FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)
“The powerhouse of the fabulous Fantastic Four, Benjamin J. Grimm may look like a ‘Thing’, but he’s a rock-solid Super Hero through and through! Fiercely loyal, unflinching in the face of danger, The Thing brings his ‘Clobberin’ Time’ strength to bear against the likes of the wicked Wizard and the sinister Psycho-Man.”
Okay, hear me out: what if The Thing got actual clothes? Would that be a crazy, novel idea? Maybe. Just maybe. But a man can dream. Or, you know, just look into the years and years of Fantastic Four history, where there’s plenty of instances of just that thing happening. I mean, there’s just, like, Ben Grimm, running around in an almost full FF uniform, instead of just an overly large speedo. Usually, it has something to do with him getting depowered, and then starting to wear a different uniform, and then inevitably being repowered, and, book, the Thing’s in a tank top. Oh yeah. Dig it.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Thing was released in Series 4 of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line, which wound up as the line’s final assortment. He was the third version of Ben within the line, and was clearly designed to tie-in with Ben’s stretch of episodes in the cartoon’s second season where he had the tank top look. The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation. For whatever reason, he lost the elbow and knee joints for this release, despite the other two figures getting them. He does get a waist joint, though. Additionally, he’s the largest of the cartoon-inspired Thing figures, making him feel more true to the character as he appears in the show, and having him look a little more cohesive with the rest of his team. The figure’s sculpt was all-new, and followed the character’s season 2 design pretty closely. It’s especially evident in the face, which really feels spot-on, but even the general shaping of the body seems to line-up pretty well. The only real deviation is the torso, especially around the waist, where he winds up with far more toning and definition than he ever had on the show. The figure is also sculpted with just a touch of pre-posing; he appears to be in mid-stride. It’s nothing too crazy, and it winds up making him very stable on his feet, which makes it really feel like a win. The figure’s color work is pretty basic; the majority of it is molded. What paint is there is generally pretty clean, though there is a touch of fuzziness on the edges of the white parts of the outfit. To their credit, the portions of the exposed skin that are on the torso, and are therefore painted, actually match pretty closely with the molded tones on the arms and head, which is quite an accomplishment. Series 4 of the line was all about platforms with action features. For Ben, that translates to a vaguely rock-looking thing, which he can “break” apart. It’s not a terrible gimmick, but it’s also not a great one. Just sort of there.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’ve always really liked this particular design for Ben, largely due to its presence in the cartoon’s second season. That said, I already had the trench coat version of Ben from the prior assortment when this one hit, so I didn’t really *need* this one, and I wasn’t really into doubling up at that point. So, this one remained absent from my collection for a surprisingly long time, finally making its way into the set back in 2017, when I wound up snagging it out of a case at an antique mall. He’s actually a pretty solid version of the character, and has the notoriety of being a version that doesn’t get covered much, so that’s pretty cool.