#2262: Prince Barin

PRINCE BARIN

FLASH GORDON (BIF BANG POW!)

“Flash! Aaaaaaah!  He’s“–wait, sorry, he’s actually not the subject of today’s review.  Sorry for the slight mislead there.  For what it’s worth, I’m still reviewing *something* from 1980’s Flash Gordon movie, it’s just not the film’s title character.  Instead, it’s his friend and ally against the evil Ming the Merciless (as well as Robin Hood pastiche), Barin, Prince of Arboria, portrayed in the 1980 film by Timothy Dalton.  Dalton’s Errol Flynn-inspired take on the character is amongst the best parts of the movie, which is really saying something, given that this is a movie that has Brian Blessed shouting the line “GORDON’S ALIVE!?!” in all its memetic glory.  As one of the film’s central characters, Barin was well treated by Bif Bang Pow! when they picked up the license for the movie in 2008.  I’ll be looking at one of those figures today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Prince Barin was released in Series 2 of Bif Bang Pow!’s 7-inch Flash Gordon line from 2008.  This is the standard release, but there was also a battle-damaged exclusive that depicted him from his duel with Flash in the throne room of the hawk people.  Both of the larger Barin figures depicted him in his more battle-ready attire, which is what he spends most of the movie wearing, and is also his more Robin Hood-esque design.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  He’s not amazing articulated by current standards, but he was pretty good for a non-Hasbro/Mattel product at the time of his release.  Barin’s pretty easily posed, and the only truly noticeable omission is some sort of wrist articulation.  As it stands, he has trouble doing too much with his hands.  Barin’s sculpt is a pretty impressive affair.  Bif Bang Pow did a solid job of sticking to the source material, and the level of detail on all of these figures was pretty impressive.  Barin’s costume is very nicely recreated, and there’s plenty of sculpted texturing, especially in the quilted pattern of the shirt and the folds of the pants.  The likeness of Dalton isn’t quite as good as some of the line’s other likenesses, but it’s certainly not a bad attempt, and it’s more instantly recognizable as Dalton than Rassilion was.  I think it’s just the eyes that throw it off; they’re not quite right for Dalton’s steely stare.  The paintwork on Barin is fairly basic work.  It gets them main colors down pretty well, but doesn’t really add much depth beyond that.  Like the articulation, this was pretty decent for this style of figure at the time of his release.  Barin was packed with a laser rifle, based on the one he’s carrying late in the film.  It’s kind of a goofy design, and a little tricky for him to carry due to the limitations of his articulation.  Still, something’s certainly better than nothing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Oddly, I got this figure several years before seeing all but a few snippets of Flash Gordon.  I was of course familiar with prior incarnations of the franchise and of Barin himself, and I’ve always been a fan of Timothy Dalton, so I certainly liked the idea of him as Barin, especially from the few snippets I’d seen.  However, I bought this figure without the connection to the movie proper, and wouldn’t get around to seeing the movie for another eight years or so after getting this figure.  Whatever the case, I’ve always thought he was a pretty solid offering, and he’s a cool Timothy Dalton toy, if that’s what you’re after.  Curiously, it seems this line has all but vanished from the after market, which is always an interesting occurrence.

#1249: Hank Venture

HANK VENTURE

THE VENTURE BROS (BIF BANG POW!)

