Hello again Brothers and Sisters of the Psychotronic Video World! Today’s article is something of a trip down memory lane for me. I was born in 1987, the year EVIL DEAD 2 hit theaters. My early childhood was marked by a plethora of toys, many of which could be seen as contributing to me becoming the monster kid I am today: Masters of the Universe (though I never had the “real” MOTU figures, all the toys I had were from the 1990 reboot set in outer space), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dino-Riders…all had a monstrous element to them. But nothing, NOTHING sparked my love of monsters quite like a series of solid rubber, inch tall minifigures released by Matchbox in 1990. I speak, of course, of the Monster In My Pocket line.
These little guys were my favorite toys, bar none, as a child. I was, as I am now, a wildly imaginative little brat, and I’d sit for hours inventing dramas, comedies and adventures centered around these little solid-colored ghouls (later series would add neon colors and painted highlights, and when the line was revived briefly in England in 2006 the figures were fully painted) in ways I never could with Batman, He-Man, or the Turtles. The Monsters in my Pocket had shifting webs of allegiance, betrayal was more frequent then breakfast, and they’d fight epic battles for dominance against a backdrop of cardboard box castles and construction paper scenery. In fact, one of the earliest memories I can dredge out of my subconscious is that on my first day of Kindergarten, I brought along a yellow Vampire to ensure I had at least one friend that day. Hell, looking at the picture above I can still identify every monster, and even point out ones I never owned, including common ones like the Skeleton and rarer figures such as Baba Yaga and the Cockatrice.
Damn it, now I’m going to end up trawling eBay trying to rebuild my old collection. So much for being a mature, fiscally-responsible adult.
Which leads me to the real meat of this article. I was recently made aware of a new line of Monster In My Pocket-like figures, albeit almost twice as big and released in smaller series of five figures each. The first two series are out already, and a third is gaining some extreme momentum on Kickstarter. I speak, of course, of October Toys‘ Outlandish Mini Figure Guys, or OMFGs. I ordered one set of each series on Tuesday morning, and they arrived at my door today. These are fantastic figures, and definitely bring back fond memories of playing with the Monsters in my Pocket (that sounds so dirty now). Even cooler, for those of us who love indie things, each figure is made from a design submitted to the October Toys forum and voted on by users, with the top five designs then being sculpted and put into production. How cool is that?
Let’s take a look at OMFG Series 1 and 2, shall we? I’m going to do a figure-by-figure review, in part because I feel like each figure deserves individual inspection and in part because I just got a new camera and was playing around with it.
OMFG SERIES 1
CRAWDAD KID (Designed and Sculpted by Daniel Yu) – While the name “Crawdad Kid” suggests a cowboy theme, the character’s clothing definitely screams “Pirate!” to me, and this character would not have looked out of place among Davy Jones’ crew in Disney’s PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise. I especially like how he’s got the crab eyes on his shell “hat” (which also calls to mind ZEIRAM, my favorite Japanese special effects sci-fi extravaganza) and the half-crustacean, half-zombie humanoid face below that. The sculpt is gorgeous, with little details like buttons, stitching on the sleeves and belt, and exoskeleton texture being crisply defined. Definitely a figure you’ll want laying siege to your other figures’ coastal towns.
KING CASTOR (Designed and Sculpted by Dominic Campisi) – How often do you see an evil, animate building? This is definitely a unique design, and I like how top-heavy he is, with a big, cylindrical body and hulking arms balanced atop itty-bitty legs. The detailing is again very, very nice, including such touches as a doorknob, a hot water tank on his back, and tiny mortars on his head and right wrist. The stonework is deeply incised and crisp, though on my copy I found there was a little bit of mold grease left in the cracks – nothing a little warm water and a quick scrub couldn’t fix.
MULTISKULL (Designed and Sculpted by Charles Marsh) – Kind of an oddball design – I feel like I’ve seen a monster composed of a conglomeration of skulls before, but I can’t think of where. I might be thinking of the eyeball-conglomeration monster from that one episode of Power Rangers. He makes a nice companion piece to King Castor though, and I really like that the big skull making up his chest is definably a full skull and not just a face – the back of the cranium pokes out the back of the figure. Of Series 1, he’s my least favorite of the five, but primarily because nothing about him particularly grabs me.
THE PHANTOM OUTHOUSE (Designed by Kyle Thye, Sculpted by Ralph Niese) – This figure, along with the Crawdad Kid, is my favorite of the set. I mean, come on. Everyone loves toilet humor, and what’s more simultaneously funny and horrifying as a fecal fiend rising out of a redneck’s squat-box? I like that all we really see of the monster are its arms and legs – who knows what’s lurking behind the door? A ghostly face with peanut eyes and corn kernel teeth? I like to think so. The outhouse is nicely detailed with a lot of great wood-grain texture, while the arms and legs look appropriately deliquescent and foul.
