February 25, 2017

Late to the Party! Super 7 Comes Out Huge @ Toy Fair!

Hey, everyone, welcome back!  Sorry, this write-up is so late and ancient news by now.  The SpiderEarth family has been fighting off one of those late-winter early-spring colds, and I finally fell sick to it just recently.  I had considered just letting it go and move on, but I do have some thoughts I wanted to share about it all, so hopefully it's not too late for that.

As I am sure most of my readers know by now, as well as keshi collectors that are just dropping by for the first time, Super 7 has been quite the keshi flag-barer the last couple years.  Ever since their first wave of Masters of the Universe/ MUSCLE cross-over mini-figures were announced in the spring/summer of 2015, they have had their foot firmly pressed on the gas pedal for keshi, and this year's Toy Fair shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.  Who can't love that?

Actually, a lot of us should have expected it.  They did announce quite a lot of this in advance, but there certainly have been surprises along the way, as well.  When they revealed the set of Masters of the Universe MUSCLE, they had announced plans to include the movie Alien, Mega Man, Robotech, Ghouls N' Ghosts, Street Fighter, and others.  This year's Toy Fair was certainly one that has showed how much progress they have made since then.

On display, were the Mega Man, Robotech, and Street Fighter mini-figures previously announced, but they had some surprise company as well.  At least, surprising to me, were the displayed The Worst and Shogun mini-figure sets announced, as well as the blind bag Street Fighter figures that have me crying in my wallet already.  And if all that wasn't good enough, additional sets of Alien and Masters of the Universe was there to satisfy the fans looking to extend their current collections.

What I wanted to bring up, however, is this weird division I have in my head.  On one side, I am nothing but thrilled Super 7 is doing so much with the keshi format.  They are adopting nearly every trademark they have into little rubber mini-figures, and that's awesome.  That's exactly what I would command them, if I had some sort of wand of dark magic.  However, on the other side of my brain, I see some of these figures, particularly the Mega Man and some of the new Alien mini-figures, and I can't help but admit how unattractive they are.  I know they can't hit home-runs every time, and I know they do have to blend both MUSCLE and the other franchise together into something that will look natural in both worlds, but, even still, some of these look pretty awful.

And that's what's so weird, you look at other things coming out and there's a lot of great looking stuff.  The Street Fighter set, in particular, looks top notch, and The Worst stuff isn't too far behind.  Was there just too much work that needed to be done, because there is a significant drop-off when it comes to the Mega Man set.  And that sucks, because I really dig Mega Man, but for me, the proportions are all off.  Some parts are too thin and too long and others are too blown out, to create a figure that looks more like a MUSCLE character with a Mega Man costume on than an actual living character.  Like I said, I know there has to be some compromising to detail, so characters of movies and video games can blend into the MUSCLE world and all the mini-figures can all have a similar look, and if that's what happened to the Mega Man set, I have to question why other sets break that rule and look so much better because of it.

There are other Mega Man keshi sets out there, maybe it was a matter of separating their product from how those look.  I am not sure, but I did want to share my opinion, because things could change in future series.  I think creative feedback is always a good thing, and I am hopeful that Super 7 will change things if this first Mega Man set fails to reach expectations.  I'm not sending an online hex or anything, I am just setting up high standards for the company that's been representing the keshi format largely these last couple years.  Maybe some crumby vending machines get a pass for being ridiculous novelties, but Super 7 outgrew that a long time ago.  I would argue, if anyone finds keshi on toy shelves nowadays, it'll likely be made by Super 7, so it's only proper we make sure they are putting the best out there for new and old fans alike.

February 19, 2017

IronHaus Productions' Gorewad Monsters Review!

Sometimes, even the lowest of the low get lucky.  Sometimes, even the most professional afternoon nappers and bedtime sleepers wander to the front of a long line.  Such is the case, at least this time, with your Crazy Uncle SpiderEarth.  I've covered IronHaus' drops before, maybe just to transcribe the flashes in time where something was being sold then immediately sells out moments later.  This time is really no different, but at least this time I was there to capitalize and capture some goods to review for old blog.

