Over the weekend, Spy Monkey Creations officially unveiled their all-new weapons lineup for 2012 featuring Glyos compatibility. While the new swag won’t be on sale until February 3rd, the gang over at Spy Monkey Creations was kind enough to send a set of SMC Armory Series 1 our way for review.
When SpyMagician first posted the original Empyrean Blade on his AFI Blog a couple years back, I was ecstatic. That first Master Blade (in a cool black) even ended up one of the very first articles here at IAT (a MOTU custom, Zadoc). In the years since, I kept up with SMC’s offerings and was excited to follow along as they grew. After a brief hiatus to rework their business model and go in to mass production, I think it’s fair to say that Spy Monkey is about to hit one of hell of a growth spurt.
On February 3rd, Spy Monkey Creations will launch Armory Series 1. This time around, the items are mass produced, which significantly lowered the price ($20 for a set of five as opposed to $10 for one piece) and now feature Glyos compatibility. And, let me tell you, after thoroughly “testing” out the samples they sent my way, I’m thankful for those lower prices because the Glyos parts leaves me in need of some extra sets.
If you’re not familiar with Glyos, that’s okay, you don’t need to be (but you should visit IAT a tad more often…). While the Glyos system adds a new layer to SMC’s product, all their weapons can still be used in their basic configurations to equip your favorite figures. Each weapon is a great piece in its own right and one could be happy never popping apart a single Glyos joint (but I’d dare them to try). If you are familiar with Glyos, then you know this is about the best thing that could happen to SMC weapons. Not only can you use the pieces included to build & customize the weapons, but just think about mixing in parts from Onell’s Glyos, the Four Horsemen’s Outer Space Men, or a host of the other smaller operations that utilize Glyos-compatible parts. The possibilities for equipping your figures will shoot through the roof on February 3rd.
In fact, those possibilities even hampered me a bit. I was hoping to have this review up yesterday, but I found myself wanting to take more pictures. I’d be fiddling around with the pieces and then have to run back to the “studio” and snap another shot. I ended up with 35 images in the Page 2 gallery (and Vault wanted to get on the action and contributed a few too). And I can tell you, as you look through the images, I barely scratched the surface. Just take a look at this photo from SMC’s Facebook page. With just a few axis joints, the SMC guys have built an awesome little robot centurion!
That’s how Glyos gets you, by the way. You’re happy with the SMC Dominar, either in its factory configuration or with your own custom enhancements, and then you see this great little build of a robot centurion. Now, you can tear down that axe and build the robot (with a modification or two, surely) or you might be more like me and instantly want a second SMC Dominar so you can build that little robot and still have the Dominar. It’s not easy loving toys, especially customizable ones.
Okay, so I’m doing all this talking and not really getting specific about the weapons themselves. Let me boil it down for you two ways:
For $20, you get a full set of five weapons: The Master Blade, The Demon Sabre, The Falcon Sabre, The War Shield, and the hammer/axe combo weapon, The Dominar (Check out the SMC Blog for close-ups of each weapon). The weapons are updated/modified versions of the original SMC offerings and are available in colorways reminiscent of what has come before with some new colors mixed in. Even though I have the resin originals, there’s still a lot to like here. The sculpts seem sharper and the details more crisp. The handles tend to be made of softer plastics or have removable ends for the figures to handle them more easily. I’d like to see SMC offer some different size handles at some point (particularly something for the MOTUC ladies), but the bases are covered here and if extra weapons are your thing, SMC is back in business.
For $20, you get 42 Glyos-compatible pieces. While I love all the original weapon sculpts, the amount of thought that went into how to break them up into Glyos “bits” was what really blew my mind here. For most of the colorways, the translucent parts tend to be adornments (all pegs, no ports), so the real bread and butter is in the solid color pieces. For the most part the solid pieces are incredibly functional, featuring a variety of ports & pegs, but there are some adornments here as well like the peg-backed decorative skulls. Each set includes four male-to-male connectors which really open up the customizing possibilities (if you know your Glyos, it’s the piece from the middle of the Glyan torso). There’s plenty of other items of note too including the eagle head, a little flat square with three connectors that I’m still not quite sure what to do with, spikes, studs, and one special little piece that’s one-half Glyos peg and one-half awesome (at least if your collection includes Roboto, Trap-Jaw, or Hurricane Hordak…)
For the most part, the pieces pop apart and click together pretty easily, but the small size and different materials can make a few connections tricky. You don’t absolutely need it, but I’d recommend picking up a tiny (like an eyeglass repair kit) screwdriver to gently lift some of the small decorative studs or male-to-male connectors out of their ports. If expanding your current Glyos cache is your thing, SMC just became another site you need to keep an eye on.
I hate to sound so ecstatic over a set of toys that was provided to me for review, but if there was ever a time – this is it. Basically, SMC has gone from making accessories for other lines to having their own toys outright. Just like that little robot centurion on SMC’s Facebook page shows, there’s plenty to do with these guys besides just sticking them in a figure’s hand (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
My review here really boils down to one thing. When I got the samples in, Vault said he only had one question for me: “are you gonna order more when they go up for sale?” My answer? Yes. Continue to the Page 2 Gallery…