White’s Guide to Collecting Figures, Number 19, July 1996

A collector’s magazine, popular in the 90s. I picked it up at a used bookstore in Texas for $1.99. It has everything from prices for figures to a tutorial on how to customize your own action figures.

If you know more the history of White’s Guide to Collecting Figures, let me know. While I can find copies for sale everywhere online, I can’t find out a lot about the magazine itself. According to saved captures on Wayback Machine, the White’s Guide website, as referenced in the magazine, wwcd.com seems to have stopped being updated in 2001 and begins redirecting to collectingchannel.com in late 2003. The website went down all together 2007-2014 and the URLs were then purchased by other companies.

Click the first image to open the gallery carousel and zoom in to read.

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A Doll’s House, Style Magazine, January 2004

A dollhouse article I clipped from Style Magazine when I was 12 years old and still have to this day. One of these days I hope to share a Dolls House Emporium catalog with you as well. I marveled over the pictures of dollhouse scenes for hours but no longer have a copy.

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Empire Toy Works

I have been enamored by the work of Chris Shaylor of Empire Toy Works for quite some time now. His intricacy, detail, colors, and so much more, intrigue me. I am so excited to share this interview with you. I hope you enjoy learning more about him, or maybe being newly introduced to him. Let us know your thoughts in a comment below!

How long have you been building your wooden miniature playsets? What led you to the medium of wood, the miniature scale, the business?

I started building wood based playsets sporadically over 20 years ago. It was mostly just random scenes/settings inspired by vintage playsets from the 70’s and 80’s. Fast-forward maybe 10 years later and I started getting this itch to one day create an entire functionally playable city. The idea was there but it wasn’t until I was constantly watching Deadwood while also playing Borderlands that the idea really grew into sort of a mission to prove to myself that it could actually be done. I toyed around with the notion of making a sci-fi version of a roadside carnival. Complete with rickety rides and alien carnies but I eventually decided on a full city sized spaceport as it would give me tons of individual play venues to build the city up. I knew if I kept the universe it’s based in generic or rather vague that could have it inspired by ALL the sci-fi movies and TV shows I grew up watching. As a kid, I would jump from watching Blade Runner on VHS to Sanford & Son to Battlestar Galactica to One Day At A Time to Star Wars to Laverne & Shirley and instead of watching them as individual movies or shows, in my head, I would mish-mash it all together. Alien families trying to pay rent or old cyborg junk dealers being chased by an evil empire. So I wanted to create a gritty sci-fi dystopian complex that still had everyday life settings within it. So instead of ‘climatic hero scenes’ I have details like porta-potties and a med clinic with waiting room magazines and coloring books. It’s those little things that you know probably exist in those big cinematic universes but you aren’t going to see them on the big screen. I took a dollhouse approach to its design so there are countless accessibly open venues to play in. My intention was to make it as detailed as possible but structurally hands-on for actual play. It was after I was halfway done with the city, I named Rotgut Station, that I eventually posted a few pics on several toy collector forums. Requests started pouring in for me to create similar structures as commissioned orders and I started making playsets as a side job. Which eventually led into a full time business.Continue reading “Empire Toy Works”

Walmart Toy Catalog 2019

We listen to Spotify at work and every few songs for the past week there was a Walmart ad talking about the big toy catalog release on November 2. You could go to Walmart, get a physical copy of the new toy catalog and test new toys from noon to 4. So I went to Walmart on November 2. I went to 2 Walmarts on November 2. And then I gave up. No toy catalog (although I’m told they should have it in the coming week or so) and no toys to test (although I hadn’t planned on doing any testing myself).

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Why Toys R Us is Never Truly Coming Back

Sorry to be a downer…

The Rise and Fall

Toys R Us was the first ever big box toy store. A realized dream of its creator Charles Lazarus. Coming back from war Lazarus noticed a hole in the market, considering all the soldiers were talking about coming back and starting families. While his first store, selling baby furniture was opened in 1948, Children’s Bargain Store was transformed into Toys R Us in 1957.

And business boomed. New toys like Barbie and Mr. Potato Head were being produced. And TV toy ads were telling kids to buy from Toys R Us.

Fast forward to the 1980s and Toys R Us introduced its iconic Toys R Us Kid commercial jingle. And Geoffrey the Giraffe had been promoting the brand for 7 years now.

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Tiny Products

Miniature versions of everyday grocery packaging are all the rage!

I’m a product photographer by day, and a miniature diorama photographer on nights and weekends. I largely photograph grocery store packaging. So when I see tiny versions of the products I handle all day, I’m so hooked. I’m not the only one though it appears.

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The Toy World is Going Sustainable

Our World and Plastic

“If current trends in plastic production and waste management continue, the plastic debris housed in landfills and natural environments — currently 4.9 billion metric tons — will more than double by 2050”

– PBS News Hour

Much of the plastic we use in our daily lives is not degradable and therefore just sits in landfills, in oceans, etc. Reducing our plastic consumption has become a global concern. Not only does the amount of plastic filling our oceans greatly impact our sea creatures, plastic in consumer products has begun to show negative health risks in humans.

“Plastic has been found in more than 60% of all seabirds and in 100% of sea turtles species, that mistake plastic for food…Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our ocean on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments.”

-Ocean Conservancy

Exposure to plastic additives effect our health involving fertility, neuro-development, thyroid function and even cancer. Many additives remain untested.

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