Your Home for Toy News and Action Figure Discussion!

Max Factory: figma Table Museum The Scream

One of the most interesting of any recent action figure endeavor has been figma’s Table Museum line, featuring famous works of art created in toy form. Their first offering was The Thinker, which was later produced in a plaster version, and has been followed up with a handful of statues turned toys. DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man was the first illustrated work to be featured, and now Edvard Munch’s The Scream is the first figure based on a painting.

I’m probably not alone in not seeing this one coming, but once it was announced it seemed so natural and obvious. The Scream (also known as The Scream of Nature) has become one of the most iconic images in pop culture, always popping up when you least expect it. It has a quality that is simultaneously almost childlike in simplicity yet hauntingly evocative in its stark subject matter, with a deformed caricature pressed down to the bottom of his own painting, shrieking his existential angst at conditions we are never to truly know.

The translation from painting to toy form to me is entirely successful, and is very high on my list of favorite toys of the year so far. Like the painting itself, the toy is very simple, but a few additional elements have been added to increase the play factor.

I usually save accessories for last in these, but I’m going to do it first. The accessory is the actual painted background with a stand so it can be mounted. The figure itself can be placed in front of it to replicate the painting, give an already disturbing picture a three-dimensional aspect as if the poor guy’s unease can’t be bound by oils anymore. I think the most notable thing is that, as this required the main-character to be removed from his own painting, the space where he no longer lives had to be filled in with a part of the painting that was never there. Whoever was responsible this did a great job of matching Munch’s style, because the transition is practically seamless. This allows the figure itself to do things in front of his painting he never was able to do before, or gives you the opportunity to sub in figures who want to be “Scream-guy for a day.”

The paint on the actual figure does a great job in replicating what you see in the original piece of art.

Scream guy’s head

Scream guy’s head is really frickin’ disturbing. It features the same detached open-mouthed expression with the haunted pinpoint eyes. The head itself is not smooth, but carries a dimpled and mottled effect that gets across Munch’s expressionist lines. Like the painting it is very simple, with a blunted nose and little in the way of actual humanity, but that’s what makes it unique. Sans hair and eyebrows, there’s an almost alien quality to him. So if you need a weird shrieking alien to bother your other figures, this is it.

Scream guy’s arms

The Scream guy has very thin arms with ample articulation. He has double-ball jointed shoulders and double jointed elbows. Getting his signature pose obviously required a deep range of motion on his elbows, so the figma guys made sure there was no impediment in his way. There’s not much he can’t do with his arms. He also has ball-jointed wrists.

Scream guy’s hands

Scream guy comes with five pairs of hands. Obviously intending this figure to bust out of the confines of his framed roots, they really managed to figure out the right complement of hands to ratchet up the fun value.

The primary hands are a pair of source-accurate Macaulay Culkin face-grabbing hands to allow him to bellow his despair. They are long and thing like the painting, with narrow fingers that comfortably grasp the edge of his face.

He also comes with a pair of what I’m calling “air-quote” hands, because you just know he’s that guy in the office.

But yeah, they’re pretty much Watusi hands. Screamtusi? Not quite the ring of the Batusi, but you work with what you got.

Next up, he comes with a pair of gripping hands. Now, he comes with nothing to grip, so you’ll have to provide that. They’re kind of trigger-fingery, so maybe he’s had about all he can take and is bringing a gun to the office BBQ. Dude is stressed out, you know?

The fourth set of hands is a pair of expressive hands with splayed fingers.

Next up, we’ve got a pair of cupped hands. I like to think of these as binocular hands for when you don’t have a binocular but want to see something really far away. Maybe he saw something he didn’t care for, like his wife sleeping with the milkman, and that’s why he’s wailing his angst into the blood red sky.

More than likely these are his “I just came back from Starbucks” hands and he’s carrying two haffa cappalappahasselhoff’s with extra foam. Or is at least pretending to, because they don’t trust him with the coffee runs.

Moving on to Scream Guy’s body 

he has a weird body. It’s a dress. Or gown. Or … you know, thing that goes all the way down. From what I can tell there are four articulation points with one floating piece covering up what must be a double-ball joint in the middle. All of which means he has no legs, but you really don’t need legs, because it’s all about the arms. It’s not like he’s not as expressive as he needs to be even without legs. And since his lower half was an oddly melted amorphous blob that was being tugged out of panel like taffy, he just wouldn’t look right with legs. So segmented tube-body is perfect for him.

Even better, is that the bottom is weighted, so he’s not going to be toppling over any time soon. That extra weight at the bottom comes from the fact that because Scream-dude is actually an articulated refrigerator magnet! Well, maybe not, but he does stick to any metal surface due to his bottom being magnetic. So yeah, one of the coolest toys this year got even cooler because you can stick him to any metal surface. Buy a lot of them and stick them to the hood of your car, so you can go screaming through traffic!

See … screaming through … because … yeah, you know.

Overall, this is a toy that you might not think would be “fun” because once you’ve posed him in front of his own painting, you’d think you’re done … but he’s kind of the toy that keeps on giving. With the right configuration of hands and some guest stars, there seems to be an infinite amount of possibilities.

Hopefully this opens up the possibility for other artwork to be made into kickass toys. Because I really want a Rene Magritte The Son of Man figure.

Fine art as toys, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a hell of a world.