Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 396

Day 396 January 31st


I LOVE this sword!  It is huge and just looks wicked!  I have to give high praise to DST for their work on that piece and for doing such a great job getting it to line up with the source material so well.  I have/had another minimate sized version of this sword from a Devil May Cry toy from a few years back…well thinking about it, it was likely more than just a few years ago lol, but I think this version is much better!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 395

Day 395 January 30th


I do love some Ghouls and Ghosts and love the fact that we have an Arthur minimate, well two in fact!  DST did a great job with the design of Arthur and this one in the silver armour looks fantastic!  I think I like the shield better is silver than I did on gold!  Now bring on the non-armoured underwear variant and we will be all set!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 394

Day 394 January 29th

Sundays with my Son

His face looks like he’s a ghost because you can see through it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 393

Day 393 January 28th

Iron Man

This is a nice looking Iron Man minimate, without a doubt.  The colours look great and it really pops!  Marvel has given Tony such a huge inventory of armours over the years it is neat to build a collection of them in minimate style but clearly the best thing about this minimate is the fact he comes with the massive proto-cannon from the game – kick ass!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Exclusive Premiere!

Exclusive Premiere – Marvel TRU Wave 13

Today brings a debut to the blog, well 2 debuts in fact.  One being the new section to Portrait of an Addiction – a news section where I will make additional posts to cover news releases related to our favourite toys Minimates!  The second debut is the EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE of the lucky 13th wave of Marvel Minimates to hit Toys R Us!

This wave consists of a nice assortment of characters from across the Marvel Universe and out of the 8 Minimates in the wave 7 are brand new, only the Daredevil will be a repeat, being the same as the one slated for wave 43.  In this assortment we have:

Ø      Spider-Sense Spider-Man and The Punisher – This is the first new Punisher Minimate since the Punisher: War Zone box set and is based on his first appearance where he took on none other then Spider-Man!  Appropriately Spidey comes with a removable spider-sense effect to help him dodge the Punishers attacks!
Ø      Daredevil and Kingpin – The first Kingpin Minimate goes all the way back to the very first wave of Marvel Minimates in 2003 and this new one is a welcomed update thanks to DSTs new big-body design for bigger characters like the Hulk.  He is packed with his long time foe Daredevil in his traditional red costume!
Ø      Mirage and Magma – Heading into the X-Men side of the Marvel Universe DST brings us two highly anticipated New Mutant favourites in Mirage and the fiery Magma!  Both of these are first timers to the Minimates line and will help round out anyones New Mutants collection!
Ø      Boomer and Rictor – DST flashes back to the 90’s with these versions of Rictor and Boomer from X-Force.  These two all new Minimates fill out the roster of that record breaking comic team and give mutants fans a couple more characters to add to their collection!

Look for this assortment in Toys R Us stores and online at toyrus.com in March!

Day 392

Day 392 January 27th

Mike Haggar

I have no seen this character before, not having played Final Fight where he is originally from.  I do, however, like how DST did with this minimate.  It looks very good and compares very well to the source material.  The facial expression is great and I love the pipe accessory!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 391

Day 391 January 26th

Green Hulk

I have to admit that I really do like the way that they have increased the bulk for the Hulk minimates.  Yea it can be a bit movement restrictive but it really looks good!  There is something really sweet about the facial expression on this one; really seems to capture the character perfectly, I love it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 390

Day 390 January 25th


This is a great minimate of Jean in her green Phoenix costume, without a doubt.  The colours look great and I love that Phoenix force base too.  My only downside to this minimate, and truth be told it applies to a few of the ones that were also part of the Marvel vs Capcom 3 SDCC sets – I wish they would have given us different facial expressions for characters like this one where the only other difference is the costume colour.  Would have given it a little extra pop I think.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day 389

Day 389 January 24th


 Now I am a big minimate fan – go figure right ;) , and I really liked the first go round they did with the Street Fighter minimates and was very sad to see that it just was not their time and we didn’t get more.  This minimate kind of brings up the bad blood from that time as if we didn’t have Darkstalkers characters in the line then we could have got a few more characters from the Street Fighter franchise in that wave.  That being said it is a pretty decent looking minimate, visually it looks good and I dig how they made her wings.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 388

Day 388 January 23rd

10th Anniversary interviews – Digger part 2

Now a year later I wandered down the toy aisle to once again find Art Asylum products, namely Minimates, but this time they were in the now standard 2-pack and were 2 inches tall.  Was the switch to the smaller scale a choice or was it to accommodate particular licenses?

Digger - I have no idea Jeff. LOL! That's a question for the current Art Asylum regime. 

Can you shed some light as to how the character selection happened back in those early days?

