Philip Lee’s #toptentoysof2017 On TOYSREVIL

PHILIP LEE (creator of CLASSICBOT): "Dear readers of Toysrevil, It is an honor to share my favorite toys from last year with you here. Toy has always been big part of my life. Like many folks living in Hong Kong, Japanese animes and mangas had huge influence on my childhood. I was lucky enough that my mom bought me a couple of chogokins (super alloy robot toys). Even as a kid I could tell those chogokins are extremely well made. They came in a beautiful box, with a polystyrene tray that showcased all the awesome weapons and accessories. I think the concept of collecting toys must had been seeded in my brain back then. I became a collector of toys. My favorite is Gundam and all the other robot anime from the 80s. I am also a big fan of Ghost in the Shell and Bladerunner, so I am a sucker for anything cyberpunk. As for the art and designer toys, I have to confess I only start collecting them after I became a toy maker myself. But I don’t think I am gonna stop soon."

#10. Dorvack: Powered Armor PA-58T Rook & AVS-003 Buffire Plastic Model 1/24 Scale

"This is something pretty obscure. Dorvack is a not too popular anime from the 80s. But it got some cool powered armor designs so the models kit sales were alright. I got a few of them as a kid. They had this bulky design that is really the opposite of the sleek design from Gundam and Macross. Dorvack was pretty much forgotton since the 80s. I was really surprised (when) Aoshima re-released the kits a couple years ago. I finally got the Rook and Buffire kit in a local toy store last year. This design is really interesting. Again, I have not built it yet, so the photos you see is the official pictures."

#9. Sylvanian Families Porcupine

“How dare you mention a mass produced toy aimed at kids on Toyrevil, the quintessential blog for cool designer toys” you may say. But please listen to me. Toy is as much about its design as the people you play with. And this Porcupine figurine is something I gave to my younger daughter Nadia. I always wanted to introduce the joy of collecting toys to my two daughters. Kids always love playing toys, but I believe you can get more joy out of it if you treat your toys with heart. Like any education, you cannot go wrong with the classics. I figured Sylvanian Families which has been around in Asia over two decades was a good choice. Nadia loves cutesy animal figure and this porcupine is super adorable. She absolutely loved him. And she indeed treated it with her heart. She plays it with care and she always put it back to the box afterward. She reads the catalogue with passion, planning what to get next with joyous imagination. She now gets a small collection that sits proudly on top of my mecha shelf. The series is actually really well made. Take a look at the triple bed. A lesser company would have used one mold to make all the bed. Epoch, maker of Sylvanian, uses 3 different molds, because they want the bed boards to have different animal patterns on them. And it Nadia definitely notices it."

#8. IZMOJUKI Probe 20WT 1/12th Scale Toy From 1000toys

"IZMOJUKI is a fictional corporation dreamt up in 2000 by Japanese mechanic designer Junji Okubo. The base concept of the project, “laboring robots in urban areas of the near future” certainly is more relevant now than before. I first heard about the project from their Kickstarter campaign by 1000toys from Japan. As a mecha lover I felt instantly in love with the designs. If I remember correctly, their Kickstarter campaign did not reach the goal. But it gathered a lot of noise and luckily, 1000toys started to sell them online. I was fortunately enough to have a friend send me one as a gift. For some personal reasons, I cannot take photo of that particular one. But I ensure you the finishing of this toy is amazing! The photos I attached here are from their official channels. The blue one is the IDA Security Edition that you can order online now. Get one before it is gone."

#7. Tinbot Creation: Hong Kong Transportation Ice Cream Truck

"Tinbot Creation is another cool toy brand from Hong Kong. It comes in a tin can with magnetic head and limbs inside. You can position the head and limps wherever you like. There are infinite ways to play with this toy. Oh, and you can tell where Classicbot got the idea of magnetic arms from. (Creator of Tinbot is a friend of mine and he doesn’ t seem to mind.) This particular version I got here is from special Hong Kong Transportation series. The body is painted in traditional slivery of ice cream truck in Hong Kong. It is the color from my childhood. It is full of old school charms."

