Tomopop Review: inki-drop's Tentatrio plushes

Nov 21 // Natalie Kipper
Plush name: Sweetoof, Jellyblub, Ika, and StarwhalPlush maker: inki-dropRetail price: US$24.95 eachAvailable at: inki-drop Let's dive right in! The first of the Tentatrio I looked at was Sweetoof the octopus, measuring four and a half inches tall and six inches wide. His most notable characteristic is his little embroidered tooth sticking out from his mouth. He also has several pink-ish purple spots on his brow of various sizes. Add that to the snaggletooth and Sweetoof gives off a certain preteen vibe (acne and in need of braces). I am not sure if that is intentional, but I found it hilarious all the same. Flip Sweetoof over for a delightful surprise: he's got embroidered suckers! They look so perfect, no loose threads or flaws of any kind. Here's Ika, who I actually consider the weakest link in the Tentatrio chain. I am not saying he isn't cute or well-made. He is definitely both of those things. But he feels like just a recolor rather than of the previously released Gummy Ika. Both toys are even the same height, four inches tall. As you can see, the back is entire bare sans tush tag. The bottom is also a little boring but I will forgive that. The source material, mother nature's lovely squid, is of a simple design and there isn't much to be done about that. Now we come to my favorite member of the Tentatrio, Jellyblub. This little lady jellyfish is just too sweet for words. I just loved her wide-eyed, innocent expression. She measures four inches tall and six and a half inches wide. Details abounds on this toy. The little embroidered white dots on the top of her head add to her youthful look while the peach and pink frills around her lower body resemble a skirt.  But the most adorable piece of Jellyblub's ensemble is, without a doubt, her little fabric bow on the side of her head. It is made of the same minky fabric as her body and looks ever-so-dainty. I love this detail so much! Finally, we come to the Starwhal, measuring four and half inches tall and seven inches long. I had been really excited to get my hands on this one and let me tell you, she did not disappoint. Her facial expression is similar to Jellyblub's, with the big, dark eyes and simple "u" mouth. Her horn has embroidered grooves on it and is moderately stuffed. As you can see, the Starwhal's star pattern is different on each side of her body. The bigger stars have a soft, fuzzy fabric on the inside portion (a different texture than her minky body) while the smaller ones are just embroidered. The variety in the stars' size and shape looks great and you can tell took some effort.   So now you have met the Tentatrio (plus the legendary Starwhal). I loved working with these guys. The designs are adorable and make me smile. If I had my druthers though, I would make them a bit bigger. That way, there is more to hug! [a big thank-you to Shelly Rodriguez of inki-drop for supplying me with these samples!]
Review: Tentatrio photo
With a Starwhal included for good measure
I have been a fan of Shelly Rodriguez for a long, long time. I loved her work way back when her studio was called inki-Jinx rather than inki-drop. There's a little snapshot, right there. Her plush line has grown from the Crab...

