If you are wondering why this page looks so bland and generic compared to the other reviews I've done, it's because the subjects
of this review are Stikfas, a unique line of small, generic figures. The idea of Stikfas seems to be k.i.s.s. (keep it simple
stupid) Do away with the licenses, likenesses and fancy gimmicks that so many action figure lines are based upon and create
a simple, articulated figure with lots of interchangeable accessories to determine what type of character the figure is.
If that sounds like Hasbro's Xevoz line, there's good reason. Stikfas are originally from Singapore; Hasbro began producing
the line for distribution in the USA as of the last year and then developed Xevoz off of the same idea. Sadly Stikfas haven't
caught on as well as many had hoped here in the USA. This review covers two of the figures, the Mechana segmented robot and
Chinese Warrior Monk.
Packaging - 8/10Stikfas have one of the most unique packaging designs I've seen. Each figure comes in a rhombus shaped box that is intentionally left fairly blank. The front of the box has the Stikfas logo above a large image of the completed figure against a plain white background. The side panels have an explanation of the Stikfas line and written description of the figure. The back panel shows the contents of each kit and some of the variations possible. The entire package has a very unique look to it that is very much in keeping with the figures themselves. A lot of credit is due to Mister Bany J, the creator of Stikfas, for finding a way to make the "plain white wrapper look" interesting. The packaging is also remarkably tough since it uses regular corrugated cardboard rather than the tag board that most toy packaging utilizes. Of course, since the figures are quite small and light, it's really kind of overkill.
Sculpting - Monk 2/10, Mechana 5/10I said that these figures were designed to be simple. A basic Stikfas figure more closely resembles an artist's manikin than a traditional action figure. It has a humanoid form and that's about it. But then again that's the point. It even more true with the Chinese Warrior Monk which is the first Stikfas kit to have the second generation Alpha Male body. This new body adds an additional joint for each elbow and the knees. But the large ball between in the middle of each limb really makes the figure look like a manikin. The Mechana figure isn't any more detailed than the monk, but it seems less noticeable for an inorganic form like a robot. The Mechana set also scores better because it actually includes two figures. In addition to the robot, there is a small teddy bear figure included.
There is one other point that should be made clear. Stikfas come unassembled and still attached to the parts tree they were formed on. Plan on spending some time getting all of the parts free. I would also highly suggest having a razor or small diagonal cutter handy to get all of the parts off. The plastic used is quite tough and some of the parts, especially Mechana's finger sections, are quite small. The process is made even more difficult since the plastic connections to the parts tree are quite a bit larger than they needed to be. Often the connections to the tree are actually thicker than the stems for the ball joints themselves. A diagonal cutter and razor to shave off any excess plastic will be quite helpful.
Paint/decals - 2/10The paint applications on these figures are easy to describe, non-existent. Each figure come cast in a single color plastic with no painting done what-so-ever. In the case of both of these figures, they're black. Some variation is achieved by casting the accessories in a different color plastic so the teddy bear is a light brown. But again, this is actually part of the charm of the line. They are supposed to be nondescript. Each figure does come with a sheet of STIKers, decals that can be applied to the completed figure to customize it to your taste. I've actually never bothered to try applying any of the decals since I like the generic look myself. Like the Xevoz figures, the decals included with Stikfas figures offer a range of options from the traditional, to scary, to down right silly. Hopefully the largely flat surfaces of the Stikfas figures will hold a decal better than the Xevoz figures do.
Articulation - 10/10You would expect a line that touts itself as having "super-articulated design" to do well in this area and these figures do not disappoint. The G2 body of the Warrior Monk has 18 points of articulation while Mechana has a whopping 40 points of articulation. (Oh, and the bear has five.) While 18 POA (points of articulation) may not seem like much compared to some of today's figures, not all joints are created equal. Every joint is a ball and socket joint which allows for a range of motion equal to two or three normal joints. The G2 alpha male body is one of the most flexible figures I've seen. Mechana is a mixed bag. The arms are extremely articulated with three joints per finger and four joints in each arm. Where a well done double jointed elbow will allow a figure's arm to bend 180 degrees, Mechana's arms can bend as much as 360 degrees. The figure can actually wrap its arms around far enough to scratch the back of it own elbow, or at least it could if it had an elbow. But the articulation in the rest of the figure is simply the normal articulation for a Stikfas figure: ankles, knees, hips, waist and neck. But that is still pretty good and is plenty to afford the figure excellent stability and good poseability.