STROLL (Designed by John “Spanky” Stokes, Sculpted by George Gaspar) – It’s a shaggy, big-headed cyclops beast. I’m not sure if the name is supposed to be short for “Cyclops Troll” or just an indication of where he’d like to take you before he eats you. Kind of an unexciting design and a sleepy, lifeless pose, but I don’t know – there’s just some sort of odd little charm to this guy. The fur texture is nicely done, and he’s even got a belly-button, fingernails and toe nails defined. I’m really not sure if those are supposed to be horns or ears – they’re conical like horns would be, but in the drawing on the blister card, they look more like ears.
OMFG SERIES 2
CRY-BORG (Designed and Sculpted by Andrew Scribner) – Babies can be pretty horrifying. And everyone harbors a lurking, lingering fear of robot uprisings. Combining the two is not only effective, but it’s a great sculpt – I’m not sure I can find anything I’d identify as a biological component, suggesting this is more robot that cyborg, but hey, the name works. I like that he’s got a rocket for a rattle (all that’s missing is a radiation warning sign) and that they managed to pose him in such a way that not only does he resemble the jerky, wobbly gait of a toddler, but he also balances just fine and stands on his own without the need of a bulky stand.
CUDDLEHARD (Design and Sculpt by turboPISTOLA) – I don’t even know what’s going on here. The warty mouth with crooked teeth and lolling tongue are identical to the logo of the OMFG line, and it’s had armored arms and legs attached. I don’t even know what’s going on with the name. He’s no weirder than anything you’d find in the Trash Bag Bunch or M.U.S.C.L.E. lines of minifigures though…He doesn’t do a lot for me, but I can see him growing on me in the future.
GRIMM GOURD (Concept by George Merreighn Jr., Design by Charles Marsh, Sculpt by Mike Fleming Jr) – You just can’t go wrong with an animate, evil pumpkin, and this is one of my favorite takes on that concept as of late. I like that the squat legs and long arms have burst out of the sides of the pumpkin, I like his scowling, beetled brows, I love the cocky grin full of jagged teeth and he’s got a great vegetable fiber texture overall. Great little figure to have around come Halloween.
PUKE KNIGHT (Design and Sculpt by Jared DeCosta) – This, for me, is the breakout awesome figure of Series 2. I mean, come on, it’s a suit of armor vomiting up some sort of ectoplasmic ghoul. Even better, it’s technically two figures – Puke and Knight are cast separately. If you’re just displaying your OMFGs, each half can stand on its own and they can be stood together, with Puke’s tail end fitting neatly under the Knight’s visor, with neither figure leaning on the other for support. For play, I’d recommend supergluing Puke in place. Or don’t! Maybe Puke is a separate spirit that can exit Knight and perform missions on his own. Far be it from me to tell you how to play with your own toys, man.
SHIRTLE (Design by Kenjitron, Sculpt by George Gaspar) – It’s half-shark, half-turtle, and it’s wearing a shirt. I dunno man, this is kind of the weakest figure of Series 2 for me. The pose is sedate, there’s no real texture to it, and nothing about it excites me.
BONUS FIGURE! BABY DEADBEET (Design by Scott Tolleson, Sculpt by George Gaspar) – Much to my surprise, when I opened the package from October Games, I was very pleased to discover a bonus mini-figure, an advance scout from a companion line to the OMFGs to be called October Toys Mini Figures, or OTMFs. Standing 1.5″ tall, Baby Deadbeet has some fantastic texture to his wrinkled, warty vegetable hide and leaves, as well as an adorable little facial expression that manages to balance cute and surly.
So that’s the two series of Outlandish Mini Figure Guys that are currently in production. A third series is in pre-production, and currently $4,000 dollars away from reaching their goal on Kickstarter. Anyone who pledges above the $25 level (as I have), not only gets the Series 3 figures, but also a bonus sci-fi zombie figure compatible with both the OMFGs and October Toy’s other line, the Z.O.M.B.I.Es line of undead. Here’s what’s in the pipeline for series three:
There is nothing here I don’t like. Tentacled trash-monster? Dog-faced wrestler? Evil juice box? Barbarian astronaut? Mushroom man? Everything’s awesome. Series 3 is actually how I found out about the OMFG line of figures – a friend of mine, Jonathan Wojcik, designed “Doctor Decay,” the mushroom man figure. I’m looking forward to building a substantial collection of these figures.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go trawl eBay for Monster in my Pocket and Trash Bag Bunch figures…