• Tiffany M. Carpenter

The Talk: Cracked Hatchet, Master Toymaker

Updated: Nov 7, 2018



Christmas is coming, so we stopped over in London to see our favorite custom Toymaker Cracked Hatchet to talk Childish Gambino, Duck Waffles and the future of toymaking.


Ian Chappell aka Cracked Hatchet, sculpts and renders exquisit pop-culture figures that rival any premium manufacturer. The artists’ unique style holds a cartoonish quality and it’s this distinct aesthetic that sets him apart from your average Toymaker and has earned an almost cult-like following. The pieces are hand-cast, hand-painted resin awesomeness. His previous work includes figures from Fight Club, Donnie Darko, Wolverine, Star Wars, and The Grinch that Stole Christmas.


In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, you’ll most likely be familiar with ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ actor Donald Glover’s video ‘This Is America‘ performed as his rap alter-ego Childish Gambino. On the heels of the video drop, Cracked Hatchet crafted and released an extremely limited run (just 8 pieces) of hand-painted figures inspired by ‘This Is America’. Each figure was auctioned off for charity, though Donald Glover apparently snagged the first one, raising upwards of $10,000.



Fans and Collectors alike have been waiting for news of a wider release for months, but Donald Glover's announcement regarding the retirement of the Childish Gambino alias after the release of his upcoming fourth album has suddenly turned a big deal into a huge deal. We stopped by Ian's studio for an update, and of course we brought breakfast.


“Oh my God, what are these?” I smile, “Duck Waffles.” “This is the best thing I've ever had, ask me whatever you want.”


“What are your plans surrounding the re-release of the Gambino toy?”


“The demand for the bust was huge, so we decided to go round 2. The new run of the Gambino bust is available to the public. It's open to 100 pieces and is priced around $120.00. Not exactly mass production, but it’s a good next step.”


“How long have you been doing this and how long has it taken you to perfect?”


“I’ve been doing custom toys professionally for about 6 years now. Prior to that, I’ve done many freelance projects and internships including murals, air brushing gigs, freelance illustration, web design and pretty much everything else out there in the artistic field.”


“What is the hardest part of the process? Scale, Details, Lighting...Painting?”


“Each part has it’s hurdles. There’s always a learning curve. Often “one step forward, 2 steps back” style, no matter how many times I’ve done a similar custom, there’s ALWAYS a better way.”


“What is your favorite piece that you’ve created, which are you most proud of?”


“I don’t really have a favorite, I think all my customs have 1 specific 'thing' that I am really proud of and look back at often...it could be something as minor as a detail or joint or style something was done in. I am typically most ambitious and proud of what I am creating at the moment, I get excited for the completed product....and customs that will get done in the future.”


“You are more than an artist...you are a 'Maker', what drives and inspires you?”


“Lots of things. I HAVE to have music playing in the background. My friends and colleagues are a true support system and inspiration as well. All things original grab my attention. I choose my subjects carefully.”


“Do you do commission pieces?”


“Most of my work is privately commissioned. While I enjoy it immensely, it retains my option to really create characters and ideas that I want to create. Open commissions are coming to a close for me very soon. I want to devote more of my artistic ability and time to these original works, and let the collectors all have a better shot at them through auctions and site sales.”


“How do you price out your work?”


“It’s really dependent on the complexity of the project. Lots of factors; figure(s) costs, time, etc.”


“Do you have any hopes for the future of toy making?”


“There'll be no end to the corporate toy giants. I'm not trying to compete with them or become one of them. My only hope is that my work remains relevant and finds an audience.”


“Where can we go to see more of your work?”


“You can find all my work on the site. Another great spot to see my customs is my Instagram account and if you're in town I'm a regular at ToyCon.”


“Bring waffles, please.”


The Wrap


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