Friday, 2 March 2018

Belated Quick Crappy Reviews: Boss Fight Studios’ The S.P.A.C.E. Adventures of Bucky O’Hare and The Toad Wars - Bucky O’Hare and Jenny

I didn’t review some stuff because life, so let’s just embrace it and do a BELATED review!

I can’t believe I’ve never talked about Bucky O’Hare at any length on here before, not just because I really like it but because I’m usually willing to take any excuse to talk about Bucky O’Hare at length, my friends leave the room then.

Let’s change that shit: Bucky O’Hare is awesome, it’s a space opera starring a green rabbit with a laser gun and a four-armed space pirate duck fighting a massive robot toad. More specifically it’s a small franchise created by comic writer Larry Hama (who was instrumental in the development of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero) and artist Christopher Golden (who drew The Micronauts) and first published through Continuity Comics (the independent comic company owned by comic legend Neal Adams) in the 1980s but it had it’s real day in the sun in 1990-91 when Hasbro picked it up for a toyline and got Sunbow Productions (who they had a good relationship with, they’d done the G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, Transformers and Jem toons) to make a cartoon of it in a decision that was no-way influenced by the success of any teenage, mutant or ninja turtles. Unfortunately an oversight in how they packed the figures (they packed like 10 Toad Air Marshalls for every other figure) lead to stores not re-ordering toys and without toy sales the whole Bucky franchise got scuttled. BUT I was 6 in 1991 and looking for anything TMNT-like to get excited about so I was completely hooked, it helped that the animated series was actually good and the toys it was advertising were actually good albeit cut short by an abundance of short toads in fetching hats. I cannot stress how much I love these TMNT-alikes that had their five minutes of fame in the early-to-mid 1990s: Bucky O’Hare, Biker Mice, Street Sharks, Captain Simian, I love ’em all with a genuine and not at all sad love.

Last year Boss Fight Studios, an online-only collectors’ action figure company, put up a pre-order for their first two Bucky O’Hare toys: Captain Bucky O’Hare and First Mate Jenny and I was so there. They turned up November-ish last year which was just the right time to not get reviewed as I was unable to be enthusiastic about anything, even green space rabbits – yeah that’s how bad I was, I know right? We are actually gonna start with Bucky O’Hare himself so: Bucky’s a green space hare from the planet Warren and captain of the Righteous Indignation, a space ship in the small but growing S.P.A.C.E. fleet who basically leads the battle against the Toad Empire, who are conquering the Aniverse and terraforming it to their liking.

I’m a little disappointed with his new collector’s figure, most of that is in the body though because the headsculpt is fucking awesome, all three faces really captures a sense of self-confidence. I don’t know much (read: anything) about Boss Fight Studio’s licence so I don’t know if they can make characters and designs exclusive to the show (it would seriously suck if they can’t: a Bruiser is essential and a Mimi would be amazing) but the head seems to sit somewhere between comic and cartoon and ends up being pretty representative of both. They were also wise enough to keep the ear articulation, a neat feature on the original toy that’s now been upgraded into a pair of ball joints for extra ear-posing fun (what? You don’t like posing ears? Freak).

My disappointment comes from his body and it comes from an unfair but unavoidable area: comparisons with the previous toy, one we’ve had for a long time and have fond childhood memories of. In this case the body just seems so much less dynamic than the original, it’s more accurate (though closer to the cartoon in proportions I feel) but just feels a little bit boring. It IS articulated though, VERY articulated and I know some toy fans would much rather articulation to dynamism (or articulation to quality if some Marvel Legends buyers are to be used as examples) – he’s got ball joints in the neck, shoulders, elbows, crotch, knees and ankles plus hinged toes and swivels at the wrists, waist and tail, yes his bobtail is separately articulated and that is fantastic, seriously you have to attach it anyway so why not give it a swivel? Now this does mean he lacks for ball-joints at the wrists (always a shame) and has no ab-crunch which is a shame as the design choice to go with a longer body than the original toy (which is show-accurate) totally allowed for one. He does have those awesome knee joins that have those little ‘cuffs’ that cover up the join though, and even though I’m personally not a fan of hinged fingers or toes (they cause more problems than they solve I find) anyone with feet as big as Bucky’s should have as such a thing and you can, of course, get more poses with them than without. His real problem is his cape, it’s simply an engineering cock-up, it attached to his back via a peg but the peg is too short and so it falls off all the time, which is doubly annoying as the Boss Fight people must be fans of Bucky to bother with such a small-time licence and as such I’d expect them to know about the Toad Air Marshall’s hat and know that fashion that can be detached should never be included with Bucky O’Hare figures again- shame on them. However they do claw back points for making sure Bucky kept his peg-holes in the soles of his shoes, why is this so important? Well because he actually has those in the comic and cartoon, it was a conscious decision on the part of Hama to incorporate them so there was no disconnect between how the toys looked and how the characters looked in the show/comic/whatever and could have easily been overlooked, but instead Bucky features fully sculpted soles with pegholes (they’ve been moved back a little I think to allow for the toe articulation) – there is never a good reason not to sculpt the bottoms of boots, it costs no more in tooling, materials or painting costs.

