GeneralsJoes Reviews Animal Warriors of the Kingdom

So I’ve had these figures in my hands for a short period of time, and wanted to be sure to do as thorough a review as I possibly could.  It’s obvious that Jason and the folks involved with this project put a ton of blood, sweat and tears into it, so it seemed only fair that I spend a fraction of that time doing the actual review.

You can find the AWOK Review right here.

The short version is – these action figures are a ton of fun.  The fact that he was able to put together this Kickstarter, get these things produced and shipped in such a short amount of time is astounding, and the end result on quality is really impressive.

There are some (very minor) areas of improvement, which Jason has acknowledged, but I think we can all feel comfortable those things will be addressed going forward, and to be honest, they’re so minor that they didn’t significantly impact my enjoyment of the figures.  These are really, really cool.  The Kickstarter is over, but all of these action figures are available at SperoToys.com.  Check them out, I think you’ll really dig ’em.

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Animal Warriors of the Kingdom by Spero Studios

The collectible action figure landscape is changing.  It may, in fact, have already changed, especially when looking at figures in the 1:18 scale.  For a few years now, offerings of quality figures at that scale have shifted out of the retail place and into another realm – Kickstarter.  Since Marauder and Boss Fight Studio combined to blow the doors off the 1:18 collectible action figure market on Kickstarter a few years ago, there’s been several other iterations, and so far, Animal Warriors of the Kingdom are among the first of that second generation to deliver.

Considering the potential obstacles and bottle necks, the fact that these figures were turned around in less than a year is truly remarkable.  In fact, the target delivery date of the Kickstarter was November, 2018 and here we sit nearly seven months ahead of that target with many folks getting these figures in hand.   An impressive first attempt by Jason Bienvenu and Spero Studios.

As for the figures themselves – again, a very impressive introduction to action figure making.

What I love most about this line is its refreshing return to the action figure roots that brought most of us to the table.  Brightly colored, vibrant characters, a property completely self-developed and not merely licensed out from the latest multi-million dollar brand, Animal Warriors of the Kingdom is a story with characters completely out of Jason’s mind, and they work exceedingly well.  Anyone who has been following GeneralsJoes.com for any period of time knows that I have a weakness for the concept of animal/human hybrids (my first work as a non-G.I. Joe author involved a werewolf military commando for crying out loud).  AWOK is simply right up my alley.

Due to costing concerns, the first batch of figures uses the same base body across the board.  A sculpted fur “animal on two legs” style kind of figure buck, which is amazingly versatile, able to work for apes, chimps, skunks, raccoons, wolves, tigers and nearly everything in between.  Even some creative reuse of head sculpts manages to cross breed borders and bring several different unique species to life.

The base body isn’t 100% perfect, but it is exceptionally well done.  There feels like a bit of glitchiness with the knee joints, but it’s a minor issue and the advanced articulation and impressive overall sculpting of the figures overcomes any minor fit issues, in my mind.  Each figure also comes with an alternate head that really drives up the army building mentality and provides a ton of awesome flexibility.

Along with repurposed bodies and heads, they use a few different sets of armor, with again, creative color alterations to create a wealth of different styles that bring these characters to life exceptionally well.  Everything from a single diagonal bandolier to a fully wrap around torso armor.  AWOK doesn’t deal much with those peksy peg-and-hole closing mechanisms for their armor, instead having it sort of “wrap around” the figure and I like that.  It stays on quite well and is very easy to swap and remove.

There are gauntlets and leg armor, which aren’t quite as functional, as they tend to shift somewhat when posing and feel a bit loose.  A little blue tack or something on the inside resolves that problem nicely, and it’s those sort of things that Spero will use as learning moments and certainly look to resolve minor issues going forward.

The weapons as well are very nicely done.  Spears and swords, sais and other curved armaments all combine to provide a wide array of different choices for the figures.  The design work is exceptional on some of these (I love the curved short sword and narrow sai-like daggers).  All in all, the line does everything it sets out to do, and everyone involved should be incredibly proud of what they’ve accomplished, taking what was essentially an image in their mind and translating it into a fun, colorful, highly articulated and customizable action figure line.

Next I want to look at some of the figures individually:

Pale

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Pale is the main “hero” character of the AWOK universe, using a unique head sculpt with the same base body as the rest of the line.  His cross-torso strap is simple, but looks great, as does the armored belt.

