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buildman ranic set1, originally uploaded by MicroBry.

Onell Design's Glyos System now has a modular interchangeable figure called "Buildman".. Made up mostly of multiple connector pieces, the Buildman's design allow for building up all sorts of original figures, vehicles, and robots. Here's just a couple of starter combos I came up with (not even using all the figures I received in the "Buildman Phalanx" construction set). The possibilities are endless!

buildman centauroid

A Buildman centauroid.

buildman acrosoldier

My idea of a Buildman AcroSoldier...note that it stands at the same height as a 3 3/4" figure!  Also Buildman foot sockets fit GI Joe pegs fairly well.

Onell Design Glyos System Buildman Ranic (Phalanx Set - 3 Standard and 3 Reverse)

Year of Manufacture: 2009

Scale: Non-scale
Glyos figures are not in a defined scale, but are about 2 1/2 inches tall and are generally meant to be able to hold accessories from 1/18 scale figures.   I see them as kind of dwarfish aliens and 'bots in roughly 1/18-1/20 scale.  With Buildman's interchangable components, though, it is easy to make figures in other size ranges, including 3 3/4 inches.  I admit I'm still kind of hoping that a Glyos figure initially released in 3 3/4" size and proportions will come out someday (perhaps of the Rechlen and Aves or Gear's Edge characters)...

Detail:  ***1/2 out of ***** 
Toys in the Glyos System are created with a slightly cartoonish sensiblity, and while fairly detailed, do not tend to have intricate, smaller details (with some exceptions such as a utility belt on some figures, or on Phanost's crinkly head).  Buildman has about the same level of detail, enough to look busy, but not cluttered or too tiny to make out easily.   The details on the toy's limbs, hands, and feet  are subtly asymmetric, allowing for more possible unique figures when mixing and matching parts from two identical figures (although I got one that was misassembled with symmetrical feet--not that it's a big deal, since it is designed to look "right" either way).

Interchangeability:  ***** out of *****
Buildman was quite literally built for interchangeability, and was partly the result of creator Matt Doughty's happy discovery that even with his regular Glyos figures, his universal interchangeable joints allowed for a broad range of creativity in making gestalt recipes composed of parts from several figures.  With this in mind, Matt went back to the drawing board and planned his next core figure design with further enabling of and encouraging this kind of creative build-up play right out of the package.   Nearly every part of Buildman has multiple connection points, and disassembling a figure yields a broad range of pieces and types of connections, essentially making each figure a miniature lego-esque construction toy in itself.   That said, there's not much out there that uses the same size pegs/sockets so the interchangeability is mostly limited to within the Glyos System itself.

Colors: **1/2 out of *****
The colors are nice and distinct and echo the look from Matt's older custom figure fanzines, but with only brown and tan-white and a reverse color scheme released at this point, Buildman's colors can really only improve from here.

Posability:  *** out of *****
The articulation is really quite good on the base figure, let alone if you build up a larger figure.  The only problem is every joint is a simple horizontal swivel.  This is particularly limiting for elbows and knees, but is excusable in favor of the originality of the figures and the interchangeability that is enabled.   A ball-joint design might have been preferable, but likely wouldn't have allowed for as sturdy a figure.

Accessories:  **** out of *****
Each Buildman has a backpack that when disassembled contains a number of optional parts as well as two alternate heads (or more, depending on the way you build your Buildman).   If you have more than one Buildman, then any part of one Buildman could become an accessory for another one, making the entire figure accessories, perhaps.   That said, I admit I'm greedy and wouldn't mind seeing some additional hand weapons included or such...

Fun: ***** out of ***** 
You can build all kinds of figures and more with Buildman, it doesn't get much more fun than when you have a toy designed to allow you to rebuild it however you want, and is only increased with the more toys from the line that you have to swap out parts with.

Availability: *(temporarily)  out of *****
Unfortunately, the first run of Buildman is sold out, and justly so.  Fortunately, more are on the way.  The price is a little high for a figure this size, but for an independent creation, it's dirt cheap.

Customizability: ***** out of *****
This really is in this case the same category as Interchangeability.  You might be able to customize further beyond what they do already, such as using parts from other toys or models, painting, etc, but really the sets allow for so much, there's not as much reason to.

Sturdiness/Durability: ***** out of *****
The Glyos System is actually famous for its rugged durability, able to handle the "wall test" where throwing a toy hard into a wall or floor does no noticable harm to the toy whatsoever.  No mean feat, that!   These are tough little toys that are meant to be played with.

Overall: ****1/2 out of  *****
While the initial Glyos System toys were amazing for O'Nell Design's first year or so of production, Buildman really brings the line up to a new standard and opens up a whole new range of possibilities and potential, especially when paired up with the other figures in the line.   Already the old type figure bodies now have been retooled to sport an extra socket on their back to allow for more interchangeability with Buildman and other Glyos toys (hopefully later their feet will, too), showing that the new Buildman format has altered the course of Glyos toys to come.  This innovation seems almost akin to when Takara discovered the 5mm connector and moved from incorporating in its vehicles to its action figures themselves...a design so fundamentally useful to future releases in the series that it becomes almost hard to imagine why the prior toys didn't have it in the first place.  

What do you think of Buildman Ranic?  Do you own any Glyos System toys?


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 17th, 2009 04:49 am (UTC)
Whoa, those look awesome next to the Time Traveler. Bry, are those shoulder pieces on the "AcroSoldier" a new part that is exclusive to the Buildman? The Buildman colors don't do much for me (there are no shortage of colors for the Glycos guys which is great), so I didn't jump on them when they were released. I have to order some of the other Glycos figures soon or all the colors I want will be gone.

Chris E.
Mar. 17th, 2009 06:43 am (UTC)
Re: Buildman
The shoulder parts are actually the "default" Buildman head. Each Buildman has this part as the head and then their "backpack" has two alternate heads on it which I used on the other two shown (while the AcroSoldier has a lower torso and thighs as his head). All of the Buildman pieces (and there are a lot of them!) are unique to the Buildman figures and not used in other Glyos System toys, although they are interchangeable with the older Glyos figures as well. As for the color, he sold out of this run, but future runs/the run next in production will be apparently in other color schemes, so it might turn out more compelling next time around (brown and tan-white wouldn't have been my first choice, but I still dig it).
Mar. 17th, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
NICE! Awesome combinations! I turned a glyos figure into a centaur with the buildman parts too- now they just need to make them in Centaurus colors. I personally LOVE the Buildman figure that Matt put out, it's (in my opinion) one of his best pieces to date. I placed an order right before Toy Fair for 1 of each colored Buildman figures, as well as a Hybrid Sarvos & Standard Phanost. I'd have ordered more Buildmen right then & there, but those 2 other figures were low-production run pieces & I wanted to snag them before it was too late. I'm totally buying at least 4 more Buildmen when the next batch comes out as I really wanna build more things with them. I have the Reverse Buildman (the brown one) figure in my pocket (my GF snagged my other one LoL) & I constantly re-configure it into different things. Best $8.00 I spent in a long time. I actually had the privelage to meet Matt in person when I attended the Toy Fair this past month & he really is a super-awesome guy.
Mar. 19th, 2009 05:58 am (UTC)
Buildman Review
Great review, Bry. Excellent write-up and observations. I think I would have jumped on these figures if I had seen your combinations when Buildman first was released.

Chris E.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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