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8th elephant avatar 12:50 PM on 12.15.2010  (server time)
Nathan Ota's Midnight Crooner: A Little Illuminated Review...

Xmas came early this year as a little green creature (+2 birds) crept into the studio early this morning; complete with lemon-yellow packaging :D For those of you who aren't familiar with the Midnight Crooner; It's a limited edition hybrid-vinyl figure based on Nathan Ota's original painting from 2008, is produced by Double Super+Three Zero, and is distributed by STRANGEco. And darn this site for alerting me of it's existence in early September this year; as I could not resist! You can see the announcement here: Nathan Ota's Midnight Crooner open for pre-order As you can see, the painting is reproduced in it's full green-glory on the face of the box, the rear has a brief description of Nathan Ota, and sketches adorn the sides. Ok, so let's get to the unboxing.... The Crooner, Bird+Light+Cloud Base & Cigarette are securely encapsulated in two vacuum formed plastic shell halves. But wait, don't pull those apart yet!!! There's a twist-tie going through both halves to secure the Cig from floating around; which needs to be removed 1st or you'll tear the plastic shells. See the two holes above & below the Cigarette? That's where the twist-tie was. Notice that the Bird+Light are attached to the base via wire. The underside of the base reveals the on/off switch for the LED Lamp along with the battery cover and Nathan Ota's signature + Three Zero's logo. Midnight Crooner assembled (LED Off) I was pleasantly surprised to find that the head and arms do swivel while the waist is only limited by it's elliptical form. One strange thing about this character, is that the eyes aren't painted. Maybe it's just my unit, but I do remember them being white in the preview photos. Some metallic fleck might be a cool alternative too. It's not clear weather the conical forms are traffic cones, dunce hats, or unicorn horns; but all's good as long as they don't impale me someday ;) The top view show's just how awesomely 3-Dimensional this figure is. With small pointy parts protruding out everywhere; it's definately a toy for us bigger kids only. As the box states "NOT A TOY. NOT A CHILDREN'S PRODUCT" On to the Details: The larger of the two birds is nicely detailed with a very content expression. However, bird & light housing are molded as one piece; forcing beak & eyes to always be starring right into the lamp. Crooner's hand also has a loose grip on the lamp, causing it to fall if the arm is rotated too low. The Cigarette has detailed red embers and is very snuggly placed between the fingers. The smaller bird appears to be bowing down peacefully and is permanently perched/glued on Crooner's tail which does not swivel either. Let there be darkness....well just a little. In daylight, the amber LED isn't quite powerful enough to do much more than cast a little glare, but at night with some ambient light, a soft glow subtly replicates the original painting and the metallic paisley print on the jacket gives off a nice reflection too. Guess I could've put the box illustration behind to try and get the full effect... I know it's asking a lot, but I would have preferred the ruffles be hand stitched or made out of a textile which more closely represents Nathan's original illustration rather than using lace trim. Conclusion: $124.99 price tag and a few minor flaws aside, this combination of packaging, vinyl, paint, textiles and illumination makes for the kind of killer figurine all of us should aspire to collect/make. I've been so busy saving up to for the release of my own line of toys, that I usually wouldn't spend this much on a single figure. No regrets here though as it's the perfect addition to the collection :)

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