Smitten. That is the word I would use to describe my overall feelings about this brand-new line from Lone Coconut. Offered originally as a Kickstarter campaign, these little guys are now arriving, and wow, they are absolutely amazing. Maybe even more impressive is that they are impossibly fun, and I haven’t been so taken by a new figure line in a long, long time.
The Pluderlings! What a concept. I remember way back a few years ago when the early prototype for these guys was shown off as a fun little project. At the time, there were not any Kickstarter or other realization plans being made, but a lot of people noticed the concept, and things started to percolate. It took a bit of time to get there, but the talented crew at Lone Coconut eventually announced their plans for a Kickstarter campaign, and to their credit, they took the due time needed to make sure everything was in place to give their idea the best chance to be funded. In the end, they had their prototypes, art, and copy ready to go, and most importantly, their overall mission was so well defined, it seemed like we already knew the Plunderlings before they arrived.
Fortunately, the campaign was successfully funded, and like all Kickstarters, once the details were locked off, the manufacturing process started, and the wait ensued. The global pandemic obviously threw everything a curveball for most of 2020 (and ongoing), but the LC crew kept things moving along, and my order arrived on my doorstep on December 31st. That was just in time to make my “Best of 2020” list (and it is WELL deserved), but these guys are really going to see permeation as more backers get their goods, and 2021 will hopefully continue to be big for the Pluderlings.
What are the Plunderlings? Well, they are kind of like little pirate goblins who live in the tropics, but they are already so much more than that. Lone Coconut has fleshed out their characters with various types of Plunderlings (Raiders, Berserkers, Nomads, Captains, etc.), and a bevy of accessories and costume options that make that original prototype come to life in so many fun and cool ways. It has been a long time since I was taken in by an original IP when it comes to toy collecting, but I already have “head canon” for these guys, and frankly, I don’t even know when they are going to go into the display because I am having way too much fun playing with them right now. The team have given life and personality to the individual characters and factions, and it looks like some further stories are currently being created to support the line in the form of a comic adventure. That said, this line lends itself to imagination so you it has the ability to go as far as you are wanting to take it.
The Kickstarter successfully funded 14 unique characters, so the mythos is already large and diverse, and include:
Raiders: Fwush and Gank
Berserkers: Gobbler and Spurt
Nomads: Tuff and Goyle
Captains: Teal and Ash
Cursed: Idol and Fury
Ferals: Chedar and Zombone
As well as Kickstarter exclusives:
Drenches: Swump and Bubbler
All of these different factions/subspecies have different personality types and functions which are pretty easy to discern just by the group, name, and looks. This is important because it makes the property so accessible, and it does not take a backlog of reading and research to be able to approach this with new eyes. That important quality is adapted into every facet of this line, too, and again, I think that is one of the biggest keys to success. Everything is beautiful in its direct and simple approach, but all things are handled extremely well. There is no over complication in the story or in the figures themselves and that is a remarkable breath of fresh air, especially for a property that is just finding its footing.
Most importantly, this polished work all starts with the figures themselves. This is a line that fits the Kickstarter strategy of working from a limited library of base parts for the figures themselves, but handles them in a way that is diverse and expressive, so the standard “base body” or reuse becomes a factor that is only apparent where it is acceptable. What I mean is, these are all Plunderlings, so their basic form and parts should match one to the next, so that standard body is appropriately used from character to character. However, the different expressions, add-on options (like hats and hair), clothing pieces, and accessories add so much to these that when you incorporate the different colors, every single character feels wholly unique.
Everything is built around the basic base body, though, and it is very well conceived and constructed. These guys stand right at about four inches, which puts them pretty much at the perfect height for the 1:12 scale they are advertised as being, and that fits perfectly into my collection. That said, since these guys are little goblins, they can stand on their own, or even feel appropriate in a 1:6 environment, too, so don’t feel the need to be limited. They clock in at right at about 20 points of articulation, which is a good number for the size fo the figures, and thanks to a good range of movement in all of the points, you can pretty much strike any appropriate pose you see fit. These guys can easily stand on one foot and the floating torso ball joint and double knees are highlights. Additionally, the hinges in the wrists are correctly constructed with an up and down ability which works well for most weapons and implements, so good forethought on that.
