Firefly Cargo Crate #2 Review – June 2016

Yesterday I received in the mail the 2nd Firefly Cargo Crate from Loot Crate and Quantum Mechanix, surprisingly only a few hours after getting an email letting me know it was being prepared and to expect it in 10-14 days! The first delivery in this b-monthly Firefly/Serenity-exclusive subscription box came in April and was centered around Kaylee. I was generally impressed with the first box, specifically how well it was curated with regards to Kaylee and some of the more surprising items included. (As a side note, the awesome Kaylee bear is now available to purchase separately from QMx, so I would expect to see some of the new items from the June box for sale in the coming months as well.) This month’s box was all about “the man they call Jayne,” our favorite idolized mercenary. This time out we got another wide variety of items, though I have to say I wasn’t quite as impressed with Jayne’s box as I was with Kaylee’s, and I found myself with some questions as to how the rest of this series will play out. (For those who are interested, you can receive a discount on any Loot Crate subscription by clicking on this link.)

For some reason this time Loot Crate decided to put the decorative sticker over the box opening as a seal, meaning I had to cut it in order to open my box. Just like last time, there’s a copy of the sticker inside, but it sort of kills the ability for some hardcore collector to display the full set of boxes down the road complete with shipping sticker. As a side note, this sticker proclaims itself as coming from “Jaynestown”, except that the town is only ever referred to in the episode as Canton, on Higgins’ Moon. You’ll get a closer look at it below, but it’s a bit inconsistent from the previous box. But once you get inside, the box is once again full of good stuff!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The “big ticket” item in every box is going to be the Mini Masters Little Damn Hero figure, so let’s start with that. I appreciate how even the color scheme on the figure’s box was changed to match the character. This version of Jayne carries his signature gun Vera, wearing the “troublemaker” shirt from Serenity and of course the cunning hat knitted by his mother. Much like the Kaylee figure, Jayne’s appearance here is a conglomeration of key looks for the character, rather than focusing on capturing one particular outfit or pose. (Kaylee, for instance, has a different shirt over her overalls when she carries the parasol in the first episode of Firefly, something nitpicky only am obsessed fan like me would notice.) Placed side-by-side, there’s definitely a stylistic difference between the Kaylee and Jayne figures. Jayne looks much more detailed and realistic, while Kaylee appears much more animated and stylized. Jayne also fits on his base much better than Kaylee does, though that could just be my figures in particular. This Little Damn Hero version of Jayne is vastly different from the previous version from several years ago, which was far more cartoony (in line with the original LDH illustrations) with Jayne’s hat covering his eyes, a cigar poking out from his mouth, and a comically exaggerated Vera. I wouldn’t say I prefer one over the other, as long as each series is consistent to itself, but there will undoubtedly be some who prefer the older statue to the new one. I’m still reserving judgment on the figure series as a whole until we get a few more, though the preview of the Zoe figure in the next box looks great.

Jayne's "dead fish" shirt

The other big item in the box is our first t-shirt of the Firefly Cargo Crate. This one is a replica of the so-called “dead fish” shirt Jayne wears in Serenity when they visit Miranda, the planet where the Reavers were born. Jayne is known for his t-shirt collection, most of which have been reproduced by QMx so I would expect to see this one on sale eventually. It’s one of Jayne’s less iconic shirts (it’s extremely faded in the film and difficult to make out under the gear he wears, plus he’s not really the focus of the sequence on Miranda), but it’s also one of the few which hasn’t had a licensed replica, so it’s a nice addition to the box. The shirt itself feels like a good quality, and is especially soft, so that’s a plus.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Moving deeper into the box we find the biggest “surprise” item this time around, a hip flask. It seems like Jayne has gotten into the rum business following the events of Serenity, because the flask bears the logo of “Jayne Cobb’s ‘Time for Some Thrilling Heroics’ Rum”, which promises to be “just like Mama Cobb used to make”. (It’s a design that was featured on a shirt sold by QMx, previously.) It’s a cute, funny addition to the box, but it feels pretty random and not nearly as clever as the Kaylee bear from the previous box. Jayne is a bit harder to pin down than some of the other characters, and this seems like something that definitely fits his character, even if it doesn’t have a particularly direct connection to what we’ve seen onscreen.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There’s another Q-bits figure this time out, but the inclusion of another Q-bits raises some questions for me going forward. According to the magazine included in the box there are only 2 possible Q-bits in each Cargo Crate. Last time it was Jayne or Simon (I got Jayne), this time Kaylee or Book (I got Kaylee, creating an interesting switch-up between the first and second boxes). Assuming we get at least 9 boxes in the series, one for each main character, how are the future Q-bits going to work. Will we get to a point where duplicates are possible, which will be frustrating for subscribers, or will the Q-bits disappear after box 4 or 5 when all of the possibilities are covered, leaving us with only a partial set? Honestly I’d prefer a partial set rather than end up with duplicates, especially since there are already figures serving as the centerpiece of the Cargo Crate. Still, the Q-bits are definitely cute and enjoy hanging out on my desk at work.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As with last time there are some smaller items as well, including the Jaynestown sticker that was also on the outside of the box. The pins are definitely going to be a recurring theme; last time we got a “Everything’s Shiny, Cap’n” pin, this time it’s “Let’s be Bad Guys”. Maybe the coolest small item is a Hero of Canton coin, complete with protective case, with Jayne’s head on one side and the infamous statue on the reverse, which promises to be worth one pint of Mudder’s Milk.