Tomopop Review: Hashtag Collectibles' Grumpy Cat puppet

Nov 19 // Natalie Kipper
Toy name: Grumpy Cat puppetToy maker: Hashtag CollectiblesRetail price: US$35Available at: Hashtag Collectibles Meet the Grumpy Cat puppet. It says, "Hello", or it would if I was playing with it and not typing up this review. Uh, let's move on, shall we? The tag hangs on the puppet's right ear. The simple design, with just a Grumpy Cat's face and the toy's name on a matte black background helped to focus on the toy itself, and not be distracting should you choose to leave the tag on.  The puppet measures 10 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 6 inches deep. Its tail adds on about 5 inches to the back. Speaking of the tail, it is lightly stuffed and has a nice curve to the middle of it, almost giving it a "C"-shape. The body is moderately stuffed but not so much that it is difficult to use as a puppet. Here we see were the puppeteer's hand goes when playing with their Grumpy Cat. The lining feels slightly webbed and airy. I was pleased to note that it did not feel scratchy or sweaty, even after having my hand in there for over five minutes of continuous play. I was surprised to discover that the softest part of the Grumpy cat puppet is the blue portion of its eyes. The whole toy is pleasingly soft and snuggly, don't get me wrong, but this tiny area takes it to a whole new level: silky yet fuzzy with just a hint of woolen texture to it. A pure delight. The only issue I had with my Grumpy Cat puppet was what appeared to be a manufacturing flaw in its mouth. One corner opens wider than the other which, unfortunately, makes the toy harder to manipulate in puppet form. I can't imagine that this problem is present in all of the puppets, but it may be something to look for. I could still get the puppet to make the signature scowl rather well. I also made it say phrases like, "I love rainy days", and "Cake makes me happy." It is the little things in life, you know. Despite the one manufacturing flaw in the mouth, I would still recommend Hashtag Collectibles' Grumpy Cat puppet. Mine may not have made the best puppet, but I think it is definitely the cutest piece of Grumpy Cat merchandise made and that, to me, is worth just as much. Plus, she still makes a darn good cuddle buddy. [A big thank-you to Hashtag Collectibles for supplying me with this sample!]
Review: Grumpy Cat puppet photo
The time I made Grumpy Cat say "Yes"
The internet sure does love cats and I can totally understand the sentiment. Lil Bub, Colonel Meow, and of course, Grumpy Cat (also known as Tardar Sauce) never cease to entertain. Being a fan of said kitties as well as a plu...

DCon: Beefy & Co. photo
DCon: Beefy & Co.

DesignerCon 2014: Beefy & Co.


Mostly oldies, but definitely goodies
Nov 14
// Natalie Kipper
The DesignerCon booth belonging to Beefy & Co.'s Menh Voong was like a treasure trove of con-exclusives past. There may not have been a specific toy dedicated to DCon but the sheer amount of awesomeness that fans lik...
DCon: Dead Zebra, Inc. photo
DCon: Dead Zebra, Inc.

DesignerCon 2014: Dead Zebra, Inc.


Black is the new black
Nov 12
// Natalie Kipper
Walking up to the Dead Zebra, Inc. booth at DesignerCon, it was easy to see a theme amongst the toys. Heck, you could spot it from down the aisle: Black. Black editions of everything. Artist Andrew Bell had turned his popular...

Tolleson, Crooks, Catlin photo
A fantastic mix of designer toys from three amazing artists
The corner booth at DesignerCon that housed Scott Tolleson, Lana Crooks, and Carson Catlin had a eye-catching combination of plushes and figures, both original and customized. It also had several tantalizing con-exclusives av...

DesignerCon 2014: Flat Bonnie

Nov 10 // Natalie Kipper
DCon: Flat Bonnie photo
More flat, furry friends to love
As is her wont, Flat Bonnie's DesignerCon booth featured flat stuffed critters lined up on tiered displays resembling a grassy knoll. I spotted several fan favorites, like Flat Suggie the Sugar Glider and Flat Dusty the Chinc...

DesignerCon 2014: jellykoe

Nov 10 // Natalie Kipper
DCon: jellykoe photo
Another citizen of Tox City takes the spotlight
I'm not going to lie; I have a soft spot for jellykoe's Tox City line. The series of plushes were a big success on Kickstarter and I adored their New York Comic Con exclusive addition as well. Kelly and J. Spencer Shull broug...

