Friday, October 26, 2007

All Quiet on the Eastern Front

All was quiet on the bonus room front. The snooty Detolf crowd posed regally... and those other toys that don't feel like they "made the cut" lurked silently in the closet on the other side of the room.

But suddenly... the silence was broken.

What ensued next was quite simply bloody chaos. Two forces... relationships already strained... fighting for something they did not even know. They only needed an excuse.

For what seemed like days, the two sides battled to a gory stalemate, carnage as far as the plastic eye could see.

Now only two proud leaders stood atop the mysterious prize... struggling mightily. Good vs. evil?

The end..............................?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Skum Kun by Bounty Hunter

This is one of my favorite Bounty Hunter toys. I don't know much of the background of this particular sculpt, although evidently it was made in reaction to a bootlegging problem in China.

The Bounty Hunter Kuns were pretty popular, and pirated versions of them were popping up... some of which had been changed. This pissed off guy was designed and his hands were made to look like one of the bootlegged pieces.

Then again, this could all be incorrect, and it could just be another toy in my strange little collection with no story other than it's more shit to buy.

Header //N/A//:

The same Bounty Hunter clear plastic bag.

Sculpt //3.75 out of 5//:

While having is obvious similarities with the Bounty Hunter Kun character, this piece has some definite differences, as you can probably see.

There is a departure here from as cartoony a form, as this Kun goes for a more streamlined body so to speak. There are no ribs, but rather a Punisher like X-skull icon on his chest and hands.I'm not sure of the significance (if any) of these symbols.

The teeth are more rounded and even than other Kun releases, and obviously the eyes have changed from their original simple round shape.

The biggest difference for me are the changes to the hands and arms. This figure's arms are much longer than I have seen on any Kun, and they are articulated at the wrist as well as the shoulder, which adds a dimension to this piece's posing and look. I really like the hands on this piece, but it's possible they were made to stand out like this since the bootleg versions hand such different hands than the original BxH Kuns.

The figure is well balanced and has a very nice, matte surface that softens it.

However, this matte surface is very prone to scuffs and fingerprints.

I would have liked to seen a flush joint at the waist as opposed to the larger sized lower half that makes it seem like the figure is wearing big pants. But all the Kuns have this same design, so I guess it is intentional.

Paint //4 out of 5//:
Besides the eyes and symbols, there is no paint... but what is there is clean and very effective.

Coolness //5 out of 5//:
The sleek and angry appearance of this toy makes it very cool in my book. It's different without being out there.

Also, the fact that it probably a bootleg of a bootleg makes it even cooler.

Value //4 out of 5//:
I don't know if this is one of the more popular Bounty Hunter toys, so it can still be found for close to retail. Pretty good deal considering...

Overall //5 out of 5//:
Positives: Bootleg of a bootleg, looks like a zombie, nice soft black appearance, photographs well

Negatives: clown pants, easy to scuff

Even if the little background I know if made up/false, it's still a cool enough story for me to really appreciate this figure. I really like how it differs almost completely from the other Skull Kuns, yet still is recognizable as one. I know my points don't seem to average out to this high overall, but this one just for some reason hold a special place with me.

Friday, October 19, 2007

DX Sukeru Kun by Bounty Hunter and Secret Base

There have been a few toys released, particularly lately, that pay homage to the old Waldar toys by Takara from the 1970s. The DX Sukeru Kun is a toy that pays homage to one character from the Henshin toyline.

Before there was Microman and the precursor to Transformers, there were the clear Henshin Cyborgs.

In the early 1970s, Takara of Japan obtained the rights to produce the GI Joe bodies that were so popular in the United States. Using this basic form, Takara created the Henshin ("transforming") Cyborg toy line basically by making the GI Joe body clear and adding robotic guts.

The villain of this series was Waldar, a clear figure that had organic innards as opposed to the robotic guts of his rival Henshin Cyborg. (photo shown to the right here was lifted from Also, unlike the cyborgs that had accessories and armor to attach, the Waldar villain had various sub-forms thanks to vinyl "costumes" that went on different bodies...

There was the Plant Phantom (not sure of the exact name here), a green based suit on a clear green body, Satan King, a red horned suit on a yellow body, and what seems to be the most popular to this day... the Dokuro King suit; an armored skeleton-themed suit on the classic purple body seen here.