Hey look, another Venture Bros figure.  That’s…probably rather predictable, isn’t it?  Yeah, I’d say so.  Yesterday, I looked at half of the titular duo, so it’s only proper that today I look at the other half.  So, without further ado, here’s Dean’s brother Hank!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like Dean, Hank was part of the short-lived small-scale Venture Bros line from Bif Bang Pow!  He was released alongside his brother and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, in the first “wave” of figures.  The figure is about 3 3/4 inches tall (he’s just a hair taller than his brother, as he should be) and he has 10 points of articulation.  His movement is the same as his brother’s, which is to be expected.  I’d still like a little more movement, but the basics are at least covered.   I do have to say that, while he’s thicker than his brother, he’s also not quite as easy to keep standing as Dean was, which can be rather frustrating.  Hank is sporting his early, Fred Jones-inspired look, which, as I noted in Dean’s review, is easily his most distinctive look.  In terms of translating his 2D look into 3D, I don’t know that Hank is quite as successful as Dean.  He’s still very close, but something seems just the slightest bit off.  I do like that he and Dean clearly have the same facial structure, just like they do in the show.  It really sells them as brothers.  Hank’s sculpt is pretty solid work, and they’ve gotten the important details down.  He carries himself better than his slightly hunched brother, which looks good overall, but does result in him looking a little stiffer than Dean.  Not sure who that could have been avoided, though.  Hank’s paint is a bit of a step down from Dean.  Of course, Dean was really good, so that’s not the worst thing ever.  The basic work is decent, and the face is still pretty clean.  Mostly, the issues have to do with the lines around his neckerchief, which are just very sloppy.  I’ve seen worse, but it’s still pretty noticeable.  The price of working with white paint, I suppose.  Like his brother, Hank doesn’t come with any extras of his own, but he does get another item for Brock: a knife.  That would probably be awesome if I had a Brock figure!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I ordered Hank from Amazon at the same time as Dean, as you can’t really have just one of the brothers.  That would be kind of weird.  While he’s got some minor issues, he’s by and large on par with Dean, and that’s really great.  These pair make for a nice little set.  Maybe someday I’ll actually find a Brock to go with them, but until then at least I have the two of them.  Go Team Venture!

#1248: Dean Venture

DEAN VENTURE

THE VENTURE BROS. (BIF BANG POW!)

I got on board the Venture Bros train pretty late.  I’ve caught the occasional episode here and there over the years, but I really only just started watching it this past fall, and got caught up to the latest season just over a month ago.  It’s a fun show, and a very amusing send-up to Saturday morning cartoons of old.  Of course, a show can hardly be a send-up to Saturday morning cartoons without at least a little bit of merchandise, right?  The earliest Venture Bros figures were Mego-styled (at the request of the show’s creators), and there were a rather extensive set of those produced.  Eventually, a set of more traditional action figures were also released.  Those seem to be the ones that are the easiest/cheapest to acquire on the aftermarket, so they ended up being the ones for me.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the two titular brothers, Dean!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dean was part of Bif Bang Pow!’s short-lived, seven figure The Venture Bros line of figures.  He was released in the first “wave” of figures, alongside his brother and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  The articulation on Dean is okay, if a bit rudimentary.  Obviously, his small scale and slender build prevents any crazy levels of articulation, but bicep swivels at the very least would have been nice.  Nevertheless, you can get him into some decent poses, and he’s surprisingly sturdy.  He’s also very well balanced, and stands on his own with no needed support,which may seem minor, but is always a very welcome thing with action figures.  Dean is presented here in his early seasons 1 and 2 look, when he was still doing the ‘60s Peter Parker thing.  As much as I’ve come to appreciate the “grown-up” designs from later in the show, there’s no denying that the original designs for Hank and Dean are the more distinctive ones.  As with any figure that is based on a two-dimensional design, there’s a degree of compromise that has to occur to make the figure work from more than one angle. Dean’s sculpt does this pretty well; there are some angles where his resemblance is better than others, but the overall likeness is very good, goofy grin and everything.  He’s been sculpted with the slightest bit of a slouch, which is appropriate to the way Dean tends to carry himself in the show (it’s also a nice tie back to his father, who has a very similar posture).  The paint on Dean is incredibly well handled; while I’ve got some minor quibbles with some of the color choices (he seems a little washed out), the actual application is incredibly sharp and clean.  Even the small details, such as his eyes and freckles, are on point.  Dean’s only accessory isn’t actually meant for him: he includes a shotgun, which is supposed to go with the Brock figure.  Dean can sort of hold it, but it’s comically large when compared to him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so if I had to choose just one Venture Bros character to own, it’d probably be Henchman 21, but he wasn’t in this line.  My second choice would be Brock, but literally no one anywhere online is selling the basic black t-shirt Brock figure.  So, I went for my third choice, which was actually both of the brothers.  I ordered them through Amazon, and Dean was the first to arrive.  Which is actually okay, because I’m partial to Dean of the two  This figure is actually surprisingly good.  Sure, the articulation’s a little outdated, but the sculpt and the paint are really top notch.  Really cool!