DCon: inki-drop photo
DCon: inki-drop

DesignerCon 2014: inki-drop


Featuring the Tentatrio plus the majestic Starwhal
Nov 10
// Natalie Kipper
Shelly Rodriguez of inki-drop's booth at this weekend's DesignerCon was colorful, whimsical, and more than a little nautical-themed. My plush-loving eyes immediately focused on the Tentatrio (consisting of Jellyblub, Sweetoof...
Grumpy Cat puppet photo
Grumpy Cat puppet

You can't say 'No' to Hashtag Collectibles' Grumpy Cat puppet


I was a puppet once. It was awful.
Nov 03
// Natalie Kipper
The delightfully disinterested feline, Tardar Sauce the Grumpy Cat, just got her first puppet. I already have high expectations for this toy, given that the company producing it, Hashtag Collectibles, was responsible for my b...
Castle Crashers plushes photo
Bloody-thirsty knights turn cuddly
Many good gamers know about Extra Life, a charity that provides games, toys, and comfort to children in the hospital. The Behemoth, creators of Battle Block Theater, Castle Crashers, and the upcoming Game 4, we...

Fruitimals Kickstarter photo
Fruitimals Kickstarter

Fruitimals plush Kickstarter launches and already succeeds


Orange Fox and friends provide your daily dose of cute animall-fruit hybrids
Oct 22
// Natalie Kipper
Cuddly animal/food hybrids make the scene in a big way with Lucky Squid Studios' Fruitimals Kickstarter. Even though the campaign launched a week ago, not only has the initial goal to produce the first plush, the Orange Fox, ...
NYCC 2014: Kotobukiya photo
NYCC 2014: Kotobukiya

NYCC 2014: Kotobukiya


The perfect accompaniment to Kotobukiya's panel
Oct 11
// Natalie Kipper
After reading all about Kotobukiya's future products in Tian's overview of their panel at this year's New York Comic-Con, I am sure you are chomping at the bit to feast your optical nerves on the company's booth from the...
Pokemon Halloween plushes photo
Pokemon Halloween plushes

Halloween plush collection pops up in US Pokemon Center online shop


These toys are a real treat
Oct 08
// Natalie Kipper
The Pokemon Center is getting into the fall spirit with the release of their Halloween plush collection into their US online store. The series is admittedly smaller than the seasonal campaigns seen in Japan but, honestly, I a...
Harvest Moon plush photo
Harvest Moon plush

The Premium edition of Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley comes with a plush Snow Bunny


Only available at Natsume's online store
Oct 07
// Natalie Kipper
Fans of Natsume Inc.'s farming sim series, Harvest Moon, and its spin-offs know that one of the big bonuses for pre-ordering the games are the adorable animal plushes, especially the larger ones in their Premium bundles. Thes...
Jellykoe NYCC exclusive photo
Part of their Tox City line of plushes
[Update: Each plush will cost US$50.] Jellykoe announced their con-exclusive for New York Comic-Con, which starts in just a few short weeks. Hailing from their Tox City line, meet the beefed-up rabbit-thing, Musclebuns! Stand...

RAH Sebastian Michaelis photo
Available for pre-order soon
Sebastian Michaelis of Black Butler was recently revealed to be the latest in Medicom Toy's Real Action Heroes line of figures. AmiAmi Blog's preview highlighted the demon-turned-butler's accessories and various pos...

Martin Hsu's Blacky photo
Martin Hsu's Blacky

Martin Hsu's Dragon Dog Blacky now available online


Available in two different colorways
Sep 19
// Natalie Kipper
After the arduous journey through conception to release at San Diego Comic-Con 2014, Martin Hsu's Dragon Dog Blacky, is available for purchase via the artist's online store. Dragon Boy's canine companion is cur...
Big Hero 6 photo
Big Hero 6

Get hyped for Disney's upcoming Big Hero 6 with their new toy line


Figures and plushes as well as apparel are now available at the Disney Store
Sep 16
// Natalie Kipper
Disney's next animated film, Big Hero 6, arrives in theaters November 7 and their merchandising department has finally started to release toys of the characters at the Disney Store. If you mosey on over to Disney Store Online...
Megadrive plush photo
Megadrive plush

Hug gaming history with COSPA's Megadrive plush


I heart 16-bit
Sep 07
// Natalie Kipper
At the end of Wreck-It Ralph, "retro" was defined as "old but cool." In the case of COSPA's new Megadrive plush, I would substitute "cool" with "absolutely, freaking adorable." I mean, look at this thing! It's arms are contro...
Tentacle Crown photo
Tentacle Crown

