Skeleton Warriors: Baron Dark (20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) by October Toys

The Summer of 2014 was all about Action Figure Kickstarters! OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but there were a handful of notable ones and I funded most of them. The first to pay off was Warpo’s Legends of Cthulhu and now comes October Toys’ love letter to Skeleton Warriors, a line of figures originally produced by Playmates Toys back in the mid 90’s. The toys (and short-lived cartoon) arrived smack in the middle of that oddball decade of my life where I was more interested in real life than toys, but I have since admired the Skeleton Warriors figures and I know it had a strong following. Looking back, I’m not sure what made me pledge this Kickstarter. I was terribly excited about Warpo’s Cthulhu figures and I’m still slobbering in anticipation of getting my Vertruvian HACKS figures from Boss Fight Studios, so the truth is I probably just got swept up in the excitement. I do remember it had a really cheap buy in, the figure looked good, and it was an easy “one and done” without a lot of Add Ons threatening to consume my monies. Obviously, the Kickstarter successfully reached its goal, but in reality it just squeaked through with about $5,000 over the goal and not meeting any of the stretch goals required for the Skeleton Guards or Soldiers, both of which were shown off in prototype form. Well, fast forward to now and I sort of forgot this guy was even coming until I got the shipping confirmation. Now that I have him in hand, I really wish all those other figures had been green lit from the start, but I’ll come back to that at the end.

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Baron Dark comes in a window box that takes a cue from the designs used by Hasbro for the Star Wars Black line or Funko’s Legacy Collection figures. It’s a handsome little package in a matte finish with the logo artwork on the front and the series tagline, “They’re Bad to the Bone” on the bottom. The side panel of the box is also lettered, which is something I’m constantly harping on Hasbro for not doing with their Black line. The back of the package has a great synopsis about the characte as well as the credit to all the talent who have helped make the figure possible. The figure itself comes in an enclosed plastic tray and the whole package is totally collector friendly. It’s attractive, informative and collector friendly? What more could you want? How about a great figure?

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Yup, you get that too! Baron Dark is a beautifully stylized and wonderfully faithful rendition of the character in what is declared to be 1/18th scale, so I’m guessing this guy is supposed to be bigger than your average skeleton, because he’s a fair deal bigger than a 4-inch figure but not quite 5-inch. The closest figure in my collection that I could match him up against would be a Figuarts. The sculpt here is absolutely amazing. The ribcage is fully defined with separate ribs and each of the bones features sculpted wear and crevices. Even each of the fingers and toes are intricately recreated. A highly effective paintwash brings out all this detail perfectly and the coloring of the bone itself is spot on. This guy is a little work of art!

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Dark’s outfit consists of some loose and ragged wrappings sculpted into his lower legs along with a pair of red sandals. He has purple bracelets and a purple sash, which are all sculpted as separate pieces and are removable if you take the figure apart. The cape, however, is the real stand out piece of the costume. It’s sculpted in red plastic and ragged and torn with shoulders made of of individually sculpted tiny skulls. The cape is also removable if you pop off Dark’s head and doing so lets you get a great view of all the detail that went into the spine and the back of the ribcage.

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Of course, nothing shows off how much wonderful sculpting went into this figure more than the head. The Skeleton Warriors character designs are so distinctive and October Toys really managed to convey that flavor in this portrait. From the bulging eyes to the fanged mouth, all the little cracks and fissures are present in the skull and his headdress looks amazing. He manages to be both goofy and frightening at the same time.

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Baron is loaded with articulation and because he’s built on the Glyos system, you can easily take the figure apart at any one of the joints. The bulk of the jointing consists of rotating hinges, which are found in the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles. The wrists have swivels and he can swivel at the waist in two different places. Lastly, the head is ball jointed. Picking this guy up is a dangerous affair, because once I start playing with him, he’s damn hard to put down.

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Baron Dark comes with his sword, which is cast in soft plastic but manages to resist warping and retain a straight blade. It’s got a vicious looking blade and little skulls adorning the hilt. Where does Dark get all those tiny skulls? Actually, nevermind. I don’t think I want to know. The sword can fit comfortably into either of Dark’s hands and the figure is agile enough to wield the sword two-handed.

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As part of my pledge level, my box also included some ephemera, specifically a great little color booklet about the Skeleton Warriors and this project, a beautiful art card, and a Titan Skeleton figure, which is the base body on which Baron Dark is built only with a more generic ribcage and skull and no sandals. It’s an unpainted figure, but still retains all the fun articulation of The Baron himself, and I would guess that customizers will going wild for something like this.

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I can’t even imagine the work that goes into doing a Kickstarter project like this, so I’m not going to second guess why this one didn’t do as well as some of the others from last Summer. But hey, raising $45k is no small feat! It was certainly a professional and well-organized proposal, so much so that I never doubted that the money I pledged would be going to something worthwhile. And yet I’ll admit that the final figure surpassed my expectations to the point that I really, really, REALLY hope that October Toys can get some more figures in this line. Because they’re Glyos compatible and use the same body, it seems like creating the troop builders of Soldiers and Guards wouldn’t be out of the question and I know I’d be in for a bundle of each. Word is that more figures will be coming and I can’t wait. If you weren’t in on the Kickstarter, but are interested in the figure and supporting the line, you can go grab him at October Toys website for $20 along with the Titan Skeleton or GITD Titan Skeleton for $10 each. I’m thinking of picking up a couple more Baron Dark’s just to show my support.

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