The base body is just the beginning though, and the amount of different pieces the line holds overall thus far is really cool. Each figure comes with three different heads – smiling, showing teeth, and open mouth, and mixing and matching these to express a specific character personality is a lot of fun. Each head also features a magnet, a very useful magnet, to help keep the various hats, hair, skulls, etc., perfectly in place. All of these pieces are sculpted in a way that makes them fit seamlessly, too, so they look more like a part of the overall head sculpt, rather than an added piece. All of these are, of course, swappable from head to head and character to character, so there are hundred of combinations you can make to have your Pluderlings just as you like them.
Each figure also comes with two sets of hand, gripping and open, and the Kickstarter progress unlocked the “whomping” hands as well, so if you bought them, you have fists, too. There are tons accessories too, which hopefully you can see in the pictures, and range from daggers, to bats, to bones, to FROGS, Additionally, the unlocked Wood and Steel crate accessory packs bring wrenches, steins, shields, and other things as well. It’s a LOT to choose from, but as I mentioned in my Top 5 video with Robo, all of these pieces are not meant to be used all the time. It seriously is, grab a figure, add a had, pick a weapon, and go plunder; so it stays simple in its function, but the form allows you to personalize.
The most ingenious part though might just be the “hatchling” bodies that were unlocked during the campaign. These are smaller bodies with limited articulation, but a quick add of a head and some hands from the standard figures not only gives you a way to display those otherwise stored pieces, but allows you to create more levels of lore. These hatchlings can be baby versions of your regular Plunderlings, or, like I am doing, can be a younger cast of unique characters, or even a different smaller species of Plunderlings. I find this to be absolutely amazing, and with my rewards selections, I essentially DOUBLED my take in terms of characters that I got from the campaign.
Still, even with this wide variety of characters, it is pretty intuitive to tell that the Captains likely lead a crew that probably includes a Raider or two, and maybe even a Berserker. The Nomads might be more land-based as opposed to ocean adventurers, and you know the Ferals just tear through everywhere creating chaos. It is cool that every designated weapon choice, hat, and implement lends itself to these personality types, so the fact that Feral Chedar has a Mohawk, Nomad Goyle wears a hood, and Raider Fwush uses a slingshot gun all fit their basic function and personality to a tee. That doesn’t mean that you cannot mix and match to your heart’s content, but foundation is there and cues leave and easy footprint to follow. As I have said, I am so impressed by how polished it all is, and so much more than many new properties introduces by large companies as of late.
Obviously, I love all of them, but I think Fwush, Chedar, Zombone, and Goyle are my personal squad with the Teal and Ash Hatchling added as little assistants. It is such a fun group, and the fact that everyone will have their own favorite figures and groups is a very fun aspect of this. I cannot wait to see how others take to them.
I know, I could probably go on for DAYS at this point and still not give these wonderful figures their due. I am still overwhelmed by a level of excitement that it is difficult for me put words together well without rambling on, so just know this: these are EXCEPTIONAL. If you think you want them, I can assure you, you DO. There are some still available via Big Bad Toy Store now, so if you missed them, this is the spot to go.
I must admit, if I have any regrets with this line it is that I got a bit caught up in the frenzy of the close of the campaign and the subsequent backer kit information. So, I missed getting a hatchling body for my Idol and Drenches, and that makes me sad. Lone Coconut is talking about having the hatchlings and accessories available through them at some point, so I might still get my chance with the Idol, but seeing how the Drenches were exclusive to KS, I think I am out of luck. That makes me sad because I am enjoying those particular figures more than I thought (GLOW IN THE DARK FACES!), and I want more representation in my collection.
I cannot wait to see what is next for Pluderlings. It looks like the Fawns (previously locked) were tooled with the rest of the figures, so I am hoping those will be made available soon because they look great. Past that, we need those Tinkers, and really anything else they can dream up. As far as I am concerned, the LC team can mix and match parts and accessories with new colors to create new characters with what they already have, and I will be there for it. That could lead the way to new parts for more factions, and maybe some females, too! I know I want more Mohawks and skulls for sure.
Bravo to everyone involved in making the Plunderlings a reality. I have not had this much fun with a new toy line in, well, I honestly cannot remember. It has been a long time. They have struck gold with this, and I wish nothing but the best in doing more toys, comics, and anything else they have in-store. These are amazing little figures and I cannot recommend them enough, so go get some while you can.
I will be back soon with more on these guys. I have an idea for an ambitious display I am putting together, so I will be keen to show it off once it is done. If I can do it correctly, I think it will just be perfect for them.