Spy Monkey Creations
Armory Series 1 Review

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…

40 thoughts on “Spy Monkey Creations
Armory Series 1 Review

  1. OK, now THIS is super cool… Super Customizable weapons! Being Glyos compatible makes them even MORE Awesome!
    Being very tempted to buy one set… But I’m afraid it would make me want more of them!!

  2. Awesome weapons shop strip as usual!!!

    Also love the Stratos gag. πŸ˜€

    SMC continues to raise the bar. Consider these bought!!

  3. Outstanding! I’ll be buying at least 4 sets come February.

    If you talk to the guys at SMC suggest for the next series they make a cylinder/handle about 3″ long. That we can make some long handled weapons like polearms, naginatas, tridents, etc…

    1. I didn’t build one for the review (I seriously had to just cut myself off or I never would’ve gotten anything done), but with some multiples you can assemble the shorter rods into a staff.

      That said, it sounds like the SMC fellas have plans for more staff like weapons.

  4. i can’t help but think that a lot of us (myself included) didn’t use the IAT from-scratch virtual parts builder nearly inventively enough given how these pieces break down to really start to wrap our brains around how much these sets can do. wow!

    i love toys, i don’t think any IAT reader doesn’t know that, but one of my favorite things about them that continues to win my heart is the innovation that comes from a good toy, letting that toy inspire the imagination and creativity of the owner… it’s a facet of creation that one simply doesn’t get from video games, board games, plushes, or other kinds of toys. it’s pretty much action figures only that include these kinds of forethought.

    it is this creativity that makes me so freaking excited about the state of toys right now. mel birnkrant started something really unique w/ the outer space men, and we’re seeing the intellectual offspring of that idea bursting forth fully formed from his forehead… the crop of 3rd party creators and independent studios doing really innovative, and surprisingly affordable pieces, is a serious inspiration. i’m glad to see that the worm is finally turning on the brain dead juggernaut of the big corps and we’re seeing creator studios making better toys. kudos to all involved!!

    1. I think it’s an inherent limitation of working 2-D images of 3-D items. HOLDING something sparks that creative part of our brain.

      Action figures carry over on that concept. We enact little ‘mind plays’ even if only just posing them for the shelf. The simple act of putting one figure next to another is storytelling because your mind is ‘fitting’ pieces into place for the whole. Right now I have all my Imaginext ‘Robot Police’ and the couple of ‘Space’ aliens sitting on a temporary shelf and I can just TELL those aliens are annoying as all get out, constantly going “WAZZZZUP!!” and trying to eat people. Not out of any malice, it’s just what they do, you know?

      I would like to state for the record that some of the pics in this article made me laugh so hard it hurt. Needs to have some kind of warning. πŸ™‚

      And the pegs on Trap Jaw and Roboto’s arm are COMPATIBLE with the weapons?! Well, that completely blows my mind! I do hope Fisto’s big-ass fist shares the same connector.

      Yeah, needs some long poles for pole arms and staffs and such. Also, short blades for daggers and dirks and the like.

      1. when i was one of the worker drones at fed ex, i used to keep anywhere from 5 to 10 figs on my desk/cubicle wall at all times… and my circle of peeps at the office would come by periodically over the course of the day and pose characters in ever evolving tableau’s usually of the lewd and lascivious kind. it was a blast, and a fantastic statement of human creativity, because these tableaus were interactive, but the guys & girls weren’t coordinating, it was just whenever they stopped by, they picked up on the existing narrative and told the next chapter by repositioning one or two figs. it was great fun.

        1. I’m glad you had an environment where you could leave those out and someone wouldn’t intentionally break them or throw them away. I’ve never been in a place like that. But yeah, you leave those things in public access and before you know it, it eeees zee SAX TIME. πŸ™‚

          Not at my place. Mostly they stand around waiting to be interviewed by Space Ghost. He’s a real S.O.B. and nobody really gets along with him. Hellboy in particular gives him endless crap. πŸ™‚

          1. i do feel lucky. my co-workers were, mostly, a lot of fun and i loved the job, till the suits ruined it. we did have a great office environment though and lots of space, since the desks originally had to support a paper tariff book, but eventually got replaced w/ an online searchable version… that paper book going meant i had about 4 sq ft of desk space available in which to play. so paper clips got strung together so snake eyes and storm shadow could ninja scale the monitor or the edge of the cubey, i had the stikfas knight & horse doing patrols, and the then-recently-released bandai ultimate muscle figs were in a permanent state of matchitude, and then several ML guys got rotated in and out. by far, gambit took the prize as most desired fig to pose. but the UM guys came closely second, as they were VERY posable, and thus often positioned doing very NSFW things… which might inform why i no longer work there. in retrospect, i’m sure it didn’t help things.

    2. You obviously haven’t played Little Big Planet or spent much time in Halo’s Forge. Those are two play grounds that exceed in letting inartistic people like me become a virtuoso.

    1. And thank you guys for making such a great product! I’ve been keeping an eye on your Facebook – we are on the same wavelength with the mace!

  5. I loved that pic with Trapjaw and the Glyos “puppet.”

    I can’t wait to get my hands on these. Seeing all those combinations put together is making the wait feel so much longer.

  6. This is ridiculously exciting to me. I love it. The one problem I’ve got is, I don’t even have these yet and I’m already excited about the possibilities of what’s coming next. I can only imagine the fun SMC could have with some laser cannons, guns and bows.

    This is brilliant and I’m really happy for the good things this will bring to the guys behind both SMC and Glyos, not to mention the fans of each.

    I lied about having one problem. The color selections here are all so nice, I’m going to have a hard time choosing just 2 or 3.

    1. Did you see the laser/rifle from the AFP pics? I think I saw it linked over on October toys!

      I know I’m going to pick up some more cold steel sets when the day comes, but there are some other colors I’m eyeballing…

  7. I had the opportunity to play around with the test shots Matt Doughty had while visiting him last month and this review is 100% accurate- these things are freaking amazing. For a crazy Glyos builder like me I couldn’t stop playing with them- when I get some sets I’m going to have to make a spikey guy or give someone a giant spiked mace for a hand. I know my Roboto will probably get a few new glyos attachments with that adapter piece & totally plan on building that bird & bat drone shown on the facebook page.

    If you have a crazy imagination & want something to help extend that creativity to another level, these weapons are it. I’m Bah’glenn & I approve this message. πŸ˜€

  8. after laying hnads on these things I gotta say everything in this review is incredibly accurate. these things rock so damn hard! Hope they dont seel out too quick ha ha

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