Luke’s devotion to toys began as a child in West Germany thanks to a supportive grandmother who purchased him as many of the available bootleg and knock-off toys as she could. A passion for the weird and unusual that he has since utilised in the production of his own art figures, through his company, ‘Goodleg Toys’.
(Picture below of ‘Goodleg Toys’ Manborg figure)
‘Goodleg Toys’ may be relatively new to the art-toy scene, but with membership of ‘The Resin Syndicate‘ locked-down, multiple loved releases including the Manborg figure, and a gallery show behind them, now is the perfect time to get up to date…
So, get to know Luke Toywalker and ‘Goodleg Toys’, in the interview below…
Basics/Getting to Know
Name + D.O.B?
Luke Toywalker, real name Lucas Rellecke, born March 29th 1982.
City, State n Country you’re Repping?
(Picture below of the ‘Toy Sector’ exclusive WotU S1 Blood Freeze Edition figures, by ‘Goodleg Toys’)
Describe a memory from three stages of yr life ….basically trying to piece together Mr. Toywalkers’ pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action-figures, women, school, college… ANYTHING man.
* age 10 – pre pubes:
Toys, toys, toys – this is where it all began. I was obsessed with action figures as a boy.
My parents wouldn’t allow me to have stuff like MotU and TMNT though, because they thought it was too violent. But I had the best grandma in the world, who got me everything I wanted!
I always had to keep this a secret though! My parents mustn’t know! I think that’s also why my obsession and fascination with toys remains strong onto this day.
* age 15 – pube rage:
Pot, Hardcore Music & Skateboarding. That’s what I was into as a teen. This is also when I sold all my toys from my youth, to collect some cash for my new lifestyle.
Today I regret I sold those things. I mean, I had it all! But… yeah, on the other hand I was young, and I needed the money, right?
* age 20 – acceptance of pubes:
I finished school at that point of time, at a minimum of effort hah!
Went to Indonesia, where I’ve been confronted with an extent of poverty I’ve never seen before in my life. The experiences I made on my journey really showed me how blessed we Westeners are, being able to live this life that we got.
What still leaves a bad taste in my mouth is the fact that most of our wealth comes from ruthless exploitation of other countries and their people! So that’s kinda fucked up, and I always whished I could could change anything about that.
(Picture below of Luke Toywalker the proud father, bootleg repping)
Be you, and only you, no matter what.
Integrity and Guns N’ Roses – no other bands have accompanied me throughout my life like these two.
Favorite TV show(s)?
Favorite sport(s) + teams?
Skateboarding, Snowboarding, Surfing – even though I don’t have time for this anymore. Damn, I’m old!
Apocalypse Now, Rocky, Rambo, RoboCop.
Favorite books and comics?
Frank Herbert: Dune Books, War of the Undead (the comic book)
Specifics on Art
(Picture below of a table covered in ‘Goodleg Toys’ pieces)
Do you consider what you are making to be ‘art’, ‘design’, re-hashed crap?
Making art is to create something unique. Design is something repeatable. And re-hashed crap probably is something of both worlds. I make toys.
Toys which enhance and recycle action figure designs and parts I grew up with.
And Pablo, my partner at Goodleg Toys, is making art when he’s painting a unique piece. Or when he creates something totally non-bootleg, like our Shipwrecked Plunderboys figures.
Personally I would prefer the term ‘DIY toys’, or ‘neo-vintage toys’ for my work. I know that Pablo is pretty happy with the term ‘art toys’ for his stuff though.
When and why did you first start making ‘art’ (toys, drawings, paintings, anything)? Why + when did you decide to go in on the art hustle?
I got to know Pablo here in Berlin in September 2012. He was doing ‘toy art’, while I was dealing toys here in my local toy business.
Sick and tired of the bullshit you can find at retailers today, we both wanted to create our own shit. Enhancing the toys we grew up with, and which still keep us going as collectors today.
In December 2012 we started out as Goodleg Toys, and released our first bootleg line, the infamous WotU (Wrestlers of the Universe). People loved them, so we kept on hustling.
And while resin collectors especially from the US went crazy over Dead DieBia$e & Co., we were working like mad on our second release, the War on Prehis (WoP) line. Which in my eyes is the coolest toy line ever made.
(Picture below of Pablo Perra, the other half of ‘Goodleg Toys’)
Any formal art training? Or pivotal moment/influence?
My dad Horst Rellecke is an artist – I mean a true one!
He makes a living of the unique pieces he creates from his very own hands. Even though he doesn’t get the point of half naked cyborg barbarians fighting each other in a far away galaxy, I must say his way of life has always had a big impact on me.
