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

AWOK-Pale (1)

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

AWOK-Kahlee (1)

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

AWOK-Horrid-Assassin (1)

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

AWOK-Horrid-Knight (1)

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

AWOK-Chunari (1)

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

AWOK-Crueller (1)

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

AWOK-Tiberius (10)

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

AWOK-Atrieau (12)

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

AWOK-Toxious (1)

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

AWOK-Scraps (1)

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.

Almon from GeneralsJoes interviews Marauder John – Reveals details of World War 2 Kickstarter and lots more!

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I recently had the chance to talk with Marauder John, of Marauder “Gun Runners” about their exciting new World War II action figure Kickstarter.  From their beginnings of producing high-quality 3-3/4” scaled weapons and accessories, through their first action figure Kickstarter that introduced the Marauder Task Force, to the recent addition of the Valkyries, collectors have discovered Marauder products can’t be beat when it comes to military action figures.  In addition to their great product, Marauder’s unparalleled customer service has helped establish them as a leader in the action figure collectible business.  The Kickstarter just went live, so if for some reason you’re on the fence about making your pledge, learn more below about the WWII endeavor from the man himself- Marauder John!

Continue reading

Marauder “Gun-Runners” Upcoming Kickstarter

Marauder Task Force WWII

Marauder Gun-Runners announced today that their upcoming Kickstarter for Marauder Task Force WWII should launch this week.  Marauder’s has been behind many successful Kickstarters such as the Marauder’s “Mark II”, the Marauder Task Force and the Marauder Task Force Valkyries to name a few.  They have always delivered very high end, detailed and highly articulated action figures and this Kickstarter looks like it will not disappoint.  The mock ups that Marauder’s have shown thus far are fantastic looking and the prototype that they showed off yesterday is amazing.  Continue to check back for further details as they become available or check out Marauder “Gun-Runners” Facebook page.

Read Marauder Gun-Runners Facebook Post Below

Hey Folks!
Here is the prototype for the upcoming Marauder Task Force WWII US Army Soldier. The level of detail on the figure and gear is just AMAZING! Also, this one of a kind tooling prototype will be AVAILABLE for purchase in the Kickstarter event for one lucky backer! We are still on track to launch the event this week. We hope you like it!
MJ

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Marauder Task Force Exo-Suit/K9 Kickstarter BackerKit has been sent out… and surprise!

As of a few days ago, the folks who backed the latest Marauder Task Force Kickstarter should have started receiving their “BackerKit” surveys, which allow backers the opportunity to tell the Kickstarter creator specifically what products they want (and if they want any add-ons).

But the Marauder Task Force Backer Kit came with a nice little surprise.  Marauder has announced that along with the surprise Agency Ops figures that were added to the Kickstarter in the later stages, they will also be releasing female versions of the Agency Ops figures as well!  Those figures were available in the Backer Kit and we should expect them to be in the store afterwards as well, which is very exciting news!

Check out the concept art below by the exceedingly talented Troy McKie, good friend of GeneralsJoes and fantastic toy designer to boot.  Great stuff, and even more awesome things to look forward to with the release of the Task Force Kickstarter items!

While you wait, make sure to hit up MarauderInc.com and get all the gear your characters will need when they hit your mailbox.

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Marauder Task Force Exo-Suit, K-9, and Contract Ops Kickstarter succeeds!

What a final day for the latest Marauder Kickstarter!  I was already intrigued by this Kickstarter at launch, merely because the Exo-Suit looked so cool, and I was definitely on the hook for a few of the Contract Ops figures.

The K-9 ended up impressing me more than I thought it would, and then when news got out that they would be making Agency-Ops figures as a part of this deal?  Yeah, I knew I was on board.

Whether or not we’d even hit Agency Ops was still in question leading to the last day.  It was a stretch goal at the $214,000 $172,000 level, which felt a bit out of reach with 24 hours remaining.  But everyone came together, and we ended up smashing that goal, the Kickstarter rounding off at nearly $218,000!

Huge congrats to the always great folks at Marauder for another successful Kickstarter, and a big thanks to Tommy over on the Marauder Task Force Facebook Page who whipped up a spectacular graphic outlining what would be contained in the “All In” pledge level (this is essentially everything that got unlocked during the Kickstarter).

This is a great look at more terrific additions to an already impressive product line.  Marauder continues to reinvent 1:18 scale military action figures, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these and to see what’s still up their sleeves.

All-In-Success

Marauder Task Force Kickstarter – Twelve hours remaining!

This is it, folks!  Only twelve short hours remaining on the latest Marauder Task Force Kickstarter and we need less than $6,000 to unlock AGENCY OPS!  What are we all waiting for?

We’ve been clamoring for figures in business suits, and this is our shot.

While we’re at it, there’s some awesome new deco Marauder Task Force figures to unlock as well, still lots of great stuff in the wings.  Twelve hours, people, let’s finish this thing off strong.

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Marauder reveals mind-blowing prototype images for their Kickstarter

Holy wow.

So we’re reaching the zenith of the most recent Marauder Task Force Kickstarter, this one for the revolutionary new Exo-Suit and military K-9, also wrapped up with Contract Ops and the just announced Agency Ops stretch goals (dudes in business suits fer cryin’ out loud!)

