Tales of unbelievable toy finds and coincidences

Discussion in 'Whatever' started by akum6n, Apr 16, 2018 at 2:41 AM.

  1. akum6n

    akum6n Prototype

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    Tales of unbelievable toy finds and coincidences
    Although @badteethcomics request for 'old stories' wasn't received well, I thought a similar thread might be interesting (albeit without the request to drag up subjects best left forgotten). Another site that I frequent uses this format to produce some enjoyable reads, so let's see if this works here.

    Here is my request for stories about your most unbelievable toy finds and/or greatest toy coincidences. I don't want to hear about how you won the lottery for the latest HxSxAAxNNN whatever after trying forever *celebratory hands emoji x 3* This is about the toy that you never thought you would find, or a toy that you didn't believe existed and yet happened upon one day in a random flea market. This is about missing a toy 7 years ago, to win the same one in an auction from a seller in New Zealand. This is why some of us are still here after 10+ years.

    My story is one that I've posted here before, but I feel like a sufficient amount of time has passed to keep me from sounding like that old guy with only one story.

    So back in 2007, when people liked different things, there was this amazing collaborative release teased at the Super Festival in January. It was Dream Rocket's original figure, Gumoz, but painted with Cronic's signature hand-painted marbling. A sign behind the figure simply said "Coming Soon".

    Although we would see Cronic's collaborative works explode at Wonderfestival in the following month, this type of collaboration- in which one toymaker paints another toymaker's figure- was pretty rare at the time. So there was much excitement among Cronic fans and Dream Rocket fans (all 5 of them!) alike. Being a fan of both, I was elated to see such a project in the works. And so we waited for the official announcement of a release. And waited, and waited, and waited.

    A couple of years passed with no updates, and most of us figured that the project had been scuttled. Of course, I kept the flames of hope alive in my heart... there was a sample shown, so at least one has to exist! And then, in late 2009, I received confirmation that Cronic had produced a very limited number of custom-painted Gumoz (long sold out, of course).

    A few months later, I happened to see a Mandarake listing from one of the main branches (think it was Shibuya) with a Cronic Gumoz for sale. And it appeared to be the same sample from the 2007 Super Festival display with a few additional paint sprays. And... it was sold out! ARGH! I figured that was the end of that, and I would never see that figure again- except in those feverish dreams where you find that store full of toys that you've always wanted (real and imaginary), only to wake up just as you walk to the register.

    The really unbelievable part, however, came over 3 years later. I was on my way back from a trip to Japan and sitting at a restaurant in Haneda Airport (I remember the restaurant too- really great tonkatsu place where they bread and fry the cutlet right in front of you... excellent red miso soup with clams as well.) As I waited for my meat to fry, I thumbed through the listings on Mandarake. To my absolute shock, there was that same Cronic Gumoz from Super Festival in 2007, from the Mandarake listing 3 years ago, for sale yet again at one of the smaller Mandarake branches. Seemingly, the person that bought it from the Shibuya branch sold it back to the smaller branch, where it was listed again. It was not sold out. And so, with my fingers furiously pressing the tiny keys on my Blackberry, eyes bulging like a maniac, forehead beading sweat, I finally bought that Gumoz while sitting at the bar of a tiny airport restaurant.

    Here is a photo of the original display from Super Festival in January 2007 (pic via datadub):

    [​IMG]

    And here it is after being given a new paint job:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. ultrakaiju

    ultrakaiju Die-Cast Staff Member

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    Tales of unbelievable toy finds and coincidences
    Fantastic story, Daniel, and thank you very much for trying to bring back some of the Skullbrain of old. Nothing like a strong injection of true appreciation and just plain happiness that - I hope - is the reason many of us came to this hobby, and why we seem to stick with it, in spite of all the hardships, empty wallets, and angst that comes along with it.

