Wednesday, September 11, 2013

STGCC13: Play Imaginative

No one would blame you if this is the first you're hearing of Play Imaginative. Six months prior to attending STGCC I had no idea who this Singapore-based toy company was, but now not only do I own some of their wares, I've got multiple items on my 'to-get' wishlist. In a market where Hot Toys and Enterbay are blowing people away with their high quality replicas of movie characters, Play Imaginative have crept up from the rear and are threatening to overtake the big boys.

Join me below the cut to check out some of what they had on show at the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention.

You may have seen in my previous STGCC post that I managed to grab the Event Exclusive 1/6 scale Jim Lee Batman, who looks like this:

i.e FLIPPIN' RAD. The exclusive edition got me a few extra hands and the head with the
'angered expresion' that you can see in the right hand corner there. I wasn't 100% sold on this figure when I saw the photos on the website, but in person he looked fantastic.

He's 12", 85% die cast metal, and the figure and box weigh ~3kg, so you could hold up a gas station wielding this guy.  Not that you'd want to, a crowbar is so much cheaper. He's also super articulated, so I look forward to putting him in some hilarious/questionable/badass poses once I get him all set up. You can order your own standard edition Batman here.

Love it or hate it, The New 52 is a thing that exists, and PI had a few of their 12" super alloy New 52 range on display.

The whole 'exclusive angered head' thing seems to be a theme here! When I first saw the images of this guy in the PI website, I didn't like it at ALL, but again he looks far far better in person. He's not for me, but he will certainly have his fans out there.

Oh look, a battle damaged angered head! Why I never! If there's one character who is going to look awesome sculpted in metal, it's gotta be Green Lantern. The colours just pop, and that head sculpt is so classic and clean looking. This was my pick of the 52 bunch.

I know zero things about Cyborg, so I'll just leave this here and you can get excited if you're so inclined.

I'm also not particularly versed on Flash-lore, but I do know that much like Green Lantern, the Flash looks exceptional in this form. His brushed-metal appearance looks super classy.

While I personally prefer the Jim Lee design much more (particularly the head sculpt), this version is still pretty cool. And you get a Bat-signal! But seriously, the Jim Lee Batman kicks the butts of all these guys. Go buy him. Now! Nownownownownownow!

Their Trexi range was a lot of fun, and I was surprised to learn they are actually canvas figures and not vinyl. I do try to stay away from the art toys a little bit, mainly for the reason that I know it's a slippery slope and I won't be able to stop at one or two (or eleven or twelve), but those Disney ones were severely testing my resolve. Look, it's Chip 'n' Dale! I'm assuming most of them were variants/con exclusives and I'm kind of kicking myself now for not investigating further. Dat Pinocchio.

But okay, everyone knows the big deal at STGCC was Iron Man. All sort of Iron Mans, all over the place. The one thought that popped into my head while checking out PI's Iron Man range was 'I think Hot Toys are in trouble'. Not only for the fact Play Imaginative are producing super high quality figures, but also for targeting markets above and below the Hot Toys 12" range.

Let's start by looking at their 1/12 scale range. You'll be looking somewhere in the vicinity of $100 to get your hands on one of these, which is already a big tick. They're 6" in height, so they aren't going to be taking up a massive amount of room. If you want to assemble your own Hall of Armor but don't have the room for all those 12" figures, then THIS is the way to do it.  They have 20 points of articulation, and come with just about as many extras as you would expect to get with a Hot Toys figure.

I didn't count how many 1/12 scale suits Play Imaginative had on display, but it was a LOT. It felt like a great deal more than 42, but perhaps I was just having a joy-induced hallucination.

I am extremely excited by the prospect of this range, even though my credit card is feeling a whole lot of trepidation. A high quality figure in this scale at this price point is a bit of a game changer. The only downside I can really see (aside from ending up with a houseful of tiny Iron Mans) is that upon close scrutiny these don't seem to have as much of the high detail (particularly in the faces) that we see in some of the bigger figures. Of course I'm just nit-picking, it's not realistic to shrink something by half and still have it be 100%. They're pretty damn close though.

There is obviously also a 12" range, but odds are if you're into this line you probably already have some of the Hot Toys ones pre-ordered, and that's fine (though these are really great too). The real edge PI have here though is their suit from the new movie with Pepper's head. I SOMEHOW neglected to take a photo of it, but if you watch the video in the post I put up the other day, you can get a good look at it. You might say 'Well, yeah, these figures are great, but Iron Man is a pretty easy one to start with. They're just simple head shapes, Hot Toys is still better at the human face sculpts.'

Looks to me like they've done a fairly good job. I think the best Tony Stark head thus far that Hot Toys have done is the new 'Mechanic' one and that's taken them a few goes to get right over the last couple of years. PI have come out of the gates with a pretty damn admirable effort, and you can only assume they're going to get better.

But let's not waste any more time on 12". We've seen 12". We all own 12". What's better than 12"? EIGHTEEN GODDAMN INCHES.

HNNNNG. These things are more beautiful than Tom Hiddleston and a unicorn combined. I want them. I need them. Though I'm not actually sure if any of my shelves would survive Igor.

They come with a high price tag to match their wow-factor, and you'll be paying about $700 each for these guys. As much as I love them, these totally break my heart, because I would really struggle to justify spending that much on a figure, but these are genuinely the best Iron Man statues I have seen and anything less would seem second-rate.

The collection of 18" figures wasn't as extensive as their 6" range, but as an estimate I'd say they still had about 30 suits on display and they all looked ridiculously good. I couldn't decide which I liked best; Jack, Disco, Nightclub, Blue Steel, Romeo, Hot Rod, Casanova, Bones, Shades...I JUST DON'T KNOW!

The one stumbling block that people might come up against with Play Imaginative is that it doesn't strike me as being super easy to buy the figures as an international customer. I'm not suggesting it's HARD, but it looks to probably involve a little more legwork than just clicking a link and entering your credit card details. The only Super Alloy figure up on their online store is Batman, and many of the figures only have preorder info up for Singapore residents. If you're keen on any of this stuff, it'd be a pretty good idea to sign up for their newsletter, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and generally keep on top of things yourself.

The addition of a Sideshow-esque payment plan system would be good for PI, especially as they're introducing these expensive premium figures. $100 a week sounds far less painful than $700 in one hit, but it's relatively early days for the company in the big scheme of things, so perhaps that's something that will develop when they grow. They do have free shipping to Australia though, which is pretty awesome.

You can check out my STGCC gallery over at our Facebook which features plenty more photos of the Play Imaginative Iron Man range, and you can check out Play Imaginative themselves at

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