Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Toy Break equals Good Break


Sometimes on my days off, I take on the role of photographer for Pink Flare- A very popular online women's clothing store. You can check out the store here. This part time hobby/ job is really a very welcome challenge for me- setting up studio lights, positioning all that gear, setting up my laptop and camera to make sure I can capture great pictures that do the clothing justice engages me. Photography, Video work... awww heck. Most creative media work really piques my interest. i really wanna get into some animation work, stop motion maybe, creating maquettes, figure sculpture, film, script writing, video editing, the whole shebang.
My current creative weapon of choice for photos The Canon 60D. A good investment.

Most of the time though, I am doing this on a day off from my current singing job, and sometimes, getting up early and spending sometimes 5 hours hunched over behind the viewfinder of a camera can get a little draining. Enter "Jon's rejuvenation time". There are a few choice activities that I know instantly puts me in a better mood and frame of mind. Looking at toys is one of them. 

After one particularly tiring session where I shot non stop for 5 and a half hours (and God knows how many outfits! I know, "Sucker!") I felt so drained and a little cranky. So I made my way to China Square Central. This is pretty much where all the toy stores in Singapore are gathered.  That is kinda sad cos our toy fan community is tiny. Man, all the niche communities are so tinny that I sulk just thinking about it (I find it very, very hard to meet like-minded enthusiasts who are into the same stuff  as I am here in Singapore. Hence, this blog... it's a shout out to my kindred souls). There are a couple of others around the country around the Bras Basah area but the closest one to me at the time was China Square Central. 
China Square Central. 18 cross street, Singapore.

In case you aren't aware, every Sunday from 11am to the mid afternoon, toy and pop culture enthusiasts make their way to a flea market type thing at china square. it is really a very nice, fun atmosphere (at least the couple of times that I've been there) you should check it out if you get the chance. You might stumble upon some really good deals there, I've found a few that really made my day.
Snapshot of the Sunday flea market on the second floor

I'm not really what you might call a true toy collector... as much as I love buying something that's really cool, in mint condition and rare... what thrills me even more is a really good buy. I call myself 'El Cheapo' when it comes to buying toys for myself. First of all, because I have no delusions about toys today, gone are the days that you can own a toy or a comic that's going to give you a profit like Action Comics#1 or Superman #1. Everything nowadays, is produced in such quantities by huge profit driven businesses that that's never going to happen even a limited edition run of toys will have a master mould that could easily produce another new, exclusive batch.  

In 2010, an issue of Action comics #1 sold for USD$1.5million, and Superman #1 can get you at least a cool USD$250 000.

Secondly, i understand that things like toys, figurines are a big waste of cash and space, basically. They do give me pleasure. It makes me happy looking at them, I admire the fine sculpting, the detail,  the painting, the lovely artwork on the boxes, the poses, I really appreciate the aspect of craftsmanship in toy making. I'd love to make my own toys out of clay. But I am rational enough to understand that there's no point just amassing box after box of toys and spending all my money on plastic figures. Some of them are really very, very costly! I'd rather save the cash and hopefully, buy my own home some day (instead of paying rent).
My love for toys started since I was a child and I still have my favourite toys that I played with back then. (I have them all in a display cabinet now, I'll write a post on them in the future, I think.)

Back to the story, I tend to sidetrack a lot... there's always so much going on in this head of mine. I got to China square pretty late, it was 7pm, most toy collector stores close really early, don't ask me why... it seems really peculiar to me because aren't collectors only free to come shop after they finish work? Good thing that one of my favourite toy stores "Toy Realm" on the first floor #01-13 was still open and I managed to get my 'toy window shopping fix'. 
 
Toy realm used to be called Xenohobby Workz (thank God they changed the name, the old one was so hard to remember) and they used to be located at Sunshine Plaza near the Selegie area. i find their toys to be reasonably priced, some stores are just rip offs, and they carry toys that I really dig, it's a huge plus also that they have always been really friendly and helpful. I don't quite understand it, but toy store owners sometimes tend to be really stand offish, unhelpful and really weird, I get the feeling they feel that we're not worthy of the stuff they sell or something. Very Strange, especially if you're running a business.
A very wavy haired, Ronald McDonald Toy. This piece was really nicely done and had the retro vibe pegged down perfectly
This Farah Fawcett poster made into a figure is really cool. My fond memories of this image comes from watching "The Shawshank Redemption" many, many times. Great, great film based on Stephen King's novel.

SDCC exclusive Swamp Thing from DC universe, this figure is huge.. 10inches tall in a really cool box!
Toy Realm carries NECA stuff, the movie stuff, the music figures, japanese anime toys (I'm not  really into that)... As I browsed through the store, a couple of things caught my eye... butt I resisted their plastic charms. I have my eye especially on Elvira: mistress of the dark, an SDCC exclusive swamp thing from DC Universe, a Wolf-man figure, and a set of 4 Werewolf themed toys that they have sculpted by the fine people from the Stan Winston Studios called 'Blood Wolves' but the SGD$110 price tag was too much of a splurge for me (I haven't seen this set anywhere else in Singapore, then again, I don't get out much.)
Wolf Man Figure from the recent remake of the classic Universal Monsters film.
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark figure from Amok Time. Great detail. Great, ahem.. Assets too.
Stan Winston Studio's Blood Wolves. I really wanted to buy this set of four. Maybe I will, the next time I pop by.

I had my eye on a SAW 'Living dead doll' last year and upon returning to the store the 3rd time, I found it was sold, much to my dismay.  I kinda regret not buying it. It was a really cool looking figure. I had a little bit of a treat in the store while I was there, the store keeper opened the San Diego Comic Convention exclusive Ghostbusters: Marshmallow Man. This thing stood at more than 20inches tall! I took the opportunity to snap a picture with it.
My very tired self and the very impressive SDCC exclusive Marshmallow Man, 20inches! Huge!

I saw some really cool toys there, got a good deal on two Extreme Head knocker Bobble heads (Ghost Face from Scream and the Marshmallow Man from Ghost Busters) and walked away really happy. I already have a Freddy Krueger Bobble Head from years back and I figure these two could join the Horror Bobble Head party.
I got this Freddie years back. when I was still in school.  I wanted the  Jason Vorhees as well, but I didn't have enough cash.

Ghost Face from Scream! I love this guy, with his tiny bloody knife. The first movie was so good. He's part of the family now.

Got this Marshmallow Man Booble figure. His entire body moves! His angry expression was what made me get this.

The store even threw their display Bobble head of Linda Blair because it was broken, could not be sold and I was thick skinned enough to ask if I could have it. :) She not only has a head that bobbles, but her entire bed shakes! Just like in the movie! Work hard, get a good bargain, the perfect day.
Regan from 'The Exorcist'. Mine has a broken hand and chipped sections but I love it all the same.
Here's the original sculpted version before it gets made for the world, what detail!!


Here's a shot of me with another one of my figures from my modest 'collection'. also from Toy Realm. The figure from Eli Roth's masterpiece of a film- "Hostel". Made by the fine people at Medicom. This figure is so nicely made. At 6 inches, there's so much detail.

I actually saw this figure but decided not to get it, twice... and the 3rd time I knew I had to get it!

Paxton from 'Hostel'. In all his plastic glory.



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