He has red gauntlets and shin armor which contrast really nicely with his light gray base body creating a very cool looking hero figure.  He comes with a secondary “wolf” style head sculpt which can be used to create another kind of trooper.

Pale is a really terrific figure with a fantastically unique individualized head sculpt and excellent array of weapons.

Baron Kahlee

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The primary villain of the AWOK universe, Baron Kahlee also has a unique head sculpt (two of them in fact!).  One featuring his sinister sneering visage, the second with a very cool and unique elaborate ceremonial helmet.

His figure contains very cool variations of blue for the fur and mixes quite nicely with his armor and cross-torso strap.  The sculpting on his face is fantastic, looking cocky, sinister, and downright mean, and I really dig his weapons as well.  He’s a great, really fun figure for sure.  I love the long pony tail sculpt at the back of his head as well, there’s a lot of really cool uniqueness to this figure that lifts it above some of its peers.

Horrid Assassins

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As Kahlee’s personal assassins, these creatures are chimps that are very reminiscent of the Baron’s look and feel.  Their color schemes are similar, but they have some different heads and armor configurations, giving them some really great uniqueness.

Like the other figures, the base body works really well, giving him the same great fur sculpting and articulation.  His shoulder pad his similar to Kahlee’s but less ornamental, but still looks terrific.  As I’ve mentioned with a few other figures, the gauntlets and shin armor don’t always stay on perfectly, but again those are minor gripes for what is a really great figure.  His two heads offer an eye patch and non-eye patch look, and I find myself truly loving the accessories here.  The bow, two sais, simple knife and wicked curved blade are a great combination.  Excellent stuff, and one of the cooler figures to be sure.

Horrid Knights

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Standing apart slightly from Kahlee and the Assassins, the Horrid Knights are gibbons (I believe) that are lighter in color, yet still excellent foot soldiers for the Baron’s nasty monkey army.

Unlike Kahlee and the Assassins, the Knights have full blown suits of armor, with a great piece of chest armor and armored belt that look very, very cool.  I find myself enjoying the fit and feel of the torso armor especially, which slides over the shoulders and stays secure without the peg/hole system.  All decked out, the Horrid Knight looks like a formidable foe indeed with his long sword and nasty spiked club.  He comes with both a basic soldier head and the “captain of the guard” head with a really awesome spiked helmet to make him look nice and ornamental.

Chunari Soldier

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Like Baron Kahlee has his troops, Pale works with the Chunari, a great looking ape army in and of itself that battles the Horrid Knights at every opportunity.  What’s really cool to me is that the Chunari soldier is essentially the same kind of figure as the Horrid Knight, a monkey with armor, yet they manage to make them look so completely different.

The Chunari Soldier has double pieces of armor that goes from shoulder to legs but looks a bit different from the armor that the Horrid Knights have.  The effect is a much different looking soldier that looks great battling against the Horrid Knights.  I really love the colors on this one, too, with a great shade of brown for the base body, complimented perfectly with yellow and red for the armor.  Like the Horrid Knights, two different heads are included, one for a basic soldier and one for a leader-type, only instead of a spiked helmet, this one has an awesome, elongated fin.  Great accessories make for another really fun addition to the AWOK tribe.

Crueler

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Ahhh, Crueler.  This figure is awesome.  As a panther warrior, this guy demonstrates just how flexible this relatively straight forward body type is.  Not only does this terrific furred body work for monkeys, but it also works well for cat creatures as well.  Crueler has an awesome head sculpt with painted scars, showing an old school fighter who has been through the ringer.

The two head sculpts here represent both Crueler himself as well as a generic “panther trooper” who might follow his lead.  He wears the same armor as the Chunari but with the blue and gray color pallet, it looks considerably different.  His light purple fur is a really great color scheme as well.  For pure character purposes, this one is a winner.

Tiberius

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This one might be it.  Tiberius might be my absolute favorite figure from the entire first run of Animal Warriors of the Kingdom.  Like Crueler, the body here was used to represent a cat creature and did it to near perfection.  It’s the colors for Tiberius that really win me over.  Obviously he’s a tiger, so he’s got the orange with black stripes, but I also love the pale tan chest and legs, the awesome head which works well for a cat as well as a skunk and a racoon (or a wolf).  Complimenting the orange and black excellently is a fantastic, vibrant shade of blue.

