The Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention (STGCC) had seen itself an event uniquely Singapore with a long 10 year convention history. To mark the 10th year coming and anniversary of the convention, this year’s STGCC simply blows away everybody in term of the scale and the number of quality exhibits over the two day show.
The convention this year occupies the entire Level basement 2 of Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center filled fully to the brim with 9 separate themed sections aimed at the various fan bases of the toy, games and the comic genre.
This year is also the first year where the event had increased public security measures in place, such as physical bag checks which were very well coordinated with ease. There were several auxiliary police officers stationed at high-traffic points too to aid with the security checks and coverage as required by the new Singapore Public Order Act. Thankfully, there was hardly any hold up during my visit early Saturday afternoon.
Entry to the event space starts at the far end of the Sands Expo, with you circling through back lane halls with extra queuing areas catered for an expected crowd. Not that these spare halls were used during my visit, but it is commendable that the organizers had the idea of thinking through crowd management in mind.
Toys Toys Toys!
Going on the tried and tested sections which defines every STGCC, we see the return of anchor tenants such as Action City and XM studios, whose booths greets you right at the main entrance arch. The number of exhibitors and tenants has almost doubled this year, with about 400 exhibitors from the sub 200-plus from last year. XM Studios have their display alleys lined with their complete range of high end and extremely detailed figures, each individually place on its own stand like a work of fine art.
Action City has their line-up of high-end collectables by Chinese maker Hot Toys. These limited figures are all available for purchase at the show via order, while stocks last. Beast Kingdom too had their full line up of Taiwanese collectable toys featuring characters across the Marvel, Harry potter and Warner brothers movie series.
Tokidoki is back this year bigger and better too with a dedicated booth cheerful themed and hawking their usual line of pop-culture items in the Pop-Fun section of the convention.
The pop-fun section too is dominated by the World Snack booth, offering several rare East Asian food goodies otherwise not regularly found in Singapore. STGCC this year is also one of the few times where you can find really good bargain toy buys, with sale items going below usual retail prices. This is unlike previous STGCC saw almost all major booth retailing items at over-priced cut-throat prices.
Notably, major toy retailer, Simply Toys was also there offering a sale of their popular Funko vinyl figures from $13 each, a good $7 off their usual in-store retail price. There are stores at the Colosseum selling clearance collectable Nintendo Amiibo figures for $5 (Usual $25) each, worth checking out while stocks last!
The Artist Alley is full this year and buzzling with activity and crowds. This is in stark contrast to the number sad empty booths seen last year, which is heartening. It is also very nice to see the alley full of independent toy makers and artists, hawking their various creative wares which is always a great welcome to the creative scene here.
Wares of the trade here include original artwork (commissions), prints, novelty cards, buttons to custom designed figurines, Lego or specially imported toys (Such as Tomica) and merchandise catering for a niche group here.
In the creative scene, STGCC this year saw a number of power couple comic book artists as guests, such as Arthur Adams (who brought us Longshot, Fantastic Four, Ultimate X), Joyce Chin (Supergirl, Hulk, Spiderman), the Emmy award winning Frank Cho (Mighty Avengers, Savage Wolverine, Skybourne) and the epochal Simone Legno (tokidoki).
The caricature booths are back too, allowing you to be part of the cartoon fix. New and interesting merchants this year includes Chapter 1 Tees (a Bangkok T-shirt design house) and US-based Tee-Turtle. Also for the first time, there is a doddle wall opened, allowing all attendees to leave their mark at the event.
Star wars and Saber Madness
If you are a Star Wars fan, STGCC have you pretty well covered with the new The Star Wars: Experience the Force Zone. It is a dedicated section exclusively housing everything Star wars in the convention, comprising of special props, activity areas and stalls.
Like a trader’s outpost, you find stores here hawking an extensive collection of Star wars-related merchandise ranging from Lego to Plastic kit models, bags and even lightsaber chopsticks (yep!). There are some really detailed Lego models on display; some depicting movie scenes recreated using toys as well as actual 1-1 scale static movie mock-ups which are highlights of this section.
Movie mock-ups includes a portion of the Millennium Falcon interior serving as excellent experience of being on-set, as well as Rey’s speeder, which you can have a photo opportunity like being on the planet Jakku itself.
Interestingly, there are VR- try out featuring HTC Vives to meet the adorable BB-8 astro-mech droid. Lightsabers literally run the show here in this section too, with an extensive regular showcase of the Jedi teachings and moves through regular Saber battles put up by our local Jedi communities.
So whether if you’re an avid Jedi knight at heart, die-hard collector, gaming enthusiast or just keeping up with the Star wars culture scene, this section won’t disappoint. To cater for the Lightsaber fest, there were over 3 separate retailers hawking lightsabers of the trade, so no excuses if you do not have one!
Next up, performances, gaming and cosplayers in part two of my writeup of STGCC 2017 to come!