Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Review: Action Figure Therapy's Godzilla Clones

I wrote this column in February, but had other columns ahead of it in the queue. Ironically, during the first week of March, Action Figure Therapy announced that they would no longer be selling minifigures or other toys, and held a brief clearance sale to clear out their remaining stock. I have decided to leave this column as I originally wrote it, only editing it enough to remove dead links to deleted product pages. AFT did not make these figures themselves, and never identified their manufacturer, but they're sure to be available somewhere online, through another toy retailer or reseller.

UPDATE: Steve Coupland and Rocky Maxwell (from the LEGO D&D Facebook group) have helped me identify the manufacturer as Pogo, a Chinese company known for cloning LEGO minifigures. The Godzilla figures remain available through Ali Express, an online store that many group members use to purchase off-brand bricks cheaply.


A member of the LEGO Dungeons & Dragons Facebook group recently shared a link to the Ultimate Giant Radioactive Mutant Sea Lizard Sent To Punish Man’s Hubris Minifigure Set on the Action Figure Therapy online store. I very rarely buy off-brand minifigures, but this set piqued my interest because 1. was preparing to run a D&D adventure featuring a troglodyte tribe, and 2. my daughter is a fan of all kinds of monsters, specifically including Godzilla. 

Action Figure Therapy sells custom toys based on the LEGO minifigure. Some figures are sold individually, while others are only available in themed sets of 2-10. Some of their offerings, like The Giant Radioactive Mutant Sea Lizard Sent To Punish Man’s Hubris Minifigure Set (which I'm going to call !Godzilla from here on), are obviously custom-made figures. Others appear to be cherry-picked minifigures from existing LEGO sets, but I've noticed just enough variation in some of the product photos to think these (or some of them, at least) are cloned knock-offs instead.

Note: AFT's site is designed for adults, not young children. Their set titles and descriptions are long and humorous (in large part to avoid naming trademarked characters), and are not always strictly PG (examples include Super Hero Lady Whose Main Power Is Having Amazing Boobs [i.e., DC's Power Girl] and Yeti Vs. Sasquatch Sensual Roleplay Minifigure Set). 

The !Godzilla set (above) is $24.95, and includes three monsters cast in opaque plastic (green, gray and black) and three in translucent or transparent colors (orange, blue, and clear). (The green !Godzilla can be bought separately for $5.95.) Each figure comes with the minifigure body and torso already assembled, plus the head/back piece and a 3x4 baseplate. The baseplate is a clone of the LEGO Minifigures series' base, but without any brand marks.

Each minifigure (except for the clear one) is printed on the front, the sides of the arms and legs, and the head. The gray and black !Godzillas also have purple and red printed on the spinal ridge.

The parts aren't as finely engineered as LEGO's toys, so some joints are a bit too loose or too tight. For example, some of the head/tail pieces fit so tightly that I'm hesitant to try to pry them off again, and one mini's left hand (below) just would not go in all the way. Likewise, the clutch quality of the hands varies, but tends to be fairly tight. However, one of my !Godzilla hands already shows some stress lines in the plastic; I'm not sure if they were there before I tested the clutch or not.

The shoulders are where the minis suffer most. On the !Godzilla arms (below, right), the pin lacks the recessed band around the base that LEGO arms (left) have, which allows the latter to firmly snap into place. I had to replace arms a few times while assembling the figures, because they popped off when I was forcing on a head/back piece or pushing a hand fully into its wrist socket. I think the plastic in AFT's figures might be slightly softer, too, which only exacerbates the issue. 

On the plus side, I received a surprise gift of two bonus figures, presumably due to the size of my order (one !Godzilla set for myself, one for my daughter's upcoming birthday, and Five Robot Lions That Form A Giant Robot With A Sword [AKA The Greatest Minifigure In The Universe] for a friend who's a huge Voltron fan). These extras were two more !Godzillas, in trans-green and trans-red. 

The large tail makes these figures just a little too big to fit comfortably in a 1" map square, but it also makes them very stable without needing a base. 

These figures will be useful miniatures for a variety of RPG monsters (some of which are shown in the photo below the list):
  • The three opaque !Godzillas would make excellent troglodytes or lizard men, or possibly sahuagin. If you don't mind the bright colors and translucent nature of the other figures, they will serve just as well, too. Having each figure in a different color will also make tracking hit points and conditions easier during battles, because each figure is very distinctive.
  • The trans-orange figure (or the bonus trans-red one I received) would make a passable salamander if you ignore the fact that it has legs. 
  • By itself, the head/back piece just needs a couple small filler bricks to serve as a moray eel (any opaque), flame snake (red or orange), or water weird (blue or clear). 
  • Tip a !Godzilla forward onto all fours and it becomes a dimetrodon.
  • Remove the head/tail of the clear figure, and add a clear LEGO minifigure head to make an invisible man or a transparent ghost. (Or leave it as-is if your troglodyte can cast invisibility, as happened in the adventure I ran recently.)

Overall, I would say that this set is worth the price to someone who is a serious movie monster fan, or who wants to diversify their collection of reptilian minifigures. However, due to the quality issues I mentioned above, I'm unlikely to buy more toys from Action Figure Therapy, unless I find something even more tempting than The Giant Radioactive Mutant Sea Lizard Sent To Punish Man’s Hubris.

No comments:

Post a Comment