So, having learned all there is to know about the early history of Medicom Toy’s Bearbrick, we
thought we would take a closer look at the bear itself. We’ll cover everything from construction
and sizing, to materials and types.
So, what the heck is a Bearbrick?
Well, put simply, it’s a vinyl toy adapted from Medicom’s original Kubrick product line bearing (no pun intended) a more than obvious resemblance to everyone's favourite bedtime plush.
And just like the Kubrick toy line, which coincidentally includes the Japanese word “ku” meaning nine, the Bearbrick construction is made up of, you guessed it, nine parts: head, torso, arms, hands, hips and legs, with eight points of articulation and endless posing possibilities.
While Bearbricks are most commonly hard vinyl plastic, different materials have been employed as collaborators have pushed the boundaries of how they want the toy to look and feel.
Fromthe Karimoku wood series, to Baccarat crystal and even metal moulds in the form of Royal Selangor – there’s no limit to the creativity and individuality of these pieces.
Bearbrick sizing explained
It all began with the 100% (70mm) Bearbrick. Since its first appearance at the 2001 Tokyo World Character Convention, all Bearbrick toys, smaller and larger, have been scaled in line with this figure, ranging between 50% and 1000%.
Let’s take a closer look at what each ‘percentage’ actually means in the real world:
50% - Your teeniest, tiniest standardised Bearbrick, standing 35mm tall and usually
attached to a keyring.
70% – The lucky charm! 50mm in height and usually embellished with little charms. The
70% Bearbrick is one of the newer additions, breaking onto the scene in 2006.
100% – The aforementioned “classic”. Standing 70mm tall, it’s the one that started it all
and the only one available with every release in the form of blind boxes.
200% – This is your “Chogokin” line (meaning “super alloy”). Made entirely from die-cast
metal, this 145mm Bearbrick features distinctive rivet holes at the rear and weighs a
400% – The collector's favourite where space is at a premium: 280mm tall and often
accompanied by a matching 100% version.
1000% – The statement piece: Medicom’s largest standardised Bearbrick weighing in at
over 5kgs and towering 700mm tall.
Let’s talk releases
By their very nature, Bearbricks are all “limited edition” pieces with varying degrees of rarity
(more in our Bearbrick rarity breakdown). Most of the time, they are released as individual
pieces (often combined with a smaller 100% version) but on occasion are available as ‘sets’,
recently seen in the Squid Game Guard collection.
Medicom will generally release two series per year consisting of four different types – let’s get
● Basic – nine different designs that combine to form the word ‘Be@rbrick’ each of which
emblazoned with a different letter on their chest.
● Standard – these are your ‘Themed’ Bearbricks, divided into a selection of
sub-categories: Jellybean (translucent solid-coloured plastic), pattern, science fiction,
horror, flag, animal, cute and hero.
● Artist – often two or three variants produced in collaboration with big brands and
established artists giving collectors the chance to own something unique and affordable
from their favourite faces and labels.
● Secret – these are your ultra-rare “shiny Bearbricks”. How rare you ask? Well, let’s just
say you have 1/192 chance of opening a blind box and finding one.
While the above are all available to purchase, Medicom will collaborate with brands and artists
for giveaways, promotional items and extremely limited releases, which means you will, on
occasion, spot an unfamiliar pattern or design.
Now you’re an expert in all-things Bearbrick, go and check out our full collection here.