|Tom Hughes' Custom Zone Fighter and Jet Jaguar Jumbos|
Many Shogun Warrior and Popy collectors don't remember a time when people really didn't want the Mattel line of toys - they were too common and too inferior to the original toys made by Popy and others. Daimos was particularly reviled as the original Popy was so detailed and had so many add-on features. That's how I ended up with two MIB - they were the cheapest because hardly anyone wanted them. You'll understand why they're currently in such demand shortly.
I first started seeing reproduction Shogun Warrior parts around 1998 or so- they were mostly inferior to the original, and I still have a Mazinga Condor that someone sent me from back in the day - this was before the better resins were readily available from Smooth-on and others and the solid form feels like a brick. It's also a pretty poor casting, but that's mostly what was available then and times have changed, along with the available materials and quality of the reproductions which are infinitely superior today.
A custom, by my definition, is the addition or modification of a toy to improve it (like adding Popy features to a Shogun Warrior to make it more like the original Popy toy using reproduction parts) but also includes changing an existing toy completely to make a new toy. I'm also including ground-up creations by hobbyists with new toy sculpts but not actual reproductions of an existing toy (for instance, there's an excellent reproduction of the extremely rare Ceppi Ratti Gundam Jumbo Machinder but it's cast from original parts).
|Custom Great Mazinger Front|
I think the first custom of which I'm aware was the modification of a Great Mazinger so both arms would shoot - this was possible by taking two ZZ-1 Popy accessory packs (one with each left and right shooting fists) and modifying the arms so the shooters were inserted (you had to cut a hole for the button). I saw a couple of these and at some point acquired one that had been modified. This is a pretty cool mod as the figure looks rather stock rather than custom. I'm not sure who else has one, but I did see a clever Grendizer that had the left are modified so it would shoot (was that Bourno? don't recall).
|Custom Great Mazinger Detail|
|Custom Great Mazinger Back|
|Launching Button Detail Front|
|Launching Button Detail Back|
|John Olson's Custom General Daimos Front|
|John Olson's Custom General DaimosBack|
For a while it seemed that hobby resin casters were getting to the point of making entirely new toys. To date the only resin customs made for sale that I'm aware of were coming from a toy designed in New York under the Emanium brand.
Emanium Enterprises - this is a small US company that made two custom jumbo machinders of which I'm aware. These are cast in resin and are held together with small rare-earth magnets. I only own the Aphrodite A but everything about these, even the packaging, is fairly impressive.
- Aphrodite A
|Me with Tom Hughes Custom Jet Jaguar Jumbo Machinder|
|Carlitos Ramirez Custom Taekwon V|
It will be interesting to see where the hobby ends up - seems like everyday there's some fantastic creation made available by creative people or small companies. It's an awesome time to collect these guys, but where to find the room to display them?
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