BMOG Toys Action Hunter Solarbear vs. Sea-Labrys BMOG Toys, 2014
Day #1,010: September 17, 2014
Action Hunter Solarbear vs. Sea-Labrys BMOG-01 (Bear Type) and BMOG-02 (Manta-Ray Type) in Orange
BMOG Toys Kickstarter Backer Exclusive
Item No.: n/a Manufacturer:BMOG Toys Includes:2x figures made of 10x 5mm weapons and a sticker sheet (or two) Action Feature:n/a Retail: est. $20-$30ish Availability:June 2014, allow 2-13 weeks for delivery (September 2014) Other: Available in orange, yellow, black, purple, and green so far
If you're the kind of person that hears about something like a Raspberry Pi and says "that sounds like a fun thing to futz with," BMOG may well be the perfect toy for you. There are toys for collectors, and toys for tinkerers - this is a tinkering collector's dream toy. It adds something to your existing collection. If you have a diverse collection spanning multiple robot toy lines, this is an ideal addition to it.
The BMOG Toys Action Hunter Solarbear vs. Sea-Labrys was a Kickstarter project, and as I have it on my hands I believe it is safe to call it a success. The original target release date was March, which slipped to June, and they did indeed get these made and delivered to the USA by June. Further complications left boxes for supporters not going out until August, and I didn't get mine until the first week of September. The resulting sprue of parts is pretty much what I expected if slightly smaller and requiring more elbow grease to make the parts all fit - I suggest getting a hobby knife and a very small round file of sorts if you want to actually build the bear. (You do.)
I should note that I get a tremendous kick out of this kind of toy - it demands that you go into your toy boxes and closets to fish out other compatible toys and forces you to (gasp) play with the stuff you've already bought. These kinds of purchases are hard to come by, but supremely welcome as it gives you something new while walking down memory lane with your beloved toy collection. However, it's not going to work perfectly right out of the box. Full enjoyment of this set requires slightly more skill than it takes to build a basic small wind-up Zoids kit to get it together. If you have never done this, I suggest that you go to eBay and grab the cheapest wind-up motor Zoids kit you can snag. (Zenevas/Zenebas are best, the Twinhorn reissue is a good choice.)
The completed bear is cute, and the included sticker sheet is a nice bonus. It's the perfect size for a little sidekick for your existing Transformers toys, or to augment things like Battle Beasts bases or Zoids Blox kits. It's a fun toy for hobbyists and fidgeters, as it combines some of the better elements of a "plays with" toy line as well as some of the simpler aspects of a toy model kit. You can get it assembled rather quickly, but there are parts tolerance issues - some of the pegs are a bit too big for certain toy fists, and some of the fit funcitons on this toy may benefit from sand paper or the aforementioned file. If you just want to piece the Manta Ray together, you'll have no problem - but combining the hammer, bear head, and scanner will require sanding or filing down the hole inside the latter piece. Otherwise, the fit is too tight and potentially future breakage waiting to happen.
Sea-Labrys (Mantax the manta ray) is pretty solid - a good design and simple with a mere two pieces. One is a pistol, the other an axe - together, they form an undersea death weapon. Most figures I tested with this item could grip the pistol easily, but the Manta Ray axe/tail proved a little tight. The two pieces slip together with zero fuss, though, so that part worked out great. The sculpting is pretty great with fun little details, but enough smooth surfaces to make it feel closer to a toy from the 1980s or 1990s. I didn't want to use the stickers, but they look about the right size to fit - so that's a nice bonus. The single-color plastic looked great to me, and I didn't want to hinder the simple, bright orange look with added deco just yet. Maybe some day, but I figure my hands got the plastic pretty oily as it was.
Solarbear (Ursenal) is good, and generally a great little combination of parts. 8 weapons make this scout/basic-size critter, although the combat claw which goes under the belly could be left out and you'd never miss it. The design of each weapon is pretty solid, with multiple ways to grip most of them. The claw, for example, has both a peg and a hole so it can be a fist-held weapon or mounted in a hole or a peg on a figure's forearm. It's versatile - as are the assault rifles, with 4 pegs on each to mount them as you see fit. The hammer is ridiculously small, even for the Legends-scale figures, but it works as a cute tool for any dioramas or repairs you may need to do. The bear head's mouth is a little too tight for the 5mm pegs, and since there are sculpted teeth in there I don't feel comfortable filing down the hole for a better fit. The sculpt is really good, and as I am not a skilled customizer or even builder like the creators of these toys I don't want to risk ruining it.
As you can see below, there are many figures that can use these weapons - unlike a lot of "Third Party" items, these are actually solid playthings for older fans who have the time, skill, and tools to tinker a bit. You can enjoy multiple configurations and arm all sorts of figures with guns and claws and the most deadly weapon of all - the severed bear head. Of course, for $50 and a six month delay for the black and orange figures I really would have preferred all the form fits to be perfect. As a beta test for future releases, I enjoy these a lot and while I doubt I'll buy additional colorways of these ones, I definitely plan on giving the next mold they release a shot. If the form fit was perfect I'd say price be damned, buy yourself a set of these. As is, it's worth buying a set or two of these - if you're at a convention definitely pick up a Mantax. Future releases may include the Chainbill Splatterpus, a simpler two-piece weapon combiner, plus the one-piece Non-Dino Squad set. The less complex stuff works well, so I hope they continue in that direction. I'll gladly spring for more.
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