Kidrobot Posts

Halloween Means Thrills! Chills! Collectibles!

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Aside from Christmas, there’s no holiday that inspires decor, commemoratives, and good ol’ limited edition fun as much as Halloween. As the holiday rapidly approaches, we thought it would be a good time to look at some of our favorite Halloween collectibles.

nightmare before christmasFirst of all, a question… is “The Nightmare Before Christmas” a Halloween movie, or a Christmas movie? Or should you just watch it every night for two months straight between both holidays? Regardless, there are so many great characters to base collectibles on. Nearly 25 years after its theatrical release, the Tim Burton stop motion masterpiece has only grown in legend, and more items pop up every year. This sculpture of Zero and his dog house is pretty neat.

funko ghostbustersOddly enough, many horror movies have become associated with Halloween, even though the vast majority of them have nothing to do with the holiday. “Ghostbusters,” more comedy than horror actually, has become another favorite movie that embodies the fun of Halloween. There is no shortage of collectibles from the classic 1984 movie (as well as its sequel, the 2016 remake, and the cartoons).

halloween chip n daleIn fact, Halloween has an interesting distinction for fans in that anything gothic, spooky, scary, or macabre fits in. It doesn’t matter if they are officially part of the holiday or not. Heck, you can take any popular characters such as Disney’s Chip ‘n’ Dale,  put them in vampire garb, insert them into a jack-o’-lantern, and presto… instant Halloween collectible!

hallmark great pumpkin peanutsSnoopy and the Peanuts gang hold a special place in Halloween lore ever since their 1966 animated special introduced the world to Linus and his story of The Great Pumpkin. This 1996 Hallmark Keepsake set includes everything you need for a good time except the Dolly Madison snack cakes.

labbit skeleton hello kittySkeletons are always a popular Halloween theme, even though they’re everywhere year ’round. (Here’s a fun joke to play on little kids… ask in a scary voice, “Do you know where you can find a skeleton? INSIDE YOUR OWN BODY! Bwahahaha!” Never gets old!) Apparently Kidrobot’s Labbits have skeletons. Slightly less scary is this Hello Kitty skeleton figure from Funko.

lego skeletonLego has also done minifig skeletons a couple different ways. One version that came with various building sets has a bony, hollow structure, while the other version, sold by itself in blind packs, has a more traditional costume look.

tin wizard harold maude hearseHearses are used year ’round in the real world, too, but if you park one in front of your house the rest of the year, people look at you kinda funny. But in October? No sweat. There are lots of miniature hearses out there to collect, by the way. Just in case your HOA frowns displaying the real thing. (By the way, Ecto-1, the Ghostbusters’ car, is an ambulance, not a hearse.)

halloween hot wheelsSpeaking of driveable collectibles, Hot Wheels has commemorated various holidays over the years with limited edition cars. After Christmas, Halloween is probably the most popular among these series. 2017 is no exception, featuring cars with special skull-themed wheels.

liberty promotions halloween drag busFor something even more limited, Liberty Promotions has offered yearly, low production Drag Bus models for Halloween and other holidays, along with Chase versions.

kfc colonel sanders maskYou like zombies? Kentucky Fried Chicken’s recent ad campaign features multiple actors doing off kilter impressions of the Colonel Sanders , making KFC a pop culture phenomenon. Now you can add your own take on the long-deceased company founder and spokescharacter with this Halloween Harland costume. It was available very briefly on the KFC website this before selling out.

Regardless of your age, Halloween is a fun holiday, and there are collectibles of all kinds to enjoy throughout October or year ’round if you dare.

Do you have a favorite Halloween collectible? Tell us about it in the comments and add it to the hobbyDB database if it’s not already there!

You’ll Love These Valentine’s Day Collectibles

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

February 14 can only mean one thing at hobbyDB: It’s time to share our love of Valentine’s Day collectibles!

Hot Wheels has experimented over the years with holiday-related segments, with mixed results. Christmas cars have been enormously popular, possibly because their mere existence helps solve the gift giving aspect of the holiday. On the other hand, collectors might balk at paying for premium price cars in a series of 4 or 6 models to commemorate a holiday like Mardi Gras. Somewhere in between those extremes lie the Valentine’s Day cars. Presumably the paramour of a collector is supposed to purchase these as a gift, because the collector likely wouldn’t want to give them away, right?

hot wheels roger dodger

hot wheels tesla roadsterNow here’s the sneaky thing… for some years, the Valentine’s cars have included a “To/From” space on the packaging like on this Tesla Roadster. When lovingly filled out, that actually ruined the “mint on card” status of the car. Oops! Such a transgression would likely drive a collector mad, so the only solution was to buy another set to keep fresh and perfect.

The 2014 Sweet Rides series were designed to promote a softer sell on Valentine’s Day with more of a candy-themed promotion. Either way, that’s six more vehicles you needed to collect.

