MONDOCON 2019: Art of Toy Making

Witness the making of Mer-Man, and see upcoming projects!

A behind-the-scenes look at the Mondo collectibles with the Toys/Collectibles team of Brock Otterbacher, Michael Bonanno, Hector Arce, Aaron White, Florian Bertmer, and very special guests! This panel gave fans insight into the toy-making process, a first look at a few upcoming releases, as well as prizes and other toy-related fun!

  • The assembled panel kicked things off by discussing what inspires their art and their approach to projects. Graffiti, comic books, Aztec culture, and anime all figured (no pun intended) large, as did movies such as Godzilla, Cowboy Beebop, and The Warriors.
  • Panel emcee and Creative Director of Toys/Collectibles at Mondo Brock Otterbacher directed the talk to take the audience through the stages of designing one toy, in this case an updated take on Mer-Man, from the He-Man series.
  • Things start with a discussion, a chat between the artists involved and Mondo folk, as to how best realize the figure/toy for today. In the case of Mer-Man, it was about elevating the more simplistic form seen in the ‘80s to something more worthy of a collector.
  • Initial sketches were done by Joe Allard and incorporated nods to the ocean such as seaweed, a shark jaw in the helmet, gills over a simplistic neck, barnacles, and more.
  • Preliminary sketches also include accessories and (a favorite of Otterbacher’s) buddies — little sidekicks that don’t always make it through to inclusion in the final product.
  • Once the sketch has gone through revisions and is approved, it moves into computer design to generate a 3D model which will serve as the basis for sculpting.
  • This process adds more than just detail, but intricacy too. Features such as articulated jaws can be built in at this point.
  • Accessories are an important part of the process, as is paint, when much of the detail is added.
  • One of the qualities they intended to add to Mer-Man was “true fish eyes”; that is, eyeballs that appeared clear, with the iris/pupil on top.
  • The final part of the process is packaging. In this case, it was handed over to regular Mondo collaborator Florian Bertmer. Their overall aim is to get a product that reflects the awesome art on the outside, not disappoint (fail to matchup) as they so often did decades ago.

Upcoming Releases!

  • Attendees were asked to refrain from taking photos of the final section of the talk so you’ll have to rely on the notes alone.

  • Mondoids: Those figures that have been rolling out are expanding with a new Mega Mondoids line; first up, the Stay Puft Marshmallow man and The Beholder from D&D. We’ll also be seeing a Marvel Mondoids line with Thing, Modock, and Dr. Doom shown.
  • Mondo Tikis: The classiest of all beverage holders continue their run with an expansion of the designer series. Gary Pullin has one in the pipeline, while Sara Deck had one shown called Death’s Whisper that looked like a riff on a Ouija planchette. We also glimpsed one named “Mouth of Serpent” from Urban Aztec.
  • Disney Tikis: We were only showed one, but it was quite the looker. A Little Mermaid Tiki with Ariel wrapped around the wreck remains of a ship, with Sebastian and Flounder alongside. Just a sketch, but it’s happening.
  • Mondo Mechas: The line we first reported back at MondoCon 2017 will add to their numbers with images shown of a Black Panther model, as well as expansion of the Transformer representation with Soundwave and Arcee.
  • New figurines/figures: Rick and Morty fans will be happy with what’s in the pipeline. Also GI Joe fans, with Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes in the pipeline.
  • He-Man continues to get strong Mondo Toys support with figures for Man-at-Arms, Hordak, and She-Ra all planned sometime in 2020, and Florian returns to the line with his take on Trap-Jaw!

Previous post Two Cents Bows Before the Original THE DARK CRYSTAL (1982)
Next post MONDOCON 2019: Underscore — A Soundtrack Panel