REVIEW: Playing Art Toys
The French company le Lab is a joint venture between two friends – Denis and Bee. Their logo is a monkey, so – of course - the company’s first designer toy is shaped like a monkey. The Playing Art platform toy has been released in DIY form, as well as three limited edition artist designs – Bali-Bali, MOON-K and Woodi.
Bali-Bali is a dragon spirit condemned to dance forever. Bali-Bali is good for you, enjoy.
During the seventies, man created a revolutionary self-powered computer: MOON-K, the first intelligent giant robot.
Woodi is the last living greenery-ape from backside of Jupiter.
Series: Playing Art
Manufacturer: le Lab
Artist: Spasm One (Bali-Bali); LeJam (MOON-K); Aro (Woodi)
Material: Rotocast vinyl head and ABS body
Dimensions: 8” tall by 5.5” wide
Points of Articulation: 8 (ball joint neck, fully articulated tail, 3 cute joints in each arm – shoulder, mid-arm an wrist)
Designs: Bali-Bali; MOON-K; Woodi; DIY
Accessories: Sticker sheet with over 16 eye designs (Moon-K)
Edition Size: 350 pieces each
Each Playing Art figure comes packaged within dual, interlocking trays. The outer box features a cutout opening in the front so you can see the figure inside. The box – both inside and out – features artwork related to the Playing Art design. If you pick up the MOON-K figure, it actually has a box that can transformed into a space station background.
It’s not often that a platform toy is initially released in such a large size. That might be why I was somewhat surprised – even knowing that these stood 8” tall – at just how large the Playing Art figures are. Also, I wasn’t sure about the material these would be made of, but I like that they chose to go with a rotocast vinyl head – rather than an entirely hard plastic figure (like a Trexi).
The line has been hyped as being a highly articulated platform toy, and while it is, there are a couple of things that I want to call your attention to. The mid-arm cut seams are very tight. I’d suggest grabbing on each side of the arm to turn them. You might even want to work them a little by twisting them. Secondly, after first moving the tail, you might find that it no longer stands up. Just push the tail back into the body.
Looking at the three Playing Art designs before I got my hands on them, I would have ranked them Woodi, Bali-Bali and then MOON-K. That’s why I wait until I have something in-hand before reviewing them. My order completely flip-flopped.
Woodi ended up being my least favorite of the line. They went for more of a matte paint finish on this figure, and there ended up being several spots where not enough paint was applied (you can almost see the plastic beneath). It also looks like there are some stress marks on the body, giving some parts of the plastic a slightly lighter shade.
Bali-Bali is the most colorful of the line. There’s a lot going on with this design…especially on the face. It probably makes the best use of the monkey form. It looks like a rabid capuchin.
MOON-K is a nice and simple, black and white themed figure that you can actually decorate using the included sheet of stickers. These can be added as eyes on top of the glossy paint of the figure’s face. I just like this (lack of) color combination – probably why I dig Jon Paul Kaiser’s work. (I did notice that some of the paint on the feet appears to be decals, so watch for peeling)
Overall, I can see customizers using this platform because its flat face makes a nice canvas. I would have preferred a slightly smaller figure, since the larger the figure – the higher the price.
For wholesale inquiries, contact DKE Toys.
You can pick one up at the following:
le Lab: Designs - €63.00 ($92.61) DIY - €37.00 ($54.39)
The SRP for the US is $86 for the designs and $50 DIY
Playing Art Grades
Figure Quality: 7/10
Fun Factor: 8/10