Art 300: Infestors from Ironhaus Productions and Luke Harris


Infestors
By Ironhaus Productions and Luke Harris (Imperfecz)

Infestors (Venturo, Build A Figure, & Kraagh)
by Ironhaus Productions and Luke Harris (Imperfecz)

Objective:
The Infestors are a group of figures from Ironhaus Productions and Luke Harris (Imperfecz). The first release of the Infestors took the form of the Grunt. On July 4th 2014 the carded version of the Infestors were released.

The figures are cast in a keshi-like rubber. The same dark amber brown from the Grunt is not reused. Instead these Infestors are cast in a lighter color – almost a cross between yellow and light brown. The figures are also “painted” or washed with a very dark brown paint. The paint settle into all of the crevices of the figure and helps to bring out the fine details of the sculpt.

Packaged Close-Up

Packaged

The figures are packaged in a re-sealable card featuring original art on both sides. The two figures are partially hidden in a black plastic nest of shredded black plastic. The Build A Figure is hidden inside of a black plastic bag. The back of the card provides specific information about the two characters (Venturo and Kraagh) and a graphic-splash revealing the Build A Figure.

Subjective:
I am thoroughly impressed with the Infestors as a line of figures. I’ve found every creative decision to be original, fun, and engaging. I like so many things about the Infestors that I need to force myself to go piece by piece. Otherwise it will be vague, but enthusiastic fawning.

Back of Card

Front of Card

The packaging for these figures might be my new favorite independent packaging of all-time. Luke Harris has used this re-sealable card before, but before this release he had not mastered it. Not just because the entire volume of the plastic if filled, but because it works for the Infestors brand. The black bag hides the Build A Figure, but it also blends into the chaotic mess of the shredded black plastic. The figures find a perfect balance of being physically supported in the packaging but also mysteriously hidden.

The only potential downside to the front of the card is that the majority of the artwork is obscured. The back of the card features a narrative to creatively frame the Infestors. It also has two “figure profiles.” Attempting to provide this much information about figures often backfires. Skills in sculpting or casting do not always equate to skills in creative writing. But the Infestors are the exception – it completely works in this case.

Venturo

One, very minor, nitpick is the Pet Peeves of the profiles. The rest of the profile reads like a serious document regarding an unfamiliar mutant. This makes the Pet Peeve feel out of place. I assume that the Pet Peeve is a wink to collectors – attempting to acknowledge the centerfold-like quality of the write-up. Instead of feeling like a joke it simply feels out of place. Because there are not any “jokey” aspects of these toys the one not-clearly-a-joke-joke is difficult to appreciate. Again, that is a very minor criticism that ultimately does not diminish these great figures.

The first figure, Venturo, is arguably the most similar to the Grunt. It features a similar pose and structure, but is significantly different. In fact, I think the Venturo figure desires praise for a very specific reason: the Venturo is instantly recognizable as a bug-like and from the same line of toys as the Grunt without being a simple copy.

Venturo – Angle 1

Venturo – Back

Venturo – Angle 2

Before I read the back of the card I thought that the Venturo looked like a stronger version of the Grunt. As I was writing this review I learned, from the back of the card, that my initial impression was correct. Looking at the Venturo figure from multiple angles it is nearly impossible to not have that impression.

Kraagh

The second figure, Kraagh, again retains the Infestors sensibility but has a significantly different look. This figure is slimmer than Venturo but seems more muscular than the Grunt. He also features a very cool sword and shield.

It would be easy to praise the details of the sword and shield – or any part of the figure. Instead I was impressed that with such large weapons the figure was still able to balance in a fairly dynamic pose. Based on the pictures alone it would be easy to assume the figure was top-heavy or prone to falling over. My version was not and I found that to be incredibly impressive.

I was also impressed with the back of the figure. The shells of the Infestors have always been impressive. The addition of a shield could have looked like a bug with two shells. I expect that happened because a series of well thought out decisions resulted in a shield that looks “buggy” without merely being another shell.

Kraagh – Angle 1

Kraagh – Back

Kraagh – Angle 2

Build A Figure – Part 1

The last surprise with this pack was the Build A Figure piece. I was most amazed that the design of the piece looked like a complete mini-figure and not just one piece of a puzzle. The Build A Figure piece looks like a droid that helps the Infestors.

I am very excited to see how the Build a Figure turns out. Based on the teaser picture on the back of the card I assume that it is a three-piece Build A Figure. I’m equally curious as to how the figure can be completed.

I can’t think of a time when I have seen something like a Build A Figure offered with mini-figures. If this is a first, then I am even more blown away. It seems like such a natural fit for independent mini-figure creators.

I was provided a set of these figures for review. So I was curious to see what the sale price would end up being. The final price for the figures is $30. As far as I am concerned that is $10 per figure and an absolute steal for buyers. Cynics might say, “That’s easy for you to say, you didn’t pay for your figures.”

Venturo and Kraagh

I’m so blown away by these figures that I will put my money where my mouth is. I will buy a set of these figures for somebody. I don’t have the contest figured out as of writing this, but I promise to do it.

But don’t just wait for me, because you don’t want to miss these figures. I saw that the toy awards were coming around again and my thoughts went right to these figures. I think there are some politics that go into those awards (what award doesn’t?), but ignoring those politics the Infestors are some of the best figures of 2014 – or any year.

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

The Infestors
Grunt, Venturo, & Kraagh

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