#6. Sticky Monster Lab Toysoul 2017 Exclusive Figure

"I fell in love with Sticky Monster Lab (SML) when I first joint Toysoul 2016, a toy convention in Hong Kong. I bought a couple on the spots. So, when I joint Toysoul again in 2017 I had my money ready. Here is the exclusive Toysoul version. The logo of Toysoul 2017 is a pretty nice design and it looks great on the figure. There is just some pure magic on SML’s minimalist creation. You stare at them and you will feel calm. I am also very happy to find that their line of juice drink in an upscale supermarket chain. SML is hugely influential in Asia and their products went beyond toys many years ago. The juice bottles look great with the toys."

#5. Fade by Mirico Collectibles

"Mirico is a new boutique collectibles brand from Singapore. Mirico works closely with a family of artists to create beautiful works of art. Right now, their focus is on self-assembly figures within the fantasy genre. Fade was their first product. Since I know their founder Rico Chia, a master figure painter, and the figure looked amazing, I ordered it as once. When it arrived, it did not disappointed. It came with a nice box with a beautifully hot stamped certificate. The unpainted figure is exquisite. The casting is superb. I have not yet build and paint it. So, I’ve attached an official painted photo for you. Anyway, I will never paint it as well as Rico does."

#4 ThreeZero Ghost in the Shell 1/6 Action Figure

"Like I said I am a big GITS fan and since I am also fan of Scarjo, I was really hyped about the movie. I understand Scarjo not being Asian was an issue. But if putting the race issue aside for a minute, I think she made a good Major. I saw the prototype 1/6 figure by Three Zero in the Thailand Toy Expo. It looked awesome. So I ordered immediately once the pre-order started. The one I ordered is the exclusive Official Web Exclusive Version that came with an extra set of civilian clothes. I read that many people had issues with the head sculpt. Maybe because I saw it in person first, and it looked fine to me. Anyway, I am not a connoisseur. I only got a couple of 1/6 figures, all from Hot Toys Appleseed series. (Also from the manga genius Masamune Shirow.)

As for the Movie, do I wish it was a more truthfully adaptation of the philosophical classic anime movie? Yes, for sure. Do I think the movie sucks? No, not at all. I enjoy the movie. Attention on art direction is amazing. I am so stroked that the world Shirow Sensei created jumps to the screen so vividly. The acting is more than solid. Story wise it is indeed dumbing down from the anime movie. But the theme about memories and identities still fits the world of GITS. Over all it feels like a very well made episode of GITS Stand Alone Complex. I am really looking forward to Major Mokoto on my toy shell."

#3. Danbot Big Action Figure

"I went to Nagoya last year. Any trip to Japan is not complete without a stop to a toy shop. I went to scout for toys near Osu Shopping Street. I found this gigantic beauty. It only costed 1620yen. It was crazy. It was a legit, solid toy. I had no idea why it was so cheap. I am so glad now I own this. I always love Danbot, and since I became a designer myself I admire it even more. The simpler the design, the harder it is to get the proportion right. I think all the proportion of different body parts on the Danbot is just perfect. As much as I am proud of my own creation, I don’t think Classicbot nails it as well as Danbot does."

#2. Keifer Black Version by Prodip x How2Work"

"This is my favorite art toy ever. Prodip is another famous artist from Hong Kong. His painting and toys have so much personality. I love his toys’ other worldly aura. The toy is perfectly made. I am also a big fan of the box. The design is so unique. I am now eyeing on his latest creation, the Reiki Starchild. I hope I can save money soon enough before it is gone."

#1. Brian High Tech Low Life by Brainrental x Toyzero plus

"Hong Kong is not famous for her art. The museums here are pretty lame. But surprisingly when it comes to art and designer toys, Hong Kong is doing rather well. We have the pioneers like Michael Lau and Brothersfree, as well as a lot of contemporary designers making a splash overseas. Brainrental is a currently active designer group that I admire. I think this piece Brian High Tech Low Life is a great example of art toy. As a toy, it is very well made. The paint job is perfect. It feels just perfect holding in my hands. As a piece of art, it makes a strong statement about the world today. It also has a lot of characteristics."

Philip Lee @