What Materials are Bearbricks Made of?
Most Bearbricks are made of plastic, but over time, Medicom Toy has experimented with different materials. Material is one of the factors that affects the price of the Bearbrick, besides factors such as the collaborator, rarity and size.
You will discover everything you need to know about the different types of materials used in Bearbricks, including the usage of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), porcelain, wood and cabon fiber.
1. ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
ABS is the most common of plastic used for most Bearbricks in the market right now, and is known as a form of thermoplastic which can be melted for moulding purposes, or even melted into a liquid at different temperatures.
Fun fact: Lego uses ABS as well
ABS Bearbricks have 2 common print finishes, namely water transfer printing and dye sublimation printing.
a. Water Transfer Printing
Also known as immersion printing, water transfer imaging, hydro dipping.
This was first introduced by Medicom Toy around 2015. Water transfer printing is used to achieve a unique print, and is allegedly faster to produce and more cost-efficient. However, larger prints are often subject to distortion in Bearbricks (eg. Mona Lisa, Van Gogh Sunflower).
Examples of Bearbricks that use water transfer printing technique
Left to right: Pushead, Jean-Michel Basquiat, My First Be@rbrick B@by Space
b. Dye Sublimation Printing
Also known as heat transfer printing, this is the most common form of print found on Bearbricks and other toys by Medicom Toy. Designs printed on a special paper were transferred using heat, turning the ink into gas, then embedding the ink onto the material.
Unlimited number of colours can be used and the print technique retains colour vibrancy over a long time. However, more steps are required in the process, resulting in slower production time.
Examples of Bearbricks that use dye sublimation printing technique
Left to right: Doraemon, Alien, Batman Animated
Wood Bearbricks have already been in existence for more than 15 years. For the production of wood bearbricks, Medicom partners Karimoku (カリモク) exclusively, a wooden furniture company, since 2005.
Karimoku was founded in 1940 by Shohei Kato, the company’s first president, as a woodworking shop in Kariya, Japan. Karimoku is currently the leader in wooden furniture production in Japan. All furnitures are made by Karimoku themselves, adhering to strictest quality control. In ensuring product durability, Karimoku uses wood from trees that take between 50 - 100 years to grow. Karimoku also takes care in ensuring that the procurement of wood is done sustainably.
The first Karimoku piece launched was a Kaws 400% at Bearbrick Worldwide Tour (BWWT) in NYC, USA.
Karimoku’s collaboration on wood Bearbricks with brands and artists has gained itself much prominence in recent years, raising its profile internationally.
Examples of wood Bearbricks
Chogokin, also known as “super-alloy”, was a semi-fictional term taken from the animated series Mazinger Z. Diecast metal used in the Bearbricks are 14cm (5.5”) tall, also known as 200% to most collectors. The first ever 200% Bearbrick made was in Medicom’s signature @ sign in white.
To date, less than 50 models of 200% were produced, and they have proven to be less popular than the ABS pieces in 400%/100%.
Examples of Chogokin 200% Bearbricks
Medicom Toy first worked with K.Olin Tribu on a preorder of a plain white porcelain Bearbrick.
Medicom has since worked with Midland Creation on a series of Kutani (九谷) Bearbricks. Kutani is known as a form of Japanese porcelain overglaze painting, mainly used in teapots, teacups, plates, bowls and other kitchen wares.
The Kutani Bearbrick ranges from JP¥176,000 to JP¥250,800 and they come in just 400%.
Examples of Porcelain Bearbricks
Left to right: Kutani Sakura, Kutani Kirameki, Hajime Soryama (Pure Platinum Leaf)
5. Carbon Fiber
One of the most expensive range of Bearbricks that exists, Medicom Toy works with Amirex Japan to produce these ultra exclusive, made-to-order Bearbricks clad in carbon fiber since 2011. Retail price ranges from JP¥161,000 for a 400%, to JP¥990,000 for 1000%.
Examples of Carbon Fiber Bearbricks
Left to right: Texalium 1000%, Dry Carbon (Plain Weave) 1000%, Dry Carbon Blue 400%
Royal Selangor produces a wide range of products from corporate gifts, home accessories, dining ware to collectibles. The alloy composition for their pewter products have made them the world’s foremost name in quality pewter.
Royal Selangor has been a partner of Medicom Toy, producing a range of pewter Bearbricks since 2017. They maintain a high level of craftsmanship and product designs with their team of over 150 craftspeople and 40 in-house design team.
Examples of Pewter Bearbricks
Left to right: Arabesque Magic, Steampunk, Pink Color version