ToyCon PH 2019 is one of the biggest toy events in the Philippines that takes place annually in June. It is a wonderful event that celebrates our country’s love for toys.
The weekend event gathered toy enthusiasts and hobby groups not just from all over the country, but also all over the world. There’s a ton of exclusive ToyCon Ph offers, special guests, and a whole lot of toy buying and selling of course. 🙂
While I’ve attended various ToyCon PHs over the years, this year was a brand new experience as I was given the opportunity to be part of the Toy Designer Alley, which showcases talented toy designers and their amazing works.
In this post you’ll find my ToyCon PH 2019 report and will be divided into the following sections:
I. ToyCon PH OVERVIEW
ToyCon PH started back in 2009 and is the Philippines “longest-running and most anticipated pop-culture event”. From my experience with ToyCon, it has always been a good venue to celebrate the country’s love for all kinds of toys and pop-culture.
They’ve continuously raised the bar by bringing in something new every year, either with special guests both local and international, more convention day events and special offers, or much recently to my knowledge, the ToyCon PH exclusive toys.
It’s a full 3-day event that begins on Friday noon and ends on Sunday evening. It used to be held in SM Megamall’s convention halls, but that eventually became too small a venue so they’ve been doing it at SMX in Pasay City.
The convention features a Cosplay event, Toy display contests, celebrity meet and greet, and more. This year, the organizers invited both local and international Toy Designers to showcase their stuff and offered ToyCon PH 2019 limited toys to event goers.
My ToyCon PH History
My first ToyCon PH participation and attendance was actually back in 2013 when I joined my LEGO group’s (PhLUG / Philippine LEGO Users Group) display cabinet. Back then, I was just getting back into the LEGO hobby from my “dark ages” and could just build tiny mechs for our group’s display, but was very happy and excited for the experience.
I. Pre-ToyConPH 2019 Prep Work
I actually started doing prep-work for ToyCon PH 2019 around the same time I was preparing for JBF 2019. My display area would be significantly smaller so most of the prep work went to making sure my ToyCon exclusives would be ready in time after I came back from JBF.
LEGO Brickheadz TEQ63
Having a table at the Toy Designers alley was a special privilege and I wanted to commemorate that by offering a special ToyCon PH 2019 event exclusive build up for purchase.
I’ve been talking with the talented and awesome toy designer, Quiccs, regarding a collaboration since 2017.
The Brickheadz TEQ63 is a special collaboration piece between me and Quiccs. It’s based from various versions of his TEQ63 character (3″ BabyTEQ Dunnys, 6″ TEQ63, several illustrations) in the OG colorway. We actually released a couple of prototypes of this back in Toy Art Ph 2018 last December where we auctioned off an OG Black, and an OG Black and White pair. It has been updated slightly to offer a better look and proportions for the exclusive release.
Just like the TAPh prototypes, the ToyCon PH 2019 ones were co-signed by Quiccs and myself. The difference is, these were final numbered releases (limited 20 pcs.) exclusive to the event and would never be re-released in the same colorway.
It comes with a special style guide that doubles as a signed proof of toy authenticity.
Kurosawa Sword Kai reFrame 1 of 2
As another bonus to ToyCon PH 2019, I made a 2nd version of the Kurosawa Sword Kai reFrame build. There’s only 2 of these ever made with the other one going to Quiccs as a special art-trade.
It’s also co-signed by Quiccs and myself on the shoulders.
Instructions for this model will be released sometime in July / August but I’ll never be releasing another finished build set of this.
This model has actually been in the works for the last 2 years and started with the Kurosawa Kai with the reFrame V2. It later got upgraded to the Kurosawa Hyper Kai using the reFrame V3 and fixed a ton of issues with the balance.
The latest version simplifies the build to keep the silhouette really distinct while introduces several assembly upgrades to make the build as durable as possible without sacrificing the design.
The Kurosawa build is a reFrame rebuild of Quiccs’ Ghost of Kurosawa artwork. When I first saw this original character, I just fell in love with it (samurai + graffiti elements + Darth Vader mask + sick black / white /red colorway)!
I just knew I had to try rebuilding it in LEGO mecha format. It’s gone through 2 major versions and a ton of minor versions and is one of my longest builds to complete.
II. ToyCon PH 2019 event report
ToyCon PH is such a big event that it occupies all 4 halls of the first floor of SMX Convention Center.
The Toy Designer Alley was positioned either in Hall 3 or 4 near the food stalls along with the local comic book artists.
My Display Area (Booth #12)
Each toy designer was given a 2x2m space for their booth along with an enclosed glass display cabinet.