    I really appreciate you sharing your story once more. I have a few similar ones from other 'hobbies' but I ought to think on it, and come up with a deserving sofubi anecdote to share here. I can think of another member on here who might also have a great story to tell (or at least of a grail achieved) in short time. There have been a few other similar threads here (some of which I also tried to start), and frankly, they remain some of the best content of Skullbrain. :thumbsup:

    Oh, and not that it needs saying here, but that is such a gorgeous toy. Truly worthy of the depth you have gone through to share this experience with us, humbly and selflessly. So thank you once more.
     
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  3. akum6n

    akum6n Prototype

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    Tales of unbelievable toy finds and coincidences
    Thanks ultra. I'd welcome stories (relevant to the theme) about any type of toy collecting from the members... even, dare I say, about 'other designer vinyls'. :shock:
     
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  4. Mr. Humphreys

    Mr. Humphreys S7 Royalty

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    Tales of unbelievable toy finds and coincidences
    I know I've shared this somewhere before (old Uglydoll Forum). Way back in 2005, when Uglydolls were in their early years, David Horvath posted on the Uglydoll Forum that he and Sun-Min (now his wife) were having a special toy give-away. The lucky person was to meet at a specified address, somewhere in Korea, at 7:00 am. It just so happened that my brother was stationed in Seoul at the time, as a civilian geologist, working for the Army Corp of Engineers. My poor brother has always been rather serious, definitely very analytical. He did not collect anything, and didn't know anything about the toy world, accept for the fact that his sister was obsessed with toys and Uglydolls :). Seoul is 16 hours ahead of Pacific Time. Anyway, I sent him an email and begged begged begged him to claim the special Ugly toy for me. He got up very very early (5 am his time), and hopped on a long train ride. Since it was a weekday, he had to take time off from work too. So, at 6:45 am he reaches the mystery destination, which turns out to be a porridge (congee) restaurant, and the streets are EMPTY! Meanwhile, I was dashing off for a medical appointment at the time, and had just been plonked in a hospital exam room, waiting for the doctor to come in. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring! My sweet brother called all the way from Seoul on my cell (cell phones were a big thing back in 2005). He said he was worried that no one was at the restaurant. I had a HORRID sinking feeling that I had gotten 7am mixed up with 7pm!!! :shock::shock::shock: Oh Horrors! Did I send my poor brother out on a wild chase? On top of all that, my phone battery was low, and we kept getting disconnected! :x ...and I thought that the doctor was going to walk through the door at any second, and I'd have to leave in a hospital gown (because I wasn't going to miss out on this toy, darn it!!! :x). So, all this dire drama was taking place in a hospital exam room, with me in a gown, and agonizing that I had gotten the instructions all wrong. :oops: At 6:55am, he reported that there was still no sign of anyone, or anyone opening the restaurant, then click! We got disconnected again. Arrrrgh! :x:x:x We finally connected at 7:05am, and brother was very happy to report that he was successful in claiming the toys! Turns out that the porridge restaurant is owned by Sun-Min's brother :)

    [​IMG]

    and for you "faint" of heart, do not open the spoiler!

    [​IMG]

    He sent the toys back across the pond via express mail. Needless to say, I was in heaven, an I've never forgotten how wonderful my brother was (he passed in 2016). He always indulged my every whim, and I miss him dearly.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018 at 8:02 PM
  5. xSuicide Squadx

