TOYSREVIL Tuesday-Toy-Review: Humphrey Mooncalf by Doktor A x Pobber
With HUMPHREY MOONCALF, fledgling toy-maker Pobber Toys managed to produce a solid piece of desirable vinyl toy, showcasing the designs of master steampunk-auteur of our modern art toy age, Bruce Whistlecraft aka Doktor A. And this I dare claim without a hint of hyperbole, with the distinct opportunity to hold and review the inaugural-release Verdegris Edition, this weekend past, and perhaps the first ever person in the world to do this! CLICK THRU to read review, along with plenty of images.
PRODUCT DETAILS: Limited to 100 pcs in this colorway, the 8 inch tall vinyl figure (Rotational and Injection Molded) comes house in a lush box with foam-cutout tar, and includes removable cranium, brain and clockwork key. Price is tagged at US$89.99 (which includes worldwide shipping). There are also two other colorways to Humphrey Mooncalf to look out for: Nocturnal and Dapper Editions.
PACKAGING: The entire box-set comes housed in a straightup cardboard slipcase with no prints or markings (a pity tho). And while the slip is mundane, what it held inside was a real treat. Full-on print all around the lush tick cardboard box - which includes graphics galore and the story of Humphrey - totally separate with a covered top (with a sheet of foam up top) and a base-tray holding a foam tray with cut-outs housing the separate elements of Humphrey.
I was quite surprised with the measured lushness of the darkish blue box, admittedly - but enjoyed it as it did not seem to transcend unto cliched box-looked-better-than-toy category. Although I have to say the graphic elements do seem larger than they needed to be - but that is a wannbe-designer-me with my personal tastes :)
INTERNAL-TRAY: Am actually quite liking the foam cut-out tray which housed the different parts of the figure with a comfy-fit - a lush layout compared to a all-fixed-in-one figure housed in a box with a plastic window - which might somehow impair the displayability of the box, but not the figure standing by itself (with the box cover displayed out back, of course).
WEATHERING INSIDE: Both the Brain and Cranium/Hat was painted/weathered throughout, including the stem of the brain, and the inside of the hat cavity - again another awesome surprise, as most folks would imagine the figure being all clipped together and displayed as is, without a thought of what's going in "inside". Was this OTT for Pobber to attempt? Could this have saved costs in production if unexecuted. Perhaps so, but then you'll end up having a sub-standard "toy", wouldn't you?
CLEAN BODY: Shot if the main body of this Mechtorian-character. Frankly, I had some misgivings for the form when I first saw it, but as always, holding the figure in my own hands, proved I needed better "initial tastes" in looking at toys! The 8 inch tall vinyl figure is touted as having been made from rotational and injection molded vinyl, and while I am not going to attempt a production-line report (neither would I know enough to, anyways), I have to say the piece was impossibly "clean"! There were no obtrusive "vinyl-bunches" (that irritating point where folks cut off the "stem"?).Nice one, this.
CLOCKWORK KEY: Actually a small part of me wishes this was an actual copper or metal key, rather than an unweathered painted key it is. As much as weathering such a small item might be a bit of a bother, I reckon it would have made the figure an absolute 100% knockout. As such, I'm slipping out a few brownie-points past production, I'm afraid.
What would be nigh lush (and hence more expensive) is an actual metal key, that came with a tag with an inscription, like a lost key now found to activate the figure, And if the said tag is numbered? Super lush! (And no, have the artist sign them yourselves when you go queue up for him at conventions and signings!).
TOY-FIT: Put it all together and it is a seamless fit, without much effort needed to clasp them altogether - which is a swell mark of craftsmanship, IMHO. The stem of the brain fit effortlessly into the cranium/hat cavity, while the entire cranium-part clasped unto the back of body with a slight nudge and ease.And it is a tight fit.
INSTRUCTIONS: What really threw me for a loop (and because I am a slow-learner), is the actual placement of the back cranium part with the main head. I had actually taken sometime to figure out if the hat had pointed upwards or downwards (told you I was "slow") and had not referred to the online images (even though I had blogged about it LOL).
And while this may not be the key part of the toy, or any toy being produced and sold now, but somehow a little show-and-tell may well mean show-and-sell, IMHO. But then again, I admit I am a sucker for toy catalogs or inserts that come with toys bought.
STABILITY & STANCE: What can I say about stability? The figure stands rock solid with no fear of shelf-dives (yes, I tried, ever very gently so). The stance of the figure seem to capture the inure "in motion", and turned out to be a very distinct part of the character, IMHO.
And I reckon the figure is not one to be just stacked up against a display shelf and admired straightup front. It is a figure that needs to be looked at around, side, back, top. Quite a quandary to display perhaps? Nothing but a mini-diorama featuring a faux full-mirror and victorian walls would not enrich!
But of course I exaggerate, the figure stands strong alone, and proud.
PAINT-APPLICATION: The paint app, was to me, impeccable. Hardly an loose strokes and with all edges sporting the Verdegris-effect on what really looks like a "bronze" sculpture, the figure wasn't all "buried deep for yay-long" (as most Verdegris-versions tend to be, in differing degrees, of course) and was instead a decent weathered product, in a sea of super-weathered piece of forgotten product (as opposed to the other spectrum of happy-shiny color pops).
I am unsure if the app is exactly the way the artist wanted this edition to be (a slight difference looking at the online images of Dok A's earlier paint samples), or if Pobber achieved 100% of what they had aimed for, but to me personally, it was a perfectly treated colored production piece I had held in my hands, IMHO.
IN CONCLUSION: Priced at a cent short of US$90 (inclusive shipping, which might well incur a price range of US$15 to $10 minimum, shipped out from China, as all the figures are made), the figure is a well desirable product distinguishable amongst a sea of urban-infused homogeny - not just because it is a distinctively Doktor-A-design, but because it is so well made, and one of the better made figures I have ever seen in a long, long time.
Made specifically to cater to Doktor A fans and likeminded design/culture-sense, unfortunately the figure-concept might get lost amidst the masses, who react more to retro and present-day memory-induced perceptions, rather than a true original character-design. Regardless, this is not a mass market trinket, and is not to be treated as much. This figure has certainly received my toy-respect in this aspect, and more.
HUMPHREY MOONCALF is produced as part of Pobber's "Clumsy Monster" line of toys and creations, with Jeremy Mad's "MORK" figure in the works [teased here], which hopefully for both us the collecting-consumers and the toy-producers, will have the chance to see the future of, and more!
Check out Pobber.com to procure your Humphrey Mooncalf now!
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