STRANGEco and Jeremy Fish's Turtlecamper
Jeremy Fish's follow up to the Silly Pink Bunny Van couldn't make a better set. Following the tradition of the Tortoise and the Hare tale, STRANGEco produces his Turtlecamper. The race is on! But as much as I loved the Bunny Van, my money's on the Turtlecamper. It picks up right where the first toy left off with more details, more articulation, smoother paint applications, and more variant colorways. But most of all, this toy has a real personality. You can feel the emotion in the turtle's eyes and while the Bunnyvan was definitely a Fish original, this piece feels more like an actual print come to life.
So what we have is a turtle, emerging from a skull, and replacing the shell is a camper frame. At first glance you know this creature came from the mind of Jeremy Fish. His love of combining previously unassociated things and skulls is here in spades. And it's beautifully executed. The sculpt on the toy is really impressive. Sculpts and molds are STRANGEco's specialty I've come to realize. There are delicate, more geometric cuts on the camper that are balanced by the organic contour of the skull, particularly in the eye sockets. The windows on the camper aren't just painted on; they are cut in as is the seam around the door. Also, details like the air conditioner, an old school "boomerang" antenna, and the chunky belt buckle underneath the piece shouldn't be missed. More delicate cuts can be found around the turtle's eyes and in the spots on his feet. These tiny details are what make this piece stand out. There are seven points of articulation and all but one are ball joints. This gives the legs a nice range of motion. But you should know that like all ball joints, these legs have the potential to become loose. One of my legs is a bit loose from taking the pictures for this article. I'm worried that too much play will make my turtle not as sturdy as he is now, so be gentle with your Turtlecamper's legs. The other two ball joints are found at the tail and base of the neck. The tail can move around a good bit, but since the neck is protruding from the skull's nose the head can't look to the side as much as I would like. But to make us forget about that there is a twist joint on the neck so you can have your turtle look at you like he's saying, "You want me to do what exactly?"
The paint applications are clean and there is more going on here than you notice at first glance. The orange and red pin stripes are a nice touch, and the lights and windows look nice as well; but there a few passes that are very subtle and make the piece look al the more...realistic? There is a light green spray applied to all things turtle (legs, tail, and head). I love how this causes you to see more shading and contour, enhancing the sculpt. This fade is also applied to the skull's eyes making the solid black look very deep with the socketsí shading intensified. Finally, the turtle's eyes are so delicately painted you can't help but feel a little sad when you gaze into them. The actual vinyl used seems to be high quality: nice and thick but not too chunky. Also, I should mention that I canít find a seam from the molds anywhere on the piece. Sure you can see where the different pieces were put together, but the actual seams are hidden extremely well.
There are three colorways offered: The original with gray skull (shown), a more limited silver skulled version, and the hard to find gold skulled turtle. As usual, I'm drawn to the original colorway, since it looks the most like the artist's illustrations, but that gold guy is very tempting!
The packaging is one ofif not the bestI've seen. This is a bold statement, but I love how it looks like a pet travel case complete with air holes and a handle on the top. The sides of the box are covered in classic stickers from countries and US states. It used to be the fashion to cover your suitcase with stickers showing everyone where you have traveled, and to a point it still is. The back has a Polaroid taped to it of the Turtlecamper (a Fish illustration) with "if found please return it to san francisco, ca." written below in Jeremy's handwriting. Finally, the front sports a window and the immortal saying "ass, gas, or grass nobody rides for free" printed below. I love the fact that STRANGEco took the time to make this quirky piece a box equally as fun.
There is nothing on the market like the Turtlecamper, and that fact alone will cause collectors to take notice. But coupling that fact with the amount of care that went into creating this toy causes this to be a piece you shouldn't miss.
Check out STRANGEco's website for information on what's coming next as well as a look at their extensive product catalog. And they have an interesting blog-like link section that is sure to entertain.
Jeremy Fish's web site is chock full of his work and information on how you can purchase an illustration or painting.
You can scoop one of these up at Rotofugi.com when they drop on June 23rd. Don't sleep on it.
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Article and photographs are ©2006 MillionairePlayboy.com.