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Lord Kong

SKUMM
by yo go re

This is a monkey on a motorcycle.

I just wanted to make that clear right at the outset. Last year at SDCC, when these toys were unveiled, I was waylaid by a costumed booth attendant who insisted (in his lovely little brogue) that, "No! It is'nae a monkey! T'is Laird Kung, a mayrcenary assigned t'the daypest pits uf the joungle, where he adapted t' blend in wi' his surroondings."

Monkey on a motorcycle, bitch! Yeah, you know what? It's a monkey on a motorcycle. The moral of that story is to stay away from the folks in the costumes first thing in the morning - they're still way too into character.

Disciplined, high-mannered and vain, Thomas Hillingsworth is someone to be taken seriously. A powerful professional tilter, Kong has many fans and with a degree specializing in western capitalistic cultures he isn't just all brawn. Kong has learned what to do with that fame and has been gaining money and power since finishing his education. Now an English Lord due to a massive real estate purchase in England, Lord Thomas Hillingsworth is quickly becoming a very popular celebrity.

An off-shoot of the Tech Deck bikes and skateboards, the SKUMM (Super Kinetic Ultra Magnetic Men) line began simply: little extreme sports figures based around a generic body and an even more generic story; the figures had variant heads, concealed behind masks in the packaging, that gave them a bit of collectability. The line has proved popular enough that makers XConcepts have spun a larger story, published comicbooks and started adding more gear to their toys.

The year is 2102, almost 30 years since the end of the corporate wars. Large multi-national corporations decimated the governments who opposed them, creating the SKUMM as their elite soldiers. When the war was over, however, the genetically enhanced aggressice nature of the SKUMM made them unsuitable for integration with society. It was decided to turn their skills into entertainment through the SKUMM Motorcycle & Ultraboard Tilting Tournament (yes, SMUTT - whoever is behind this line sure loves their backronyms).

About 4 1/2" tall, Lord Kong features the typical SKUMM body: Monkey! an 18-jointed frame beneath a sewn-on vinyl suit. The body moves at the ankles, shins, knees, hips, waist, neck, shoulders, elbows, forearms and wrists and the suit is black with a few colored highlights. While the original SKUMM figures had one of 100 variant heads beneath their helmets, you know what you're getting with the new sets: these are specific characters, not random troops. Lord Kong has a gorilla head, which looks a bit out of place on the skinny body - apes are big, bulky beasts, right?

Monkey on a skateboard To participate in the jousting tournament, Lord Kong comes with a decent selection of accessories. In addition to the motorcycle and ultraboard, he's got his shock lance, a sword, a shield and a few pieces of body armor that fit on the figure snugly. The bike is 4 3/4" long and features all the detail you'd expect from this company: real rolling wheels, working handlebars, functioning shocks, a chain on the back wheel and plenty of accurately sculpted detail. The ultraboard - essentially a skateboard with an engine strapped to the back - is almost 5" long and detailed with spikes all around the edges.

The magnets in Lord Kong's feet and back allow him to cling tenaciously to his transportation (as well as any other metal surfaces you might have around). The feet I understand - it's the back that gets me. Why would he need to stick to anything with his back?

For a company built on scale replica skateboards, XConcepts has done well for itself. The Tech Decks (and the Tech Deck Dudes) have proved amazingly popular and their first action figure effort proved popular enough to warrant cross-merchandising and an expansion. And hey, if you're looking for a monkey on a motorcycle, where else are you going to get one?


Most annoying booth worker you've ever met? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.

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