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2020 Advent Calendar

Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S.
by yo go re

For the past 24 days, we've been looking at the components of Boss Fight Studio's Vitruvian HACKS 2020 Advent Calendar. And while it certainly wasn't the plan back on Day 1, now it's time to review the assembled figures.

According to the story (or "Zombie Christmas Poem") on the inside flap of the box, this lady is the elf Aiyana. The story takes place on Earth - or at least an Earth equivalent - so it's not Aiyana's home realm: she was sent by Solan, Queen of the Elves, to recover some missing elven artifact. The story never specifies what that artifact is, just that it holds the key to the elves' long lives. Which is probably why she eventually tracked it to the headquarters of a multi-national pharmaceutical company - figure they were using elven magic to create life-extending drugs, but the magic wasn't compatible with humans the way it is with elves, and that's why we have zombies now. Is this a stealth Resident Evil crossover? Though they don't call their rejuvenating stuff the T-Virus. If it's emerging just before Giftstmas and spreads so easily, we name it "the Keebleronavirus"!

She may not be from Earth, but Aiyana has wasted no time in going native. Unless Vitruvian HACKS elves typical wear T-shirts and jeans, that is. Maybe they do! Or maybe she teleported in naked like Kyle Reese and these are just the first clothes she could grab. I mean, they do seem slightly small on her. (nb.: these are clearly more "Rivendell" elves than "North Pole" elves, because they're human-sized rather than miniscule.) The logo on the shirt says "Santa Slays!", with a cartoon of Claus brandishing a big knife. The jeans have stylish rips on the thighs, but no skin showing, or lighter fabric around the edges - presumably that would have broken the budget, considering the sheer number of accessories we get.

To prove she's an elf and not just a human, Aiyana's head has slightly pointed ears. Yes, she also has purple hair with a salmon forelock, but that's easier to do on your own at home. Presumably the orange is natural, unless she also dyed her eyebrows to match. Does that mean the purple is an affectation? Or does elf hair really grow in two colors? We like that explanation better!

Frankly, it's a bit annoying that we only get one body in here, because Boss Fight Studio has included so many alternate clothing options that there's no way she can wear them all. I may be a fan of the skirt over jeans look, but that's not going to be for everybody. You can't use the shirt collar with anything else on the torso (other than the face mask, maybe). Want to give her bracelets? Can't do that and the red jacket at the same time. You can only use the police belt or the carrying belt, not both of them - and neither of them with the coat. And of course, the hospital gown will block off everything. Considering that we get an alternate head, a second torso and set of legs would have been incredibly welcome.

The bonus head could represent the story's evil CEO. The bob haircut is bright orange, lighter than the elf-head's forehead streak, but they way it's molded makes it look like a wig - there's a gap next to the bangs that goes up way higher than you'd expect a hairline to, so she looks bald. If there were another body, I'd give her the skirt and jacket, so she could look businesslike. The two accessories do look nice together (perhaps too youthful for a CEO), but I definitely want to give Aiyana a belt, so she can't have the coat. Maybe CEO could have the gown, like she was wearing it while overseeing the lab?

In addition to the heroic elf, the Advent Calendar also has enough pieces to build a complete undead corpse. All these molds were originally developed for Locker Toys Group's Zombie Lab, but Boss Fight Studio purchased the assets to add them to their Vitruvian HACKS line. So if the pieces look familiar, that's okay; they still count as being new.

The calendar's poem specifies it's only been a week since the zombie plague started, so this guy's clothes really help pin down the timeline - it's not like many people wear Giftstmas shirts any time of year other than December, right? Also, imagine dying during an ugly sweater party and having that be your identifier for the rest of time.

The Festive zombie is wearing tan slacks, with a rip in the thigh revealing his grey skin. Who would wear pants like that for comfort? No one, that's who. So to extrapolate, the unnamed medical company [PharmasOnly.Com --ed.] was doing experiments with elven rejuvenation juice; it turned the subjects into zombies, which somehow got out of the labs, and happened to find their way into the company holiday party, where this worker was celebrating and got bitten. So for now until the end of time, he'll be wearing a sweater with a stylized Giftsmas tree and some... snowflakes? Stars? Something. The sleeves are white with red stripes, torn off just above the elbow, and there are rips on the chest that go deep enough to expose his ribcage.

The change must happen fast, because, again, it's only been a week and yet he already looks this decayed. His face is one step above "skeletal," with dried skin falling loosely off the skull beneath. The top of his head has been cleaved right off, leaving a perfectly smooth line that reveals his brain - either the attack missed the important parts, or these zombies don't die that way.

There's an alternate head as well, in case you want to built a different zombie. Well, the body will be the same, but this one would have long hair and a face that's thinner and deader. If not for that, you could pretend the two heads represent a before-and-after encounter with the set's included katana, like the strike that took off the top of his head took all the hair with it.

A few of the clothing accessories do work with the male body. For instance, the cop's belt and hat. Why would a zombie be wearing those? Well, pretend he's one of the company's security guards, who was allowed to wear something seasonal to work that day. But he still had to have his gunbelt and his official hat, so people would recognize his authoritah. If you give him those, the pistol and night stick that go in the belt are natural choices, too. And we're not ones to tell you how to accessorize your zombie, but the sailor suit collar fits him pretty well too, so why not go ahead and pretend that's part of his get-up?

The zombie's hands are open and grasping, so he can't actually hold any accessories - not even the two severed human arms he might use as a snack. And with a grand total of 39 non-weariables in the accessory pile, you'll definitely be facing some decision paralysis when it comes time to give Aiyana weapons. At least, I was!

Like I said above, I want her to have the belt that things can be plugged into - that lets you load her up with more than just her hands can carry. Give her the bow and arrows in the quiver, the rifle in its little sling, and the book hanging from the chain (in this case, the book is the stolen artifact that caused this whole mess). So you've already given her 11 things without even resorting to her hands. The rope has a peg and a hole, too, so put that in for 12. As a member of the fae, she'd probably be uninterested in tech (so the phone and iPad are out), the guns, or anything made entirely of metal, like the pipe, the wrench, or the crowbar. I tried hanging the fairy cage lantern on the book's chain, but it didn't hang very well; but she's gotta try to rescue this little captive, right? You could always give her the sailor collar or jacket, and use that to slip the katana into, then hang the cage off its handle. Give her the mask, maybe she's wearing the police hat for fun... look, the point is there are dozens of accessories and literally thousands of possible combinations for what you want your figure to look like.

The 2020 Vitruvian HACKS Advent Calendar was just one of the many geeky calendars released this year. It's dauntingly expensive, but you do get two full action figures and enough accessories to outfit an entire team of zombie hunters. And sure, the poem's not great - the meter is all over the place and half the stanzas don't even rhyme - but it's fun to get a total story like this. Our only suggestion for 2021? We'd willingly have traded away at least three days' worth of these accessories for a second person to wear all these clothes and use all this stuff. Obviously articulated bodyparts are more resource-intensive than, say, a handful of machetes, but we're not the ones who have to worry about the budget, so we can dream as big as we want! If Boss Fight Studio does one of these again next year, we definitely recommend giving it a shot.

-- 12/25/20


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