Saturday, 3 November 2018

PAGAN - 5.5" Resin Action Figures from a world of the Darkest Fantasy.

The line I've been planning for 6 years has been released as a seperate brand for a few months now. Aside from the 3 main characters released so far, there is a new unique figure or variant released every single Monday.
I'm using every trick I know to make these the most playable, and unique MOTU-inspired line I can. Huge 3D printed accessories, pewter weapons, deluxe blister cards and affordable clamshell packs, chains, fabric, original sculpting, interchangavle heads, cauldrons, ruins - and that's only what's been created so far!







PAGAN is set at around 3000 BC. Although the magicks of Wizards and Priestesses mean that time is not a straight line. Some of the demi-gods of the PAGAN world venture into Christian times and prehistoric, to make use of weapons and beasts their enemies might not yet know.

Although there are no heroes as we understand in this world, there are protaonists more noble than others. Powaslayyve is the only character so far to make a name for himself using purely brute strength. Honorable in combat, and not yet sullied by the politics and scheming that results in so much dark magic and bloodshed of innocents.
Priestesses and Witches are to those seeking power as water is to a dying man. Indeed, behind every warlord is a coven or group of many women of great power. Whether it be poisons, charms, or future sight, these women command a powerful grip in the PAGAN world. 
It should be noted that this is not a toy line for those that are easily offended. Aspects of expolitation horror movies, black metal, and adult comics are liberated in this line. There are already plenty of vanilla barbarians out there - this is for people that were around for the gritty stuff in the 70s and 80s and want a toy line that goes as dark. 


 
 
There is already a selection based on the characters of the 1st series in store at bigmantoys.bigcartel.com











Saturday, 14 July 2018

Big business principles for the little guy (such as the artist, or toymaker).

I thought I'd take a few minutes out and further alienate the hipster collecorship by showing what a mddle aged nerd I am and talking about the principles I leanred working in sales, IT and tech, and translating them to the hand-to-mouth artisan existence I'm currently enjoying.

1: When being your own boss, be the toughest boss you've ever had.

It's Saturday night. I've turned down two different social things because I'm behind on my target. The best boss I ever had was an absolute savage. He made people cry. However, he was completely transparent about how businesses really work and what it takes. I made more stuff happen working under him and relised that I had double the energy I thought I had. I had days where I'd be falling asleep with a headache and have to try and grab a nap at a park before chugging more coffee and asprin and getting back in the office.

I realised that if I could do all that for him (as many of us do in our jobs) why couldn't I do that for me? You know you're legit when you've pulled 60 hours like a trooper and even if you didn't get all you wanted to done, you know what your best looked like.

2: Give your product every chance of success. SOMEONE will want it.

I've talked about "Emperor's new Clothes" syndrome lots of times. New guy makes bullshit and puts it on Instagram. You wouldn't even take a photo of it, it's that bad. But he believes in it and loves it  He presents it with pride and tells you exactly why it's good. You see where he's coming from. You think it's good too now!

Look at some of comics that make it! Half the chicks on comic covers in the 90s looked boss eyed with different sized boobies. People got paid for that!!

Day of the Slug has sold next to nothing in the States. I was disappointed on its launch and started on something else. A few shares on Facebook to a few new people later and I was selling a few sets a week. good enough for me. Took a bag of them to conventions and handed a few out. Someone did a vid revew, someone posted them on their IG, and a year after release I was having to re-make the molds I was churning out that many.

I know artists that are good enough to sculpt for legit toy companies here in my home town that never even photograph their work, let alone think of selling it. Don't get embarassed. Flop it out!

3: Sweat your assets.


Selling IT solutions, there were a few principles that especially one-man-band artists could use. One is the principle of using a new tech combined with old shit (ancient laptops running software from a powerful new server) to make money-in to money-out ratio (return on investement) good.

My 2 casting set-ups, laptop, knock-off Wacom, and 3D printers cost a total of 700 pounds (about $1k US). and most of this has been with me for at least 4 years. My sculpting workflow includes 3D printing, PLASTER waste molds (why do that with silicone!?) and recyclable wax and clay. Much like the ugly but effective old trucks that are used in communist countries to enable commerce of the lastest tech, the cheap ugly plaster and rusty old tools and buckets I use to make the plaster shells for my silicone matrix molds are cheap, will last forever, and end up contributing to the same product.

