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As we spend our long weekend preparing the turkey (or the tofurkey) while enjoying football and avoiding politics (or avoiding football and enjoying politics), this is the perfect time to reflect on the things that make life great. Here at hobbyDB, we have much to be thankful for.
Geek Culture. (And Nerd Culture, Fanboy Culture, Collector Culture…) It’s what drives the collectibles world. But the best part is when we talk about the things we go crazy for, we don’t judge each other. What’s the real difference between someone who collects vinyl art figures of obscure cereal spokes characters or someone who tries to snag one of every vintage Hot Wheels Redline button ever made? They’re the same person, really (Okay, that person is me. I do both. Along with license plates, lunchboxes, Star Wars action figures…).
The companies that keep making all those wonderful toys and collectibles. Some of us collect toys from old, defunct brands, which results in a finite set of items and variants to find on the road to “completion.” Reaching that final destination can be bittersweet. So thanks to companies like Mattel, Kidrobot, Funko, Hard Rock Cafe, and thousands more who ensure that our hobby of collecting never really has an expiration date.
Architect Charles Haertling. He was the Frank Lloyd Wright of the Denver area, known mostly for his wild mid-20th-Century commercial buildings and churches as well as some very unconventional house designs. In 1969, he created a strange, curved, multi-level, rounded building for an eye surgery clinic in Boulder. That building is now known as Tatooine, the home of hobbyDB’s global headquarters (and other fine companies as well). The walls are loud primary colors, very few of them are parallel or perpendicular, and it’s the perfect space to feel creative and playful at work.
Al Gore (or whoever invented the internet). At least, he sort of claimed he did on the campaign trail in 2000 (but let’s avoid politics, right?). Regardless of who deserves credit for our online world, hobbyDB couldn’t exist the way it does without it. Heck, we even have a European office and a South American office, and the camaraderie with those friends thousands of miles away is the same as it is with the person sitting at the next desk.
The hobbyDB family. That includes you, our Users, our Curators… In addition to the fine folks who work here, none of this is possible without those of you who log in daily and make hobbyDB even better. From the Users who add to our database, to the Curators who expertly ensure our data is correct and complete, to our Advisory Council who shine their experience like a guiding light, you have helped build an amazing resource for collectors. And of course, our Marketplace has become a great place for Buyers and Sellers to come together. So, thank you all!
The holidays themselves. As much as we enjoy coming into the office at hobbyDB, there’s something to be said for the occasional long weekend. We love to celebrate various holidays around the calendar, and what better way than to look at some of the holiday-relatedcollectiblesout there?
As for my family, it’s turkey meatloaf, football all day, no politics allowed, and lots and lots of slots! Happy Thanksgiving!
Interested in becoming an even bigger part of the hobbyDB family? Learn more at our Wefunder profile. We thank you!
The world of vinyl art toys is full of weird, wonderful creatures, some of them mass-produced, some limited, and some that are truly one of a kind. Thanks to John “Spanky” Stokes, hobbyDB has an influx of many of these characters, especially from the rare end of the spectrum.
From every direction, Stoke’s studio is full of wonderful, weird creatures.
Stroll, the lovable mascot of Spankystokes.
Stokes runs his own blog, Spankystokes.com, about vinyl art characters, with an emphasis on unusual custom jobs. “The philosophy behind my site, from the very beginning, has been to spread the word about the Designer Toy world,” he said.” To help promote artists who don’t have a voice and to just share how cool and unique all of these amazing creations are!”
While his website is frequently updated with news about cool new items, none of it is cataloged and cross-referenced to make it very searchable. That’s where hobbyDB comes in providing his site with a handy database. So far the database covers Kidrobot and Superplastic but there are plans to expand it adding eventually every designer Spanky wrote about (which will then also come to hobbyDB!).
“When I first got into the Designer Toy scene, I started my site as a personal blog and did not post much Designer Toy news on there,” he said. “But as soon as I became more and more fond of the scene I not only started to write about the things I found interesting but also dove into the customizing scene.”
His interest in such figures stems in part from his own custom work, too. The site’s mascot is Stroll, a cycloptic, furry yeti.“I created monsters, really furry ones with gnarled teeth and drool. My dad liked the way they looked so much that I guess it crept into his subconscious,” Stokes said. “Dad named him Stroll, a combination of Stokes and Troll. Stroll has been immortalized by Kidrobot in Dunny form.
Stokes started customizing in 2007, going strong until 2014, when his daughter was born. “I really want to get back into it as I crave that creative outlet… but having recently moved, I am waiting to build a new studio so I can have a dedicated space – once again – to get back into the swing of things.” So for the past few years, his blog has been the focus of his hobby.
Luckily, since he had a website for those years, he has a pretty detailed record of his work, straight from the horse’s mouth but without the fog of time. His new database will really enhance his ability to keep it all organized.
