and will not be sold. "Only friends" will get hold of him -- I think Kidrobot is planning a couple of events around the introduction and give him away (for free?) ... if you are a collector, I would try to get hold of him as he is the first of a hopefully huge series! ^^

As far as I know 11th of October is projected for him. 1st run will come to the market on October 25th and 2nd run will follow in November. And we are working on 4th run already ...

TRE: oh man, you guys gotta let me know how to get me a NUKE! ... also can we expect any chase figures? and would they ever come with accessories and vehicles?

eBoy: Well again for simplicity's sake we decided against accessories at this point -- we wanted to avoid small parts flying around our desks -- but on the long run this might change ... but there are no specific plans, so don't waste any time waiting for accessories yet! :)

TOYSREVIL: personally i reckon we shouldn't wait too long to grab this PEECOL-series! LOL - cheers for your time and trouble for this interview, Kai, Steffen and Svend! here's looking forward to more toys from eBoy :) - in closing, could you guys please share with the readers here, WHO IS EBOY?

eBoy: EbOY is Steffen Sauerteig, Svend Smital and Kai Vermehr. We create re-usable pixel objects and take them to build complex and extensible artwork. And we make toys.

meanwhile, peep these nifty-online locales for more PEECOL-goodness:
- PEECOL flickr-group [images via]
- PEECOL on Kidrobot Forum
- PEECOL on Kidrobot (individual features and wallpapers)
- PEECOL drops October 25th while NUKE drops Oct 11th - so watch out for them :)

[original post circa 24.09.07]

Of Huck Gee's AkumaBombs and The Evolution of AkumaGirl

best known for his vinyl-customs and limited-edition production Kidrobot-Dunnys, Huck Gee had recently released his first ever self-designed vinyl-toy; Akuma Bomb by Kidrobot [blogged] with both Red-DANGER and Grey-SKULLY'S REVENGE being 3D realizations of his Akuma print (from the Danger solo show at Kidrobot LA) and has thus far been very well received (if the 'sold-out status' and toyforum-accolades have been any indication) and at the same time received it's fair share of detractors ... regardless, mayhap this be the start of a new(er) era of toys with a slightly "adult"-touch (no, not sex-toys, mind), not least becoz of Akuma's bare vinyl-breasts (along with Bonustoyz's Bonass et al); but a quasi-harbringer of an emerging "maturity", if not spirit (of freedom?) in the world if vinyldom, IMHO.

regardless of intent or eventual result (as opinions lie in the hands of the buying public, as some may argue), i'd bugged Huck Gee himself about his vinyl-journey thus far, the genesis of Akuma Bomb and what the future holds for his creations [*NSFW - ADULT-themed drawings ahead]

TOYSREVIL: first off, how long have you been in the vinyl-trade? customizing / designing and how has the journey been thus far? have you enjoyed the ride?

HUCK GEE: Hmmm... I don't think I ever quite quit collecting toys from my youth, but I didn't get into vinyl until I stumbled over the HK artists back in 2000 or so. Started toying around with the idea of making toys out of my graffiti and illustration characters shortly thereafter. Then I bumped into Paul Budnitz and the rest is, how you say, history? It's really been an amazing ride. A lot of hard work over the last 10-15 years and sometimes no clue where it was leading but I never quit doing what I loved to do, draw. And it has paid off ten-fold. Can't wait to see what else the future holds, good or bad. Although, to be honest, I'm kinda hoping for good.

TRE: as do your fans too, no doubt :) - we've seen many an awesome Dunny+Munny-customs from you, as well as your trademark-style on platform toys, but i don't know if peeps realize this (besides noobs like me LOL); besides your Skullheads, AkumaBomb would actually be considered your first ever all-original-sculpt (design) vinyl-toy, isn't it? why did it take so long?

HG: Good question. The 12" Skullheads took 2 years to finish production. Took downright forever and the retail price was way over what I had originally intended. I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to work with Marc Jacobs and Jil Sander if I had it do all over again but I wish I could've kept the price down to make it more affordable for the true collectors.