4  Big moves! Let the executive in you support the starving artist you.

In craft and life. I use large tools to speed up work before I get started with little bits. An ancient giant file, a belt sander, big craft knives, a soldering iron for sculpting wax (before moving to a hot pen for the details). Your time and energy and precious. You have to prioritise what's worth it and remember, the fact you spent 60 hours making something the hard way unfortunately means as much as someone casting something in clear pink that they sculpted in an afternoon. It's shelf porn, and it won't move people like fine art. By all means make the fine art as without it, art toys is a phrase that really means nothing, but no one remembers martyrs (well, maybe Christ), so give the artist you a chance by using some hustle.

5: Take the opportunity to Pilfer a Goat. (From the Chinese war-guide "The 36 Strategems".)

While you're focussed on your big moves, little opportunities may pop up. So take them. About 50% of my work isn't even related to releases. Blank pulls of stuff I released in the past, commissions (guaranteed money now vs. money later). It's not greasy - it's survival. The biggest, coolest franchises and companies are squeezing the pips with everything they can on the side because they know hard-core collectorship isn't something they can always count on. You can make TRUE art and stipend yourself with a on office job, or make TRUE art and side-hustle to make sure your art is given every chance it gets and more studio time.

No one's as classy as they appear and most of your favorite atheletes probably take steroids. It's survival!



6: Recycle everything.

Materials and work. I recycle silcone, I add bulking agents to materials, I make matrix molds, I take ruined molds and use them as templates for wax roughs. If people want something I made years ago, I want to help them have it if I can. A lot of my characters (and molds) have endured for years longer than I thought they would. So it never hurts to remind people that they're there to help them keep going.



Friday, 18 May 2018

BMT HARDCORE

WAVE 1 DROPPING MAY 20th 19:00 EDT.

 I've been full time toy making for two months now. Enjoying the process of brushing up all the crafts involved in toymaking without a real goal. Making one-offs is fun and can pay the bills but I have really missed building on something.

I worked out that I've had about 60 releases since I started and something like 40 original sculpts. I like all toys which means I had made figures in almost every scale and material.
 BMT HARDCORE is a format of 60mm tall thick SD rubber keshi. I plan to release every original character I've ever created as well as completely re-sculpt some of the stuff I kitbashed or even bootlegged in the early days of Bigmantoys.
This is me taking everything I've learned in the past 5 years and putting it all into one epic line.
The figures are digitally sculpted, 3D printed, copied in wax, re-sculpted by hand, and finally cast in indestructible PU rubber.

The header cards are spray painted stencils on cardstock. Everything from Zbrush to putty to spray paint comes together to make these. It's my proudest output so far and with the workflow I'm using, I'll be able to keep bringing out new releases.
 Rather than a random splurge of casting, these figures will have limited runs of each colour so that as the line continues, people will know exactly how many of everything is out there, and how possible it is to get a complete collection. I don't just want the sculpts to be awesome, I want people to have holy grails from the line for their collection
 What's even cooler is that I have already agreed on incorporating several characters from the lines of other indy toy companies (ones you will know and love) into the line.

An expanded universe of BMT and the coolest other lines out there all in the same format.
Finally, these are going to be affordable!
There's no paying 3rd party licences, gallery or convention expenses. These are made 100% by me in my little studio in England.
All you're paying for is the toy!

Monday, 23 April 2018

Full timin'.

About a month ago, I had what would be considered a very enviable day-job. It's a spot that lots of people in town would have done anything to get selling a very cool product. I was earning more money than I ever thought I would, and I was miserable. I released one toy in that time (on Shapeways - I didn't even have time to produce it myself) and it was the only thing during that period that felt like any kind of accomplishment.

There was nothing wrong with the job I had, I think we're all just wired differently. I did fine and was happy to over-deliver for customers but it wasn't my product. Compliments directed to me were for something I had no part in creating. I have to make toys.

It's been 5 years since I found out just how happy making toys and the art of running a small business make me. Sculpting felt fun, casting felt great, people buying my stuff felt really good, and at the very least, breaking even financially while I continue to learn rather than paying to go on a course really kept me going.







