Another TV show tie-in. I'm on a roll! I have a couple more to follow from old television programs as well.
Instead of breaking this apart into separate entries, I thought I could talk about all four of my Bullmark (ブルマァク) Army of the Apes (猿の軍団) toys that I have all at once.
This is not a show I have eny experience with outside of what little information exists on the internet. Army of the Apes, or "Saru-no Gundan", was Tsuburaya Productions' television version of the U.S. Planet of the Apes series. The Army of the Apes series lasted only from 1974-1975 with 26 episodes. IMDB's synopsis of the show is "A female scientist and two children are accidentally transported into a future dominated by apes."
The show was adapted into an American dubbed movie in 1986 called Time of the Apes. I think it was covered on Mystery Science Theatre...
I feel like the slacker kid in class trying to give a book report on a book I obviously have not read past the back cover.
Anyway, there onto the toys. There are a few full sized apes I have seen floating around from time to time, but these almost minis seem to be pretty abundant.
While I have only found one of these still in the bag with a header, the one that I do have is quite nice. There are a couple really cool paintings on the front and back featuring characters from the television series; an action shot on the front and more of a montage on the back. I like the style, and the fonts look cool. A great little header card.
For what they are, the sculpts of these toys are not bad. They get the point across and even manage a little detail while still maintaining a simplicity and ruggedness that many action figure sized toys from the 70s and 80s had.
All of the figures here are articulated at the shoulders and the neck so you can get some good fighting and generic ape poses in there... except for the red caped ape. Not sure of his name, but his gimpy left hand/arm holding the staff is not that great.
The figures are well balaced... maybe a little top heavy especially with their arms raised, and not many glaring issues in quality outside of a bubble on the shoulder of one of them. Not a huge deal with the mass produced toys of the time, however.
I really like the faces of the three suited apes. Like I said before, they are simple, but I think they are interesting and get the point across without getting bogged down in over-detailing. Again, though, the face of the elder caped baboon guy is not my favorite.
The ape with the white moustache and the loooong buttoned up suit is probably my favorite. His face has the better sculpt I think with the little details, and his clothing is well done.
The giant bowtie on the chimp in the tuxedo is pretty ridiculous.
Overall, nice sculpts... at least on three of them.
Not so good here.
I have a few handmade, street vendor style luchador toys in my possession now, and the paint job on those is just a little worse than these.
I don't know if it is due to the rush of mass production or what, but the brush painted areas on these figures have quite a few issues. It just seems to be slapped on really.
For the most part it is a smooth application, but they did not "stay in the lines" very well. And I don't mean in the nice, slight overspray with the airbrush way you see on the vintage (and vintage-style) paint jobs on larger vinyl toys.
You can see it the most on the staff hand of the caped ape. Pretty sloppy job painting the fingers and staff itself. The black feet underneath are very sloppy as well. His face is not great, but it is passable I suppose.
You can see these issues on the other figures as well. Fortunately these problems are not as pronouced as they are on the caped baboon.
You can pick these up for relatively cheap considering the afe (30+ years old)... Even a bagged one will not feel like it is emptying your wallet. I suppose it is because the show was not ever that popular and the toys are not the fad of the day for modern collectors, but hey, more for me!
Positives: Apes in suits!
Negatives: Sloppy paint
These are not my favorite gorilla themed vinyl, but they aren't terrible. I can get past the sloppy paint. They don't have a huge footprint so they can be wedged in nicely to a crowded shelf. Pick them up if you want some pint-sized gorillas to add to your collection. They are pretty random to have... you could impress your friends when you talk about the Japanese version of Planet of the Apes! ....Or maybe not.