Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Chicken Fever Ultimo by Sinbad Toys

¡Viva la raza! El Pollo Fiebre (Chicken Fever) Ultimo is a collaboration between Sinbad Toys, Rong Zi and Kaiju-Taro. It was released along with another Chicken Fever (Uno Dos Tres Version) in late April this year.

At first I didn't know what to think of Chicken Fever. I was very new to the Eastern vinyl collecting world (I still am in so many ways), and I had never seen this figure before. There were teaser banners on kaiju-taro for what appeared to be a lucha libre themed toy coming out. I was very excited to see what was happening, but when I saw that it was a mutant chicken, well, color me unimpressed.

I was coming into this with little or no knowledge of Japanese fight figures or of the existing Chicken Fever sculpt. Here I was all excited that I may be able to get in on an exclusive monster toy from kaiju-taro and it would be a luchador!

And it was a chicken all along.

I was wanting Godzilla type beasts or melting skeletons or something like that.

Well, fast forward a few months in my kaiju collecting life, and I now have an established little vinyl toy wrestling collection. I went a little nuts on vintage Tiger Mask figures... some Gargamel fight figures... Kozik's colorways of El Panda and Tequila... even a Kinnikuman themed Secret Base Skullbrain thrown in there for good measure. As I am trying to round out this wrestling shelf in the Detolf with a little variety, the Chicken Fever Ultimo comes up for sale on the skullbrain board. This time I had a different perspective on the genre and decided to pick it up!

I'm going to try a new category here: Header. Not all figures I have came with headers... and some come with not only headers but included artwork as was seen with the Eriagun from last week. So I want to talk about if a header is BLAH or if it truly needs to be shown off. I may go back and add this to my previous reviews also... sort of like the packaging for my Kinnikuman Romandoh toys. I am a graphic designer after all!

I will try to head all my new posts with the headers of the toys! FUN!!

Header //3.5 out of 5//:
The artwork you see at the top of this article is very clean and colorful. I think the type choices go well with the toy, and the graphical lucha masks are a cool touch.
The cool little lucha mask icon is a nice as it combines elements of a traditional lucha mask with Chicken Fever's mutated beak.

While I prefer header art that has a more personal touch, this is approaching a more polished, professional look and is not so bad. I think it works.

Sculpt //3 out of 5//:
The Chicken Fever sculpt is original and not so original at the same time. How many mutant chicken toys have you ever seen? Yea me either. But the general "fight stance" of this toy is something that has become pretty well established in the industry... particularly with Secret Base toys. The exaggerated arms ending in clinched fists (or boxing gloves as seen with many Secret Base figures) and the short stumpy legs are common in this genre.

The head is what sets the Chicken Fever apart from his ghostly cousins at Secret Base. The large cranium, little beady eyes, textured face, little pointy teeth, little horns and the dramatic crest on top of the head... these are all nice touches in making this figure stand out.

The fact that it is cast in bright yellow vinyl helps it to stand out as well, obviously.

I wish the figure was a bit better balanced. Because of the tiny legs and giant head, Mr. Pollo is a bit top heavy. Add in his long arms and cape/mask and you have a figure that has to be positioned just right lest he fall face first before his big match even starts. The arms have to stay down with the knuckles close to the surface to get the best balance. With the arms up or out, it just becomes very easy to tip over.

Paint //2.5 out of 5//:
While technically the paint on the figure is done well, there just isn't much of it. The gold highlights are the best part of the paint application... adding emphasis on his torso and the bridge of the nose, and balancing the color out by putting the same fold on the fingernails and toenails on the extremities.

The orange shorts, however, leave me wanting more. There is a singlet sculpted into this figure, but it just seems to be ignored. I think there could be some cool paint applications if this whole outfit was emphasized and not just the shorts. Also, I don't know if the orange color itself is the best, although I don't really have an idea of what a suitable alternative would be... maybe a red like the cape he is wearing would work a little better.

I like the detail work on the little eyes and the tiny little teeth... very cool touches, but unfortunately these are covered up by the included mask.

Other than the gold highlights and the shorts, the figure does not have much in the way of paint. I'm not saying it should be slapped on in layers, but to me this minimal paint application leaves this figure feeling just a little plain.

Coolness //4.5 out of 5//:
Despite our rocky beginnings, the Chicken Fever and I have formed a very stable relationship. He is already going to score bonus points with me because he is a wrestler, but when you add in a real cloth mask and a CAPE.... now you're talking!

El Pollo Fiebre Ultimo comes with a spandex-like mask as well as a bright red cape. These are awesome additions that really make this little chicken one of a kind.

There are some issues with these, however.

The red rings around the eye area of the mask seem to just be ironed on when they should be attached much more firmly. It is not easy to get the mask on and off, and all the tugging makes the already peeling-off eye holes want to come off even more.
The sides actually even came already unattached from the green fabric.

The velcro on the neck strap of the cape looks like it wants to come off as well... it is simply glued on instead of sewn.

The mask itself is very tight and with the horns and beak, very tough to get on and off the figure. I thought it was going to either tear the mask or break part of the figure both times. And after I had taken the mask off and put it back on, the elastic around the bottom had stretched a little out of shape like Larry David's sleeves in that one episode of Curb your Enthusiasm. This could have worked a little better I think if the mask opened in the back with velcro instead of being pulled off over the top of his big head and comb.

My solution... I'm leaving the mask on! This figure is meant for the mask in my opinion. I only took it off really to see the little guy's face for the first time and to give all my thousands of blog fans a peek at the mystery!

The fact that this guy is a luchador makes him great to me. I grew up with pro wrestling being a big part of my life, and in recent years I have become very interested in Mexican wrestling and the mystique and pageantry of masked wrestling in Mexico and other countries.

Value //3 out of 5//:
This figure was limited to 30 I believe, and was fairly inexpensive in comparison to other similar pieces. While still it is pricey for what essentially is a hollow vinyl toy, you can still find these on the after market for around retail price. Because of the theme I find it personally a better value.

Overall //4 out of 5//:
Positives: Unique; MASK!; CAPE!; cockfighting without the cruelty to animals!

Negatives: Plain figure outside the mask and cape; iffy balance; mask tough to take on and off; cape velcro and eye holes not well glued

Fans of lucha and Japanese fight figures looking for a quirky little monster to add to your collection, look no further. There are a few Chicken Fevers out there, but only Ultimo has a MASK and CAPE. I would recommend this figure to anyone in the market for such... but for someone just looking for a cool figure, this might not be for you. The fight figures are in a world by themselves from the larger Godzilla style kaiju toys!

1 comment:

Crete said...

Thanks for writing this.