HG: After that, I kinda just fell into the routine of doing whatever came my way. Customs, Dunnys, Qees, CircusPunks, Trexis, etc. I was having fun and enjoying the results. But it wasn't until recently that I realized I had boxed myself into a corner as a toy customizer.

HG: I love working on Dunnys and expanding the little Dunny world I've been creating but when it's all done and said, the Dunny is still Tristan's figure. And that doesn't sit well with me. Nothing to do with Tristan's l33t skills, I just realized I was building a universe I didn't own. So now we have AkumaBomb and I have some new "Gold Life" stuff in the works that should shake things up a bit. :D

TRE: consider us "shaken" :) - how long did the conception and evolution/developement of the AkumaBomb take? what was the genesis of the Akuma Bomb? what was it's influence?

HG: AkumaBomb is based on a print I did a couple years ago. She's sort of Skullhead's main squeeze. I had original drawn up AkumaGirl years ago to see if I could smash monstrously twisted and stupidly sexy into an image that worked. And then tossed her through a bunch of Japanese Pop imagery. I had her in tentacle porn, on a bosozuku bike, at a JGTC track, etc. And I think it worked. I liked the results. Now That I think of it, she was actually one of the first toy concepts I threw at Paul Budnitz back in 2002.

TRE: works for me!

HG: Anyways, once I got the approval for a figure, I think it took about 12 months from initial drawings to finished product in hand. We went through about 3 completely different full sculpts, a dozen or more tweaks to the final sculpt, then we had some balancing issues to sort out with her placement and the flex of a soft vinyl bomb. The last thing I wanted was one of numerous vinyl figs out there that collapse on themselves once they get any sort of light or heat applied to them. The printing was spot on almost from the first try and the box art came together gorgeously.

HG: Before I did the yahoo-cowboy version we used for AkumaBomb, I did a Kamikaze pilot version. One single print, that's now in someone's private collection. It was part of my toying around with Japanese Pop stuff. Something of the Japanese imagery and a giant bomb didn't sit well with me though. Brought up mental images of Hiroshima and I didn't want to make light of such a horrific event. Maybe that was just me but whatever the true reasoning, I decided to redraw her in her yahoo-cowboy gear. Something a bit more WWII Bomber NoseArt-esque and pretty symbolic of the monstrous USA cowboy throwing bombs around. Don't get me wrong, this isn't some sort of anti-war statement. But there is something truly monstrous unearthed any time bombs are dropped in this world.

TRE: tell us a little known secret about the Akuma Bomb.

HG: I have some really, really nasty drawings of her hiding in my studio somewhere. But for some reason I think I'll have trouble getting them made into toys. :D

TRE: i wonder why? (*heh*) ... i reckon tis the unclear boundary of the average-masses' own tolerance of "art" versus "toy" and all it's moralistic opinions (not to say they are all unwarranted, mind) and that "toy" may be argued "for kids", but "art toys" may actually warrant their own boundaries, IMHO ('art' versus 'opinion of the masses') ... that aside, no doubt this is just the tip of the iceberg with other original-designs to come - anything else that's coming along that you can leak a dribble or two to your fans about?

HG: Tons and tons and tons of stuff coming out over the next 12 months but nothing to disclose yet. Okay maybe a little... NINJAS!!!

TOYSREVIL: ya got me there! fair enough - cheers for your time and trouble, HG! in closing, could you share with your readers; WHO IS HUCK GEE?

HUCK GEE: Damn, who is Huck Gee? A self proclaimed b-boying, skirt chasing, toy designing, illustrating, world travelling, racecar driving, troublemaking computer nerd.

