TTC talks to Pobber Toys

The Toy Chronicle speaks to designer art toy specialist who’s based in Singapore, Pobber! Pobber has been producing vinyl toys since 2011 and worked with artist ranging from Doktor A to Scott Tolleson and helped the likes of Gary Ham produce his Autumn Stag. Jake from Pobber Toys takes time out to speak to us.

Autumn Stag
Autumn Stag

So who’s Pobber Toys for the people who don’t know you guys?

Well essentially Pobber is me (Jake) and my wife Hallie. The wife travels with me to conventions and helps out with packing and sending out of orders. I do everything else. Not many people know that besides our own production work, we also work with artists and brands to turn their 2D work into a finished 3D art piece. We handle everything from prototyping to manufacturing and logistics, basically whatever it takes to get a toy from idea to collectors’ home.

What’s your typical day in the life of Pobber Toys?

A typical day is one where I’m replying emails, checking on project progress with the factory, reviewing prototypes and/or colour samples, checking in with artists on current projects, touch base with artists on possible collaborations.In between I’m talking to a bunch of people on instant messaging ranging from QQ to Skype or bringing my dog out for his daily walks. On days when I don’t have much to do, I put on a movie on my iMac and surf the internet looking for pretty things.

Pobber have been producing toys for established artist, any chance of less established artist work getting produced?

It is never about how established an artist is. We work with artists whom we follow and whose work we like. For example Bear Champ is JC Rivera’s first and only production toy to-date. We have also worked with Benzilla, a Thai artist who is unheard of outside of Thailand.
BEAR CHAMP
BEAR CHAMP
Benzilla by Pobber
Benzilla

How does one get noticed from Pobber?

Well just keep doing what you love doing. An email to touch base would be nice too. There is just so much stuff out there and sometimes it is hard to keep up.

JPK Samurai piece has already had a great reaction and many collectors are excited about the release already. Are you pleased how the piece is turning out? any more  sneak peek for our TTC readers?

We are all very pleased with how the piece is turning out so far. JPK has done an amazing job with the base Samurai design and Huck has come in and added his signature style to it. We recently did our test pull and we are now working on the colour sample. I would have loved if we have colour sample photos to show but they are not ready. Joking, here’s test pull shot of the JPK Skullhead Samurai!

dav
(WIP test pull)

2016 is looking like another strong year for Pobber toys. From the teaser projects with Twelvedot, Huck gee and Jon Paul kaiser. Which one has been the hardest getting it into production?

Every project is different so it is hard to compare. However in terms of the time taken from concept to being production ready, I have to say it’s the Samurai project. We started off with traditional sculpting but wasn’t satisfied with the first sculpt and re-sculpted it a second time. We ended up redoing it a third time in 3D modelling before we were finally satisfied.

Samurai-Skullhead-By-JPK-x-Huck-Gee-x-Pobber

Twelevedot’s Roadkill is much like Twelvedot galley art pieces and we think it’s outstanding looking art piece. Roadkill is very different and visually stunning with nothing like it on the scene right now. How hard is the decision to go with something like roadkill compared something similar to APO frogs which is open to more collectors?

It wasn’t a hard decision at all. We knew we wanted to work on something together and have been talking about it for a while since Oct 2014. It all came together in Feb 2015 when we met up again in Singapore to discuss the project in detail. Roadkill is a very different piece and I guess you are right in saying that it is more an art piece and not much of a toy.
ROADKILL BY TWELVEDOT X POBBER 2

Any more sneaky details you can share with us for 2016?

Sneaky details? How about that there is a third artist involved in the Samurai figure but we are still some way off from the final sculpt. Oh and also we have another custom show planned end 2016. We are already halfway through 2016 but I think we are just getting started in terms of releases.

STGCC is one major event in the Asia will we see more prototypes and exciting release from Pobber?

Indeed STGCC is becoming bigger with more overseas artists coming each year. We have a few releases planned with a couple of artists who will be here for the con so we really want to make it worth everyone’s, both the artists and collectors, while to attend this year’s STGCC. Exciting releases or not, at the end of the day it really is all about having fun and enjoying yourself.

One thing that stands out the most about Pobber toys is the quality, how do you guys keep it up, when some of the top companies are falling behind on QC.

Always happy to hear compliments about the quality of stuff we put out there. It is something we work tirelessly on and the factory deserves credit for working closely with us to ensure this. Or it could just be we got lucky because we have fewer releases than the big guys.

Over the years what’s the biggest learning curve you guys have experienced?

Murphy’s law. Basically anything that can go wrong will go wrong in production. This is especially true for our first release with Doktor A.
Humphrey Mooncalf pobber Doktor A
TTC- It turned out perfectly in the end.

What’s your top two vinyl/resin toy for 2015 non Pobber 🙂

Huck Gee’s Not Another Heartless Bastard, because of the suspended heart. Flabslab’s Nigo Had It, because of the beautiful bench.
Huck Gee inc Not Another Heartless Bastard front

Nigo-Had-It-by-FLABSLAB
Any chance you guys making it to Toycon UK in the near future? We have Manchester United tickets ready for you 🙂 We have Manchester United tickets ready for you 🙂 (with Mourinho in charge it should give you more incentive  compared to Van Gal)

That is definitely something I would love to do. I have heard so many good things about Toycon UK and it would be nice to catch up with everyone there. That and now that Jose Mourinho is in charge.
United Pobber

You’ve worked with British artist Doktor A, way back in 2011 and now with with JPK. A little bird told us that UMEToys might be on Pobber list of releases. Have any more British artists caught your attention?

