I'm Dano Brown, a Bootleg Toymaker Who Fools the Internet into Believing Fake Toys like 'Naked Mario' Exist. AMA!
Hey Reddit! You may have seen some of my bootleg action figures go viral in the past -- such as Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos, Ernest P. Worrell from Ernest Goes to Camp, or the great MUGATU. Sometimes I sell the toys, sometimes they land in art galleries, and sometimes, as was the case for Naked Mario, they send the internet into an uproar. You can see behind the scenes pictures of how I create and package toys here, or check out my website and follow me on Instagram to see more.
I'm here to answer anything about bootleg toy making and anything else that comes to mind -- AMA!
Edit/130pm PT-- I've got to dip but this was fun! Might try to swing by to answer any I missed, thanks for all the great questions!
Hey there! I haven’t yet. Typically my projects are over and done with before anyone gets wind of them. I don’t do runs so I’ve already moved on by the time anyone can be annoyed with me
This might be stupid but do you know Obvious Plant and the other prank/bootleg toy makers? Love when people get duped into thinking these are real lol - especially the Boomers on Facebook
I know Jeff from obvious plant personally! He is an amazing friend and huge inspiration. He showed up to my first solo show and I felt like I met banksy or something. He’s great
What's the oddest request for a toy you've gotten? Either just kinda weird or incredibly niche?
Tons of weird ones. Probably the guy who shit his pants on his first date with his now wife and wanted it commemorated in action figure form
Hi Dano! Big fan of yours on Insta, thanks for doing this! Whenever you post something new I immediately want it lol — especially your recent Dumb and Dumber one.
Two questions — which toy had taken the longest? And why do you think mainstream toymakers haven’t caught up on this trend? Like, who WOULDN’T want harry and lloyd action figures??? Maybe they’re too caught up in the funkopop game…
Maybe my Majoras Mask toy. Took the longest. I was verrrry into that one so I wanted it perfect. I actually think super 7 is doing a great job at mass producing cool stuff. They haven’t done dumb and dumber yet but I wouldn’t be suit they do.
What series of events led you down the path of bootleg toy making ?
I’ve always been an artist but the toy thing started for me when I bought some bootleg figures from deathbytoys on Instagram. I owe a ton to him
Any cool celebrity reaction stories to the action figures? Also, hope you keep making lighters, I have them all so far!
Thanks for grabbing the lighters!! Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden was on a show called Ice Pilots. On the episode he’s on someone shows him the figure I made of him in his pilots uniform. His reaction is huge and I keep a screen recording of it on my phone for when I’m down :)
Has anyone ever said you look like a sexier version of Tony Hawk?
No but i imagine many people stop tony to tell him how he looks like a sexier version of me
You did a Sonny Koufax from Big Daddy figure for me! Thanks again, man. Do you ever get requests to do a loved one/would you be open to doing "normal" people (if someone commissioned you)?
Thank YOU! Yeah most of what I do is actually regular people. I just don’t share that stuff on social media
Hi Dano what was your favorite “toy” you made for a special request?
Probably norm Macdonald as Turd Furgeson. I wish that was my own idea but it was one of my brilliant customers
Do you like the actor Paul Dano?
What was the toy you most enjoyed making?
Probably Fat Al. I love weird Al
are there any figures you refuse to make?
I try to avoid either side of politics. It brings out a special kind of negativity in people that I don’t enjoy
What’s a figure that you made that you expected to get a bigger public response than it did? And what’s one you didn’t expect to get a wide response like it did?
Also, if you were reincarnated, what would you want to come back as?
The first one that really took off that surprised me was for a guy named kerwin frost. I was unfamiliar. Still am. But damn did he send me a lot of business. I thought my Joey ramone was gonna be huge but didn’t have much impact. I’m terrible at predicting. When I die I’m hoping to stay dead :)
Have you ever done your own injection mold, or do you only use premade action figure/dolls and pieces them together?
No. I’ve collaborated with guys who do that stuff but it’s all foreign to me. Very cool though
Wow, thanks for replying! I never get a response 😂. I think I saw you do custom work. What is your process for both figuring out the "idea" and also sourcing parts?
A lot of what I make is other peoples ideas I’m commissioned to make. My own ideas come when they want. Seems like I don’t have much control over that. As far as sourcing, I spend a lot of time on eBay but I also have a pretty big surplus of broken toys to pull from here at my house
Hey Dano! I’ve been a big fan of yours for awhile. Your account (along with a few others) got me into the bootleg/kitbashed toy scene - so thank you!
My question is, I know you’ve done design work before you did toy art. Do you have a favorite non-toy art project you’ve done that you can share with us?
