Battle Tribes: Wave 6
2 days ago
Shinto Gangu micro store release, Oct. 2010
In mid-October 2010, Mori released the spiritual counterpart to the fabled ME-L03 Mutant Evil. Being an in-store micro release, it was perhaps, only a little easier to acquire than said Evil.
I didn't think much when I saw the first photo of this MH, as the photo was poorly lit on a dark background. Clear purple with minimalist paint applications. Ho hum. But a later, better photograph later revealed it to be an instant stunner. The metallic paint is sprayed over a cream-colored base color, which gives it additional definition against the clear purple vinyl. Spray is a little rougher than I care for, but a minor issue on a superb version.
As we close out the first year of micro-run store exclusive RxH, it is good to see a few of these gems make themselves available to foreign collectors.
|Secret Base [シークレットベース] fight figures- love them or hate them- embody the essence of Japan's new soft vinyl toys. While simply constructed with minimal articulation, SB toys combine high-quality soft vinyl with multiple layers of nostalgia, toy history and pop culture to create a truly enjoyable product. Their universal themes (Halloween, music, sports, Henshin Cyborg, Astro-Mu 5) make the toys accessible to nearly all adult collectors. I still don't really get the whole fighting thing, but it's ok. |
SB's Pumpkin Brain was the first JP vinyl toy that really caught my attention when I began collecting in 2006. As an aficionado of Halloween TV specials and consumer products since my formative years, the idea of limited-run Halloween boutique toys made in Japan proved irresistible to my toy collector instincts. I can only assume that owner of SB shares my affection for the holiday.
|The above two Pumpkins are the original releases from Halloween 2003; the orange was available at Secret Base's shop and the GID at TWIM's shop. Both were sold as unassembled figures in the plastic pumpkin container. (New collectors take note- the bubble wrap in the pumpkin is part of the original packaging; don't throw it away!) These are among the older SB toys, predating the popularization of Japanese vinyl, causing them to be highly coveted, top shelf material a few years back.|
|And I guess patience paid off, as I was able to purchase these recently for around original retail. Not U.S. retail. JAPAN retail. Crazy rolling googly eyes. The GID Pumpkin had been on my list of wants since I first began my collection, but as mentioned above, it was virtually unavailable at the time. |
I think this ranks among the best toys produced by SB; the clear head piece over a GID vinyl body is a nod to its SB predecessors and Henshin Cyborg lineage. The eyes and foot-wraps have just the right amount of subtle overspray from the airbrush. A surprise to me, the head piece is made of extremely rubbery vinyl, much like the old outer brains for the Skull Brain. Newer Pumpkins feature vinyl of the same consistency as the rest of the body (as do modern Skull Brains).
That is not to say that the orange Pumpkin is at all unremarkable by comparison. This is a solid classic SB release. Just the right amount of overspray is present here as well, which contrasts nicely with the clean lines of the trunks and chest. But key to the orange Pumpkin is its amazing clean, glossy orange vinyl. I truly believe that the uncompromising quality of their vinyl material is what sets apart companies like Bounty Hunter, Secret Base and Gargamel from their compatriots. It's like cooking with good ingredients.
|I also picked up this black Pumpkin Brain, which was sold two years after the above pair, as part of Super7's first Halloween collaboration with SB in 2005. Interestingly, the S7 black Pumpkin is a color-swap of the orange Pumpkin. There is a second black Pumpkin as well (a SB Fan Club release in 2005) which has black trunks and gloves instead of orange.|
|While it may be true that the numbers of fight figure collectors are dwindling down to a dedicated handful, the Pumpkin Brain- and really any of Secret Base's lineup from the past 9 years- is definitely worth a purchase if you have an interest in JP vinyl.|