Art Asylum may not have been the first company to make block figures, but they were the first to prove that there was a viable Western market for them. There are block figures from several different companies now, and a lot of them are direct rip-offs of Minimates - Nanomen, BearBlokkz, I'm looking at you - but there's still a lot of innovation in the market. Shocker Toys took the opportunity at the summer conventions of 2004 to show off their innovation with an exclusive Ruby Red Shockini.
Limited to only 250 pieces, the exclusive is a simple recoloring of the standard Shockini figure. Described as a fully customizable action figure, the Shockini has a plain, smooth body that's perfect for customizing with paint, markers or the sheet of 50 stickers included in the packaging. Just like Stikfas, the Shockinis come with stickers detailing eyes, mouths, scars, shirts and all sorts of decorative elements.
The figure stands only 3" tall, but has 18 points of articulation: neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, thighs, knees and ankles. The biceps and thighs are a bit weird since, instead of being peg joints, they are balljoints. While this allows for a better range of motion, it leaves noticable gaps in the upper arms and legs. It's not a big separation, but any separation is big when your figure is only 3" tall.
The figure isn't as cubic as a Minimate or similar figure, but it's not as rounded as a Mez-It, either. The body is actually most reminiscent of a Stikfas, with only slightly block-shaped pieces. It gives the figure an organic look that helps set it apart from other blockies.
The Shockini includes a selection of accessories:
a machine gun, a sword, a staff, a pair of binoculars and some kind of... square... thing. It's a customizable brick, which you can turn into a weird hand or something. The sword and gun have recesses on the ends that allow you to plug either of them on the figure in place of a hand or foot, if you want to have some kind of weird mechano-man. Fear him!
There's also a base that you can use to help him stand, or have him hold it in his hand as a big shield - the foot peg is the same size as the hand grips. Modular!
Ruby comes on a "customizable J-card," which means that there's space on the back to fill in your creation's name, powers, origin and all that. Though how it's supposed to serve as a useful J-card after you've opened the figure and customized it, I do not know.
Shocker Toys has some "Theme Packs" on the way as well: they're accessory sets that allow you to turn your Shockinis into new and interesting toys. The first theme pack is "Pirate," and it will come with things like a peg leg, hook hand and a cannon. Unlike Stikfas, which force you to buy all new figures in each additional release, the Shockini Theme Packs will just include accessories that fit on the figures you already have, which leaves more room for cool extras!
Shockinis will be available in a variety of colors, including red, but when that one is released, it'll a different shade than this exclusive - you'll still be able to tell them apart.
The plain figures retail for about $6, which is a good price for a figure like this - it doesn't have all the accessories of a Stikfas, but it doesn't need to be cut out and assembled, either. The simple body is the perfect canvas for customizing, and the range of motion is good. The only downside, really, is the odd choice of joints in the biceps and legs, but once you start playing around with the figure, they're much less noticable.
Do your upper arms and legs bend sideways randomly in the middle? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.