Review: Mighty World: Ken's Kayak Adventure
As far as toy stores go, FAO Schwartz is an odd fit for this collector. On one hand, it's easily one of the coolest stores I've ever been in. On the other, "thrift" isn't usually a word I associate with this store.
On average, FAO Schwartz is a little more pricey than most places I shop. When they sell collectibles, costs tend towards the high end of the scale, and most of their "exclusive" toys are of good quality and priced accordingly.
But every now and then you come across a deal. There are sales, which is how I ended up with the Enterprise I looked at last week, and then there are items which are inexplicably reasonably priced.
Which brings us to a discussion of Mighty World, a toy line that would have slipped under my radar if it weren't for the watchful eye of my wife. These are, presumably, toys intended for a fairly young audience: they bear a slight resemblance to Fisher Price figures and their ilk.
But there's something off about these guys. I mean that in a good way incidentally: these are something I'd hand to a collector long before I'd give them to a kid.
First off, these are packed with small parts: I'd be worried that a toddler would either loose them or eat them. Second... well... these guys are creepy. I mean, really creepy, in a very cool way.
In terms of scale, they're a little bigger than Minimates, but they're close enough to work beside them on the shelf. If you care, these are labeled as the property of Titan Works Media Inc., distributed by Powco Toys, and... er... also distributed by International Playthings Inc. The package is a little confusing, but these things are sometimes complicated.
I picked up "Ken's Kayak Adventure", and I'm pretty happy with what I got.
Okay, I'm going to focus on Ken here, then move on to the accessories in the next section. I could have done it differently, since this is really more a play set, but I'm kind of attached to this format.
I'm rating Ken against Minimates and other small figures. And, I've got to say, this holds up remarkably well, even against collectibles. Ken's clothing is surprisingly detailed, both in the complexity of the sculpt and the paint work. There's a lot of shading here, that really makes him stand out.
But my favorite part is the face. Before I go on, let me include a quick aside: if I had picked this up for a kid, this would probably be my LEAST favorite part. The reason for this discrepancy is simple: there's something kind of scary about his expression. He's got one eyebrow raised and the slightest smirk, like he's planning something. Honestly, he kind of looks as if he's going to pick up a hatchet and cut down a bunch of camping coeds.
Did I mention he comes with a hatchet? And a gun. Seriously, this guy kind of looks like Charlie Brown grew up and then, one day, he just snapped.
That's not to say this is the ONLY interpretation: it could just be that Ken loves adventure, and he's really intense. I'll let you look at the pictures and decide for yourself.
While I like him a lot, there are a few issues I want to bring up. First of all, his head is made to hold his hat, so there's no hair. What's more, there's a hole in the top of his head, where the hat fits. So you're not really able to display him without it.
Packaging and Extras: +3
The Packaging is fairly simple: a box with several pictures of the toys inside. The front and back are almost identical, and, once opened, they've opted for utility above all else. I've got no complaints here, though I do want to note that the accessories pictured on the box aren't completely accurate to what's inside. But, given that they seem to have swapped out an ugly machete for an excellent hatchet, I'm in no mood to complain.
Onto the accessories. Oh, good lord. Where to begin?
How about the kayak, since that's the defining element of the set. And it's plenty cool. The paint work is simple, but highly effective, and it holds Ken like it should. In addition, it's large enough you can fit anything up to a four inch character inside.
Your guess is as good as mine. I don't know why they felt compelled to include this, but I'm glad they did: a toy collector can never have enough guns, after all. This isn't the best side arm I have in this scale, but it's pretty well put together and far more realistic than I'd expect from a set like this.
The least interesting accessory, at least in my opinion, is a phone. This isn't a bad sculpt, but there's not a drop of paint on it... and it really needs it. Oddly enough, the one on the package is painted and looks a lot better. Oh, well: can't win them all.
The two flashlights are a little underwhelming, but still welcome. I feel like the design just isn't quite working here, but they're still nice to have. Maybe some better paint would have improved them, but it's hard to say. On the other hand, I'm highly amused that they felt the need to include two... just in case one breaks. Safety first, kids: safety first.
Finally, Ken comes with a map... of Europe. I guess he's planning one hell of kayaking expedition. It would be a lot better if one side wasn't blank.
Play and Display: +1
Keep in mind: that bonus point could easily have been higher. Ken has the articulation you'd expect: cut shoulders, neck, legs, and wrists. When I first got mine, I thought that the wrists weren't articulated, but is was a case of them being painted solid. Give them a gentle turn and they should start working.
I'd have loved elbow and knee joints, of course, but no such luck.
My one concern with Ken is that he holds his accessories very tightly, and I can't imagine the paint on his palms will stay for long.
I'm a little disappointed that Ken can't sit on his own: the sculpt prevents him from achieving an angle necessary to keep his balance, so he topples over. Of course, if he's got something behind him (like the back of his kayak) he can stay where he's put.
The reason I'm giving Ken a bonus point has nothing at all to do with him. It's the accessories. More specifically, it's the size of these accessories. Like I said before, these are oversized for him (not in a bad way: this is typical for the style), making them a perfect size for larger figures. Have a 3 3/4 inch army man who'd look good in a kayak? This should hold him. Want to give your six inch Deathstroke another gun? This works. Have a Joker who needs a hatchet? You get the idea.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 10+/10
Seven Bucks. And that's full retail price.
See, this is why it's good to look outside the licensed figures and big lines from time to time. I mean, come on: this is less than the price of one 3 3/4 inch DC Infinite Hero. And good luck finding anything half this cool from Lego at this price.
I really bought this for the accessories, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how pleasantly surprised I was by the figure itself. It really holds its own against collectibles in the same scale - some of which can run you as much or more WITHOUT any accessories (Kubrick, I'm looking at you).
To a kid, this would probably look like any other run of the mill adventurer, but to the adult collector... this really looks like an ax murderer (a cute ax murderer, but an ax murderer nonetheless). And I have to say, I couldn't be happier. I mean, who else is my Mega Blocks Batman going to track down?
Well that was a long one. I was going to suggest heading over to my blog for movie reviews and other geeky things, but... come on. You need a break. Go outside, get some air. But... if you see Ken... run.