Maximo Vs The Army of Zin: Figures by BMA Toys

After looking at DCU’s figures from Resistance, I thought I’d keep the video game theme going by digging through my totes and looking at some more game inspired toys and figures this weekend. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, Maximo was a game exclusive to the PS2 and developed by Capcom as a sort of unofficial revamp to the old coin-op favorite, Ghosts & Goblins. The game was a love it or hate it affair, mainly because of the steep difficulty curve. It was followed by a more forgiving sequel called Maximo vs The Army of Zin and its really on that game, which the figures we are going to look at today are based.

Keep in mind that these aren’t the first time figures have been released based on the Maximo franchise. The first was a figure-statue that EB Games was giving away with pre-orders placed for the original game. Next, there was a short lived series of figures based on that game as well. When the sequel came out, so too did more figures. With the exception of the incentive statue, these figures were pretty easy to find at reduced prices through any number of online retailers. I passed on the first game’s figures, but after seeing them over and over again, I finally picked up Maximo and Tinker for next to nothing.

The Army of Zin figures were made by a company called BMA Toys. I’ve never heard of them before, but that’s probably explained by their logo on the cardbacks that proudly exclaims they’ve been in business since 2003, probably the very year these figures were released. Why the hell would anybody boast that they’ve been in business for a whole year, I have no idea. I did a little digging on them and it looks like they’re already out of business, as their website is shut down. Apparently, they were actually last heard from while exhibiting at the 2004 Toy Fair where they announced plans to base figures off of some other video game licenses. Ah well. Let’s take a look at a piece of the legacy they left behind.

I kept these figures carded for a lot longer than I usually do, but at some point I was making room in my closet and well, loose figures take up less space, so I opened them. I don’t have any photos of the package, but the figures came mounted on simple cardbacks. The cards aren’t terribly exciting and pretty much let the figure do the talking. There is a sidebar that shows that these figures are designed so that the bottoms of their feet interlock with legos. I always thought that was a cool idea. The back panel of the cards show some conceptual drawings and pictures of all eight figures in the line. Let’s start with Maximo…

I’m not at all crazy about Maximo’s head sculpt. Its true he looked a little different in the second game, mainly more mature, but the figure makes him look not so much more mature, but just creepier. In fact, he looks like Zombie Maximo. His face is emaciated and scarred and his eyes are really big. The rest of the sculpt is pretty good, though, especially the detail in his armor and the paint apps are pretty solid.

Solid sculpt aside, a closer look at the figure suggests why BMA Toys didn’t last too long. Maximo is not what I would consider a real quality figure. The plastic has an overly soft feel to it, espeically the head. The joints are more than a bit wobbly and feel like they may pull out if given just a bit of force. In fact, his right leg detaches at the knee frequently during handling. The neck joint especially wants to pull every time you turn his head, and when you do turn his head it just slowly returns to its original position.

Maximo’s articulation is pretty good for a figure in this scale. His arms rotate at the shoulders, have hinged elbows and swivel at the wrists. He swivels at the waist, his legs rotate at the hips and his knees are hinged. I’m barely counting the neck as a point of articulation because the head really feels like it doesn’t want to turn without breaking.

Maximo comes with three accessories: A sword, a shield and a figure stand. The sword and shield are both ok. The sword does have a bit of paint slop on it, but the sculpt is faithful to the game and it fits in his hand well. The shield is sculpted very nicely with a decent black and gray pattern and it clips onto the wrist of his other hand, but no matter where on his arm or wrist I place it, the clip doesn’t want to stay clipped very well. The stand is textured like a stone floor. It has three large pegs, none of which fit the pegs on the feet all that well, unless a lot of force is applied. The reverse of the base is socketed to interact with Legos.

Tinker is a tomboyish redhead girl in overalls who I think was responsible for making the robots you fight in the game, but its been a while, so don’t hold me to that. Either way, she was some kind of mechanical genius, hence her name. The character design is nothing special, but the sculpt and paint apps are both excellent. Her overalls offer just a hint of tried-and-true anime girl cleavage, her pants are rolled up to her knees and she’s wearing work boots and gloves. She’s also got a tool belt with various pouches and sculpted tools.

Tinker is surprisingly different from Maximo in that there’s a lot less articulation but the quality of the figure seems overall better. Her arms rotate at the shoulders, her legs rotate at the hips, her wrists swivel and her head turns. And that’s it. Her right hand is molded so as to hold a little hammer she comes with, while her left hand is a bit bent at the elbow, and I believe her hand is molded to be adjusting the silver goggles that can be placed on her head.

Tinker is a lot smaller in stature then Maximo and while she does come with a figure stand, her little hammer and goggles don’t add up to all the plastic used for Maximo and his sword and shield. Luckily she does come with one more item.

This is without a doubt, the coolest toy treasure chest I’ve ever seen. This big medieval style chest is like its own little work of art. Its got textured wood panels with hammered iron fringe and rivets holding it together and a big clasp that latches on the lock ring to hold it closed. flip the latch and it springs open to reveal a giant pile of gold with a clear diamond on top. The pile of gold is actually set on a spring, so that it depresses when you close the lid. The diamond is a separate piece and can be removed. Seriously, folks, if you need a treasure chest for fantasy or medieval or pirate figures close to this scale, Tinker is worth buying just for this chest alone.

All in all these are ok figures, but if this was their best effort, its easy to see why BMA didn’t make it. Because they’re so delicate, these figures definitely make better collectibles than toys, as Maximo would never withstand any kind of playwear before his joints became too loose to hold him. The only reason why Tinker is much better is because she doesn’t have the same level of articulation. If you can find these on the cheap, and I’m guessing you can, they aren’t a total loss. I think the really sad thing is that BMA had some interesting and possibly innovative ideas here, what with the lego interactivity, but they dropped the ball on simple durability and quality. In a way a way, I’m sorry I opened them.