Fulfill your dream of wearing a crown of tentacles with this Kickstarter


The wearable work of art is a success
Sep 07
// Natalie Kipper
Killer Tentacle Octopus (Kaity O'Shea) and Camilla d'Errico's Kickstarter for their wearable Tentacle Crown launched recently and has already garnered the US$10,000 needed to fund the campaign. The accessory ha...
Loot Crate photo
Themed to Star Trek, Star Wars, and Firefly
We officially have one foot firmly in September and Loot Crate has announced the theme for this month's box. Drawing from the Sci-fi realms of Star Trek, Star Wars, and Firefly, the next round is called "Galactic." As always,...

Pullip Sailor Mercury photo
Pullip Sailor Mercury

Sailor Mercury is revealed as the next Sailor Moon series Pullip


Available for pre-order now!
Aug 29
// Natalie Kipper
The brains of the Inner Senshi, Sailor Mercury, is joining Sailor Moon in the realm of Pullip dolls. This may just be me, but Mercury seems to look a lot better in this line than Moon does. Maybe it's the haircut. Groove also...
Tomopop Unboxes photo
Anime Bento's debut box yields all sorts of surprises
Anime Bento is a cool new subscription service that delivers hand-picked Japanese toys, accessories, and tasty treats right to your door. For this unboxing video, I open up their first box and examine its innards. Fun stuff. You can find out more about subscribing to Anime Bento here. [a big thank-you to Anime Bento for supplying me with this sample!]

SDCC 2014: Vamplets photo
SDCC 2014: Vamplets

SDCC 2014: Vamplets


Undead Baby Dragon's day out
Aug 17
// Natalie Kipper
Vamplets was celebrating a recent Kickstarter success at San Diego Comic-Con and their booth was fittingly decked out with gothic theming. The success in question was, of course, their campaign for the production of the ...
Mega Drive Megatron photo
Transformers fans, get pumped!
With the new images from Takara Tomy's site, we get another chance to "ooh" and "aah" over Sentinel's Mega Drive Megatron. Andres posted the pre-order information last May and I totally share in his excitement. As previously ...

Fat Chocobo pre-orders photo
Fat Chocobo pre-orders

Fat Chocobo plush waddles into pre-orders


Someone had too many Gysahl Greens
Aug 16
// Natalie Kipper
The time has finally arrived. After whetting our palate with a preview in May, Square Enix's Fat Chocobo plush is up for pre-order. And with that pre-order listing, comes more information on our chubby, feathered friend. The ...

SDCC 2014: Uglydoll

Aug 13 // Natalie Kipper
SDCC 2014: Uglydoll photo
DC comics' cast of characters walk on the ugly side
When Uglydoll's David Horvath revealed their con-exclusive, a plush of their Big Toe character cosplaying as The Joker from DC Comics' Batman, I knew the booth was going to be swarmed even more than usual this year. This...

SDCC 2014: So So Happy/Skelanimals

Aug 10 // Natalie Kipper
SDCC 2014: So So Happy photo
Featuring an exclusive Skelanimals plush and limited edition apparel
The San Diego Comic-Con booth belonging to So So Happy and Skelanimals was split in half, with each brand taking up a wing of the long set of tables. Much of So So Happy's merchandise was apparel with a few character bac...

SDCC 2014: We Love Fine photo
SDCC 2014: We Love Fine

SDCC 2014: We Love Fine


Dota 2, Puppycat, and Tentacle Kitty highlight the toy offerings
Aug 07
// Natalie Kipper
We Love Fine's San Diego Comic-Con booth was broken up into three different locations: one near the Star Wars exhibits, one in the designer toy area, and another just chilling in the center of the action. The last of the trio...

