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

Boss Fight Studios' Vitruvian HACKS was one of the most successful toy Kickstarters in history, making almost 5.5 times its initial goal. Well, we're slightly over a year past the original projected delivery date, but at last the figures are on their way!

Unfairly cursed by the goddess Athena, the once beautiful Medusa was turned into a hideous half-snake monster. Previously able to control her cursed stare, Medusa now turns all living things that look into her eyes to stone. There is only room in her heart for hate and revenge - against the Gods that she once served, and the sisters who she secretly despises for their eternal beauty. She wants all the living to eventually feel her icy stare.

Medusa is sort of the poster child for Vitruvian HACKS - she was one of the first figures shown off, and it was her picture that headed the Kickstarter. Of course, it doesn't hurt that she's distinctive enough to be instantly recognizable, or that everybody already knows her story: she was a beautiful maiden until Poseidon raped her in Athena's temple; then Athena turned her into a monster as punishment (proving that it's not just your local elected officials who believe in blaming the victim).

Medusa's face definitely isn't hideous - this is more like the 2010 version of Clash of the Titans, where she had some kind of stony eye-beams rather than petrifying ugliness. Her mouth is open wide, revealing her forked tongue, and there's a slight scaly pattern sculpted on her temples and across her forehead and over her angrily knitted brows.

The snaky hair is excellent. There are about 18 tiny snake heads visible, and six of them have their mouths open to bare their fangs. They've squirmed around into complex shapes, weaving over and under one another to create a massive ophidian tangle that looks terrific! And we really do mean "terrific," as in "the same root as the word as 'terrifying.'" She's a scary monster, just as she's meant to be!

To maximize the value of their molds, the Vitruvian HACKS figures are mainly assembled around plain bodies - in Medusa's case, that means all the cool armor she wears is made from add-on pieces, not sculpted directly on the body. Maddy has a bare left arm, but otherwise wears a metal bustier, a spiked pauldron strapped on her right shoulder, and armor on her right bicep and forearm. Her hips are protected by asymmetrical plates of armor held up by her belt. And yes, that's all removable, if you want a "fresh from the bath" Medusa. While the upper torso is the plain sort, her lower torso has sculpted scales on the sides, to help further her serpentine nature.

And then there are the legs. Or lack of legs, as the case may be. The original myths say nothing about the Gorgons having snake bodies instead of legs, but that's the way Ray Harryhausen made Medusa look, so it's become almost standard now. On the other hand, the myths didn't say she didn't have a snake-body, so there ya go. Boss Fight Studios has designed a very nice snake body, which makes us wonder why Hasbro never put them to work on a Golobulus before laying them off. It's sculpted and painted well, but what's really impressive is the articulation: the tail is made from eight segments, each connected via balljoint for maximum poseability. The interior structures are ABS plastic, but the outer skin is PVC, allowing it to flex as it moves, or to even rotate around the inner core so you can move the tail various ways without ending up with the belly pointed at the sky.

Medusa comes with two accessories: a dagger and a whip, both made from snake bones. That's an incredibly cool design. Considering how much Clash of the Titans influence she's showing already, we're surprised they didn't give her a bow and arrow, too! The dagger fits into a loop on her belt, and even curled as it is, the whip is 4¾" long. The set also includes a Boss Fight Studios display stand (though she can't use it) and two extra hands where the hinge joint runs horizontally instead of vertically.

The Vitruvian HACKS have taken a long time to materialize, but the wait has been worth it. Medusa shows the kind of innovation and quality you'd expect from a huge company, not five people on Kickstarter. The first series is all Greeks and Gorgons, but they have plans for series of Fantasy and Sci-Fi figures, too. The future is looking very bright!

-- 03/25/16

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