Digger - The plan in the beginning was to go after all things pop culture or to expand on any of the properties that we had rights for. KISS, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Eminem, Rob Zombie, Ozzy etc- that whole first 2 years we had other products coming out from action figures to "N" the Box. It was just a matter of seeing what was going to sell and like I said before our first waves did OK but our sales team was used to selling girls products, and the cylindrical packaging we did was bitched about by every non specialty retailer. I would have kept doing the music related characters until the end of time but it wasn't blowing up the spot. If you mean Marvel then again - I'd have to say it was by character popularity first and then feeding in the more obscure characters as we went along. Spiderman and Wolverine were the two most popular characters so we led with Spidey and packaged variations of him with other characters. I'm a huge fan of the Marvel cosmic mythos that Lee and Kirby created and Jim Starlin expanded like no one else in the 70's. I never thought as a kid that Thanos and Adam Warlock would ever see the light of day as product and here we were running them as Minimates with tons of other B and C level characters. I think the balance back then was always quite good. 

With Art Asylum there was much more than just Minimates going on, you guys had other action figures, along with statues and busts as well correct?  How hands on were you with the designs for Minimates?

Digger - Once we were rolling and the essence of the style in the Marvel line was established, Nelson and the rest of the art department were rolling them out one after another. I left for China in 2001 to stay so unless there was a problem with a licensor I was making sure that the assembly line stayed true to the original designs. It wasn't all smooth sailing. MINIMATES are complex despite how simple they seem. Normal action figures were actually much less work. The paint operations were higher than anything I've ever worked on and the cost was always very high. The factories would do a run for us see how much work was involved and dump us. I was always begging some factory to take the work for whatever we could afford to pay. It was a nightmare. 

The Lord of the Rings designs were amazing. Great characters, tons of detail, great style, but the cost was coming in way too high for us to manufacture. The work was getting overly complex for something that was designed to be simple. Not out of laziness but for the sake of the design aesthetic and the cost so after LOTR I was cutting back on things overseas to make sure we could continue to make them. A lot of it was frustrating because of all the things we were doing MINIMATES was my favorite and I wanted it to continue as long as it could. Our financial partners at the time wanted it gone from day one and there was a regular ritual to prove me wrong so the first thing that was always attacked was MINIMATES. They'd say "why are we doing this? This isn't making any money. The quantities are too low. The factories don't want to work on this. It's too much work, our HK office is understaffed." Dam man! Why don't we just sell spring water or pink marbles!? You know?  Every year things got a little bit easier and by the time we separated from our investors MINIMATES was sticking with the collectors. 

I personally thought when you guys got together with the folks over at the DAVE School and made some animated movies with the Minimates that was a stroke of genius!  I remember how cool I thought it was when I found out you voiced my favorite character Wolverine in the X-Men one.  How was it to have a hand in those? 

Digger - That's an interesting story how that all came to be. Manny Jesus was among many other things dabbling in Lightwave animation and had gotten in touch with Ron Thornton's company, Foundation Imaging about an alien ( Species 8471) they had done for Star Trek Voyager. Playmates reference had always sucked so true to our passion at the time to be accurate we pursued the character reference directly from the source which was Foundation Imaging. This was while we were still doing Star Trek work for Playmates, a few years before we actually beat out Jakks and everyone else for the master rights for Star Trek ourselves. I became friendly with Ron who is the coolest most down to earth Englishman on the planet and Jeff Sheetz ( founder of DAVE School ) was working with Ron and knew I was in there cooking up potential ideas for us to launch an animated show with both our companies. 

Years later we were doing a show down in Orlando Florida and Jeff walked up to our booth and told me he had moved out to Florida to start the DAVE School, an animation school that was originally intended to be a training camp for Foundation Imaging. He said that Ron always spoke highly of me and wanted to know if I would be interested in using our Intellectual Properties as projects to train his students. We did shorts with them. PSYCHO PUMP, SPECIDEMONS and then they started playing with MINIMATES and it became the perfect training vehicle for their animators to work with. They did amazing stuff with us. If you look at the animation for Batman New Times MINIMATES and think about the time we did it you'll see how far ahead of Lego we were with animation. Our intent to focus on our character style verses a building block system but in that first Batman we did you'll see we heavily incorporated the Lego compatible products we were creating as toys in the animation. The Batwing, Batcave, Batmobile etc were all in the animation. Voices were acted by Mark Hammil, Adam West and Dick Van Dyke. It had a decent story, great action and most importantly it was FREE on the net. Shortly after this DC was giving us heat about Batman Begins; they wanted us to make sure any and all signs of 60's bat campiness were erased from the planet Earth. 

We did Batman New Times with DAVE School completely without permission. This was before the majority of the fan films you see on the net and we were trying to get them to sanction this killer DAVE School Batman animation. They told us NO. LOL.

Our C3 Batman line cost millions of dollars in development, it was our biggest deal alongside Star Trek and the development was brutal with the tiny staff Nelson and Manny had in NY and the 2 Hong Kong engineers overseas. We spent 100k on a TV commercial and with little resource tried to go head to head with one of the biggest toy manufactures on the planet, LEGO. 

The XMEN DARK TIDE animation was done in full cooperation with Marvel. DAVE animated it and I brought in a voice team in Hong Kong. I just cast myself and submitted it for approval and Marvel loved it. Lots of fun! 

Looking back at the start of it all, could you have imagined that Minimates would have lasted this long and cover so many different properties?

Digger - Yes, I did see it sticking around if we crossed a certain number of exposures. Once it crossed 5 years I knew it was going to stick around. Most of the other brands that we're popping up were gone long ago. Some projects just need time and the support to get there so they can sink in. 

