#1947: King Kong of Skull Island

KING KONG

KING KONG OF SKULL ISLAND (MEZCO)

An undeniable icon of the silver screen since he first debuted in his 1933 film, King Kong is a slightly tough egg to crack when it comes to merchandising.  In the ’30s, of course, tie-in merchandise was far from the business it is now, and by the time such things had come into vogue, Kong was more of a thing of the past. Sure, the idea of 20-foot gorilla is certainly a spectacle to behold in 1933, but how exactly do you translate that into little plastic figures in a way that isn’t kind of generic and passé?  What separates a King Kong figure from some dollar store monkey?  That can be a bit of a grey area.  When the 2005 remake hit, Playmates picked up the license and did their best to sell it, but failed to make much of an impact.  At the same time, Mezco picked up the license as well, and produced a slightly more popular rendition of the title character, but this was admittedly back before they were quite as well versed in the figure-making game.  Fortunately, with a new Kong movie in more recent history (and therefore more Kong in the public eye), and a lot more experience on Mezco’s part, they’re giving it another try.  I’m looking at that today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

King Kong of Skull Island is a standalone release from Mezco, who started hitting retail at the beginning of last month.  Despite their similar naming schemes, this figure is *not* based on Kong from the recent film, Kong: Skull Island.  He is instead from Joe Devito’s illustrated novel King Kong of Skull Island.  I know, how could anyone *possibly* confuse those two things?  It just baffles the mind.  Anyway, the figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  As with most Kong figures, he’s in a scale that’s really all his own, so as to maximize playability and minimize costs.  So, he’s not really going to be interacting with your other popular figure lines.  Well, at least not as Kong, anyway.  Unsurprisingly, he’s sporting an all-new sculpt, based on Devito’s depiction of the character.  It’s a pretty solid piece of work, and definitely calls back to some of Mezco’s more stylized figures from earlier in the ’00s.  In particular, I was definitely reminded of their comics-based Hellboy line.  Utmost realism is obviously not at the forefront here, but then again, that’s probably for the best with a character like Kong, who could otherwise prove generic.  His articulation is fairly decently worked into the sculpt, so it won’t stick out like a sore thumb, which is fairly commendable, especially when it comes to a figure with all the fur and everything.  They certainly had a better time of it than Hasbro has with their more recent Chewbacca figures.  With all that said, while the joints certainly look nice, I can’t say they offer much in the way of range.  They’re quite tight, and difficult to move.  On the plus side, this means what poses you can get him into are held pretty well, but his range is still limited.  There are two different heads included with the figure.  The first is a more serene one, a calm, yet intense expression.  The thinking man’s Kong, if you will.  This is my preferred of the two, because it’s a bit more versatile and seems better suited to the poses the figure can pull off.  The second is a far more intense, screaming head, a mid-battle or mid-escape Kong.  Admittedly a pretty classic Kong look, and while I may prefer the other one, I’d certainly feel something was missing without this one.  Paintwork on Kong is pretty decent, and very subtle work.  There are a number of details that can be easily overlooked, such as the accenting on the fur, which certainly adds a lot to the depth of the sculpt.  In addition to his extra head, Kong is packed with five hands (a pair of fists, a pair of open gesture, and a right hand designed for gripping), a pair of removable shackles (with real metal chains!), and a miniature Ann Darrow figure for him to hold.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I certainly have an appreciation for King Kong as a fixture in pop-culture, I’ve never found myself particularly drawn to any of the figures produced of him.  This one caught my eye moreso than others, but I still held off.  When All Time Toys got in their stock, one of the figures had some issues with his packaging, which was very fortunate for me because, hey, review sample!  Kong is a decent figure.  Not a perfect one, mind you; that articulation holds him back quite a bit.  That said, as his own, standalone sort of piece, he’s pretty nifty, and he’s certainly one of the two best Kongs on the market, with the plus side being that he’s way more affordable than his only competition (the Figuarts release).

As mentioned above, I was given this guy to review by my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’d like one of your own, he’s still available via their webstore here.   Or, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

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#1940: Iron Man

IRON MAN

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

“Tony Stark makes you feel, he’s a cool exec with a heart of steel–As Iron Man, all jets ablaze, he’s fightin’ and smitin’ with repulsor rays!”

