At the end of last year, Hot Toys Hong Kong headquarters contacted us with an offer to start a collaboration between INSTINCTOY and Hot Toys.
The collaboration proposal we received was to freely select and design a MARVEL licensed character held by Hot Toys. This was an offer to work on a dream-like project.
I chose “VENOM” without hesitation. I still remember the time when I watched the movie “Spider-Man 3”, when it was released in 2007. A scene that particularly inspired me was the moment when the black symbiote was creeping up on Spider-Man. While watching that scene, an image of INSTINCTOY’s first original character popped up in my mind. This marked the beginning of what would become the mysterious liquid erosion life form called “LIQUID”. VENOM has always been one of my favorite characters. In some ways, I feel that I have a special connection with him.
In general, there are various ways to approach such a collaboration. However, for the Hot Toys artist MIX series, I proposed a collaboration style where "Kaiju Soft Vinyl" and "VENOM" would unite.
I started collecting soft vinyl figures myself at the age of 19, and have been collecting for 19 years already thus far. I have collected various soft vinyl figures and I also own some VENOM statues and figures but unfortunately, I could not find a soft vinyl VENOM I truly like.
So this time, granted this wonderful opportunity by Hot Toys, we started this project pursuing the idea of a “soft vinyl VENOM figure that I, as a VENOM fan and soft vinyl collector, would want for my own”.
Among the Kaiju soft vinyl figures made by INSTINCTOY, there are “KING KORPSE” and “Kaiju Killer” , which were both being developed in collaboration with American artist JAMES GROMAN. Both works are based on a 34cm tall size standard that I found to be the most attractive soft vinyl format for humanoid Kaiju soft vinyl figures.
Those two series are especially popular among our original soft vinyl works and have received a lot of support from soft vinyl collectors from all over the world. Therefore, I wanted to make a VENOM following the same design principles as KING KORPSE and Kaiju Killer.
For this project, INSTINCTOY was responsible for the planning, design, and production of a 3D prototype, while the production was handled by Hot Toys.
After the planning phase, we completed the design and Marvel, the publisher of the edition, approved it. The 3D prototype was steadily progressing, and was completed on time. In May this year, I went to Hong Kong with my staff to meet with the CEO of Hot Toys, Howard Chen, at the Hot Toys head office, where we finally had the chance to have a face-to-face meeting to further discuss this project. Our talks were very fruitful, and we had a wonderful time at the office, where we were surrounded by many amazing Hot Toys products.
Personally, I have been a big fan of Hot Toys for a long time, and I have many 1/6 scale figures centering around Star Wars. I have always been amazed by their high quality, which also inspired us as a manufacturer. I could not wait to see what kind of "soft vinyl figure" Hot Toys would make.
Based on the completed 3D prototype and the additional detailed information on what we wanted the final product to look like, the prototype sample was completed in August.
The completed sample was nothing short of the ideal form of VENOM that I had envisioned in my mind from the beginning. I was very impressed by the wonderful finish.
VENOM might seem like a rather simple character at first, but we made especial effort to focuse on the modeling of the head, as it has the most details. We sectioned out the head and its features to work on them separately, to achieve the highest quality finish by Hot Toys. Most notably, a lot of attention was paid to the eyes, as they were made as separate parts to get as close as possible to the unique translucent milky eye color of the original VENOM.
The 1st color series is designed to be as close as possible to the original VENOM. However, this colorway has a unique touch to avoid making the coloring look too simple. The blood vessels, which are spread over the whole body, are shown with a subtle difference in color to the main body so as not to not break the overall color impression.
In addition, to stay true to the playful spirit of the artist MIX series as a designer toy, the body was painted with polarized paint. Depending on the lighting angle, the jet-black color will display an iridescent rainbow color. The polarized paint is an exquisite detail, while not making the figure too colorful.
We also put a lot of effort into finding the perfect size and body proportions.
Originally, I wanted a “real” VENOM soft vinyl figure of high quality, which would be a perfect and elaborate reflection of the movie version. Fans would expect a figure like that from a Hot Toys release, as part of the Hot Toys Movie Master Piece Series. For the artist MIX series however, I pursued a design that is perfectly balanced between “reality” and exquisite “deformation”, to create an appealing VENOM soft vinyl figure.
The core of the design and modeling was to express the combination of “VENOM” and “Kaiju Soft Vinyl” in a unique and attractive way. Therefore, we took the original Venom as a base, and then deformed and adjusted the design to make it look more like a Kaiju Soft Vinyl with a less realistic aesthetic.
In order to achieve a unique and original design for this VENOM version, we aimed for a body proportion that reflects the charm of soft vinyl figures. We are aware of the "pros and cons" of this intention. Nevertheless, we believe that people who like soft vinyl figures find this design the best combination of both worlds.
On August 16th to 18th, the test samples were displayed at the booths of Hot Toys and INSTINCTOY at the BTS (Beijing Toy Show). It was the first time the final figure made an appearance.
At the INSTINCTOY booth, we placed it on display alongside our original Kaiju soft vinyl series that were made by our company. Because they are part of the same series, the charm of this figure came into full effect.
Also, the VENOM head (mouth closed version), that was displayed next to the VENOM figure, has a magnetic structure on the back to easily interchange the heads.
Each of our soft vinyl figures - Kaiju soft vinyl “KING KORPSE" (below), “Kaiju Killer" (bottom left), and our latest addition, “Mega-Mixasaurus <3D prototype>” (top left), which is scheduled to be released next year - , is an impressive soft vinyl figure of over 30cm in height. VENOM’s presence, even when he is standing next to these figures, is impressive and he is in no way inferior to them.
The total height of this VENOM figure is 34cm!
Me, at 175cm tall, can feel the heft of this work while holding it in my hands.
At the exhibition, we received a lot of questions about the release date and the figure’s specifications from customers who saw the actual samples. There were also many customers who took pictures of VENOM and gave us a lot of positive feedback.
At the Hot Toys booth, limited pre-orders for a certain quantity were accepted. For the duration of the 3-day exhibition, each day had a certain amount of pre-orders arranged. The pre-order limit for the first day was quickly reached at around noon. On the second day, it seemed like there were times where pre-orders could not be accepted due to a system error. However, we received continuous praise from our customers for 3 days and the final report of the exhibition put us at ease.
Here is some great news! Following the exhibition at the BTS (Beijing Toy Show), the sample will be displayed at the Hot Toys Tokyo Flagship Store “Toy Sapiens”, starting on September 6th!
Hot Toys provided many impressive pictures of the samples but seeing the VENOM figure first-hand is an entirely different experience! Therefore, we invite you to check out the real charm of this figure at the “Toy Sapiens” store.
Address: G Building 1F, 3-30-12 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
About 10 minutes by foot from JR Yamanote Line, Harajuku Station, Takeshita Exit
About 8 minutes by foot from Exit 5 of Meiji Jingumae Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line and Fukutoshin Line)
Phone number: 03-5474-3466
Business hours: From 11:00 to 19:00
※The exhibition might set a final admission time.
Regular Holiday: Open all year round (except New Year holidays)
Also, Hot Toys Japan will start accepting pre-orders from September 1st (Tue) at 11:00 AM. In Japan, please note that pre-orders will be accepted by the company “Toy Sapiens Limited”.
Artist MIX: "Marvel Comics 80th Anniversary" INSTINCTOY x VENOM
Price: ¥ 45,000 (tax included) / Release date: scheduled for January 2020
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If you want to see more sample photos, please enjoy the photos attached below!
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