IronHaus Productions is a ground-level company with just a few independent artists collaborating to make the highest quality stuff they can, and for those who enjoy the artist-to-hand experience, IronHaus has to be on your radar.  There's no middle man, no demographic test groups, no board of directors to answer to, or quota to reach.  It's pure creativity and ingenuity, realized in a physical form by the artist themselves, sent directly to the people attracted to it, and have been an 80's kid with action figures, it's a breath of fresh air.

Within the last few years, I've bought a couple interesting action figures of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from Playmates.  I would argue these skew vastly towards the toy experience than the art experience, but it won't take you long to notice, somewhere along it's creation and production, it was compromised as such.  A true artist sketched it out.  A true artist sculpted it with his or her hands.  You can tell from all the minor details across the figure that never gets a paint application.  Somewhere before the figure is packaged and put on the shelf, the artists involved are removed from the equation.  It just becomes a toy and a product, and to some extent, that's perfectly fine.  I would argue, after decades of that, you'd grow to appreciate something like IronHaus' mini-figures a little more.

I recently received a litter of the recent Gorewad Monsters in the mail, and I was rather impressed with just how detailed and wild these things were. Their size was rather small, about the size of what you'd expect of Trash Pack mini-figures, but the amount of detail was insane.  What size are their fingers?!  What are they sculpting these mini-figures with?!  A single hardened hair?!  What's going on here?!  I can't sculpt a bowling ball without leaving an entire hand-print around the thing.  How are these guys this well-done and this small?  If the answer isn't just raw talent, it's a question too complicated for my spider brain.

I've rambled on for quite a bit already.  IronHaus' Gorewad Monsters are some really top-notch independent mini-figures.  They are crazy, wild, imaginative, and really well-sculpted.  You have no problem reading the character off each sculpt.  You know which ones are the slimy ones, the stinky ones, and the ones that just go around screaming, by just looking at them.  I would absolutely recommend these to anyone looking for a bit more of a personal touch to their toys, however the secret is already out.  Like other independent studios, their stock sells out almost immediately after the drop, so you'll have to be extra diligent and aggressive to get your hands on your own.  But when you do, it's worth it.

For more information, please check out the IronHaus website below.

February 8, 2017

Retroband's "Yuuge Waste" Receives Second Drop!

I've kept this place pretty non-political, but I have to say right here, I'm going to gush about this piece for a little bit.  I think this last election completely crushed my spirit about yammering about agendas and all that.  I think it still has, but I think this update is on a different strand of thought.

Welcome, eyeballs, to Retroband's 'Yuuge Waste', a politically-charged mini-figure for those who aren't fans of the guy or people who just like to be punk rock jerks.  For a controversial piece, I really enjoy it, not because it satisfies some deep hatred I have of the guy, but because it's raw, vicious, and straight to the point, in my honest opinion.

If I was to ask you what you first think of when you think of Donald Trump, before the presidency or even the election cycle, you might think of large golden letters on a tall building or casino, a boss-man character on The Apprentice, huge stacks of money, and maybe other things.  But here is Retroband's 'Yuuge Waste' spray-painting the side of the casino with his brown turd sculpture.  Does it penetrate that central thought and idea of The Don and/or rather does it now represent him more accurately than in the past?  Questions only for the viewing public can answer, and no two will be the same.

But what I really love about this piece is that it puts it's money where it's mouth is.  It's one thing to stir the pot and to cause a ruckus, just to cause chaos or awareness.  There's some merit to that, I suppose, but proceeds from the sales of 'Yuuge Waste' go towards Planned Parenthood charities.  That's pretty awesome, to add an extra element of importance to a piece that's already looking to be red hot with controversy, and I can appreciate the effort of doing something you feel is right, besides just capitalizing on current events and making a quick buck.

The best news is that 'Yuuge Waste' is seeing his second drop coming Friday February 10th 12pm CST at the Retroband web-store.  This guy flew under the radar the first time on a lot of collectors, myself included, but enough people called for a encore, so we're lucky to see a rare sequel this weekend.  If this sort of thing tickles your political or bad-boy bone, be there or you might be sh*t out of luck.