Anyway, no grand mission statement. I know how lucky I am to live in a first world country and have this as an option. I've been making toys as an impulse and nessecity for 5 years now. The only thing is that it is now all I do. I'll be putting out the best stuff I can.


Monday, 2 October 2017

Re-attaching the creative nerve endings.

If you're one of the 300 or so people with a vested interest in garage toy makers, you may have noticed my complete abscence from toy blogs, and little posted on social media.
A few things have happened. I've got a day job in the games industry. I'm not working as an artist but as an admirer of the craft, it's quite cool talking with people who've worked on games I've spent a lot of time playing myself. BUT it's a proper bloody job. I can't fuck about. Just as when someone gives me money for a toy, I owe them 100%, I have to give back to this company. I'm not the best sculptor, or the best producer but I like to think Bigmantoys had a work ethic that gave it a degree of "success".

So I made that Maniac Cop statue and went quiet. Other massive personal changes have attacked my free time. I know full well I could just glue a Trump head to a Ninja Turtle, fart out some resin copies, and get covered on all the hipster websites but its an unfun game when its that easy. The stuff Alien Robot Monster is coming out with as an example, is what its all about IMO. Every penny is deserved.


I've got money saved up for the first time. I have pitched, got very close, and failed to design and mass produce a few licenses I love. I'm in talks for more. I don't know which if any will work, but I can guarantee it'll be something I would collect for the price.

In the meantime, my minimal profit Shapeways shop is keeping the pulse going with regular releases, exploiting the strengths of the 3d printed medium.

Last week was s full color range of Mortal Kombat and Double Dragon minis.
Much more to come.

Shapeways.com/shops/bigmantoys

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Maniac Cop posable resin statues.

 Heyoo!

He's in-store now at bigmantoys.bigcartel.com
Just $75 for a fully painted deluxe version, and $39 for a blank.
 
I had a really good time at Toycon this year. Got to meet up with my old mates and get to know some new ones better. Regardless of my stance on the whole custom Dunny thing, credit where it's due - the art was excellent.

Also got reminded how fickle the whole bootleg art toy scene is. You're only as good as your last gimmick a lot of the time so I thought eff it, I'm going to sculpt Maniac Cop.
 Matt Cordell has been done before by the likes of Homemade Horror and another very rare 12" resin kit I've seen around. I wanted to make my own version, not quite as literal to the movie, but more cartoonish - kind of like something from Monster Squad or Scooby Doo.
 He took me about a solid working week to sculpt, including base. I've represented every detail - from the zippers and buttons, to numbers on his badge and name-badge.
The deluxe version is polished and painted to the max, with 3 points of magnetic articulation. I'm only making 5 of these. After that, he'll be only available in kit form, for people who like to sand and paint their own.








Sunday, 16 April 2017

Treegarr the 13th.

It's already in store and as I write, there are just 2 left. Sorry I haven't written about it here earlier.

This the 13th Edition of the full size classic Treegarr (not including a few one offs and *ahem* "tribute" figures out there). I've been on a real Friday the 13th binge - finally watching all of them in order for the first time. I even watched Jason X, God bless me.

For this one, I really wanted to have fun trying new things out and as is always the challenge with indy toys, do something no one could rip off easily. I've wanted to add a mask of some kind to the original 'Garr for years. I love Neca's retro Mego-style line of figures for all the little details and extra features so decided it was a good time to have a crack at it.


 Treegarr's mask is all-rubber. I made a few resin ones but they kept chipping the paint on the eyes. Even when I coated them with PU varnish (used for boats) and left in the sun for a couple of days.
The PU rubber holds a wash just great, as well as opaque paint on thicker, less flexible parts.

 The machete is cast in English pewter. Pretty much indestructible. I've recently invested some time and money into learning pewter casting. Resin weapons look great but no one can pretend a 4mm thick resin handle is going to last forever. I give these a black wash, acetone rub, and weather with a mix of different sandpapers and files.

The story I have in my head for this crossover is based on Jason Goes to Hell - where he becomes a possessive ghost. Treegarr is basically the same thing, except he possesses plant material rather than humans. Both of them are mute, without reason, but also intelligent and ruthlessly driven. Kind of a good match.

Also available are a limited number of Jason Voorhees masks that fit all full-size Treegarrs. For people that own a Treegarr and don't want to buy a whole new one.