This action figure-- or vehicle-- or suit-- is an intriguing piece. The Rig Volkriun Division is a convention (and mail-order) special edition of the Glyos line, a series of figures which walks the fine line between "art toy" and "real toy." While the bulk of them share a standard sized peg to connect the figure's extremities, the larger Rig has its own size joints which allow for limited swapping. (You can switch the arms, for example. Onell Designs does sell a piece which serves as an adapter to hook up normal Glyos pieces called the "Phase Arm Single Set.") Made of four pieces of hollow vinyl, the figure feels similar to some licensed character banks and a number of toys from the 1980s, with one major difference: this one isn't packaged in a way to tell you what to do with it.
Rarely does a toy figure-- let alone a collectible one-- challenge you to determine just what it is. Collector vinyl figures have taken many artistic, bizarre, and abstract forms over the years but generally a frog with wheels for hands and a top hat more or less is what it is. The Rig has three points of articulation and tons of sculpted bits, essentially existing to engage you as to what you see based on its configuration. In one position, it looks like a mech suit. In another, a space vehicle. The arms look like robot arms at one angle, but at another, they're more weapon-like. The toy is also covered with some white glyphs, which is the closest to any sort of lettering on the figure. My first reaction to the toy was a sort of delighted confusion, upon getting it home I popped it apart at the waist joint to see if I could cram another figure inside-- and I could. If you lay it on its back, it effectively becomes a starfighter. Onell Designs excels in making things which you have to interpret to some extent, as a hand is not always a hand. (The "Buildman" figures are fine examples of this.)
The versatile design seems to share a lot with Dino-Riders Rulons figures, which were unique beastly aliens with one often-used body repainted in various ways to give the illusion of multiple sculpts-- the Rig's panels would allow for that here, but most of the releases are solid colors. At about 5-inches tall-- the same size as most modern Darth Vader figures-- it is by no means big but it seems it would be right at home with a number of 1980s toys as well as smaller modern figures like Minimates, LEGO minifigures, or even Playmobil. The line is fairly limited in edition size with a targeted age of 15 and up, so kids will likely not play with it-- but I think if you handed me this as a kid, I'd go from utterly confused to delighted over a day or two. Not including a box or instruction manual is a stroke of genius when it comes to forcing someone to decide what this is, but it may also make it a little tougher to stand out as a piece unto itself. You know what Optimus Prime stands for... but how about The Rig?
As this is not the first release, the deco is sufficiently different from existing versions of The Rig. This time around it's a dark green with bright green "lights" or "windows," some black detailing, and the aforementioned white symbols. For those keeping track the first release was grey, another was clear, and yet another appears to glow-in-the-dark, and how I missed the boat on that one I'm not sure. A black "classified" edition also exists, as toy law dictates anything neat get a black repaint at some point.
When I got home from Comic-Con this year, this was the first thing I pulled out to reexamine and write up for this very feature. I don't generally get into designer stuff, but I've had a few conversations with Matt Doughty of Onell Designs here and there and it's clear that this is a madman who utterly gets what makes a good toy-- specifically, he likes some of the better older stuff and this smooth, robotic figure shows some of his influences. It's not the amazing detail of a modern NECA product, but it does feel like something that could have sold at a Lionel Play World when some of us were growing up (or before we were born.) I'd suggest getting it if you have some cash to experiment with, it's a very different animal from your average $25 Hasbro item, for example, but it is an enjoyable piece to play with. Also, while no edition size was given, previous similar toys from the company are in the hundreds-- so there tends to be an active secondary market for this stuff if you miss out. (In short: don't dawdle.)
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