With the start of a new year comes the start of a brand new Community Deep Dive series here at Exclu Magazine and last week we kicked things off by taking a closer look at the works of Jared Middleton and now we’re excited to talk to Ruben Martin Milan AKA @martinmilanstoys. Ruben takes it from here :
Part 1: Collecting
What does your collection comprise mainly of (Character / Brand / Manufacturer etc.)?
Mostly Tamashii Nations S.H.Figuarts and mostly Dragon Ball. I love many franchises and this brand works on most of them.
When did you really start to get into collecting? Were you surrounded by figures from a young age or has something more recent triggered it?
When I was a kid, I didn’t collect ‘per se’, I just played adventures with my toys. Ninja Turtles, G.I.Joe, MOTU, Power Rangers, Transformers, Myth Cloth, die cast cars…And odd manganime knockouts that where “the best” you could get in that day and age. In my country at least! At some point, someone in my family dumped the 90% of my childhood toy bounty, that was a bummer. So many years after that, I discovered SHF, and I was amazed!They were the figures I would’ve wished to have from Dragon Ball so I said to myself: “it’ll just be Goku.” What a lie.
What are your Top 3 favourite items in your collection?
It’s very difficult for me to choose three. Probably Bulma (SHF) Arale (Nendoroid) and Kid Goku (SHF). But if you ask me next time, I’ll probable name three different ones and it still would be true that I feel them like my favorites.
What is that one Grail pieces that continues to elude you?
American brands are a bit more difficult for me to get. NECA 90’s movies TMNT are a dream to me. ThreeZero’s Bumblebee as well. They are very difficult to get here, or expensive. Or both. I can get many SHF with that cash. NECA has a lot of pieces that are awesome to me. Medicom Toys, ThreeZero, Kotobukiya, Banpresto…they all have pieces in their lines that I really dig.
Which 3 items do you hope to add to your collection over the next year?
NECA’s John Connor, TMNT also from NECA and the ThreeZero Bumblebee would be awesome to have. But I’m happy with everything I get because I only buy what I really like, and that means that I don’t finish any line.
Part 2: Toy Photography
How long have you actively been sharing your Toy Photography online?
I started sharing as I started shooting, three years ago. I had no further pretensions. I thought no one would like much what I had going on.
Our community is always growing – what advice would you give to those who always worry about having to be original in every shot?
If you’re a strong minded person and you can carry on with that “pressure”, then it’s okay. If that’s what you want to dedicate your life to, I understand it. My humble advice would be to try to have some fun with it in the process, or the rest may collapse.
Do you like to use digital editing techniques or do you prefer to keep to practical methods?
I love them both. I predominantly use more digital techniques because I’m even more clumsy on practicals, but I keep learning.
What is your go to figure / line that you find yourself shooting above anything else in your collection?
I try to keep a heavy rotation, but I can’t deny that Dragon Ball gets more shots than other franchises. I just feel I know the characters better.
What is your favourite thing about being an active member of the Social Media Toy Community?
I’m not a very active member in that sense, but what I like the most is the amazing talent of the artists I keep discovering. I spend a lot of time watching other artists. I enjoy it very much when artists go beyond like Isaac Rentería or Felix Hernandez.
Also, I am lucky to share this network with both ultra talented and supportive people like @missbincaboo, @zuppabunnie or @sandrabell. To end up this sudden, unintended, insufficient and inevitable shoutout round up, I’d love to thank to @SuppaDuppa his talent, his greatness as a person and for burning some wisdom every now and then. I consider him like a sort of mentor. The same goes for @Dani_Orion_Pax one of the most imaginative, resourceful artists I met here. I respect them very much.
Part 02b. Toy Photography – Exclusive Image
I chose this pic because it gathers a lot of items that I tend to apply to my ‘style’ I chose Saitama because he’s so charismatic. And, as we probably all know, if he hits you, you’re done. And I chose some Dragon Ball universe’s villains, because they all were so hard to defeat! So this brings in a crossover, which I love to do.
The story is already started, a narrative technique which is called ‘in medias res’. The scene is at the midst of the action and pulls it forward. Many of my shots tell their story with this technique. It also has comedy. I thought it was funny that Saitama had to take a break to drink his water, before fighting Broly but after having defeated some other Dragon Ball villains. Broly is not a patient guy, moreover.
I chose that angle because it makes the character smaller and that is a convenient influence to the whole picture. It makes this scene less epic, reduces the importance of the characters, maybe their strength too. We didn’t see the fight, so we see the floor with all the casualties, better displayed like this than with a more straight angle. I like my pictures to have details for those who look for them.
Maybe it’s not a great picture, but shows what my pictures tend to be. I used some regular led displays with dimmers and my Nikon D600 as I always do. I barely work outdoors, so my backdrops are mostly DIN-A2 shots from Pixabay’s website that I print here in my hood.
A huge thank you to Ruben for chatting to us in another Deep Dive feature. Be sure to keep up-to date on all of his work via his Instagram page @martinmilanstoys and also on his brand new site MartinMilansToys.com and keep it locked to Exclu for more Community Deep Dive’s alongside the latest news and previews.
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Last modified: January 10, 2020