Blip Toys Battle Warriors Monsters vs. Military Blip Toys, 2014
Day #1,024: October 7, 2014
Monsters vs. Military Like Green Army Men - 12 molds
Battle Warriors Army Men Tube
Item No.: No. 20293 Manufacturer:Blip Toys Includes:96 figures in a tube Action Feature:n/a Retail: est. $5.00 Availability:August 2014 Other: 6 green army men, 6 purple monster men
While Ninjas vs. Robots supposedly focuses on my greater interests with what I thought would be more variety, Monsters vs. Military is probably the real winner. I assumed the other set would offer more variety, but I think this one really sells it with more varied creatures - some sort of shark man, a hawk man, a mutant cyclops, a zombie, some sort of Frankenstein's monster, and a creature seemingly inspired by Alien are purple plastic people to the tune of 8 each. They're joined by six flavors of army men, which are creatively designed but the execution is all over the place - it's important to pay attention to where the seams go. The middle of the head isn't ideal. But having said that, the creatures are the draw here and for five bucks, you do get a decent quantity of plastic.
As with Ninjas vs. Robots, the 40mm (1 1/2-inch) figures are pretty cheap in every sense of the word - if you got 2 of them out of a gumball machine, you'd probably be unsure if you should do it again. The monsters are nice and varied, sculpted well and largely well-executed. The military are creatively designed and well-posed, but the mold mid-face means they look pretty awful up-close. Having said that, it's still a decent collection of figures just to get the monsters.
The only markings of "CHINA / CHINE BLIP LLC" exist to remind you that, while cheap, these are relatively recent and decent creations. So far sold at Target (and if elsewhere, I have not seen them) the Canada-friendly bilingual packaging shows the Frankenstein's Monster variant and a military guy shooting him. It doesn't seem like much of a match, but the figure looks more or less exactly like that - huge arms, gaping jaw, tiny legs. It's sort of like an Ed "Big Daddy" Roth cartoon - the bolts are on the arms, as the neck is invisible. Tattered clothing and staples work as great monster symbols, quickly giving the impression of just what this is supposed to be despite looking nothing like its inspiration. It's really quite clever, and a good decision to make him the showcase of the package art.
Another creature clearly draws from the original Alien design, but adds a giant central eye as well as turns the back of the dome into a second, large mouth. The bony arms and legs vaguely resemble the original xenomorph, but it's different enough to avoid any legal problems. The zombie seems to look like a lot of recent zombie toys - cartoony, dismembers, wonky legs, and a general decaying jaw. After Imperial's tube of zombies, Jakks Pacific's SLUG Zombies, October Toys' ZOMBIE, and others to be determined I assume that this is just kinda... well, it's here. It'll probably be popular. Let's move on to the winged bird man - he has pretty wonderful wing detail, decent leg detail, and pants. I assume this means he's a mutant. The plastic quality is acceptable, it seems there may be some problems pulling these from the molds without distortion. This does nothing to hurt the lion's tail, though, so it's certainly a well-executed creature with a textured display base.
A one-eyed monster with long, bony fingers, a horrible jaw, and a head that looks like a villain from the first Final Fantasy game is a nice little ghoul. If you flip it over, you can see a bony spine and a tiny butt. His eye is freaky, gooey, and possibly bloodshot. I'm particularly impressed how they managed to give him a very narrow but stable neck by adding some extra plastic around the sides of the mouth, possibly resembling tissues of his body or even something as simple as drool. It's a striking, emmorable design - just like the last monster, a shark man. Another mutant, he has the body and head of a shark human legs, arms, and lower torso. His pose is dynamic, with swinging fists and muscular arms. He also has shoes and shorts, which seems to make him a former, unlucky beach goer of some sort. The poor fool. Of all the figures, this one seems to have the most difficulty standing.
The Army Men have a lot of spirit, but they're kind of crappy. You get some great homages to previous Military man toys - a guy throwing a grenade, a sniper - but you also get a funky guy with a vest, no shirt, and two ray guns. The figures aren't bad in concept as they seem modern with lots of padding and armor. The overall look from a distance is great - but if you get up close, you'll see the seams are down the middle of their faces leaving messed-up goggles, noses, and mouths. Because of this, some look sort of like a cyclops or otherwise inhuman - if you can't see the faces, though, the poses are actually pretty great. A kneeling guy with a gun and binoculars is a nice touch, and the overall collection is quite varied. The sculpting is quite soft - to make cheaper figures, I assume this is intentional - and I'd say this is a pretty decent figure for about five cents. It ain't great, but if it didn't have the monsters I'd say pass on it.
As I've been dabbling in this category lately, I can absolutely tell you that as quality goes, these guys are on the lower end of the spectrum. Tim Mee's are quite good. Hasbro's are excellent. These? Well, if you can admire the best skee ball prize you never got, that's what this is. Cheap, fun little things that you should probably buy a tube of, keep a set, and give them away to friends or trick-or-treaters on Halloween. I got my money's worth, but truth be told I wish I had some buddies to trade with or give these away to. I don't need 96 of them - 24 or 36 would be excessive. If you're torn between this set or the Ninjas vs. Robots set, go for the Monsters vs. Military. The creatures are the most fun and imaginative of the lot, even if you ignore the army guys.
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