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Designer Toys

Click hereSTRANGEco's Vivisect Playset
with Jager

STRANGEco has teamed up with Gallery 1988 to create a toy line based on the annual group show, Vivisect Playset, which was curated by Luke Chueh. Sharing the same name, the mini-figure line has eight different designs based on paintings from the show. The Vivisect Playset features toys by some of today's hottest artists (both in the toy world and not) and is definitely one of the freshest set of minis to date.

Click hereThe list of artists is amazing. Toys from Greg Simkins (Crayola), Joe Ledbetter, Amanda Visell, and Luke Chueh all in one set? Add Thomas Han, Anthony Ausgang, Peter Gronquist, and a special colab between Ledbetter and Simkins and you have a serious line up indeed! But of course the artists involved wouldn't matter if the toys weren't up to par, right? Well rest easy because they are definitely up to par... maybe even a birdie (golf fans anyone?). STRANGEco has done a great job of translating each artist's style into 3-D form. Ledbetter's King of the Deadbeets has thick outlines and chunky edges to match his illustrative style, while Luke Chueh's bunnies are soft and innocent (until you look behind the mask!). Overall, the quality is great. There are a few smudges in the paint applications, but this is a mass produced line and they still are cleaner than most mini-figures and some bigger vinyl. The most amazing thing to me is the technical aspect of the pieces. Each toy comes partially disassembled in the box. But once they are together, they stay together nice and tight. Also, the pieces are molded just so you can't get them in the wrong place by using different shaped pegs and holes for each piece. Also, it was great that they used round pegs on parts that needed to be a joint, like a neck or arm. Okay, enough about that, let's talk about the designs!

Click hereScurvy Nevil
There is no mistaking the artist behind this octopus/shark/mouse/pirate. Simkins' style oozes out of this toy. I love the suction cups under the tentacles, and the "Imamonster" emblem on the forehead is very crisp!

Click hereBaby-Eating Crocodile
I love Amanda Visell's paintings and wooden sculptures. This little blue croc munching on babies is no exception. The paint applications really look like painted wood, and the babies in the belly are hilarious. This toy is a little fragile so be careful with those teeth.

Click hereLedkins
Who would have thought that Ledbetter and Simkins' styles would flow so well together? The organic quality of Simkins' half comes off just as well as the illustrative feel of Ledbetter's side. The little details sculpted on Simkin's head really set it off.

Click hereMugs Bunny Luke Chueh's bunny may appear cute, but that's just a mask! Behind that mask is a sad face. Pretty deep, really. What do people really have behind their smiles? Well, if it's anything like the chase variants they have 3 creepy eyes or a huge jagged mouth! The jagged mouth version is my pick of the entire line. I love the combo of cute and scary on this eyeless monster.

Click hereKing of the Deadbeets
Everyone knows who Joe Ledbetter is. He's that guy with the cute bunny doing twisted acts, right? This time he's bringing a walrus with a crown and beet on a stick. Get it? King of the Deadbeets! It'd be awesome if you were buddies with Joe and he made something in your honor, but what if it was this? The extra cuts on the eyebrows and the back fin are what really take this toy to the next level. Stuff like this that doesn't need to be done, but adds to the toy, is the Collective's specialty.

Click hereSlugworth
Thomas Han's little pill induced hallucination is coming to your dreams riding on a cloud. This creepy little guy has the most delicate paint applications of the line with little decorations on the body and the Chinese characters for "weirdo" on his back. And just to make sure you don't stop seeing your little friend, there is a little compartment in his belly with another pill.

Click hereStella and 'roo
Peter Gronquist's happy family is super cute. This kangaroo-like dinosaur has a pouch for her baby to sit in. The baby comes out and the arms on momma are pose-able. These two are probably the happiest of the line, or at least give off the most positive vibe.

Click hereClean One
I like the sculpt on Anthony Ausgang's toy. The surreal quality of the faces in the mouths is really trippy, no doubt. I just don't understand the color choice. I suppose it's true to the source material, but when looking across the entire playset the colors all flow together so nicely until you get to this cat. It's a cool toy in its own right, but it doesn't flow with the set in my opinion. But the paint applications are clean even on the smallest of the faces.

Overall, this is a very strong mini-figure line. I love how they each portray their respective artists' work, and to have a piece from each of the artists involved is definitely fantastic. Everyone involved is getting bigger with each of their shows. I can only hope this is the first of more playsets to come. Hopefully the annual show will have an annual toy line to accompany it.

Check out STRANGEco's website for information on all their projects coming and also the great releases of the past.

Gallery1988 has a great blog that's updated with news of shows and some hilarious looks into the antics of running a gallery.

These are available at our friends Freebento.com both blind boxed and with some choice opened boxes.

Take a little longer break from the hum drum of work and check out our Designer Toy page chock full of toy reviews!

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Article ©2008 MillionairePlayboy.com. All characters are property their original owners.




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