Rotocast vinyl figures are gaining popularity in the west as more manufacturers realize that light pieces and cheap manufacturing costs mean massive figures can finally be affordable.
(For an explanation of the rotocast process, check out our review of ToyBiz's 13" Hulk --ed.)
Entertainment company Hyperchild has utilized rotocasting for their first line of action figures, the "ant"-thropomorphic Deviants. The story of miniature warfare in the insect world, the Deviants are two parts suicide mission, one part cannon fodder and a splash of napalm. Disavowed by their government, the Deviants are their colonies' only hope against a blood-sucking horde, but is it really worth it when the good guys pad their confirmed kills stats with friendly fire?
The first figure released from the Deviants line was the variant "Shadow Assault" Bodycount exclusive at Comic Con International. Featuring a darker paint scheme than his mass-released counterpart and limited to only 250 pieces worldwide, Bodycount is a human soldier who found his way into the insect ranks.
A decorated veteran of two world wars, as well as the civil war on the Moon and the Mars uprising, Captain Dooley Lomo volunteered for the classified Subatomic Soldier program in 2203 - a program designed to achieve tactical superiority in the Nanotechnology War. But, when an unexplained explosion left the experimental lab in ruins, and Lomo trapped part way through the process, he found himself eye-to-compound-eye with the Insect World. Now codenamed BodyCount, Captain Lomo finds himself as the field commander of the unpredictable and mostly psychotic Deviants, whose special missions lie outside the normal Imperial channels of the Colony. BodyCount has become an engine of destruction consumed with a desire to kill as many arthropods as possible, enemy or otherwise. To find out where he's been, all you have to do is count the bodies and follow the trail that has the highest pile...
Bodycount has a very blocky, animated look to him, which suits the figure (and the rotocast process) well. Hyperchild is a company dedicated to all forms of pop culture, so it's entirely feasible that the Deviants could one day find their way into a cartoon or comicbook. Even the box art has a stylized anime look. These figures have a fully realized backstory, which shows that a lot of thought has gone into the line.
Bodycount stands 9 1/2" tall at the tips of his antennae - much larger than I expected this line to be - and moves at the neck, shoulders, waist and boot tops. The poseability just isn't there, with the lack or wrists particularly vexing. His only accessory is a MP9 "Gutwrencher" sub-machine gun; painted gold and measuring 3 1/4" long, the gun can be held in either hand. Apparently pput in the package before the paint was dry, the gun has left a few gold splotches on Bodycount's hand.
For rotocast figures, the Deviants are surprisingly expensive. Perhaps it's the paint applications that drive costs up; Hulk was all green, and his only costume elements were sewn on. Bodycount, however, is wearing full combat armor: detailed boots, each with a gun holstered on the side (those would be the 45 ACP caliber "Vomitron" pistol sidearms); a utility belt; shoulder pads; silver gauntlets; and to top it all off, a big ant-shaped tactical helmet with radoscopic antennae. That's a lot of detail to deco.
The dark color scheme suits the figure well, looking much better than the regular edition. His suit is a dark grey, while the armor is black with red highlights. The faces on the toes of his boots are much more distinct in "Shadow Assault" mode, though I think the little alien faces on his knees look better in white than bright yellow.
I dig the anthropomorphic thing - a lot - but this line's just got more problems than benefits. There's a line of Deviants Mini Figures on the way, so hopefully those will be better.
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