16.5.10

Toy-Review: Unidentified Monstrous Organisms by Philip Reed

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"Unidentified Monstrous Organisms" or "UMO" for short [blogged], is a creation by Philip J Reed (owner of Battlegrip.com). Standing 3.5 inches tall, the resin UMO-form was created from a mashup of various toys (unrecognizable in the final form, IMHO) and were hand-made and hand-painted. A variety of colorways totaling 12 figures were made available in April, of which I have the opportunity of reviewing a Green colorway here today. (Thanks, Philip!)

[CLICK THRU for my review of UMO] Philip had also mentioned he might have one or two of the UMOs available, so do contact him for ordering and availability details here.

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PACKAGING: The UMO comes bagged (in a re-sealable ziplock bag) with header card, the hallmark of any independently produced product. The utilitarian bag came with one bladed-arm of the UMO threatening to burst thru the plastic-surface of the baggie, which I felt was utterly charming (if even it was not intended to be so).

Header card art was provided by Eric Stettmeier (aka Bubba Shelby). Gina Fischer is credited with mold making and toy clean-up, while Philip J Reed, is the man who designed and painted the UMO, as well as being utterly generous with providing me with this humble figurine.

I personally appreciated all the contact-info provided on the header card (all twitter URLs, indeed a sign of the times LOL). As important beyond presentation and packaging purposes, is the "information" ~ be it crediting the folks involved in the production of the figure, and linking them via URLs, to even information or story of the figure. Helping folks knowing better (or more) of what they had bought, would help them understand and perhaps even appreciate where the figure came from, IMHO.

But of course, that is just my perception.

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FORM: From a purely tactile and textural stand-point, this figure has it in spades. An initial form built up with various toy-parts (unrecognizable in the final sculpt), the resulting figure is pretty impressive when seen up-close and held in-hand. The non-articulation aspect of UMO is parlayed by the sheer menace of the final form, as created and painted by Philip himself.

This particular Green edition has been loving and painstakingly painted, with nuanced tones, shades and generous washes of gloss ~ not to confuse the visual senses ~ but to enhance the rocky character, on top of a form with complex surface textures. The best part about the figure, in my humble opinion. And I found myself scrutinizing the various nooks and crannies of the figurine's surface, glistening under the afternoon sun.

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INSPIRE: It is without hype nor over-exaggeration that I mentioned that Philip's self-made figure has inspired me to move forth with my own creations. In "my" toy-world philosophies, the quality of a product matters not as much as the process of production. You've got to make your first, then your second, and third, so on so forth. Success or failure, as long as one goes on, is what will help enrich the hobby and perhaps even the culture.

The monetary and business aspect of it, helps only to grease the wheels. C'mon, we all know making toys ain't gonna be making anyone a billionaire anytime soon (well, not indie toy-making anyways), but for the joys of creation, does one derive a semblance of satisfaction, IMHO.

But make no mistake, the UMO is a pretty good quality self-made figure in it's own right. US$40 (inclusive shipping in the US) for a hand-made and hand-painted product is well within range, if not too little, for the time and effort spent on production, IMHO.

**Purchasing details via Battlegrip.com

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Anyone who bothers to read my humble "toy-reviews" knows I have a penchant and preference for weightage and comfort of form-fit "in-hand". The non-articulated UMO is a decent fit, with a welcomed heft to the weight. A part of me wishes the bladed-arms/hands could have been sharper at the point (current incarnation is purposefully blunt), but that's the "evil-toy-lover" within me, heh.

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