Thus opens the ’60s Iron Man cartoon, which, hokey as it may be, was my first real introduction to the character.  It wasn’t in the ’60s that I was watching it, of course; I had copies of the VHS tapes released in the mid-90s.  But it definitely gave me an appreciation of the character as he was from the very beginning, and above all, made me really love his classic armor.  In the ’90s, he’d moved onto the upgraded Modular armor, and that was the one that got all the toys.  Now that Iron Man’s one of the biggest superheroes in the market place, the options are more there, and if you’re looking for a nice classic Iron Man, you have a few to choose from.  Hasbro’s been killing it with their Legends figures recently, but an updated classic Iron Man hasn’t crossed their list just yet, so I’m expanding my horizons and jumping over to Mezco’s One:12 Collective for a look at their own take on the old Shellhead.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man is a relatively recent release for the One:12 line.  Though he was shown off quite some time ago, the standard retail release just started showing up at various stores in the last month or so.  There are actually three versions of this figure available: the standard release (covered here), a PX-exclusive Stealth variant, and a Mezco-exclusive black and gold variant.  It is my opinion, however, that you can’t beat the classic colors.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.

The One:12 figures are usually a mixed-media affair, and Iron Man still is, but in a different fashion than other figures from the line.  Rather than a cloth costume on a plastic body, Iron Man is a combo of plastic and diecast metal, which I suppose makes sense for a totally armored character.  It gives him a definite heft, which I guess has something of a plus.  It does restrict some of the joints a little bit, which was a slight drag, but ultimately it’s not much different than the average One:12 figure in terms of mobility.  The design of Iron Man’s armor is clearly inspired by Tony’s classic armor from the late ’60s up through the ’80s, but veiled through Mezco’s own unique artistic sensibilities.  Essentially, they took the basic design, and tweaked it to look like it could actually be real armor, assembled on a real person.  It’s a clean, and certainly visually appealing design, and it maintains all of the important classic Iron Man markers.  The torso features a light-up feature for the reactor, with the battery and switch being pretty nicely hidden under the pod on his back.  The helmet has been designed so that you can remove the faceplate, and beneath it is a Tony Stark face which is a suitably generic comic-styled Tony face.  I do appreciate that they avoided the temptation to go heavily toward the RDJ side of things.

The paintwork on Iron Man is more involved than the average One:12 figure, and it’s actually pretty nice.  It’s clean, and the metallic colors are smooth and eye-catching.  He’s a bit brighter than a lot of Mezco’s stuff, which is a definite plus for Iron Man.  The face under the mask is up to the usual standard for this line; he’s clean and life-like, which is kind of the most important thing.  Also, the underside of the faceplate has a decal with a HUD, which is a fun, easily missed little touch.

Iron Man lives up to the One:12 standard of being quite well accessorized.  He’s got three sets of hands (in fists, open gesture, and wide palm), two repulsor effects to plug into the open hands, a uni-beam effect that swaps out for the arc reactor, thruster effects for the bottoms of the feet, alternate launching missile pods for the belt, and two missiles to plug into either forearm, as well as a display stand with an optional arm, perfect for all sorts of flight poses.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been searching for my definitive classic Iron Man.  The original Toy Biz Legend held me for a while, but the recent Hasbro offerings make him look slightly out of place.  When this guy was shown off, I was definitely intrigued, especially if he could possibly augment my Legends.  Seeing him in-person, plus having a ton of trade credit with All Time Toys sealed the deal, so this guy came home with.  He’s a very strong figure, and he definitely looks impressive.  His playability isn’t quite that of a Legends figure, so I’m still sort of hoping for Hasbro to take their own stab at an update, but until then, I’m pretty darn happy with this guy.

As I noted above, this guy was picked up from my friends over at All Time Toys. They’ve sold out of this version, but the stealth variant should be coming soon, and they’ve got backstock of some of the prior releases.  If you’re looking for those, or other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1837: Abe Sapien

ABE SAPIEN

HELLBOY (MEZCO)

