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More than fun and games: Edmond designers create new line of collectible toys

Wheelhouse Co., a fan-funded firm based in Edmond, produces steampunk-inspired collectible figures.
by Brianna Bailey Published: April 2, 2013

Rivals, a new line of designer vinyl toys created by Edmond-based designers Chase Layman and James Hugo, features bizarre undersea characters that are geared more to the adult collector than a child's toy box.

“These are not really something you play with,” Layman said. “It's really more of something that you show off.”

The Cog is a steampunk inspired deep sea diver named Theodore P. Stevedore who is packing heat in the form of a ray gun. The Nautilus, also known as Algernon Chiffchaff, is a one-eyed, half-human, half-mollusk character armed with a crossbow.

Layman, 27, and Hugo, 30, created the Rivals concept using their shared love of collectible toys.

The Rivals toys already have attracted an online following. Using the crowdfunding website Kickstarter.com, Layman and Hugo have raised more than $29,000 to have the toys manufactured. The Rivals toys now are available for pre-order at Rivalvinyl.com.

According to the Rivals storyline, the Cog and Nautilus characters are locked in a turf war over the rare minerals that lie beneath the underwater villages of Nautilus.

Funded by fans

Layman and Hugo launched the Edmond-based graphic design and branding firm Wheelhouse in August.

Bookshelves at Wheelhouse offices are a testament to the partners' love of toys. Rows of small vinyl figurines ranging from characters from “The Simpsons” to more obscure psychedelic bunny rabbits line the shelves.

“When we started Wheelhouse, we always knew we wanted to make our own product,” Layman said.

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by Brianna Bailey
Business Writer
Brianna Bailey has lived in Idaho, Germany and Southern California, but Oklahoma is her adopted home. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the Univerisity of Oklahoma and has worked at several newspapers in Oklahoma and Southern...
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