Today we’re looking at something quite different. I’ve dabbled a tad into designer vinyl before, but mostly just mainstream stuff like Mighty Muggs. However, as a frequent visitor to BattleGrip.com, I’ve become more intrigued by legit designer vinyl. So that’s what we’re looking at, a little foray into the madness that is limited run, expensive and downright strange vinyl.
12 Inch Scale
By: Amos Toys
Over in the UK there is a designer named James Jarvis and he’s become quite famous for his works. His most memorable character is likely King Ken, but his book Vortigern’s Machine and the Great Sage of Wisdom has garnered some attention and allowed him to make vinyl figures of the characters.
Mr. Waverley is a leading character in Vortigern’s Machine and the Great Sage of Wisdom, a graphic novel by James Jarvis and Russell Waterman of Amos Toys. Waverly is the famed explorer from the story and comes packaged with a no-nonsense machete and stylish pith helmet.
I haven’t read the story, but from what I can tell it’s about a group of everyday kids who roam the mean streets of a fictional town and are dramatically sucked into a psychedelic vortex of fantasy adventure. It’s filled with bizarre humor, social commentaries and quirky characters. Mr. Waverly is a core character in that world and his unique design of a classic British explorer is what drew me to the toy. So what’s this guy all about?
There are a variety of ways you see designer vinyl toys come. However one of the most popular is the window box. That’s the style that Mr.Waverly comes in, but he’s actually in a very nice one. The design is simple and minimalist, but includes several pictures of artwork and famous quotes of Mr. Waverly from the Vortigern’s Machine book.
The actual window of the box is quite small and is designed as a dialogue bubble. That’s a little strange, but it does put the figure in a decent display range and fits with the rest of the package deco.
The sides and back are loaded down with artwork though and it really gives this quirky explorer some much needed character.
Mr. Waverly is on a quest to find the perfect regency moustache, don’t ya know?
Removing the figure from the box is quite easy. Inside he’s just in a plastic shell. No twist ties, no rubber bands, nothing. He’s easily removable and since the box actually has no tape or anything on it, you can easily reseal him just as he originallyy came.
If you’re familiar with James Jarvis’ work, the wide body bottle neck characters will be immediately recognizable to you. If not, I would say that the artwork is somewhat comparable to Matt Groening’s Simpsons stuff. Mr. Waverly is a perfect 3-D recreation of the character from the pages of the Vortigern’s Machine.
The big bushy moustache and the separately painted teeth really give this guy a dynamic aura about him. He just looks so much like a classic English explorer. You can see this guy out and about on the African Serengeti somewhere.
The vinyl used to make him is exactly what I imagine most vinyl toys to be like. Unlike the Mighty Muggs that feel almost like hard plastic to the point of being glass, this guy feels closer akin to a dog chew toy. He’s of high quality mind you, but a bit more flexible than some others. He’s still quite stiff though, with not near as much give as the aforementioned chew toys.
The design is a lot of fun and you can take him out and about and have some pretty neat pictures with him. Because of his size, he can fit into a lot of good situations and definitely makes him a striking presence.
He’s got just enough charm to pop him out, take a couple of quick photos and then put him back away. You could make some funny shots with this guy.
Paint wise he’s pretty darn good, but there is a little run around the eyes. It’s not enough to detract, but if you get up close on him you can see it. This is a high end toy, so that’s a bit disappointing. Scale wise, he’s not going to fit in with much, but I don’t really think he’s designed to. This is a BIG vinyl toy.
A lot of vinyl toys have little to no articulation. Mr. Waverly, like most James Jarvis creations, has quite a few points. He has a cut neck, cut arms and cut wrists. It’s pretty minimal for a toy, but it’s enough to get a pretty good variety of poses actually.
Because the sculpt is so expressive, you’re able to get a few neat poses with just simple movements. Every small gesture can really bring this guy to life and that’s a testament to the design.
Some other creators would have made this same figure but omitted the articulation or at least the bulk of it. So I’m really glad that this guy has a few points of articulation and it’s one of the things that drove me towards picking him up.
You don’t always get accessories with these types of figures either, but that’s another thing that the folks at Amos Toys are doing a little different. They like to include a couple of accessories with most of their offerings.
Mr. Waverly here gets only two accessories, but both are nice and add a ton of personality to the figure. The first is his Safari hat. This really nails the look. The other is a large machete, perfect for hacking through high weeds in the Outback.
The machete only fits in one hand and it can be a bit snug getting it in there, but it does fit. I would worry a bit about taking it in and out because I imagine it could eventually cause a paint rub. Although I haven’t experienced any as of yet.
Now for the full disclosure. I didn’t pay $60 for this guy. I would never pay $60 for this guy, even though I think he’s pretty nifty. I’m just never going to be a hardcore designer vinyl guy willing to shell out that kind of cash for a toy with limited play opportunities. However, I paid $18 for Mr. Waverly and at that price, I’m fully content with my purchase.
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 9
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Hat, Machete
Value – 6
Overall – 7 out of 10
If you’re big on designer vinyl toys, I think you’ll love this guy. He has a lot of personality, he’s well made and he has more going for him than a lot of other offerings in this genre. However if you’re just a casual fan, you may not want to pay the full price.
If you’re like me and just want to dip your toes a bit into the designer vinyl world, but also need a toy with certain toy-etic charms, this guy is a great start. I enjoyed taking photos with him and I suspect I’ll be taking some more throughout the summer because he’s a lot of fun. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter if you already don’t. Leave a comment, let me know what you think! Let me know if you’d like to see more stuff like this on the site. Thanks!