Before I got Vorin & Zik in my hands, I thought what we were getting was old molds with new paint-- I was wrong. While mostly cobbled together from existing parts, Diamond actually gave Vorin a new torso mold so it isn't the same as the previous 4 one-color promotional versions of the figure. And for this, I am happy. This item was a Diamond Select Toys exclusive, which means it was available to their clients-- so some online stores had these for preorder, and a few other stores at the show had them at their booths. I like this. I'd like to see Hasbro and Mattel do this, mostly because I think it does a bang-up job to discourage scalping and flipping at the show, plus it makes things easier for the rest of us.
Since the debut of Battle Beasts Minimates in 2010, Diamond has given us exactly 2 molds. There are 10 figures, but only 2 wholly original molds, so the company has been doing some pretty amazing things with paint and has been rather generous with the promotional one-color (and painted) figures. Zik debuts in this set, and as far as I can tell he isn't in the comic book as of yet. The figure recycles some existing bits and pieces and includes no weapon, but there's a fair amount of detail here. The arms have painted bug detail rather than newly-sculpted limbs, although the black paint on the brown limbs wasn't initially super-obvious. The wings are a translucent green, while much of the rest of the figure comes from some other unusual Minimates. The four-armed long torso is pretty uncommon, and the wings all snap into a backpack. There's a tail too, and about 22 or so points of articulation. For a block figure, that's pretty amazing.
The people behind the line mentioned that Zik was done for the set as other characters weren't necessarily far enough along yet, so this may be the only Minimates figure in this line to have the normal, classic Minimates head and not significant sculpted bits beyond the little hat. Treasure it. (Or don't, whatever.) It's a pretty nifty figure but it needs a spear or something. I'll go find one somewhere, and I wouldn't mind seeing another beast or two with the olde-tyme blocky construction.
Meanwhile, Vorin manages to impress, mostly because it has a new torso. The previous Vorin figures all had exposed chest armor, while this one has a cape draped over his torso which tweaks the range of movement on his arms a bit. Beyond that, he's pretty similar to the previous Vorins with 12 points of articulation, a sword, a shield, and a sheath backpack for his sword.
As the first-ever painted Vorin, he's now the benchmark by which all future Vorin figures will be judged. (By the end of 2013, we'll probably see about 8 of not 9 or 10 depending on how NYCC goes.) The new sculpt really makes this one more interesting, but the same claw/flame brooch over the cape remains with a new gold pattern on his left shoulder. The sword has multiple colors of paint, as does the shield, and the golden armor looks really snazzy. His yellow eyes are similar to the original vaguely robotic 1980s Battle Beasts and the materials seem a little stronger than previous releases. The joints are stiffer, the sheath pegs in stronger, and the deco is, well, more varied. Many colors usually trumps one color.
Since this is the first (and only) fully-painted figure set released this year so far, I'm going to suggest that you get it. Especially if it's $9 or so. The same mold was also revealed to be shared with Stealth Vorin, although the standard production version shown at Comic-Con uses the same mold as the first four promotional figures. Zik, as a new character, is also worth your time. I don't care if you say you don't like Minimates. (Really, I don't, I like these figures.) The set is a lot of fun and I'd have paid $9 just to finally get a painted Vorin. Zik's a great bonus and has some really nice sculpted and painted details. Having said that I'm hoping they give Vorin a rest in 2013, unless they plan on doing a vintage-inspired blue version (or go all out and do them in every color Crayola makes). Or maybe Battle-damaged... there's a proud tradition in battle damage.
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