Today’s review is a bit unorthodox, since it’s not really a review of a figure, but a set of customizing accessories.
Anyone who collects Minimates knows there’s a thriving customizing community for the little block figures. What you may not know is that some of those customizers are moving beyond individual customs to making kits that allow any fan to create their own brand-new Minimates.
At the forefront of this movement is Luke Porter, who operates the website The Minimate Factory. Minimates customizing is interesting, because rather than focusing on sculpting new parts or mixing and matching parts from different figures (although there is some of that), what Luke and his fellow customizers do is create custom decals that can be printed out and pasted onto a Minimate.
While you have to have the equipment to print the decals yourselves, Luke has recently offered his very first kit, the Ninja Minimates Decal Kit.
Priced at $4.99, the kit includes:
- 10 unique ninja character decals, including face, chest, back, forearms, and shins
- Duplicate set of decals in case you make a mistake with the first set
- Detailed application instructions
- Comprehensive list of recommended base figures
This is all you need to make custom ninja-style Minimates, with one important exception: blank Minimates. While I’ve heard rumors these might be available in the near future, for now you’ll have to prowl your local Toys ‘R Us or comic shops for cheap or clearanced Minimates sets and use those. (For this review sample, Luke provided me with three blanks.)
The decals aren’t just stickers, as you might be thinking. They’re true decals, like the kind you put on model kits; they need to be soaked in water and then carefully applied and allowed to dry. I’m not a patient man, so I got ahead of myself and ended up ripping the decals a bit. Fortunately, there’s a duplicate set of decals included, so if you make any mistakes you can repair them.
Luke’s instructions also include a lot of helpful advice for more hardcore customizers as to how to improve the figures’ look with paints and so forth, if desired. It’s important to note, however, that painting is entirely optional–the kits are designed not to need any extra work other than applying the decals.
The end result is pretty neat, though. Luke has done a great job of assimilating the unique Minimates art style, so these will blend in seamlessly with the rest of your Minimates.
Thanks to popular lines like the Ghostbusters and Marvel superheroes, Minimates seem to be gaining popularity. Of course, it’s always great to see toy fans taking initiative in creative ways. Diamond would be wise to support these endeavors like these–it will help extend the reach and life of the brand.