It’s no secret that I love MUSCLE. And many toy lines have tried to take its long-abandoned throne, but none have really reached that same level of awesomeness that MUSCLE achieved. And frankly, nobody ever will. MUSCLE will always be MUSCLE. But other toy lines have developed a charm of their own, and shouldn’t be dissed because of it! And then we have these guys. Random mutant wrestlers in the same size? With similar containment cans? A similar wrestling ring? And made by a company known for having MUSCLE fans? Count me in!
Moose makes mini figures. Lots of mini figures. Usually, what happens is they come up with a great line, it has a good opening, and then it fizzles and dies. Sometimes it’s Moose’s distribution troubles (SLUG Zombies), other times the line just never made it (Fistful of Power). So let’s hope against hope about this line. ANYWAY, fun thing: these guys come in factions! The idea seems to be that the Evil Zomboidz are the bad guys, and everybody else – the Mutant Men, Brutal Beasts, Robo Mutants, Insect-A-Zoids, Reptiles of Rage, and Astro Mutants, fight them. The only difference between most of the factions is theme, but the Zomboidz, Reptiles, and Astro Mutants have a few differences that will be brought up under Paint.
Mutant Mania figures come in blister packs. The 8-pack, which contains a storage can, shows off two painted figures in front. It also comes with a couple of extra rubber spines.
The 4-pack shows off one painted figure. Each pack is split 50/50 between fully-painted and variant figures, so you will have fewer “surprises” with the colored ones. They are randomly packed and assorted, including which guys get to be in front.
No, these aren’t MUSCLE. And they have to follow a set three-piece format, so there isn’t too much variety. But for what they are, they are surprisingly awesome.
The Mutant Mania figures are roughly the size of MUSCLEs, and quite detailed. Although some may seem a little plain-ish, note many of the others – the zombies are filled with wounds, maggots, and exposed muscle, the animals all have smooth ye appropriate texturing, and the robots are insanely vicious. Moose put a lot of effort into these guys, and notably they did not skimp on the horror and gore.
Each figure is made of three pieces of hard plastic connected by a stretchy “spine.” I feel like there is some sort of chiropractic illustration going on in here. This does mean that you can see through the back of each figure, but that is all right.
Mutant Mania figures come in two separate paint jobs – fully-painted, and crystal. Fully-painted figures are “standard,” and although cool, they are sometimes a little sloppy. Note some of the misplaced apps. They also miss a lot of surface detail. But at this size, it’s fine, and the paint does not cover or obscure anything. Also of note is that they come in several pre-set base plastics – dark blue, teal, pink, red, purple, and some others as well. I do not know precisely how many there are, but once you notice the pattern, it sticks with you.
Crystal figures choose their base colors based on the original figure – blue with blue, red with red, and so on. They also feature some minimal paint applications, usually around the eyes. This does not diminish their awesomeness (particularly with their now-visible spines), and it actually gives them some consistency when lined up with the originals!
There are a few special paint features in some of the factions, as well. The super-duper rare Astro Mutants figures are metallic (not shown). The Reptiles of Rage, which seem to be only available in 8-packs, glow in the dark! They come in green or blue, with their “crystal” forms simply having less non-gitd paint. And finally, the Evil Zomboidz use black spines as opposed to green. I guess this means they really are the bad guys!
MUSCLE-tribute figures usually lack articulation, or maybe have swivel arms. Because of the construction of these figures, they are actually quite flexible and can take a few poses… sort of.
See, the figures utilize a flexible stretchy rubber “spine” to hold them together. The spine plugs into the head and legs, and the torso connects in between. With that in mind, you can stretch, twist, and swivel these guys quite a bit! I would be moderately wary becayse those spines are not invincible, but the idea is still there! And of course, it has an extra-special bonus feature: PART-SWAPPING!
Every single Mutant Mania figure can swap its parts with any other. Just use the spine to keep them connected, and have fun! I really want to pick up more and try some new combos – in particular, I want to swap bits from the two-headed one with the four-armed one and the four-legged one.
Believe it or not, these guys come with accessories! Above and beyond the playsets/vehicles, too! First off, I am going to bring up those rubber spines again. You get extras with each pack one for a four-pack and two for an eight-pack. They are a little easy to lose, but it’s good to have them. You also get some odd plastic plugs (not pictured) with a lot of the figure, though they only serve in preserving them in package. But how do you store these things?
What really convinced me that this line was made by MUSCLE fans are its storage cans. MUSCLE had 10-packs in little plastic trash cans. Mutant Mania has 8-packs in little plastic soda cans. The cans are a little small (ideally they should hold more than 10), but they have a great design, with tons of literal sculptural details (like fizz on the top), and stickers that not only advertise MUTANTADE – MUTANT JUICE, but also show off the various factions! It looks like there is one can type per faction, so try to collect them all!
4-packs are roughly $6, 8-packs are roughly $10. That’s not bad for toys these days, which just shows you what inflation has done to us.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
The spines. I hate to say it, but those rubber spines will not last forever. They will weaken, loosen, crack, and decay. All hope is not lost, though – it should be easy to jury-rig any manner of replacements, or even just glue the figures together if needed. But those spines will not last forever.
WHERE TO BUY:
Toys R Us is the place to be! They even have some exclusives!
So they are cheap, unevenly-painted, have spines that will break… and are AWESOME! Okay, sure, these are not going to be the true successors to MUSCLE, but they don’t need to be. These wacky, wild wrestlers are tons of fun both because of and in spite of their gimmicks – I find myself wanting more! So yes, seriously, these figures are great. They have no reason to be, but they are. Wait, check that. They have every reason to be great. Every. Reason.