People who regularly read this site know that I have a thing for mini figures. It all started when I got that first pack of MUSCLEs on my fourth birthday. And in the last few years there has sort of been a mini-figure renaissance, with lots of individuals and companies making MUSCLE-esque figures a reality again. Outside of the fairly big indy names (October Toys, Toyfinity, Mystical Warriors of the Ring) there are several individual artists constantly pushing the envelope on quality, variety, and even availability (Ironhaus Productions, Eric Nilla Productions, Metalmonkey Studios), and they’re run by great guys, too! One designer who has been in this for a while but simple has not managed to show up on this site yet is Imperfecz Toys – owned and operated by one Luke Harris, Imperfecz specializes in the weird, the bizarre, and the lopsided monsters within us all. I’ve actually worked with him before now, such as providing the original cast for a replica Japanese Netsuke. But today, we are looking at his collaboration with Ironhaus Productions: The Mutants!
The Mutants are a collaboration – roughly half are sculpted by Luke Harris, and the other half by Jimmy Rommel of Ironhaus Productions. But they all share a theme: Weird, malformed freaks of nature! Or freaks against nature, that is. This is also clearly the base of a whole series and mythos – the ten mutants are joined by an extra-special Mutant Hunter, and more recently by the cockroach-esque Infestors, recently revealed to be part of the same world. As far as story info goes, much of this is left up to the imagination, except for this little blurb written by The Hunter of Mutants:
“The Malformed population has organized into tribes. These genetic mishaps on the road to perfection were thought not to have lasted… they are a blight on the past. A reminder of where we came from. It is the dirty job of the “Hunters” to keep the population from finding out about and coming into contact with… the Mutants.”
Well! So, who created them? And who is trying to cover it up? We must investigate! And aside from that, let’s have a look at these weirdo toys for ourselves!
Since you can buy these mutants in a few different formats, they’ve got more than one type of package! If you purchase the whole set or a bunch at once, you’ll get to see a blister pack, designed so that the card can slide in or out and be perfectly resealable. This is the extra mile that most indy developers don’t do!
As for smaller groups of mutants – such as the pre-set two-packs – they come in a more traditional baggie with a header card. It looks pretty professional, too.
Counting the Hunter and Infestor Grunt, we’ve got twelve different sculpts to go through! This is one of the great and awesome things about rubber mini figures – you get quantity with your quality! As for the question of who sculpted whom, there are certain themes you can catch. Generally, Luke Harris sculpts are rounder and fleshier whereas Jimmy Rommel sculpts are more angular and craggy, but their styles really worked well together for this set. Luke Harris sculpted BracHaeng, Tronco, Godo, Caraes, the Hunter, and the Infestor Grunt. Jimmy Rommel sculpted Fossilus, Janus, Mukou, Blemzinger, Dunkang, and Sewerstein.
BracHaeng is the biggest and tallest of the mutants – he stands about a head taller than the Hunter, and his top arms are stretched out. His mutation manifests itself as two extra arms on his left side, one of which is a mangled, twisted piece of flesh topped with a gun. I love his facial expression – it’s not the most intelligent thing in the world, but BracHaeng sure is focused. Also, we should all be glad that he is wearing a loincloth.
Fossilus certainly lives up to his name, with face like a dinosaur skull! He is wearing some suitably advanced armor, but his body also has what looks like bone spikes and plates blending in with it. Nothing human went into this guy’s DNA, but he looks extraordinarily vicious, what with those soulless eye sockets and sharpened fangs.
Godo was born without eyes, so he holds one in his hand! Really. His right hand is grasping a scrunched face with what is either an eye or a laser gun in its mouth. As for his body, he has a big pair of lips, but no other real features. The end result is a creepy, surreal monstrosity who could be up to anything… anything at all. So, are we Waiting for Godo?
Janus lives up to his name in more ways than one. Firstly, he’s got two faces if you count the one in his torso. But also, both his faces are split down the middle, differentiating between monstrous and even more monstrous. This guy isn’t like Two-Face – both of his personalities will kill ya. He has some heavy stitches on his back, implying that Janus was not grown, he was put together. No wonder he’s got so much rage!
Tronco has had a very sad and difficult life. Being a torso can do that to you. Just look at that frown! Maybe he once had a head, maybe not – he certainly has a neck stump, but he walks on his hands and stares with those sad, sad pec-eyes. I love how awkard the little guy is, and he just fits the Mutants banner so very, very well.
Blemzinger feels like a minor crossover with other parts of the Rommelverse – he’s a Blemmyae! A headless being with a face on his torso! Ironhaus has made Blemmyae before, notably a standard one for Universe of Violence, two Gorewads, and one Micro Bastard. And now there’s a mutant, too. As is expected, Blemzinger is pretty lopsided, with one arm looking like a vicious biting (and veiny) snake! He’s got a face like a Jack O’lantern and teeth like candy corn, but you don’t want to visit him this Halloween.
