I can’t pretend to know a ton about Machine56. I’ve seen his amazing artwork and character designs around on various blogs and sites. (Check his deviant art page for visual goodness) and now that his figures are being produced by Glitch Network, he’s been hitting my radar pretty consistently over the past year. But for the most part, I’m a Machine56 newbie, as well as an instant fan.
What I can honestly say is that few designers have caught my eye like Machine56’s hip, robo-urban inspired characters.
His designs, to me, feel like next generation Akira come to life. “Come to life” actually means something here because you can buy (or could, they’re sold out) and actually WEAR many of his designs, including his amazing looking fullscale, 1:1 Bonehead Helmets.
I have no idea where I’d actually wear one in Hawaii, but I’ve been keenly watching his Deviant Art page to try and get a bead on when the next one might come out.
Maybe there’s a robo-hula somewhere.
When Bonehead showed up on my doorstep, I was very pleasantly surprised. I’d spoken with a few guys from Glitch Network at SDCC this past year, (including Bryan Lie of God Complex fame) and they mentioned wanting to send me something to review.
I get stuff from companies all the time to review, but rarely do they just show up randomly out of thin air 6 months after it’s casually mentioned in conversation.
One thing is for certain, if the quality of the Bonehead figure can match the strength of of Machine56’s design, I’m going to have to donate a trunk full of art toys to charity or set them on fire to make room for my new obsession.
I think Glitch came super close to nailing the package design for Bonehead. It’s clean, with a strong character silhouette smacked on the front. Nice use of icons and fonts laid out in a pretty straight forward way.
It’s definitely nice looking and I tend to prefer a cleaner aesthetic in box art. That said, if you check out some of Machine56’s kinetic art over on his DeviantArt page, it’s hard not think that they could a done even more to reflect his style on it. The back of the box does kick things a little further in that direction. Overall, I’d say it’s clean and tightly designed, if lacking a bit of Machine56’s trademark visual energy.
Inside, Bonehead’s held in his spot by the same sort of clear plastic clam shell you’ve seen a million times before. It does it’s job well enough.
Initially, my opinion was made up the second I pulled Bonehead out of the package.
I didn’t love it. In fact, given how amazing the Bonehead artwork I have seen from Machine56, I kinda hated myself for not loving it. I really wanted to.
I thought, this is definitely going to be the shortest review I’ve written yet. Like it or not, just check a box and move on. But instead of jumping off at that point, I decided to put the figure away to come back to at a later time. I’ve learned over the years that sometimes my first impressions of a figure don’t necessarily hold over time. Good or bad, opinions change. I’ve sold off figures due to that first glance opinion only to find deep regret after seeing other folk’s photos later that blow me away.
So, I’ve waited for a (literal) rainy day to take another look over him and I am happy to say that my overall opinion of him has changed a bit. But how it’s changed may not be in quite the binary, black and white way I thought it would.
For starters, I’ll tackle the stuff that I think most people will agree are the strongest aspects of this figure.
The helmet without a doubt, looks fantastic. It’s bright, it’s clean, it’s a great sculpt. There’s little to no paint bleed to speak of. The seams are hidden will within the form of the helmet, leaving things looking very natural. It’s easily the best thing about the figure.
It almost makes me want to plunk down serious cash to snag a 1:1 version that much more.
Bonehead comes packing with a few cool accessories. You get two extra sets of hands that you can easily swap on and off, a bat that pulls apart to reveal a hidden diecast blade and then the massive, Cloud Strife/FF7/Buster Sword-esque, Mech killer sword. We’ll go over these things a bit more in a few.
I like the way the hood on the jacket actually fits over the helmeted head. Some companies (cough, cough, 3A) occasionally kitbash some of their figures together with aspects that don’t actually work very well together. Maybe a gun is included that doesn’t fit the hands or the character has a hoodie that doesn’t fit over his head. It’s not always a big deal, but things like that can take away from one’s enjoyment of figure as a whole.
From the clothing function side of things, it all works like you’d expect. Even the pockets are real. You can actually cram his hand in his pockets if you like that swag look.
On the downside, the clothing feels a little cheap to me. Not fragile, there’s no seams coming apart or threads popping out.. but just something about the material feels like something you might get as an outfit option for Barbie or Ken… not that I know that from experience.
Again, you might feel differently about it, but that’s how it seems to me.
I really like the designs on the jacket. The logos are printed on sharp and clean and add some much needed character to the outfit.
One weird thing about the function of the jacket is that the snaps that hold it together do not match the fake snaps on the outside of the jacket. You have 4 little black buttons sewn on the outside for appearances, then 4 separate functioning snaps sewn on the inside. It seems like it’d been easy to just use real snaps that go through the hoodie instead of what they did here. It’d definitly look a lot better. What they ended up doing looks exceptionally odd when the jacket is left open.
If you do choose to leave the jacket open, at least you’d benefit from being able to see the sharp, bold print design on the tee shirt underneath.