Man, I’ve gone almost the whole month of October without looking at anything all that spooky.  That in and of itself seems pretty spooky, right?  No?  Okay, fair enough.  Anyway, within the spirit of the month, I guess I’ll look at something from the more paranormal side of things, with another visit to the world of Hellboy, a series that blends so many of my personal interests.  Today, I’m looking at my favorite character from the Hellboy-verse, Abraham Sapien!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Abe Sapien was released as part of the first series of Mezo’s movie-based Hellboy line.  There were two different Abes available, one standard release (shirtless), and one Previews-Exclusive release.  Today’s review focuses on the exclusive release, which allowed for (more or less) a fully-suited up Abe.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  He has the same articulation as the Kroenen figure I looked at a few years back, which means he has the same pluses and minuses as that figure.  Overall, it’s standard for the time, but there remain a few odd-ball joints that subsequent lines from Mezco would re-work or drop entirely.  Some of these joints, the mid-foot cut joints in particular, were a little fragile and prone to breakage, as was the case with one of my Abe’s feet.  Fortunately, it’s one of the less essential joints, so gluing the foot back together hasn’t robbed him of all that much.  Abe’s sculpt was shared between the two variants, and then re-tooled for the battle-damaged figure from Series 1.5 and the main Abe from Hellboy 2.  It’s a pretty solid sculpt overall.  It’s filtered a bit through the lens of Mezco’s more stylized sensibilities, so he’s a little ganglier, and a little more angular than he was in the movie.  There are two heads included with the figure.  Since this Abe is meant to be the fully kitted-out Abe, he comes wearing his goggled head, which is accompanied by the two pieces of his rebreather system.  The rebreather can easily removed by popping off the head, allowing the head to be displayed without it, if that’s your prerogative. By virtue of being a straight re-paint, he lacks the gloves and shoes that Abe should technically have in this set-up, but I suppose we can all just imagine that he’s decided to forego those pieces for the day. The paint is, of course, imperative here, since it separates him from the standard release.  The first Hellboy figures were a bit more reserved in coloring than later counterparts.  Abe in particular seems to have been toned down a fair bit from his on-screen appearance.  His blues are more murky, which makes him a little less eye catching.  I do like the shiny finish they’ve given him, but beyond that, he does sort of run together a bit more than I’d like.  Of course, he’s still far from terrible.  Abe is packed with a second head, sans the goggles, and also included a belt, but mine seems to have gone missing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I came into the first Hellboy movie with no familiarity of the source material, so I didn’t know what to expect.  Retailers didn’t either, so the figures weren’t the easiest to track down.  I never found the basic Abe, but I was fortunate enough to get this one through a friend who worked at Diamond.  He’s a decent figure, but perhaps not as strong as the Kroenen figure I looked at before.  Admitedly, my opinion may be slightly colored, since there are a greater number of Abes on the market to choose from.  Still, you could do a lot worse than this one.

#1795: Ascending Knight Batman

BATMAN — ASCENDING KNIGHT

ONE: 12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

Ooooh, it’s time for me to go down the One:12 Collective rabbit hole again!

I love a good toy, and there’s no denying that Mezco’s recent star-studded line of mixed-media 6 inch figures is full of some pretty darn good toys.  Of course, they’re also pretty darn expensive toys, too, and I can’t really throw quite as much money at them as some people seem to be doing.  Nevertheless, I’ve been looking at their offerings in little dribs and drabs here and there.  Today, I look at another, and a fairly recent one at that.  It’s Ascending Knight Batman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ascending Knight Batman was released in the spring of this year, as part of Mezco’s One:12 Collective line.  There have already been a handful of Bat-variants in the line (hey, the guy sells toys; can’t blame Mezco for cashing in on that), but he’s notable for being the first of the Batman figures to be a Mezco original design, albeit one inspired by outside elements.  Like Greg Capullo’s Zero Year suit, the Ascending Knight is a re-imagining of Batman’s first appearance design, through a more modern lens.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

Ascending Knight Batman continues the One:12 trend of two different heads with each release.  The first is the more standard of the two, being your usual masked Batman, stern expression, piercing glare, and all.  This is where the biggest Detective #27 influence comes in, mostly via the distinctive curved shaping of the ears.  It’s sharp, it’s clean, and it’s super sleek.  It’s also a very specific look, divergent from your basic Batman, which is honestly kind of refreshing.  The paintwork is clean and bold, and I particularly like the super shiny sheen on the whites of the eyes.  The second head gives us an unmasked look at Bruce Wayne.  It goes for more of the suave debonaire sort of look, rather than the more battle-hardened appearance we’ve seen on other unmasked Waynes.  It fits pretty well with the “early in his career” take that this figure is offering.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m getting something of a Jason Isaacs vibe from the head; not where my mind usually goes for Batman, but it works reasonably well for this particular figure.  Like the masked head, this one has very clean application for the paint; I’m happy they’re keeping the molded flesh tones for most of these figures; it definitely gives them a more lifelike appearance.

