The very idea of this line makes sense, but its execution has me confused. Clearly, unquestionably, even obviously based on the 1980s wundercard line Garbage Pail Kids, but the name is nowhere to be found on the packaging. Instead, these MiniKins 4-Pack Mini-Figures feature all-too-familiar art of Adam Bomb (and friends) on the packet, and I'm assuming this is just to avoid the rightsholders of Cabbage Patch Kids from raising a fuss. The branding is different - it must be OK, right? This time around, each miniature figure is about the size of a Squinkies or Hasbro Fighter Pods figure, with each being about 1-inch high. There are 26 unique figure sculpts.
My packet had fully-painted figures of Stan Alive (#25)and Nasty Nick (#1), the latter of which was visible through a window in the baggie. Interestingly, you get less than you do with Hasbro's Fighter Pods, the MiniKins cost about the same, and Topps doesn't have to pay anybody a license fee. Also, there are unpainted figures which further bring down the cost to bring these to market - my packet had an unpainted red Fiery Francis (#26), a fire-farting dragon, as well as Riche Retch (#21), a vomiting cherub cast in blue. The unpainted figures are quite similar to figures sold in the 1980s, just slightly smaller.
With plain and cheap baggie packaging, the price point can and should be a little cheaper - if Hasbro and other companies can make a prettier product at a lower price, there's no excuse for these to be $5 other than the brand, which Topps has completely ignored. Even the bonus mini-stickers are lacking any indication of their Garbage Pail Kids origins. Each full-color sticker is 1 1/2 x 1 3/4-inches with a short description of the character on the back. It's sort of like the trading cards, except these are a little more wrinkly and not as high of a quality.
The figures are rubbery and small, nearly identical to my Star Wars Fighter Pods figures. (I confess, I own no Squinkies.) They're rubbery and the shiny ones feel a smidgen tacky, but they're not sticky figures. There is no pretense of a game, either - what you see is what you get. A Vampire, Nasty Nick looks a lot like his card art minus a little bit of color and his Barbie-like companion of the night. Stan Alive is no longer a head in a disco ball, but rather his head is a disco ball not unlike Globey. The deco doesn't quite match the sticker, leading me to believe the factory took some liberties here or a budget was bumped up against - his hands are silver and not flesh, for example. The two unpainted figures feel like they fell out of the 1980s and are wonderful - I love the look, although it's harder to see the details. It's a great way to balance old collector love for mono colored figures with Topps' desire to keep costs down. The packet shows kids a painted figure, so it's sort of a bait-and-switch. The yellow unpainted figures are supposedly ultra-rare, but having spent $5 on the line I can't vouch for that. What I can vouch for, though, is that I now own a mini-figure that farts fire, and I didn't have one of those before.
As of my writing this in late October, it's slightly cheaper to buy a sealed case of figures off of eBay than it is to buy packets one by one. Each figure is available in painted and up to 4 unpainted colors, leading to complete sets the size of 130 figures. I like these, but the cost of above $1 per figure is a little ridiculous for this kind of product - I might buy another package or two in order to get an Adam Bomb, but after that I might cut back to clearance finds or on pack per series. (Or if anyone out there wants to trade for my spare Fighter Pods, let's talk.)
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