Over the past few years I was cutting and modifying toys, most of the times I was using Dunny, Munny and Lunartik. Here is the whole collection of Lunartik customs I made so far, for your convenience, placed in a single post.
Lunartik in a cup of tea is a designer toy originally created by Matt Jones, British born, Berlin based multi-media artist, painter, illustrator, curator, and character – and toy designer, successfully blurring the lines between art and design. His winning submission to toy industry pioneer Toy2R’s “Design a Qee” competition in 2004 won him the favor of the judges and fans. Riding the wave of fame from his fan-favorite Qee design, Matt’s creative toy design endeavors culminated in 2006, when he combined two of his design concepts, “Lunartik” and “For the love of Tea” into his first original collectible toy, the “Lunartik in a cup of Tea”. The fully self-produced, resin-cast collectible instantly captured the hearts of the international collectors community, its cute looks, big eyes and quintessential British quirkiness earned him a quickly growing fan base. Search google images for Lunartik and you will see hundreds of amazing designs which started with this figure.
What is this toy customizing about and why would people spend time doing it? It is different for each person. Some artists would like to recreate existing character the way nobody did, so you can’t find in shops, some will create their own original character and using existing toy will sometimes save time on sculpting. For me it was fun way to practice sculpting techniques and way to overcome fear of blank canvas. I can start quickly with blank toy and see where existing shapes will lead me. Looking at the toy from different angles gives me ideas for the character, its pose, style and shapes. Depending on day, mood, other inspirations, I would see something different. This allowed me to create my small collection of 5 diverse figurines.
I started easy with this one. It was the time when I was watching Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series so the idea popped to my head to recreate Tea version of terminator. The Lunartik character is dipped in a hot cup of tea, that reminded me the scene where Arnie dips himself in molten metal to destroy all his cyborg parts from the future. I quickly repainted the figure in metallic colors and added some lava. It took me just 2 evenings and resulted in cute and one of the kind movie collectible I called Tea-800. You get the joke, right? 🙂
Melting the saucer slightly in previous toy, inspired me to make this little girl. What if I will use heat gun on the plastic this cup is made of? How much can I modify it? The answer is a lot:) I almost started playing with it and accidentally created dress like shape. I added the upper body and saw cute little girl with big black eyes. I sculpted legs using Sculpey polymer clay and fit them in different positions. The dress was looking like lifted, that reminded me Can Can dance.
While I was working on previous figurine, I saw another opportunity to inject pop culture into design. I saw Marilyn Monroe like the one from iconic photos from 1955 movie “The Seven Year Itch”. The hair and legs made with sculpey, base is a saucer taken from original toy.
While I was researching iconic photos of Marilyn I stumbled upon on one with Audrey Hepburn from classic movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I watched the movie again and loved the character enough to turn her into custom toy. I used all parts of original Lunartik to shape this figure. Saucer is a base again, inverted cup forms her hips and handle of cup was cut off and used as a tail of little cat sculpted to look like made of smaller lunartik. Lots of sculpting went to this piece but I wanted minimalist look inspired by underlying canvas toy. At first, I planned to paint her black and white only, but later decided to add the skin color. I called her TEAfunny.
This is my another mini Lunartik customized as cute alien E.T. from memorable 1982 Steven Spielberg’s “The Extra-Terrestrial” movie. The idea came to me when I was playing with the cup and saucer, it looked like an UFO. It was easy to turn it to flying saucer and the Lunartik looked like E.T. already with his skinny body and big head. I only extended his fingers, filled the space on top of his head and add some details with green stuff. It was really fun to work on this figure, one of the kind movie memorabilia.
My previous customs were well received on designer toys forums around the web and I was invited to take part in “Fans of Tea”, second edition of one of the kind custom blind-box series curated by flatties.co.uk. It was unique 10 pieces designed by UK artists like: Blue Frog, Bugshub, Cakes with faces, Dan Brown, DMS, Dr Geof, flatties, KeziArt, Neese, RunDMB, Tumnus, Uncle Absinthe. Everybody came with great and diverse ideas. I made little knight. I used cup as a helmet, saucer as a base. The legs sculpted with putty and shield scratch-built with styrene. I cut the Lunartik logo for extra touch.
I realize my models are less impressive than what you can see online. They were all made few years ago and I grew as a sculptor since then. I will keep them here because they were steps in my self taught art education and its good to be back here sometimes to track the progress.
If you are still reading to this point, your attention span is longer than a goldfish and most people this days 🙂 It means that maybe you have patience to customize toys too. I would highly recommend it. It can show you that you have skills you never knew existed, it may lead you to friendships with growing numbers of toy makers and collectors from around the world. It is worth trying. The price of entry is low. All you need is some free time, little table, base toy and art supplies of your choice. When I made this little customs, I was buying Lunartiks at my local collectible store but you will find them in your favorite designer toy online store, amazon or Ebay, whatever is your preference. I go through many brushes this days so i buy them in bulk from here. They are decent quality and different sizes. For more detailed work I get very fine brushes in my local model-shop to keep them alive. My favorite paints are Valleyo acrylics because they have good coverage, great selection of colors and never dry out in this little bottles. You can get starter set like the one below and add individual colors or mix them together like any other paints. They are great for all sorts of model painting. If your adventure into toy making was inspired by this text or this website, let me know, show me your results by tagging me on Instagram or send me the photo on Facebook or email. Would be great to know if anybody cares about my writing and should I spend time doing it 🙂 Would you like to see step by step inside to my process, tutorials or videos? Let me know what can I do to serve you better. But now, grab your tools, cut a toy, have fun and stay creative!