Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Quick Crappy Review: Galaxy Wars

It's two days to Christmas but you bet i can crap out two Quick Crappy reviews, I wonder if people enjoy reading these or realise I just fall back on them when I don't have the time/energy to write other content? Hopefully both.

Galaxy Wars were a complete surprise but they shouldn’t have been, 26-odd years of action figure loving should have had me looking out for the new knock-offs straight away but I completely forgot it, still at least I got a nice surprise. So a new Star Wars film came out last week (you may have noticed it?) and with, in fact nearly a month before, The Force Awakens came a whole slew of new toys for kids and adults (mostly adults) to buy. I haven’t bought a single thing so far because – ridiculously – I wanted to see the movie first and make sure I actually liked the characters before I wasted £15-£25 on little plastic representations of them, I did not want to end up in another Jar-Jar Binks situation1, oh no wait, I did buy something, I bought three knock-offs from the pound shop, two of whom aren’t even in the film:

Actually it’s even worse as my buying of these isn’t really related to their connection to Star Wars at all, but rather their relation to a previous set of cheap shitty action figures; all three figures re-use the body and gun from a set of alien action figures released under the line name UFO Toys, though given the very obvious but very functionally useless bit button on their chests I’m guessing that wasn’t the first use of the bodies either. I love those alien toys; I bought them in several colours and even bought a large size one and the part reuse here makes the Galaxy Wars boys feel like the humans from that line, the Colonial Marines to UFO Toys Xenomorphs if you will – and I’m sure I’ve offended at least one diehard Aliens fan by comparing £1 Star wars knock-Offs to that franchise, oh well, I’ll live with the guilt. The body suit’s a nice design to, sitting somewhere retro and current, between today’s Space marines and yesterday’s me-too space lines, it wouldn’t look out of place in Halo or Destiny nor Ideal’s Space Team or Tomland’s Starroid Raiders, the sculpt’s pretty sharp too, well, for a £1 Star Wars knock-off.

Anyway yes, these are being released under the Galaxy Wars name and in the UK you can find them in at least Poundland; I’m pretty sure this is a complete set of three giving us Darth Vader Barth Wader, a Stormtrooper Bormdrooper and Bobba Fett Dobba Wett though the decision to make Bobba Dobba the colour that you get when you combine all the Play-Doh is a creative decision that will forever elude me, maybe they just didn’t have any green paint left. Each boasts a whopping three points of articulation – swivels at the shoulders and neck. Yes, neck, the heads join the bodies at the bottom of the neck which is something you just don’t seen anymore, several old lines used to do it (Fisher Price’s Adventure People and Tonka’s Play People for instance, this is a reference heavy review so far!) but it doesn’t show up much anymore, I get that articulating below the chin gives you a better and more realistic range but it’s just a nice throwback and it made me happy. Paint apps are about as good as you can hope for, they’re…roughly in the lines while plastic is a cheap and brittle kind with no hints of rubberyness at all, it didn’t feel perilous when I was handling them and/or playing with them (oh yeah?) and I reckon they could stand up to average child roughness but I think if mum trod on them they’d crumble like an easter egg. I doubt parent or child would be too upset but they bloody well should be! Cheap shitty knock-offs should be treasured! Especially as they go for £10-£20 minimum on eBay within a few years! If I’d’ve treasured my old Wrestling Champions and Galaxy Warriors it would’ve cost me a lot less money today!  *pant* *pant* *pant* sorry, what was I saying? Ah fuck knows; let’s move on to a new paragraph.  

The figures only boast four new pieces between them, their cape and the three new heads; the capes are pretty good and a little softer plastic than the figures, though not sturdy enough to support them when they have their guns raised – at least I couldn’t get it work. The new heads are….well they’re a bit of a let-down compared to the awesome alien noggins that made the UFO Toys Aliens so great but they’re all far from terrible, Dobba and the Bormdrooper have a very Fisher Price/Tomy under-5s look to them which is fine by me but not exactly a menacing Imperial trooper or a fearsome bounty hunger – it’s also really weird that they have faces, one of the various cool things about knock-off toys is how the need to avoid lawsuits pushes the toymakers into some very unique design elements when compared to the source material and seeing Bobba Fett’s Dobba Wett’s almond eyed face through his helmet is actually a pretty mild case of that. Jobba has the expression of someone who’s about to be run over while the Bormdrooper is just oddly perturbed, his brow is furrowed bitch, you have farted in his lift and he’s too polite to give you shit over it but he is angry at you all the same. Barth has the best head of the group and looks the most mature toy (which is a strange thing to say really), from a distance it just looks like they’ve wholesale copied the Darth Vader helmet but look up close and you can see he has an organic mouth and it’s the same design as the UFO Toys aliens, further tying the two lines together, I will (when room permits) display him as the leader of those E.T.s I think. The new heads do have one advantage over those UFO Toys; their longer necks raise the heads above the high collars of the bodies and give them a better range at the neck for an easier turning experience.
Just out of shot: my hand holding him up

Unless you count the capes – which I don’t because the figures bulbous bonces make it impossible to get them off – each figure comes with one accessory, the same gun which was the same one used for the UFO Toys aliens, it’s awesome in an over-compensating 1990s Rob Liefeld kind of way but of course it’s far too heavy for the toys to lift, what did you expect? It to be in scale? What madness would that be!?! And that really shows you the double standards of an average toy fan, Perfuma not being able to lift her weapon was a major strike against the toy and a cause for annoyance, these silly bastards having the same problem is a cause for humour and celebration, but I think it comes down to price, purpose and the toy’s intent – Perfuma is a $25-odd (before postage) collector’s figure aimed at adults and meant to be highly poseable and the best possible representation of the character, Galaxy Wars cost a £1 are aimed at children and meant only to con ignorant parents into buying their shit, their appeal lies in how the company being as cheap as possible leads to accidental creativity and unintentional hilarity while Masters of the Universe Classics appeal lies in making the toys we always wanted as children. Or I’m a hypocrite, whichever.

Insert some obvious reference to Han
shooting first here
If you don’t appreciate knock-off lines you probably never will and I can explain their appeal intelligently or YouTube Postery and it won’t take, shit I sometimes worry if I enjoy bootleg and knock-off toys in an ironic sense and panic, fearing I’m becoming a Hipster, but then I look down and remember I’m wearing an actually decent t-shirt and don’t have a stupid beard and I’m all good again. Anyway I don’t, I appreciate them for what they are and these are a great example of what they are – fun, funny, obvious, cheap and lacking most logic beyond ‘it makes them look like something else’, plus they fit perfectly with a pre-existing line. That’s one of the real benefits of these lines, there is, for instance, only so many He-Man or Real American Hero figures, but with the likes of Galaxy Warriors, Galaxy Fighters and The Corps you can expand your shelf incredibly and bring in a whole bunch of things not covered by the official lines, from purple ogres to the Mounties, Galaxy Wars has given my UFO Toys aliens a leader and two squishy humans. Should I have spent any money, even £3, on toys three days before Christmas? No, no I shouldn’t, hell I’m surprised I even HAD £3 to spend on them. Do I regret spending that money on them, even when I’m so skint I may have to start selling matches/my arse on street corners? Hell no.

1 I have indeed seen it now, in fact I saw it on one of those one-minute-past-midnight showings they did, it’s great, I thoroughly enjoyed it, am completely in love with BB8 and I’m totally going to get myself a 6” Kylo Ren and Rei (and a shitload of BB8 merch) come the new year.    

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