The two armybuilders are the Magma & Crystal Gohlems. These two are characterized as proto-Monkaans and are unique in that they’re solid colors and that they feature both the Gearo & Vilhain symbols. The square on each figure’s chest is as interchangeable as everything else and the Gohlems eventually decide which way they swing, so SMC smartly include both tampos with each of the figures (the back ones are tampoed as well for these two). I’m leaning a little more towards the Crystal Gohlem since he’s a near spot-on match for the Onell “new voss” colorway, but the Magma Gohlem is cool in his own right. I woudn’t be opposed to seeing that color pop up at Onell, if it hasn’t already (along with more frickin’ green!). The basic build of the Gohlem’s doesn’t include the “ab” section, but that piece is still included with the figure.
There isn’t much paintwork to the figures, but the lines are all etched cleanly and the paint on the various faces was clean on all the heads that came packaged with the figures and the heads in the head pack.
The articulation is handled through a series of cut joints around the standard Glyos pegs and ports, but there are plenty in the basic build and many of the pieces feature a diagonal cut which helps with posing once you get used to it. One great example is the standard bicep piece. In the basic configuration, the arms are extended and slightly bent, but by just flipping that piece over you can straighten the arms. If you look at Palidar throughout my pics, you can see the straight arms. I didn’t catch that when I put him ‘back to normal’ for the pictures.
Each figure includes a few options for a head in the basic setup, but there are six additional heads that aren’t included with any of the figures: Emypreus & Umbreus in silver and green/purple, Palidar in red, and Brutok in purple. If you’re planning on picking up the figures, I recommend throwing the heads pack on your order for $5. Having the extra colorways for the heads really enhanced the play value for me. I got a kick out of making the “bizarro” versions alone.
Finally, there are those “Close Combat” Accessory Kits I mentioned. These are essentially the newest entry into Armory Series. They’ll be available in the same six colors as the figures and feature 14 pieces. The sword & sickle from the figures are repeated here, along with four smaller blades, two handles, and two pistols. The pistols are my favorite because they’re essentially the Dark Arsenal pistols making the jump into Glyos-compatibility. Now, as accessories for the Monkaans, you won’t need the handles. The fists don’t support that type of compatibility (which is something I’d like to see in future Monkaa releases), but the blades and sickle can be plugged directly into the fist for a similar effect. As you’ll see in the pics, I found use for the weapons kits to make either more elaborate builds or as extra flare to add to the figure. I particularly liked using two of the mini-blades as horns on the Empyreus head.
Since these are product samples, I tried to keep the review from being too gushy and stick to the gist, but the truth is that I had a ton of fun playing around with these guys and I’ve already found myself in that familiar trap of liking a build so much that I don’t want to disassemble it. And that combines with my feeling of needing “more” both in what’s available and what’s not – I do have hopes for future improvements like open fists and some coordination with Onell to get axis joints in even more matching colors, but overall I can’t help but feel like SMC has another hit on their hands.
Yes, I did end up modifying the figures beyond their factory configurations, but it’s the fact that I can do that that makes these that much cooler. For many of us, myself included, this is as close as we’re going to get to making our own action figures. For that, SMC can have my money. I’ll be happily picking up some more of these this afternoon and I’m already looking forward to more pieces and more colors in the months to come.
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Figures go on sale today at 12 noon PDT (2pm Central time)