Featured Artist & Toy Collector: Rotobox Vinyl Anatomica

This 2010, I’d like to make ToyPusher.com more interesting and informative so I decided that I’ll interview artists and toy collectors who would like to share their passion for toys, their inspiration, their art and talent for customization.

First up are the guys of Rotobox, brothers Stephen and Spencer Ong. These dynamic duo are behind the awesome winged vinyl figure Celsius which is evolving and gaining popularity more than ever. But before Celsius was released, they were already doing customs using Qees as their platform. They’ll have their first Ganmetall Celsius Custom Show which will be held this January 30, 2010.

It all started when Spencer inquired online for a figure that he’s interested to buy at Kuso Vinyl and by some twist of fate, Jonathan, the owner of Kuso checked out his Multiply site which was part of his email signature. Jonathan saw their art works and became interested to do a project with them. They were asked to design a figure for Kuso Vinyl which they will produce and manufacture. Stephen and Spencer are still thankful for that opportunity to showcase their artistic talents that made Rotobox a recognized name in the vinyl scene.

It was really nice of them to agree to an interview and they even sent me pictures of their collection. After a few email exchanges and a lot of questions, here it goes:

ToyPusher.com: As artists, what is the first thing you look for in a toy?

Rotobox: Craftsmanship and sensitivity are the first thing we look for in a toy, we love the details they put in a toy.

ToyPusher.com: I agree. The details will really define the toy. How do you do keep yourself updated with the toys in the market?

Rotobox: The Internet! Do not underestimate the power of the Internet!

ToyPusher.com: I do use the Internet for that purpose too. Most of my toy collector friends are online ^^; What about your designs, where do you get your inspiration from?

Rotobox: We think imagination is the best inspiration, we were making comic books when we were kids, Spencer’s into pencils and drawing and I (Stephen) was into writing stories and editing. We are also heavily influenced by anime, manga, and anything that comes out of Japan.

ToyPusher.com: That’s cool. Maybe you can also make comic books someday. Your interest in Japan reflects on your designs, very nice. Any favorite artists (from Japan or elsewhere)?

Rotobox: Stephen – Huck Gee is probably my favorite designer toy artist. His customs are insane :) The immortal Hideo Kojima, his designs are a huge impact for me.

Spencer – Jim lee, he’s a big influence when I was still collecting comics. Kaijin is one of my favorite designer toy artist based in Japan. Julie West.

ToyPusher.com: What was the first significant toy you bought?

Rotobox: Stephen – I vividly remember the time when I was about 2 years old, my mom let me choose to buy a robot, a jumbo Machinder Raideen or Getter Robo G, I chose the latter because I was crying when I saw Raideen’s face. It was a significant time for me, and I think it was the start of of my love for anything super robots.

Spencer – Saint Seiya figures

ToyPusher.com: And what an amazing collection of robots you have! I saw some of those Saint Seiya figs at the AFA 09 and they look really cool too! What’s the best thing about collecting and designing toys and what’s the most challenging aspect of it?

Rotobox: The best thing about collecting and designing toys is that you get to enjoy both worlds. We enjoy collecting toys as much as when we are designing and/or customizing figures.

For us, the most challenging part of making toys is the design. Everyone can make a custom designer toy, from the sanding to the painting, etc… but it all differs on the design. Execution of the design is also challenging.

ToyPusher.com: Can you guys name your top 5 all-time favorite toys?

Rotobox: Stephen – Hmmm, tough question, but as of now, I would say the Bandai UMC (Urban Material Composite) Mazinger Z, which costs around 2million Yen (and obviously which we don’t own hehe), the Konami Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the Black Getter by Fewture (designed by the legendary Sato, who died a few years back), the jumbo Machinder Mazinger Z and probably the best toy ever created in history, Lego! Get a lego and start using your imagination! :)

Spencer – Just 5? Well…not in any particular order – Of course, our own Ganmetall Celsius lol, Fulcraim by Kaijin, Saint Seiya Hades Chapter figures, Fewture Black Getter, Transformers’ generation 1 Jazz.

ToyPusher.com: Celsius can easily become one’s favorite. ^^ Aside from toys, are there other things that you collect?

Rotobox: Stephen – I am a gamer since the 80s, so I’m into gaming as I’m into robots, its in my blood and I’m proud of it :) I’m into collecting classic consoles like the NEC PCFX, famicom, gameboy etc. and recent gen consoles, I’m also collecting original Japanese games, specially the Super Robot Taisen Series and Shin Megami Tensei series.

Spencer – Just toys. I love and own Siberian Huskies but I don’t collect them lol.

ToyPusher.com: Lol. Any advice you can give to aspiring artists and toy collectors?

Rotobox: Passion is an important factor, if you have passion on collecting toys or making toys, you can’t go wrong with that. If you have something in mind that you want to translate into designing toys, try it, you have nothing to lose :)

When customizing a figure, experiment and try stuff, it’s okay to make mistakes. What’s important is what we have learned and improve on it. Remember, all artists/customizers starts at step 1.

As for collecting toys, I think you should enjoy your collection, if you want to open the boxes, open it! Don’t think of the resale value of your collections, don’t forget that you collect toys because you love toys, not because you’re making money out of it :)

And always be respectful with the designs and art of other artists/designers. Stay rooted on the ground and stay humble :) God bless!

ToyPusher.com: Thank you guys for this interview and I wish you good luck on all your future endeavors. I hope to see 6ixy Revolver Girl soon! ^^ See you at the Ganmetall Custom Show.

Here’s their latest custom, 16″ bear Qee Gurren Lagann for the Rotobox Superobo series 6.

There you have it kids, Stephen and Spencer Ong. I’m really impressed by the works of these guys and they’re very nice too. I’m always happy to hear about local (yes, they are Filipino-Chinese) talents make a big impression in the vinyl toy scene.

And oh, you can get Ganmetall Celsius at these shops (Philippines):

2nd Floor, V-Mall Greenhills Shopping Center, Ortigas Avenue, San Juan City

3rd Floor, Powerplant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati City

Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City

The Sculpeyman Trading
94 Xavierville Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City

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6 Responses to “Featured Artist & Toy Collector: Rotobox Vinyl Anatomica”

  1. Lylibellule says:

    A very good push! To made us discover other collectors’s world, i think it’s really nice and generous of you.
    A very special collection for those 2 brothers. Not really my domain but certain things caught my eyes, like the winged figures on the first photo ( made me think of nendos)
    Interesting interview. Thx :)

    1. xine says:

      Thanks Lyli! Glad you appreciate the interview.

      I used to collect designer vinyl but lately anime/game figures are the ones filling up my shelves. ^^; Hopefully I can get some new vinyl figs soon and I’ll post it here.

      1. Lylibellule says:

        Would be great. Can’t wait to see that :)

  2. jopez says:

    Just wondering,where u are guys based? I happen to see a car with a sticker of rotobox around the neighborhood, just wondering if you’re one of those guys. I’m based in QC, Phils.

    Just wanna say ur works rocks!

    1. xine says:

      Hello Jopez.
      Thanks for dropping by.

      Spencer and Stephen are from the Q.C. area too. ^^ Their works are very cool indeed.

  3. Jacques says:

    I chanced upon Rotobox website not long ago and I was interested to learn more about them. Your interview with Rotobox has definitely helped me understand them better. Thanks!

    The VF-1S and Gurren Lagann from Rotobox are my favourite design.

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