There are only three short days left and there is still a some room to grow, especially for folks looking for Agency Ops figures.  The stretch goal for business suits stands at $172,000, which is nearly $40,000 above where things currently stand, so if you’re as fired up about those figures as I am, let’s pony up and make that happen.

Meanwhile, to stoke the fire and excite the fans, Marauder has posted images of full prototypes of both the K-9 AND the Exo-Suit and… well…  WOW.  I won’t lie, the Exo-Suit is my main draw to this Kickstarter, and I am in looooooove with what I see here.  Boss Fight Studio continues to push the envelope for design and I’m thrilled that they’re working alongside Marauder on these new installments.  Articulation, amazing design, these things have it all.

Check out all of the fantastic prototype images below and let’s all come together and make Agency Ops (and more) a reality!  Support the Kickstarter today, only THREE DAYS LEFT.

Good heavens just look at those images.  I think I’m in love.

Marauder Task Force posts HUGE Kickstarter Update!

There is a ton of exciting news in the latest update to the Marauder Task Force Exo-Suit/K9 Kickstarter, it’s tough for me to decide just where to start.

I guess I’ll start with the biggest news first:

MARAUDER TASK FORCE SUIT FIGURES!

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Amazing update to the ongoing Kickstarter is that Marauder is moving forward on producing 1:18 scale figures in suits, something that’s been missing the marketplace for a very long time.  But in true MTF style, they are making them variable with the ability to wear tactical vests and various lower arms.

But that’s not all.  Anyone who is interested in the Exo-Suit figures is getting a bunch more bang for their buck.  Where previously you had to consider getting the Exo-Suit and the additional accessories in two separate purchases, now every single Exo-Suit will come complete with ALL of the accessories!  So if you bought a 6-Pack, you no longer have to use two slots for a complete Exo-Suit.  Along with this, they’ve also shuffled around stretch goals and generally ramped things up for a strong finish.

Check out the full text of the Kickstarter update below and get yer wallets ready to finish this thing off BIG.  If you haven’t considered supporting the Kickstarter, don’t wait – DO IT NOW.

Marauder Task Force 1:18th K9 Dog, Exo Suit & Contract-Ops! by Marauder GR — Kickstarter

Hey Taskers!

We passed $100K in pledges…thank you!  Thanks to hitting that milestone, the distance between each stretch goal has been reduced to only $8,000!  Also, we “adjusted” the order of several of the unlocked stretch goals to meet your requests!  Can unlock more K9 Dogs & Contract Ops figures sooner!  In addition, the “Exo -Suit” gear sets have been REMOVED from the event… because EACH Exo-Suit will receive ALL those additional weapons & accessories added for FREE!  So each Exo-Suit will come FULLY equipped with ALL gear!  And lastly, the highly requested “Agency-Ops” stretch goal is now OFFICIALLY in the stretch goals!  NOT added as the final stretch goal, but inserted into the middle of the unmet stretch goals!  When unlocked, each Agency-Ops figure will come with a full business suit, a 2nd Dress shirt torso, an extra set of rolled up sleeve forearms and Utility vest with pistol & holster.  

Marauder “Gun Runners” reveals 3D image of Kickstarter Exo-Suit

I couldn’t love the looks of this any more if I tried.  Over on the Marauder Facebook Page (as well as via an update to his Kickstarter Page), Marauder has revealed a 3D image of the upcoming Marauder Task Force Exo-Suit.

And yes, it looks amazing.

Big, bulky, yet promising some impressive articulation, this fantastic looking mechanized Exo-Suit has been designed by the action figure wizards of Boss Fight Studio, which alone convinces me that it’s going to rock.  Check out the 3D image below, and if you haven’t kicked in some cash for the latest Marauder Kickstarter yet, what are you waiting for?  We all need this exo-suit in our lives.

New Jersey Collectors’ Con Recap – Marauder “Gun Runners” reveals

What.  A.  Weekend.

The New Jersey Collectors Con celebrated their first two-day event this past weekend with a Boss Fight Launch Party, promoting the launch of their Series 2 Fantasy lines and they took this opportunity to bring in the wonderful folks from Marauder, Inc. including some show exclusive “Engineering Ops” Marauder Task Force figures and more information about a wealth of projects in the works for Marauder.

Some of those exciting announcements were that due for Kickstarter, potentially in the next 1 – 2 weeks, are their K-9, the Contract Ops Task Force figure, and their spectacular looking Exo-Suit.  Marauder had some detailed images of concept art for these items at their booth and it’s pretty awesome looking stuff.

Along with the upcoming Kickstarter, there are also plans for a brand new series of Marauder weapons and new 1:12 scale weapons as well for your favorite 6″ sized action figures!

Last, but definitely not least, I have some personal investment in this next bit of news… revealed on the Friday before NJCC is that there is an upcoming RPG slated to run using the Marauder Task Force figures as a backdrop!

I will be working on this project in a writing/development capacity, and I am so thrilled to be a part of this, and I’m extremely excited for everyone to join me on this ride towards a more immersive Marauder universe. This is going to be a blast!

I can’t thank the folks at Marauder enough. They were more than gracious, great to talk to, and their customer service was exceptional throughout the entire weekend. Such a pleasure to talk and work with them. Do yourselves a favor and, if you haven’t, hit up MarauderInc.com and check out their Task Force product. You will be real glad you did.