Art 300: Mutants from Ironhaus Productions and Luke Harris


Mutants
By Ironhaus Productions and Luke Harris (Imperfecz)

Mutants by Ironhaus Productions and Luke Harris (Imperfecz)
Blind Bag Set – Included (left to right): Caraes, Sewerstein, BracHaeng, and Dunkang

Blind Bag Mutants

Objective:
The Mutants are a set of 11 figures from Ironhaus Productions and Luke Harris (Imperfecz). All of the figures are cast in a keshi-like rubber. There are a wide variety of colors with these figures (Sparkly Translucent Yellow, Translucent Red & Green, Blue, Army Man Green, Ivory, and perhaps even more chase colors.) This blind bag contained three flesh-inspired colors, and a gray figure. Luke Harris explained the various flesh colors:

Coming from a love of bootleg & knockoff toys, specifically M.U.S.C.L.E. or Kinkeshi, when I think of “flesh” the range is all over the place. Flesh in minifigures seems kind of a generic term for the pink color that toys like M.U.S.C.L.E. came in as a standard run. Most of these types of toys came in a base pink color, and some of the knockoff versions even had a tan color. Within both bootlegs of Kinkeshi and knockoff toys that followed there is a huge range sometimes even with the same company producing them.

When it came to thinking of how we were going to do a standard run of “flesh” for the Mutants to start off with, I started thinking of my big old pile of bootlegs. Seemed only natural with this mix of mixed up characters to give them some type of individuality within a set. It occurred to me to try to represent the different “flesh” I have seen in the 10 different Mutants as well as the Hunter.

Using the same 3 basic colors of Red, Yellow, and Brown that comprise typical “flesh” in varying degrees I ended up with a wide range from pale pink to fairly brown. Even a tan type color representing Future Strength is present.

All of the figures have detailed sculpts and the casting is impressively clean.

Mutants can be purchased in packs of various sizes: (1) full 11 figure sets; (2) blind-bag 3-packs; and (3) specifically paired 2-packs (i.e., Fossilus and Tronco). This sample was a blind bag set and contained four figures – Caraes, Sewerstein, BracHaeng, and Dunkang. The figures are packaged in a black bag with a header card featuring original art on both sides.

Subjective:
Whenever I get a package in the mail my boys are excited to see what kind of “M.U.S.C.L.E. figures” I have received. And in many cases the response from them is the same: (1) excited interest; (2) immediate excitement at a new toy; and then (3) the important crossroad, “Can we play with it?”

If the answer is yes, then they take their prize and go play. If the answer is no, then they become immediately disinterested and go play. The Mutants created a new responses from the boys.

I have never seen them so excited. The blind bag captivated them. That first night they must have asked, at least, a half-dozen times, “Can we open it?” I told them no because I wanted to take a picture of the blind bag. Normally they let something like this go. Everyday when I got home from work, “Dad, did you take the pictures yet? Can we open it?” This lasted at least a week.

With a build-up like that the opening should have been a disappointment. It wasn’t. The boys loved the figures. But then things went back to normal, “Can we play with it?” No. They become immediately disinterested and went off to play.

I share that story because, for me, it illustrates how fascinating these figures are. The packaging and ultimately the figures are able to hold the insanely short attention spans of the best, and sometimes harshest, toy critics in the world – two little boys that love action figures.

BracHaeng

The Mutants, as an entire set, certainly deserve all of the praise that they receive. However to really appreciate the Mutants it is best to look at each figure individually.

BracHaeng is a figure that instantly demands attention. But train-wrecks attract attention too. BracHaeng is not a train-wreck. His odd body and shape instantly pull you in, but I believe the sculpt of the face makes you connect with the figure. The face of BracHaeng is sad and sympathetic.

I also noticed that BracHaeng has a backstory. I will admit I have mixed emotions. The backstory explained the wires and mechanical components coming out of BracHaeng. It also foreshadows the story element that is a much bigger part of the Infestors from Ironhaus Productions and Luke Harris. However the sense of mystery and absolute lack of background and story with M.U.S.C.L.E. figures is something I have always enjoyed. I like a little mystery with my mini-figures.

The BracHaeng is also a complete sculpt. It looks great, and fully thought out, from every angle.

BracHaeng – Angle 1

BracHaeng – Back

BracHaeng – Angle 2

Caraes

Caraes is a strange little figure. When I looked at it, and specifically his face, I couldn’t help but think of Eric the Midget. I’m sure it is just a coincidence. But if I was ever going to start a reckless conspiracy theory (aren’t they all, really), then this is the one I would put my full support behind.

Once I saw Eric’s face it was hard not to see the odd little arms as Eric’s odd little arms. The growths, the bumps, the suffering little faces – I started to see Eric throughout this figure. This kind of reaction may not have been the intention of the figure, but I firmly believe the best art causes an intense emotional reaction. The Caraes certainly caused an intense emotional reaction for me.

The only potential downside to this figure is his size. When I looked at the various two-pack combinations the Caraes/Dunkang was the least appealing – not because of the sculpts, but if I look at the other pairings I feel like the price-per-figure is much better. Caraes is too big to simply be an extra pack-in, but he feels a little too small to be his own $7.50 figure (as part of the two-pack).

Caraes – Angle 1

Caraes – Back

Caraes – Angle 2

Sewerstein

The devil is in the details. If that’s true, then this figure should burst into flames and burn the mark of the devil into your hand each time you touch it.

I think this figure has some obvious strengths that most people are going to immediately notice: cool pose, awesome weaponized arm, and attention-grabbing facemask. I was really impressed with the look of the glove on the left hand. It seems like it was meant to be a “plain glove,” but that shouldn’t be easy to do. Too plain and it looks forgotten about. Too detailed and it looks like it is fighting for equal attention from the right hand. The left hand glove struck a very difficult to achieve balance.

I believe the balance happens to because of the circle on the front and creases on the back. That makes it sound too easy and maybe even too simple. It isn’t. The best analogy I can think of is a great magician. You know it’s a trick and you think you know how he does it, but you’re still watching because he does it so well. That’s the left glove for me.

Sewerstein – Angle 1

Sewerstein – Angle 2

Sewerstein – Angle 3

Dunkang

It’s a killer donut (aren’t they all, really). I have a feeling that this is a love it or hate it figure – nothing in-between.

I imagine the hate-it-crowd will say, “It’s a killer donut.”

And I know the love-it-crowd will say, “It’s a KILLER DOUNUT figure!!!

Hopefully it is clear that I am in the love-it crowd. I was impressed by the texture on the donut and felt that the teeth were perfectly shaped and placed. Having the eyes inset instead of plopped on top of the figure was another great decision. There would have been too much “on top” of the donut.

This is also a very substantial figure. It is clear why he is paired with the much smaller Caraes in the two-pack. I would also be interested to see what customizers can do painting this figure. Dunkang seems like a figure that is a perfect canvas for painters.

Dunkang – Angle 1

Dunkang – Angle 2

Dunkang – Angle 3

You may already know these artists. But just in case you need to find more information, here are some places to find more information about Ironhaus Productions, check out these links:
Ironhaus Productions on UofMUSCLE.com
Ironhaus Productions’ Store
Ironhaus Productions’ Blog
Ironhaus Productions on Facebook

For more information about Luke Harris, Check out these links:
Luke Harris on UofMUSCLE.com
Luke’s Imperfecz Toyz Store
Luke’s Imperfecz Blog
Luke Harris on Facebook
Luke Harris on Twitter

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