Vitruvian HACKS Week continues on YouTube!

Even though the written reviews have wrapped, there’s still more Vitruvian HACKS goodness over on the GeneralsJoes YouTube Channel!  I’ve just posted video reviews for the NJCC Exclusive Ultimate Spartan and Kokomo Toys/All the Cool Stuff Amazon (Elite Warrior)!

More HACKS video reviews soon to come, but until then, check out these two additions embedded below.  As always, please let me know if there are things I could do to make this better.

vitruvian-hacks-ultimate-spartan-njcc (16)

GeneralsJoes Wraps up the HACKS Reviews – Blanks, Accessories and Skeletons!

Okay, I approached these reviews a little differently.  I wasn’t going to break down every individual blank or every individual skeleton or every individual accessory pack.  That felt like overkill.

So instead, I’ve framed these reviews at a more high level, looking at these three elements conceptually, with how well I think they were executed overall.  There are no real review scores for the blanks or accessories, and while I did use one for the skeletons, I’m not sure it really works.

None of these are individual characters, nor are they really designed to come with accessories, and the paint applications are purposefully simplified, so it didn’t feel appropriate to judge the success of these items on those prerequisites.  That being said, I still took a ton of pictures and gave my opinions on the themes as a whole.  They’re all posted on the Vitruvian HACKS Review Page or you can check them out individually below.

hacks-skeleton-purpl-05

What’s on Joe Mind is getting caught up with Episode 103!

G.I. Joe fans have been asking, and we’ve been hearing…it’s been a while since the What’s on Joe Mind Podcast was updating regularly, but us and our esteemed editor are working hard to get back on track!

Episode 103 has just been posted to our What’s on Joe Mind Podbean page, and while it’s still lagging a few months, we are making our way back to cover all of the latest G.I. Joe news and toy hobby discussions.  Check out Episode 103 on Podbean, or the embedded player below.

It’s the Christmas in…May edition! Yes, yes, this is another one of those episodes we recorded months ago and are just now getting around to finish editing and posting it.  In this episode, we have a hearty discussion about the Joes from 2003.  In the news we spend a lot of time talking with Justin about working with Hasbro for the Fan’s Choice Kindle World’s Character voting process.  Justin also asks Joe about her pie.  Yes, it is the truth.  It’s a little more than 90 minutes of fun, so have fun listening!

Print

IDW G.I. Joe Solicitations for August, 2016

Things look to be getting somewhat quiet on the IDW G.I. Joe comic front as we move towards the end of summer.  IDW Publishing has released their solicitations list for August, 2016 and there is essentially just a single new entry on it (with the other being the final TPB collection of Transformers vs. G.I. Joe)   Check them out below.

TFJOE_TPB_VOL3_COV

Transformers vs G.I. Joe, Vol. 3

Tom Scioli & John Barber (w) • Tom Scioli (a & c)

The biggest space battle ever grows to universal proportions! Will the G.I. JOE team and the AUTOBOTS make peace—before COBRA and the DECEPTICONS end the war… the bad way?! Collects issues #10–13.

TPB • FC • $19.99 • 120 pages • 7” x 11” • ISBN: 978-1-63140-693-5

Bullet points:

  • The series you never thought would happen comes to its thunderous conclusion!

Offered Again!

Transformers vs G.I. JOE, Vol. 1 • FC • $19.99 • ISBN: 978-1-63140-190-9

Transformers vs G.I. JOE, Vol. 2 • FC • $19.99 • ISBN: 978-1-63140-270-8

GIJoeRAH231-cover

G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #231: Snake In The Grass, Part 2

Larry Hama (w) • S L Gallant (a & c)

Duke reckons with the most difficult choice of his life… while COBRA scrambles to contain the dangerous new agent in their midst!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #231: Snake In The Grass, Part 2—Subscription Variant

Larry Hama (w) • S L Gallant (a) • John Royle (c)

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Bullet points:

  • Betrayal might bring the end to G.I. JOE and COBRA!

Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian HACKS Skeletons

hacks-skeleton-white-01 hacks-skeleton-white-02

Pre-Order this now on BossFightShop!

And, so, here we are.  The infamous Boss Fight Studio Skeletons.

