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Scarabus Week, Day One:
Scarabus & Anubos

Do you remember the last time you were captivated by a new toy? I don’t mean rediscovering MOTU in its Classics form or finally seeing the appeal of Golden Pharaoh when he’s been realized in six inches. I mean a new toy – no cartoon or movie, no history, or nostalgia. Just a little pillar of plastic awesomeness.

When I was a kid, my toy stockpile (it wasn’t so much a collection as it was something to draw players from) consisted of some figures that I didn’t always know who they were originally. One of my all-time favorite Joes was a red-headed dude with a mustache and a green v-neck. I got him at a rummage sale about a mile’s walk from my Grandma’s house when I was eight. He looked Scottish to me and he played his role as a European specialist time and time again.

Years later, I learned his name was Crankcase and he was “from” Kansas, just a few hours drive away, in fact. But it didn’t matter. I enjoyed him for the cool figure that he was and still do. And I’m still sure he has some Scottish heritage…

The point of that trip down memory lane is to reminisce a bit about “toy first, canon second”.

It’s become a rare commodity these days. All too often, we find something that we like (just this week, I find myself totally in need of a Flashpoint Batman figure) and then find ourselves willing to make concessions (DC Direct’s Flashpoint Batman is light on articulation and has a rather young head sculpt) to obtain a figure of said cool thing. I don’t always like the concessions I’m willing to make, but we live in a good time for toys – even though the price is slowly creeping out of control. I’m happy to assemble the Anti-Monitor or get a sweet update of an old Transformer like Warpath, but I do occasionally lament the “good old days”. But the truth about the good old days is that most of the time, you can still find something like them if you look. And “toy first, canon second” is out there if you want it.

“Toy first, canon second” is what attracted me to the Fantastic Exclusive project years ago. While all of the involved properties do have back stories that we’ll hopefully see one day, you get that sense that, because they spring from the minds of toy creators, the back story will enrich the cool toys instead of the toys simply being totems of a cool franchise.

Now, I will admit the adult collector in me does want to plead with the Four Horsemen for even just a brief sentence or quote that would draw a line around Anubos or Melchom and help me better get a handle on them, but I can also appreciate the temporary void that the Four Horsemen have created by keeping the Gothitropolis story under their hat. Right now, I can make up whatever I want – that Azazel looks like he’s got some Scot in him, doesn’t he?

Speaking of, we’re a few paragraphs in and you’ve probably figured out by now that this review isn’t following the normal format. That’s because there’s so much to these figures – both in and out of the package – that I’ve been thinking about these reviews day and night for a couple days and I’m sorting out how best to cover them. That said, you might have noticed the “Day One” in the title of this review.

The plan is two spotlight two of the figures each day this week while I focus on a different aspect (or aspects) of the figures on each day. What’s part one then? Well, this far in, I’d say that today is the gist. If you’re going to read one review, it’s this one. Though, you should probably come back and look at all the pretty pictures each day. I’d be hurt if you didn’t.

Anyway, Scarabus and his clan arrived on Friday courtesy of the Four Horsemen and each time I open one of them, I’m captivated. I don’t want to gush, but that’s honestly the right word. As of this writing, I haven’t even opened them all yet! Each time I grab a new one from the shipping box, it’s a new experience. Yes, the basic sculpt is the same – but I assure you they’re all unique too. Plus, there’s all the options – different faces, hands, tendrils, and other accessories to decide on the right look for each figure. And then there’s part swapping too… yeah, there’s a lot to take in.

In package, the first thing you might notice about Scarabus and his minions is the sheer number of accessories in the box. It’s hard to find a clear spot to see the card! Each Scarabus includes (deep breath) four additional hands (six total), two energy flames, two extra scarab legs for his back, a staff with two interchangeable heads, three pieces of Timekeeper armor, a cape, and at least one interchangeable faceplate or alternate head. I’d count up how many permutations are possible with that many options, but it’s getting late, I don’t want you to know about my freaky math skills, and once you start swapping parts between figures the numbers go crazy. Continue to Page 2…

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38 comments to Scarabus Week, Day One:
Scarabus & Anubos

  • Braystreet

    I hope your first born child is a different race than you.

