Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Vote Now!

The deadline for the Customizer of the Year Award contest has been extended to December 7th but you should vote right now. Voting is simple. Send a Personal Message to Fujis at the Art Asylum Forum with the name of the person you are voting for. What could be easier?

Deciding whom to vote for, that’s what! There are so many great customizers out there that deciding for whom to vote is proving hard indeed. Take a look at the wonderful galleries of customs and you will see so many great works. I will feature many of these over the next few months.

Stay tuned for an interview with the winner at Minimate Headquarters after the votes are counted.

But did I say you needed to vote right now?

Wood You Mind Making Me One?

Someone posted a message on one of the toy collector’s board awhile back saying the Minimate craze was over. Done. Finished. Kaput. That a new website devoted to Minimates was a day late and a dollar short.

I don’t know about that. But if this picture says anything, I know the Minimate crazies are far from over.

This fully articulated wooden 8” statue has been constructed to the exact dimensions of a 2” Minimate body. Absolutely amazing. The time and skill it took to create this simply blows me away.

Who made this monstrosity? None other than customizer Cloneme. Read more about this beast here.

New Marvel Minimates Coming!!!!

Diamond Select Toys announced a new Marvel Minimates box set today which will contain a DVD animated X-Men adventure. Archangel and Beast are two characters to be introduced with the block style mini-movie.

The animated style closely resembles that of the free Internet movie titled Batman: New Times. New Times was produced by Dave's School as a student project, and it featured Batman, Joker, and Catwoman minimates. It won praise by collectors and enthusiasts for its humor, storyline, and special effects when it debuted earlier this year.

No word yet who will be producing the X-Men: Darktide animated movie.

Captain America Scammed On Ebay

Captain America was scammed today after attempting to purchase a rare Gold Spiderman Minimate on the popular auction website Ebay. “He looked so real,” sobbed a broken-hearted Captain America, “All I wanted was a good loyal side-kick.”

Friends were on hand to console the grief stricken Captain America. “He has been lonely ever since Bucky died. Now he lost fifteen hundred bucks on this fake Gold Spidey,” explained Batman. “It just isn’t right.”

“Never, ever, ever trust the ebayer named redskull,” cried Captain America.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Custom Tip #2: Basic Painting

Many people have no desire to paint, much less paint a minimate. The small size is intimidating and it seems difficult. Thankfully, it isn’t as hard as it seems. If you do decide to take the plunge with painting minimates, I suggest these basic techniques.

Start small – Don’t begin by repainting an entire minimate. Making a Quick Custom and then repainting only a small part can create brand new characters quickly and easily.

Use good paints – When I started, I used some cheap acrylic paints I purchased at a craft store. I didn’t like how the paint tended to dry thickly. I later started using higher quality acrylic paints called Citadel paints, and I noticed the difference immediately. The coats of paint went on more evenly. They also didn’t flake off as easily.

Use a small brush – This may seem like a no-brainer to most people, but when I started I just grabbed the first brush I could find. It didn’t work out too well. The detailing on a small minimate should be done with a small brush.

Have patience – I’ve gotten better with every minimate I’ve painted. It gets easier each time I do it.

Updated Shamrock Custom

Apologies to Shamrock for posting his older custom picture of Nightmare. Here is the updated one. I think they both look great.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Eight Questions with Shamrock

The “Eight Questions” column will appear regularly at Minimate Headquarters. In it I interview minimate customizers and other fans of minimates. This interview is with Shamrock, maker of the Soul Calibur 2's Nightmare pictured here.

1. Which was the first Minimate you ever purchased?
Series 1 Hulk & Bruce Banner

2. What is the average length of time in hours does it take for you to make a custom minimate?
I've never really counted. Usually it varies a lot between how intricate the paint app. is, and how much sculpting is involved. I'll just say 24 hours, because I've never done 2 customs in one day, and my sculpting compound takes a day to dry.

3. Of the minimates you’ve made, which custom is your absolute favorite?
Soul Calibur 2's Nightmare. He's the first one I made, so it holds a special place in my heart. Now I just have to make that bloody sword for him.

4. How much money do you think the average custom minimate is worth?
Well, I've seen some go for over $100. I just think that's crazy, but I bet the customizer isn't complaining. I would only charge the cost of the Minimate used, any cost of paint or supplies that I had to buy specifically for the custom, and a bit for hours spent working on it. That really didn't answer the question, but I've never sold or bought a custom before, so I don't really have any idea.

5. Do you own a Gold Spidey?
Oh yeah, tons of them. I just painted them all red and blue, one is even half Gold-SpiderMan and half Peter Parker........ Ok fine, no, I don't.