    xSuicide Squadx Post Pimp

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    Tales of unbelievable toy finds and coincidences
    Repost for the sake of the thread: I got my first Obake Dogs at SDCC ‘13. Knew practically nothing about them, so I went home and Googled ‘em. This particular Dog immediately caught my eye and I REALLY wanted it for my newfound love and collection, so I threw it up in a wants list. My first “grail” of any toy. After doing so a fellow board member and Dog lover informed me that it was from a collaboration run with Whiz76, and that each painted Dog was a one off. Essentially, they told me it was long sold out and that I’d probably never seen it. Almost FIVE YEARS later I’m surfing Mandarake at 4:00 in the morning, and I scroll past an Obake Dog I know I don’t have. Took me a few seconds but once it registered what Dog it was, I shot up like a bullet out of bed. Scared the hell out of my lady. :lol: Needless to say, I ordered it in a panic, and now it is FINALLY in my home. So, so appreciative of my 64th Obake Dog.
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    *Other Designer Vinyls Story*
    When I’d first gotten into collecting toys, about late 2008 - early 2009, all I knew was Western toys. In the midst of my Google spree for information I searched the term “Halloween urban vinyl(I’ve always hated that ‘urban vinyl’, but it’s all I knew)”. Amongst the foray of results, I was immediately drawn to the image of of a pumpkin headed figure, adorning a black suit, a top hat and a cane with a skull for the handle. The exaggerated proportions were just right; not too over the top, but just enough to give it a cartoony character vibe, one I’d been used to seeing in the local graffiti I grew up around. Then I see the name: Spumpkin. Of course, the image had only been that of a shot from a current owner, and not a single result had come up with any possibility to purchase. At that point, I made a wants list on the forum I had been a part of at the time, only to come up empty handed for almost three years. I abandoned that previous forum, and with it, the idea that I’d ever come to owning the Spumpkin. It totally escaped my mind and I didn’t give the figure a single thought again...until a month ago. Because of my recent picking back up of searching for BxH, a good friend messaged me with a “Hey, you might like this as well” and a link. Open up the link, and there it is: the original Spumpkin, by Headlock Studio, whom even in 2009 I didn’t know was a Japanese company. The toy being listed for an overly affordable $25, I immediately jumped on it. From giving up after a three year search, to owning one of my very first hunts in toy collecting, almost a decade later, I’m so happy to own the Spumpkin. Such a great, great toy, and I’m immensely appreciative of the friend for bringing it to my attention.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. chimply.kaiju

    chimply.kaiju Line of Credit

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    Tales of unbelievable toy finds and coincidences
    Some great stories.

    @akum6n - Wow, that's a really great piece. The paint job is just trippy. I love it!
    @Mr. Humphreys - Grace, sorry to hear your brother passed away. What a great brother for going to all that trouble to grab you the Uglydoll.
    @xSuicide Squadx - Robert. Wonderful Spumpkin.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018 at 6:08 AM
  7. akum6n

    akum6n Prototype

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    Tales of unbelievable toy finds and coincidences
    Thanks for sharing your stories!

    @Mr. Humphreys - It's sometimes hard to believe how much collecting (and communication in general) has changed in the last 10-15 years. Moreover, you don't hear about similar random and weird offers from artists these days, probably due to the maturity of the hobby and the new expectations created by social media. I'm also sorry to hear about your brother.

    @xSuicide Squadx - You know, I saw that Spumpkin and I thought about picking it up, as I love Halloween toys as well. But I've had to stop my habit of buying things that are 'interesting' as it leads to hoarding. Had no idea that it was made by a Japanese company. Glad you were the buyer, and that it completed a long-forgotten toy hunt.
     
  8. Mr. Humphreys

    Mr. Humphreys S7 Royalty

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    Tales of unbelievable toy finds and coincidences
    Thank you Anthony and Daniel. I really miss my brother. He was the best! There aren't many (relatives or not) who would wake up at the crack of dawn and go out on a wild hunt to track something that you don't know anything about, and take time off from work, and ship everything back stateside. He was a wonderful brother, and we were always the best of friends from childhood to adulthood. I miss him a lot :cry:.

    Daniel, I agree with you. D&SM from the very start, were really good with keeping in touch with their fans. David took the time to administer the Uglydoll forum, and answer questions. They were very personable and approachable at shows too, and signed everything and made drawings too. Very generous of heart, but also very driven.

    David drawing a Babo on my jacket (yep still have the jacket!) :D
    [​IMG]
     
  9. ultrakaiju

    ultrakaiju Die-Cast Staff Member

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    Tales of unbelievable toy finds and coincidences
    Great stories, everyone. Grace, I am very sorry to hear about the passing of your brother. My condolences for that deep loss. I know the story behind this toy was always going to be something incredible for you, but you will treasure it that much more I am sure for what it means and the connection to such a wonderful sibling.
     
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