Designer Toys 101: What is a Qee?

If you are new to this column, it is truly meant to be read from the beginning to the most recent.
Please start with the first installment, "What are Designer Toys?"

You may recall several installments back that we discussed the Munny platform, a base design that can be hand-painted by customizers into a unique figure, as well as the Dunny platform, which uses various applications at the production level to make a horde of versions available. Now we'll discuss the Qee, which is sort of a merging of the two ideologies.

The Qee (pronounced "Key") is generally considered the first platform figure, with the Toyer version being introduced in 1999 by the Hong Kong-based company Toy2R. Though, like the Munny, Qee is actually a family of figures each with a slight manipulation of the base form:

Most are obvious interpretations of anthropomorphized animals (Bear, Cat, Doggy, Monkey, Bear, and Bunny) with the Toyer being the only true exception. The Toyer is a humanoid form with a cartoonish skull head, which has become the iconic logo for the company as well. There are further versions of the platform, like the Knuckle Bear Qee and the Egg Qee, but those shown above give you enough of an idea.

Qees are generally 2.5-inches tall and are packaged with an optional keychain accessory, though there are Qees in other sizes: 1.5", 8", 16", 36" and even 60". You can buy Qees that are pre-designed, either within the company or by outside artists, usually sold in a blind box format. But one can also buy completely blank do-it-yourself Qees, meant for artists to create customs out of. Based on the success of the Qee, a wave of asian companies begans producing their own platforms; though most, like the Qee, used a body design similar to the LEGO figure. But it's always good to know who started the trend, right?

Next Week: Who is Huck Gee?

Designer toys used in this week's column are all designs produced by Toy2R.

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