I never had any formal art training, though. I have a master degree in Philosophy, and I’m blessed with a very vivid imagination. Which is helpful when it comes to the creation of universes and stories that bring your handmade action figures to life.
(Picture below of Horst Rellecke’s – Luke’s father – and some of his work)
We make toys. We like it rough.
Favorite ‘other’ artist(s)?
BigManToys, ManOrMonster? Studios, 5.5 Customs, and Frenzy Bros.
Worst aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
People who forget where they’re coming from.
(Picture below of the Wrestlers of the Universe AKA WOTU resin figures by ‘Goodleg Toys’)
Best aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
Guys battling each other in making the coolest toys since the dawn of He-Man and pals.
‘Goodleg Toys’ Art Questions
Describe the method of making a Goodleg Toys piece? (don’t point all o.k.)
All our stuff is made of resin, pulled from 2-part silicone molds. Making good molds is a true pain in the butt btw, hah! But in the end it all comes down to a good mold, and a tight pressure pot!
I know that ‘Goodleg Toys’ is made up of yourself and your friend in toys Pablo Perra…
– what role do you each play within ‘Goodleg’?
Pablo is doing almost all the artwork. And he can sculpt! Just look at the Shipwrecked Plunderboys he did!
I’m usually the one who comes up with concepts and stories to our figures. I recently started sculpting a few bits though, like that Manborg figure and the upcoming WoP figure, the Death Drone.
We both know how to make molds and cast stuff. So whenever one of us is falling out the other guy can pitch in. Which is pretty cool. You can get alot more stuff done when working in a team.
– how and why did you and Pablo team up?
Probably fate? This city has a very small toy scene, even though Berlin is the capital of Germany. So it was just a matter of time until we met.
It was an instant match. I’d say we’re some sorta dream team. And we both have the same taste in toys!
(Pictures below of the Shipwrecked Plunderboys + header art, by ‘Goodleg Toys’)
Your ‘Manborg’ figure has been very well received…
– what was the inspiration behind the figure?
That’s quite a funny story actually. My friend Ralph Niese told me about the Manborg movie from 2011, and that I had to check it out. Pronto!
I found a ripped version on some Russian site on the Internet. The movie simply blew my mind! I mean, the guys behind it had a budget of like $1000, and they created a true masterpiece!
After watching I was enthusiastically posting a link to that Russian site on Twitter. A few minutes later the official Manborg Movie Twitter account replied.
They weren’t much amused about me inviting others to watch the movie for free. But I said, ‘hey, I watched your movie for free, so now I’m gonna do a Manborg action figure for you guys – for free!’ Said and done!
Steven Konstanski, the director of Manborg, loved the figure we came up with. So did the leading actor Mattborg Kennedy, the producers Astron 6, and the FanBorgs, the Manborg community. And after a picture of the prototype has appeared on the official Manborg Facebook page, there was no way back.
The crowd demanded a release of this toy!
– what was the process in producing the figure?
It was hard work – I can tell!
I mean everything was 100% handmade! Even the blisters and cardbacks. After the prototype was done and molded, each single figure was pulled, cleaned, and painted by hand.
We used small magnets for articulation, and more interchangeability. I did the artwork this time. Ater the image was done, every cardback got printed, cropped, sealed with a protective coat, and glued down on a cardboard.
Luckily Pablo came up with the idea of a homemade blister machine, which turned out great. It was impossible to get hold of the right blisters in this damn country, so we just went ahead and made our own ones.
DIY spirit for life!
‘Goodleg Toys’ also releases the ‘War on Prehis’ line of resin pieces…
(Picture below of some bagged Claw Drone figures, from the War on Prehis line, by ‘Goodleg Toys’)
– who is involved in the ‘War on Prehis’ line?
I came up with the idea of Prehis. Pablo sculpted the first bunch of prototypes, among them our first WoP releases, Claw Drone & Mace Drone. For the Mace Drone release we also made a mini-comic, drawn by Ralph Niese.
Pablo did the cover artwork. I did the story writing. And then there is Can who made our WoP retro commercial!
– what was the process involved in producing the amazingly retro ‘War on Prehis’ video commercial?
The video was filmed, written, and directed by Can Evrenol, a very talented moviemaker from Istanbul.
I got to know Can 2 years ago or so, when he was buying toys in my store. Also being a fan of WoP, it was him who came up with the idea of creating a short video in the spirit of 80s toy commercials for WoP.
What Can did hugely surpassed all expectations! You know, it was a civil-war like situation in Istanbul at that point of time. People have been protesting for weeks against the Turkish Government. And Can and his awesome team were shooting the video while the riots in the streets of their city reached their peak.