Combine this with his great accessories (love the sword and sais) and the alternate head to make generic tiger troopers, and this figure is a home run.  Love his shoulder strap and double belt as well.

Atreiu

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Another figure another cat creature, and this one is another winner.  Based on a lion (I believe) Atreiu is described as a “Wandering Warrior” and takes some evident inspiration from a classic property that many collectors of this line will love.

The tan base body looks great with the brown hair and the teal armor, combining to create a really fun looking and creative figure that manages to pull the aforementioned vintage inspiration, yet also blend seamlessly with the straight AWOK releases.

His alternate head sculpt is terrific and I really dig the axe and long sword as well.

Toxious

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Once again some creative color selections show the versatility and uniqueness possible even with the same base body throughout.  Like with Tiberius, the greatness of this figure isn’t necessarily just with the base color choices (black and white to resemble a skunk) but with the complimentary colors.  The orange armor looks fantastic on top of the black and white, and the work done on the tattoos is really outstanding as well.

I find myself really enjoying Toxious, and being so pleasantly surprised at how a common head used throughout several figures can manage to work so well for so many different purposes.  The two piece armor is great, and I love that he comes with the sais, the curved blade, and the long sword.  This is a heck of a nice looking figure, even if he doesn’t smell so hot. ;)

Scraps

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This is one I’ve been waiting for.  Although technically Scraps is a racoon (and works really well as one, too) I’ve been looking forward to using him for a personal werewolf project that the parts work well for, too.  The overall gray color with the lightly darkened spots around the eyes makes for a really unique looking racoon, and although they couldn’t find a way to make the striped tail work, the results are still very effective.

Again, the complimentary colors (light green, some yellow) work just as well as the primary colors in creating an effective and appealing color pallet.  Scraps is just another cool figure in an assortment of them from Animal Warriors of the Kingdom.

Seriously, every step of the way through this review I just grew more and more impressed at what Jason and Spero Studios were able to put together.  The base figures used work remarkably well in spite of some minor joint issues in a few spots, and the issues with somewhat loose armor were not significant enough to not warrant my full recommendation.  If you’re a fan of 1:18/3 3.4″/4″ figures this is absolutely a line you need to at least test the waters on.  The builds are unique, the color pallet is vibrant and exciting, and the property offers a wealth of different cool things that could be coming down the line.

Good, good stuff.

Vitruvian HACKS Mighty Steeds Kickstarter – THE FINAL LEG!

All right, folks, it’s time.  We’re getting down to the wire – only eight days left to fund some stretch goals for the exceptional Vitruvian HACKS Mighty Steeds Kickstarter!

Yes, the good news is this bad boy is FUNDED.

The bad news is I don’t have any centaurs yet!  Come on, everyone, let’s make one final eight day push and get some of these terrific stretch goals under our belts.  I needs me Kawiki the elk, I needs me some Knight tack, and some Knight of Asperity tack and I NEEDS ME SOME CENTAURS.

Well, and this.

Who doesn’t need their own Rainbow Unicorn?

Seriously, between me and my eight year old, we are fired up about this Kickstarter, and I’m hoping everyone else is getting that way, too.  So much cool potential not just now but in the future for more creature sets if the interest is there for this one.

Please hit up the Kickstarter and throw some support its way there’s a ton of awesome stuff still to be unlocked.

BOSS FIGHT!

Fantastic Vitruvian HACKS and Bucky O’Hare pictures from NJCC

This spring’s New Jersey Collectors’ Con has come and gone, and there were a ton of great reveals from the folks at Boss Fight Studio.  While we’ve already seen some sporadic images from the show floor itself, over on ToyArk they’ve posted some insane galleries featuring all of the new figures that were shown.  I’ve mirrored a small selection of their images below, but you can hit up ToyArk directly to see over 100 images of these great looking items!

This includes figures tentatively scheduled for Series 02, Waves 04 and 05:

  • Naga Serpent 
  • Barbarian
  • Gargoyle 
  • Dragon Harvester
  • Half Orc Mage
  • Psionic Warrior

Along with this, several great images of Bucky O’Hare figures were shown as well, including the previously unknown Stealth Deadeye Duck and Aniverse Bucky O’Hare releases!

