Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Custom: Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis by Shane Haddy

Aurora Borealis is the theme of this lovely painted Max Toy Co custom set by Shane Haddy.

(from left to right)
- Alien Argus
- Drazoran
- Alien Xam
- Tripus

Each one has been painted with several Monster Kolor paints and pearls. Then finished with a healthy coat of colour change flakes and glossy clear coat.

I used a whole bunch of paints on this one to give the effect I was after; the paints I used in order were:

Gold pearl
Grape Ape
Vivid Purple
Vivid Blue
Red Pearl
Colour Change

Monster Kolor paints are very hard to capture, especially pearls and colour change flakes! So I have taken two sets of photos; one in direct sunlight and one in indirect sunlight.

Direct/Indirect Sunlight Photos

To imagine what they look like in person, you have to imagine it as a blend of the two extremes, constantly flowing between dark and light, depending on how you look at it. I haven't seen the Aurora Borealis in person but I would imagine it to be something like that.

I have also made this video to further simulate what they look like in person:

This custom set is currently available in the Hints and Spices STORE at $190AUD - including international shipping with tracking.

I have had offers for individual pieces but I would hate to spit this set up. So at the moment, it is currently only offered as a set. I will open up the set to individual purchase this time next week (22nd June) but hopefully all these pieces will stay together, it just feels natural.

Localised entirely within your kitchen?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Launch Tour - Biographies

Owner and Lead Designer

Shane Haddy

Unbeknownst to him, Shane has always been passionate about toy design. As a young child he would pull products apart to find out how they work and make new products and replica toys of his favourite TV characters using Lego and Meccano. This love of creation has stayed with him for many years with Shane dabbling in many areas of design.

Like most, Shane was an avid fan of Japanese animated features as a teenager – taken in by the quality of animation and vivid stories. Wanting to be involved in this genre, Shane obtained a retail job in a newly established Japanese animation and games store in Adelaide. His interest in quality toy production continued to grow whilst working at the store for many years.

In 2006, Shane started a degree in Industrial Design with the intent of working for a toy company, but after being pulled through many directions with his studies, the toy designer dream was put aside.

With his love for Japan and designer toys, Shane travelled to Japan in 2010 –
“I went to a very large toy convention called ‘Wonder Fest’. It blew my mind and I knew I needed to be there, selling my own toys next year”.

This was the beginning of a new direction for his love of toy design.

Shane established the company Hints and Spices soon after his return, with the aim of producing his own toys and products. While developing his own designs, Shane has also produced several custom pieces, one of which was sold in TAG – an American art gallery in Los Angeles.

Shane’s philosophy revolves around the production of fun and Hints and Spices is his way of designing, producing and sharing his passion.

Featured Artist


TOVI is the lead illustrator on all current Hints and Spices projects. With her unique style and outlook on life, Adelaide-based artist TOVI brings all things cute and 'derpy' to the world.

Although specialising mainly in anime-style art, TOVI has recently broadened her artistic repertoire with sculpting - designing her first kaiju for hints and spices. Recently she has been involved with MAX TOY's 5th Anniversary show in Japan and USA.

Currently, TOVI spends her time studying post-graduate medicine in Victoria and working as a physiotherapist in Adelaide hospitals. Her aspirations include becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon and having the largest rilakkuma collection in the southern hemisphere.

Keep an eye out for her future projects with hints and spices!

Featured Collaborators

Dol Roffo

"Hello My name is Dol Roffo, Japanese AMIGURUMI creator. I began making amigurumi in my college days, under the influence of my little sister and mother. I love booze, cute girls, AMIGURUMI, metal music, art and kaiju. Thank You!” – Dol Roffo

Dol Roffo has colaborated with Hints and Spices by re-imagining our original characters Barrelmon and (Unnamed) into cute amigurumi forms.

Yoshihiko Makino / TTToy

Makino-san started his career as a cartoonist and designer which lead him to establish his own company ‘TTToy’ in 2002.

