I’ve long had mixed feelings about subscription boxes. I had a Loot Crate subscription for a while, and it’s definitely fun getting a regular package in the mail full of surprise items in which you have an interest, but I didn’t keep my subscription for very long. I always felt that while technically getting my “money’s worth” from the box in the sense that the value of the items inside met or exceeded the cost of the box my money could be better spent elsewhere. I’m a pretty big geek/nerd, and those type of boxes are theoretically right up my alley, but the reality was that there was only ever one or two items I really liked or had any interest in in each box and the other stuff felt like filler. And even the items that were a big hit weren’t necessarily things I would have bought on my own, so I ended up just filling my house with stuff I didn’t necessarily want even if it was stuff I liked. In the end, the bulk of the enjoyment came from the anticipation and mystery of what would be in the next box and the thrill of discovery, rather than from the box itself.
But Loot Crate recently teamed up with Quantum Mechanix (qmxonline.com), purveyors of a wide variety of exclusive items from a variety of licenses, to offer a new box just for fans of Firefly/Serenity: the Firefly Cargo Crate. Firefly is one of my all-time favorite shows and Serenity one of my favorite movies, so this seemed tailored just for me. Add in the fact that each bi-monthly Cargo Crate will contain a Little Damn Hero “Mini Master” figure (redoing a line of figures by QMX from a few years ago which were extremely popular but which only released figures of 7 of the 9 main characters from the show), and I was sold. Loot Crate claims that each box contains at least $65 worth of items and the boxes cost $39.99 each (including S&H), though you can save a little money by purchasing a longer plan. The first Firefly Cargo Crate arrived this weekend, so I thought I’d do a bit of an unboxing/review and give you a peek at what’s inside. And if you’re interested you can click here to save $5 off this or any Loot Crate!
The Cargo Crate box itself is designed to look like it was shipped from the ‘Verse, complete with an “Exported from Persephone” sticker on the side.
Inside, the box is crammed with goodies! Let’s take a look at what this first Crate had to offer.
First up is the big selling point for me, the Little Damn Heroes “Mini Masters” figure. The first Crate contains Kaylee, and the box as a whole is somewhat themed to everyone’s favorite mechanic. I have mixed feelings about the figure. The previous Little Damn Heroes figures were made from polystone while the new ones are made from plastic, which means they’re not as fragile but they don’t feel as nice either. The new figures are bigger and more detailed, however. This Kaylee has the same general look as the old one, though it’s obviously going for a different style. The first Little Damn Heroes were more cartoony, though that aspect varied widely from figure to figure, while the new one is a little more realistic. It does a good job with Kaylee’s iconic overalls and flowered shirt, although both the new and old figure have the wrong outfit to go with her swirly parasol from the pilot episode “Serenity”. I feel like the first Kaylee captured the essence of the character in its pose and expression better than the new one, which for some reason has an odd, eyes closed expression and her butt sticking out. Still, in all, I’m not at all displeased with this “Mini Masters” figure; it’s a good size, nicely detailed, and makes the Cargo Crate worth the cost. (For reference, the original Little Damn Heroes figures were $50 apiece.)
The next item in the crate might actually be my favorite, a Kaylee teddy bear! It’s adorable, and it even has a human patch on its overalls in the same place that Kaylee has a teddy bear patch. Someone was pretty clever to put that in, and if that’s indicative of the level of thought they’re putting into these crates then I have high hopes for the months to come.
Moving down in scale and into the box, we’ve got a “Q-Bits” blind box figure. It’s a blind box, and I ended up with Jayne, who is currently guarding my desk at work from Reavers. They’ve got slightly enlarged heads, though not Funko Pop big, and he’s pretty detailed despite being only three inches tall.
The Cargo Crate contained a variety of smaller items as well. Keeping with the Kaylee theme were a pack of cocktail umbrellas inspired by her parasol and a pin that features the same design and says “Everything’s Shiny Cap’n!” Since this was the first box, everyone got a “Founder’s Pin” featuring Serenity. There were also a pair of cards (along with an ad) for “Firefly the Game”, which I highly recommend as it’s a lot of fun. Rounding out the smaller items was an “Exported from Persephone” sticker like the one on the outside of the box.
Down in the bottom was an envelope with a pair of pieces of concept art from Timothy Earls, who worked on the movie, featuring designs for the Trans-U Reaver ship that Serenity encountered in the pilot episode and which made an appearance in the battle at the end of the film.
Last but not least is “The Signal”, the small magazine that I imagine will accompany each Cargo Crate. This box’s is Kaylee themed, of course, featuring an interview with Jewel Staite as well some tips from a well-known Kaylee cosplayer. It’s a fun, if inconsequential, little booklet, and it’s nice to see Loot Crate and QMX putting some effort into it with the Jewel interview and little tidbits like Mandarin translations from the show or advertisements from the ‘Verse.
In all, I’m definitely satisfied with this first Firefly Cargo Crate. I feel like I got my money’s worth, although pricing out each item would be a bit of a challenge since most of the box’s contents were exclusives. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it $65 worth of loot, but between the figure, the bear, the “Q-Bit”, the pins, and the rest it’s more than worth its $40 price tag. The highlight of the crate for me is probably the bear, which is both adorable and clever. I’m going to reserve judgement on the “Mini Masters” figure for the time being until I see how a few more of them turn out. It’s not exactly how I would have designed it, but it’s well made and detailed, and it’s not like there’s any doubt that it’s Kaylee we’re looking at. Mostly I’m impressed by the thought they’ve put into some of their items and the general theming of the crate. While not overwhelming the Kaylee theme was well done and the small touches like the cocktail umbrellas were a cute addition. After I had emptied my box I noticed that the inside was designed to look like Serenity’s cargo hold, complete with the flying mule from the movie and a couple of cows from the end of “Shindig”/beginning of “Safe”. It’s the small stuff and attention to detail that will keep people coming back to the Firefly Cargo Crate, and what make me more enthusiastic when it comes to recommending it to other Browncoats out there.
The next Crate will be themed around Jayne Cobb, our favorite mercenary, and will contain an exclusive t-shirt in addition to the next Little Damn Hero figure. You’ll need to order by May 15th if you’d like to get the next Cargo Crate. What would you like to see in future Crates? What did you think of the inaugural box? What do you think of the Little Damn Heroes redesign? If you could create a custom subscription box around your favorite show, what would you pick? Let me know in the comments!