Some more details were shown about the upcoming Mighty Steed Kickstarter, scheduled to hit this month, including the apparent inclusion of Aspen’s Elk!

Finally, we got a nice look at the Hellhounds, an upcoming product release from Dream Concept Studios, the folks who brought us the Zombie Lab Kickstarter not so long ago.

Man, I’m really digging the looks of those Hellhounds!

Lots of cool stuff revealed at the show, and if this is what the independent toy scene is looking like these days, I’m cool with G.I. Joe being off retail shelves for a little while.  Check out ToyArk.com for even more images than what I’ve shared above.

New Jersey Collectors Con Boss Fight Vitruvian HACKS reveals

New Jersey Collectors Con is going this weekend, and as usual the folks from Boss Fight Studio are in attendance and have revealed some paint masters for upcoming Vitruvian HACKS product!

Thanks to Matt McGrath over at the Boss Fighters Facebook Group, we’ve got some awesome first looks at Wave 4 and potentially Wave 5 product of Series 02 Vitruvian HACKS.

Wave 4 is rumored to include the following:

  • Gargoyle
  • Barbarian
  • Naga Serpent

And according to last year’s NJCC it was also supposed to include Twylla the Faerie, but it’s unknown if that’s still the plan.

We also got a look at the Dragon Harvester (who has appeared in concept art, but her specific assortment has not been announced), Orc Mage and the Psionic Warrior.

Keep posted, I’m sure there will be some more reveals throughout the weekend, especially with the Horse Kickstarter happening this month!

GeneralsJoes Reviews Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian Basics

Happy Monday and I’m adding to the review queue today with a three pack of reviews for the Vitruvian Basics line from Boss Fight Studio!  Designed as a less expensive alternative to facilitate army building and customizing, these Basics figures also manage to add some fantastic depth to the mythology and integrate real nicely with the Character Creator Kits as well.

Check out these three reviews at the Vitruvian Basics Review Page or click the links directly below.  Also don’t forget that the VitruvianFACTS Wiki Page is out there, too for some more great detail on this fantastic toy line!

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GeneralsJoes Reviews Complex Base Building System by Raginspoon

PRE-ORDER THIS NOW AT SMALLJOES.COM

First and foremost – this review was done with some early painted prototypes and the final product may vary slightly.  That being said, these items are very close to production status… and a ton of fun to boot!

Ever since I first started making dio-stories like 16 years ago (good grief how old am I?) I’ve been dying for a modular diorama/base system to use with my G.I. Joe figures.  Some things have come and gone over the years, and recently I’ve been drawn to the Chain Base model, but those can be complicated and usually have to be imported from Japan.

But now, Raginspoon toys is ramping up to start offering their own customizable base model, including swappable floor panels and wall panels with a ton of expandability and some great features for 1:18 action figure fanatics.

NOTE – The color of “Desert Tan” will be much more tan and much less yellow in the final version!  The below color is a closer match:

 

Above is a Complex “Wall Panel” which comes in two separate colors, “Urban Gray” or “Desert Tan”, and as you can see above you can remove the two panels (or just one) to create a door or window.  When you do remove just one of the panels to create a window, there is a hole in the lower panel that works with some of the connectors from one of your favorite 1:18 military toy lines…

As you can also see, the smaller holes here (and throughout the rest of the base parts) can accommodate backpacks (or other similarly sized peg items) from the same or similar toy lines.

Along with these wall panels are different types of floor panels, also available in “Urban Gray” or “Desert Tan”.

These floor panels can also double as additional wall panels if you need to expand your base.  The floor panels (like the walls) reversible to show a metal grate pattern or a more concrete pattern on the opposite side.  Then, in order to combine the floor panels with the wall panels, connectors are available as well.

The gray connectors seen above slide into grooves within the walls and floors in order to assemble the bases into any number of different configurations.  As you can see above, the connectors can have one tab, two tabs, three tabs, or a fully decked out four tab system in order to provide flexibility and aesthetics when connecting the pieces together.

The last two images above are a “Desert Tan” end connector with a step.  The end connector is designed to go underneath one of the wall panels with the step plugging into it to create a “step up” look for a door.