Accessories - Warrior Monk 7/10 Mechana 5/10Mechana comes with eight accessories, nine if you count the bear. The major one is the retro-futuristic ray gun. The pistol can be held quite securely by the figure in either hand or it can be attached in place of one of the hands. (I have also found that with the handle removed and replaced by the small round insert for the chest, it makes a great head.) There are two exhaust pipes designed to be plugged into the figure's back as a jet pack. There are two replacement hands: a claw that opens and closes and a small saw. Finally there are three options to plug into the top of the figure's head: a standard antenna, a small satellite dish and a fin.
The Chinese Warrior Monk comes with several spare parts for the G2 body, a cloak and a whole tree full of weapons and parts. To start with, you get enough parts to make about half of another figure. There is a second torso, waist, biceps and thighs. The reason for most of the extra parts is to give you one part with the square holes to connect additional parts and accessories and on without the holes if you don't want them. The point of the second waist section baffles me. As with the other original Alpha Male body, there is one waist section that is molded in a single part and then a second one that has to be assembled from two pieces. But the final product is identical to the other waist section anyway. It would have been nice if they provided some variation as long as they were including the extra parts any way. The cloak is made of a stiff vinyl. It has a slit cut up the right side to allow the figure to be inserted. There are also two squares cut out from the back so that it is still possible to use the mounting holes on the figure's back. The monk has several accessories that can be used to add variety to the figure itself including the conical shaped hat, a brown wig with optional pony tail and a pair of brown hands that at slightly more open than the regular Stikfas hands but still able to hold the weapons. The Monk is certainly well armed as well. The set includes two butterfly swords, a curved dagger and matching curved sword, a broad sword, a circular knife and a fan. Finally there are the staff weapons. The set includes four staffs, two about three and a half inches long and two that are about three quarters of an inch shorter. In addition to being used as simple bo staffs, there are four connectors included that can attach to either end of any to the staffs to allow one of the five blades that are included to be attached to the staffs. In this way, a multitude of different weapon combinations can be created using an arrowhead, crescent moon shaped blade, curved sword blade, an axe like blade or a long spear with crescent blade attached to it.
There is one other thing that is included with each Stikfas kit, a set of three postcards. Each figure has one post card with the assembly instructions on it, one with an image of that figure on it, and one postcard with a humorous image on it (the knight Stikfas with its arm and leg strewn across the ground and the caption "It's just a flesh wound" or dozens of the original soldier Stikfas with the caption "Yeah, you and what army?") It is a cute idea that was started back when Stikfas were first created, but I doubt many people will get much use out of them. And making the instructions into a postcard is really strange since I can't imagine many people would want to mail off their instructions or many people would want to receive them in the mail.
Value - 2/10Don't get me wrong, these things are a lot of fun. For a couple of bucks, they would be a great deal. I could easily see these selling as an impulse item at stores. For the price of a pack of trading cards a parent could buy their son or daughter a little figure to put together and play with or a new set of accessories, a modern version of the old fashion paper dolls. The problem is that these aren't a couple of bucks. The basic Stikfas figures like these run about $9. That is cheaper than the used to be before Hasbro began releasing them domestically. But that is still too much money to blow on three pieces of unpainted plastic, a couple of postcards and a sheet of stickers. I had really hoped that Hasbro's deal with the original manufacturer would have meant a drastic drop in the cost of these toys similar to what happened when Bandai brought the MSIA line to the USA; figures that had sold for $20 or more were suddenly available for $6 and they were a huge hit with kids. If Hasbro would have/could have dropped the price to $2 or $3 each, these could have sold like hotcakes. As it is, the price relegates them to little more than the fringe adult collector market.
Happy Hunting:Toys R Us is the only brick and mortar store I have seen that carries the Stikfas line with any regularity. You may also want to check your local comic shop or video game shop as well. But finding these two particular Stikfas could be a bit more of a challenge since they were released some time ago. Entertainment Earth has the best selection of Stikfas I've seen online especially for older figures. And the prices are reasonable. You can also check at Big Bad Toy Store for some of the newer Stikfas kits.