About NVC Crew's Original Toy - Ishikawa: The Roller Warrior

recognized for their detailed and brill-sculpted toy customs and dioramas, Dr. Bao and Spive; collectively known as NVC Crew have embarked on the creation of their very own original toy and here we have an opportunity to have a first-look @ the resin 6"-er tall paint-roller-wielding, paint-can-wearing urban street-samurai dubbed ISHIKAWA: The Roller Warrior!


TOYSREVIL: we've talked about this in the past, Bao - about your own NVC Crew-created Original-toy, maybe you could share with everyone reading about the genesis of this project?

DR. BAO: We had in mind to produce a toy for a while now, but it was really the lack of time to be able to develop the toy that has hampered us. We were running after toy shows and all kinds of custom exhibitions, so there was really no time for us to sit down and sculpt our toy. Also both Spive and I have our daily and steady jobs [interviewed], so "designing" was a "hobby" for us when we first started to customize toys ... but today it has become such a big part of our lives and we spend more time on that art ... Then one fine day, we decided that the time was right for us to put some energy into the project!

In the beginning we were supposed to develop a series of blind box figures, but I really had an idea in my head that I had wanted to do for a while (which I always bugging Spive about!) And that's how we finally created Ishikawa: The Roller Warrior!

TOYSREVIL: what is the concept for Ishikawa? what influenced you both in the direction of creating an original form, as compared to your customizing-styles that collectors have come to recognize?

DR BAO: We've been recognized for all kinds of warriors that we've been doing so far, so it was obvious to us that we wanted to create something related to that, but since we also like fashion, music, pop culture and urban art, I was thinking how we could mix and blend all these elements and create something from all that.

I had always wanted to do a kind of "samurai" character, but not a "simple samurai" - a samurai where I would take it to another level beyond what people are used to and/or recognize as a samurai. The goal was to have a character that will be very stylish and would be cool to look at.

DR BAO: All our fans know us for our 3'' customs. We're known for our ability to work on very small scaled platform. But for this character, I wanted it to have a particular look, so it was very hard to start; from let's say a 3'' Dunny ... so Spive and I decided to create our own platform and from there, work in our character. And since we wanted some room to work with, we decided to create our platform-creation at about 6-inches in height.

DR BAO: As you see in the pics, the character has that curved posture and that's one of the reasons why we needed something at least 5'' or 6'' to create that movement and flow in the curve. The other thing was we wanted some room so we can play with the proportions of the figures, and not having to deal with the kind of arms that are usually on other toy platforms.

I was thinking in my head: "how do people expect to see a samurai?" - so usually they expect him to handle some sword or those kind of weapons. But now if we created a samurai of our own, he would have a roller in his hands as his weapon, instead of what people would expect! and from there we developed a street-urban-artist-samurai!

TOYSREVIL: now that you have the "concept", how did you decide on the "style" for Ishikawa? im seeing wildly different styles and influences on the figure and they are really cool, IMHO :)

DR BAO: The next step was to find a way to style the character. And because Spive and I are fans of urban culture and fashion, it was obvious that we wanted our character to wear casual and street clothes.So we tried to find a way to make our samurai look funky by adding some hip-hop-cliched elements in our design - That's how we creating a character with a "one-legged-up" jeans and some Timb-boots where one of the laces are untied LOL

But at the same time we had wanted to keep that "warrior armor"-look somewhere in the way we designed the clothes, and that's why we made him wear a bubble style vest! But to give an armor-style to the vest, we added some kind of pad on the shoulders just like those samurai armor had.

DR BAO: Now that the gears are done, it was time to design the head. But how to create a samurai-helmet without it being a samurai helmet? That's where we had to use our imagination big time!

So we just imagined a scenario where the guy, who would just take a can of paint, and then cut it up to create some kind of helmet! Then we added some kind of paint brush holder in front of the helmet to imitate all these ornaments that samurai helmet always have - and that's it! You've got the samurai style-helmet but with a artist tools twist! To really help people understand that it's paint-can, we added a handle that goes under the neck!

DR BAO: The final step was add a mask to our character. And since most of urban artists doesn't want to be spotted or recognized when they operate, we add a kind of "skull-opera" style of mask to our character.

That really completed our figures....and if you do take a closer look at the character you will see that what we did was really to take the image of the traditional samurai wearing a mask, helmet, armor and weapon and I transpose it to the up-to-date urban artist image with a fashion and hip hop touch to it.....

DR BAO: So as you can see, it's really a character that is very coded ... I mean, there's a lot of subtilities and codes that we use in it, and I think it's what makes our character different and original. And the fact that we sculpt it all from scratch really help to have a very unique look too. Of course it takes a lot more time that doing a custom, but I think the final result is different too!!! So that's it for the character :)

TOYSREVIL: looking absolutely fab thus far, Bao! ... you've mentioned that you guys have decided to self-produce Ishikawa independently, instead of going with a company. why is that?

DR BAO: Well, I just finally realize that this is a project that we've put so much energy into it and we realized that with our experience, well there's no other people that would know more than us on how we wanted this character to come out. I think we just want to have some control over this project and we just didn't want to rely on anyone who would say: "it's good but ....." At some point where you know what you want to do.....and I think that with this project, we really know what our directions are, and what's good for us and what's not.

TOYSREVIL: woooo sounds like you folks have had some unfortunate experiences, yeh? (no, i will not pry too much, not in public anyway :p) ... so how are you guys getting about producing Ishikawa now?

DR BAO: We're working right now with some really nice people in our area. They know what our needs are and since they are doing this by their passion as well, they are very dedicated to what they do; just like us and that was very important to us. The other thing is because they are in our town and I can go to their studios, see what they're doing, and work along with them .. It make us learn a lot too.

TOYSREVIL: good on you guys! so what is the figure made of? vinyl? resin? give us the material-lowdown!

DR BAO: The figures will come out in resin, and will be all hand-painted by us, which is something very important for us, as we had wanted to maintain that human and artistic look of the toy, instead of a very machine-produced product.

TOYSREVIL: keeping the artistic-integrity alive, yeh? kudos :) ... any release-date at this point in time? how soon can NVC-Crew fans get their Ishikawas?

DR BAO: Well we should have our first proto by next week, so it all depends on how this will go, but it should not take too much time!

TOYSREVIL: well, i for one am totally looking forward to further developments of Ishikawa The Roller Warrior! my bestest of luck to both you and Spive - and have a fab year-end of 2007! looks like 2008 will be an exciting one for NVC Crew and their fans!


  1. This character is totaly out of this world. Realy original way to combine a samurai whit fashion and art. Just keep up the good work.


Post a Comment

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate advertising program also provides a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.