#1041: Free Comic Book Day Blank

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY BLANK

PROMOTIONAL MINIMATES

FCBD2006a

Minimates are a brand that mostly runs on licensed properties, but their makers at Diamond Select Toys like to do what they can to get the brand out there, separate from the licenses they offer. One of the main ways they do this is via promotional blanks, handed out as freebies at various events, just to get the name and base body out there. Most of the time, these events are conventions that DST is attending, but twice now, said event has been Free Comic Book Day, a day where lots of other companies also try the whole promotional thing out at a larger scale.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

FCBD2006bThis Free Comic Book Day ‘mate was distributed on Free Comic Book Day in 2005, and is the first of the two FCBD ‘mates to be done. The figure is about 2 ¼ inches tall and has the same 14 points of articulation as every other Minimate. As a blank, this ‘mate uses no sculpted add-ons, but rather places the focus on the basic Minimate body. Interestingly, this guy has a head with a hole at the top for a hair piece. It’s far from an uncommon sight on a ‘mate, but most blanks tend to use the older style head without the hole. It’s a minor little difference, which makes this guy a little more customizable, but perhaps hinders his integrity as a standalone ‘mate. The FCBD ‘mate is molded in white plastic (which exhibits a nasty habit of yellowing over time, just as an fyi), with a printed Free Comic Book Day logo. It’s definitely a sharp looking design, and makes for a fun little piece. Plus, thanks to the interchangeable nature of Minimates, the logo-ed torso can even make for a cool t-shirt or something on another ‘mate.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was actually my very first promo Minimate. I picked him up from my local comic book store on FCBD, without much thought, actually. I didn’t even realize that it was a thing until I saw the little box of them my store had near the front. He’s actually become one of the prized possessions of my collection. He’s really only for diehard Minimate fans, but he’s definitely an awesome little figure!

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#0933: Orange and Green Blanks

TRANSLUCENT ORANGE & GREEN BLANKS

PROMO MINIMATES

SDCCY&G1

The Minimates brand is most often associated with the various licenses that Diamond Select has applied its definitive style to. However, as part of their ongoing efforts to get the brand as much recognition as possible, Diamond will occasionally produce promotional “blanks” to be handed out at their various convention appearances, typically the bigger shows, such as San Diego Comic-Con and C2E2. I’ve previously looked at the C2E2-exclusive Minimate Multiverse Blank, so today I’ll be looking at a pair from SDCC.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

SDCCY&G2Orange and Green were both given out at SDCC 2008. There was also a red blank available, but I don’t have that one. Both figures stand 2 ¼ inches tall, have 14 points of articulation, and make use of no pieces other than the standard Minimate body. The lack of add-ons makes for a nice showcase of the base body, which can sometimes be overlooked. That’s a shame, because it’s really a very well-crafted bit of work, and it’s just a whole lot of fun to play with. Many earlier blanks stuck with solid, opaque hues, but these two are both done up in translucent colors, which look really SDCCY&G3sharp. Unlike some translucent ‘mates, this pair appears to have been molded in colorless clear plastic and then had some sort of translucent coloring applied after the fact, which does a nice bit to preserve the luminosity of the plastic. They’re also really shiny, which makes them pretty slick. Aside from the colors, they don’t have any other paint; no logos or other details like some promo ‘mates. I think it makes them more enjoyable, if I do say so myself. Elegant simplicity and all that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t go to SDCC 2008 (though I do own most of the ‘mates that DST offered there), so I got these two a few years later via Luke’s Toy Store. I hadn’t really planned on getting into the Promo ‘Mates, but I had gone far too long without buying any Minimates, so these two (as well as the later 2010 Blue Blank) got added to my order. I legit love these guys. They aren’t the sort of thing that would appeal to everyone, but they’re really cool to me. Despite the fact that they have no add-ons or printed details, they possess a lot of character and personality and remind me of why I like the Minimate aesthetic so much!

#0499: Keychain Minimate

ACTION FIGURE EXPRESS KEYCHAIN

PROMO MINIMATES

While Minimates’ bread and butter tends to be making tiny versions of popular licenses, that isn’t exclusively what they do. One of the big things in making Minimates a success is just getting the brand known to as many people as possible. Enter the Promo ‘mates. These guys are free Minimates, who come bagged and are handed out to attendees of the conventions attended by Diamond Select Toys. Usually, these are just blank figures in various colors, with maybe a logo. However, DST will occasionally go the extra mile and do full detailing. Such is the case with today’s feature, the keychain Minimate. (Okay, that’s not his official name. He actually doesn’t have one!)

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Keychain Minimate was a cross-promotion between DST and frequent Minimate supporters Action Figure Xpress. The figure was given out at the AFX booth during San Diego Comic Con 2009, and then all remaining stock was sent out with orders over a certain amount on AFX’s online store. The figure is a little under 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Technically speaking, the ‘mate is based on the Hunt Minimate character, created for 2007’s scavenger hunt contest. The main contrast is that this figure is clean shaven and sports a pair of sunglasses. The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, along with a new piece for the keychain. This is a different piece than the one that recently showed up with the TMNT Minimates; the loop that connects the piece to the figure is metal, like the rest of the chain, as opposed to the fabric loop we saw on the TMNT version. The newer version works a little better, but this makes for an interesting prototype for that idea. The rest of the figure’s detail is done with paint, which is decent overall, though not perfect. There were four possible colors to the t-shirt; mine’s the blue one, if that’s not immediately obvious. Generally, the paint is pretty cleanly applied. The front and back of the shirt have some nice work on the logos, and the pants feature a fair bit of detail work. The face has a minor issue with the mouth’s placement being slightly off. It’s just enough to be noticeable that it’s off, though it isn’t the worst thing ever. Odd mouth thing aside, he’s actually got an uncanny resemblance to actor Billy Zane. The shoes are probably the biggest point of contention. When the original Hunt ‘Mate was made, Diamond had somehow wound up with the rights to Chuck Taylors, so that figure had very specific, very well detailed shoes. This one had to settle for more genericized versions of the shoes, which are not as well done. The bottoms of the shoes don’t wrap all the way around and the white paint on black plastic results in some iffy looking paint. They aren’t terrible, but they pale in comparison to what came before.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the Shoulder Zombie and Future Wolverine before him, the Keychain Minimate is another product of Luke’s Toy Store’s “Mystery Mate” offer. So far, I’m 3 for 3 on this thing. I was actually pretty excited to find this guy in my latest shipment from Luke’s. I never had to opportunity to get one back in 2009, so getting one now is really cool. Sure, he’s not the greatest Minimate of all time, but he’s kinda fun, and he’s a somewhat important piece of ‘mate history!