Aside from Medusa, the Skeletons felt like one of the main focuses of the Kickstarter, a fully functional, fully articulated, fully in 1:18 scale Skeleton figure that looked as if it crawled from the corpse of a 4” figure, yet still managed to pose like one.

hacks-skeleton-black-07

Honestly, many folks had their doubts that it could be done.  Even with the decades of toy design experience Boss Fight has, they were attempting something that not even global toy brand powerhouses have been able to pull off.

Would it work?

Does it work?

Oh hell yeah it does.

hacks-skeleton-white-09

Every time I’m sure I’m prepared to extol the virtues of these great action figures, I remember something else.  First it was the fact that even just the human skull itself makes for an awesome prop (and actually has a movable jaw!).  Second it was remembering that the Skeletons themselves could also be disassembled like the blanks and reassembled in different ways.  Third it was the realization that the Skeletons were skinny enough to look realistic, but just bulky enough for armor to fit in key places.  Fourth it was DOUBLE JOINTED KNEES ON A FRIGGEN SKELETON.  Then I started to lose count.  From the different colors to the amazing sculpting on the bones, these figures are really amazing to look at.

hacks-skeleton-05

Now, the pieces are thin.  Like pretty thin.  But throughout my review, I wasn’t exactly gentle, and considering I had almost 20 of the things sitting in front of me, I certainly posed them, removed parts, and swapped things around quite a bit, and I’m happy to say, all of my Skeletons remain completely in one piece.

hacks-skeleton-yellow-04

Incredibly, even as skinny as they are, they retain ball joints in the shoulders and hips, very poseable elbow joints, moveable wrists, ball joint neck, base of the spine, double-jointed knees, and at the ankles.  These things can move like freaking crazy.  They are light as a feather, yet seem to hold up to reasonable punishment.

Now obviously you need to be reasonable.  The plastic is thinner than the normal standard figures, and the joints are a bit smaller as well, so take the proper care and attention, and don’t be afraid to use a hair dryer when swapping limbs around.

hacks-skeleton-04

Obviously if you’re going to be swapping hands around and removing limbs, take some care and apply some heat!  That will ensure that the material has enough “flex” to allow for things to be removed and replaced without fear of breakage.

The Skeletons come in white, black, yellow and translucent purple, with a surprise bonus hot pink one as a free gift to supporters who had to wait a little while for the product to be done.  Each color is gorgeously chosen, and if you want to go “full bone” a light dark wash will truly bring out some amazing detail on the white and yellow versions.

hacks-skeleton-purpl-03

Personally, I find myself in love with the purple ones.  Ever since the release of the Eternal Struggle 2-Pack I’ve become infatuated with Hades and his crew, and these purple skeletons are the perfect compliment to the Undead Warrior from that 2 Pack.  Toss in some Tartarus Guards (and pink Skeletons to go with them) and you’re quickly amassing an awesome pink/purple army for the God of the Underworld to set loose upon the world.

hacks-skeleton-purpl-04

I will say one of my purple Skeletons did come through pretty bow-legged, I’m thinking mostly due to the material of the plastic that’s used to make transparent figures.  I applied some heat and reshaped the legs somewhat, and it seems to be a lot better.

hacks-skeleton-white-05 hacks-skeleton-white-06

Each Skeleton comes with a footpeg and a series of clear plastic devices that seem a little strange if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  The two curved pieces have holes on the bottom and plug into the battle stand so that the Skeleton can use the stand more effectively.  Obviously his bony little foot is too narrow to get a peg hole in there, so these clasps make for an excellent work around.

hacks-skeleton-white-04

Along with those two items are four different “spacers”.  These spacers can hook into various places on the Skeleton’s narrow frame to allow for larger armor pieces to fit snugly without moving around.  Most of the female armor slides right on with no issues, but if you want larger male armor (especially leg armor) to work, you need to clip on a spacer to fill in some of the gaps.

hacks-skeleton-white-07

Boss Fight truly thought of everything.  These skeletons are a hell of a lot of fun, and add yet another intriguing dimension to a toyline which is already completely full of intriguing dimensions.  There are so many things to love about Vitruvian HACKS and it seems like as I push through these reviews I continue to be amazed and surprised by what I find.

A final note about this review…  I’m not sure I’m giving this figure appropriate credit and he doesn’t really jive with my format for reviews.  He ended up with 4 Stars, but when you look at what had to be overcome with the overall structure and durability of a human skeleton, what Boss Fight did with this figure is completely and truly remarkable, and deserves far more credit than my review score can accurately depict.

