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Designer Toys

Click here STRANGEco's Invisible Plan by Mars-1
by Jager

With the Invisible Plan STRANGEco and Mars-1 (aka Mario Martinez) enter new territory for the two: the mini-figure. Usually, mini-figures (while still being interesting in their own way) are simple forms with a more cartoon-like feel to them. The Invisible Plan is neither of these things. Mars-1, with the help of the excellent sculptor Brin Berliner, brings to life what could previously only be seen in paintings by the artist. And the detail on these six pieces is amazing!

Click hereMars-1 broke into the Designer Toy market with the self titled Mars-1. This piece really blew collectors away (and the various colorways being released still are!), but sported a fairly unseen design from the artist, with a similar but not exact character being found in "Isotopic Simulation". With the Invisible Plan, elements found in the artist's paintings are more accurately realized in three dimensional splendor. What we have is a set of pieces that vary from human-like forms to science fiction architecture. While each has its own personality, there are a few sweeping points that are found throughout. As stated, each has meticulous attention to detail. There are grooves cut into the form; spikes, chest plates, windows, facial features, and even a capsule helmet are added as needed; and the paint is applied very cleanly. Like all of STRANGEco's toys, these are made from a high quality vinyl and are sturdy with a nice matte finish. Each piece has something specific about it that interests me. Here's a rundown. [Ed Note: These are not official STRANGEco licensed names. These are what I affectionately call them based on paintings/prints/sculptures by Mars-1 which have similar characters.]

Click hereThe Smoking Temple
This has a great base to it with barnacle like protrusions covering it. I love the Indian architectural reference and the sun-like emblem on the back. Also of note is the tiny face.
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Click hereSpaceman
This is the only piece to be articulated! Both arms swing to add to your posing pleasure. The design on the back echoes that of the Smoking Temple, and the swirls around the face really are clean.
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Click hereMini-Observer
This piece reminded me of the soon-to-be-released Observer toy. This is probably my favorite of the set. I just love its capsule helmet. The chest sections break up the figure's otherwise super clean design nicely.
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Click hereAn Aerial Aquatic Fungi
While technically appearing to have roots, this isn't aerial. But still it reminds me of this painting a good bit. I love how solidly it sits on the shelf with said roots and again we see the sun symbol on the top.
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Click hereA Wandering Pineapple
This is a nice totally symmetrical piece. I love how the very base of the toy looks like a flower with the petals coming up the sides of the toy.
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Click hereThe Mask
I couldn't find a painting this referenced so I made up the name. Either this has two faces or the larger is a decoy of sorts. There is a smaller face just below the chin of the obvious one, much like the Smoking Temple. It has very nice spikes protruding from the base, including the very bottom which sits on your shelf.
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Click hereThese pieces look nice alone, but to get the full effect you need all six. I think that's why they don't have separate titles, just the group is known as the Invisible Plan. Similarly, they aren't sold separately on Mars-1's site. While "playing" with these toys I found that the Mask's and the Smoking Temple's heads came off and had the same size pegs to hold them to their bases. I decided to put them together. The two heads fit together to make an interesting looking top-like piece, and the bases went together to make an excellent piece much larger than the others. I don't know if this was intentional, and I might never do it again for fear of loosening up the sockets, but it was a nice surprise.

Click hereShown here is the SDCC edition (with a run of 350 of each piece) which is an advance release of the full 12 character series that will be available this holiday. In that series these six will be joined by six more, and will all be fully colored. I really hope that STRANGEco also released a gray scale colorway of the remaining six as well, because I just love the subtlety of these toys.

Click hereThat said, STRANGEco and Mars-1 have taken the mini-figure to new heights with the Invisible Plan. These toys go beyond the basic notion of a mini-figure and become true sculptures that give me the feeling of votive figures we studied in art history. If you are a Mars-1 fan or if you look towards the "artsy" end of Designer Toys, I recommend picking these up before they are sold out.

Check outSTRANGEco's web site to see what they have cooking. You won't be disappointed.

Mars-1 has a great site with images of works and info about him. He's an amazing artist, check it out.

You can purchase the SDCC version of this set on Mars-1's site. Plus there are some giclee prints and his art book 4 Words.

All our Designer Toy coverage can be found on this handy page.

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Article ©2005 MillionairePlayboy.com unless otherwise noted. All characters are property their original owners.




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