If you thought Tronco was unfortunate, then you haven’t met Caraes! Clearly inspired by the malformed mutant in Basket Case, Caraes is just a mess. He has a head and he has arms, but his lumpy body is actually a pile of faces.
In fact, it’s almost hard to count them – he has faces lumped on faces, faces sprouting out of eyes, and faces everywhere! Is this a multiple personality, or does he just have issues? He may be the smallest of the mutants, but Caraes is certainly one of the most messed-up.
Dunkang is the king of the donuts. He is cruller than anybody who has sat on the fritter throne. All hail Krispy Kreme! But seriously, Dunkang is hilarious. Sure, a walking talking donut is a little different from the other mutants, but just look at him! I kind of want to carry this toy with me, and bring him out wherever donuts are served.
Mukou certainly deserves his name, as a gross, slimy, mucous-covered creaure. Or perhaps he is made of the stuff? Who knows! The globby details on this guy are really great and he looks gross, but it is also interesting to note that what surface detail you can see beneath the muck looks like a turtle. Perhaps he is related to Sewerstein?
Sewerstein has one of the most detailed sculpts in the line that is so cleanly-done that you almost can’t tell it was sculpted by hand. He is a big, scarred, cyborg turtle with a gun arm and half a robo-face. He doesn’t just mean business, he will terminate you, whether you are ninja or koopa! Sewerstein fits in very well with Janus as a scarred, stitched-together chimera of a monster, which makes him a valuable member of the Mutants.
The Mutant Hunter stands alone. None of his face, or even his flesh can be seen – he wears rags and armor, topped with a gas mask – but those cold, soulless mask eyes say everything. The Hunter is armed with a small crossbow at his wrist, but for melee he likes to use the sword actually grafted in place of a hand. I get the feeling that the Hunter is permanently attached to his gear, so the hand sacrifice was merely part and parcel of his grisly job.
And last but not least, we have the Infestor Grunt! The Infestors promises to be a line of its own with many diferent members, but first up are the grunts – anthropomorphic cockroaches! This guy is pretty tall and matches in with the Mutants enough that I can buy him as part of the same universe. It does raise mysteries as to the next few Infestors will be! According to Imperfecz, they grew out of the same gene-splicing facility that birthed Sewerstein!
Mutant paint jobs are a little more “muted” than most indy mini figures, but they follow a theme. Most of them will come in “flesh” tones, which vary so much that they tend range between almost-brown to peach to bright pink. Each one is different on purpose, making them look a little more like freaks of nature. But there are other colors, too – note the few in olive green (you really want Mukou in this color), or the special translucent figures. There are even occasional sets sold in special one-off colors, like translucent yellow with glitter!
The Hunter’s base color is gray, setting him apart from his prey. The Infestors come in a translucent dark brown, and some of them are sprayed with glow powder, too! I really like how these guys turned out, color-wise. They look like a messed-up family!
You should know how this would be. But the rubber is pretty flexible – it’s the same stuff used by IronHaus Pro, only mixed and cured to be a little more flexible.
Again, these aren’t that kind of toy.
The prices are: A full set of Mutants is $60 ($6 each), two-packs are $14 ($7.50 each), Three-pack blind bags (with more color variety) are $20 ($6.67 each), the Hunter is $10 (though he can be found in three-packs), and the Infestor is $10. The $10 price tag is a lot closer to what figures like this normally cost – often $15-$20 – and the super-low prices of the main mutants are very nice! Obviously a full set is the best bang for your buck, of course.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Nothing. These are springy, durable rubber. Don’t put any more stress on them than you would anything else like this, and they will be fine. You will have to be trying hard if you want to damage them.
WHERE TO BUY:
You can currently buy these figures at Imperfecz Toys. Everything is in stock right now except the Infestor Grunt, but realize that I got two of them just the other day. Yeah, you’ll be fine. Luke is really an awesome fellow, and he deserves your business!
Man, these are awesome. In some ways, they are similar to Universe of Violense or Micro Bastards, but really they are their own thing. There is a certain lopsided Mistake Of Nature theme going on that just makes the Mutants awesome, if a little sad. I can totally see them banding together in a tribe to fight off the Hunters. I would love to see more of this world and its denizens, which means that yes, the line has sold me!
They vary a little in height, both above and below MUSCLE size, but I have to admit that these guys fit right in with both classic mini figures and new Indy lines, too. You could see OMFG cowering in a corner, or Universe of Violence inviting them to a fight. Or you could just bring Dunkang to work and set him somewhere in the lunchroom, staring down anybody who might steal a donut. I know I can’t wait to see more!