Most of my models were inside the glass cabinet to make sure they were safe all throughout the 3-day event. I did bring the Covenant reFrame to display on a turntable on my table along with my for sale instruction booklets and reFrame v3 mecha frame kits.
Difference of ToyCon with LEGO events
I actually attend more LEGO conventions than general toy conventions. Being in ToyCon again after last year’s absence reminded me of a few general differences and observations a general toy convention has over a purely LEGO one.
These notes come from my perspective and experiences as an exhibitor for both kinds of events. These are purely observations over the weekend, which I find amusing. 🙂
Generally when exhibiting in a LEGO event, I don’t need to go out of my way to explain what I have on my table . For general toy conventions though, most people who pass by my displays need to take a double look on my stuff.
It’s quite often that people think what I have isn’t LEGO, but is instead Plastic Models / Gunpla / Scratch Built mechs, or robots. Despite having labels that explain everything in my booth is 100% LEGO, unpainted and without modifications, people still ask if it’s really LEGO, which for me is a good thing.
If my builds make people think they are actually model kits then I’m happy to give that impression.
The 2nd big observation is how shocking it is for people when I explain that my builds are made with the same reFrame skeleton. There’s also the extra surprise when I open up a finished build, showing a minifig pilot sitting inside the chest.
I then often get asked how I got the idea to make something like this and it becomes a nice chat with the person asking about Japanese mecha, model kits, the building process, etc.
The lovely thing about it is being able to talk more about what I make, explaining a bit of the process, and seeing the reactions of people about my creations. 🙂 It’s always a huge compliment when people say they find my builds as a work of art.
Just like JBF2019, I actually had very little time to go around and take pictures of everything. Having a booth with sellable items just means having to stay at your booth more. Going to try to find a way to go around more next time and take more selfie pics with everyone.
Photos here are just of the Toy Designer Alley booths and a bit of the bigger booths in hall 4.
I actually don’t have any pictures of the cosplayers, celebrities, display areas in the 2nd floor, and a bunch of other stuff T___T
Toy Designer Alley (no specific order)
I was really proud to be part of such an amazing group of talented toy designers for the weekend. It was great being able to talk to the makers and creators of all these wonderful characters and learning the extra stuff behind the creation process.
I was actually quite overwhelmed during the first day seeing everyone’s work. It was honestly my first time being around so many Toy Designers as I’m usually around LEGO builders so it was a somewhat shocking, but much welcomed change of pace haha!
What I liked about being with the group was seeing everyone’s talents expressed in a variety of mediums and formats. You could really see all the love and creativity each and every artist poured into their work via their toys and that’s a wonderful thing to be able to witness first hand.
Some pieces grabbed my attention so much that I just had to get some for myself, which you’ll see below under the loot section 😉
Just listing all of the toy designers here in case you want to look up their works for yourself 🙂 I have to admit that I might have gotten some of the names incorrect or have just listed down their toy and not the creator.
- Daniel Yu
- Jessica Emmet
- Happy Garaje
- Creon Chkn
- Thai Art Toys Group(I’m sure I missed someone here)
- Mupa Toy
Other pics in Hall 4
I actually skipped taking photos over at the selling areas just because its so crowded and was really hard to take pictures of what everyone was selling (along with the sensory overload haha).
There was actually a lot of cool stuff and I wish I had way more free time to just casually stroll around. Hopefully next year!
Pics with ToyCon PH 2019 Guests
Just a bunch of pictures with me and those who dropped by my booth and got something 😀
Toy Designer Awarding
We were called in the afternoon of the final day to go to the 2nd floor as there was a special program to recognize all the toy designers who participated in ToyCon PH 2019.
We were each given a certificate along with some loot bags (contained a t-shirt, Gold Marvel Funko Gamora, and 2 blind boxes that I still haven’t opened). It was a nice token from the organizers and really felt the love from the event. 🙂 We also had a group photo + poster signing to commemorate ToyCon PH 2019.
IV. Loot and Goodies
What would ToyCon be without toy loot?! Was very happy with my purchases for this year’s ToyCon and I believe this is the most I’ve spent on any Toy Convention ever!
Was fortunate on some items as they still had stocks and some were given as gifts by fellow Toy Designers that really warmed my heart and made the experience so much more memorable.
I was specifically looking for Designer Toys that were either Tigers, Cats, Transparent, Samurai, or just came in a black / white / gold / red / orange colorway. Some items ran out faster than I expected so that was my mistake. Lesson learned for next year 😛
Not included here are the things I pre-ordered and will be asking custom work for hehe.
