Review: MAQET Ninja Figure

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This is a little different from my normal review, but I came across MAQETs when The Rumorbuster did an interview with Keith Cottingham, the company’s founder. Unlike what I normally review, I wouldn’t call MAQETs (pronounced mah-ket [like maquette]) toys, they’re an odd mix of eco-friendliness and collectibles but the marketer in me has no idea who they are for.

Each MAQET is custom made in small batches and designed by you on their website that has a great design. There are five different types of characters to choose from currently, all designed by ghostbot (best known for their Esurance ads). The choices are catgirl, petpal, ninja, a piece of anthropomorphic fruit and octi the monster. But what makes MAQETs unique is that each figure is completely biodegradable and the whole process is green. With rising plastic costs making regular toys more and more expensive, it’s great to see a company try something different. But while I love the idea of MAQETs, now that I have the figure in my hands, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed.

I selected the character that seemed most likely to live on my desk at work: the ninja! Each character has multiple poses to choose from along with different heads and patterns. The one I selected was supposed to be a blue ninja but that didn’t exactly work out how I expected. Maybe my laptop’s monitor calibration is off, but my figure has arrived as more of a green. But it should definitely be something for MAQET to look into.

I wasn’t sure what to expect but the figure is a uniquely stylized figure. Ninja’s pose looks great with him wielding his bo staff. He’s got a good sculpt but there isn’t much for details. Sure, he’s got thumbs and oddly pointed feet but the rest of the figure is only detailed by color.

Instead of paint, the figure has his color baked into him and he’s very glossy. While the color isn’t what I expected, he looks interesting. A blend of camo and snowflakes, which sounds absurd now that I read it, but it works fairly well. His face is ninja-y and his eyes are cleanly painted but seem to be on the side of his head.

But what really needs to be addressed is the fact that the figure has no articulation. He’s just a statue, which is what confuses me. Their website shows young girls holding their figures but I have no idea why. As a marketer, I don’t see why you would market small statues that are easily breakable to young kids. Another piece of frustration for me is that the they claim to be super customizable but many of the choices seem to lose steam during the customization process. The ninja has many different poses, but only a few different heads to choose from, but only one of them brings the details from the body, the rest are just plain gray that clashes. Or if you want just a monochromatic figure, they only come in all plain unpainted or the generic black ninja. The option to get a blue or red ninja would be a great down the road.

I managed to get my MAQET for free and he’s definitely interesting. Would a few more of them make for more exciting displays? Definitely but the price tag is $25 for a 4 inch figure, or $45 for a 7 inch. At that range, I expect a lot more customization. Another problem is that these figures are currently purchased sight unseen. If MAQET could produce some more basic figures, or even smaller ones, and release them for a high-end retailer and things could be much more different.

But as they are now, I’m always just concerned that the figure will break. And if I’m concerned that it will break as someone in their mid-20s, I could never see giving this to a younger child. A toy that needs to be kept out of direct sunlight, water and other elements just seems counterproductive. Toys are meant to be opened, loved and sometimes destroyed.

Written by jestergoblin

February 12th, 2010 at 12:17 am

Posted in review,toys

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