Rampage Toys probably first came to the attention of M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors sometime in the fall of 2010. The earliest M.U.S.C.L.E. inspired work from Rampage Toys can be seen on their blog from October of 2010.The University of M.U.S.C.L.E. first purchased a yellow-swirled Cupcake Luchador. This figure is a special collaboration between Rampage Toys and Dave Sheely. The figure is built on the body of M.U.S.C.L.E. figure #217. The head has been replaced by a Rampage Toys logo inspired face and cupcake head.
The pairing is brilliant for two reasons: (1) it is unexpected; and (2) it fits within the M.U.S.C.L.E. universe. The Cupcake Luchador feels as if he could be an original M.U.S.C.L.E. figure.Suggesting that the figure is “paired” might give the impression that a simple head-swap may have taken place. The head is completely original and beautifully sculpted. Most importantly it fits beautifully with the figure. It is large enough to allow for detail and comical effect, but not so large that it looks disproportionate. Rampage Toys have walked a very fine line perfectly.
Originally these figures had been cast in beautiful monochromatic colors. The Dave Sheely castings offered something a little bit different. In this example the figure is translucent with an almost fluorescent yellow swirl. Not only is the casting perfect from a quality perspective, the aesthetics of the coloring add a second dimension to the figure.The swirl gives the impression that the figure is transforming in some way – perhaps, shifting from yellow to invisible or vice versa. Most importantly the swirl effect does not come across as being “gimmicky.” This is probably because the yellow is so vibrant that it demands the viewer to closely inspect the figure.
As of posting this review, it does not appear that collectors can order a single Cupcake Luchador through Rampage Toys’ online store. I would encourage any interested collectors, which should be, at least, all M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors, to contact Rampage Toys in an effort to secure one of these figures.
The second purchase by the University of M.U.S.C.L.E. was Rampage Toys’ ACE Luchador figure. These figures were created in preparation for the 2011 Emerald City Comic Con and WonderCon. This figure appears to be the accessible version of the Custom SEISMIC ACE and ACE M.U.S.C.L.E. Helpers. The Custom SEISMIC ACE was created for Smash Tokyo Toys, who also did the character design for the ACE Luchador.
The ACE Luchador looks to share some head similarities with its custom brother, but the eyes and face appear to be a little bit different. The other difference is that the ACE Luchador has been built on the body of M.U.S.C.L.E. figure #217.
There is a beautiful consistency in the Cupcake Luchador and ACE Luchador both being built on the body of #217. Once again, it mirrors the original M.U.S.C.L.E. figures in that some figures had multiple versions. That connection is further fueled by, again, creating a figure that could have originally come from a 4- or 10-pack over 20 years ago.The drill-like head evokes the feeling of Tunneler from the Puppet Master movies, but less nightmare inducing. Rampage Toys have found the healthy balance between violence and toy – which can greatly impact the appropriateness of the figure fitting into the M.U.S.C.L.E. universe.
This figure has been cast in a beautiful M.U.S.C.L.E.-like Flesh color. This color will most likely appeal to collectors that prefer the original Flesh color M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. However, the quality of the figure would easily allow it to be equally, or even more, attractive in a variety of colors.
As of posting this review, the ACE Luchador has also sold out. Thankfully Rampage Toys is in the process of creating more figures which will be available in their online store very soon. The University of M.U.S.C.L.E. encourages collectors to pick-up the ACE Luchador figure for their collection. It is impossible to be disappointed.
It is also worth noting that these figures were purchased for $15 each, and both were worth every penny.