Monday, January 23, 2012

REVIEW: Box O Zombies Series 1

Produced By Box O Zombies | Released January 2012

In an increasingly over populated world, land has become a coveted commodity where corporate greed and government corruption has lead to the latest advancements in ''human relocation.'' Greed can sometimes have consequences and accidents happen even to the biggest and most powerful. A crate containing these ''advancements'' is accidentally lost unleashing the worst plague known to mankind - The Undead.

Before we continue, I feel it's important to point out that the figures featured here were supplied by Box O Zombies for the purposes of this Review and I did not purchase them. However, do not assume that the following Review is in any way biased toward the figures because of that.

OK? OK. 

Box O Zombies Series 1
As the name may suggest, Box O Zombies is, well, a box containing zombies. As recounted at their website:

Box O Zombies was initially inspired by Shawn's kids. When ever he saw his sons play with their toys i.e. Little green army men, they usually end up pretending zombies are attacking their solders as the soldier try to protect/defend an area in our daughters doll house. So Shawn looked online for some zombie figures similar to the little green army men and discovered that there were not many options, and the options that were out there didn't have that scary zombie look the toy soldiers should fear, So I pitched the idea to a local artist and thus Box O Zombies were born.

When you include a reference to your packaging in the name of your product, it's probably a good idea to make sure that you do a good job with it. Box O Zombies certainly does not disappoint.

There's something incredibly cool about the packaging design here. In theory it shouldn't really work. A black cube adorned with a minimum of illustration and a reliance on graphical text? It takes everything you can imagine about marketing and making a product ''shout'' and turns it on its head. And because of that, it hooks your attention. I know for a fact that if you were to see one of these boxes in a store you'd pick it up just to find out what's inside.

Where it could have been very easy to go with a bloodied, graphic illustration-style, the Box O Zombies packaging is instead rendered in a palette of predominantly black, green and white (with a hint of purple on the rear.) The splash effect, white ''toxic'' logo and muted black and white illustrations are excellent and all work together cohesively to produce a superbly engaging box of mystery. This is a superb bit of design.

The quality continues when you open the pack. Three double-figure retaining trays lie within, each sculpted to fit one particular figure. The trays are stacked atop each other but there are no issued with the figures being bent or distorted in their box and the trays do an excellent job keeping them in place.

It's also worth noting that the box itself is designed to be resealable, thanks to a slot-in lid, so you can open and close your Box O Zombies without worry.

Sculpt And Design
I'm pleased to report that the benchmark set by the packaging continues with the figures themselves. Obviously, given that there are six figures in each pack, there's a little variation in terms of design and sculpt execution but the overall quality is very high indeed.

Each pack contains six figures, identified by Box O Zombies as The Crawler, The Principal, The Nurse, The Schoolgirl, The Rocker and The Lunch Lady. Let's take a closer look at each.

The Crawler is probably the most ''generic'' of the figures in the pack. That's not a criticism, but merely an observation that whilst the other Zombies have defined roles, he's not given any such character. And that's fine, as I like the idea of a ''re-usable'' figure.

The design is pretty straight-forward: he's a one-legged zombie, clad in a simple t-shirt and pants combo, sculpted in a crawling/reaching pose. The simplicity of the design is not reflected in the sculpt work though, as it features some excellent fold detailing on his clothing and his facial features are superbly well-rendered. The hands are also fantastic - a feature that runs throughout all six designs.

I have to admit that The Principal leaves me a little puzzled. Whilst the sculpt is - again - excellent and there's some superb detail here, such as the ''comb-over'' hairstyle, half-torn pant leg and tortured/hate-filled facial detail, I don't ''get'' Principal from it, probably due to the fact that he's wearing a t-shirt rather than the shirt and tie combo I'd expect from a teacher. To me ''Old Neighbour'' would have perhaps been a better description.

On the plus-side, again his generic/less-defined look works to his advantage. Unlike some of the other figures, having multiple ''Principals'' in a display would't jar so much as having, say, numerous Lunch Ladies standing together.

