Built to Last – an interview with Kevin from ToySoldier
ToySoldier needs little to no introduction. But for the uninitiated, ToySoldier are a Hong Kong based collective, an art house and design group who, almost single handedly make and design that elusive piece of equipment that is almost unobtainable elsewhere.
This can be exampled by everything from dummy training ballistic plates, to high end custom clothing in a wide variety of patterns and materials to detailed replicas of patches that otherwise do not exist outside of the real world units.
It’s this attention to detail, quality of materials and painstakingly hard craftsmanship put in to their products that’s actually seen their equipment used by real steel operators. From the French Police (Plate Carrier) to MARSOC (CP Style M81 Pants).
I’ve been using ToySoldier for years, ironically when they opened their web store, I was in fact their first online customer purchasing one of the first MBITR ANPCR 148’s – which is still in my ‘locker room’ to this day …
Nearly every week a new and exclusive product is released, and as such to celebrate the release of their full Cordura MBAV we took the time out to speak with Kevin ToySoldier.
GM75: Hey bro, thanks for coming on board to do the interview, I know how busy you guys are. So, let’s get started – when did ToySoldier start, and what was the original idea behind it all, had you had problems getting gear and equipment and decided to make your own ?
KTS: We made 1/6 figures since 1998. And as we were doing very well in the 1/6 market. The original idea was to make some gears for my private use (Airsoft). From the beginning, we setup a brand called “Tactical Workshop” for custom gears and private ordering. And when the demand increased, we started to have our own product for sale. The biggest problem is about materials, we try to use best materials for the products.
GM75: Did you ever dream ToySoldier would become this popular and successful ?
KTS: Never… I just wanted to make some gears for myself when getting start. I don’t say think we are successful.. I am still poor (laughs). But yes.. I am happy to be popular. Business is business. But I am happy to make friends from the worldwide.
GM75: I take it you identified there was a gap in the market for high end replica equipment, although the stuff you make is as good as the real thing, sometimes even better ?
KTS: I appreciate customers giving good positive feedback comments for my vests and combat suits. I don’t dare to say my products is better than “real” things. But we try to make the best quality.
GM75: What can you tell us about the process of designing and producing some of your products, I know you do a lot of research historically and photographically. But can you tell us about the process that leads up to delivering the finished product.
KTS: two ways. The first is to make my own design gears. From the experience in the game, then make what I need. Then drawing some simple graphic and give it to the tailor. Then he will make a first sample and test, then production.
Replica gears is similar. If we have the original then will be more easy. We will find the same/similar materials. Then make sample and start production.
GM75: Now, I’ve seen your gear turn up in some pretty strange places, even used by real world Law Enforcement and Military – that must be pretty cool to see, what can you tell us about that ?
KTS: That is really a surprise to me … you know our brand is called “Toysoldier”. Still some customer think we making 1/6 gears now. Sometime they will ask.. oh it is for toy figure or real man ? (laughs)
I think those Military guys don’t care what is the brand it is. They just want something they need for work … so they search the internet and found us. Or sometimes they play Airsoft too! so they know ToySoldier and want to try ToySoldier in the real situation.
GM75: So, you’ve made hundreds if not thousands of different products, clothing, armor, patches – is there one your particularly proud of ?
GM75: What sort of things make ToySoldier product that extra special, what are you looking to achieve when producing a product that meets ToySoldiers high standard.
KTS: I think we go faster than the others. And we welcome from customers ideas too. We still make custom gears for customers.
GM75: Now, I know how busy you are – but do you still get a chance to get out and play Airsoft, do you prefer CQB or Woodland, MilSim or regular Skirmishes …
KTS: I don’t play Milsim now…only when taking pics. I will wear what I love to. I think a good teammate is more important. If you have a good teammate different terrains is not a problem …
GM75: What is the one piece of kit you can’t do without when out on the field ?
KTS: dump pouch. GBB mags is expensive (laughs)
GM75: Now, I know your a big fan of real world gear and collect all sorts of cool and rare gear, any favorites or particularly special pieces you’ve collected or you really like ?
KTS: 90’s gears! ABA (American Body Armor), LBT (old gen), Vietnam war. I really love LBT 1195 style harness . Especially 1195K for gunners …
GM75: Last but not least, this is a trademark question, real steel ammo counts – something I’m a fan of but has really struggled to take off due to Airsoft’s limited range and accuracy – is there a place for this or do you think it’s not feasible ?
KTS: In Hong Kong, we don’t have chance to be an army. So … Airsoft is a good
sport for people here who want to experience the real military world. During the game, make more new friends and gathering with brothers, why be so serious (laughs)
Go to ToySoldier here –
… and find them and all their updates and news and product releases here on FaceBook
S23 Golf Mike 75 is proudly sponsored by ToySoldier
S23 FAMILIA SHIRTS AVAILABLE HERE
… in light of the overwhelming demand for patches (which have now gone) what was originally a limited crew served shirt has been made available online – printed on heavy weight Gildan shirts in charcoal gray (available S,M,L,XL worldwide here) – S23