I only got one of each of these, but compiled some photos of the same toy but different views into 1 photo. 😛
My must-haves entering ToyCon was really Anatoy’s Owange Boy. For some reason, I just really love the look on this design and the colors are just excellent. Since I was over at their booth anyway, decided to pick up an OG AnaTEQ to add to my collection. Later on got a gold AnaTEQ c/o Quiccs himself. 😀
Fufufanny’s cute designs just caught my attention, but this transparent version actually wasn’t available during Day 1. It was to my surprise that she removed the sold out sign during Day 2 as she found one more stock of it and I grabbed it immediately.
Hariken’s Are アレ was also one of the things that caught my attention as early as Day 1. Just loved how these guys looked. Hariken kindly gave a Sore それ when we exchanged things just before saying goodbye during Day 3.
We weren’t smart enough to go around during the first few hours of Day 1 so we missed out on Jessica’s unicorns. Luckily, she still had this Manticore that reminded me so much of my eldest cat Momo.
Our booth neighbor Happy Garaje had these really cool looking translucent Jellyfish toys on display at their booth. I actually wanted to get the bigger Kapitana, but decided to go for the smaller Jellyfish for now. I really love how they made their toys as Mark of Happy Garaje explained. They did it first as a carved wooden toy then casted it in resin. This explains the wooden feel to the toy and just adds such a lovely and unique texture to their pieces.
Chk Dsk’s DXIII is actually a sick new toy I’ve been eyeing and pre-ordered the 12″ inch version for more detail. 😀 DevilToys actually gave me this 6″ version (our booths were just behind each other so we had time to chat) and Chk Dsk himself was kind enough to autograph it for me. More power to you bro and excited for the 12″ DXIII! 😀
Lastly, Rusho’s toy was something I didn’t expect as he left early during the last day to catch his flight. He had this signed Rusho waiting for me when I dropped by his booth and wish I could have received it in person. I owe you one bud when you come back next year. 😀
Pins & Keychains
I actually just started collecting enamel pins recently starting with a few Quiccs pieces, but now I’m hooked on getting more.
Really love the Mumbot Ghosting pin from Jade and Yoii’s pin! Both just have so much character to them in different ways. Just had to pick up Qtako’s circular pin (as I love takoyaki and this guy just reminded me of it!). Diyalogo’s Still Available pin will be gifted to one of our friends and I’m loving the Nani?! keychain *channels my inner Hokuto no Ken*. Qtako and Anatoy gave us pins while saying goodbye, which was so kind of them.
Stickers was another great way to remember fellow creators so I decided to pick up some to stick to my luggage next time I travel.
The Quiccs sticker pack was something I was really planning on getting, which I picked up from Diyalogo’s booth. The stickers from Happy Garaje was a bonus from our Jellyfish purchase (thanks guys!). We were short on cash already so we couldn’t get Yoii’s Pug Rider so we settled on a sticker instead. Since I didn’t get anything from Wetworks (yet!), he was kind enough to give me some stickers for now (can’t wait for the Foxy and Xin!). The owl and bear sticker are actually from my good friend and great photographer Jon San Pedro. 😀
Being in ToyCon PH 2019 was definitely an awesome and eye-opening experience, especially being surrounded by so many awesome Toy Designers and their amazing creations. It’s a really nice change from being around LEGO builders and gave me a few new ideas about my own creations and works.
I also realized that while we build with different materials, we go through the same creative process and that makes me appreciate original designed toys much more. Who knows someday I’ll give Designer Toy making a try, but I’ll still be mostly a LEGO mech guy. 😉
It was also a wonderful thing to have a lot more Toy Designers attend ToyCon this year. There’s still something different from people creating their own stuff rather than what’s widely available in the market. I believe that it would also be nice for local attendees to learn and value handmade original toys more as there’s a certain passion and quality you get from Designer Toys.
I’d like to give thanks to the ever so talented Wetworks for recommending me for this event, and Louie Tan of the ToyCon PH 2019 staff for giving me the opportunity to showcase my works beside such talented people.
To sir Vic and Cholo, a huge congratulations for a wonderful and successful ToyCon PH 2019! Thanks for having us over and hope you liked my creations. 😀
I’d also like to thank the rest of the ToyCon PH 2019 staff and crew who were very welcoming and friendly both to us local artists and our international counterparts. Your hard work, dedication, and passion really shows.
Until next year ToyCon PH! 😀
reFRAME v3 Instruction Manual
The reFrame System is a modular brick skeleton aimed to help both new and veternan brick mech builders create their own designs in a consistent size with modular capabilities. It was originally designed to be a basis for all my mechs in the Mech Wars universe. Having gone through a number of upgrades, the V3 reFrame can now house a minifigure pilot in the chest without sacrificing aesthetic or articulation.