Actually Doktor A and I go even further back to 2009. That was when I first contacted him about doing a toy together. I’m also a fan of 2petalrose’s work. He does such beautiful handcrafted pieces.
Bara-Maiko-By-2PetalRose

Oh you like 2petalrose’s work, we all do and proud he’s from the U.K. A project with Pobber and 2petalrose would be amazing! could Pobber make a vinyl production with 2petalrose standards so high?

Oh yeah I think 2petalrose’s work looks amazing. I am always up for a good challenge so who knows.

Singapore has a strong designer toy/art community what got you guys into the scene?

Just plain silly optimism that you can make a living from making toys.

11081424_10153267260271694_5459301150980530884_n
Singapore art scene is growing rapidly any plans to add local artist to Pobber’s roster?

To be honest there isn’t a lot of planning when it comes to working with artists. To quote someone I know, I go with the flow and hope everything turns out for the best. Silly optimism, remember?

Do you see Pobber be sticking to art collectables or dipping your toes into licensed art toys?

For now we will stick to what we do and will not be dipping our toes into licensed toys yet. It’s not that I don’t want to but that I only want to do it when we can bring something fresh to the table.


Can you walk us through your work space, and what are some of your favourite things about your space.

It really is just a simple workspace with a desk, toys and samples/prototypes lying around. If I really have to pick one, it would be my 27-inch iMac is my favourite thing at my workspace. The extra screen space allows me to play a movie at one corner and be reviewing prototype photos at another. I also like that I have an ikea shelf and a Detolf just behind me so I turn around and look at toys whenever I feel like it.

We heard a birdie talk about you might have a project lined up with  Spanish artist Cote Escriva? could you shed some light or are we hearing Chinese whispers?

Yes we do have something in the works with Cote Escriva. It is based on his line of Twisted Toons and I picked a Simpsons character seeing as I am a big Simpsons fan. It has been a challenge translating his detailed work into a 3D figure. We have just completed the hand sculpted model and we are insanely excited. Hopefully collectors will feel the same way when they see the finished piece.

Twisted Bart by Cote Escriva
Twisted Bart by Cote Escriva

We’re foodies what’s your one food you cannot like without?

As much as I love food, I am actually very easy. Just give me a bucket of fried chicken or some pizza or extra cheese on top and I’ll be just fine.


Pobber and Andrew Bell are making a new version of Gary Ham’s Autumn Stag will it be the same size or slightly smaller” We’ve seen Gary Ham’s Instagram design which includes smaller versions with the same idea of a display within the toy art any chance Pobber will produce more Gary Ham toy/display?


It is not a smaller Autumn Stag but a whole new take on it. I think the confusion came about because Gary was showing sketches of a mini stag around the same time. The Winter Reindeer is Andrew’s take on the 28 inch Autumn Stag. We’ve made some changes to parts of the sculpt and accessories to add some character to this new piece. It’s been fun to see some comments online that after Autumn Stag and Winter Reindeer, there will be a Spring and Summer edition too.

Mini Autumn Stag & tree stump WIP by Gary Ham
Mini Autumn Stag & tree stump WIP by Gary Ham

Gary has so many ideas when it comes to toys/display. We want to do a smaller Autumn Stag because the most often cited reason for not buying the Autumn Stag is that it is too big and people just do not have enough space. But we did not want to just make a smaller Autumn Stag, we wanted the form to fit the size and so the 12” mini edition showed by Gary isn’t just a smaller version but a new form. We are still going back and forth about the design and nothing is set in stone yet.

Whats the last toy you have bought so we can see what Pobber likes to collect.

Lego Disney mini figures, I bought a box and shared it with Faye & Twelvedot. If designer toy, Kozik x Kidrobot Mecha Dunny.
LEGO MINIFIGURES SERIES DISNEY CHARACTER EDITION
MECHA 8%22 STEALTH Dunny By Frank Kozik x Kidrobot wide

When releasing/ designing toys, does shipping come into mind when producing toys? we’ve seen countless companies having shipping problems.

It is always on our minds. There are usually two concerns – breakage and prohibitive shipping costs. We do what we can to minimise the chances of breakage during the design phase and conduct drop tests. As hard as we try, it really is up to the postal service once an item leaves the warehouse. They never fail to amaze with how they lose items or worse, manage to break our toys. I’m looking at you USPS, the only postal service to have broken not 1 but 2 Autumn Stags.

If theirs an artist who you guys would love to work with, who would it be?

Too many to count. To be honest, I am just happy whenever any artist entrusts me with his creation. It is a responsibility that I do not take lightly.


Some quick-fire questions

Favourite colour? 

Blue

Money is no object – what do you do first ?
Get some damn shelving made so I have an excuse to buy toys to fill up the shelves.
If you could meet any person (dead or alive) who would it be ?
Kim Jong-un so I can ask what he really thinks of The Interview.
Being a husband a wife team who has the last word?
Me simply because the wife is not involved in the running of the business.
What is the one book or film you think everyone should see ?
Inglorious Basterds, Inception, Star Wars Ep IV
You could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be ?

Don’t fucking procrastinate.

Big THANK YOU to Jake from Pobber Toys for making such cool toys and taking time out once again to speak to us.

Get your designer toy fix right now at

http://pobber.bigcartel.com/

 Why not give Pobber a follow on Instagram , Facebook , Twitter and http://pobber.com/
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Article by: Andy

A Yellow guy with bad English who's a chef by trade but addicted to toys and art. Instagram nutter rambling food addict who likes to take photos of everything I eat (most Asians do right?) Please don't class me as a journalist or blogger, more on the lines of talent scout and always backs the little guy. Instagram ( BigToyPoo) (SushiKingUK) I am that one dickhead too.