Sponsored Review > The Weaponeers of Monkaa (Spy Monkey Creations)

My association with Spy Monkey Creations goes back three years ago, when I first reviewed the Master Blade of the Empyrean and the Witching Axe of Ruination. Since those early efforts, Spy Monkey Creations has grown from a small outfit of three devoted fans making toys in a basement to a full-fledged independent toy operation with factory production overseas.

Scroll to the bottom for a gallery of 24 pics!

SMC made their name as purveyors of fine third-party action figure weapons, moving from the Zodac sword/Master Blade of the Empyrean all the way to Spy Monkey Armory. While embracing their reputation as the forgers of plastic weapons, SMC wanted to expand beyond it and move into the realm of true action figures. Fortunately for fans of their weapons, SMC decided to merge both ideas with the Weaponeers of Monkaa.

SMC has gone all out for this launch with a website featuring a background story that makes connections throughout the Glyoverse, and some beautiful character art by C. Miller that brings to mind the work of Jeffrey Mangiat on those back-of-the-box murals on the G1 Transformers. In classic Saturday morning cartoon style, the Weaponeers are divided into two factions: the heroic Gearo and the villainous Vilhain.

SMC has kindly sent along two figures, the evil Brutok and the neutral(?) Crystal Gohlem.

In terms of sculpt and aesthetic design, the Weaponeers bring to mind dozens of classic 1970s and 1980s toy lines. The heroic Empyreus reminds me of several of the Shogun Warriors; Brutok’s colors evoke Devastator from Transformers; Palidar looks a bit like the Go-Bots Cap Pistol; and the Crystal and Magma Gohlems are reminiscent of Crystar and Moltar, respectively. Umbreus’s face appears to be a cross between Megatron and Skeletor. And each figure has a removable plate on their chest representing their faction, which of course brings to mind Transformers as well as the suddenly-ubiquitous Battle Beasts.

The Weaponeers are quite a bit larger than most of the standard Glyos lines so far, and have a chunky, blocky aesthetic that reinforces that sense of classic 1980s toys.

I also think that unlike some of the other Glyos offerings, which tend to be smaller and geared a bit more toward adult collectors, the Weaponeers could be great for younger children as well. Without taking anything away from the quality of the sculpting and design, there’s a certain Adventure People/Playskool aesthetic to these figures that’s very appealing.

One of the clever things about the Weaponeers (and this is a feature shared across most Glyos-compatible lines) is that certain parts, such as the hands on Brutok, are designed to serve as heads, while Brutok’s own head is actually a weapon hand for the Crystal Gohlem.

There’s quite a bit of articulation here as well. It’s all cut joints, but there’s more of them than I care to count, and the flat feet make it surprisingly easy to balance these figures, even in a walking pose.

There’s not a lot of paint work, but this is an area where the factory(s) involved in making Glyos-related figures have increasingly improved, and at this point there’s beginning to be very little daylight between the paint quality on these projects and that of a company like Hasbro or Mattel (and of course, sometimes it’s even better).

In addition to the two figures, SMC also sent along an “Extra Head Pack” of alternate heads (perhaps a tiny bit of a razz to Mattel, there?) which will be available on launch day on October 1st, as well as two Close Combat Armory Weapon Sets, which expand the weapons of both characters. Here’s the one for Brutok:

The “guns” resemble the ones included with the Dark Arsenal of the Space Pirate, and the handles fit MOTUC hands. However, you’ll need the special larger plug (and a few connectors) from one of the Spy Monkey Armory sets in order to actually plug any of these weapons into the arms of Trap Jaw, Roboto, Hurricane Hordak or Spikor. Still, it can be done.

Each figure also comes with a great, glossy “file card” on the character. It’s funny to think these cards look and feel nicer than the professional superhero trading cards from Impel I collected as a kid in the early 1990s.

I’ll admit I’ve never quite been bitten by the Glyos bug. There are a lot of reasons for this, I think, none of which have anything to do with the creativity or quality of the figures involved – it has more to do with the fact that I’ve just never been a “builder” person. I’ve often discussed my dislike of non-iconic variants of figures, so with these sorts of figures I tend to keep them just in the “canonical” configuration. I also tend to prefer toy lines with more characterization and background. The Weaponeers of Monkaa offer that, and I find myself enjoying the figures more and more as I fiddle with them. (I also really like the Armorvor, but I’ll save that for a separate review.) I’m feeling a strong need to pick up Empyreus, Palidar and Umbreus when they go on sale.

Speaking of which, online sales of the figures will begin on Monday, October 1st, at www.SpyMonkeyCreations.com at 12 noon PDT (3pm Eastern time). The figures will cost $12 apiece, while the weapons packs and heads packs are $5 each. The official press release is below.

Spy Monkey Creations Inc. is proud to announce the debut of their new original
property: The Weaponeers of Monkaa!

Enter the world of the Weaponeers of Monkaa! Witness the eternal battle
between the heroic Gearo and the evil Vilhain as it rages across space and
time! Empyreus, Palidar and their Gearo defenders protect the cosmos
from Umbreus, Brutok and the ravening Vilhain hordes! Discover the
secrets of the mysterious Gohlem; will they follow the path of good or evil?

Join the battle and decide the fate of The Weaponeers of Monkaa!

The Weaponeers of Monkaa will introduce fans and collectors to a new world of
fun and adventure. Meet the heroic Gearo and the evil Vilhain. Join in their epic
cross-dimensional battle. Decide what path, good or evil, the beings known as
Gohlem will walk. Play with and display them as they are or rebuild and
customize each character your way. The possibilities are endless!