These figures are a ton of fun.

Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian HACKS Blanks

Pre-Order the Blanks at BossFightShop – Either Female or Male!

Realistically, what can be said about the blanks that hasn’t already been said countless other times in all the other reviews?  After all, the blanks simply are the foundation that every single figure is built on.  Any Spartan that you love is just paint and a new head with armor combinations layered on top of the male blank.  Any Amazon you love (or Tartarus Guard as the case may be) is just a head, paint, and armor layered on top of the female blank.  Without these two building blocks, the rest of the figures simply would not exist.

hacks-male-blank-11 hacks-female-blank-10

Boss Fight Studio knows this and knows how to develop their product as the Highly Articulated Character Kit System meaning they want people to tear these things down and build their own.  Rather than tearing down carded figures, why not offer up some blank templates for collectors to mess with all their own.  The flexibility this offers also allows them to branch out into a rainbow of different amazing colors, go transparent, and completely expand the character base.

hacks-blank-male-group3

Do you want to see how Poseidon would fit into the Gorgon War?  Grab yourself a Bio Blue blank, an accessory kit, and knock yourself out.  Want to go full demon?  Grab a red blank (either gender) and build you own demonic creature.  

hacks-female-blank-group1

The blanks are fantastically sculpted, retaining an amazing amount of mobility and sculpting which somehow dovetail perfectly together.  Each blank is muscular enough to look imposing, yet narrow and flexible enough to retain some incredible poses with or without armor.  This claim goes to either male or female blanks.

hacks-female-blank-group3

Adding the accessory packs to Boss Fight’s library of colorful blanks only increases collector and customizer options, letting them pick, choose and swap to their heart’s content.  I literally spent hours swapping parts as I worked through these reviews and I barely scratched the surface of what’s possible with a lot more creativity than I have.

hacks-female-blank-21

Simply add some heat (preferably via hair dryer, boiling water can sometimes warp plastic) and these blanks can also be fully disassembled into a ton of smaller pieces to allow even more color swaps and mixing and matching.  The pegs remove and clip back in very easily and manage to retain their tightness even after swapping.  I’m in awe of the engineering required to make this happen, and the overall design of these figures is really and truly impressive.

hacks-male-blank-13 hacks-female-blank-15

Even with all of the actual characters and painted figures I have on my shelf, I can’t help but continue pulling out blanks, posing them, making them fight, gearing them up and just having fun.  Boss Fight has perfected the art of color in toy design, and each of these blanks feels like the almost perfect shade of their given colors, rich and vibrant, and contrasting with complimentary accessory kits to a nearly flawless degree.

Each blank also comes with three heads, three sets of feet (boots, bare, and sandals), two sets of hands (one jointed forward/back, one jointed side-to-side) and the footpeg to help them stand.  I could actually see someone producing a full line of just blanks, the fact that Vitruvian HACKS offers them as compliments to a full blown universe and toyline is absolutely amazing.

hacks-male-blank-18

These blanks are FUN.  I don’t consider myself a hardcore customizer, but the time that could be whittled away mixing and matching parts is almost frightening to consider.  There are so many options and they are so simple to part swap, that this could easily become a time consuming venture, but a venture that has its own set of awesome rewards.

Like the accessory packs, I’m not even sure how to frame a numerical review for these.  The colors are vibrant and striking, the articulation is unmatched among 1:18 scale peers, and the sculpting is meticulous and downright artistic.  That being said, these figures are built for customizing and designed around a foundation of being the building blocks with which to create other characters.  As such it’s incredibly difficult to assign a score to these blanks as a whole, I can only reiterate what a terrific idea this is conceptually, and how impressive the execution has ended up.

MALE BLANKS

FEMALE BLANKS

Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian HACKS Accessory Packs

Pre-Order Accessories at BossFightShop!

I struggled mightily to figure out precisely how to handle reviewing these, because while I didn’t think each set necessitated it’s own review, trying to review the concept as a whole felt unwieldy and like a battle I would not win.

That being said, I’m going to attempt to cover each of the seven initial Accessory Packs in this review and try to do as much credit as I can, because it’s evident that each one was developed with quite a bit of care and attention to detail, and the existence of these sets has added a whole new awesome level of the play and collecting experience.

