November 4, 2014

Keeping It Simple, Stupid!

I like the expression 'keep it simple, stupid', and I think it relates to keshi toy design.  With such a rich history and collecting scene, trying to reinvent the wheel with your new minifigure line could be it's downfall.  Look no further than to figure lines like Mutant Mania.  You'll see a ton of people loving the figures, with many people excited to collect them, but almost unanimously, the flexi-spine piece and open back slot are things no one is too thrilled about.

Something I wonder is '...then why do it?'  I wonder why companies would try to do too much with keshi.  Let's be honest, keshi was never supposed to be sophisticated toys.  They were cheap gumball machine treats, and the people that love them now, may have been the kids that dropped tons of quarters in the machines.  I could understand the need to explore evolution.  Keshi has been around for quite a while now, if you have a new keshi line, do you try to stand out or join the pack?  I suggest there was already a form of exploration in evolution.  We can look at action figures and PVC statues and see millions of great products that reach to different aspects of toy design, I just have doubts that room exists in small, rubber, slug figures.  I think that's all they can be, but that's not a bad thing.  I say we do what we can to perfect the art and 'keep it simple, stupid.'

One surprise to this, maybe accidentally, but hopefully not, is a new toy line showing up at Walmarts from Imperial Toys.  It's called Invincible Army Men and it's packaged to be something of a rubber gun game but with marvelous keshi minifigures inside.  For only $5, you get four figures, a gun, three grenades, and some sandbags and defenses.  The minifigures inside are the main attraction.  They are slightly larger than convention, but not by much, with absolutely zero paint.  They are solid soft rubber, blue and tan in my packages, and a little softer than normal.  They feel a bit soft, like Trash Pack softness, but again, it's far from a deal-breaker.

On the back of the package, it advertises all the extras it has in the set.  There are two sets of four figures, so I have all eight molds, but there are two more color variants - army green and red.

Imperial Toys' Invincible Army Men are not perfect, but it's a great stab at it and a surprising addition to the American keshi scene.  They certainly do the 'keep it simple, stupid' thing and I think it works out for them.  I hope this toy line gets a lot of attention and gives Imperial Toys the impression to explore more lines like these guys.

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