The DX Sukeru Kun uses the already existing skeleton theme of the Bounty Hunter Kun figure and adds some nice elements to represent the unique appearance of Dokuro King. 

Header //N/A//:
The same Bounty Hunter clear plastic bag.

Sculpt //4.75 out of 5//:
 This sculpt is the same as the plain clear Skull Kun. It is made from clear blue vinyl that is not tacky like the plain clear. 

The big difference obviously is the included spiked helmet. There are a few versions of this figure, but the blue is my favorite because of this helmet. It has similar shaped spikes and the added pointy elfy ears like Dokuro King does, but what sets this one apart from the other DX Skull Kuns is the metallic finish on the helmet. It is so reflective that it is hard not to take a photo of yourself when trying to snap a pic! The others as far as I have seen have plain black helmets... not nearly as cool as this. The sculpt fits perfectly and makes it obvious what this toy is paying homage to.

Also different are the sculpted guts inside the DX Kun. As it is a collaboration with Secret Base, the Skull Bee makes an appearance here... you can see a Skull Bee face in the guts. (Check the next to last photo below for a close up shot of that.) The guts are 3-dimensional and not just a paper insert, and stylistically pays its respects to the internal organs of Waldars of old. 

To be nit-picky, it just suffers from the same lack of poseability as most other BxH Kuns do... this one even moreso because the helmet definitely gets in the way of the rising arms.

Paint //5 out of 5//:
Not sure if it is actually paint, but the silver reflective whatever it is on the helmet and the Skull Bee face on the guts makes this figure stand out from all the DX Kuns for me. It is well applied, with some black showing through, and there are no damaged areas as you see with some metallic finish toys like this. 

Coolness //5 out of 5//:
Frankenberry's Skeleton meets classic evil skeleton toy. Very cool especially knowing some background on Henshin figures. These old toys were obviously loved by the DX creators.

Value //2 out of 5//:
You can still get the blue ones for a somewhat reasonable price, but significantly more expensive than many of the Bounty Hunter toys. Some other colors of the DX Kun are even pricier.

Overall //5 out of 5//:
Positives: Great piece showing respect for toy history while being a part of it at the same time, awesome reflective surfaces

Negatives: Lack of poses

An awesome piece if you can pick one up. It looks great with actual Dokuro King figures, and gets all fellow fanboys oohing and ahhing.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

It glows!

In my article about Bounty Hunter's Clear Skull Kun, I mentioned filling the figure with stuff, so I filled it with these small glow-in-the-dark tracer BBs from Dick's Sporting Goods. They are plastic and used for air rifles. You can get a canister of them for about 6 bucks.

I bought two canisters, although you may be able to get by with one. I just stuffed as many as possible in there while still being able to get the figure back together.

The figure itself is soft, so you do not really need to heat it up to get the waist separated and back together. It just takes some tucking in when you do put it back.

I filled the legs and the torso/head as well as I could (with a bit more piled onto the torso because the toso's flashing has to fit inside the legs). I brought the two filled halves together, and slowly tilted them toward one another. I had to let a few fall out to allow room for the pieces to fit back together, but I think it filled nicely.

Here's the effect:

Friday, October 5, 2007

Clear Skull Kun by Bounty Hunter

This review will essentially be the same as the Original Skull Kun since they are essentially the same sculpt with a few minor differences.

Header //N/A//:
The same Bounty Hunter clear plastic bag.

Sculpt //4.5 out of 5//:
Again, simple yet effective. The stylized skeleton of Frankenberry, with clean lines, good balance, and small elements sculpted into the surface to add detail.This is important here, obviously, since there is no paint to create detail otherwise.

The vinyl used on this figure is different than I have felt before. It is soft and smooth yet almost sticky feeling (but not to the point where things actually stick to it) ... perhaps this is because it was produced in Japan and the vinyl quality is higher, or it is an effect of properly producing the clear vinyl. Lots more solvents to kill the environment!

The difference with the original Sukeru Kun are pretty subtle.

For one, the arms come out a bit from the belly. This allows more range in the movement of thew, which aids in the posing of the toy. The hands at the wrist are a bit shorter which keeps them from sticking out too far since they are sculpted to come away from the body a bit.