The Nurse is another great sculpt. Particular highlights include the bunned hair (complete with long pin/chopstick), the detailed fingers, ripped dress and - coolest of all - a half-forgotten hypodermic needle in her hand.

The Schoolgirl features what is probably my favourite head sculpt. The ripped-off jaw and lolling tongue look is a staple of the genre, so it's great to see it included here. There's also some great costume detail, with shoe buckles and the ''Japanese Schoolgirl'' outfit-look being captured perfectly, right down to the pleated skirt and weird little back cape.

Next up is The Rocker, a character clad in an emo-riffic hoodie and drainpipe pants combo. This is probably the simplest sculpt of the six but even so, he still features some great detail (such as his jeans back pockets) and an excellent facial expression.

Finally we come to the Lunch Lady. I recall how terrifying some of these harridans could be, so having them in Zombie form might be considered by some to be an improvement...

The Lunch Lady is the bulkiest and chunkiest of the six characters, which works well to give the line-up some variation beyond each pose/character. The actual execution is superb, with her flabby arms and spilling guts lending her a great identity of her own. Perhaps most terrifying of all, she's still clutching a ladle of unidentifiable school canteen gruel in her hand...

The overall quality of the sculpt work is very high indeed, with the hands and facial details being particularly excellent. The Box O Zombies designers clearly understand anatomy and that's demonstrated in the sculpt of each.

The Box O Zombies figures are not articulated so we'll use this section to instead look at their poses.

Again, on the whole the figures are captured in some excellent stances. The way in which the limbs are twisted and bent, the broken tilt of the head and the post rigor-mortis gnarling of the fingers give an amazing sense of these figures as members of the undead.

I have to admit that much as I like the sculpt detail, the Schoolgirl's pose is a little weaker than the others, simply as it seems just a little too obvious, like Zombie Pose #1. Similarly, The Rocker looks poised to burst into a sprint and so loses the stiff, shambling gait-look the others do so well. On the other hand, the mixture of stances and poses injects a little more dynamism into the mix and avoids the Box O Zombies line-up featuring six, identically-posed figures.

Two colourways are currently available - Sickly Green and Pale Purple - but the Box O Zombies figures are not painted.

Extras And Accessories
The Box O Zombies figures do not include any accessories.

Final Thoughts
There's a lot of good to be found in each Box O Zombies. The box itself - which may seem an odd place to start but given the product's title is pretty integral to the overall Review - is great. There's a high standard set by the quality of the packaging that's maintained throughout. It's certainly a brave move to feature such packaging, which I'm sure probably added a couple of Dollars to the production (and sale) cost, but it's more than worth it. After all, this is a Box O Zombies.

As for the figures themselves, they're very well-designed, nicely sculpted and - on the whole - high quality figures. I could nit-pick and say that there's a minor injection blemish on the odd one (which picks off easily anyway) and that the Rocker and Schoolgirl are weak links but there's really very little to find fault with.

There is, however, something that's been bugging me since I first opened my Box O Zombies. I know Shaun Recinto originally designed them to be played with by his kids but for adult collectors I really think they need - no deserve - to have a purpose beyond just looking very cool. My immediate thought was that they would be excellent pieces in a board/war game and with that in mind, I did a quick search for some zombie-based board games and came across the rather cool-looking (and free to download) Zombie Plague from Fortress Figures. Purpose found.

If you're a fan of the undead, an artist looking for some neat figures to paint, a war-gamer looking for some cool zombie pieces or you just dig your little plastic men, then there's a lot of good to be had here. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what Series 2 brings...

Sculpt and DesignB+
Extras and Accessories N/A
Final ScoreB+

Image Gallery


  1. Those do look fun. I'd like to see them posed with the army men that inspired them for more school zombie invasion fun!

  2. Hehe! I wish I had some Army Men to use them with!

  3. These look like they would be fun to play around with and take some wild pictures of.

    1. Yeah, I don't think my camera did them justice, to be honest.

  4. Replies
    1. I did my best but there were a lot of rejected shots. I need a new camera...


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