It still gives me goose-bumps everytime I’m watching it. As if the spirit of those riots Can was involved in got manifested in the War on Prehis commercial.
(Picture below of the Death Drone fig, from the ‘War on Prehis’ line)
– what is the back-story and narrative to the ‘War on Prehis’ line?
Lemme just tell you the story, hahah!…
‘In a distant galaxy, there once was the planet PREHIS, ruled by a supreme race of DINO-MEN.
They lived in peace, until the day a massive meteor impact destroyed their civilization, and unleashed an unending war over diminishing resources on their world.The culture of the DINO-MEN came apart.
The survivors of the catastrophe turned into lone warriors in a war of all against all. They became CYBER-GENETIC KILLER BATTLE SAURS. Their ultimate weapons: ULTIMATE CYBORG ZOMBIE BATTLE DRONES, created from the remains of primitive human organisms, who had once inhabited the outback of PREHIS.
The now hostile environment on PREHIS has given birth to a new generation of merciless killers – part dinosaurs, part men… part zombies, and machines!
Their life is a never ending fight for only one purpose – to survive WAR ON PREHIS!’
(Picture below of the Mace Drone figure, from the War on Prehis line, by ‘Goodleg Toys’)
‘Goodleg Toys’ General Questions
You are a member of ‘The Resin Syndicate’ an art-toy/sculptural gang made up of Blockheads Toys, Edge of Doom + Goodleg Toys…
– why did you guys decide to team up, Avengers style?
Well, Justin from Edge of Doom, and the BHT brothers are newbies, just like us. But they’re rolling out stuff just like oldies. Without suffering from any ‘amour propre’ though. Their shit is real, just like them.
When I saw the logo of The Syndicate on my Facebook stream, showing a Fulci zombie and some Death Metal lettering, I knew Goodleg had to join! So I asked Justin what I had to do to come on board, and he said: ‘You’re already in, if you want.’
– what roles do you each play within the ‘Resin Syndicate’?
(Picture below of ‘The Resin Syndicate’ logo)
Justin is doing the TRS blog, and the Facebook fanpage mostly.
All the others are just making their stuff and’re putting the TRS logo on their headers and cardbacks, to make them look cool…
No, seriously – we’re spread over the whole world, and TRS is just some sorta label that unites young resin toymakers with a specific sense of coolness and taste in toys.
That’s what it’s all about.
‘Goodleg Toys’ was involved in an art-show back in May 2013 in Berlin, Germany that was presented by ‘Jung Busch‘…
(Picture below of the flyer for the Jung Busch show back in May 2013)
– how were your resin pieces regarded by the Berlin art world? Why the decision to present your pieces, in an art gallery?
It was a blast! People came, saw, and loved our stuff. I mean, this is still Germany, right. We don’t have any ‘art toy’ scene over here at all. And the Krauts usually like it cheap and don’t wanna pay too much for a handmade toy.
But this exhibition really changed my mind. There’re people here who dig what we do. And who’re even willed to pay fair money for it.
I wouldn’t consider Goodleg Toys part of any Berlin art scene though. We’re underground.
And the place where the exhibition took place is owned by guys like you and me. No art snobs, but regular guys taking their skateboards to work. Good guys who wanted to give us the oppprtunity to present our toys to a broader audience.
What are the best and worst aspects of the Berlin art scene?
I’m not part of this scene, nor I do know much about it. Probably Pablo can tell you more about it.
What are your memories on the merging of Berlin after the fall of the Wall in 1989? And How did growing up in a politically divided country, affect your youth and childhood?
I saw the fall on TV with my family. I wasn’t really aware of the fact of living in a divided country. Nor did I realize that history has been made.
I was seven years old. And the place were I grew up was on the other side of Germany, in the West, in the British Sector. I didn’t even know why British troops were everywhere. But it was actually them who brought us the coolest toys! Stuff boys in the Russian Sector weren’t allowed to own at all!
Later I realized Germany had really messed up things in the past. I’m still feeling shame for this country. But I think the Krauts did pretty good in the past decades to learn about Democracy. And I guess they just started to learn about ‘art toys’.
– any early exposure to great bootlegs?
Knock-Offs is the word! And I’m obsessed with them!
During the Masters of the Universe era, other manufacturers tried to jump the band-wagon with their own MotU look-alikes. Galaxy Heroes, Combo Warrior, Defenders of the Planets… and later also the Turly Gang were great MotU KO figures you could get for 2 Marks instead of the 20, which you had to plunk down for a real MotU figure over here.
