Monday, February 24, 2014

Marvel BEARZ by Piranha Studios

Detailed and adorable, Piranha Studios takes our favourite Marvel characters down to the bear-bones.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm a sucker for a unique take on a character, and the Bearz line is definitely that. These 5 inch vinyl figures from the UK surfaced back in 2006, but never really took off here. I saw them around once or twice randomly but there were never more than a couple. I regret not buying more when I had the chance. Just look at some of these designs.

I managed to find Colossus and Beast (because I have an X-men problem). Let's take a look at these Bearz.

As you can see, the entire line is designed around 2 sculpts. Series 1 is a simple eggplant shaped torso with articulated arms and legs. The head is round with an extended muzzle and a prominent nose. Three tufts of hair sit between their ears. Series 2 adds a cape feature to some of the figures.

The characters are defined exclusively by the paint choices. Colossus is covered in a shimmery silver and is wearing one of his iconic red and yellow uniforms. Beast's body is a two-toned blue. The majority is painted dark, while the feet, ears, and face are emphasized by a bright sky-blue. Highlights of blue and grey form a fur pattern all over his body and the claws on his feet are a great little detail. His uniform is closer to the design of Morrison's New X-men run, complete with goggles!

Welcome to effective branding. Each Bearz figure has a "Bearz inc button" embedded into the back of their head. If memory serves me right, the colour of each button indicates the collectibility of the individual figure. Silver means one thing. Gold means another. Or at least I think it does. I could be making this all up.

The faces are quite expressive. Colossus grimaces with a slightly opened mouth, while Beast glares with his teeth bared. Even with the same eye stencil, they're both pretty unique. They're a little bit like the Funko Pop! in that sense. Each of them have small differences (in this case, paint) which create a new character. I also really enjoy the gloss of the paint. You can see in the photos just how much the flash reflects off of it. I highly recommend these figures. They'll add a little bit of whimsy to any collection. There are a few still floating around on the internet.

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