Being from an earlier time in his career, this Batman is built on a smaller body than the previously-reviewed Dark Knight Returns version.  I believe it’s the same basic body that was used on Space Ghost, though it’s a little hard to tell, since the costume doesn’t come off.  Said costume is another mixed-media affair.  The main body suit and cape are cloth, though neither is the straight spandex construction like on DKR Bats and Space Ghost.  The body suit looks to have started that way, but there’s a rather complex overlay of rubberized painted elements, giving the suit a more kevlar-like-armored-appearance.  It’s still all shades of grey, as it should be, but there’s an extra level of flavor added by this method.  The cape is a heavy pleather piece.  Apart from the material, it’s cut rather similarly to the DKR Batman.  The pleather certainly looks cool, but its extra rigidity means it can be a little more difficult to work with when posing.  The cloth parts of his costume are augmented by a healthy helping of sculpted plastic parts.  The cape is held in place by a sculpted neck piece, which sits atop it, and helps create a better flow to the masked head when it’s in place.  There’s a sculpted logo as well, which plugs into the front of his chest.  It not only makes the logo stand out a bit more, but it also keeps the costume clinging a little closer to the torso.  For his earliest appearances, Batman had a distinctly differently-styled utility belt, which has been translated to this figure’s belt, albeit with a more modernized twist, and tons of great little technical details.  On the downside, the belt doesn’t seem to want to stay closed, at least on the figure I’m reviewing, so it comes loose fairly frequently.  The costume is topped off with some swanky boots and gloves.  The boots are interesting, as they’re standard combat boots, laces and all, but  you can see where Bruce has slightly modified the very tops, giving them that distinctive peak that his boots always had; it’s a fun real-world touch.  Perhaps the most distinctive and memorable part of the original Batman design, when compared to later iterations, are the gloves, which only went up to his wrists and were very definitely purple.  This figure doesn’t have those.  Instead, he gets sort of an amalgamated design, which still features the shorter appearance, but keeps the more traditional black coloring, as well as trowing in a par of the wrist blade/scallops he always had in later years.  It’s a change that works a bit better with this incarnation of the costume, while still maintaining the overall spirit of the original.

Ascending Knight Batman is packed with a sizable selection of accessories.  In addition to the previously mentioned unmasked head, he also includes seven interchangeable hands (in pairs of fists, open, and beatarang holding, as well as a right hand for his grappling gun), a grappling gun with fully retracted hooks, extend hooks, and a hook with a line attached to it, a small cross bolt of some sort, a bat-brass knuckles looking thing, a display stand (with flight attachment, and a set of armature for displaying the cape extended), and 10 batarangs.  That’s quite an assortment.  Admittedly, a lot of it’s stuff that seems more suited to being laid out as a cool armory display, and less suited to actual use with the figure.  The hands are by far the most useful, and I can see the grappling gun getting a decent amount of use, especially with this design.  The batarangs are definitely cool, but 10 of them almost seems excessive.  But who am I to complain about getting *more* accessories?  The cape attachment for the stand is fine if you want to just set this guy up in a free fall sort of display, but after spending about an hour fiddling with the  one included with DKR Bats, I didn’t personally find the end results on this one to be worth the hassle.  The option being present is certainly appreciated, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After missing out on the DKR Batman and not having much interest in any of the DCEU-related offerings, this guy is really the first Mezco Batman to catch my eye.  I’ve always been something of a sucker for the First Appearance Batman look, and this is undoubtedly a fun reimagining.  I don’t know that I can say this figure quite has the same raw fun factor of the DKR Batman (that one set a seriously high bar to clear, believe me), but he does come pretty close.

Like the last One:12 Collective Batman I reviewed, this one’s not actually mine.  He was loaned to me for review by my friends over at All Time Toys. If you’re interested in owning him for yourself, he can be purchased from their store front.  And, if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1739: Batman – The Dark Knight Returns

BATMAN — THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

I told you there’d be another Batman review this week.  See, I’m not a liar!

Today, I’m continuing the DC trend, but moving away from Mattel, and indeed moving away from the lower-end styling of figures they offer.  Instead, I’m turning my sights onto Mezco’s One:12 Collective line of high-end 6-inch-scale figures.  I’ve only looked at one figure from this line before (Space Ghost), but he very much impressed me, and I’ve been eager to check out more from the line.  Today, I’m going back to the very beginning of the line (as well as bookending my reviews for this week) and looking at Batman, based on Frank Miller’s classic The Dark Knight Returns story.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was the inaugural release in Mezco’s One:12 Collective line, released in the summer of 2015.  A consistent feature of the line has been single releases with a number of color variants all released around the same time through various different means.  Even amongst his peers, this release of Batman was kind of drowning in variants.  The one seen in this review is the Previews Exclusive release, based upon Batman’s more classically-inspired color scheme from early on in the story.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.  For that articulation count, I’m just going by the solicitation info for this guy, since he’s sewn into his costume, thereby making a 100% articulation count a little bit difficult.

