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Figura Obscura
by yo go re

The Four Horsemen have started a new toyline called "Figura Obscura," which is Latin for "we wanted to make a toy of this but it doesn't fit into any of our existing brands."

Krampus is told of in hushed whispers, for to say his name aloud invites his attention. The people of the frozen mountains know that this devil haunts them during the winter festival, while the good folk celebrate to drive away the chill and darkness of the season.

Krampus seeks out the wicked - especially children - for his punishment. Any he judges unworthy are whipped with birch reeds, locked in shackles, and stuffed in his basket. He takes these children away, perhaps to his lair, though some legends say to the underworld itself, never to be seen again.

If you see the shadow of a horned figure, or hear the discordant jingling of iron bells, take care: Krampus seeks fresh prey!

You already know all about Krampus from the last two times we've reviewed him, so no need to repeat all that here. Just know that he's a Germanic monster, a minion of Satan-- sorry, typo; minion of Santa, and it's his job to punish the worst little turds in the world.

He may be part of a different line, but Krampus uses mostly Mythic Legions parts. If you've been collecting that line (or even just living vicariously through our reviews), you'll recognize it all straight away. There's the bare chest and arms, the sharp orc-style armor on the forearms and shins, amd the angular metal skirt piece with the furry loincloth in the front. They even already had cloven hooves available to make the goat-man complete! The new pieces include a furry ruff around the neck, a tail with a tuft of hair at the tip, and, of course, the head.

Krampus' defining features are his massive horns and a long tongue that would make even Venom jealous. No question this toy gets both those features! Even with the head leaning forward, the horns curl back far enough to stick out behind his back, and they're sculpted with ridges all the way along. His eyes are a horrifying red, and that tongue lolls out from between bright, sharp fangs. There's thick hair between the horns and wrapping around the back of his head to join with the beard, and long, pointed ears poke out from within all that.

The colors are appropriately dark. His skin is solid black, while his hair is a dark grey to provide just a little differentiation. All the armor is gunmetal grey, and the three leather straps that hang along with the loincloth are a dark, desaturated brick red. The reds on the face are dark, too, and those teeth really stand out well from the darkness!

Mythic Legions pieces mean Mythic Legions articulation: balljointed head and chest; swivel/​hinge shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles; and swivel thighs and forearms. The tail plugs in with a balljoint as well, though it's hard to get it in place. Do you freeze it, so it gets stiff and won't shear when you try to plug it in, or do you boil it to make everything soft? I tried one, then the other. It'd be terrible to ruin your Krampus by accident!

Krampus gets his own special accessories, because he's not exactly the "sword and shield" type. Though you do get your choice of hands that can hold things or hands that are ready to claw. There's a set of manacles, which we've seen before and still have the same problem of weird construction and insufficient size, but also a string of jingle bells. Ones that really work! They jingle! Holy moly! His bundle of sticks is detailed with individual branches and wrapped hand-hold in the middle.

The torso has the usual holes in the back where Mythic Legions figures would be able to plug in armor or wings or whatever, but they're covered by the hair. So if you want him to use his backpack, you'll need to tie it to him with the included rope. Oh wait, "backpack"? You know it! Krampus has the wicker basket he stuffs children into, because the Horsemen aren't cutting any corners. There are no "child"-sized bodies in the Mythic Legions line, so sadly he don't get a kid to stuff in there... buuuut, the lid comes off the basket and there are surprises waiting inside! There's that leather weapons strap every figure comes with, a pair of skulls (one bright, with dark eye sockets and a wash on the teeth, and the other more muted, but with an articulated jaw) and then the coolest thing, a pair of human hands! They're the female skeleton molds introduced in Mythic Legions Series 2 - that makes them small emough to pass for a child's! Tuck them onto the edge of the basket and drop the lid on, and it looks like a tiny child is trying to peek out from within. Too cool! It might have been better if the lid were hinged instead of removable, so it would be less likely to fall off, but this is still awesome.

Krampus is sold in a window box with really cool art by Nate Baertsch. The wraparound art shows Krampus stalking through a snow wood at night, approaching a well-lit cabin on an overhanging cliff, while the removable insert behind the figure shows a frosty winter's morn, with the sun barely above the horizon. The entire box is enclosed within a "book cover"-style piece of stiff, hinged cardboard, held in place around the box by three magnets embedded within. The exterior has falling snow, Krampus' face, and all the appropriate logos, while the interior shows the moon breaking through the clouds above a snowy pine forest and some sort of shrine stones. It all looks very nice, without being needlessly overdone.

Rather than being a preorder we knew about for months, Krampus was announced as a special surprise mystery sale just a day before he was available - the Horsemen designed this figure, produced it, got it shipped to their warehouse in New Jersey, and had it ready to go before even giving us a hint that it existed. Sneaky sneaky! At $50, it was a little expensive, but there are enough new and unreusable pieces that it doesn't feel like we're getting gouged. Figura Obscura Krampus will be a wonderful addition to holiday displays.

-- 12/22/21

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