Mars Attacks Cosbaby
Hot Toys

Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Jeff Parker is back tonight with a look at some more Cosbabies - take it away, Jeff!

Ack, ack, ack! Ack ack, ack ack, ack ack, ack, as always to Michael.

It’s hard to believe… well, at least for us ‘more senior’ collectors, that Mars Attacks is almost 14 years old!
It was Tim Burtons seventh big movie, sandwiched lovingly between Ed Wood and Sleepy Hollow, and was basically an all star ensemble cast comedy, kind of similar to the old screwball comedies of the 60’s, I mean, just check out the cast here.

Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys

Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys

But the funny thing is, it’s actually a slightly smarter movie than you might first think. On face value it’s just a romp, in which a bunch of Martians make mincemeat of human kind, only to be thwarted by the dulcet tones of Slim Whitman.

But it only takes a little thought to realise its more of a satire about North America, and how ‘it’ thinks EVERYONE desperately wants to be ‘All American’, it showed Burton, pointing out that Uncle Sam simply can not understand ANYONE who doesn’t want to be assimilated into it’s ‘have now, pay later’ mass consumerism!

And It seems even more ironic that it was released in the same year as Independence Day, two films about alien invasion that were in their own silly ways dealing with the same questions, but while Mars Attacks stands up as a satire, ID4 is now more of a jingoistic embarrassment than it was when it came out (and that’s without even thinking about the Mac/alien computer hook up!). And the questions that Mars Attacks throws up (all be it that they are disguised in thick layers of slap stick comedy) are even more pertinent in the post 9/11 world of 2009 than perhaps they were on its release in 1996.

But, enough with heavy movie critiquing, I mean, forchrisake we’re here to talk toys!

So with the Cosbaby line now incorporating these cute Martian critters in their various forms, how do they measure up to those that came before?

Packaging ***
Once again we are back to the classic Cosbaby blind boxing, with the design borrowing heavily from the 50’s pulp Sci-Fi feel that was so lovingly embraced by the Topps bubblegum cards that inspired the movie. The front of the box uses an image based on the one sheet poster showing a sea of Martian brains, with one peeking above the rest. Behind the figures is the rising red planet of Mars, set against the movie title in its distinctive font. The sides show the seven standard figures available in the line, but as is usual this line also has a chase figure, but more on that later. The back has an image of the flying saucers approaching Earth with information about the series and licensing credits. Inside the box the figures are polly-bagged alongside their accessories… when they have one!

So as is usual with Cosbaby boxes, it’s a pretty no frills, standard format, but just fine for pocket money collectibles.

Sculpting- Martian heads ****, Girl heads ***
The full line up of this series is-
1. Martian Leader (purple robe)
2. Martian Ambassador (red robe)
3. Martian Trooper (ray pistol)
4. Martian Trooper (ray rifle)
5. Martian Girl (human head)
6. Martian Girl (human damaged face)
7. Martian Girl (exposed Martian head and bobble ray gun)

And lastly the short packed chase figure-
8. Martian Trooper (fogged green helmet)

Another trend that continues is the clever re-use of body parts, by mixing and matching the various pieces and altering the paint apps we end up with eight relatively distinct variations… well, apart from the two troopers, they just have different guns and to be honest the two human headed Martian girls are pretty damn similar… but you know what I mean!

The highlight here is the actual Martian head, it’s been translated into the classic Cosbaby style, but because of its ‘unusual’ characteristics it demanded a much higher degree of detailing than the usual human heads. I think the fact that this head gets used on five of the eight figures demanded that it had to be done well, and I’m glad to report it’s been done very well indeed. We have the massive exposed brain with its complex interwoven maze of frills and squiggles (well, you think of a better description!). This blends down into the grotesque skull like face with its huge oval eyes, hooked nose cavity and strange dangling wattles at the sides of his head.

This head is used on both of the troopers, which come dressed in a Cosbaby representation of the classic green space suit, with its large metallic chest and shoulder rig (to hold the glass domed helmet, which sadly isn’t actually here) it also has the dual red gas tanks mounted on the back with black hoses running around its sides and attaching it to the front. The head is also utilized on the leader and ambassador figures, they share the same body sculpt of the floor length, high scroll collared robes. Because of their length they have no legs beneath and the arms are just popped into the sides, and lastly it’s also used again on the Martian girl with the fully exposed Martian head. She again has no legs; instead her long sweeping dress is also floor length, showing her 50’s style ‘Madonnaesque’ conical breasts and engraved swirly pattern that covers her whole body. The two ‘human’ Martian girl heads are also identical in their sculpting, using the classic Cosbaby human face with its button nose, cute rosebud mouth and huge Manga eyes, her hair is worn in the huge cartoon blonde beehive (to hide that big ‘ol’ Martian head) as sported my Lisa Marie (Burtons squeeze at the time) in the movie, it shows some cute details including the large kiss curl at the front and the scroll curl that runs around its base.

