Wheaty Wheat's MAD*Ls
Designer MAD (aka Jeremy Madl) has created a line of Designer Toys that are clean, fun, and easily enjoyed. They are called MAD*L (pronounced MOD-EL) and have a design that enables customizers and MAD himself to create many different toys from the same mold. This is a testament to the design. It is difficult to create a form that is simple yet intriguing enough to cause such inspiration. MAD has designed six different toys (not counting customs and variants) and we'll be taking a look at five of them, including Phase II's three newbies (which you can win!!).
Like I said, the design is the same for each toy.... at least in form. And the form is very neat and clean. The corners are very crisp and at first glance the figure seems symmetrical. However under closer inspection, one arm is lower than the other, one "ear" is larger than its partner, and one leg is thicker. These subtle differences may not be noticed at first glance, but add to the interest in the design. While the form of each is the same, the paint apps are unique and for the most part give us a different idea of how to view them. But throughout the toys one thing remains consistent: these are very clean and well made. The paint apps are some of the cleanest I've seen on Vinyl. Each line is crisp, never bleeding onto the base and the colors are vibrant. Each piece has one point of articulation: the head. This isn't much, but I believe the idea was to keep the form simple for ease of customization; as is evident in the 50 unique pieces recently shown in the MAD*L Show 2K5. But some of the best come from MAD himself so let's take a closer look.
This guy is the stereotypical urbanite. Earphones, 'boggan, black t, and jeans. His shirt has a stylized spray paint can on the front to give you the idea he is a graffiti artist. I really dig this guy because this truly is Urban Vinyl. The inspiration for him is obviously from city streets where you could run into a guy who looks much like this. This is my second favorite MAD*L because of this.
This interesting looking creature takes the "ears" of the form and uses them as extensions of his mouth. He has one large eye that just stares at you as if he's a bit lost. He wears a collar and tag like a pet which is securely attached with a metal ring. He looks confused, but you can't help but like him. The green body is accented with three other shades of green and like always is applied very clean. Of all the MAD*Ls this is the one that people seem to gravitate towards first.
This toy is a masked Mexican wrassler! He has a purple mask with yellow and gold highlights and matching trunks. On his chest he boldly wears a skull and crossbones tattoo. This toy is really tight boasting a different flesh tone than DJ, and the complimentary color scheme on his uniform really stands out. Images of this toy don't do it justice. I was least impressed with this one when I saw the press releases, but in person he truly is a fine looking toy.
Possibly being a blue cousin to Billymon, this creature takes the "ears" of the form and instead uses them for frog-like eyes. This is an interesting use of the form. He has a two tone blue color app that is almost camouflage in design. His mouth is very curvy and makes you think he really is upset. Like Billymon, he is wearing the same collar and tag. There may be a deeper story to the similarities, but I wish MAD would have created a fresher design to fill out the second wave. Don't get me wrong, this is a great toy. It just doesn't feel as original as the others.
This is my top pick of the bunch. Based on a spray paint can, this toy gives homage to the roots of many of the artists (and collectors) of Designer Toys. His head is a bright red nozzle with blue paint dripping from the spray hole. This looks like an eye with a tear falling from it. Is MAD making a statement concerning mass society's lack of respect for graffiti art or am I drinking too much coffee again? The body is a clean bright white with a color wheel on his chest (minus the violet). This toy really is great and I look for it to sell out very quickly.
The toys come in really classy looking boxes. They are a nice charcoal finish with black MAD*L outlines covering it. There is a definition of MAD*L and a larger outline of the figures on the corner. Instead of labeling the figures' boxes, there is a sweet sticker of the toy's face on top of each box. With a little care, this puppy can be pealed off and reused! Nice!
I know I've said it over and over, but these toys are very clean! The design is simple and easy to understand, while the paint apps are neat and subtly complex which causes a wonderful marriage between two key elements: simplicity of form vs. complexity in detail. It's amazing how different each piece can be viewed even though they are all the same form.
Win a bunch!
Would you like to have your own set of the three newest MAD*L's (El Lucha, Dominion, and Cry On)? Of course you would! To enter think of a funny caption to this pic (right), then follow this link to the contest thread, and post your response! The winner will be picked based on how much milk/coffee/beer squirts from our collective noses when the MPb staff reads your submission. All decisions are final.
- Wheaty Wheat is producing some great looking toys. Check out their site for all the info.
- Check out MAD's web site to see what he has cooking and already dished out.
- You can pick up these guys and other fine Designer Toys at kidrobot.
- Take a look at all our Designer Toy coverage on this handy page.
Article and all images are ©2005 MillionairePlayboy.com.