6. If all of the Marvel Minimates fought all of the DC Minimates, who would win and why?
I was going to say the upcoming Galactus, because of the whole planet eating thing, but he can't move. So all of the Wolverines would probably melt together to form Mecha-Wolverine, and it would be him and Mecha-Batman locked in a battle to last until the end of time. Actually it would probably be Mary Jane who would come out victorious. I feel that there's no need to say why.

7. What is your best trick or secret for customizing minimates?
Don't hand paint them, it just gets annoying. Use decals, you'll go insane less. I mean really, look at my answer for the fight question. You can tell I've hand painted way too many Minimates.

8. White Queen or Catwoman?
Both, duh. Did I mention hand painting Minimates will make you give silly predictable answers?

Introducing the Board of Directors

Minimate Headquarters announced today its newly elected Board of Directors. Pictured above from left to right are Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, Professor Xavier, and Gandalf White.

Bruce Wayne commented, “As the newly elected members of the Board of Directors, we will be in an ideal position to help Minimate Headquarters reach its goal of being a non-profit, for-profit seeking enterprise. We will make Minimate Headquarters a force of good in the universe.” The billionaire playboy also noted that being on the Board would help him score more hot chicks.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Administrative Update

I've enabled Comment posting by non-registered viewers. Send me your comments!

(It may take a day or two to appear on the site, as I've chosen to control comments to keep out Spam. I'm only keeping out Spam - all other feedback is welcome.)

Review of the Missing: Alfred The Butler

Alfred the Butler is known as an indispensable part of Batman’s team. While supervising the day-to-day operations of Wayne Manor, Alfred has on more than one occasion rescued Batman’s bacon from the fire. As such, his Minimate form was rumored to be released as part of the Batcave C3 Playset. I’ve also heard he was to be released as part of a separate Wayne Manor C3 Playset. In any event, Alfred never saw the light of production. All we have are photos of his prototype from a toy exhibition.

I really like this prototype. I think the face artwork looks fantastic. It holds a hint of arrogance along with the English butler’s concern, and the moustache looks great. The butler jacket and color applications give Alfred the regal appearance of an orderly English serviceman. But the coup-de-grace is the serving platter attached to the hand, complete with wine bottle and glass. Magnificent. You can almost hear Alfred say, “Sir, do you intend to be returning before daylight, or should I prepare the first aid kit to be served along with breakfast?”

I hope we see an Alfred just like this.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Fun With High Voltage

The Minimate Institute of Research (M.I.R.) announced failure today with their most recent experiment trying to make minimates conduct electricity. Dr. Bruce Banner described the situation, “We attempted to run a high voltage current through our test subject, JP1000. Dr. Reed and I had postulated that the subject would provide a unique, high capacity conduit for raw electric voltage. Unfortunately, it appears the minimate is a substandard conductor.” Rather than allow the current to flow unobstructed, the doctors explained, it appears that JP1000 merely screamed in abject pain and suffering for seven straight hours.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Custom Tip #1: Quick Customs

My custom tip section will soon provide a resource for new and intermediate customizers. I have not been customizing for very long, but I have picked up some things as I’ve been customizing. I hope these tips can become a resource for anyone new to custom creation.

Part of the joy of collecting minimates is their customizable nature. By customizing, you can create characters that have never before existed in minimate form. You can pop off their heads, attach legs to arm sockets, add other figures accessories, mix and match parts, etc. The possibilities are almost endless.

If you do not know how to customize figures, you can find a quick and easy way to begin customizing by using Quick Customs. Quick Customs are recipes for making brand new minimates using the parts of existing characters. For each separate part, a recipe specifies which character part to use. For example, a Matt Murdock character recipe may call for the head of Mask-less Daredevil and the body of Professor X. (The photo is a picture of Matt Murdock made using the Professor X body and Maskless Daredevil's head and hair. He is holding Kingpin's cane).

Recipe lists grow daily as creative fans discover new methods for mixing and matching minimates. To get started making Quick Customs, head over to the Art Asylum Custom forum here.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Review of the Missing: Lex Luthor

To do something new and different at Minimate Headquarters, I thought I would review some Minimates that have never been made. Yes, it is an odd concept, but I thought it would be fun none-the-less. I have chosen for the first Review of the Missing the Lex Luthor minimate.

Lex Luthor is one of the most infamous villains in the DC universe. He is the constant nemesis of Superman and an unrelenting world conqueror to be. Lex Luther seems to embody the quintessential essence of the power-mad super-villain. He is arguably the most famous super-villain around.

The picture of the Lex Luthor Minimate comes from Raving Toy Maniacs. He was displayed as a prototype during the 2004 Toy Fair. He is shown costumed in his outfit from Superman #292 (The Origin of Lex Luthor). His only accessory seems to be a gun bandolier and a belt similar to the Bullseye minimate.

