Friday, June 15, 2012

Handmade American Custom Kaiju (H.A.C.K.) Review

 I am reviewing Amerikaiju's first wave of "Handmade American Custom Kaiju" or "H.A.C.K." figures. David Lee, from Amerikaiju, hand sculpts all of his pieces, and also handles the casting chores.
When he told me that he was sending me a set of his figures, I was elated! Another like-minded, mono-mini loving, toy enthusiast! And, I'll be damned, if David Lee isn't just that.

I told him that I would write a review of his toys, and I am about to get into the meat and potatoes of that review, but first, I just want to say that I wish more toy producing hobbyists/aspiring toy makers handled themselves with as much class as David and Amerikaiju do. It is my pleasure, to be acquainted, sir.

Now, first off, I'm not going to spend any time talking about the packaging. #1, Chad over at University of M.U.S.C.L.E. ( already made the most constructive criticism about the logo/layout, and #2, I really don't care about that. I'm a toy guy. I'm going to talk about toys.
Here we go...
 The first figure, is Mas Mano, and Chad already did the heavy lifting on the translation, so I am just going to talk about how much I love this sculpt. The detail work on the knuckles, and the choice to use subtle lines on the palm, really give this piece a professional quality. The legs-made-from-fingers gimmick is cute, but honestly, if they were just nebulous legs, I think the figure would be equally as strong. I'd love to see David come back to this figure, after a few more outings, and do an older, more weathered take on it. This figure is fantastic, and easily my favorite out of the entire first wave's offerings.
 I mean, come on... Look at that cute little ass... What's not to love?

 The next figure, is Mag Malicious. This figure is a lot of fun, and has a high playability factor. However, this piece doesn't show the same artistic strength, as his handy counterpart. Mag comes off a little less strong... but what is very apparent, due to the visibility of some of his "flaws", is David's skill in casting. I can see where he may have missed a seam or two, when adding to the armature. That tells me, that his mold was nice and tight, and that while his sculpt on this piece isn't his finest work... The casting on it is incredible. I hope to also see him revisit this piece as well,  in the future.

 The top of his head, is a freaking VOLCANO. Imagine how fun this guy will be, chokeslamming your  kid's favorite Squinkies.
 I saved this guy for last.
This is another example of Dave's masterful casting technique, exposing a few issues. This piece towers over the others, at almost 2.5", and seems to be missing the unique charm of the other figures. The hands bother me a lot (Sorry David!), mainly because of the presence of toes on the figure's feet. The hands are more like Battle Beast hands, where there is not much definition, and an implication that they are supposed to hold something... But then the feet have fully rendered toes. Little logical hiccups like that drive me crazy, though, so maybe you shouldn't mind me.

 The line work on the fur seems a little rushed. I will say this, though: The proportions of Cysquatch are fairly even. His shoulders are square with his hips, and he stands with a good implied skeletal symmetry. I think this piece is just missing the attention to detail, that make the other pieces so much fun... Or the subtlety that makes Mas Mano an instant charmer.

Speaking of that lovable little scamp:

 What's that he's holding? Amerikaiju includes accessories?! NOBODY, to my knowledge, releases mono-minis, with accessories. The boom-box accessory has become an instant favorite of mine. I have spent stupid amounts of time, trying to fit that damned boom-box onto all of my favorite mono-minis. I think I have gone over my quota, on using the word "Charm" in this review, but it's exactly things like Mas Mano and the boom-box, that has me on my toes, waiting for what comes next. Oh, and I have seen what comes next... David gave me a sneak peek at his next sculpt... And, it is fantastic.

The whole set is made from a nice, durable-yet-very-flexible rubber. It reminds me most, of the consistency of "Monster in my Pocket" figures, from the 1990's. Between the quality of the materials he offers, the level of skill that he displays in casting, and the progression of sculpting skill that I have been fortunate to witness... Not to mention, the fact that he's offering one hell of a value for what he is offering... David at Amerikaiju has piqued my interest, and I'm signing up for the ride.
Check him out, at, and buy his toys... Or, I'll visit your dreams, and make you chew on your own uvula.

Here's a size comparison, next to some other colored mono-minis, for your enjoyment....
which brings me to my last point: David, you should really cast up a few batches of purple Mas Manos.  I'll bet the M.U.S.C.L.E. heads would go apeshit.

Time to go....
It's been fun, though, right?


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