Bone White

hacks-accessories-box-bone

 

Designed as a kit of white accessories, the shade of white that Boss Fight uses is remarkably cool and actually resembles some form of bone.  It’s a fantastic color that contrasts wonderfully with most of the other colors of the figures and the blanks.

hacks-acc-bone-01

The set itself comes with two shields, a standard Spartan helmet, Athenian torso and leg armor, the Amazon helmet with Eurayle’s top and bottoms, plus the various snake bands.  There’s two axes, two swords, the curved knife from Stheno, a sheath, a spear, and the twisted snake knives from Eurayle and her disciple.  As all the other sets do as well, there is also a foot stand in the corresponding color of the set.

The first thing I notice with these accessories is that each one comes with a TON of gear.  Loads and loads of elaborate weaponry in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  I like the bone set quite a bit, but feel like it does need some paint.  Adding deco to the handles of some of the weapons, so that just the bone itself is revealed as the blade would be pretty bad ass and add some interesting twists to these existing weapons.  Looking at the collection of weapons here, I like this set, though without some paint additions, I’m not sure how much I’d use plain white accessories.  Once some paint is there, though, this is a set that could find a LOT of use in various collections.

Black

hacks-accessories-box-black

One of the most popular accessory sets on BossFightShop (already sold out!) the black weapons add some really nice variety to what we’ve seen, and considering so many figure weapons are pure black these days, it doesn’t look too out of place there.  Admittedly, though, the Boss Fight weapons are generally more impressive shades.

hacks-acc-black-01

The black accessory kit contains a wealth of great gear, in my mind, a nice balance of color and accessory choices for both male and female figures. At this point you should see that each set comes with the two shields and foot stand.  This particular set also comes with two helmets, one just plain, the other with the wide fin at the top.  The standard smooth Spartan chest and leg armor as well as the terrific curved sword and two straight swords of varying lengths.  Pretty much the entire Medusa accessory kit is here, too, with the spiked shoulder pad, dual arm bracers, hip armor and the bone knife and whip.  Lastly, we have the black spear.

I find myself really loving this accessory compliment.  Medusa’s armor looks great on a standard figure as well as the skeletons, and makes for some pretty nasty accoutrements for Gorgons or for your human compliments.  Along with this, I’m a big fan of the smooth Spartan armor, too, so all in all, this set is a big winner.

Unearthly Green

hacks-accessories-box-unear

How can you not love the look of this accessory set?  Trust me when I say any images you see don’t truly do it justice.  This green is super bright and truly marvelous.  It’s a vibrant and exciting color scheme that doesn’t look at all realistic, but considering the esoteric backstories for some of the HACKS characters, could conceivably fit right into the mythology.

hacks-acc-unearthly-green1

Along with the two shields, spear, and foot peg that comes with every set, we also have the decorative Spartan helmet (that came with Talos) and the Athenian Warrior chest and leg armor.  Two swords and a sheath are also included, as well as the armor from the Amazon (torso, leather shirt, arms and legs).  The bone knife, snake skull helmet and bone whip finish off this crazy assortment of colorful accessories.

It’s interesting to see where Boss Fight pulled from with the creation of these sets.  They try to offer male and female parts in each one, and full sets of armor for each gender, though it can be more fun to color swap.  The Unearthly green is pretty great, and right now is resting on my pink skeleton, giving me a medievil ‘93 Toxo-Zombie to love and cherish.

Glow in the Dark

hacks-accessories-box-glow

Boss Fight Studio’s experiment with glow in the dark continues with this accessory set, a cool jump into a more supernatural realm.  I haven’t quite decided who needs to glow in the dark, though I’m tempted to lather these on top of the Ghosts of the Battlefield 2 pack and watch the world burn.

hacks-acc-gitd-01

Two shields, spear, and foot peg? Check.  This set also has the more ceremonial helmet that came with the Athenian Warrior and the layered armor we saw with Talos, the Myrmidon Warrior and the Disciple of Eurayle.  Two swords and a curved knife add to the arsenal, along with the four familiar bladed weapons from Eurayle herself (as well as the disciple).  There’s a sheath for one of the swords and the snake staff from Stheno to finish things off on the right foot.

Like the Unearthly Green set, I’m not entirely sure who will be running around the HACKS universe carrying these crazy glowing weapons around, but I do know the weapons are amazing and glow like crazy.  They’ll make for some awesome magical totems and will accentuate the more spiritual characters nicely.