For 2017, rather than a set of several cars, Matell is issuing a series of “Holiday Racers,” one for each special day throughout the year. They’re mixed in with the mainline offerings, and the Rodger Dodger is the one to be looking for today. Keep an eye out for New Year’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Christmas soon as well.

Hot Wheels has also produced boxes of Valentine’s cards, featuring such sentiments as “I WHEELIE like you” or “I never TIRE of you.” They usually come in packs of 24, 28, hopefully enough for your entire class, including one for the teacher.

hot wheels valentine's cards

Corgi delivered their love for the holiday with this Citroen Moving Van… Okay, that might be a stretch. So how about this Minichamps BMW touring car from Team Valentin. That should get your heart racing.

corgi valentine

Long before Tinder, Zoosk, and other dating apps, you could play the Dating Valentine video game. Since online play wasn’t really a thing yet, one can only assume this was an exercise in unrequited gaming. It was made for the iMode Handy, which is obscure enough that anyone using one was probably extra lonely. 

dating valentine game

Kidrobot has gotten in on the love theme in their unusual way… A romantically themed version of the company mascot was released in 2005, and more recently, the Best Friends Forever series of figures included objects that defied the odds to be together, such as a cassette tape and a magnet, or a wedge of cheese and a grater. There’s a metaphor for every type of relationship in the collectibles world.

kidrobot love

Ponder this item: A Snow White postcard, somewhat romantic in nature (although the Seven Dwarfs might get in the way of things). While not specifically produced for February 14, they were printed by… Valentine and Sons.

show white postcard

Milton Bradley’s Mystery Date first appeared in 1965, introducing a generation of girls to the art judging boys for their outward appearance instead of what’s inside. (As someone who resembled “The Pest”, aka the supposed dud, I was not in the least traumatized by the existence of this game. Nope, not me!) As a bonus, the 1999 edition of the game featured a hunky kid named Tyler, aka the “Beach Date,” who would grow up to be Captain America. No, really, that’s Chris Evans, who has played Cap in several Marvel films. Seriously, how’s a guy supposed to compete with that?

mystery date chris evans

Even if you can’t find that special someone for Valentine’s Day, you can still find that special collectors item.

Meet Frank Kozik, Designer of the Smorkin’ Labbit

Frank Kozik kidrobot labbit

If you’ve ever seen Smorkin’ Labbit vinyl art toys from Kidrobot, you might wonder what kind of person would design such a thing. With their hostile eyes and cigarette dangling from their mouths, they aren’t the friendliest creatures. It turns out Frank Kozik, the San Francisco artist who created the character for concert posters and other projects, is quite the opposite. And he was kind enough to chat with hobbyDB about his creations and the design process.

Like many successful artists, his career started out as something fun. “I would always invent characters, even as a child,” he said. “Things got serious around 1998 or so when I made the connections in Japan to have my works made as products. An amateur hobbyist goes pro, basically.”

Kozik medicom labbit

Kozik has worked with several toy companies over the years, but is probably best known for his designs for Kidrobot. His favorite design so far is the Ride ‘Em Bob Labbit. If you don’t have one in your collection, that’s understandable… Kidrobot only produced 450 of the blue “Ancient Bob Slug” version.

As elaborate as that toy looks, Kozik says a different Labbit was the most complicated to produce. “Bony Bunny, the first skeleton Labbit with Medicom presented quite a few engineering challenges,” he said. Looking at it, it’s easy to see why. The top half of the creature is a removable shell to expose the bones, and lining keeping it lined up can’t be easy. “It was early in the genre and factories had not quite gotten it together, so figuring shrink rates for the separate pieces got complex.”

The skeletal theme continued with a simpler version for Kidrobot, this time with a Labbit that showed flesh/fur on one side and when turned around, the skeleton body.

Kozik kidrobot labbit skeleton

The angry eyes and smorking… er, smoking, themes carry on with a lot of his toys such as the Mongers series (anthropormorphic food). One of his recent departures from this them depicts a certain North Korean dictator as a whiny baby.

Kozik baby huey kim jong un kidrobot

He said the process form sketch to finished product can take six months to several years. “Average time when there is a system in place is 12 months.”

Kozik kidrobot labbit ride em bob

His outside interest include collecting “Original pre 1970’s Disney attraction posters as well as original art, books, vintage toysweird stuff in general.” His favorite toy is described as “a wooden rabbit pulling a cart from a tiny company in Oregon from the 1940’s.” Overall, he tries not to get too obsessed with collecting things. “Stuff is cool, but don’t define yourself by it.”

In case you were wondering where the term “Smorkin’ Labbit” means, Kozik has a wonderfully random explanation. “Several years ago, I did version of my rabbit with a company in Japan,” he explained. “It was supposed to be ‘Smokin’ Rabbit,’ but they printed it ‘Smorkin Labbit,’ which sounds about a billion times cooler so thus it became REAL.”

