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Oct 21, 2008

Gama-Go's Yeti -- Sculpting + Fire!



[After a little bit of a hiatus, we're back with the third installment of our look at  Gama-Go’s Yeti figure coming in the fall from Ningyoushi. Once again, Gama-Go co-founder Greg Long is your colorful and insightful tour guide.  Enjoy. ]

Ok, picking up where we left off with this Big ol' Yeti. I was talking about Ningyoushi's Denise and Omar's surprising suggestion. 

But first ... let's have an amusing anecdote.

GAMA-GO's offices are in the SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco. For you who don't live in San Francisco, SOMA is that part of town where you can still find companies that are actually making physical do-dads, gimcracks, gewgaws, etc. There's sweatshops and welders, furniture makers and coffee roasters. 

There's a lot of hobos. It's part of the deal. Loads of reasons for it, mostly it's because there's a lot of people and services trying to help folk out here in the SOMA. It's the neighborhood where needle exchanges, shelters, and outreach programs are allowed to exist.

Our offices are on the second floor of a building that, long ago, was a textile mill. Beneath Chris' desk are a pair of steel doors for when they use to hoist the raw materials up for processing. We've got some odd windows that run about a foot above the floor the length of the warehouse. They're good for scoping out the shitty alley next to the building & watching the hobos break into cars. There's your run-of-the-mill drug use and pissing and whatnot. I've personally put two fellas in jail after they broke into some cars. 

Across the alley is a fantastic restaurant - Basil Thai - the folks who run it are a good group of people. They work hard, make great food, and are a tight-knit crew. In between lunch and dinner, around 3pm, the kitchen crew takes a break & has a couple cigs in the alley. A couple years back they got a dart board and hung it on the door to the kitchen. It's become a part of my daily ritual to watch them toss some darts and relax. 

The point of this yarn is the other day a hobo took their dart board. 

I was looking down in the alley and noticed the dart board oddly sitting on the ground resting against a car's fender. "What the fuck is that doing there?" I wondered to myself.

Then I noticed this hobo kinda quickly stagger-pacing around. He was giving off a bad vibe. He kept coming back to look at the dartboard & look around to see if anyone was watching. On one of his passes he grabbed it and walked down and around the corner.

"Fuck!" I yelled. "The hobo stole the dartboard!" 

"What?" That was Chris from across the room. 

"He went around the corner!"

Then I see Chris jump up and run out of the office. A quick glance out the window shows him barging out the alley door and sprinting down the street.

"Well hot damn." I mutter to myself. 

Five minutes later I see Chris walking back around the corner with the dartboard in hand. The kitchen crew has meandered outside and he's explaining to them what went on. There's suddenly a lot of smiling and laughing and patting of backs. It's a good day in a SOMA alley.

What does this have to do with a toy Yeti? Not much. But nothing happens in a vacuum. I see hobos and dartboards in the GAMA-future.


Back to the Yeti.

"We want to include a torch that lights up"

"Whoa! really?"




Denise and Omar are over at GAMA-GO. This, right here, is one of the reasons I like working with them so much. I wasn't expecting a light up torch but now I can't live without it. 

"Awesome." I say. 

"Here's a photo of how it's gonna work. It's a simple circuit, I'm trying to figure out if it's gonna have a super-bright led or regular. Whether it should be a white or red led." Omar's got a printout of a cross-section of the new burning log light up torch. I can tell it's gonna be amazing.

"It looks like it's clear." I say. "Is that right? The flame is clear?" 

"Well, we can go that way if you guys like it, but we're thinking it's opaque."  Omar's pointing to the bulb.

"It's fantastic." That's Chris. "Let's go with opaque with red. Can you change the batteries?"

"Yup, there's a screw right here that you can loosen to get at the batteries." Omar again.


"Your sculptor's done a really good job with fixing the fur. It's way better now." I'm looking at a picture on my computer and pointing. Their sculptor took our comments on indenting the flecks of fur instead of layering them on top. "That's exactly how it should be."

"And he's no longer taking a crap." Chris sounded relieved. "The sneer is gone. That looks way better."

We're all nodding. 

"Ok, next step?" I ask Omar. 

"We're onto resin & painting masks. I'll introduce you to the painter and we should be able to get that done in a couple of weeks."

Omar pauses for a second. Takes a breath, dives in...

"The main issue now is the packaging. We're not going to be able to do the large plastic-molded ice cave that you wanted. The toy's just too big, plus we're worried about the packaging crushing, it'd need a reinforced shipping box for the plastic box. Essentially it'd be a box with a box inside of a box."

I'm bummed. I've been picturing this awesome ice box a-la the Baseman teacher's pet cone. The molded ice cover would play with clear vs opaque ice fissures. It'd slip over a square base & the only branding would be around the edge of the contrasting base. The whole package would be display-quality & the Yeti would be more and less visible as your view shifted. 

Well, fuck. So much for that. I'm looking at Chris and Omar and Denise & seeing that this is a battle that's not winnable.

Denise sees my expression and quickly jumps in. "Ideally the packaging would be a cube that could pack and ship well and provide a lot of protection for the piece. He's really heavy and I'm worried about damage."   

"Ok." I say. "Lemmie think about it for a bit and we'll do some emailing. I'll sketch up something. If we're not going the ice cave direction, then I want something that has a lot of hand-done work on it. Maybe something painted. Anyways, the torch is a great idea. I can't wait to see this whole thing in resin."

2008-07-08 at 10-15-172008-07-08 at 10-17-23 


And with that, meeting adjourned. 

[Check back in a few weeks for the stunning conclusion featuring paint application, more on the torch, packaging and the final piece. The Yeti drops in mid-November.] 

Posted by Jack @ 03:30 AM in Big Yeti | Permalink  | Comments (0) |


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