Last time out we got three cards with concept art from Serenity, this time around we got something a little more cryptic, a sealed confidential paper from the Parliament. Inside, made to look like a tablet screen, is a warrant calling for Jayne to be “bound by law,” filled with interesting goodies. Apparently Jayne has been bound 27 times for everything from murder to public nuisance, and convicted 28 times. His good old mother who knitted his famous hat’s name is Radiant, and she is a nurse. The Alliance refers to Zoe by her maiden name, Alleyne, rather than her married name of Washburne. And, unsurprisingly, Jayne has shown “psychotic tendencies”.

As always, included in the box is the exclusive magazine “The Signal”, this time featuring an interview with costume designer Shawna Trpcic and a recipe for your own Mudder’s Milk (if you’re brave enough), as well as other info, pictures, and a tease for the next box. I guess Adam Baldwin wasn’t available for an interview, unlike Jewel Staite last time.

All-in-all, the Jayne Cobb Cargo Crate was a bit of a letdown from the previous Kaylee crate. If I were to give Kaylee’s a solid A, then Jayne’s probably would get a B+. The Little Damn Heroes figure is great, even if I’m left wondering about the overall stylistic direction of the series. The shirt is nice, and one I’ll definitely wear, and it’s great to get something like that that’s not available anywhere else (for now). The flask is a bit random even while being amusing, and the Q-bits are cute if a bit of a conundrum at the moment. While there’s no one item I can point to as being bad or unwelcome, nothing quite blew me away like Kaylee’s bear did last time. I was rather pleasantly surprised we didn’t get a knitted hat in the box (I already have one I bought years and years ago from a lady on Etsy). Depending on how you count, we actually got one more item this time around (the shirt and flask replacing the bear and the smaller stuff being equal), and it definitely feels like it’s worth the $40 price tag. But still, had I been curating the box I might have come up with something different instead of the flask. Perhaps a model of Jayne’s statue being sold to tourists on Canton, or a box of grenades to go with the LDH figure, or even an apple bought as a peace offering to the crew. There are so many great Jayne moments from the series that they could have pulled from that would have really made fans smile or laugh, so in that sense it’s a bit of a letdown. Hell, even a calculator so we could figure up 10% of nuthin’ would have been funny.

img_8995

The next box, due in August, will be all about Serenity’s first officer, Zoe Washburne, aka “lamby toes”. I’m very curious to see what they bring together for Zoe. The figure, previewed in an email from Loot Crate, looks great, and the Cargo Crate will also include a shirt, perhaps featuring Zoe’s iconic “Big Damn Heroes” line like this one. Zoe doesn’t have a lot of memorable items connected to the character that could be recreated, but I hope/bet the folks at Quantum Mechanix and Loot Crate have some cool ideas up their sleeves.

What do you think? How does the Jayne crate compare to the Kaylee crate? What’s your favorite piece this time? Do you like the way the items are themed to Jayne? If you’re a subscriber like me, do you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth? Do you have a style preference for the Little Damn Heroes, more realistic like Jayne or more animated like Kaylee? Do you like the old ones or the new ones better? Which Q-bits figure did you get, and what do you think will happen with them in future crates? What do you want to see for the Zoe box next time? Are you going to be as disappointed as I am if the coolest items all end up for sale separately later? Let me know in the comments!

Tell me what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s