Most of Bucky’s accessories are swappable parts but he does come with two standard ‘Aniverse blasters’ that are commonly used by various characters in-universe. I think these guns are some of the best weapon designs in fiction, I’m not being hyperbolic: I find the roundness of them to be incredibly aesthetically pleasing and having some that I haven’t lost years ago made me delighted, I wished we’d got a role-play toy of these back in ’91, a water pistol that looked like that would have been amazing. Swappable hands/gloves are pretty great, we get two trigger finger hands, two fists, an open hand and a pointing hand of leadership, a set of standard c-grip hands seems like a glaring omission but I guess they figured more people would want to pose Bucky with guns than with a crowbar. The swappable faces are less pleasing, simply put they all look so similar.

It’s a problem with Jenny as well. On that: OH MY FUCKING GOD A FUCKING JENNY FIGURE!!!!!!! *calms down* Jenny is first mate on the Righteous Indignation, she’s a cat from Alderbaran (seriously) with secret psychic powers, she’s also a toy dream come true. Now I respect that you may think using terms like ‘dream come true’ for toys is over-the-top, a little silly even but with cases like Jenny it is completely accurate. Until Boss Fight’s pre-order went up fans of Bucky O’Hare could only imagine – or dream if you will – of owning a toy of Jenny, who I’d like to point out again is the first mate of the crew and a main character. Jenny’s sotry isn’t an original one – Skeleton Warrior fans will know the tale, as will Darkwing Duck fans and many others – Jenny was scheduled for wave 2 of the line but there was no wave 2, leaving kids without a key member of the crew, imagine not having Uhura, that’s basically what we’ve had for 26 years. Photos of the prototype (and, I believe, factory samples) have been around t’internet for years and a rich fan or so even owns one but for the rest of us all we’ve been able to do is look. Given the relative obscurity of Bucky O’Hare and the relative failure of the franchise as a toy fad I honestly never thought I’d ever own Jenny, until Boss Fight Studios were amazing!

I was actually… apprehensive about a Jenny figure, firstly because of the quarter-of-a-decade of anticipation but mostly because Jenny has the best arse and legs in all of furrydom, getting Jenny’s butt and pins wrong would scuttle any figure of hers as far as I was concerned, I’m fucking odd. I needn’t have worried, even with articulation Boss Fight gave her the physique she demands:

Away from revealing far too much about my perversions Jenny is a really nice figure, she seems clearly based on the prototype figure and I’m completely ok that with that that’s the figure we didn’t get and that’s now the figure we now get to own, effort has been put into making the fantasy a reality – this does mean that Jenny lacks two major design elements from the cartoon though: her combat stilettos and her huge pink hair and tail, replaced with equally impractical platform shoes and huge white hair and tail (her hair was more white in the comic book and cross-sell artwork as well as the proto). Speaking of the tail, that tail is VERY well done, it’s essential for balancing a figure that has tiny ankles and tiny knees but long legs and platform heels, happily it’s ball-joint, weight and thickness means it works perfectly. Other articulation is pretty much the same as Bucky’s though she has those ‘rocker’ joints at her ankles. Overall though she looks fantastic, far better, far more dynamic, than Bucky and a big improvement on her prototype, she’s also roughly in scale with the original toys so if you just want a Jenny to go with them, she’ll more than do. 

She also has a lot more accessories than Buck, it’s like Boss Fight Studios knew that she was the real star of this first ‘wave’ and Bucky was just a necessity. Or it might be because she doesn’t have any guns. She has 3 swappable faces and a total of 8 hands to choose from. Her hands are a lot more fiddly than Bucky’s but their fragility seems to be an illusion, they’re pretty durable: she has c-grip hands, fists, spell casting hands that match her card art and hands that are ‘blasting’ very tasty looking pink psionic energy, I have no problem with any of them, I do have problems with her swappable faces. She has a cute winking face but her other three faces are just so similar they feel a little redundant – they’re supposed to neutral, angry and happy (I think) but they all just look ‘slightly sassy’. Rounding out her accessories are two of those effects pieces that hang on the wrists that the whole action figure industry is now in love with since someone finally figured out how to do them; they’re actually gorgeous little sculpts that do a great job of replicating Michael Golden’s artwork in reality, they’re so good I wish I could have made them (if that makes sense). what she doesn’t come with (and what makes me a little resentful of the three faces that look almost identical) is her prototype’s weapon, a completely made-up sci-fi shotgun thing that makes no sense and looks like it was taken from a random Hasbro vehicle but I still would have liked it to complete the ‘prototype made reality’ feel of the toy.

Conclusions? Jenny is amazing which is all that really matters, Bucky is frankly irrelevant as is the continued success of this line as far as I’m concerned, I WANT it to continue, I want Boss Fight to put out the Deadeye Duck that’s now on pre-order (because he’s my favourite, yes I have pre-ordered him), I WANT collector’s figures of the Toad Stromtroopers, of Al Negator, Blinky, Dogstar and ESPECIALLY Bruiser and the mighty Toadborg; I WANT to finally own figures of Terror Toad, Mimi LaFloo, Rumble Bee and Komplex but Boss Fight have already achieved the only goal that mattered: we finally have a Jenny figure and it’s a really bloody good toy.    

1 comment:

  1. These figures are incredible. I have Bucky. I hope that now since Boss Fight has done a Storm Toad, they can use that to make Frix and Frax, who were unjustly overlooked in the original toy line. They were my favorite bad guys in the show.