DoctorKent is living the dream. Many of us fantasize about what we would do if we were "in charge" of a toy line, but Doc took it to the next level. Instead of waiting for a toy company to revitalize one of his favorite toy lines, Rocks & Bugs & Things, he actually got the rights and produced figures himself under the ToyFinity banner! Like Onell Design and TGB Customs, ToyFinity continues the exciting trend of fan-produced toys.
But wait, you might ask, what the heck is Rocks & Bugs & Things? RBT was a obscure and short-lived 80's toy line from Ideal featuring rocks and bugs that transformed into monsters. These monsters just loved to munch on gremlin-like creatures called Mordles. (You can read a bit more about the toy line here.) I collected a few of the Rocks as a kid and I thought they were groovy. But RBT was always just part of the background noise of the toy aisle, a line that few bought and fewer still got into. It was something that you bought on a whim and appreciated for what it was, but it took a backseat to your main toys like Star Wars, Transformers, or MUSCLE. Still, the weirdness and idiosyncrasy of the line had a distinct appeal.
Many (if not most) toy collectors nowadays have no recollection of RBT, making it a niche collector's market. It can be a frustrating line to collect, though. Because very few kids bought into the line back in the day, today's supply is somewhat limited. Mordles are often even harder to find, since they're easily losable accessories for the Rocks and Bugs. Ironically enough, it's the Mordles that really catch the interest of many collectors these days. PVC collectors who love lines like MUSCLE, Battle Beasts, and Monsters In My Pocket are often big into collecting Mordles, too.
So into this scene struts Doc Kent's ToyFinity, snatching up the RBT license to create all-new Mordles. Here we have the first wave of the Mordles: a Standard Edition of yellow figures with blue detailing (like one of the colorways in the vintage line), and a Crawler Edition of blue figures with yellow detailing (a brand new colorway).
Left: Vintage Ideal Mordle. Right: ToyFinity Mordle.
The figures look like they're straight reproductions with sculpts identical to the vintage figures. You get 10 figures in each colorway, which includes all of the unique sculpts from the vintage line. (For more on the vintage Mordles, check out MinifiguresXD.) Fortunately, Doc thought ahead and changed some things around so that collectors wouldn't mistake these Mordles for their vintage counterparts. The new figures don't have a copyright stamp on the back and their toe claws are painted. The plastic is more rubbery than other collector-produced lines like Glyos, and it is very similar to, if a little softer than, the vintage figures.
Left: Allosaurus enjoys a meal. Right: Even Rockadile is overwhelmed by this wave of Mordles!
There's something about Mordles that makes them the perfect cannon fodder. They're not heroes, they're not enemies, they're the bottom of the food chain... the action figure equivalent of plankton. Strangely enough, that makes them a lot of fun.
These Mordles are priced to move. The Crawler Edition, consisting of ten blue figures, costs $12. That's a little over a buck a figure, cheap enough to compete with mass-produced PVC figures like Fighter Pods. Not bad for such a small operation, and it's perfect for collectors who can't afford the vintage Mordles on eBay. The Standard Edition costs $16 and includes ten yellow figures... along with a bonus egg.
That egg might look a little familiar to fans of obscure 80's toys. In fact, it's from Manglors, those rubbery monsters that you could stretch, rip apart and (supposedly) mush back together again. Like the Mordles, the egg looks like a direct reproduction of the vintage egg (but without any paint apps). Setting aside the implications of this being the harbinger of a Manglor rerelease, it's a great accessory for the Mordles. All 20 Mordles fit in the egg and you can imagine that they might have sort of a shared-egg reproductive cycle: when the eggs hatches, bunches of Mordles scurry out like spider babies from egg sacs.
What's next for Mordles is anyone's guess. Reproducing the other four vintage colorways would be great, but I'd love to see new and unique colorways like glow-in-the-dark figures. New Mordle sculpts would be fantastic, too. Not to mention the Rocks and Bugs themselves! Whatever happens, with Mordles back in production and Manglors seemingly right on the horizon, fan-produced toys have now moved into the realm of vintage licenses. What a weird, but fun, time to be a toy collector. Honestly, who thought something like this would happen?
The Mordles are available now to members of Club Mordle and they'll be available to everybody else June 28th over at ToyFinity. Scroll down for lots more pics!