Realm of the Rodent

If you read my review today over at Movie Poop Shoot of the partner to this figure, Cryket, then you can skip the next two paragraphs.

Back in days of yore, before I was born, my dad did taxidermy work as a hobby/side business.  By the time I came around, he'd pretty much stopped, but all the equipment and nifty tools were still there, and as a young outdoorsy type, it was only natural I was fascinated by the whole thing.

The branch of the hobby that was called anthropomorphic taxidermy fascinated me the most.  This was the art of putting animals into human situations, and first gained popularity in Victorian England.  It had pretty much died out by the 1940's, but I've always wondered why some young, hip, edgy artist didn't try to resurrect the use of animals in human situations to make bold statements.  Hey, I think it would be an excellent idea, and certainly more interesting than Campbell Soup.

Hey, just look at Potter's work with kittens and tell me that it wouldn't make more waves than any Tortured Soul Mcfarlane could come up with!

So what's the point of all that?  To introduce two new sixth scale figures from a new company called Lazy Bonz.  The back story is fairly simply - a young mouse named Cryket lives in an idyllic little mouse village.  But the evil Otak, a rather nasty rat, is leading his army of other nasty rats to destroy the village and take over the world.  Or at least the 'realm'.  Cryket and his mouse friends have to defend their world against the evil horde of rats.  If you're a rat lover, you might notice that they get the short end of the stick once again.

I'm reviewing Otak the rat here tonight, and have a review of Cryket up over at Movie Poop Shoot.

Packaging - ***1/2
I love the graphics and design of this box, giving the figures a very fairy tale/fantasy feel.  There's some good text on the background of the 'realm', and the story of Cryket and Otak.

The box isn't just attractive, but is fairly collector friendly as well.  Overall, it's surprisingly nice for such a small company just starting out.

Sculpting - ***1/2
I'm going to be honest - the head sculpt had to grow on me.  You see, it doesn't look anything like the box photos, which truly did appear to be just like the old anthropomorphic taxidermy.  This guy really looked EXACTLY like a rat, with fur and all, and I'd heard they were using some super refined flocking technique to manage this.

Unfortunately, the final product is definitely different.  The face itself has the soft fuzz all over it, sort of like a moss.  The back half of the head has the actual hair (as does the lower arms and legs).  When I first saw this, I was seriously disappointed.

However, I played around with him a few days, and the longer I had him, the more I liked him.  No, he doesn't look like a REAL rat exactly, but then, real rats don't dress up in clothes and carry spears.  Thankfully.

The sculpting on the teeth, hands and feet is excellent, with some wonderful detail, and the style of the head actually works for me know that I've had some time to live with it.  The hands are sculpted to hold the various accessories well, and the large feet keep Otak standing in a wide variety of stances.

There is one nagging question though - what happened to his whiskers?  Or do only the dorky rats still have them?  Perhaps he shaves them to show just how tough he really is!

Paint/flocking - ***1/2
There's not a lot of paint here, but what is, is excellent.  Again, the mouth/teeth, hands and feet sport the majority of the paint ops, and all are used to highlight the excellent sculpt.  The teeth prove that rats have poor dental hygiene, and there's even a difference in the finishes between the teeth, gums and tongue.

The flocking wasn't what I expected, but it is well done.  The short flocking on the front of his face is very even and consistent, and the hair that's glued to the back of the head, arms and legs flows neatly without any bald spots or odd cowlicks.

Articulation - ****
One of the things that most impressed me about this figure was the all new, and highly articulated body.  That was something I wasn't expecting for a first time company. 

The body has a great ball jointed neck that allows Otak to look way up, way down, and every where in between.  There's ball jointed shoulders and hips, double jointed elbows and knees, cut biceps and thighs, wrists, ankles, and even chest and waist!

Along with all that, Otak has a bendy tail that attaches tightly to his behind.  It is easy to pose, and scaled nicely.

The body is also humped over slightly to begin with, with a slightly pudgy upper body.  Most companies would have used a normal sixth scale body and padded it for the effect, but that's not the case here, and this body could make for some other interesting characters. 

The scale of Otak's body fits in nicely with other sixth scale figures, if you assume that a rat warrior would be about the size of an average human.  Cryket is appropriately smaller, closer in size to the Toybiz sixth scale hobbits or Gimli, for example.

Outfit - ****
The outfit includes his red shirt, black pants, rope belt, and chain belt that holds a variety of 'trophies'.

The pants and shirt are well tailored for the oddly shaped body, and the various bones on the chain belt and necklace look terrific.  At least they make sense hanging from a rat!  The rope belt also holds a couple small pouches, and the outfit is tied off at the arms and legs with white ropes.

The style of the outfit is very rough, including the material and the ragged edges.  This is also befitting a rat warrior.

Accessories - ***1/2
Otak comes with a display base (but you won't need it), a spear, a unique sword/knife, and a large tortoise shell shield.

The weapons are excellent, and are made up of a combination of material - for example, the knife is plastic for the blade and hilt, with rope wrapped around the hilt as a grip, and fur added as a decorative touch.  Most companies would stick with plastic, but adding other materials makes these weapons all that more realistic.

The shield has two elastic handles on the inside to allow you to attach it to either arm.  All the accessories are made from thick, heavy materials, unlikely to break or wilt over time.  

Value - **1/2
At $40, these fall into the average price these days for licensed sixth scale figures.  Of course, these aren't licensed, but considering how small the company is, and the creation of so many new parts (new bodies, unique accessories, use of fur, etc.) I'm surprised they don't cost even more.

Overall - ***1/2
These figures are not for everyone.  They are definitely unique and unusual, and at $40 each they might be a tad steep for something lacking a license to back it up.

But I really like them, especially the longer I have them, and and they make for some great display figures.  They fit in with other lines pretty well, and add a unique appearance to my sixth scale displays.  If you're into fantasy and ancient warrior figures, these will look great on your shelf as well.

Things to Watch Out For - 
I didn't have any problems with Otak, his outfit or his accessories.

Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy - 
Options for picking these up are a tad limited right now.  I'd suggest using the company site, where you can pick them up for $40 each.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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