I’m not entirely sure the head is unique enough for my tastes. I mean, the first quick custom I would do is pop off his head and put it on the body of a minimate with a suit, like the Chameleon’s body. I’m not entirely sure the head is unique enough to instantly make him recognizable as Lex Luthor in a suit. And I just gotta have a Lex Luthor in a suit (like in the first Superman movie).

If Lex Luthor is released in the future, I would like to see his face made uniquely Lex. I know this is probably very difficult, and I wouldn’t know where to begin with suggesting changes. Maybe his mouth just looks too big to me, or something. Or maybe he should instead just smirk with a power-hungry gleam in his eye. I don’t know.
The body colors and bandolier look good to me. It would be nice if the gun were made larger and removable, like the Blade and Punisher guns. And one accessory is absolutely essential – a big chunk of Kryptonite that can be held in Lex’s hand. Lex Luthor has only two things going for him as a super-villain, his Kryptonite and his head. If a minimate Lex is made, I hope the makers get both of them right.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

M.I.R. Discovery - Minimates Float!

On the heels of their most recent discovery, the Minimate Institute of Research (M.I.R.) discovered a shocking new property today – Minimates float! Dr. Reed Richards, lead scientist for the experiment explains, “While calculating the distribution of H2O in relation to the estimated density of our subject, we stumbled upon a yet un-hypothesized property. We found a displacement of certain molecules … oh, in English? … Ummm, ok. Let me think … I guess we figured out JP1000 floats after we dropped him in water.” Dr. Richards continued to explain that the scientific team had not anticipated what would have happened if JP1000 sunk. He embarrassingly conceded that JP1000 probably would have drowned.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Kubricks vs. Minimates #1

This will be the first of many posts in which I compare and contrast Minimates with other toys. For my first post on the topic, I'm going to link to a good article over at Toy News International which reviews the new Wave 3 Kubricks. Kubricks are block toy figures from Japan that seem to have started the entire "block figure" craze. I'm not a fan of Kubricks but I really do admire the breadth of the line. Take a look at the article over here. (Photo by therealjon from TNI).

This wave of Kubricks looks like an improvement over the previous waves. I especially like the Juggernaught. I'm not sure exactly what it is about him that I like but I think he looks fantastic. Maybe it's his broad shoulders that seem to really capture the essence of the character. Of course, when I look at a Kubrick, I immediately size him up for his "custom potential". This is the potential a figure has to be cut up and made into a Minimate custom.

Minimate Institute of Research

Dr. Bruce Banner, one of the leading researchers at the Minimate Institute of Research, made a stunning find today about the nature of Minimates. The discovery definitively proves that Minimates weigh less than one pound. Banner explains, “Dr. Richards and I created JP1000 to test all of the properties of Minimate-ivity. Once we ascertain the precise composition of Minimates, I will be able to bombard JP1000 with heavy doses of anti-Gamma rays. I am hopeful this leads me to a final resolution.” Dr. Banner became vague and mumbled when asked exactly what the final resolution was that he sought.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Introducing JP1000

Dr. Bruce Banner and Dr. Reed Richards are proud to introduce their newest creation for Minimate Headquarters. The JP1000 was created to be the premier state-of-the-art experimental subject for the Headquarters. He will be used to test the wildest theories and postulations of the universe’s greatest minds. No hypothesis will be left unchecked and no theorem will be left un-theoremed, as our intrepid scientists push the outer limits of Minimate-ality. Stay tuned for the daily results of the team’s exploratory research.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Custom Minimates Strike Gold

A fantastic customizer over at the Art Asylum forum struck gold yesterday with two custom minimates. MiniMyte sold customs Namor and Namorita for $158.05 each on the popular auction website Ebay. This appears to be record for custom minimates, I have seen previous customs by MiniMyte sell for as high as $80.00. Read community reactions over on the Art Asylum board here.

I did a little research on Ebay to see how much custom figures usually make at auctions. Anecdotal evidence indicates few figures make as much as the $158.05 achieved by MiniMyte's minimate figures. Most custom HeroClix seem to pull in around $10 - $15, custom Marvel Legends make around $50.00, and custom wrestling figures make about $30. The big money, however, really seems to be in custom movie/music stars. Custom Beatles figures were selling for about $200 and a custom 12" Donald Sutherland has been bid up to $75.99 with eight hours left in the auction. (Donald Sutherland?)

I'm glad to see custom figures being made and sold on Ebay, and I'm absolutely thrilled MiniMyte was able to get so much money for his wonderful work. It shows not only an interest in custom figure making but a market for the work as well. However, this should not be a surprise to anyone in this day and age as car companies are also taking note of this generation's desire for customizable products. I hope the toy companies take note as well.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Welcome to Minimate Headquarters

Welcome to Minimate Headquarters! This website is devoted to the small plastic toys called Minimates. The toys are products of Art Asylum, Diamond Select Toys, and Play Along Toys. Please check back frequently for updates, reviews, and other information.