The shoes are made of a fairly soft plastic and mostly painted silver. Bonehead balances pretty well, so they do the job. That said, I’m not a huge fan of the way they look. There’s nothing “wrong” with them per-say, but the red detail (different on each foot) looks like they’re just sorta glued on as an after-thought.
Probably the thing I found most exciting about Bonehead was the bat sword accessory. It’s a quality piece. He looks cool holding the bat as is, but the fact that you can unsheathe this real die cast steel, nicely detailed short blade just oozes all sorts of cool. Once removed, the sheath part of the bat becomes visually a little cumbersome. There really no place to put it other than to toss it aside or have him hold it with his free hand, which looks odd to me, like he’s holding a broken bat… upside down. Eh, just toss it aside.
Anyway, other than that, I love this accessory.
That’s not so much the case with the big sword. Not that the sword itself is at fault. Visually, it’s a very cool looking piece of kit, sharing many of the same design elements as the smaller bat-blade (though it is NOT die-cast).
No, the real issue has more to do with the make of the hands he has to use to grip it. Glitch Network made the swap-able hands out of a very, very soft rubber. This works great for swapping them out easily, without worrying about the delicate wrist pegs snapping. But it works horribly at holding something the size of the this sword. It’s just too heavy for them. The combination of the hands being too flexible and not holding firmly at the wrist causes the blade to either drop out of the hands completely or twist/flop to the side.
Believe me, it took a long time to get him to do even this.
While we’re talking about design flaws, I’d like to point out the most glaring. Check out that neck post. –>
There’s almost a half inch gap there. Without the hoodie up and around his neck, you get to stare at that awful looking thing. I can understand the designers wanting some clearance for the head to move around, but this is crazy excessive by any standard. I have no idea why anyone would say, “Yeah, this looks great”, give it the thumbs up and send it off for manufacturing. Unless of course their whole plan is to “encourage” you to leave that hoodie on forever to cover it up as it can.
So what aspect of my opinion changed, you may ask? “That’s a pretty big pile of negative stuff up in those paragraphs above, Brodie” the masses say, ” It sure does seem to us you didn’t care much for this figure.”
Well, I couldn’t blame you for thinking that, but in truth, I actually DO like this figure. In fact, he’s chilling on my shelf as we speak. I think what’s really changed is my expectations of it. Sometimes, you just gotta look at something as it’s own thing. Not all toys are created equally, all that sort of thing.
The best way I can think to explain it is that before I received this guy, I was expecting something either as polished and refined as an exceptional product from Hot Toys, as stylish and cool as something from ThreeA or maybe a figure that can be posed as expressively as something from 1000toys.
I mean, we’re dealing with a fairly new brand, Glitch Network that’s trying to either redeem itself or make a name for itself in the industry. They’re also backed by some truly phenomenal, next level artist. From the teases, proto-shots and glancing at him from behind the glass at SDCC, I thought they were gonna nail it.
But the issues were apparent from the moment I opened the box. The over-arching one being that this figure seems to lack refinement. The helmet being the one exception, there is really nothing that seems 100% polished here. Weird exposed neck post, loose/weak rubbery hands, strange unaligned jacket snaps and buttons, shoe details that look glued on as an afterthought, clothing that, while functional, feels… for lack of a better word, cheap. I feel terrible that I even have to write something like this about a figure I was so excited about a few months ago, particularity when the team behind it are some of the finest gentlemen I’ve made acquaintances with, but that’s where we’re at.
What’s changed for me is that, if I put the ideals away of what I normally collect, I can look at Bonehead on my shelf as its own thing. Something about doing reviews makes me go over everything I get with a sort of mental fine tooth comb, a checklist of sorts. I don’t want to ignore the issues, and sure, he may not hold up for some considering the asking price is around $195 but just by putting the figure in a different mental category, put that all aside and take the figure for what it is, I can find enjoyment.
He really catches my eye. He’s visually striking and honestly, just very cool looking.
You can’t compare a mass produced toy made for the shelves in Walmart to a high end collectible, but you can still enjoy each for it’s own merits. There are many shades of quality in between and Bonehead falls somewhere in there.
While I doubt I’ll be filling my shelves with Bonehead figures, I want Glitch Network to do well and keep improving their product. The toy business is a fickle and challenging beast and a lot of companies fall to the way side. I have a lot of hope for the line, and with a few small changes, a little spit shine, I think what they’re working on will be something truly special one day.
- Machine56’s designs are fantastic
- The Bonehead helmet is not only amazing looking, but pulled off almost flawlessly in toy form
- I love the bat/hidden sword
- Clothing doesn’t prohibit any articulation. The figure is very pose-able
- Looks great and unique on the shelf
- Waaaay too much neck post exposed
- Clothing feels a little cheap
- Rubber hands are too soft to support the weight of the big sword
- Weird jackets snaps stand out if jacket left open
- Seems to lack the sort of polish that some might expect from a $195 collectibleThanks to Glitch Network for providing this figure for review. I can’t wait to see what you guys do next!Thank you readers for stopping by and checking out our reviews! If you like what you see, please follow us on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram for more toy news, reviews, photos and videos! Aloha!