- find out more about HUCK GEE on his website / myspace / biography on Vinyl-Creep [additional images via]

AkumaGirls i would luv to see made as vinyl:


[original post circa 15.10.07]

Onibaka's Tunny the Oni and Flying Cloudy Sheep Resin Figures

fledgling Italian-designer/sculptor Onibaka aka Davide De Rose Veltri has created a fantasy world of candy-eating-creatures and flying failed sheep experiments with his TUNNY The Oni and Flying CLOUDY Sheep, and is set to materialize them unto resin figures to be made available in two colorways: (OG) RED CLASSIC (limited to 150-pcs, signed & numbered) and B&W OLD CARTOON (limited to 100-pcs, signed & numbered) ... i had a quick online chat with Davide about the origins of Tunny and Cloudy :)

TOYSREVIL: Who is Tunny The Oni and his Flying Cloudy Sheep?

DAVIDE: Tunny was an Oni banished by the other Oni(s) because they were angry with him for not wanting human flesh, but instead liked sweets, candies and cakes! (for liquorice, he prefers green gummy bears)

(NOTE: Oni are the classic japanse demons, and in some mythological stories; eat humans :D)

One day Tunny met the mysterious Doctor Candyman and decided to join his crusade of making a world based on Candyman's rulez - which is to transform all things, both plant and animals into cute and sweet creatures; but very hungry creatures with an insatiable appetite! ... but something bad happened along the way ... Tunny's hunger was uncontrollable and he started to eat the other members of the Candyman's Hungry Army Living Candies.

The Doctor caught and punished Tunny by banishing him to a island (where he discarded his failed and useless experiments), and made him to go thru a complete therapeutic cycle at "Gluttoouses Anonimous". And on this island, Tunny made friends with a strange flying sheep; Cloudy, one of Dr. Candyman's failed experiments. Flying Cloudy Sheep was unable to speak normally, but instead communicated by singing Frank Sinatra songs.

TRE: how did their creation come about?

DAVIDE: In the real world, "Tunny" and the sheep are characters of a world i made up in my mind, where there was this crazy doctor candyman who gave life to an enormous pile of discarded halloween candies and had decided to transform the world according to his rulez. I created the characters in story because of my first love for toys; all kinds of toys! and of course of my job as a prototype sculptor made it an easier decision :p

TRE: are you making/producing the figures yourself?

DAVIDE: I sculpted the prototype myself, but the production will be made with professional molding and resin cast by professional prototype studio here in Italy, Milan, with professional materials and techniques.

TRE: how big is Tunny and Sheep actually? and in what colorways will they be available in?

DAVIDE: Tunny is 4 inches, the sheep 3 inches. Tunny sitting on the Sheep stands a total of 6.3 inches :)

Tunny will be available in two colorways/versions: Colored-Version with 150-pcs signed and numbered, and Old Cartoon-Version (in black and white with a shade of grey) limited to 100-pcs signed and numbered

(Davide: the toys will be colored with professional
pigments and detailed with professional decals)

TRE: when are they scheduled to be released?

DAVIDE: i have to paint the two prototype for the colours test and i hope to start working on the orders by the end of October after my participation at MondoPop - but but it also depends on the demand from the shops ... if anyone wanna preorder a piece or if any shops want further information, do feel free to contact/email me at onibakasculpture [at] or you can look for me on myspace :)

TRE: sounds good so far, Davide! in closing, do tell us a a bit about yourself please.

DAVIDE: I'm an Italian nerd :p - my real name is Davide De Rose Veltri, I'm 26 years old and i work as a prototype and resin-kits sculptor, and my passions are illustration, comics, toys and much too many things to be listed here! i try to have passion in my work. my brain is like a sponge that absorbs all the "crap" around me like entomological (insect) data, comic-books stories, movies and tv garbage (live long and prosper) and then grind them all in a unique mess from where i create and develop my characters :p

this is an old comicstrip of mine that describes the relationship between me and my brain:

DAVIDE: I'm a newbie in the professional world, and i'm kinda shy and i really don't know how much more i can tell you about myself :p

TOYSREVIL: you're doing fine so far, Davide! good luck with Tunny and Cloudy, yeh? do keep us updated :)

- peep Onibaka on myspace / deviantart

[original post circa 08.10.07]


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