Lulubell Toy Bodega Visits Ace Sofubi Factory!
Alright, guys. This visit was pretty special. Owner/operator of Ace, Tashiro - San, has been pouring/pulling vinyl figures/toys for about as long as Goto - San has been painting them. I will keep this entry relatively brief, but just know Tashiro - San has earned the moniker, through strong work ethic, skill and reputation, as the "Master Puller". We were given a tour of his office, his factory and his workspace, and I even got to personally watch Tashiro - San take sofubi from liquid form, all the way to a batch of uncut figures. It was amazing. But, please. Don't take my word for it. Gaze upon the shots I was permitted to take and see for yourself! Side note: Tashiro - San and his wife are incredibly hospitable and were impressed by my Japanese pronunciation! :-D Enjoy!
A visual library of only some of the toys Tashiro - San has pulled over the years!
Some classics like Mecha Godzilla and Mecha Kong amongst the collective!
Wonderful, wonderful pulls of a wonderful, wonderful cat!
Pyon - Chan, Daisy Duck, Doraemon and even Kamen Rider are only to be a few named in the vintage characters that have been brought to form!
A newspaper article that highlights the factory's standing, presented by Kero - Chan and Koro - Chan!
Pharaohs, sailors and bulges! Oh, my!
American classics, done in classic Japanese fashion!
First you pour; be sure not to overflow!
Centrifuge in action! Removing air bubbles to avoid holes in the vinyl!
Many times, for bigger molds, a vacuum is used instead, to bring air bubbles to the surface!
Cooking the vinyl in an extremely heated chemical bath, which hardens the liquid into a solid from the outside in!
Draining excess vinyl from the molds, collected back to be poured again, before being cured!
Pulled very carefully, very skillfully with intricate tools and hands - on methods!
"The flash" on pulled vinyl refers to joints at the top of each piece, which is what's gripped when pulling from the molds. Here, we see Tashiro - San cutting the excess!
That sweet, sweet sofubi smell we all know and love; it's Kobasol!
Only a small, small portion of the molds housed in Ace!
Small, tight knit and preserved!
To the highest caliber!
Look at that upswing! Arigatou gozaimasu, Tashiro - San!!!