His work really revolves around creatures, kinda gruesome for the most part. “I have a lot of fun making those as I can manifest the cool monsters that I have been dreaming about since I was a young child. I always loved fantasy/sci-fi type things growing up, and played my fair share of AD&D along with Magic The Gathering, and on top of that – so many rad comic books and movies have inspired me as well.”
He started customizing with Kidrobot Dunny figures, mostly with decoration. His figures have become more complex and scratch-built ever since. “I start off, most of the time with a base platform… Dunny, Munny, MAD*L and everything in between, then build on top of that with a 2-part epoxy called Magic Sculpt,” he said. “I normally have some type of eyes involved and those are cast glass, so they find their way into the epoxy compound as well. Then I paint using acrylics along with airbrush vinyl paint. Lastly, I cover certain parts of my creations with faux-fur.”
Stroll, the cycloptic yeti spokes character of many colors.
More recently, he has worked with resin casting so he can create limited runs of his creations instead of one-off figures. As his daughter gets older (she is five now), it’s likely he will find time and inspiration to get back into his studio and create. And when he does, expect to read about them at spankystokes.com!
As for his nickname, he got it in high school. “My offensive line coach though I looked like Spanky from ‘The Little Rascals’… and from that point forward, it’s followed me through all stages of life,” Stokes laughed. “Thirty-eight years old now… and everyone calls me Spanky.
Stokes has made a lot of friends in the vinyl art design world.
After a decade of running a Designer Toy blog and being involved with the scene in general, most artists, (“who I used to fanboy over”) are now his close friends. “I love having pieces by all of them in my collection as it reminds me of the great times we have all had… it’s also awesome to surround yourself with so many fantastic creations – I soak up this stuff like a creative sponge – looking around my office at all the unique creations really brings me joy!
Interested in joining forces with hobbyDB to take charge of our collectible destiny? Learn more at our Wefunder profile.
A couple weeks ago, we told you about hobbyDB’s endeavor to add every collectible shot glass from Hard Rock Cafe to the hobbyDB database. In their typical fashion, Hard Rock has created thousands of different designs, including each location, year, and event when possible. Combined with their pins and other collectibles, the hobbyDB database has surpassed 80,000 different Hard Rock collectibles.
Many long-time users discovered hobbyDB when diecast vehicles were far and away our biggest subject, and Hot Wheels dominated those listings. In fact, a quick check of our database shows close to 50,000 items when “Hot Wheels” is punched into the search bar which is a lot!
But we’ve come a long way in the last five years. Now with more than 500,000 items and subjects in the database, we’re working to add all sorts of different collectibles. Here’s a quick look at how we got here.
First, a reminder of hobbyDB’s mission… our slogan, found at the bottom of the main page is “Over 100 Billion Collectibles… Eventually.” And that includes every kind of documentable collectible under the sun. The very first items in the database years ago were from a collection of James Bond Corgi cars. Sprinkled in with those were some View Master reels, corkscrews, and chess sets.
We then moved to diecast cars, particularly Hot Wheels, and quickly became an authoritative source for information on those. Why? Because hobbyDB grew from a diecast website, and our founders have always had a keen interest in diecast, and that brand had the best and most complete data available at the time. We integrated data from Diecastlovers, Gary’s Cars, Model Pack Rat and South Texas Diecast.
hobbyDB has and will always be a user-driven site. We count on collectors to see where there are holes and add their own items to fill in the blanks. And we have a data team that does the same thing, keeping track of the current offerings as they come out.
After working to build out our giant Hot Wheels database, it was time to add video games! So, we partnered with the owner of Hugada (the HUgh GAme DAtabase), to import the result of his long years of adding video games that included fan favorites such as Assassin’s Creed, Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda.
Another way we expand is by partnering with companies who see the value in having their entire inventory documented not just on their own site, but alongside other seemingly unrelated topics. Kidrobot, conveniently located in Colorado, also home of hobbyDB Headquarters, was one of our first big partners. Their online archives were incomplete and randomly documented enough that some of their history was in danger of being lost over time. So they partnered with us to form one of our first Official Archives. These archives (and there are a lot of them now) are the result of a collectible company providing the data to us so we can provide that data an organized home.
We’ve also partnered with Funko to add not only their complete archive, but up to date pricing information on their vinyl art toys, old and new to their App.
The benefits of Official Archives are many… the data is accurate and complete because it comes directly from the horse’s mouth. And it’s going to stay up-to-date, as the companies can easily provide listings of new and upcoming products as they are announced. And one of the best parts is any entry can be cross-referenced with other collectibles in the database.
The Hard Rock Cafe items came about another way, though. In this case, we found a community of dedicated collectors of their pins (Pin Masters) who were looking for a new home. So they decided to locate it all on hobbyDB in a standard format with easy search functions and cross-referencing. The result is over 80,000 pins and other collectibles.
We are now adding model boats, Lego minifigs, film posters and much, much more! If you have some collectibles that you’d like to add to the database, join us! Find out more about how to become a Contributor here.
Interested in joining forces with hobbyDB to take charge of our collectible destiny? Learn more at our Wefunder profile.