Plastic Imagination Rise of the Beasts Minifigure Test Shot Plastic Imagination, 2013
Day #1,046: November 6, 2014
Rise of the Beasts Test Shots/Prototypes Scorpion, Lion, Rhino
Rise of the Beasts Test Shots/Prototypes
Item No.: n/a Manufacturer:Plastic Imagination Includes:3 figures Action Feature:n/a Retail:n/a Availability: December 2013 Other: Three figures in three stages
I've been sitting on this one for a while - I wasn't sure when the line was hitting, and I wanted to wait until we knew it was or wasn't coming - good news is, they're coming this month! This was written nearly a year ago when the future was looking a little murky. As such, please keep that in mind when you read it, that you're getting my first impressions of prototypes from December, 2013!
As of when I write this (Christmas Eve, 2013) I do not know when this will be posted or if this will be posted. The gent behind Rise of the Beasts, a line of minifigures which was on Kickstarter, ended and was canceled, and has been through numerous hurdles. Well, that's sort of generous - basically we've heard of numerous factory change-ups, bad sculptors, and other things causing these figures to just plain not come out. As such I was more than a little surprised to have seen a box of these figures on my doorstep, each representing different stages of development. There's a tall lion, roughly 3-inches tall with a weapon and no articulation. The other figures are shorter, at about 2 1/2-inches high - just a smidgen shorter than a Beast Saga figure and taller than your vintage Battle Beasts. The rhino has no accessories and no articulation, while the dark grey scorpion arrived in pieces - the arms, tail, neck, and legs were all separate pieces.
The Lion had the most interesting back story. It's loosely based on the "Pirate Lion" figure, giving us the basic look and feel (and eyepatch, and armor) of that classic figure in a totally different style. The larger 3-inch size makes it a bit of an odd duck - it's too big for the mini-figures, it's too short for 3 3/4-inch, and stylistically it doesn't gel with Glyos or Imaginext. At one point, the Rise of the Beast line (or at least one figure) was going to be made in this larger size due to what the factory claimed they could (or would) do - apparently some factories have an aversion to small toys. Due to the hard white material, there's not enough "give" in the plastic to hold the weapon - I don't want it to break, I want it to stay in good shape, so I can't photograph the weapon in his hand.
Due to the material of the white samples, the detail is light - but it's neat to see what might be should these get made. There are horns on the shoulders, and little rivets. The pose is undoubtedly similar to Masters of the Universe with bent knees and crazy leg muscles - I mean seriously, look at those thighs! You could kill someone with those. The face has a blunter snout than most beast figures and feels like it got a pinch of Michael Biehn in here. There's a shape in the chest that's similar to the sticker hole for Battle Beasts, its function unrevealed at this time.
Next up is a Rhinoceros, which has an incredibly pointy nose horn. It's the second tallest figure, a 65mm bruiser in the vein of Rocksteady or the redesigned Clawful. While the lion felt like a redesign of an existing toy, this is totally new - it doesn't look like Rocky Rhino or Sailon. It's much more original, with massive wrist armor and giant arms. The snarling face has exposed teeth on one side and a more or less flat face on the other, giving him quite a bit of personality which varies depending on how you look at it.
This early printing of the figure is solid - there's no articulation and the feet sit flat on the table. Due to the proportions it feels like a Rhino head has been transplanted on a barbarian body, and the cybernetic armor feels closer to original Battle Beasts than any of the other recent beast revival lines. Were the figures squat and shorter, they would probably be your future hands-down favorite instead of merely being pretty good. The horns on the nose are so pointy that, as I examine this prototype, I can't imagine them being replicated for a mass-produced figure. I've seen a lot of prototypes up close in my day, but the level of sharp detailing here is unusually impressive.
The final figure in the box is a Scorpion. Because it shipped in pieces, it is capable of movement and the level of detail here seems better than the rest. I plugged the arms, tail, legs, and head in to a torso and I am assuming the final figures will be something like this. He looks absolutely nothing like any of the other small beast figures I've seen in my travels, and his cybernetic eye implant really changes him from the rest. The head looks familiar but I can't put my finger on the design - it's certainly a departure for this kind of figure. As a prototype it would be irresponsible to judge the figure on its shortcomings, but to be honest it really doesn't have any beyond the harder, slightly more brittle material. (Which, for a test shot figure, only makes sense.) Everything rotates nicely and the sculpt is wonderful - if the final figure can look and feel this good, we're all in for a big treat.
A few other figures were designed including a stunning, squat, vintage-style lizard figure but I haven't seen that in person just yet.
The development for this line has been a long one, and in this day and age I think that's probably for the best. Rarely does a toy or a game or a statue come out and people say "it looks like they spent far too much time working on this." I could probably fill a few pages of figures that I think suffered from being underdone - so I'm eager to see just how these will turn out for real when they're really ready to be sold to the masses. From what I gather this will be a lower-run indie release which is a bit of a shame as they seem engineered to be a swell toy for kids. Such is life - if you aren't a billion-dollar conglomerate you can't sell to the tiny tots. They're missing out! Well, in theory. It's not like anybody has these yet, but if you get the chance I think you're going to like them.
And now we're back to the present. The final figures are Glyos-compatible and the Rhino and Scorpion are sized pretty much identically to these early samples. The Rhino's horn seems a little less pointy, but still pretty sharp. The final figures are tentatively scheduled for sale on November 15, so keep your eyes to the homepage and/or RiseoftheBeasts.com for updates.
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