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Tomopop Review: Dunny 2012 Series

4:00 PM on 08.01.2012 // Brian Szabelski

Every year, Kidrobot rolls out a new series or two of blind-boxed Dunnys, but when individual Dunnys started popping up on the Kidrobot store, I began to wonder if they'd forsake the yearly release for doing something else instead. Maybe 12 releases in limited numbers? 

The answer was, of course, no. They weren't going to forget about the series releases, and Dunny 2012 Series proves they weren't going to overlook it, either. The series features some old names from Kidrobot's past along with a number of artists completely new to the Dunny line, with quite a few new, unique sculpts. But should you invest your hard-earned money in this series or does disappointment lie behind all the attention we give them? Hit the jump to find out!

Figure Name: Dunny 2012 Series 
Figure Maker: Kidrobot
Retail: US$9.95/box
Available at Kidrobot | Tenacious Toys (individual; case) | Rotofugi | myplasticheart | local specialty retailers

So to start with, here is the box ... for the case. I chose to go with a case of them from Rivet Gallery in Columbus, as it is the closest place for me to pick them up from. The case art, like the boxart, is designed this year by Kronk. It's a nice design, nothing too special or different than the past cases I've seen for the yearly series. The 2Tone Dunny case by McBess was a bit more of a unique thing than this case is, so I'm not expecting to really display it on a wall or something.

Inside, there are these individual boxes. Similar clean design to out front; nothing offensive, with the artist list on the back and ratios on either side. Gets the job done, simple enough. Same size box with the same foil-wrapped Dunnys inside that we see every release. So in that case ... why not dive on in?

Well, we will, but first, a diversion. Buying the case wasn't just to try and get the whole set (or as much as possible) at once: you also picked up a limited-edition bonus Dunny for doing so. Usually, it's just a colorway of a Dunny already in the set, but this year, Kidrobot went a little farther. They had Sucklord make a limited-run Dunny based off his Gay Empire universe, complete with pink look. As you can tell, it's a little bit Darth Vader, a little bit bootleg and a lot of awesome. This one was well worth paying a bit more for a full case.

First out of the box is Junko Mizuno's Dunny, Purple Soda Girl. Junko told the Kidrobot Blog she wanted to do something that matched her current style and paintings, so we get the long flowing hair, flowers everywhere and golden flames. The translucent PVC hair looks really nice and is sculpted to have a bit of heft to it. Also nice to see a design choice here with no arms; really makes the piece stand out.

As you might know, Kidrobot's hiked the price of their Dunnys from around US$6 or US$7 to around US$10 in recent series. That choice has been met with some complaints, but around the same time they did that, they also started moving from using the same Dunny mold for every single one to creating and allowing for unique designs like Junko's and others who you will see in this review. Personally? I think the trade off is worth it because you get something that feels more like an actual piece from an artist and not just their art slapped on the same vinyl canvas over and over again.

Next up, we have this two-faced fly Dunny from Attaboy, The Drone. Other than the translucent PVC wings replacing the Dunny's arms, Attaboy's work sticks to the original Dunny design, with some sharp lines and an urban feel to it. 

Jeremiah Ketner's style looks great on the customs he routinely does, and on his Sayonara Dunny, it's just as impressive. I like how this looks not only because of the style, but because Kidrobot has transposed the design on here in a way that mimic's Jeremiah's brushstrokes. Of course, you can tell it's not painted on, but the layering still looks gorgeous, especially around the eyes. It's based off a custom Trikky Jeremiah did, and the resemblance is pretty good. 

Scribe's Dunny is a little long in the neck, but Jonahone Giraffe is definitely different than any Dunny you've seen before. Articulated at two points along the neck, it's the tallest of any blind-boxed Dunny by far and has an urban-inspired look that we're used to seeing from Scribe. The facial expression is something else as well; I don't know if he's surprised or looking tough. Guess it depends on what angle you view him from.

MAD's entry for this year's series is his Vandal Dunny, a previous design that finally gets made the second time around. It's also, based on how complex and detailed the design is, the most complex of the 2012 Dunnys and the one that also grew the most on me. As you can see, Vandal is a graffiti artist, and he comes complete with spray cans for ears and a removable gas mask accessory (more on that later). He's also got his sketchbook, I think, in his back pocket and sports a hoodie, jeans, sneakers and a ski mask to hide his identity.

The ears are probably the best part on the Dunny, resculpted into two spray cans of metallic silver paint. Even the label has been redone to parody the Rustoleum-brand cans, and from a presentation perspective, it looks wonderful. All the paint here is very clean, too ... except in one spot.

You can see the paint spilled on Vandal's clothes, but that's obviously intentionally messy, as if he had just gotten back from a fresh tagging session. It looks a little dirty but that's how a veteran tagger like Vandal really ought to look, so adding these splotches of paint to the front is a nice touch.

The mask slips over the Dunny's head, and it comes back off the same way to reveal a little something underneath:

Sans mask, we can see Vandal has a mouth, and paint on his lips. Has he secretly been huffing his stash because he's that addicted to the stuff? We may never know ...

