I’m a bit usual as an action figure collector. While most of my collection is focused on the G.I. Joe brand, I dabble in a lot of other properties when there’s something I think that looks cool. Not a lot of collectors do that, but I think a cool figure is a cool figure, so who cares if it doesn’t fit with the bulk of my collection. However, the one line I’ve avoided dabbling in was Art Asylum’s Minimates. It’s not because I don’t like them, but honestly, it’s because I fear they’ll be my next line I’ll get into whole hog and I don’t know if my budget can handle that. Unfortunately, Guardians of the Galaxy led me to break my Minimate embargo with a cool three pack of Drax, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon. Thankfully, this hasn’t led me towards too many more Minimate purchases, but now that I’ve broken the seal on Minimates, who knows where that will lead me.
The overall Minimate design is pretty simple, though there’s not an example of the standard Minimate in this particular set. The standard Minimate design is as follows: a cylindrical head, a square torso piece, arms (with ball joints at the shoulders, hinges at the elbows and swivels) with c-grip hands, a crotch piece, legs and small feet. Save a few special circumstances, all the Minimate’s details are provided by paint work. They’re a surprisingly fun format for characters and the characters from Guardians of the Galaxy translate well to this format.
Drax is the closest to the standard Minimate we get in this set. He uses the basic body, but gets a chest cap to bulk him up and slightly larger feet to give him some extra height. The bulked up look works perfectly for Drax. Like all Minimates, the paint work does the heavy lifting and this is an impressive figure. Drax has incredibly detailed tattoos on his upper body in the movie and this figure has them as well. The tampo work is extremely crisp. They could be a little clearer, but you can still make out the three skulls on his back and that’s what’s important. Drax’s green skin is a bit darker than I’d prefer. I think it should be just a little more vibrant, but that’s just me. Drax’s pants are black, with added detail done in gray. The belt is designed to look like studded leather and the gray lines on the pants stand out well and add depth to the overall look of his pants. The boots do have laces molded into them, but that’s the extent of molded details on Drax. Art Asylum is pretty good about finding accessories for their Minimates, and Drax’s are a no brainer. Drax gets a pair of new knives that look like the curved blades he used extensively in the movie. The blades fit decently in his hands, though I do wish the grip were a tad tighter. They do tend to fall out pretty easily when bumped. The knives are molded out of black plastic and have silver paint applications for the blades. The detail work on the knives is quite impressive as you can still see the patterns in the blades with the silver paint over them. Not all lines can paint something that small and not mute the details in the process. Drax is a fairly simple design, but he was that way in the movie too, and simplicity isn’t always a bad thing. It also helps that Minimates themselves are a fairly simple medium, so that means Drax’s look transfers especially well to the Minimate line.
Going the other way, Groot is a rather complicated Minimate. Groot still has the basic Minimate torso and legs, but it looks like he has slightly longer arms, tree-like hands and feet, a taller crotch piece, and a unique head with tree bits coming off the top of a standard cylinder. This gives Groot a lot of extra height and that’s perfect since he spends so much of the movie taller than everyone else. Like Drax, Groot’s facial features translate well to the simplified Minimate aesthetic, though I don’t think it’s quite as good as Drax. The paint work is very simple compared to Drax. Groot is molded entirely from tan plastic with black lines placed over to give Groot some anatomy and tree bark. There are some green vines and flecks throughout, but the green is applied somewhat inconsistently. There are some spots on the torso piece that look like the green should continue down to the taller crotch piece, but they don’t. The feet are also a little strange because I have yet to find a way to position where both feet sit level on the ground. It doesn’t make Groot unstable, but it’s a little odd that they aren’t designed to sit flush with the ground. Unlike Drax, Groot doesn’t really come with an accessory, but it’s Groot. It’s not like he was known for having a crazy gun or something. I’ll admit, I would have loved to have seen a Minimate version of the potted Groot but it would have been pretty hard to make that in scale with other Minimates.
Since there’s an open slot because Groot has no accessories, the folks at Art Asylum wisely decided to make a version of Rocket Raccoon and include him here with his arboreal best friend. Rocket Raccoon is an unarticulated minifigure, but Art Asylum made sure he still looks like a Minimate and that was a great call. That means he fits in well with everyone else. In fact, when I first got this set, the arm joints looked so realistic, I wasn’t totally sure whether he was poseable until I got him out of the package. Rocket’s figure is designed to look like the prison gear he wore for a significant part of the movie, and I think that’s where the gun also came from. Despite his small size, he’s very well
detailed, with a furry texture on his exposed body. The tail is vital to balancing him so he can stand, though I have found you can sort of get Rocket to ride Groot like he did in the movie. I’m not sure if that was an intentional design choice or not, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless. Rocket is a necessary addition to the set and really makes it worth your money since you’re essentially getting three figures for the price of two.
Overall, my first experience with Minimates was a positive one and it was nice to finally be able to get some sort of Rocket and Groot merchandise. I barely saw anything in the scale I prefer to collect, so jumping over to Minimates was a no-brainer. It’s a fun little one-off addition to my collection and honestly, it’s got a lot of great appeal to someone my age. The smaller accessories might be a drawback for a young Marvel fan, but even then, there’s still a lot of fun to be had. The price is decent and Groot and Rocket look like they might integrate pretty well with the Guardians of the Galaxy Legos as well. Even if they don’t, though, they’re still fun pieces. While Rocket and Groot are kind of the stars to me, Drax is just as good and I’ve really grown to like Drax a lot since the movie came out so I’m kind of glad these three main characters were all packaged together.