10 Funky Toy Mashups that Only Make Sense in the Kidrobot World

Kidrobot’s vinyl toy collection includes a lot of items that can only be answered “If you don’t understand it, then butterscotch.” Of all the weird combinations of creatures and concepts, these toys make such a strange impression that they come full circle if you think about them long enough. In some cases, they might even change the way you see the world for better or for weirder..

kidrobot vampire tweety

Tweety Vampire

Tweety Bird always seemed like a pacifist cartoon character, using only his wits to kindly defeat Sylvester the Cat. According to this toy, he was also a vampire, which really flips that narrative on its ear. You’ll never watch Looney Tunes the same way again.

kidrobot homer simpson buddha

Buddha Simpson

The idea of Homer Simpson as Buddha is kind of odd until you realize they have the same basic physique.

kidrrobot siracha sketracha dunny

Sketracha Dunny

A Dunny is some sort of rabbit-like creature. Unless it’s made of glass and filled with hot sauce. Then it’s…. I dunno, delicious? The bigger question: Is it half empty or half full?

kidrobot black pac man dalek dunny

Dunny Pac Man

Remember when you used to play Pac Man and thought, “that character looks like an eyeball”? No? Well, apparently Dalek, the designer of this toy, did have that idea. And somehow it works.

kidrobot vandal express

Vandal Express

Many Kidrobot figures are inspired by graffiti art, so a subway car makes the perfect canvas. So why not make it a psychotic anthropomorphic hot rod while you’re at it?

kidrobot cover the cap gold fatcap

Cover the Cap Fatcap

Speaking of graffiti related items, there have several figures of spray paint cans over the years, including the Fatcaps, which were based on just the nozzle. This one is subjected to a bucket of paint poured over its head, so the grafittist becomes the grafittee.

kidrobot staple pigeon

Staple Pigeon

Imagine a world where everything looked like Bib, the bulbous mascot for Michelin tires. Now imagine what a pigeon would look like in that world. Actually, no need to imagine it, they’ve already done it for  you.

kidrobot war melon

War Melon

The Mongers series of toys featured things smoking cigarettes that shouldn’t be smoking them. Not because of health reasons or anything, but seriously, a half watermelon with a cigarette? Somehow, adding the Tiger Mouth fighter plane motif to it makes it badass enough to excuse such behavior.

kidrobot smokey el roy

Smokey El Roi

Speaking of things that shouldn’t smoke, a cigarette smoking another tiny cigarette is almost cannibalistic. Which somehow makes sense, right? The Filter Kings version of Smokey wears a crown. Because of course.

kidrobot howie lighter

Howie

And then there’s Howie… can someone explain how a lighter can light its own smokes? Do we really need to answer that for you?

Of course, the world of Kidrobot is populated with countless more marriages of odd concepts that work despite all common sense. Add your favorites in the comments below. You can see the official online archive of everything Kidrobot related on hobbyDB.com.

 

Kidrobot’s Allen Richardson Joins hobbyDB Advisory Board

Allen Richardson Kidrobot

Over the past year, hobbyDB has been collecting everything from Kidrobot, and now we’ve added Allen Richardson. No, he’s not a Vinyl Art Toy, he’s VP of Product and Marketing for Kidrobot, and he’s joining our Advisory Board.

The Kidrobot archive on hobbyDB is the most complete listing you will find anywhere on the internet, and Allen will be able to help us stay on top of all the new releases. “I get to work with the best independent vinyl artists and largest licenses available today,” he told us. “I love getting to live in two very different worlds and make a living within them both.”

If that sounds like a fun job, consider the rest of his history in the world of toys.

He started in the video game world with Konami, and then moved to Tiger Electronics. When Tiger was acquired by Hasbro, he was put in charge of their “Star Wars” product line. “It was a dream come true as I had collected action figures all of my life. My earliest memories were of receiving the very first Star Wars action figures for Christmas. Star Wars, and most all of what we call the “Boys Action” category, has been in my blood for a very long time.”

As Director of Marketing /Product for Hasbro, he handled a few other brands you may have heard of: Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, The Littlest Pet Shop, FurReal Friends, VideoNow, Hitclips, PooChi, and Furby for example.

And before coming to Kidrobot, he worked for Sphero. “I returned to Star Wars to work on everyone’s favorite new Droid: BB-8! Being able to take traditional toy play and add an app-based experience to it was truly innovative and memorable.”

Aside from those interests, he collects original comic art. His favorite piece is a Judge Dredd page from “2000AD” by Brian Bolland. “This page pairs my favorite character with my favorite artist. They are pretty rare, so I was elated to finally have it for my collection.”

hobbyDB is just as glad to have Allen on board.