Tara McPherson's Dunny features one of her more whimsical characters in its natural habitat, Wiggle Land. Yes, the balloon-like Wiggles form eyes on the face, but with the Wiggle accessory in hand, it almost feels more like a pack of Wiggles, floating majestically through the pink skies ... except wrapped around a Dunny canvas. I did have a problem getting the Wiggle accessory to be a little more forward facing because of the shape of the string; it kept bumping up against the face of the Dunny and wouldn't really let me position it where I wanted it. Plus, it was rather difficult to even get inside of the Dunny's hand.

Mauro Gotti's two Dunnys in the series are the Ping Pong Twins. My favorite designs of the bunch, I only ended up with Pong from my case, but Ping is pretty close in design. Both feature these ping-pong-table-inspired heads, where the court's lines wrap around the Dunny under the net and on either side. The uniform shirt and pants are based off real ping pong uniforms, and the whole thing looks pretty clean on the design front. I'm not sure if the Dunny's mouth/jaw becoming a giant chin was intentional or not, but it does provide a bit of a visual distraction, enough to make me think the actual mouth was nothing more than a nose.

The net is a separate piece that you have to thread over the Dunny ears via elastic bands. It can be a bit of a pain to get on, for sure, but the end result is that it looks very cool, and not like some cheap plastic net put in between the ears.

And of course, each comes with a paddle. Notice the sculpting of details even extends to the wooden paddle's handle. Little details like that are always a plus. 

Triclops Studio has turned the Dunny design on its head ... literally. Their Sword Swallower Dunny is exactly what you'd expect: a fellow in a top hat swallowing a sabre. One of the ears is the hilt of the sabre, while the other is hidden under the removable top hat. It's utterly Victorian and I love the scar on one side and the bandage on the other, as if to indicate this guy is either a seasoned professional ... or a terrible sword swallower. 

Here, you can see the hatless ear as well as the expression on his mustachioed face. He looks a bit surprised, doesn't he? I sure hope nothing terrible has happened! Also, note a tiny bit of gold paint spilling over from the end of the hilt and that there's a bit of a loose gap around the sabre's guard and hilt.

Sergio Mancini was the 2011 Munnyworld Winner, and for his Dunny 2012 Series design, he went with basically the same look that won him the right to be in the series. Project: Dunny is a half-blueprint, half-bunny look, with a bit of an uneven bleed, as the blueprint extends slightly over the middle of the Dunny. It's not a bad design, but it does make you wonder what the completed design would have looked like ...

Project: Dunny's accessory, appropriately enough, is a drafting compass. While a nice addition, I found that it was really loose inside of the Dunny's hand in comparison to some of the other accessories.

Pac23's Dunny was his Dead Astronaut, which was the biggest pain to put together. The helmet is itsef two separate pieces you have to assemble yourself, and while the finished product looks fine and dandy, getting it on the Dunny's head proved to be a big pain in the butt. I do like how the orange/purple palette really stands out on the shelf and the Dunny as a whole has this 1960s space-age vibe to it. Dead Astronaut could be some comic book villain, maybe?

Our little space friend also comes with a ray gun. Paint's a little bit uneven in a few small spots on the gun, but it otherwise matches the palette of the Dunny and makes for a nice accessory.

Finally, we undo one of, in my opinion, the biggest Dunny snubs with Jon Paul Kaiser's Tanegaru Dunny. I still to this day believe JPK should have been in Dunny 2Tone, but it worked out for him as he's got four different colorways of his Tanegary Dunny in this year's edition as the chase(s). The design is quintessential JPK: limited palette of colors (usually black and another color that's most often white), but with tons of contrast and in this case, sculpting that evokes some of his recent Toy2R releases. 

A close-up on the face. This kind of work really lets you appreciate what Jon Paul does with only two or three colors. Thankfully, there's also not much bleed on this Dunny, which would be really, really noticeable.

I also picked up the white chase of the same Dunny ... but it's missing an arm. Not broken off, just never put in the socket. Still, I don't really want a replacement if you're reading this, Kidrobot. It actually ... looks neat, like its some mythical one-armed warrior. And I have the world's only one-armed white Tanegaru Dunny.

Oh, and the first Tanegaru I featured? It glows in the dark. Awesome.

So, how does Dunny 2012 Series compare to, say, last year's series? That's as good a benchmark as any, right? The Dunnys themselves feel about as good design-wise as they did in the 2011 series, with quite a bit of diversity in the sculpts and enough new blood to keep it from being a "Best of the Past" kind of deal. Quality control-wise, no real issues here except that missing JPK Dunny's arm. All in all, I'm pretty happy with my purchase, though I wish the case I'd ended up with wasn't packed so that I ended up with duplicates of every single Dunny you see up there except Junko's and Sucklord's. Then again, maybe I got mine packed at the same factory which packed all the Huck Gee chases from Series 5 in the same case ...

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Brian Szabelski, Editor-in-Chief
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Brian Szabelski is Tomopop's Editor-in-Chief, stuck with an ever-growing collection of figures and toys. When he's not posting on Tomopop, he can usually be found working on any number of project... more   |   staff directory

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