Blood Red

hacks-accessories-box-blood

I’ve found there’s a certain balance to which of these accessory sets I love.  They have to have cool colors, but also have a good selection of gear, and the Blood Red set has both in spades.  As I took pictures for these various reviews (as well as the blanks and skeletons) I found myself drawn more and more often to the Blood Red accessories.  The fact that this set is also sold out at BossFightShop seems to lend credence to the idea that it’s a pretty hot ticket.

hacks-acc-blood-red1

Along with the now standard shields, spear, and foot peg, this set has my favorite leg/chest armor as well as the excellent standard Spartan helmet without any flair.  Two straight swords and a curved sword come with the set along with twin battle axes.  There’s a sheath for one of the swords as well as the snake skull helmet and Medusa’s whole kit, including the shoulder pad, arm bracers, and hip armor.  Along with that, the Amazon’s leather skirt is included, too, and I think people will be shocked at just how bad ass figures look with all of the female accessories in this set equipped at once.

This Blood Red accessory set is high on my list of favorites, and I can see myself equipping quite a few blanks and skeletons with the gear found inside.

Fire Red

hacks-accessories-box-fire

The only thing cooler than translucent figures are translucent accessories, and if you stack translucent accessories on top of translucent figures, the effect is even better!  The moment I layered these fire red accessories on my translucent orange blank to make a fire spirit, my entire world had new meaning.

hacks-acc-fire-red-01

You can guess the standard stuff now… yes this set comes with two shields, a spear, and a foot peg, all in the translucent red plastic.  It also has a Spartan helmet as well as the chest and leg armor and three separate swords.  One of the swords is actually the sword normally found in stone with the Gorgons, and I love having that awesome weapon available elsewhere.  There’s a sheath for one of the swords as well as two solid knives (the Eurayle weapons).  I have to say the snake skull helmet looks fantastic in this clear red, as does the snake themed forearm guards and curved knife.  I’m not especially crazy about the Stheno armor and snake skin skirt.  That skirt reduces articulation a bit more than I’d like, and the spike armor looks great on Stheno, but a little weird here.  The crazy spiked shin guards that came with Stheno are here as well, and looking pretty crazy.

I really love the clear red accessories.  They are extremely colorful and look fantastic on pretty much every figure I’ve tried them on.  Not only that, but the clear red works for some kind of magical weapon or energy based weapon, which I can see fitting into the HACKS mythology nicely.  Definitely one of my favorite sets.

Silver

hacks-accessories-box-silve

I’ve mentioned a few sets so far that were “one of my favorite” but haven’t really designated an absolute favorite.  Well time to make that declaration.  One of my favorite parts about the Amazon Elite Warrior figure was the fact that the color of her silver armor was so crisp and almost chrome like.  Bright, shiny and super vibrant, just the shade of that silver was enough to make me fall in love with the figure.

Every single accessory in this pack is that same bright silver, and it’s magnificent.

hacks-acc-silver-01

Two shields, the spear, foot peg and the sword sheath are included here, as they are everywhere.  For weapons we have twin battle axes and a whipping four swords, including the Gorgon sword and the excellent curved sword that I love so much, and there’s also Stheno’s snake staff.

The armor in here is fantastic as well.  While I’m not wild about the frilly ceremonial helmet the layered armor and leg guards are great (I’d almost kill to have the standard Spartan armor in this color, though), and what really excels here is the Amazon gear.  Like the Elite Warrior exclusive, all of the Amazon armor is here and in this great shade of silver.  The helmet is the icing on the cake.

There is a lot to love in this silver set, and it remains at the top of my list.

Sitting back and looking at all of these, you realize just how many accessories are here and how much opportunity there is to put together some really fun customs.  Adding some minor paint tweaks to these things opens up even more doors for possibilities, and I am blown away at how much selection is here.  Just about any combination you can think of is possible.

That being said, I think it would greatly benefit Boss Fight Studio to consider other color options, especially considering so many of these are already sold out.  They are evidently very popular with collectors!

From a review perspective, I’m somewhat conflicted on how to score these, so I’m just going to leave it at what I wrote above.  Suffice it to say these accessory sets were a brilliant idea and have already gone a long way towards prolonging the viability of this HACKS project.  There’s a ton of different gear in a ton of different colors, and the combinations from each option are nearly limitless.  I guarantee you will thoroughly enjoy mixing and matching this stuff with blanks or with the regular character figures you already have.