Note: The end connector and step will be colored in the same “Urban Gray” as the other parts in the final version, NOT the yellowish/tan.

So, the real question – how does this all work?

Really, REALLY well.  I was fortunate enough to get some of these ahead of release so I could play around with them, and I am having a blast.  The walls and floors slide together via the gray connectors really smoothly and are easy to take apart and put together, yet also hold together amazingly well.  You can design single level bases, or lift the walls up higher by stacking, which makes these things exceptionally flexible.  The various holes throughout the bases provide any number of points for adding tech detail or other things, and with a little creativity you can totally ramp up the usability of all of these pieces.

These items are NOT cast items, they are factory produced overseas and currently available for pre-order at SmallJoes.com.  The material is solid and durable for the walls, floors, and all connecting pieces as well.  Trust me when I say I beat on these pretty hard while taking pictures for the review and suffered no breakages or even weakness in any of the connecting joints at all.  They work remarkably well and are only hindered by your imagination.

As I mentioned, the floors are double-sided and can be used as either floor pieces or wall pieces.  The walls themselves are also double-sided and provide some cool additional detail on the external facing side, so not only do these make for great interior dio’s, but there’s some good flexibility for outside appearance as well.

In my nearly two decades of looking for unique ways to put together dioramas and dio-stories, this has been one of the most user-friendly and flexible ways to put together excellent next generation bases for your favorite action figures, big or small.  The folks at Raginspoon also have some BIG things in the works for a second wave and going forward, which will take these sets and ramp them up big time.  If these move there are even more fantastic items in the works for the future, so get them while you can over at SmallJoes.com!

Also, make sure you are following the Raginspoon Facebook Page and Instagram for the latest information on these sets and potential future sets to come.

Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian Basics Archer of Molpadia

Figure Available at BossFightShop.com!

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For the first time ever, Boss Fight Studio is mixing series within a single assortment, giving us fantasy figures and Greek mythology figures both in wave 1 of the Basics line.  I’m really glad they did.

Alongside the Castle Guard and Nocturnal Hunter, they released the Archer of Molpadia, an Amazonian archer to further compliment your already impressive Amazon armies.  To be honest, my love for the Amazon figures in the HACKS Series 01 line was completely unexpected, but that whole range of characters and figures are among my favorites in the entire line.  From the unique armor to the leather combat skirts, the various weapons, and the character sculpted into each one, I really enjoy the Amazon figures and I’m truly excited to see an addition to their ranks.

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With the Archer of Molpadia, they’ve added some long range weaponry capacity to an already excellent group of warriors and made a really terrific figure to go along with it.  This archer uses the same female build as other figures, but with the head of the Tartarus Guard painted in Caucasian flesh tone with nicely hued blonde hair.  Instead of the standard Amazon armor, she wears Medusa’s torso, shoulder, and arm bracers, which is an awesome, unique look.

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To trim down on costs, she doesn’t have a ton of accessories, but the ones she has make perfect sense and work exceptionally well for the character.  Her paint scheme is also minimal, with simple gold on the armor and weapons, and a red/brown leather for the skirt, which compliment each other to perfection.

All told, the Archer of Molpadia is a fantastic addition, even moreso when you consider the Basics format pricing and packaging.

Accessories

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As mentioned the Archer of Molpadia comes with Medusa’s armor, an Amazon skirt, leg armor, a bow and four arrows.  The bow that originally came with the Elven Archer works exceptionally well here, and the way the four arrows slide seamlessly into the hook on the back of the skirt is a stroke of genius.

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A great, great figure, even if it wasn’t priced 20% less than the standard release options.  I love the Archer of Molpadia and really look forward to more great Vitruvian Basics figures along the way.

Figure available at BossFightShop.com!

Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian Basics Castle Guard

Figure Available at BossFightShop.com!

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Quickly becoming one of my favorite 4″ action figures ever, Boss Fight Studios Knight of Accord has a lot to love in a small scale.  While the beauty of the figure includes all of the separate accessories it comes with, the base figure itself also has a lot to love with the terrific armored torso and cloth covered limbs.

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When Boss Fight announced they’d be dipping their toes into lower priced Vitruvian BASICS figures with the idea of creating figures that are a bit more appealing from a price perspective, I wasn’t sure I’d be into them.  I mean, the paint deco and accessory compliments are part of what makes their figures great.  I should have known, they’re still able to make a figure that is impressive on several levels, even at a price point 20% cheaper than standard.

