Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cyclomanion by Real Head

    There are some lines of toys I have just never acquired the taste for despite their high demand. But sometimes these companies release that one toy that finds a way into my niche little collection. Cyclomanion (サイクロマニヨン ) by Real Head (リアルヘッド) is that toy.

    Ever since I was a kid, I have been a fan of gorilla themed toys. I hadn't had many apes in recent years outside random figures like a talking Optimus Primal from the Beast Wars cartoon. Lately I have been replenishing my ape collection with Japanese vinyl. They are mostly older toys, but Real Head released this figure, and it just fit in with the other apes living in my house.

    I'm not sure exactly, but it was speculated on skullbrain that Cyclomanion was Real Head's take on the patchi kaiju image pictured to the right here. Patchi kaiju, or fake kaiju essentially, were cheap little trading cards that were drawn, painted, etc. in Japan in the 70s that often borrowed elements of certain popular monsters at the time and changed them up enough to have a recognizable yet original beast. The gorilla pictured here (with some strange looking seal/mole thing) looks to be a giant cyclops version of an old Spectreman villain called Ape Man Ra.

    Real Head's Cyclomanion looks to be a take on this same image, perhaps. You don't see a one-eyed gorilla wearing some sort of headband or tiara very often.

    Other than that, I really don't know much about this toy. I have a couple of them, but the review here will mainly focus on the newer gold version. I will post a couple separate photos of the red-eye version in another post.

    Header //3 out of 5//:
    No images on the header, but I think it works. I would like to have seen more toy-specific artwork, but I like the bold lettering and the textured color of the background. A decent, average header here.

    Sculpt //4.25 out of 5//:
    Besides the fact that I am a little biased towards simian themed toys, I really think this is technically a great sculpt. It manages to be something definitely unique to the Real Head line, while still maintaining the proportions and feel of one of their sculpts.

    Like many fight-themed toys, Cyclomanion has short, stumpy legs and extra long arms. Obviously this style works for an ape as that is how they are shaped in real life for the most part.

    The face has nice emotion and there are nice, expressive lines around the eyes and mouth that convey a sense of stress. Fighters experience stress, right?

    The texture of the hair on the sculpt I think is what draws me to it the most here. Great attention seems to have been paid to a large part of the surface with the tiny grooves cover most of the toy. It really makes me want to pick up the toy and feel the texture in my hands. This rough furry texture is offset by the smooth surfaces of the wristbands, sash, chest, feet, and face. It keeps this toy balanced in it's appearance despite not having much paint applied.

    Cyclomanion is very well balanced despite having very long, heavy arms, thanks to the broad feet. (Unlike a figure such as Chicken Fever who's heavy arms and tiny feet has him ready to take a plunge with a slight breeze.)

    In a way I would like Cyclomanion's waist to be articulated, but at the same time, this sculpt matches the others from Real Head in that everything from the chest down is one piece with no seams. So I can see why it was done this way.

    Paint //5 out of 5//:
    This toy is by no means a complex canvas with tons of colors, nor is it an old school Japanese kaiju toy color scheme. But it is a paint style that most definitely compliments the sculpt. I can't tell exactly, but it looks like the toy is cast in a rusty colored vinyl, that was then sprayed with a heavy coat of gold paint. Then a thinner coat of black was sprayed over that then rubbed off. It gives the gold surface almost an antiqued or distressed look.

    It works great on a surface such as this because of all the grooves left by the hair sculpt. The black stays in those grooves, really adding contrast with the gold.

    The pupil is neatly masked , and accentuated well with the rubbed black texture around the eye.

    Because of the gold paint, this toy makes me think of the fertility idol from the opening of Indiana Jones : Raiders of the Lost Ark. The mouth already looks similar, and the gold paint finished the correlation for me.

    Coolness //4 out of 5//:
    I'm not going to impress many people with this one, but for my little gorilla collection, Cyclomanion is a very cool addition. He has the apparent patchi kaiju connection going for him already, but even without that he is the only one-eyed gorilla wearing a tiara that I own (besides my other Cyclomanion that is).

    This figure is not one of the more popular releases for the Real Head collector community, which is honestly a blessing for someone like me because it makes it that much easier to find. While everyone else is showing off their new blue Mutant Evil, or another paint rubbed Mutant Chaos, Cyclomanion represents my tiny Real Head collection much better.

    Value //3.5 out of 5//:
    Retail price on figures this size are rising it seems, so I may have to readjust my ratings on this category. You can probably find this figure on the secondary market for right around retail as people grow bored of it. It's a nice size compared to other comparable figures in this price range now, so it is a pretty nice price. It is not super limited or anything, as far as I know, so I wouldn't pay an arm and a leg for it at all.

    Overall //4 out of 5//:
    Positives: Nice color; great texture; well balanced; it's a one eyed ape with a crown!

    Negatives: Lack of articulation, not a signature piece in a collection (I am nit-picking here, definitely.)

    Cyclomanion is a solid piece in the Real Head catalog. He doesn't exactly match other Real Head toys, but that is the draw for me as I have never been a fan otherwise. He isn't flashy, but is a well balanced, cool looking figure that will look nice with other oddities on your shelf. If you like its look here, you won't regret picking it up.

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Cyclomanion by Real Head

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