Being a kid with a small budget there was no way around cheap knock-offs. But I was fine with that, because I loved them. Today I love them even more than the originals.
I’m a fan of the obscure. That’s why I’m collecting them.
(Picture below of some loose Turly Gang figures, and a carded Turly Gang figure, by ‘Euro Play’)
What are your thoughts on ‘The Sucklord’? – I ask as he is the UR toy-bootlegger…
He was one of the first DIY bootleggers, yes. I don’t have a piece from him. Nor have I ever met him. So I can’t tell you much about him and his works.
His stuff looks funny though. A bit overprized probably. But I guess he’s just asking what others are willed to pay for it, so he can make a living of his toys. I think that’s ok.
Morgan – that’s his name, right? – I think he’s ok.
What are your thoughts on Peter + ‘Killer Bootlegs’ – I ask as he has promptly gone from a newbie in the scene back in early 2012, to a major presence today; and because ‘Goodleg Toys’ was involved with Peter’s Toys Are Us art show back in April 2013…
I have a few pieces from Peter. He’s doing clean work, no doubt.
(Picture below of the flyer for the ‘Toys Are Us’ show from April 2013)
What are your thoughts on the current status of the art-toy ‘scene’, and why?
I had a discussion on this subject with some other resin toymakers a few weeks back.
The market exploded in the past two years, that’s for sure. And I heard voices saying this explosion is gonna oversaturate the market and end up killing the scene. I don’t think this is the case though, on the contrary.
In my opinion this so called explosion IS the scene. It happens when people like you and me suddenly start making their own shit and become ‘artists’. They do what they love, making toys – without any big money and companies in the back. And that’s a great development if you ask me, which is not going to kill anything.
What might be killing it is the money though. And the hype. Artists and distributors who forget where they’re coming from, who turn shady and are only after the cash, and not into making cool stuff anymore.
Is the rise of ‘art’ toys an indication of the changing nature of ‘art’? OR just a bunch of nerds with too much $$$ and time?
I’m always cautious with using the term ‘art’. Because everyone has his own definition of it.
My dad for example wouldn’t consider He-Man or our WoP figures art. Although He-Man and stuff can be seen as part of the Pop Culture, or as ‘Pop Art’.
Of course, our generation might have another approach towards the whole thing. Guys like us rather go to toy shows than real ‘art’ shows (whatever that is, hah!). And we rather spend our money on a cool looking action figures we can put on display in our showcases than on some unaffordable pieces from Gaugin, Monet or whatever.
It’s also a question of interest. We’re rather interested in Jack Kirby comics than French Impressionism.
Favorite toy/figure? (I’ll allow self promotion)
When it comes to ‘mainstream’ toys, my favorite line is the Turly Gang from Euro-Play. My favorite mainstream action figure is MotU’s Skeletor.
And when it comes to DIY resin pieces, my favorite toys are Homophobos from BigManToys and Ralph Niese’s Judas Biest.
(Picture below of some copies of the War on Prehis mini-comic, with art by Ralph Niese)
What does your wife/girl/woman/family make of the whole perpetual adolescence/Peter-Pan/man-child aspect of toy art + toy collecting?
I’m blessed with a very understanding wife. She actually loves the Goodleg stuff. So does my little daughter.
My parents where a bit more skeptic in the beginning. They still don’t get the point of half naked cyborg barbarians killing each other. But they can see the love and effort I put into my stuff, and that’s also where they support me.
Any collaborations on the horizon?
Loads of great stuff coming up! We’re planning some collabs with the other guys from The Resin Syndicate for Designer Con in November.
I’m currently working with Lee from BigManToys on something sweet.
There’s also a collaboration planned with Justin Gammon from Weirdo Toys, and another one with Ben from Galaxxor.
And I’m damn sure Judas Biest is not going to be the last thing we’ll be putting out with our man Ralph Niese!
Any major projects you want to hype man?
All I can say is: The War on Prehis has just begun!
There’s a last exclusive WotU figure coming up for Roll Out Roll Call in South Hampton next month.That’s also where Lee and Goodleg will be putting out their latest release.
Oh, and if you like knock-offs like I do, you should go check out my KO Facebook page ‘Kockoff Collectors’.
(Picture below of the Captain John Goodleg figure, from the Shipwrecked Plunerboys line, by ‘Goodleg Toys’)
‘Goodleg Toys’ – webstore
‘Goodleg Toys’ – Facebook
‘Goodleg Toys’ – tumblr
‘Pablo Perra’ – personal site
‘Toy Sector’ – site
‘The Resin Syndicate’ – Facebook
‘Kock-off Collector’ – Facebook
‘Knock-off Collector’ – tumblr