He produced resin mascot characters and kits; he then joined a production group called ‘Kaiju-Ha (generation) in 2004 that was organized by a prominent toy designer Sunguts. This became the first time Makino-San was involved in soft vinyl figure production.

In 2005, he released his first original soft vinyl figures named ’GRUS’ and ‘PRODON’ through his company TTToy.

Since then, Makino-San has produced many figures through TTToy and is now working as a sculptor, character illustrator and product designer.

Makino-San is the sculptor for Hints and Spices very first vinyl toy and I am very honoured to have worked with him.

Matt Walker / Dead President Designs

Monster Kolor, by Dead President Designs, is a high quality custom paint for all of your vinyl, tin, pvc, resin and die cast toy painting needs. It is packaged ready to spray from an airbrush, making it the most usable toy painting products on the market.

With over 16 years experience in the automotive and motorcycle painting and chemical industry, Matt Walker couldn't find a paint for toys that would give him the result he was looking for; “I love the metallic and specialty finishes that can be achieved with automotive paints but were unavailable for the toy painting market” - Not being discouraged, Matt developed his own paint variations to work privately on his toys.

After Matt’s pieces started to get more attention in gallery shows, many people wanted to know how he managed to get the painted finish he was achieving on vinyl. When Matt told them he had developed the paint himself, they immediately wanted to have some for themselves; thus Monster Kolor was born!

Matt hired a couple of chemical engineers to help him develop a range of metallic and specialty paints to stick to various types of plastics and Monster Kolor officially launched on March 1st 2010.

To celebrate our launch, Hints and Spices have teamed up with Dead Presidents Designs to present a limited edition release of Monster Kolor paints. I am very proud to announce the “Hints and Spices – Monster Kolor Sample kit” which will only available at our launch event.

Mark Nagata / Max Toy co

Ask anyone who knows Mark to describe him and the two things that will come up are Toys and Art.

After attending the Academy of Art College in San Francisco during the late 80's and picking up a New York artist's rep, Mark embarked on a 10-year plus journey as a freelance commercial illustrator. Over the years he's worked with a diverse client list which has included Scholastic Books, Bantam Books, Schlage Locks, Genentech, DC Comics, Lucasfilms and numerous Advertising and Design firms nationally and internationally.

The highlight of this time included over 40 cover paintings for RL Stine's Goosebumps book series, Give Yourself Goosebumps.

After many years of collecting Japanese toys, Mark started his own business called Max Toy Company, named after his son Max. With a nod to the Golden Age of Japanese toys, Max Toy Co. will continue the tradition of offering classic Japanese character toys by producing its own exclusive toys, both licensed and original. Many of the original toys offered are hand painted by Mark Nagata and mostly feature unique artwork on the headercards painted by Mark.

Mark sold his hand painted custom Kaiju toys via the prestigious auction houses Philips De Pury and Christies in New York and London. Through these auctions, it spread the Kaiju art toy movement into new uncharted areas of the art world.

Over the years, with various international artists and designers, Mark Nagata has organised, curated and lectured in many events promoting art toys and kaiju collaborations in various galleries and art museums.

In addition, Mark has also written and Max Toys have appeared in the Eiji Tsuburaya biography from Chronicle Books , Kaiju Attack from Collins Books and Full Vinyl book from Harper Collins, Otaku USA magazine, and Japanese magazine Hyper Hobby, Spectrum Fantastic Arts annual book, Dot Dot Dash book and Art-Toys by Brian McCarty to name a few.

Max Toy is a synthesis of Toys and Art.

Hints and Spices uses Max Toy co platforms as the focus of our custom work. Keep an eye out for future Hints and Spices x Max Toy co collaborative releases!

Pleased to meet you!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Launch - Introduction

Its official! Hints and Spices has now launched!

Over the next few posts, I will try and deliver an online experience of stepping through the launch exhibition held at Paper String Plastic.

First off, here is a video of the gallery fitout:

It has begun!