    Now I have to sell my kidney to afford Anubos.

    Great review / overview, and the pictures were amazing. The Four Horsemen can count on you to get them more sales with your pictures than their name alone.

  • you_will_forget

    Just out of interest, did you get yours as a “review package” or through the normal ordering process?

    Gives me an idea whether I should rip the mailbox open every day when I get home or whether I should try to contain the excitement for a bit.

    I’ve broke myself too many times trying to get Horseman figures, but I’m nearly there. Just a few Mynos to go…

    Awesome reviews as always

    Jo

  • dayraven

    oh baby… these figs are just stellar. and truly speaking, they redefined how i look at the industry, because they really defy traditional logic (or logistics, however you want to couch it.) we’re in an era where some of the bigs are telling us, “we can’t cost out accessory pieces,” “we can’t cost out alternate heads” “collector friendly packages are expensive” “six inch figs are expensive” “no you can’t have that sword” and other silliness. scarabus is bit more expensive that some other toy lines… but hardly impossibly more expensive. and for what you pay, you get straight limbs, solid construction, a preposterous number of paint applications, a cubic buttload of accessory pieces, and the coolest packaging i’ve laid eyes on since the sigma six locker boxes. oh, and we get all this in a production run size that mattel or hasbro wouldn’t even be able to conceive working in, and then virally marketed by the same fans who helped create this fig in the first place… it is just an eye opening look at the power of YES in a NO world.

    • orionpax636

      Yup.

    • I agree.

      (and thanks for reminding me of the Sigma Six boxes. I had intended to buy a bunch of the figures which I hated for the weapons and those boxes for my Adventure Team Joes. And I blinked and missed them on clearance. bummer.)

      Were I more cynical than I already am I’d assume the company was targeting the Japanese market, because that’s right up there with what is going on over there for the collector’s figure standard.

      OTOH, here’s where I get flayed. These do nothing for me. On an intellectual level I see the beauty and quality of the work, but it doesn’t fire me up, it doesn’t make me need to have these. Sorry.

      I do love the fun of the pictures however. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • AdventureVault

        If you’re tempted at all by one of them, you might want to purchase it. I ordered the black and white ones because I liked how they looked, but the figures themselves are just so much more impressive in person. We try to convey as much as we can through our pictures and write-ups, but ultimately you’ll never get that sense of awe until you’re holding one in your hand.

      • dayraven

        i don’t think they were targeting the japanese market, or the run would likely have been larger, but i do know the horsemen are fans of various import lines, and i’m sure those design aesthetics and some of articulation schemes they’re using are surely inspired by some of the best of those lines. where i think the gothitropolis stuff really cuts itself away from like SIC and those kinds of import lines is the durability. these are much sturdier figures that are clearly designed for more than just casual posing.

      • Steve, if you do buy one and don’t love it, I’ll buy it off you for cost+shipping. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • JamesLynch

      You hear that? That’s what a slow clap sounds like over the internet.

      Okay, so noise doesn’t travel over the internet like that, but trust me, I’m mentally applauding this post.

  • da man

    it is a shame these will never be seen at retail or mass produced to try and get the price down. I am very tempted to pick up one or two, but I feel that will lead to wanting the whole set! Amazing figures that really show what a company like McFarlane could have been if they had not been so cheap on the articulation or the QC. I hope we see some of those other lines that 4H came up with in the near future and at a a more regular pace. The face that thy put so much care into how they figures come out says a lot.

    I almost wish Mattel would help out, but I think the QC would suffer greatly.

    • JamesLynch

      What’s kind of crazy is that I’m not sure how much less they’d cost at mass retail. If DCUC figures, with their high production runs, gross reuse of parts (Scaribus only reuses the same body 10 times. How many times have we seen each of the standard DCUC bucks?), sloppier paint, cheaper plastic, lower number of accessories, overall smaller size, shoddy quality control, etc., etc., are slowly creeping up to the $20 range, something as beautiful as the Scaribus bunch would probably still cost nearly $30 at TRU (which is what they go for over at StoreHorsemen.com).

