Yes, read that carefully. It says Indies, not Undies. Indies as in Independents. These days, anyone could make a product and sell it online thanks to the web. And some of these aren't just amateur products but rival the established toymakers in terms of quality in the product that are offered. The production runs are small, and the sellout times are fast for some of these items, and thankfully there are no coloured-SOD on any of these online stores. Here's a few Indies that I have picked to keep an eye on in 2011...
Onell design is the Indie company that manufactures the Glyos system of figures. These action figures have interchangable parts, pretty much like Modulok, or Lego, but with a different peg and hole system. The sculptwork of the bits and pieces are professionally done, and there's a whole bunch of colours to choose from. They make announcements on their blog, and an online store from their website. They also have a facebook page that is apparently little used.
Spy Monkey Creations needs no introduction to regular readers of my blog, as I've mentioned them often. These are the guys who produces MotUC accessories (and some DCUC accessories, and even Glyos accessories) but of course, they can't call them that. The accessories sell out within hours of being sold on the store, but the good thing is that they are never out of production, so there's always something in store. The product is a bit on the pricey side, but they are definitely worth it. Regular updates are announced on their blog and facebook page, but there are also some sites that gets exclusive announcements, particularly around SDCC time.
store run by Mr. Poe Ghostal, who also runs his very successful toy blog (repeated on facebook), Poe Ghostal Points of Articulation (check out the Wonder Twins review there!). The site also has a rather nice and friendly forum (or Poester Gallery) where the discussion does not degenerate to all sorts of nastiness. All in all, it's informative as Poe tries to keep up on the toy news, particularly with an insider's eye. Oh, and the SMC accessories that are sold there - these are also usually sold out quickly like the rest of the SMC products, despite the fact that they are only available here at Poe's.
Another company that I've always had a pleasure to deal with is AFD, and regular readers would have seen their product day by day on this blog. This is the year that Series 3 of their displays will (hopefully) be made including such displays as Fairytale and Robot City. Their facebook seems a bit dead, but most things, including the store are handled by their website, so that isn't an issue.
Zoloworld is the indie that makes those protective cases for the MOC crowd... but apparently the cases work for loose figures as well. They have branched out into action figure manufacturing and sales as well, according to their website and facebook. I've not dealt with them, but Pixel Dan from popculturenetwork seems to say that they are good, so I'll go with that. Maybe this year I'll get some of their products to review here on this blog because I do know that those cases that they make seems very well made!
This is another company that I'm keeping my eyes on, and I do wish I had the funds to get some of the great work that they produce. The Lego minifig craze is now in its full swing and will probably last the 18 months or so, so this site is probably milking the most out of the craze. They've got some great custom minifigs from lines Lego has no chance in making in the near future and some great accessories. Check out their site and blog.
I know 3B has issues with the Kabuki figure that he got from these guys, but despite that, I think these guys have potential. They've been making figures for 10 years now, or that's what they claim and with two series of Comic book heroes behind them, they are gearing up for the third series which will include Nira-X, Phantom and Zorro. Hopefully they'll learn from their mistakes and improve on their action figures, particularly with the brittle plastic, as I do think that they do excellent sculpting. They have a facebook page as well, and that seems rather busy. The plus side with Shocker is that they can also be found in brick and mortar stores such as Toys R Us!
I can't seem to find a good logo picture for Impossible Toys, but I was wowed by their custom Arcee way back last year when I first saw it. Yes, this is a custom Transformer toy, complete with a box that's reminiscent of G1 transformers. There are also other figures in the custom line as well, but Arcee (known here as TRNS-01 due to copyright reasons) is the most famous. According to their website, they have more toys including the human figures from the Animated line. They don't have their own store it seems, but the figures can be bought from sites like this one.
I don't think Busta Toons Production has a logo, so I'm using a publicity shot from their facebook page instead. Busta Toons is, of course, the guy Mattel called on when they needed background for the new He-Man series. The three main products from him are shown in the publicity shot including the sort of sequel to the Ultimate guide to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Other products include the popular cereal:geek magazine. The blog enters its sixth year and is choke-a-brick with infomation, but infomation about the projects can be more readily found on the aforementioned facebook page.
And just to round off to 10 in the list, Havoc custom figures! OK, so Havoc isn't really an indie toy company, but the action figure customs that he makes is even better than what we're getting from Mattel. Witness his Sy-klone (which has already been pledged to some guy in Michigan) and his millennium-inspired King Hssss. Have I already mentioned that I got a custom Gorpo? Probably a bazillion times! The good thing is that unlike Mattel, he's not limited as to what figures or influences he can make. He does do customs for other people... but that's a rather rare thing.
So there you have it, nine indies to keep an eye out on this year... and Havoc, of course. Between them they will probably produce stuff that will keep the main toy companies on their toes and produce stuff that will revolutionise the toy industry... or at least complement it. Happy New Year to all readers of this blog, and to all the Eastern Orthodox readers, Merry Christmas too in a couple of days!