I was first exposed to the design for the Stegoforest with Acorn Warrior as a part of the OMFG project - but I later found out, designs which already existed as a toy couldn't qualify for the forum-based minifigure art project. A shame! I knew I had to get one of these eventually, and like most designer toys they would come and go in various colors and paint jobs. I missed numerous drops and then in 2015 word got out that there might not be any more runs - so I snagged the next one I saw, which was this little brown fellow. On one hand, I'm glad I got it! Now I don't have to have the regret of missing it. On the other hand, it's not a lot of toy for $50.
The 4-inch tall, 7-inch long figure is a marvelously creative design that clearly comes from someone who really loves everything a Japanese vinyl toy has to offer, right down to the typeface stamped in the creature's gut. It's clearly labeled "STEGOFOREST" and "JNARENS" in the same font you've probably also seen on a few other designer Japanese toys as well as some Godzilla, Gamera, and Ultraman figures. Mr. Narens did a nice job aping the visual language of the genuine article - this is clearly a toy that is made to look like other Japanese toys.
The figure is glossy, airy, and shiny. This super glossy little creature looks like it might fit in the toy box of any kid from the 1960s through the 1990s, with its unpainted brown color looking not unlike the Marx dinosaurs my dad had or the more whimsical Playskool dinosaurs we saw in stores and Wendy's kid meals in the late 1980s. That's the really funny thing - those were decently sized hollow rubber dinosaurs, and Stegoforest has less paint, about the same mass, and costs considerably more. One was free with a $3 sack of what can be legally sold as food, and the other is $50. Stegoforest has an articulated left front leg and neck, plus a jointed thagomizer. The forest part is a separate piece glued on, and on my sample it's not quite a perfect fit. I'm not seeing any stray glue or anything, but the parts really don't fit together perfectly. Were this a Wendy's fast food premium this would probably be upsetting, but this was $50, so it's upsetting.
The head is cute, the eyes are big, and the textures are charming. The plates look a lot like little trees - and there are bushes and rocks along the sides. His skin is nicely textured with wrinkles and warts. The claws are pointy but not sharp, and the figure makes a delightful hollow sound when you tap it. It's clearly a higher-grade material than your average baby toy or dog toy, and the design is unquestionably clever. Still, I think I probably should've pulled the trigger on a fancy painted version back when I had the chance - this is a gorgeous design that could probably hide a few shortcomings with some pigment. Oh, and he has a friend!
His companion is the Acorn Warrior, a little lizard with an acorn hat. It's mostly hollow, and it's a swell companion piece which exhibits the same level of quality in the sculpt and exhibits no form-fit issues. After all, he's just one piece - what could go wrong? He's small and cute, and what you see is basically what you get. You can see the images below where his hollow belly is evident, and I don't doubt you'll enjoy him to some extent. It's a nice bonus, sure, but the real meat of the package is Stegoforest. The acorn warrior doesn't really fit in with him too well, aside from being a cousin, it's just sort of here to hang out now.
I like this design so much that I had to have one - price aside, it's neat. It's really cool. I wish Mr. Narens could do a whole line of these at a major toy manufacturer so they could sell them cheaply. It's an amazing thing in collecting - things like the cheap chipboard trading cards and hollow vinyl figures went from being a discount commodity to highly-prized collectibles. As a kid I had a bunch of weird hollow toy figures, and now they're something you don't see very often. When you do, they'll cost you - and creative people have some truly amazing designs to sell you, too. This is a great figure for those of you who buy a figure every month, but for the junkie who can count the days between toy purchases, this may not be a prudent use of your toy budget. But hey, it's not like I'd sell you mine, so what do I know?
16bit.com is best not viewed in Apple's Safari browser, we don't know why. All material on this site copyright their respective copyright holders. All materials appear hear for informative and entertainment purposes. 16bit.com is not to be held responsible for anything, ever. Photos taken by the 16bit.com staff. Site design, graphics, writing, and whatnot credited on the credits page. Be cool-- don't steal. We know where you live and we'll break your friggin' legs.