It’s been a long time coming. They came and went like a ninja in the night. If you are into vinyl toy collecting (or at least a fan of Kidrobot) and haven’t been living under a rock you know about Huck Gee’s super hyped Gold Life Dunny Series.
Based out of San Francisco, Huck Gee is arguably one of the most popular toy artists out there and has created some of the most sought after customized toys and production dunnys ever created. With his designs so popular and limited it was a head scratcher why he hadn’t received an artist series until now. *FAIR WARNING collecting Huck Gee isn’t cheap* If you just started collecting look to spend at least $100 on the secondary market for some of Huck’s earlier 3” designs. If you have the cash and are lucky to snag one of his custom pieces during his random releases look at spending around $800.
Influenced by old Japanese culture, Huck’s new hyper series is based characters from his Gold Life custom collection and prints. With 14 designs ($9.95/blind box; 16 boxes/case) which includes 2 chase figures as well as a special geisha/ronin 2 two pack ($29.95) the Gold Life saw the light of day on September 1 and quickly vanished off shelves the same day. It’s been quite some time since a series sold out at kidrobot.com and majority retailers the day of their release.
So did the Gold Life series live up to the massive hype?
-Case layouts; The majority of layouts seemed to have a limited number of duplicates which is nice to see in a release. (I purchased one case and was only missing 2 designs. 1 being an uncommon and 1 being the chase)
-Low ratios; The chase figure was the only figure with a higher ratio than 1/32 making this series fairly easy to complete. The majority of these dunnys have ratios of 1/16 or 2/16 (Which means in a normal case of 16 blind boxes you should receive 1 of the 1/16 designs and 2 of the 2/16 per case, etc.) This also helped to keep secondary market prices fairly low.
-Figure Designs; Huck stays true to his Gold Life roots including production pieces of his customs as well as all new designs with great accessories.
-Quality Control; Some collectors said some of their figures had poor QC issues, including paint smears, scratches or missing accessories. This is somewhat common in production dunny series but I’ve heard less complaints than from previous releases.
-Limited numbers; Toy shops were granted a very limited stock. To help reach more customers and give a more fair chance, shops like Rotofugi in Chicago held an online raffle. LiFT in Royal Oak, MI allowed a limited number of customers with a LiFT loyalty card the opportunity to purchase an entire case. Other stores allowed customers a maximum of 6 blind boxes. It’s a delicate balance between supply and demand and when Kidrobot has a Huck gee release there is ALWAYS more demand than supply which can be annoying.
Based on sales and hype I would say the Gold Life is one of the most popular dunny series ever released. Not only was it created by a very talented artist, it is one of the first series I feel that Kidrobot can justify the $9.95/blind box they have been charging for their mini figures.
In my opinion, this series also says something about the quality of releases in the designer toy game. A lot of people can argue collectors aren’t spending money on toys anymore. But if companies or artists put out something worth buying collectors will spend the money. I think this series helps with that argument.
If for some reason you see a gold life blind box at your local shop pick it up because I can guarantee someone else will.
*If you live in or plan on visiting the Los Angeles area be sure to check out Huck Gee’s “11/10” show at the Art Toy Gallery on Melrose. Throughout the past few years Huck has created limited hand painted custom toy series in editions of 10. What people didn’t know was he created an extra 11th or A/P (artist proof) version and numbered these 11/10. Along with these specially numbered pieces, new customs as well as fiber glass designs and a variant of the Gold life 2 pack (rumored to be limited to 200) will be available for purchase. Since Huck Gee doesn’t do too many shows it’s a can’t miss if you are in the area. The show opens on November 10 (11/10…SURPRISE!)
For more info check out:
www.huckgee.com @huckgee; Artist page
www.kidrobot.com @kidrobot; Kidrobot home page
www.toyartgallery.com; Location of Huck Gee’s upcoming 11/10 show
www.rotofugi.com @rotofugi; Chicago, IL Toy shop
www.liftdetroit.com @liftdetroit; Royal Oak, MI Toy shop