Here at IAT, we try to review all the toys we buy. It’s a rule that helps me keep the MOTU & DC sections complete while it tasks Vault with keeping the site varied and interesting. But there’s been one line I hadn’t reviewed. I think it was because I couldn’t answer the initial question. What the heck are Glyos?
I’ve seen that question around the net more than a few times, whenever a new potential fan hears about Glyos for the first time or when the Outer Space Men come up. And some collectors, much smarter than me, have answered it. They’re action figures with interchangeable parts. They’re a joint system that lets you build figures from the ground up. They’re toys that you can customize without having to be a great sculptor or painter.
All of those are true. And I think they answer the question when it’s asked. But I think there’s more to it than that. I think that in addition to “What are Glyos,” we need to be asking “What I can do with Glyos?”
For this review, I’m going to humbly show four aspects of what can be done with Glyos: Collect, Configure, Create, & Customize. As I’m just beginning to understand Glyos myself, I’m sure there are more than that. In fact, odds are there are some aspects that don’t start with the letter “C”. A few weeks ago, I didn’t understand them as well as I do now and in a few weeks I’ll probably think I was a dolt for trying to write this when I did. I’m just starting down this path, but I wanted to turn around and tell the folks behind me that the water’s fine. That it’s fun and here’s why I think so…
I’m ashamed to admit that the first time I bought Glyos, I didn’t get it. I had gotten four: (from left to right) Pyros Exellis, Spectre Buildman, a Bean-Bot, and a Junkshop figure. All I can say for myself is that I was only thinking in terms of normal toy collecting. I thought I was buying them to have them.
There are toy collectors that buy cool toys for cool toy’s sake. Vault is a good example – he can dip into a line and grab one or two cool pieces and step back out. I kinda suck at that. I’ve learned to not be a completist, but I still find myself getting more invested in a line than I should. I enjoy lines like DC Classics where I can buy all my favorite DC characters (like Firebrand II & Resurrection Man… wait…) or MOTU Classics which, for me, is a combination of some nostalgia along with their being cool toys. I don’t generally buy cool for cool’s sake.
So when I bought Glyos the first time to find out what they were, I didn’t really understand what I was getting into. They were little dudes with cool designs in cool colors. I took them apart, but I couldn’t really make anything new that I liked, so they returned to factory standard. I’m not sure what it was – I think part of it was the colors I chose, they didn’t remix well in my eyes. For example, I wasn’t ready for a Junkman because he was usually bought for spare parts more than he was meant to be a unique figure.
I simply wasn’t ready to think about aspects beyond collecting them. I enjoyed my Bean-Bot most and I liked that my Buildman would glow in the dark. I wanted to buy more, but I looked at the archive and saw all the cool ones I’d missed and I got a bit turned off. I loved Voss Exellis, but he was long gone. My leftover completist kicked in and I found myself discouraged. The Bean-Bot made his way into the old ItsAllTrue.Net banner while the rest were stored.
I mistakenly believed that collecting Glyos wasn’t for me and I lost interest. Luckily, my story doesn’t end there.
With my excitement reignited by the recent OSM news, I became convinced that it was me who didn’t understand Glyos. I pulled my other figures out of storage and I tried again. This time, I looked around on the October Toys forum, I poured over Battlegrip.com looking for new ideas. I had to let go of my collector and get in touch with my inner builder.
I’m a big LEGO fan, but LEGOs are architectural. I have tons of fun creating buildings, vehicles, space outposts, etc – but Glyos are different, more organic. I was building with arms and legs and having to relearn as I went along. I was finally having fun, but the colors were still giving me trouble. I hadn’t thought about compatible colors when I bought my first four. I decided to start over from scratch.
Luckily, the Onell Store had a Buildman (19 pcs) and a Gobon (13 pcs) both in sleek silver. As soon as I saw them both available, I knew these two were exactly what I needed. I could use any piece anyway I wanted without having to worry about the colors. I patiently waited for them to arrive and when they did I went to task on seeing what I could do with them.
Along with a silver phase arm set (5 pcs), I started simply. The Buildman has a couple alternate heads and each of his pieces are unique – the feet, hands, shoulders, etc all styled differently, but I also learned it was important not to see the pieces as just heads or feet – to try and see their potential as other pieces. I learned how to make a cool cannon arm. I made tons of new robots. I quickly felt like I hadn’t bought enough! I wanted a second Buildman so I could make two symmetrical ones. I wanted extra phase arm sets – the smaller phase arm (on the left up there) split into three pieces! And each time I built something I really liked, I wanted to leave it that way. I wanted to have “that one” too. I wanted to collect a line that I had created with the Glyos pieces. I was making cool robots and I was really having fun.
But I was about to get outclassed. See How on Page 2…