What do you do if you cannot discover precisely what you’re in search of on the cabinets, or after scouring eBay for that distinctive, one-off collector’s piece?
elfast man Brian Tipping has actually taken issues into his personal palms – he makes his personal. Tattoo artist in his Bangor studio by day, toymaker by night time, he has created his personal assortment of Northern Eire legends motion figures.
Now, if he fancies swinging a punch at Stephen Nolan, he has bought Carl Frampton to do the job for him, playfully after all.
Likenesses of sporting stars George Greatest and Alex Higgins, trademark cigarette hanging from his mouth, proved no hassle to craft.
Brian even turned his personal explicit set of abilities to film star Liam Neeson. He didn’t search for him. He didn’t pursue him. He simply made him himself.
Now 39, the Ballysillan dad who was a giant collector of WWE motion figures within the Nineteen Nineties in his youthful days, spends his evenings engaged on his creations.
“It is a passion, a little bit of enjoyable,” he mentioned. “However buddies have discovered them amusing and the suggestions has all been optimistic. I take pleasure in it, so I am going to carry on doing it.”
His work has gained the admiration of a UK-based toy producer, and although not ready to start out a factory-style manufacturing line, Brian has been requested to give you designs, significantly with the wrestling figures which kick-started his toy making ardour.
“They’ve requested me to give you some cartoon-style design blueprints for his or her retro-styled figures,” he mentioned.
“WWE was the factor after I was rising up. I managed to gather among the motion figures at Christmas and birthdays, however could not actually afford them till I used to be older. Solely after I had a bit cash I went on eBay and locations like that to start out amassing them once more.
“I got here throughout some collectors in America who have been customising their very own figures with spare components, creating designs you could not get wherever else, so I believed I might give it a go.
A few of the figures may be accomplished in round 10 hours, however for the extra elaborate designs, Brian can spend as much as 30 hours exhausting at work to get the look good.
“I began choosing up older figures from gross sales, utilizing components and creating new ones,” he mentioned.
“It was the wrestlers first, however then it branched out into widespread Northern Eire figures. Nobody else was doing it so I believed it might be fairly distinctive to start out constructing a group.
“I’ve youngsters however lately they’re extra into know-how than taking part in with dolls or figures, however motion figures have all the time been a giant collectors factor. It is beautiful to sit down again and take a look at them and know I’ve bought a special assortment, one thing nobody else has.”
It isn’t simply the figures Brian creates himself, all of them include their very own packaging design and would not look misplaced on the cabinets of toy shops.
“I did get a number of time throughout lockdown to work on them so I’ve bought round 20 within the Northern Eire legends assortment now.
“Nevertheless it’s a one-man operation. I regarded into what it will price to attempt to produce extra, however for now that is simply out of the query.
“It takes time to create each and the associated fee could be far an excessive amount of to do that full-time alone. I would like them to look proper so I do work exhausting on that.”
For now, when he isn’t targeted on his plastic clay modelling, moulding then portray, or working in his iPad to design equipment to supply the packaging, Brian is content material to work away at his Eye Sweet tattoo parlour in Bangor.
“I am going to get a bit extra time to work on just a few extra concepts over the following couple of weeks now we’re closed once more,” he mentioned.
Whereas he does sometimes make figures on request, it is largely simply to amuse himself and his buddies.
“I’ve a Could McFettridge half completed and I might like to get caught right into a Jim McDonald from Corrie or a Joey Dunlop subsequent,” he mentioned.
“I’ve had fairly just a few requests from individuals who’ve seen the work on Instagram and whereas I can do just a few requests, and have put individuals’s heads on well-known wrestlers like Hulk Hogan as one off specials, I’ve needed to flip down so many as there hasn’t been the time,” he mentioned.
If there’s one determine particularly that may increase a smile or two from people who find themselves regulars in Belfast metropolis centre it’s a sure musician, usually noticed someplace alongside Royal Avenue, close to Citadel Courtroom.
Recognized domestically because the Violumpet man, Belfast’s favorite busker Yohan, who has a smile for everyone who passes by, has now been immortalised in plastic.
To seek out out extra, go to Brian’s Instagram web page eyecandytattoo