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The Accord Castle Guard uses the same torso, head, legs, hands, and lower arms as the standard Knight, but with new unarmored upper arms.  He also comes with less accessories, only including a cloth and armored belts, gauntlets, sword, spear and helmet.  Honestly, though even with a somewhat smaller selection of weapons, the figure is amazingly enjoyable and fits in almost seamlessly to the existing Accord roster.  Forgoing many of the elaborate paint applications, the Castle Guard simply is silver and black with some blue for the cloth.  It’s a gorgeous, clean look and even without all the trimming and trappings, he remains a fantastic figure.  Boss Fight used the Orc lower torso as well, which provides a somewhat lower tech look, making the Castle Guard really resemble a Knight that’s not so heavily “geared” up as the others.

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It truly is a great effect, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on a whole lot, even though we’re paying 20% less for the figure overall. For some folks they may consider the additional gear worth the 20%, but even looking beyond the Castle Guard being a replacement of the knight, it just makes for a fantastic enhancement to it, and I find myself really enjoying the figure, not because it’s cheaper, but just because it’s a great figure.

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These Basics come with simpler blister cards instead of the typical collector friendly packaging, but are also able to include a nice bio on the back regardless.  All in all, I truly enjoy these Castle Guard figures, with vibrant color schemes, and interesting accessories to perfectly compliment the existing crew of Knights of the Accord.

Accessories

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I really love what Boss Fight did here, giving the Castle Guard just enough accessories to fit in with the knights, without going overboard (and incurring rising costs).  Including the helmet, sword, and spear from Series 01 was a stroke of genius as well, accenting the already impressive arsenal of Series 02 weapons without new tooling or sculpting.  Very nice.

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The Castle Guard is a lot of fun, even for a so called “budget” friendly figure.  I can see him not only being perfect for troop building and customizing, but also just as natural enhancements to the standard knights.  Regardless of the price point, the figure is really great.

Figure available at BossFightShop.com!

Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian Basics Nocturnal Hunter

Figure Available at BossFightShop.com!

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When the Vitruvian BASICS were first revealed, I immediately fell in love with the Castle Guard and the Archer of Molpadia, but the Nocturnal Hunter didn’t really knock my socks off. I was a huge fan of the Orcs being these huge behemoths in spiked shoulder pads and massive armor, so seeing one in his skivvies (more or less) felt a little off.

Now that I’ve got him in hand?

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Yeah, I didn’t know what I was talking about. This figure is much more fun than I gave it credit for.

The idea that the Nocturnal Hunter is somewhat more savage, uncivilized Orc that stalks its pray at night is a great concept and suits the figure well, for being relatively unprotected. At the same time, Boss Fight gives us enough of a template to build from if you so desire, with the armored torso, the fur belt and the Orc sword. That’s the balance of the Basics figures right there – they want to give us figures that add to the mythology, while also giving us figures to act as foundations for customs. The Nocturnal Hunter achieves both of these goals swimmingly.

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The beauty of it is, with the new Character Creator Kits as well, it becomes even easier to take a figure like this and enhance it, adding shoulder pads, armor, and other things, taking one of these Nocturnal Hunters and making it an awesome, fully equipped Orc warrior. Or you can be like me, and fall in love with the concept so much that you just end up with a few nekkid Orc’s to add to your already large horde.

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One thing that really separates this figure, too, is the paint scheme. The different variations of green skin color inject some additional personality into any Orc horde, and I love what looks to be the manually applied “warpaint”.  The different colors applied throughout the skin go a long way towards isolating this figure as something apart from the other Orcs with a great sense of savagery and style.

Accessories

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Like the other Basics, the Nocturnal Hunter is somewhat bare bones as designed. He’s got the Orc fur belt, the Orc sword and the tooth necklace that is destined to be released with the Naga in the future (at least by all appearances). Just enough accessories to keep him valuable, but not enough to drive the price up. A great balance, all told.

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This figure is a lot more fun than I initially thought, and it makes for a great addition to the Basics line. I find myself really looking forward to seeing what they do next.

Figure available at BossFightShop.com!