Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Review: Impossible Toys Kranax & Arbilus

Impossible Toys announced recently that it was stopping making 3rd party Transformers products. You can read the release here. IT became famous for it's 'Quint' series, making figures of the Quintessons from Transformers The Movie - something that Hasbro had failed to do presumably because they thought no one would be interested in Transformers toys that didn't transform (unless they were Action Masters). They were made in the style of 80s toys, i.e. with the idea that these would fit seamlessly in with existing Generation 1 toys.

The Quints were very good, on the whole, though IT faced design and quality criticism for some of their subsequent releases and they seemed to fall out of favour with Trans-fans as newer 3rd party companies emerged.

Kranax and Arbilus (the names are spelt slightly differently on the box) are, like the Quints, characters from Transformers the Movie (the '86 one aka 'the good Transformers film'). Their role was little more than a cameo, first (barely) escaping Unicorn eating their homeworld and then being fed to the Sharkticons. In the movie they never transformed, though they did in the comic adaptation. In an early draft of the script they were rock creatures, apparently.

The pair closely resemble their movie counterparts. The sculpts aren't amazing, but they do look like something that would have been made in the 80s. The articulation is deliberately basic and reminiscent of the era, with swivel joints at the shoulders, elbows, legs, knees and fists. Kranax has a turning head, though Arbilus doesn't due to his square neck - something that is a bit annoying and could have been easily avoided.

The paint work is generally ok, although the black lines are pretty terrible. I am very tempted to get out a paintbrush and improve them. They are made of a slightly weird material. It's probably plastic, but I couldn't say so with 100% certainty. I thought this was an odd choice at first, though after finding out about their 'rock' origins I wonder if this was a nod to that. To my irritation, after storing them one on top of the other it's become apparent that the body paint easily scrapes off one figure onto the other.

These figures aren't going to please everyone. I can easily see why people would be disappointed, but if you keep in mind they're supposed to look like 80s toys then they're not half bad. The black paint is a bit of a disaster, though an easily fixed one. And this is pretty much the only way you've ever going to get these characters.

It's a shame IT are going out of business, but it's something that could be seen coming a mile off (I actually thought they'd already disappeared). While the ideas have been good, often the execution has been lacking. They haven't stepped things up to the next level as they needed in order to compete with companies like FansProject or Igear.

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