I won a contest to have my adventure time design sold in hot topic a loooong time ago. I was super proud. Still am.
Mathmatical! Have you done any toys? I'd love a looong Lady Rainicorn or a BMO.
Also - were you the one who did the Spaceballs characters? What a perfect idea... no flame thrower needed just a Yogurt or a big ole Dark Helmet....
I never hav but they already have so many good licensed toys that they don’t need me
What was it? Can you share a link?
You can probably find pics of it by searching my name and “curse of the crown”. Seems all the old links are gone but it’s been posted weird places over the years. It’s somewhere on the internet
Yes! Except that’s not the final version. That’s basically it though
How do you get abs?
I only work out one arm but the abs just show up anyway
Has anyone ever told you that you look a bit like Billy Boyd?
You’re the first :)
Fuck bro! Now I know you’ve hit the big time! Glad to say I’ve known you since you were just a lame ass NES collector. Does this mean you’ve peaked?
And RIP Brown Dano and those sweet ass jumps
But for real, super proud of you man.
Ha! What’s up dude! Good to see you here
Are you the Same guy that is also in a metal band who does this?
Not me! Probably someone way cooler
Who your favorite Judd?
Why don’t you touch up the ceiling with some white paint?
Honestly if I knew anything about Reddit at all I would’ve known that pic was gonna be the only thing people see of me during this AMA and probably would’ve done many things differently. I look like I’m being held captive :(
Can we get a naked Luigi?
Maybe I will make the famous little brother some day. If I do, he’s getting a mega dong. He deserves a break
I'm very interested in making bootleg toys as a hobby. I was mostly interested in knowing what your production process is when making the packaging? I have no idea how I could source blisters, and not sure if there is a specific card thickness or name for type of card material used. Thankyou!
I use photo paper glued to comic board and I get my bubbles from dke toys or empire blisters. Both great sources
Do you experiment with other mediums like sculpting clay or 3D printing parts?
I sculpt with a product called Green Stuff. Originally I used it to fill in cracks or smooth out imperfections but not I sculpt quite a bit with it. I do play with zbrush and 3D printing but I’ve never incorporated it with any of my toys. Mostly because I’m not good at it
When are you gonna release your next album Danny?
I’m in the studio right now. They’re escorting me out :(
What's with the foreskin obsession?
You got it as a theme on a couple of items?
The lunchbox is an old meme I reformatted to fit a lunchbox. I don’t deserve much credit for that one but just always thought it was really funny and made for an almost believable lunchbox. The patches came from an old zine that never went anywhere that featured artists’ scrapped ideas. I had made the turtleneck design a long time ago but never intended on actually producing anything with that design but when the guy putting together the zine posted my illustration to his page, people really liked it and i got a lot of requests to actually make it into a patch. It’s been selling in my shop pretty steadily ever since. I wouldn’t really call it an obsession so much as an old dick joke I made that occasionally still puts money in my account. Actually still really proud of that one though. The idea and illustration are still solid to me
What's the deal with Team Turtleneck? Are you from Europe or the UK?
EDITed because I got the name wrong.
Very proud of that design :)
It's great. As an American who is a member (no pun), it's refreshing to see :)
Dm me your address on Instagram and I’ll send you a patch. Team members gotta stick together
Were you ever close to stopping? Were you concerned that you couldn’t make money on this? Actually haven’t followed you very closely but still very interested to understand
I really enjoy making this stuff so I’ve never really considered stopping. There are times when things slow down a bit but I’ve been fortunate enough to keep enough money coming in from art to get by for a while now. Definitely gonna do my best to keep that going for as long as possible
Do you sex with fan?
My wife is a pretty big fan and I’m hoping someday she will let me do that
Do you ever get threatened by companies? Via copyright claims, cease and desist, etc.
Not really. I typically do one offs to avoid stepping on toes
Have you ever considered expanding into the bootleg Barbie realm?
I have not. I try to stick with things that are nostalgic to me personally.
How often have are you asked to book someone?
It varies. Since 99% of my customers find me through Instagram, whether or not I’m active on there has a huge effect on how many people reach out. If I post something that gets shared a lot, my inbox usually starts filling pretty quick. If I post too many things consecutively that don’t really get anyones attention, I won’t be getting many emails or dms. It has a lot to do with self promotion which is the less fun part of it all but super necessary if you’re trying to be a working artist in todays world. For me at least. I’m sure there are super talented assholes that probably never need to promote a thing and sell out of everything.
If you haven't done so already, how about an action figure of Tommy Wiseau?
Great idea :)
Have you ever received any legal threats from the likes of Nintendo for pulling off these stunts?
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