Friday, February 20, 2015

REVIEW: Imaginext Pirate and Ghost Octopus

Ghost Pirates! (Or Pirate Ghosts?)
Ghost Pirates is a new sub-line of the Imaginext Pirate theme. Currently there are three Ghost Pirate sets available, including the Ghost Pirate Ship, Ghost Pirate Island and the subject of today's Review, the 2-figure pack of the Pirate and Ghost Octopus.
The set retails for around $8 and for that you get, as the name of the pack suggests, a ghostly pirate and his spectral undersea companion. Let's begin by looking at the Pirate.

The Ghost Pirate
The Pirate is a pretty neat figure, overall, featuring a few pieces I haven't seen before and - coolest of all - he's cast from clear plastic!
As you may have gathered from my Microman/Micronaut obsession, I'm a major mark for clear plastic toys, so I was particularly excited when I saw the early images of the Ghost Pirates. And although what's here is great, I have to admit I'm a little saddened to see that it's only the arms that are actually cast from semi-transparent plastic. Still, what we have is really effective and I like how different it makes the Ghost Pirates look from the regular pirates.
Slip off his tunic/mask and you'll see how the solid and semi-transparent plastic works together. And this may be me just making false connections but I get a very Fighting Furies vibe from this toy. Indeed, remove the peg leg and replace his hand with a hook and - missing tattoo aside - he'd be a dead-ringer for the Hook figure from Matchbox's classic line!
Speaking of his wooden leg, I do like that Imaginext has gone back to a ''traditional'' style of pirate for the Ghost Pirates. As much as I love the Steampunk and Jules Verne-esque Pirates of some of the other sets, it just ''feels right'' to have the ghostly pirates being a little more old school. I'm also pleased that the peg leg has a foot, as this certainly helps keep the Pirate stable.
Accessory-wise, the Pirate comes with his aforementioned coat/mask (which looks great, although it does limit his head movement and, oddly, the jacket's back only extends to just below his shoulders...) and a dented cutlass. It's a nice accessory but it can be a little loose in his hand, depending how you turn the hand-guard. I really like the way the Imaginext ''i'' is incorporated into the guard, though.

And as ever, we have the same Imaginext articulation set-up: double-joint shoulders, swivel wrists, swivel head and connected swivel hip joint.

The Ghost Octopus
The 2-pack's second piece is this super-cool Ghost Octopus.
The Ghost Octopus is essentially comprised of two pieces - the head and the body. The head is cast from a non-transparent plastic of a slightly lighter hue than the body/limbs. It's also a more solid-feeling plastic. There's some great textural detail to it and a nice tactile element that makes it fun to hold and play with.
The body, meanwhile, is more rubbery and cast from a semi-transparent plastic, with a very cool paint app that blends between the lighter and darker/clear green nicely. It also includes some up-close detail on the underside of the tentacles, with a series of suckers running from tip to belly.
The big feature here is that the underside of the Ghost Octopus includes a couple of wheels, that allow the creature to glide across whatever surface you're playing on. The wheels are actually cast with soft rubbery tracks, meaning they'll get traction on most any surface, which is cool.
What's even cooler, though, is that the wheels are connected to a mechanism that will, when the Ghost Octopus is pushed, cause the tentacles to spin around the body! And they do so at a surprising speed! It's a great little play feature I can imagine kids loving as they launch their Ghost Octopus into their figures and send them flying!

Final Thoughts
The Imaginext line continues to impress. We've had some great figures, vehicles and playsets in the past and the Pirate and Ghost Octopus set is no exception. If you like pirates, ghosts, creatures or things that are just fun then you'll really dig this set.

In an ideal world the Pirate would be cast from clear plastic completely but that's a really minor point. The effect of the phantasmal arms works well enough to give the impression of a ghostly entity, so I can live with it. And yes, the coat/mask piece does limit his head movement but again, it's not that big a deal, as the overall package works well and the figure looks great.

Then there's the Ghost Octopus. This is a great little accessory/creature and it reminds me of the kind of toys I used to have as a child. I could imagine the GI  Joe Adventure Team or Airfix Eagles tangling with this kind of creature as they hunted for lost treasure. The nostalgia factor with these toys is huge (and as I mentioned, there's a major Fighting Furies vibe to the Ghost Pirates, too) and I really appreciate that.

I'm continually amazed at how good the Imaginext sets are, particularly when you consider what great value for money they represent. At around $8, this set is an absolute steal and you'd be crazy to pass it up.

An incredible amount of retro-fun for fans of ghosts, pirates and creatures, all at a great price.

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