Saturday, September 22, 2007

[Review] Cronic Rumblings, Part II

The Rumble Monsters hand-paint was just the tip of the iceberg! The bulk of Max Toy Co. collaborative releases in recent months have been with Japan architect-turned-toymaker Koiwa Naoki, better known to us as Cronic. Wave one was pre-sold in May via Max Toy Club (and sold out very quickly!) and consisted of a clear painted and unpainted Maverasu, as well as a painted Dorogami. Wave two was released at SDCC 2007, and was made up of green painted and unpainted Dorogami, a clear blue painted and unpainted Dorome, and finally, a spectacular clear rainbow-painted Nougaki! And as a final hurrah, Cronic released a sweet GID Bakurasu with sienna spray at Toy Karma. Considering that Koiwa-san still paints each of his pieces by hand, it makes one wonder how he kept up with his 'real life' job. Keep in mind that he was still putting out festival releases all the while.

From the first wave of Cronic x Max Toy Co. releases, I picked up both the unpainted and painted clear There's actually a bit of a story to this. After seeing the GID Balbagon and hearing that a Cronic exclusive was on the way, I joined the Max Toy Club just a few days prior to the preorder for the Cronic pieces was distributed. Unfortunately, circumstances led to me being omitted from the preorder list as a new member, and sending a gripey e-mail to Mark Nagata regarding the preorder. Well, that last part was all me, really. But fortunately, being the nice guy that he is, Nagata sent me the preorder as well and I managed to pick up one of the last few painted Maverasi. So how did I get the unpainted Maverasu you might ask? Well, Pinky, the same way I get most of my stuff- from the boards. And so, the two sailed their way across the Pacific to my apartment, and into the review queue.

In my eyes, the MTC painted Maverasu is one of the finest colorways to be bestowed upon the sculpt. I do think that the original rainbow Maverasu- the "Illusion E" version- trumps this one, but only very slightly. Perhaps I should limit that to only the clear Maverasusses, because there have been some incredible solid color combinations as well. Dubbed by some as the "tie-dye" Maverasu, and by consummate toy blogger, Toybotstudios (2000), as the "Haight Ashbury" version, there are only 66 of these beauties in existence. Because I was late to the party, I own number 62 of 66.

It's hard for me to verbalize exactly what makes this figure shine- I think in a sentence, it embodies everything that is good about Cronic's ability to combine otherwise dissimilar colors into a cohesive piece. Like a good kindergartener, every crayon in the box is used. I guess that might not really sound like a compliment. While a some have compared this to the ganja-and-patchouli-soaked hippie culture, the colors are reminiscent to me of a beautiful day in Hawaii. The smooth fade of blue-green into the electric blue in the feet resembles the color of the sea when it transitions from open ocean to shallower tidal waters. Red and yellow accents on the green base bring to mind tropical flowers in a lush, green garden. There is something ironic about the fact that I am sitting in my apartment on a beautiful day typing out overthought comparisons of a toy to the scenery outside my apartment. The light, it burns me. But we can't give all of the credit for this refreshing colorway to Koiwa-san; I understand that Nagata was the mastermind behind the color scheme. Great job, both of you.

And as with most Max Toy Club releases, a limited number of toys are sold in all of their simple, unpainted glory. In this case, Nagata released 34 clear Maverasuses upon the public in addition to the painted main run. For you mathe-masters, 34 + 66 = 100, which I assume made up the entire re-run of clear Mavs. A few of us were surprised, I think, at seeing another clear Maverasu instead of the expected clear turquoise version. Cronic himself released the original clear Maverasu way, way back when, so if you are collecting these, it might behoove you to be sure of which one is being sold. Or maybe you don't care.

Incidentally, I suspect that there are only 33 of these remaining. Not pointing any fingers.

While the unpainted clear might feel like something of a letdown after the visual lap-dance that is the 'tie-dye' Maverasu, I enjoy collecting blank clear and solid versions of my favorite sculpts. Sometimes I think that it is easy to hide flaws or gloss over the true beauty in a sculpt by using a certain paint job. Unpainted clears are particularly interesting because of the way the 'layers' in the vinyl interact with one another when looking through the piece.

Not to pat myself on the back, but I really like the way these photographs turned out. Against the black background, the clear Maverasu almost looks like a glass sculpture. Sort of classy-like. Pat pat.

Oh, and there is some simply killer artwork on the header for this toy. Mark really brings the characters to life with his headers- check out the drawing for his latest Toy Club release, the Dream Rocket Gabari. Ninjas fighting a giant bug! (There are some of these still left unsold on the Max Toy Co. webstore as of the date of this post, so go get 'em!)

Also, if you are new to Cronic, be sure to check out Kaiju Korner, which is run by the man known as "andy."

That does it for Part II of Cronic Rumblings- check out the rest of your hard-earned photos:

Front and center:

The obligatory backside shot:

Shot with stronger backlighting:

Older photo but I still like the way this toy looks in natural light:

Clearly Maverasu:


andy b said...

Nice write up! Great description and photos, and I really like the way you describe Koiwa-san's use of color. To me (well, to a bunch of us Cronic nuts) that's always been a big key to his work.

Hah - I never added them up 34 + 66 = 100. I love it!!!!

Remind me to add a link to your blog on the Korner!

Keep up the great work!


andy b said...

BTW, the only figures that were Max Toy X Cronic collabs were the Mav and Doro sold on the Max Toy site (with the headers by Mark).

The SDCC figs were sold at the Max Toy booth, but Max Toy wasn't involved with the figures' design or production. Same goes for the Toy Karma Bak.

But I'd definitely say all three releases were part of a cosmic Max Toy X Cronic kaiju synergy! ^_^