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Putrid Pizza

The Grossery Gang
by yo go re

When you think of Australian imports, you probably think of Foster's, Outback Steakhouse, and various Hemsworths. What you probably don't think of are some of the most popular kids' toys around.

Pizza Face is one slop with the lot. The never-say-die leader of The Grossery Gang is ready to lead his gross gang into greasy battle. With his pizza slicer weapon he'll serve it up to his opponents. Defeating the Clean Team will not be cheesy but Pizza Face is a supreme fighter! Get ready to fight dirty!

The Grossery Gang are the latest collectible fad from Moose Toys. You've never heard of Moose? Don't worry, no one else has, either. But then, nobody knows Max Martin's name, and that hasn't stopped him from being one of the most successful songwriters of the past couple decades. Moose Toys was founded in Melbourne in 1985, but first made an impact in the US with 2002's Mighty Beanz. In 2011, they created The Trash Pack, a line of squishy PVC figurines that appealed to kids' love of grossness; in 2014, they created a friendlier line meant to bring in the girls' market - Shopkins - and those things got huge. Trading on that success, Moose circled back around to endearingly repugnant, and here we are now.

As mentioned, the Grossery Gang, like Trash Pack and Shopkins before it, began as soft rubber figures, and this set, like all the "Putrid Power" line, includes one of those. Pizza Face, as a character, has been around since the beginning of the property, but this is a new mold. It's still a triangular slice of pizza, but it's a different shape, has different toppings, and wears an expression of confusion or discomfort, rather than indiffernt gormlessness. The proto image on the back of the card swaps which parts of his eyes are ball and which parts are lid, creating a commpletely different look for him.

But that isn't why we're reviewing this toy today - it's basically an accessory. In honor of their first movie (or possibly "movie," quote/unquote, because it's a half-hour thing on YouTube), the Grossery Gang is getting actual action figures. Like, ABS plastic with joints and everything. And since that's hard to accomplish with just a piece of food, the Putrid Power figures have, for the first time, bodies.

Pizza Face's body matches his culinary styling - he's skinny and misshapen, and the entire thing has the texture of stringy stretchy melted cheese. There are olives and pepperoni and at least one big slice of mushroom stuck to him, and his limbs get bigger as they move away from the body, suggesting the effects of gravity pulling goopey cheese downward.

The figure's head is twice the size of the average Grossery (that's the name for the individual characters or toys, I guess), and made of the same stiff plastic as the rest of the body. This face is more like the original Pizza Face figurine, with a wide black "mouth" that's made of gaps in his cheese, and oozy green gunk dripping from his crust. His large, wild eyes are different sizes, and we get more pepperoni and olives here. The head is thin, but has a nice texture on the sides that manages to look realistically like bread. There's a splat on the back that should probably be painted green, but is left the same yellow as the rest of the crust.

The articulation is simple: a balljointed head, and swivel/hinge joints at the shoulders and elbows. Nothing more. The design of it means that Putrid Pizza's arms come down lower than his feet. You can pop the head off and replace it with the normal Grossery, thanks to a hole in the bottom. The swap looks decent, even if the colors on the little one don't quite match perfectly (it needs a little less tan and a little more orange).

The figure comes with a weapon, as well. Fittingly, his is a pizza server. It's silver with a yellow handle, and is molded with several bugs, a few stains, and what looks like a half-splatted tomato. None of those details are painted, so they just end up the same silver as the rest. Both the figure's hands are molded to hold it.

The Grossery Gang Putrid Power figures are the current fad among toy collectors. They've got nice sculpts and definite personality, and most importantly, they're cheap enough that you don't feel guilty when you buy one - about $6.99, depending on where you find them (the Big Three all have pegs for them). I picked up Pizza Face or Putrid Pizza or whatever his name is supposed to be on a whim, because he looked like something that the TMNT would run into, but he's enough fun that I might get one or two more.

-- 08/19/17

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