Welcome to the first edition of ToyMakers here on FreakSugar, where we’ll be showing one-off and custom toy lines! We’ll also pick the brains of the twisted minds behind these creations to better serve the greater good– or whatever explanation we need to tell ourselves in order to justify our never-ending and insatiable craving for plastic goodness!
Did you ever look at an infant and wonder why they’re so damn useless, just sitting there, smelling good and being cute? Well, perhaps you weren’t aware of the benefits of weaponizing those bundles of joy so they can rain death from above during armageddon! Thankfully, Brad Rader is a thinking man, and has birthed from his brain-uterus a toy line like no other: Battle Babies! Not only are 99% percent of these one-of-a-kind, but they’re 100% amazing. And 100% gory. So, 200% awesomeness. Geez, we suck at math…
Enjoy the galleries and interview while trying to not evacuate your bowels as your peepers behold scenes of violence usually reserved for Troma films.
FreakSugar: What’s your first toy memory?
Brad Rader: First toy memory is pretty easy but there are two that come to mind. My grandma bought me my first three action figures from a drug store called Eckerds. Kenner’s Walrus Man, Hammerhead, and Greedo. I remember sitting with my chin and hands on her kitchen table, staring at all the little details on Greedo, the veins on Hammerhead, and the wrinkly jumpsuit on Walrus man. I was locked in and mesmerized, even at 5 years old, at the sculpting and colors of those 3 figures. Oh, the colors! I can still smell the cold peanut butter sandwich, she kept her bread in the fridge, and taste the skim milk she put on the table for me.
And then there’s my first Transformer. My uncle Drove a Datsun 280z and he took me to Hills one day. I saw it on the shelf and said, hey that’s your car uncle Phil. He said, it sure is, you want it? I had no idea what a transformer even was. Later that day I finally knew. They were my everything. I remember sitting in the passenger seat on the way home from his house, listening to “You Wanna Be Starting Somethin’” by Michael Jackson on the cassette deck and holding Bluestreak close to my eye so it looked like he was driving down the road too.
FS: What line has been the most influential to your love of this sweet, plastic crack?
BR: Influential line? Transformers would have to be up there. Years later it’s not my favorite line anymore, but when I was a kid, it really shaped how tactile I became. Always doing something with my hands. To this day, I can still stick my hands in a box of loose toys and parts and without looking tell you what the vintage accessory, figure or toy is. I think Transformers had a lot to do with that.
FS: How did Battle Babies take shape? I assume a peyote-induced spirit walk.
BR: Battle Babies came about for one simple reason. My wife told me to not do something and I did it as soon as she took a nap. Grenade Baby was the first Battle Baby. We went to a garage sale and found that baby, grenade and Dino in a ziplock bag for a quarter. My wife Stacey really liked the Dino and wanted to keep it and for some reason I felt the urge to glue all the stuff together. It’s like they were meant to be together. She said don’t. Then she took a nap. Then I did it anyway. Lesson: husbands don’t listen and it will all work out. Made a few more with extra toy junk and somebody wanted to buy them so I sold them and kept on going.
FS: Of all the custom work you’ve done thus far, what’s your favorite piece?
BR: This may sound cheesy but my favorite piece is almost always what I’m currently working on. That and the gory stuff. I really please myself when I do gore. Man, I’m great. Next!
FS: Has there been anything you’ve begun working on that just became a pile of never-ending frustration?
BR: I really can’t think of a time getting frustrated while playin…uh, working, with toys. It was frustrating the two occurrences I’ve plunged an exacto knife stigmata style into my palm and side of my hand losing permanent feeling both times.
Our favorite part of Battle Babies? They’re all up for sale, because everyone has a price– especially those too young to fully understand how currency works. You can check out the full Battle Babies line-up here: http://battlebabies.storenvy.com/ and be sure to check out the official Battle Babies Facebook page.