  • Lay Ze-Man

    Masterpieces.

    Looking forward to the rest of the reviews this week!

  • Calvin D.

    OMG! These are beautiful figures. I’ve been reading all the reviews, but I was really waiting for yours and you didn’t disappoint! That moonlit tree picture is amazing. That’s art man!

  • Adrian

    Great review, Dan! I love when you unwind and get a little more whimsical with your reviews. I totally agree on the stockpile comment! That’s so true!

  • Fire King Xi

    1. I’m diggin’ the Scarabi review week idea. Definitely looking forward to more.

    2. I’m hoping we will see some Masters of the Universe Classics figures posed next to a Scarabus (or variant) in the coming week. How tall is Scarabus compared to Skeletor? I’ am looking for a demonic archfiend for my MOTUCverse. Scarbus looks the part, but it sure would be disappointing if he was 2″ shorter than Skelly.

    3. I enjoyed your opening to this review. Enjoying a toy simply because it’s a great toy. For a hobby such as toy collecting, which is itself borderline absurd, it’s amazing, and a little depressing, how serious the collectors take themselves. I bought Fin Fang Foom not because he was a Marvel Legends figure, but because he’s a great articulated dragon who can terrorize everyone from He-Man to GI JOE, or he could play fetch with Galactus. You know, whatever.
    http://i964.photobucket.com/albums/ae129/Lost_Caballero/MOTUC/MonsterBeastFight001.jpg
    http://i964.photobucket.com/albums/ae129/Lost_Caballero/Galactus/Galactus012.jpg

    I say toy collectors, “Embrace the ridiculous.” Forget scale, series, manufacturer, and buy what strikes you. Then go have fun with it.

  • bmnbinc

    just one word…Amazing! I cannot believe the details on these figures. Great photography in this review Noisy!
    I wanna buy the entire 10 set + the 2 pack special..but it’s gonna set me back by about $500 with international shipping ๐Ÿ™

  • da man

    JamesLynch, I have to agree with you that at retail, they would probably not be much less in this current toy market. I guess I am thinking that when this was announced a few years ago, before Matty and such, a $30 figure seemed absurd, but with the current rising price of DCUC (and less and less accessories and QC in some cases) and the ML 2pack prices and MOTUC, this could be a $35-40 figures at retail and be well worth it. I bought the DCUC 12 Inch Hal Jordan for a custom and it was nearly $40 with tax!!!! No accessories and much less articulation then the 6 inch scale ones. (no wrist or elbow or bicep joints). Right now I only buy sets from BBTS to keep each figure under $20. I never buy at TRU cause they start at $19.99 without tax!!!! They even cheaped out on the display stand with 12 inch Hal because they said it did not cost out.

    And Fire King, I am pretty sure these are at least 6-8 inches tall so they should tower over MOTUC, but I could be wrong…(I am still contemplating getting some of these figures…decisions decisions…)

  • SilntAngl5

    I am loving these figures… Their detail, the variety of toys that come with them (yes, I just called Sacarabus’s accessories toys, as in MORE things to play around with). The extra faces (and the fact that he can hold them) is really awesome. The details are beautiful. Props to the 4Hmen!

    I loved the picture with the Stargate joke, by-the-by. Classic ๐Ÿ™‚

    Really nice review! I think Dormant Scarabus is my favorite of the color variations (he IS purple, after all…) I can’t wait to see the rest of the reviews for this week. Stellar so far!

  • manekochan

    Anubos sure looks snazzy with the gold headdress/tendril thingy rather than his blue one. I love his blue-gray, but that gold just pops on him. I’ll see if I can’t get Vault to display his that way when he gets one. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • […] the improvements in quality that I talked about yesterday demonstrate how Four Horsemen Toy Design has hit their stride on the production end of the toy […]

  • north-exit

    Nice review that makes for good reading.

  • da man

    Do any of the heads fit on the DCUC bodies?

  • […] mini-masterpiece in the sculpt department? I know some collectors look at the Four Horsemen’s Scarabus and judge lesser figures against it. I don’t think I can do that. While I spent a week […]