Twice is nice for this blind-boxed series
Almost a year and a half ago, Kidrobot released its first Street Fighter mini-figure series. I reviewed them, and found them to be good, but not without some serious quality control issues. We know Series 2 is on the way, but in the interim, Kidrobot is releasing some new two-figure packs, featuring four new colorways, as well as a new line of Street Fighter-themed enamel keychains. Thanks to the folks at Kidrobot, we got our hands on them a little early and gave them both a look to see if our complaints were still valid or if things had changed.
For you, the day that you finally get to assess Kidrobot's Street Fighter new two-figure packs and keychains, and see if they're better than the first time around, might be a day that you won't soon forget.
But for me? It was Tuesday.
Figure Name: Kidrobot x Street Fighter two-figure packs
As we always do, we start with the box. Instead of the usual, thin blind box ... box, the two-figure packs have a much sturdier design with a tab-opening top. The 2P figure is open windowed, held on its plastic backing with a twist tie, while the 1P figure is hidden inside the packaging.
What I really like about the box is that it feels like Kidrobot designed it for the Street Fighter fan. The top of the box features the timer, score and health bars, along with the names of the respective fighters underneath. The back panel features the list of figures and their ratios, designed to look a bit like the franchise's character select screen. On either side is an informational bio of the character in the box; of course, this means the random character doesn't have any info displayed, for obvious reasons.
One thing is for certain: all the little elements here actually add up to produce a box that's much, much better than what Kidrobot's done in some time. The Street Fighter fan in me likes the little things they've done on the design front here to make it feel like a Street Fighter product and not just a Kidrobot one.
As for what's inside, what you see is what you get; one blind-boxed figure and one open-boxed figure. There's not much that's changed from a design perspective; they're still using the same Udon-designed look for the World Warriors and the figures still have articulated head and shoulder joints. For those of you wondering, these are a new production run for all the figures. The designs, though, are the same except for the addition of the four bosses' second-player colorways, which are the open-boxed figures in the two-figure packs.
I ended up with another second-player Dhalsim. Such is the way of the blind box. But let's take a quick look at M. Bison, who we haven't seen before:
Also, Bison's hat is a removable piece, should you want to see his hair. It just feels so wrong to see him without that hat on his head, though.
The hat features all the details one should expect on it, and the paint is not as rough as I had expected. They've even painted the little brass buttons on the hat, and the Shadoloo emblem on Bison's hat has been resculpted here with enough detail so you can tell what it is.
It doesn't mean the figures are completely without fault, though. As you can see on Bison, the machine that put the lines on the body for Bison's overcoat was a little bit off, so the lines don't match up perfectly. It does suck to still see a production error here, but when weighed against some of the ones I saw in Series 1, I would rather have something that doesn't bother me as much as those paint splotches did.
Speaking of paint splotches ...
The other two-figure set we got was the second-player Vega box. Those of you who remember my initial review also probably remember that my Vega figure has a number of issues with paint and other details being sloppy. That means we should probably compare the two to see
No surprise; it's a night and day difference. While my original Vega isn't as mint as the one we just opened out of the box, you can see a few differences. For one, there's no ugly paint slop on his claw. The paint lines seem a little cleaner as well, though there's still that weird thing with the eyes. I guess that's a design choice instead of being a production error, and I can live with it.
The only issue I had was that the paint doesn't quite go all the way down to the hairline on the newer Vega. It's as if they erred on the side of not getting paint outside the lines and did the work a little short. Now, the good news for Kidrobot perhaps is that the base underneath might be brown, too, which could mute some of the issues, at least from a distance.
The second figure in the Vega box?
Another new figure for my collection from Series 1: Ken! As you might expect, he's awfully similar in design to Ryu, with a different head sculpt. The paint is clean, the design fits Ken, and beyond that, it's pretty much the same as the other figures from the two-figure packs.
Kidrobot had something else in the box they sent me, though ...
Product: Kidrobot x Street Fighter enamel keychains
Here's the packaging for the keychains. Fairly simple, and they're blind-bagged like the figures are. They open from the top (where the little notch is) and the package does what it needs to do with few frills.
What you'll find inside is this: a randomly packaged keychain and matching backing card. Probably what you expected to find, no? Let's take a closer look:
The backing card for the keychains is actually pretty cool; it's themed to resemble the versus screen from the earlier Street Fighter games, with the original win quotes under each fighter from Street Fighter II. On each side in the black strip is each fighter's most famous special attack (the spam-tastic Hundred Hand Slap for Honda and the Yoga Fire for Dhalsim) with the corresponding input. These are really nice touches to see, especially for a Street Fighter fan such as myself.
As for the actual keychain ... it looks very cool. Definitely something you could wear out in public and not really get too many stares from. The finish on the enamel looks great, the paint is clean, and the entire piece has some heft to it. But what's even better is what you can't see:
I was certainly not expecting to see the same info on the backing card engraved into the back of the keychain. ------
Just to make sure it wasn't some one-off deal, I opened a second blind package and got the Guile/Bison keychain. It's exactly as described above, just with different characters
It seems, really, that Kidrobot learned from the pratfalls of the first Kidrobot x Street Fighter run and made some positive changes. The two-figure packs still have that bit of randomness in them, but the second production run figures definitely appear to suffer from far fewer quality control errors than the first run did. The inclusion of the four boss characters' second-player versions as the open-boxed figure was also a nice decision for collectors who were probably stressing out trying to get Sagat or Bison. Not saying I was one of those collectors or anything ...
Plus, the new keychains are more impressive than I expected them to be. For what amounts to US$5, you're actually getting a fairly sturdy and well produced enamel keychain. The keychains are worth it for the fans unless you really, really hate the character designs. But since you're reading this review ... my guess is you don't, right?
[Thanks to Kidrobot for sending us samples to review!]
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