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Sugar Skull

Mighty Steeds
by yo go re

Like we said in the last review, Sarah Francis the rainbow unicorn was a Kickstarter-exclusive figure ready to go the day the campaign launched. But she wasn't the only exclusive they had - the basic steed Sugar Skull was one of the first stretch goals!

Sugar Skull was a little different than the usual stretch goal: instead of being unlocked at a certain amount of money pledged, they became available once there was a certain number of backers (400, specifically). It took about a month to get there, but they'd more than doubled that number by the time the campaign ended.

Mexico's Día de Muertos is roughly equivalent to Catholics' All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (November 1 and 2), though with their own distinct cultural traditions dating back to the Aztecs. It's mainly celebrated in the central and southern states, because the northern states have more European roots than Indigenous; the tradition goes at midnight on October 31, the gates of heaven are opened and the spirits of dead children are allowed to come reunite with their families; then the next night, the adults are allowed to come party as well.

To cultureless Americans like us, the most iconic part of "Dia de los Muertos" (as it's incorrectly called among Anglophones) is the fancy decorative sugar skull, or calavera. Well, that or the big Day of the Dead parade James Bond went to, but that was something 100% made up for the film, not something they really did. But now they do, because tourists expected to see it. The calaveras are made from sugar more because it was a plentiful material than because they're intended to be eaten - paint, beads, and feathers really aren't what you want on your sweet snack break, you know?

This Sugar Skull has the same expertly sculpted body as Sarah Francis, because that's how the Vitruvian HACKS modular character kit system works: a basic shared mold, with any differences being achieved mainly through the paint. Sugar Skull even gets the same flowing hair as Sarah Francis, though clearly the head is different: no horn this time. And also the bit of mane on the forehead, since it no longer needs to split around said horn.

Shuge's big draw is the colorscheme. The base body is black, but then they're painted with stylized white bones on the legs, ribs, and down the spine. Plus the entire head, of course, living up to the moniker by mixing a fairly realistic skull pattern with more fanciful details, like the flowery curls around the eyes. The mane and tail are a stunning purple, and the eyes are an unearthly red. The neck, shoulders, and thighs are further decorated with thin, intricate line patterns in purple, teal, and yellow. It really is a beautiful presentation, giving us the exact kind of horse that would be perfect for La Catrina to ride into town.

The Vitruvian H.O.R.S.E. has a swivel/hinge head, balljointed neck, and swivel/hinge tail. The front legs move at the elbow (convenient the way the painted bones help you visualize the way the anatomy works, eh?), knee, and fetlock; the back legs have the same at the fetlock, hock, stifle, and hips. The lower joints are swivel/hinges, while the top ones are balljoints. As we expect from Boss Fight, the joints are a little tight when you first move them, but they don't break. And if they come apart, they go right back together again. The figure includes an oval display base with two support arms to hold it up at various heights: one short for running, one taller for rearing. The balljoints the rear legs attach to are slightly loose on my Sugar Skull, but just a little wiggle, not anything that prevents them from standing.

I really hoped these figures would have been out a few months ago, so we could get this Día de Muertos figure reviewed in time for Día de Muertos, but hey, we'll teach you things any day of the year, and you can always come back and re-read if you need a refresher. The rainbow unicorn was pretty cute, but the calavera caballo was the one I was looking forward to most.

-- 03/20/20

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