Monday, November 12, 2012

REVIEW: Monster Marbles Series 1.1: Fisheye & Sea Goblin

Produced by WowWee | Released 2012

Previously on Monster Marbles...
Before we turn our attention to Fisheye and Sea Goblin, it's worth taking a moment to read our earlier Review of their line-mates, Roo and Olvey. That way we can avoid treading over old ground - such as explaining what Monster Marbles are, the blind-bag concept (and how many rares/variants are available) and how you play with them - and instead jump straight to the figures themselves. For those of us already familiar with the line, here's some music to help pass the time until everybody gets up to speed.

Now is everybody ready?

Fisheye is one ugly little bugger. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. After all, these toys are Monster Marbles - not Handsome Marbles - so he's already streets ahead on that front.

Sculpt & Design
Fisheye's name is a little misleading, given that he looks more like an insect - or more specifically a fly - but I guess ''Flyeye'' doesn't work quite as well. But still, minor name-related gripes aside, this is actually a very cool little monster toy.

Although his titular eyes are a dominant feature of the design his fanged-mouth is an equally impressive bit of work and I especially like the thick, slobbery lips. I'm not sure if it's this mouth or the presence of the fly-like wings (more on that later) but there's a sense of revulsion about Fisheye, a kind of disgust that flies and other icky bugs evoke and the sculpt does a really neat job of capturing that kind of hideousness - so kids will no doubt love this one.

There's also some cool surface detail in the form of bumps, wrinkles and ridges that help give him a very organic feel and, as mentioned, the rear features a pair of fly-like wings, folded against his back. Just to finish off that creepy/nasty/disgusting vibe.

Fisheye's paint app is ambitious but the execution is a little disappointing. It's great to see the Monster Marbles featuring both spot-apps and washes/brushes to accentuate the sculpt and I applaud the concept but in some cases - such as with Fisheye - there's a little bit of a slap-dash approach to the actual app. Whilst Fisheye's eye details are neatly applied, the teeth/fangs have a messier app. It's not terrible but it's just a little off in a couple of places. Of course, this relates to my Fisheye and you may well find yours has a perfect paint app. Similarly the tips of his wings are a little ''worn'' looking, which on the one hand is a bit disappointing (especially given WowWee bags each Monster Marble individually within the foil pack to avoid paint rub) but at the same time it adds a kind of grungy/dirty feel, which in this instance helps make Fisheye seem all the more gross.

Sea Goblin
Where Fisheye seems to be a fish out of water (or rather, fly in water) Sea Goblin's sculpt and concept mesh perfectly.

When creating a themed creature it can be difficult to hit the perfect pitch between doing the obvious and being way off, design-wise. Thankfully Sea Goblin lands right in that zone. He's clearly a piscine creature but there's enough of a unique look about him to keep him fresh. Fins? Check. Big eyes? Yup. Nasty teeth? Oh yes. Scales? We got 'em! Yet despite all these ''obvious'' fish-features, the sculpt is still strong and interesting and Sea Goblin is clearly not jusy a fish but is instead a fish monster.

I particularly like that - as with his pack-mate, Fisheye - Sea Goblin is not a pretty or cute little thing. He's actually pretty ugly little critter and I do like that WowWee's designers seem to have never lost sight of the fact that they're designing monsters.

Again, Sea Goblin features a mix of detail apps and washes to accentuate the sculpt and on the whole it's pretty effective. The eye detail is particularly nice (and makes me wonder if it's actually a tampo transfer rather than a directly painted detail) and the fins are picked-out pretty cleanly. Like Fisheye, his mouth is perhaps a little messier than it should be but in some ways the slightly ''organic'' or chaotic way in which he's painted helps to sell the idea of him being a living creature.

Extras & Accessories
Each two-pack features a piece of sidewalk chalk and a collector/play guide.

So far I've only found yellow chalk but it appears - from Pixel Dan's video - that there are also variant chalk colors.

Final Thoughts
Fisheye is a disgusting, gross-out little critter. So if you're into that kind of nasty, ugly monster stuff then you'll love him. As I said, kids will really dig his hideous look and nasty, fly-like aesthetic. Sea Goblin, whilst also kind of gross, is the more ''easy on the eye'' of the two. Both however feature great sculpts, nice detail, interesting concepts and - minor sloppiness aside - strong paint apps.

There's not really much I can add to the Roo and Olvey Review when it comes to the Monster Marbles line itself. If you're a fan of blind-bagged toys and you want something a little more substantial than soft rubber or plastic minifigures then you won't be disappointed with these toys. Yes, at $4 for a 2-figure pack they may seem more expensive than other 3-per-pack-for-less toys but the moment you feel just how chunky and hefty the Monster Marbles figures are, any ideas about them being poor value for money will immediately vanish. They're durable, solid and tactile toys with some great designs and a cool execution.

Two more very cool additions to my new favorite blind-bagged line of toys.

Final Score: A-

Image Gallery

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...