Wednesday, April 27, 2011

REVIEW: Marvel Universe Squinkies Thor, Silver Surfer and Doctor Doom

Produced by Blip Toys | Released April 2011

Squinkies are a line of miniature figures produced by Blip Toys. Resembling vending machine/gashapon toys, Squinkies have been available for some time at various stores in a series of ''girl-friendly'' figures (such as ponies, kittens and other small, cute animals) but the line has now branched out to include boy-friendly figures,  including the newly-launched Marvel Universe figures.

What's Are Squinkies?
Squinkies are small figures (standing at barely 1/2 an inch) that are made from soft, squishy plastic. Each comes in a vending machine-style capsule and Blip Toys even produce home ''vending machines'' that can be loaded with Squinkies and then ''bought'' using the included Squinkies coins or with regular cash.

As stated, the original launch was aimed predominantly at girls (featuring kittens, ponies and puppies along with such IPs as Barbie, Hello Kitty and Disney) but Blip Toys has started to expand into a range of boy-friendly toys, including Dinosaurs, Ninja and Robots. There are also licensed Squinkies lines, including Cars 2, Hot wheels and - today's offering - Marvel.


The Marvel Universe Squinkies come in blind-bagged two packs, unlike the ''Squinkies for Girls'' which also include play-sets, larger collections and non-blind, carded multi-packs. It's not clear yet whether Blip Toys are planning any such packs for the Marvel figures.

The packaging is fairly eye-catching and is fine for what it is, with a visual checklist for collectors on the rear of each pack, which is a cool touch. One thing I'm not so keen on though is the colouring. The packs use a traditionally ''male'' colour (blue) to differentiate them from the girly Squinkies, with green or red edging used to distinguish which Series they're from. I didn't notice there were two Series of toys until I was making my purchase, so double-check before you buy.

One neat little touch is that every Squinkie (Squinky?) comes in its own capsule, meaning it's impossible to feel which figures are within the pack. The capsules themselves are hinged and - with a quick squeeze - will pop open and the tape sealing them will simply drop off. I like this a lot, as I can imagine it makes it much easier for small kids to get the capsules open, rather than having to unscrew or force them.

Squinkies Series 1
As I mentioned, I picked-up two packs - one from each Series. 

My first Squinkie was the Asgardian Avenger himself, Thor.

The figure is actually a pretty good take on the God of Thunder, given the size of the figure. There are some nice details like wings on his helmet and some heavy-set eyebrows. What I like is that unlike the Marvel Superhero Squad figures, he looks really pissed-off and ready to twot somebody with Mjolnir. 

The paintwork is... acceptable, at best. Whilst I like the design of the colouring, the execution is very sloppy. His cape's red spills onto his boots, his hair is thinly painted, as are his boots and it's all just very slapdash. It's a real shame, as some of the details like his facial features are very cleanly applied.

My second Series 1 Squinkie is Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer.

Again, the sculpt here is great. What's interesting is - comedy nose aside - the sculpt actually looks a lot like the comicbook Silver Surfer. He's not simply a fat little gnome painted silver, either - he's got the board (complete with ''speed grooves'') and pose down perfectly. There's also a fair bit of muscular detail on the torso, although - to be fair - he does get a bit undefined around his legs, but given he's a single-piece, inject molded toy on a base, you can understand the slight loss of detail.

The Silver Surfer is - I believe - cast from silver plastic and has no paintwork.

Series 2
Spookily, my first figure from Series 2 is - again - the Silver Surfer.

The Series 2 figures however appear to be recasts of Series 1, but with clear plastic. The figure is identical to the Series 1 Surfer in terms of its sculpt (indeed, in some lights you can see more detail on this version than you can the opaque one) but features painted eyes, unlike the solid version that is unpainted.

And finally from Series 2 comes Doctor Doom.

Again, this is a fantastic sculpt. The detail on Doom's armour and mask is surprisingly good for a toy of this size (and material), with studs, rivets and armoured-edges abounding. He even has Doctor Doom's comicbook mouth (you know, that weird shape-within-a-shape thing he has going on) and the hood is sculpted with folds and a little fallen-over peak.

The paintwork on Doctor Doom is also great, much more accurately-applied than the Thor figure and generally a lot cleaner. The silver armour is neatly applied and the eyes are incredibly sharp (I think they may be a tampo transfer but I can't be sure.) The Doctor Doom figure really pops.

Each Squinkie comes with its own capsule. Beyond that, there are no extras.

Final Thoughts
I love Marvel. I love gashapon/vending machine toys. I dig blind-bagged purchases. I like Gogo's Crazy Bones. If one or more of those applies to you, too, then you'll find these figures are right up your alley. I was initially surprised at the price, given that you can get a three-pack of Crazy Bones for less and some cool vended toys for 50c, but the amount of paintwork on each figure is really what's pushing the price up and - on the whole - it's good value for money. OK, so my Thor's paintwork is a little sloppy but my Doctor Doom features an app better than half my Marvel Universe 3 3/4'' figures. Maybe I was just unlucky with my Thor...

Like the Mega Bloks Marvel Minifigs, though, there is the concern that you are going to get duplicates. There are twelve figures in each Series and - as far as I can tell - no rares (at least the packaging doesn't mention any) so hopefully the odds of getting new figures with each pack are relatively high (although that will naturally change as you purchase more.) But maybe that's part of the deal - after all, kid collectors will surely trade and swap with other collectors, thus adding a social element to the toy (of which I approve.)

They may not be the most intricate or sophisticated of toys but they have their own charms and - best of all - look like their comicbook counterparts. 

As I say, if you love Gogo's Crazy Bones or blind-bagged/vending machine toys, you'll love Squinkies.

Production QualityB-
Final ScoreB

Silver Surfer (Both Versions)
Production QualityB+
Final ScoreB+

Doctor Doom
Production QualityB+
Final ScoreB+

Image Gallery


  1. Interesting little toys Lok wish there was a way to know what you were getting but i guess that the fun and the chance you take.

  2. Yeah, the ''girly'' ones come in 10 (or 12) packs, mounted on cards where you can see all the toys. I'm surprised they didn't do the same here...

  3. Maybe they will later on with these.

  4. Found 12 pack. $11 each, contains the whole series. @ a So. Cal Target.

  5. Thanks Doc! I thought it was only a matter of time before they did that. Thanks for the tip!


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