SDCC 2014: Furry Feline Creatives

Aug 03 // Natalie Kipper
SDCC 2014: Furry Feline photo
Alvin and Cheri Ong's furry family cosplay as Kaiju
San Diego Comic-Con's designer toy section was a veritable gauntlet packed full of bodies and vendors but even with all the chaos, it wasn't hard to spot Furry Feline Creatives' booth. Topped with a giant doll of their Chef T...

SDCC 2014: ThinkGeek

Aug 01 // Natalie Kipper
SDCC 2014: ThinkGeek photo
A treasure trove for every flavor of geek
The majority of ThinkGeek's San Diego Comic-Con booth was dedicated to upcoming goodies with a smaller vending section to the side. The company's con-exclusive goods included a Bee and Puppycat inflatable sword, Star Wars R2-...

SDCC 2014: Blizzard panel photo
Even more Blizzard news from San Diego Comic-Con
Along with having a very awesome booth, Blizzard's San Diego Comic-Con presence also included a panel, the Blizzard Entertainment 2014 Showcase. Jason Bischoff, the company's Senior Toys and Collectibles Manager, was in atten...

SDCC 2014: Martin Hsu photo
SDCC 2014: Martin Hsu

SDCC 2014: Martin Hsu


Blacky's big debut!
Jul 30
// Natalie Kipper
I was very excited to visit Martin Hsu's San Diego Comic-Con booth and see his brand-new figure, Blacky the Dragon Dog. The companion piece to his popular Dragon Boy character was revealed way back in the Summer of last year....

SDCC 2014: Blizzard

Jul 29 // Natalie Kipper
We discussed the show-exclusives prior to SDCC but for those just joining us, they were the Nether Faerie Dragon plush, the Whimsyshire Treasure Goblin plush, Funko Pop! Primal Kerrigan figure, and Cute But Deadly Zeratul figure. Sadly, all four of these special toys have now gone the way of the dodo. But now onto happier things! Blizzard's future looks bright and filled with toys of all varieties. On display at the booth were several new plushes including the StarCrafts Zergling (now available online for US$19.99), the Treasure Goblin (not to be confused with its SDCC variant), the Faerie Dragon (ditto), and the Hearthstone equipped with light and sound effects. Blizzard is also getting into pin trading with a new line of blind boxed cloisonné pins featuring characters from their games. Attendees were able to trade pins with Blizzard staff at the con. It created quite a buzz! I imagine this will carry over to other events where the company is present. Toys from other companies were also showing some Blizzard love. From NECA comes the Diablo III: Shadow of Diablo action figures (price TBD) as well as a life-size El'Druin, the Sword of Justice (US$59.99) from the same game. Funko, of course, supplied their lovable POP! vinyl figures. Their upcoming Deathwing and Murloc Pop!'s are particularly interesting as they are to scale with the rest of the line's characters (Deathwing is larger; Murloc is shorter). Sideshow Collectibles brought what some may have considered the centerpiece of the booth, a Kerrigan 1:6 scale statue (price TBD). Take a gander at her, along with the rest of the offerings, in the gallery!
SDCC 2014: Blizzard photo
For the Horde!
San Diego Comic-Con attendees swarmed Blizzard's booth at the event and with so much new and exclusive merchandise, it was easy to see why. The company certainly blew me away with the sheer scope and quality of not only its purchasable items but also its future releases. Read on to see all that Blizzard brought to the table.

SDCC14:Multiverse Studio photo
SDCC14:Multiverse Studio

SDCC 2014: Multiverse Studio Inc.


