stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots

August 15, 2012

in stuffed stuff

Derek and I got to go to SDCC this year and we were pretty excited. Not just because this was our first SDCC, but I knew the Penny Arcade crew, Scott Kurtz and Kris Straub would be there. My favorite people I always say hi to at PAX.

I initially wasn’t going to make anything but Thursday came and… I changed my mind.

At the time, I only had passes for Friday and Saturday (I ended up getting passes for Sunday later), so it had to be something relatively easy.

Once I decided to make something, it didn’t take too long to pick Mr. Toots from The Trenches created by Scott Kurtz (PvP Online), Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins (Penny Arcade).

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from The Trenches
created and stuffed: July 2012

The Trenches is a webcomic series about game testers. The posts are submitted anonymously by real game testers, and I enjoy reading them tremendously. If you think game testing is a glorious job where you can get paid by playing video games all day, you might want to start reading those posts. There’s some crazy stuff in there…

Out of all the characters in The Trenches, I truly believe Mr. Toots is one of the most important characters. Even though he showed up in the comic only 3 times in the two season prior to SDCC, I find a bunny with big floppy ears that tests video games irresistible.


M.T.I.A (Mr. Toots in action)

You can check out the strips where Mr. Toots appears below. (The place for his spot changes between strips so I stuck to the recent ones.)

The Trenches – Rodentia (12/15/2011)

The Trenches – Savant (12/20/2011)

The Trenches – Phantasm (1/12/2012)

Once I decided to make Mr. Toots, I drew sketches and started making patterns right away. I didn’t really have time to think about this project too much since I only had two nights to finish. Not only that, I was making two Mr. Toots. One for Scott and one for Mike & Jerry.

Mr. Toots head

Sketching the pattern for the head

Around 11PM on Thursday night, I started making a prototype (rough version), which included making patterns, cutting fabric, sewing and stuffing. After that, I tweaked the patterns, cut fabric, sewed, and stuffed it to create the final version. Sometimes it takes more than two prototypes to get to the final version but I was lucky this time. I stayed up all night and it was already Friday morning.

We had a blast at SDCC on Friday. (I’ll do another “past event” blog post soon.) As soon as we came home, I started working on Mr. Toots. I put a sack of plastic pellets at the bottom of the body so he could sit up. Also I put some pellets in the ears so they would have some weight. I stayed up all night sewing, and by Saturday morning, I was done with all the body parts.

I was very close to finishing Mr. Toots, so I asked Derek to go to SDCC alone and told him that I’d meet him before the end of the day.

After I attached the eyes and stitched the nose and mouth, he finally started to look like a bunny! But it was far from done. Sewing each piece to the body was the most time consuming part of this project. I had to make sure they were securely sewn on. I also had to hand-sew the brown spots on both of them. I didn’t have time to make patterns for the spots so I literary put fabric over Mr. Toot’s head and body, cut shapes out, and sewed them on by hand. For the tail I cut a circle of fabric, sewed around the edge, pulled the string to make something like a draw-string pouch, stuffed it with poly-fill and sewed it on.

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots


stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots

Took this with my cellphone before heading to SDCC

I never hand-sewed faster in my life until then. I didn’t know I could sew that fast. It was pretty cool.

I got ready, put Mr. Toots and a 360 controller in a bag, and ran to the convention center.

I met up with Derek at SDCC and headed to the Penny Arcade booth. I said hi to Robert, Brian, and Erika. There were couple of people in front of us talking to Jerry & Mike and getting autographs.

Our turn came. I told them I had something for them and took out Mr. Toots.

As soon as Mr. Toots was revealed, Mike screamed “HOLY S**T, IT’S MR. TOOTS!!” and everyone started screaming.

It was madness.

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches

Mike appears to be in tears holding Mr. Toots (or maybe not)

People were shouting “Mr. Toots!!” repeatedly with some not-so-family-friendly adjectives. (which was awesome) Then Mike showed Mr. Toots to Scott who was sitting at the booth next to them. Then there was a second wave of commotion. I told them that I had a Mr. Toots for Scott too, and there was another wave of commotion. Scott came out and gave me a big hug which made my heart tingle.

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches

Scott Kurtz holding Mr. Toots as onlookers observe.

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches

HUGGGGG- Awwwwww

Then the examination of Mr. Toots began.

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches

They did like the weight in the ears.

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches

How often do you see Robert Khoo examining a bunny plush so seiously?

They made such a ruckus that people gathered around the table trying to figure out why these grown men were super excited to make a plush bunny hold & mash the buttons on a 360 controller.

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches

Robert trying to make Mr. Toots hold a controller

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches

"He goes NUTS on the D-pad!"

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches

Scott and Mr. Toots

Derek and I did not expect this kind of reaction at all.  It was the most awesome reaction I ever got from giving someone a plush. When I gave them the monster from Lookouts at a book signing 2 years ao, they were super excited to see it, but this was no comparison. (See “stuffed stuff: Monster from Lookouts“)

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches

I wish I had stuffed him more evenly. (The fleece I had felt different than the one I usually use.)

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches

The funny thing is that, while everyone was cheering for Mr. Toots, Jerry was sitting quietly with a slight grin on his face.

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches

Jerry on the left with mixed emotions, Mike on the right ECSTATIC.

For those who don’t know, Jerry cannot stand Mr. Toots. I was fully aware of this, and I said to Jerry “I heard that you are huge fan of Mr. Toots” and smiled. Jerry squinted his eyes made an “M” shape with mouth and said “He causes SO MUCH TROUBLE,” emphasizing each word.

It was pretty awesome.

stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots and Jerry & Mike

In the end, Mr. Toots brings a smile to everyone's face.

A couple of weeks after I gave them Mr. Toots, he appeared in The Trenches two strips in a row.

The Trenches – Mephitic (7/26/2012)

The Trenches – Oracle (7/31/2012)

I can’t help but to wonder if it had anything to do with the presence of Mr. Toots in their office since I was told by Scott and Mike that Mr. Toots would be joining the story meetings from that time on.

If so, I’m sorry Jerry!

(Nah, I’m not, Jerry should learn to love Mr. Toots.)

Best friends

"Best friends" (Skull from PVP and Mr. Toots) posted by ScottÂ

For more pictures of this plush, visit the stuffed stuff: Mr. Toots from the Trenches set!

You can also check out more stuffed stuff on my flickr.

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