Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Indie Toy Maker's Time to Shine: Aquanoids

What's an Aquanoid? Is it delicious? Are you allergic to sea food? If you're not - should you be? Come on in and check 'em out! I promise there will at least be tartar sauce.

Independent toy makers are coming in from all sides,  nowadays. They could be "bootlegging" (so to speak - making molds of existing toys in crazy colors and mixing parts, more as an art form), or making Third Party figures of famous characters (to make them just how the fans want them). There's also those struggling to make something of their own - a unique toyline sprouting straight from their imaginations.

It's becoming more common now, but no less tough to get an idea to catch on and be affordable at the same time. Aquanoids are more contenders for your bucks that hitch a ride on that sweet nostalgia. They bring you the classic ideas you came to expect from the 90s, like portability, a rich background lore, a comic, and awesome artwork to bring it all to life. I feel like a lot of toylines from the 90's came with a little comic and a huge back story, so if you're still hungering for that feeling of a new world to explore in comics and plastic, then Aquanoids may be for you.

...but what are Aquanoids? You can find out a lot here, at Starlight Attic's site. The figures are about 3 inches tall and cost you twenty bucks, which, if you're already buying independent toys, you'll understand that isn't too bad a price for an independently created toyline (especially for the quality of these little buggers).

There are currently two characters, each with two color variants. Above we have Nauticus, next to my "helpful" Techno-Viper assistant.

Nauticus comes with a sword and shield; the shield can store on his back, and the sword can fit in a little slot on the shield. The accessories are tiny, and fit tight in the fist, so be careful about shoving the handle of the sword in there.

The joints are VERY tight, and I had been afraid of breaking them when I first got them. Sadly...I did break one. My first version of the blue Nauticus broke at the hip. I emailed Starlight Attic, and they explained that a few mistake figures were made with the wrong hip pegs (a clear plastic that has a possibility of breaking) so they sent a replacement straight away - along with the other two color variants I hadn't bought! If you're reading, Starlight Attic -THANKS AGAIN!

I haven't had a single break on any of the figures since then, and I'm not afraid to move them all around. While the joints are still tight, I can't really call that a complaint, as they hold poses very well and the large feet allow them to stand without any problems.

Points of articulation include:

 - Ball jointed neck (though it's tight and far up into the head, so you mostly get side to side movement)

 - Disc hinge shoulders (the shoulder armor is attached to the disc on the shoulders, so they won't fall off, and they don't hinder the outward movement of the arms)

 - disc hinged elbows that swivel

 - Ball jointed wrists

 - Cut joint waist

 - Cut joint hips - and let me stop you before you get annoyed with that: The cuts are at a good enough angle to allow nice movement, and they work great in tandem with...

 - ...the cut joints in the thighs. There have been countless Star Wars toys (in the past) that have used these joints, and they would usually annoy me, but they're used to good effect here.

 - Swivel disc-hinge joints in the knees

 - And finally, there are cut joints in the feet to allow for wide stances.  Sadly, there are no ankle joints, though I find myself not minding, considering how everything else works together.

All in all, I'd say it's a successful articulation scheme!

Each figure comes with a little two-sided trading card with some game-like stats and info. I love things like this, and it especially impresses me when they add a little humor to it.

Now, Nauticus is cool (and I love that sword and shield combo), but the next guy is where it's at, yo:

Takonoid, or Tako for short. He's the impulsive fast-talker, so he immediately hits some of my favorite character points - but I ain't gona lie - the real thing that drew me to this one was the look.

Takonoid just bleeds style, from the bright colors to the little squid cape, and the tentacle motif all over the figure. He's got a ninja vibe to him; the crest on his forehead and the daggers lend to that.

The best part is that the little squid cape actually IS a little squid! It fits on his back on a ball joint, and can be popped off to join him in the fight.

And it is angry. It is seriously the best little detail, and a brilliant idea.

If I had any complaints about Takonoid - and it pains me to say anything against this beautiful piece - it's that the daggers don't quite work as well as Nauticus' sword and shield combo. The handles of the daggers are tough to fit in his hand, and the pegs on the side (used in such a way so that he can use them as tonfas) don't quite fit in his hand the way the pictures show. There's also holes in his arms so he can store the daggers there, but once again, the pegs on the daggers don't quite fit in the arm holes.

Still, I have a hard time finding fault with him.

Like, a really hard time.

Like I-keep-taking-pictures-of-him-I-love-him-so-much hard time.

I believe the point is made. Possibly.

Now, I love this dude, and I thought I chose the better color scheme, but damn:

The color variant is FIIIINE. Look at that majesty! I have a hard time figuring out which one is my favorite (and this one is sporting Nauticus' sword from my first broken one, just so you know. He still comes with two daggers).

So, without a doubt: Takonoid (both of them) is my favorite. If you wana try one out, I'd shoot for him. I just can't say which color to choose, because they're both so vibrant and amazing.

Last thing is some extras that came with the figures - I'm not sure if they come with every purchase or just because I ordered when these were first released. You can get an idea about the scope of the toyline for the future.

Finally, they also came with a comic! I believe that this may have come with my purchase for buying early, since the comic is listed on the site for 7.99. It's well drawn, colored, and full of action and adventure. Like I said in the opening: It really harkens back to the little comics that used to come with a lot of toys, back in the day.

There's also a neat section in the back showing the progression of the toyline, from sketches to prototypes.

It's a well put-together little book, and I love the attention to detail in terms of printing and just adding more than what you'd expect.

I love this little toyline, and it's certainly one to watch. It may be expensive for such a little figure, but it's not a bad price in the realm of independent toys, and I'm impressed they managed to get it down to something reasonable without a kickstarter. Check 'em out!


  1. These are very cool! Did they just come out?

    1. They came out around October of last year, just took me a long time to get back in the swing of things!

  2. Replies
    1. Oh yeah, I forgot you like the underwater stuff! Yeah, these are right up your alley.

  3. Those are pretty neat! They remind me of Battle Beasts a little. They definitely have that 90's toy vibe going for them.

    1. Good point, they do have a Battle Beasts vibe going on! Didn't think about it until I realized the little chest diamond. Stick a heat sensitive sticker in there and you're gold!