Four prototypes I wish I could buy now
Jul 27
// Natalie Kipper
Multiverse-Studio Inc. had a neat corner booth at San Diego Comic-Con. They brought with them the popular Harvest Moon plushes that they debuted at Anime Expo (the chicken/chick combo always brings a smile to my fac...
SDCC 2014: Skylanders photo
SDCC 2014: Skylanders

SDCC 2014: Skylanders


A talk with figure designer, I-Wei Huang
Jul 26
// Natalie Kipper
Who's excited for Skylanders: Trap Team? I know I am! This entry is the Skylanders series allows you to capture villains inside Traptonium crystal pieces and then play as them alongside the heroes. So, not only are there a to...
Elder Scrolls Guar plush photo
Elder Scrolls Guar plush

The Elder Scrolls Online's Guar goes plush, courtesy of Gaming Heads


Will come with in-game unlock code
Jul 18
// Natalie Kipper
Truth be told, I personally don't see myself playing The Elder Scrolls Online but I will bless almost any game that brings more plushes into the world, especially if they look as cool as Gaming Heads' recently released Guar p...
Monster Factory Mythicals photo
Monster Factory Mythicals

Monster Factory's new Kickstarter is Mythical, adorable


A unicorn, dragon, and Cthulhu will be the first in the line
Jul 17
// Natalie Kipper
You guys remember Margot the Unicorn from Monster Factory's Mythicals plush line? Well, the toys' Kickstarter campaign launched a few days ago and I couldn't be more excited! For the uninitiated, Monster Factory is ...
SDCC Blizzard exclusives photo
Snag 'em for yourself at Booth #115
Year after year, Blizzard's San Diego Comic-Con booth is swamped with fans hoping to buy their con-exclusive goods. It's easy to see why. Their stuff is spectacular, managing to tie into the company's games while being collec...

Tomopop Review: Monster Factory's Margot the Unicorn

Jul 15 // Natalie Kipper
Plush name: Margot the UnicornPlush maker: Monster FactoryRetail price: TBAAvailable at: Kickstarter (then Monster Factory) And here's Margot! From the tip of her horn to her hoof, she stands about 11 and a half inches-tall and is about 10 and a half inches-long, from snout to rump. She is made of a super-soft fleece fabric. Seriously, I can't recall the last time I have come across this type of fabric with such a soft and welcoming texture. Margot has a rather simple design, similar to many of Monster Factory's other creations. The only real embellishments are her eyes, mane, and horn (more on the latter two in a bit). The eyes are made of a leathery material with a hole in the center and another, darker fabric behind it for the pupils. I love the contrast stitching around the whites of the eyes. It adds a kind of whimsical nature to Margot that just makes me want to hug her! Margot's nostrils and mouth are actually just folds in the fabric. Some people may prefer these features be embroidered but I think this design choice works perfectly with Margot. Actually, embroidery would probably take away from the overall style of the plush.  Her unicorn horn is made of off-white and made of the same fabric as the body. I would have preferred the mane slightly less long as the horn doesn't stand out as much as it should at times.  The design of Margot's hooves is simple and fits the overall aesthetic of the plush. I love choice of a faint rose for the hooves' color. I think it adds to the magical feel. Here's a close-up view. As you can see, the pink color is only on the outside of the hooves. The inside-facing part is pure lavender. I don't think this is a problem though an didn't actually notice it until I started taking the photos. Unfortunately, dear Margot is missing a tail. In its place are her tags. If I had to fix/add one this about her, it would be this. I understand the concept of keeping it simple but I do love my plushes to have tails when appropriate. This is, of course, a personal preference, and the lack of a tail doesn't ruin this otherwise lovable plush.   Monster Factory's Margot the Unicorn is an overall treasure. She fits the style the studio is known for while feeling fresh and, well, magical. If the other plushes in The Mythicals line are anywhere near as lovable as this one, I think they have a real hit on their hands.  [A big thank-you to Monster Factory for supplying us with this sample!]
Review: Margot plush photo
Get a sneak peek at the new Mythicals line, coming soon to Kickstarter
In the past, the majority of Monster Factory's plushes have been, well, monsters. In their upcoming Kickstarter venture, the studio is branching out into the realm of mythological critters. Fittingly named "The Mythicals," th...


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