There are also now joints at the ankles where the two feet attach. Not sure if this was just necessary to attach everything together properly in this seemingly more delicate vinyl, but it allows the feet to rotate a bit. It's not much, but it's nice to be able to move it if you'd like.

The head on this figure also appears to be just a tiny bit smaller in comparison to the body than the original Kun.

Paint //N/A//:

Coolness //5 out of 5//:
Frankenberry's skeleton... and it is x-ray style. Very cool.

Plus, the vinyl is soft so you can get it apart fairly easily and fill it with goodies!

Value //3.5 out of 5//:
Tis figure was produced much more recently, so odds are you can find it at a much better price than the original black and white Skull Kun.

Overall //4.75 out of 5//:
Positives: A nice take on the original, added poseability, clear, smells good like a Trapper Keeper

Negatives: Probably extra poisonous haha

If you like the original, this one is a no brainer.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sukeru (Skull) Kun by Bounty Hunter

Next up, also from 1997, we have the Sukeru Kun by Bounty Hunter. I won't go into all the Bounty Hunter detail again like on the Kid Hunter blog, but since then I did read in Super7 magazine that the Sukeru Kun is supposed to be the skeleton of the famous cereal mascot Frankenberry! Very cool idea. I wonder how this Kun would look with the long spindly limbs like Frankenberry has.

I believe the Skull Kun was a toy before the character was featured on a shirt unlike Kid Hunter.

Header //N/A//:

The same Bounty Hunter clear plastic bag.

Sculpt //4 out of 5//:
Simple yet effective. Knowing the inspiration behind the figure adds a lot to the sculpt in my opinion. The form is great for it... it is obviously the Frankenberry form while being different enough to not have ripped it off. I love the long slender arms and the hands that rest across the big pot belly. The teeth and protruding lower jaw look great I think.

The lines are clean and the figure is very well balanced with a low center of gravity. The detail work is even sculpted into this piece and not just painted on... from the comic crack in the skull to the round eyes to the bones along the arms to the stylized rib cage... they all are dimensional elements of the vinyl highlighted with the paint.

One thing I might like to see different is the joint at the waist. The pelvis/legs are obviously wider than the torso, and I would like to have seen this more flush. The change from the upper to the lower part are so blatant, that I think it must have been the sculptor's intention to do so. The bottom half blends nicely into the squared off feet, so maybe this lower half is made to resemble.

I would also have liked to have seen a little more poseability. The shoulders move and the waist rotates, but there were later BxH Kuns released that had joints on the arms as well as the ankles.

Also, the shape of the arms keeps them very close to the body. While I really like the look that this provides with the hands resting around the large belly, it really limits where the arms can be posed. They essentially have to stay at the bottom of the belly because they can rub the paint of the face or just not be raised much higher than that.

The sculpt is a great blend of rounded, cartoon lines and more traditional Japanese monsters.

Paint //3 out of 5//:
A trademark of Bounty Hunter, the paint is minimal and intended to maintain a monochrome appearance. The piece is sculpted entirely out of black vinyl and white is painted on top for the skeleton parts. This makes it a definite stand out piece.

The paint application itself is fine, but it could have been done a bit cleaner. Perhaps I am spoiled by the Japanese toys made today, but there are some edges where the white was masked that are a little soft, and this figure and paint style benefits from sharp, clean lines.

Coolness //4.5 out of 5//:
Frankenberry's skeleton. If that sounds like a cool idea to you, then this is a figure for you.

I had to deduct just a little because I think Kid Hunter is a bit cooler haha.

Value //2.5 out of 5//:
It's going to be pricey just because of it's history. It was actually produced in China, and it is not the original Bounty Hunter toy, but because it is getting up there in age and is still part of the foundation of Bounty Hunter's venture into toy production, collectors will be more reluctant to let it go.

Overall //4.25 out of 5//:
Positives: An OG piece, nicely stylized, Frankenberry's skeleton

Negatives: Lax paint application, expensive on secondary market, limited poseability

Despite the negatives listed, I really would recommend this toy to a collector. It has attitude while not taking itself too seriously. It's a great mix of the Western style we see today, marketing characters of the past, with a taste of kaiju thrown in.