Monday, November 26, 2012

REVIEW: The Trash Pack Trashies Two Figure Pack - Series 2

Produced by Moose Toys | Released 2012

The Trash Pack Trashies Two Figure Packs - The Revenge
As regular visitors will have probably noticed, our Review of the Trash Pack Trashies Series 1 Two Figure Pack has been a constant entry in our Popular Content top ten listing since its initial appearance over a year ago. And if you read that Review (and if you didn't, why not?) you'll probably recall I wasn't particularly impressed with what I found. But I also added the caveat that I might simply not have experienced the best the line had to offer and that one day I'd come back to the line, in a Doctor Who-stylee. And with Series 2 now out, what better time is there to give the line a revisit?

The first change you may notice is that the new Trash Pack Trashies eschew the original two-to-a-can packaging of Series 1 in favor of smaller, individual trash cans in a foil pack. I was a fan of the original arrangement, as it made the packs ''pop'' so it's a shame to see Moose Toys instead opting to the kind of foil packaging used by everybody else. But at the same time, it does make them much easier to store/display, so I can understand why they went down this route. 

And although they're smaller, you do get two of the trash cans now (rather than one) so that's a definite plus.

The Series 2 cans themselves are pretty cool and feature a new sculpt, rather than simply being a re-scale of the Series 1 can. I did find both mine had popped open in the packaging but given that the Trashies themselves are not only a very snug fit in each can (which probably explains the new packaging) but are also fairly robust the odds of the figures being damaged are fairly low.

So let's take a look at each figure individually.

Trash Tube
Series 2 introduces a some new ''sub-lines'' within the Trash Pack, including the Hard Rubbish sub-species, which is based around discarded appliances, furniture and other household trash. Our first Trashie, Trash Tube, falls into this category and is a ''Common'' figure, of which three color variants are available.

Sculpt & Design
As you've probably figured out, Trash Tube is modeled after an old TV set. With his tuning dial, (flattened) rabbit ear antenna and boxy piece-of-furniture styling, he's certainly not lacking in retro cool, although I do have to wonder just how many younger kids will realize he's a TV set, given how outdated his look is. That's by no means a criticism, merely an observation. I personally like this cartoon-esque design, which evokes a kind of Spongebob Squarepants kind of look.

The sculpt work itself is pretty neat, overall. The figure sports a number of splats/goopy marks and there's plenty of TV-themed detail (including a power cord and the aforementioned antenna) but what's particularly cool is the way the designers have softened the hard right-angled edges in favor of a ''wobbly'' kind of broken-down look. Of course in reality a TV set wouldn't warp in this manner but here it works well to give him a worried, run-down aesthetic which, when coupled with his boggled eyes and sad expression, add a lot of character to the piece. Odd as it sounds, but you can almost imagine the kind of depressed, sad voice he'd speak with in the line's animated show. For a 1/2'' tall piece of rubbery plastic to feature such characterization is a testament to the strength of his design.

Trash Tube's paint app is actually pretty good. Although there's not much in the way of special technique or detail, what's here is very cleanly applied (especially given the figure's size), with no errant splodges or mis-applied blotches to blemish the overall look.

The palette choice is probably best described as ''interesting'' but the garish green and putrid purple fit neatly with the line's aesthetic (and as all Marvel fans know, it's a good color-combo) so I can't really criticize.

And speaking of things putrid...

Putrid Pretzel
Our second offering, Putrid Pretzel, is from the Grubz sub-line, an assortment of figures based around (as the name may have tipped you off) discarded food. This color variant is one of two Common types, with a third, purple colorway being a Rare.

Sculpt & Design
Putrid Pretzel's sculpt work, whilst solid enough, isn't quite as impressive or creative as Trash Tube's. That's not so much a criticism of the sculpt as it is the concept, though and overall, what you get here is pretty decent - for a figure based around a pretzel.

The figure features a pretty neat bit of cross-over pastry work and I like the little salt sprinkle touches but overall Putrid Pretzel lacks the character of his pack-mate. As I say, I think the sculptors have done the best they can within the limits of the theme but looking over the other toys in the Grubz line, it seems like the least inspired of the sub-species within the Trash Pack Trashies universe. It's a shame they couldn't instill a little more character or add that extra little ''something'' he's lacking, but as I said, he's a pretzel. What else are they going to do?

Again, Putrid Pretzel's paint app is solid, with no mis-applied dabs or run-offs but like the sculpt, it's pretty workmanlike. No surprises, good or bad.

Extras & Accessories
Each two-figure pack features an individual trash can for each figure and a folded collector sheet, featuring illustrations for each toy in the line-up.

I am a fan of these little trash cans. I think they're a neat, cute way to enforce the idea of the figures being themed around trash and garbage but they're also very nicely sculpted and fun little pieces in their own right.

Final Thoughts
As I said in my previous Review of the Series 1 two-pack, there seems to be a lot of luck involved in the buying of the Trash Pack Trashies. With my first wave pack I lucked-out and got two pretty dull figures. This time around I scored a neat figure in the form of Trash Tube and an OK one in the form of Putrid Pretzel. If I could be guaranteed more like the former and less like the latter then I'd have no reservations recommending the Trash Pack Trashies Series 2 line to all fans of blind-bagged toys but right now my only comment can be that if you like blind-bagged toys and have a spare couple of bucks, you might get enjoy these toys - providing you find some of the better ones. And although it's difficult to judge simply from the illustrations how well executed the final figures are, the concepts for this second wave do seem stronger than they were in Series 1, so your chances of doing just that seem a lot higher than they were with the first wave of releases.

I'm pleased to see the designers have stepped-up their game. I have to admit I was put-off buying more Trash Pack Trashies following the disappointment I experienced with my Series 1 two-pack and the fairly bland concepts and sculpts the line seemed to feature, so seeing the improvements in Series 2 has certainly left me intrigued to see more of the line and I'll certainly be picking up a few more in the near future.

A definite improvement over the first wave that shows no small measure of potential, thanks to stronger character designs and improved concepts.

Final Score: B

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