Are there any Minimates you are particularly attached to for any reason?

Digger - The all black one that just had our logo on the chest in a cheap polybag. That was my favorite. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 387

Day 387 January 22nd

Sundays with my Son

I think this guy is from a different planet, I mean just look at that face!  He must be really rich because his clothes look really expensive.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 386

Day 386 January 21st


There is something to be said for a nice simple minimate.  I am not the type of minimate fan that prefers the plain, simple minimate body for all minimate – sometimes all the extra parts and attachments are needed to hit that look but sometimes a plain one look good too.  For Deadpool his looks can vary a lot depending on what the writer and artist needs but there is definitely something nice about this one being just a basic minimate.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day 385

Day 385 January 20th

M.A.X. Stealth Tech Jet - Blue

DST has expanded our fleet of Stealth Tech jets again, this time with a nifty translucent blue version!  Even the pilot is made up of mostly blue-tinted translucent plastic; which helps make this set even more of a win win for me!  I have to applaud DST for taking a pretty cool idea in these jets and running with it; some simple tweaks and it is a pretty cost effective rerelease that is not a straight rerelease and will appeal to people of all ages.  I know my kids and other kids that have seen my collection light up even more when they see the vehicles and generally the first ones they want to play with are these jets(although the pirate ships are gaining popularity in that one too!).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 384

Day 384 January 19th

Phasing Delorean with hover conversion including Jennifer Parker

One of the things I love about DST’s line of minimate vehicles is the fact that it has allowed us to continue to get some Back to the Future minimates!  Jennifer is what I would consider an important character to the first two movies at least.  Not a main character sure but an important one none the less and I am glad to have a minimate of her now!  DSTs design team did a great job with the Delorean in its hover mode and the partially translucent-ness really adds a great effect; making it look like it is in mid time travel, right before it disappears completely!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 383

Day 383 January 18th

The Vendetta with undercover Anne Bonny

Here we have the ship of the other villainous pirate, captain Robert Deal.  This one looks awesome in the black and red colour scheme and that emblem on the sail is intense!  The Anne Bonny character is said to be on Calico Jack’s side so this version is her in disguise on Deal’s ship, not only a female pirate but a female pirate SPY to boot!  Rock on DST! Given the timing of this ships release it may or may not contain the first female pirate minimate as the second Femme Fatale box set was released on the same day and also contained an Anne Bonny minimate, but in her regular look.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 382

Day 382 January 17th

Glow in the Dark Pirate Ship with Undead Cartographer

I am really happy to see DST getting some great miles out of the tooling they made for the Calico Jack pirate ships; they are doing a fantastic job making these ships unique enough to work for me.  This one is very cool since it is a glow in the dark one; making it the ghost ship of undead pirate captain Charles Vanes as seen in the Calico Jack animated short DST had made.  The undead cartographer that comes with it is pretty cool, but pales in comparison to the glow in the dark version of him that came with the carry case.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 381

Day 381 January 16th


Today’s post is dedicated to KyeZ, my co-blogging son!  I can’t believe that he is 9 years old today!  Seems he is growing up so fast!  He really likes the Marvel vs Capcom minimates and has been checking mine out since I got them and had a hard time choosing which one would be his favourite.  He really likes Dante and Iron Man but Arthur is another fave and he told me that if he had the Zero minimate that one would probably be his pick for best!  I really dig how well these minimates have turned out as well and have really brought out some interesting ideas as I am learning about the characters that I don’t know.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day 380

Day 380 January 15th

Sunday with my Son

Some people might think this is a boring minimate but I see him as a very smart bad guy.  He will make a team of bad guys and have a big fight with the good guys.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 379

Day 379 January 14th

Mabel’s Labels

With an ever growing collection of anything storage can sometimes become an issue.  DST did an awesome job with the collector’s cases, especially for people who can’t or chose not to have their minimates on display.  For me I only feasibly have room for my Marvel collection to be displayed, plus the way I want to display them plays a factor into that too.  So I have been adding these cases for storing my non displayed collection but this also presents a small problem…how do I know what’s in the cases?  Well I found the solution with a product that is already in my house thanks to keeping track of the kids stuff especially at school…Mabel’s Labels!  With all sorts of options and designs for labels I was able to find one that fit what I needed and not only were they customizable to suit my needs they are decently priced too!  The ones that I used are the custom bin labels and they are customizable to what you want them to say and you get 30 for $21 and shipping which is really reasonable, and fast too!  Here’s the link!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 378

Day 378 January 13th

K.A.R.R. with Garthe Knight

While I can vividly recall K.A.R.R. in my memories of Knight Rider I totally blank on Garthe.  DST did another great job with capturing the slightly different look for K.A.R.R….the evil vehicle counterpart to the heroic K.I.T.T. .  My only qualm with these has been the tiny decals for on the dash…tough to get on but great attention to detail at the same time!  I really dig how they made it that you put the tail light sticker on and then snap the translucent cover over them…nice touch there!  Garthe looks totally pimped out, especially with his walking stick and gold chain over his manscaped chest lol!  Loving it!