Thursday, July 14, 2011

REVIEW: Skekiltor, The Mace of Hades

Produced by Halfbad Toyz | Released 2011

Halfbad Toyz is a company we've a lot of time for at That Figures. Their work is always interesting, their pricing is competitive and it seems every day they announce a new, exciting project. But until recently, we'd never actually seen any of their work up-close. That changes today, with our Review of Skekiltor, The Mace of Hades.

As you probably know, toys Reviewed at That Figures come from my own private collection, purchased with my own cash. Before we continue with the Review, I want to make it absolutely clear that this figure was given to me by Adam at Halfbad Toyz and was not a toy I purchased.

Halfbad Toyz
Halfbad Toyz is an independent resin toy design, production and customisation company. Formed just over a year ago, they've gained a reputation for producing affordable, high-quality collectable toys, including the Fruit Fighters, the Outer Space Thingz and - most recently - the FOEZ line, a range of  4 1/2'' toys inspired by 80s classics like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Masters of the Universe lines.

At the time of writing, Halfbad Toyz has released two of the FOEZ toys: Podiagon and today's offering, Skekiltor the Mace of Hades.

Skekiltor, The Mace of Hades
Now you're up-to-date on Skekiltor's background, let's get on with the Review.

I'm going to jump right in and just say that I love this figure's look. Sculpted by Halfbad Toyz collaborator oOMoSOo (of Papa Grim Toys), Skekiltor is a superbly creepy blend of bone, melting flesh, horn and rotting sinew. It's a design that doesn't just bring to mind 80s toy lines: he's also straight out of an 80s horror flick. I see shades of Pumpkinhead, Freddie Kruger and countless other monster-movie influences at work here and I like that a lot.

The entire surface of the sculpt is covered with stretched skin, blistering sores, protruding bone and half-formed protoplasm. It's a wonderfully asymmetrical design that engages the eye and you'll find yourself spending hours examining the detail yet still spotting new elements as you do so, be it the tiny skulls emerging from beneath his skin to the texturing of his mace arm. 

The head sculpt is equally as detailed, with Skekiltor's dead eyes, bear trap-mouth and curved horns making for one ugly muddy funster. Although facial features are keenly detailed and defined, the head continues the ''squishy flesh'' feel of the rest of the sculpt, with drawn sinew, melted skin and flesh-ripping horns all in the mix.

If I do have to find fault with the sculpt, my Skekiltor had a tiny blister bubble at the base of his mace. However, it's a virtually inconsequential flaw and only noticeable if you really look closely. Indeed, I give props to Halfbad Toyz for casting a figure of such quality. I've bought figures from Hasbro that have had much worse production.

Skekiltor is not a poseable figure. He's cast in a single piece and has no form of articulation or joint system (something Halfbad Toyz has since added to the second of the FOEZ toys, Podiagon.) Whilst it would have been nice to have some kind of joints, Skekiltor doesn't suffer for it. Indeed, I like the fact that he's a one-piece cast. 

This is the ''blank brown'' colourway version. As mentioned, Skekiltor was released in a variety of colourways, including glow-in-the-dark, single colour and fully painted. I was pleased to see Adam had sent me the brown colourway, as this - along with the solid, one-piece design of the figure I mentioned liking so much - makes Skekiltor appear to be some form of clay fetish doll. I could imagine him in an HP Lovecraft story or coming to life in an 80s horror flick thanks to some old school stop frame animation.

Final Thoughts
With Skekiltor being a freebie, I've tried to temper the Review so as not to sound as if that's the only reason I like him. But if it's not clear from the above, then I'll state it more clearly: I love this toy and would gladly have paid for it from my own pocket.

I've already mentioned how much I like the way the sculpt evokes not just 80s toys but also 80s horror movies. I like how well-executed that design is and just how much detail Skekiltor's sculpt features. I also really like how solid and tactile Skekiltor is. He's one of those toys you'll keep on your desk and find yourself rolling over in your hands as you're reading something online or watching a video. 

If you're a fan of more unusual collectables, you like weird desk toys or want to experience a superbly-designed, well-produced (and affordable!) resin toy then you could do a lot worse than grab yourself a Skekiltor figure. Although he's currently not available from Halfbad Toyz, they did recently announce they would be revisiting their older molds with a view to doing some reissues. Here's hoping Skekiltor is among them, as this is a superb toy and one more people need to experience.

Production QualityA-
Final ScoreA-

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