Products that will be available include interchangeable action figures and
accessory packs utilizing the amazing Onell Design Glyos system. Each injection
molded PVC action figure and accessory set will be fully customizable and
compatible will all Glyos System products including Onell, Callgrim, The Outer
Space Men, and Banimon!

The first series of Weaponeers of Monkaa will be comprised of the following;
4 key characters in the struggle of good versus evil:

  • Empyreus – Heroic Leader of the Gearo
  • Palidar – Fearless Commander of the Gearo Forces
  • Umbreus – Evil Overlord of the Vilhain
  • Brutok – Ruthless General of the Vilhain Hordes

Each character figure features painted accents, detail lines, and a removable
tampo printed faction symbol. Each figure is made up of 25-28 interchangeable
parts including a sword and a sickle weapon and interchangeable
head/hand/weapon accessories. Each figure comes with a trading card featuring
fully painted artwork, bios and details on each character.
$12.00 each.

Series one will also include two incredible Gohlem, Elemental Warriors that make
up the Gearo and Vilhain forces:
• Crystal Gohlem
• Magma Gohlem

Each translucent Gohlem figure features painted accents and two
interchangeable faction symbols to allow you to choose a side for your Gohlem.
Each Gohlem figure is made up of 29 interchangeable parts including a sword
and a sickle weapon and interchangeable head/hand/weapon accessories.

Gohlems also include alternate translucent Empyreus and Umbreus heads. Each
figure comes with a trading card featuring fully painted artwork, bios and details
on each character.
$12.00 each.

Also available is a Close Combat Armory Weapon Set in six different colorways.
Each set includes 14 interchangeable parts including 2 pistol builds, sword blade,
sickle blade, 2 re-designed Dominar handles, and 4 bonus mini blades.
$5.00 each.

Additionally a special Weaponeers of Monkaa Extra Head Pack is available
which includes 6 character heads in colorways available nowhere else! Each
pack includes 10 interchangeable parts.
$5.00 each.

Here are some of the highlights of my Spy Monkey Creations coverage over the years:

I took a lot of pics of these figures. Enjoy!

 

Comments now closed (11)

  • i'm always surprised when i read bits on what some collectors do or don't do, as it pertains to their figs. like your bit about non-canonical variants, i didn't even think that was something a person could have feelings on, until reading this. my brain is not wired like that at all. it's good to be reminded that people don't see the world you do, and that all kinds of beliefs and attitudes are managed every day without incident… i think people get too worked up sometimes in the belief of the superiority of their own viewpoints, or become disinterested in acknowledging other points of view, when some of their close friends and colleagues may well harbor completely different realities that are shared quite harmoniously.

    another collector friend of mine discussed several years ago how, when he was a kid, he never mixed and matched play time across toy lines, so when it transformers time, only transformers got played with, when it was he-man time, only he-man stuff got played with. that blew my mind. it had honestly never occured to me to play like that, my childhood was a complete mish-mash of toys, whatever was at hand got involved. by comparison, i'm sure he found my style play disquieting and chaotic, while i found his stifling and restrictive… yet, we'd been friends for a few years when i learned about this, and had no real disagreements on any other topic. just goes to show, you learn something new every day.

    as for the weaponeers, i like the figs and all, but i'm dying to see more custom configurations and weapon builds out of the parts. on the one hand, i think the WoM lack the stylization and refinement of the usual onell stuff, but i think that plays to their favor as it pertains to the art of the custom build. onell stuff can sometimes be kind of specific, as the aesthetic is concerned… these have a distinct look, but i think it's a look that's flexible enough to be used for both the weapons and figures that SMC seem to be envisioning. that's a cool thing. can't wait to lay hands on a few of these.

    • "[...] but i'm dying to see more custom configurations and weapon builds out of the parts."

      Yeah, and I feel bad I can't really provide that. I'm a pretty imaginative person, but my imagination works in stories and characters and prose on a page – as I said in the review, I'm just not a builder. I don't look at something like a Glyos figure and imagine the ways in which I could mix and match the parts. I just wonder who the character is, what world he inhabits, and what he'd say if he could talk.

      Actually mixing and matching Glyos parts (or Lego or Minimates) and constructing new things feels weirdly artificial to me – like playing with blocks rather than action figures. It "dehumanizes" the figures for me, if that makes any sense, and weakens my sense of association. Obviously these are entirely my own, very personal impressions.

      I was mostly the same way as your friend – not mixing and matching toy lines – although if toys were in roughly the same scale, one or two figures might play a role among another toy line (Weed Killer being the most famous example).

      All that said, I would love to contribute to the WoM fiction, if ever given the chance. If there's any dream I've ever had, it's to write stories in the world of a toy line.

  • Thank you so much for covering this in advance of the release. I appreciate the hands-on feedback and your detailed photos, as well as your objectivity in discussing the figures. I had planned on waiting to pick one or more up until I had read more, risking the fact that the designs I like best may sell out. I can say with some confidence that I'll be logging on Monday at noon to make sure I don't get scooped.

    Forgive my ignorance, but what/who is the figure on the far left in the Glyos comparison photo? (Also seen assembling Brutok in the following pic.)

  • While the aesthetic is definitely different than the other Glyos lines, based on your photo it looks like Brutok fits in pretty well with Pheyden and the rest of the crew. That may have just guaranteed the purchase of a few of these from me.

  • Pingback Review Round-Up (September 24th-30th) « It'sAllTrue.Net

  • Pingback Interview > Brian-Man of Spy Monkey Creations, Part II : Poe Ghostal's Points of Articulation

  • Pingback Glyos System Toys at New York Comic Con | BattleGrip