Lastly we get the chase figure, this shows the after effects on a Martian after listening to a little of the country and western style yodeling of Mr Slim Whitman, specifically his song ‘Indian Love Call’. Would it be considered a spoiler to let you know it makes their heads explode inside their helmets… what the hell the movies 14 years old, and I’ve told you anyway! So, what we have is in effect a hollow plastic light bulb shaped helmet sprayed green on the inside to mimic the unfortunate Martians exploded head… Mmm, nice!

As is usual with Cosbaby figures, they are all very stylized representations of the characters. But because of the ’unusual’ look of the Martian heads, like the Alien and Predator Cosbaby figures that came before them, they end up with a far more accurate portrayal than their human counterparts.

Paint- ****
Like the sculpting, the paint apps on Cosbaby figures usually follow their own distinct style. It’s normally quite simplistic, reducing the subject down to simple shapes and quite flat colours, and on the human heads this is evident as usual here. The paint on the eyes and mouths is all nice and crisp with clean precise division lines, the hair is a flat bright yellow, so all the detail comes from the sculpt, but luckily the sculpt is more than up to the job. The pink dresses seem to have had a darker pink wash that has flooded all the sculpted swirls that make up her patterned outfit, and the effect works surprisingly well.

But like the sculpting the stand out work is on the Martian heads. They show some nicely observed details, with the base colour being a deep pink terracotta, over this are details picked out in beige/mushroom on the lower face with brighter yellows and greens radiating up from the brow onto the swirls of the brain. For small scale relatively cheap figures it’s a very impressive job.
The three trooper bodies all have a base green colour with bright red gas tanks on the back and some relatively convincing metallic hues on the chest rigs. So in terms of the bodies, that just leaves the Martian leader and ambassador, they have bright glossy metallic robes that are purple and red respectively. Both have a glittery iridescent finish that means with the simple application of a little golden thread these could make pretty cool Christmas tree ornaments… so golden thread is on my to buy list this week!

Articulation - Troopers ***, The Rest N/A
These follow exactly the same routine as the other Cosbaby figures, the troopers have the standard push in ball and socket joints on all the limbs, while the robed figures just have moving arms and necks… and to be honest there’s not a whole lot of movement at the neck, well apart from the ability to turn from side to side.

So, you won’t be getting any great action poses, but that’s not what Cosbabies are all about, no, they are just meant to stand there looking cute, and so far all of them can do that!

Outfit - N/A
As always, these wear sculpted outfits!

Accessories - Ambassador, Troopers and Martian headed girl **1/2, The Rest N/A
These little figures aren’t famous for coming laden with goodies, quite frankly any accessory is quite a plus when it comes to your average Cosbaby. And four of the eight come with nicely observed little ray guns, the Ambassador and one trooper have a pistol, whilst the other trooper has a rifle version, and lastly the Martian headed girl has the bobble gun that she... sorry ‘it’ pulls from its bobble clutch bag.

So, not a lot of accessories, but that’s to be expected with Cosbabies, however where we do get them they are nicely observed and painted.

Value for money - ****
On release your average Cosbaby is not expensive, but like all collectibles, dependent on the popularity of the license they can get pretty crazy on the secondary market, and pretty darn hard to find, especially those elusive chase figures!

These were all available from Sideshow for $8.50 (well, apart from the chase variant), so basing my score on that price, these just have to get full marks.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
These are certainly in a price bracket where you wouldn’t mind letting your kids play with them, and they are mostly robust enough to stand up to a bit of play. But at the end of the day, these are not intended to be a replacement for Playmobile, no, these inhabit their own little niche, like Kubrick’s and Mezitz. So, if like me, you have that obsessive collector gene, then these are just waiting to be embraced by you!

Overall - ***1/2
As I’ve said before, these aren’t for everyone… but lets face ‘collectibles’ in general aren’t for everyone. I bet most readers have at least one of those moments when a friend or colleague has given you ‘that’ look after you’ve admitted to your ‘madness’.

However, if you are at one with your inner collector, if you can suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, and if you have the guts to admit… yeah, my name is (insert name here) and I like Cosbabies!

Well, then there’s very little ‘not’ to like here. However if you are still in denial just walk away now… go on, while you still can!

But for the record it’s a cool little set, I’m loving the detail on those Martian heads, and these have got me itching for the 1/6th figures… which must be due pretty soon!

Where to buy
As I said above, Sideshow did have these for $8.50 a pop, but they have long since sold out. However you can try the waitlist or try some of Michael’s sponsors who have them for the prices listed below-

Big Bad Toy Store - set of 7 $57.99 or $8.99 each

Forbidden Planet - 6.49 each

Or hit ebay looking for a deal.

Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys

Mars Attacks Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys

This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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