Batman was packed with two different heads, though they both end up being pretty similar, with only the expression changing between them.  He’s packed wearing the angrier, teeth-baring head, but there’s also the second one, which is also angry, but you can’t see the teeth, so I guess his slightly less angry?  That’s just my teeth-to-anger scale though.  Yours may differ.  Both heads are very sharp sculpts, which pretty expertly capture Miller’s artwork from the series.  Particularly impressive is the slight texturing of the cowl on both heads; it’s very subtle, but enough to keep the mask from looking to simple, like a smoother surface might.  I’d be hard-pressed to pick my preferred of the two heads, because they’re both very good.  Which one is better really depends upon what sort of pose you want the figure in.  Paintwork on both heads is fairly internally consistent.  The application is quite clean, his palette is appropriately washed out, and there’s even a nice dark grey wash over the face to give him a more dynamic, comic book-inspired appearance.

Despite his smaller stature, Batman is built in a similar fashion to a 1/6th scale item, with an underlying body and a cloth costume.  Space Ghost was built on a smaller body than the one here, but they’re similar in construction.  It poses very well, which is the most important thing by my count.  The costume is made up from a mixed media effort.  The main body suit, shorts, and cape are all cloth items.  They’re pretty well tailored to the body, though the shorts could perhaps be a little tighter fitting.  They aren’t too off, but they definitely end up looking pretty similar to a Mego offering.  The body suit has the logo screened onto it.  It’s a rubbery sort of material, so it shoulded end up stretched out or anything over time. The cape is one of the more impressive Batman capes.  It’s a thin material with no internal wire or anything, so I wasn’t expecting much at first, but it hangs really well on the body and is a lot of fun to mess with during posing.  The belt, cuffs, and boots are all sculpted elements, as is the neck piece that goes under the cape and holds the costume in place.  The sculpted detail is quite impressive, and the boots and gloves in particular are very nice, as they’ve been done up with texturing to match the masks on the two heads.

The accessory complement for this Batman is definitely a solid selection of extras.  In addition to the two heads, he’s got four different sets of hands (in fists, open palm, gripping, and batarang-wielding configurations) which make for lots of fun options when posing.  He’s also got a leg strap of pouches, as he sports for some parts of the story, his rifle, a grappling hook, and a display stand.  The display stand can be used as either a standard pegged stand or a flight stand, and in the flight stand configuration, there’s an extra wired attachment, which can be used to dynamically pose the cape.  It definitely takes some getting used to, and I couldn’t really see myself using it for long term posing, but it certainly helps with some nice photo set-ups.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was very much tempted by this figure when he was originally released, but as only a moderate fan of Dark Knight Returns, I didn’t know if I could justify the higher price tag.  Still, I’ve been intrigued by this figure since its release, and having it in hand, I can definitely say this is one of the best Batman figures out there.  I’m now really interested in checking out Mezco’s follow-up Batman, the Ascending Knight.

The item reviewed here is not from my personal collection, but was instead provided to me for review by my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in owning the very Batman figure reviewed here today, head on over to their eBay listing for this item.  If you’re looking for other toys, both old and new, please also check out All Time’s full eBay store front, and take a look at their webstore at alltimetoys.com.

#1347: Space Ghost

SPACE GHOST (w/ BLIP)

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO TOYZ)

SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE GHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOST!!!!!

Hey, can you guess what I like a lot?  If you guessed the incredibly obvious answer of “Space Ghost,” then good for you.  You might just yet have a career of solving the world’s most solvable mysteries.  As someone who loves both Space Ghost and action figures, it should be of no shock that I’m always intrigued by the possibility of more Space Ghost action figures.  The Toynami figure from almost two decades ago is still the gold standard for me, but when Mezco announced they’d be doing a new version of good old Tad Ghostal as part of their fancy One: 12 Collective line, I was definitely interested, especially since I’ve been looking for the right figure to give this line a trial run.  It’s taken quite a while for him to get here, but I finally have him!  Let’s see how he measures up to his predecessor, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Space Ghost was released in late May/early June of 2017 as part of the One: 12 Collective line of figures.  Like Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series, the figures from all of Mezco’s various properties have been intermixed in this particular line.  Space Ghost is the first Hannah Barbera character we’ve seen released, though time will tell if there are any follow-ups.  I’d personally love to get a Blue Falcon or a Birdman.  Anyway, the figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and has…a bunch of articulation.  I don’t know how much exactly, because that you require removing the non-removable costume, and I’m not about that.  I’m gonna take a shot in the dark and say “more than 30.”

There are two heads included with Space Ghost: calm and “expressive.”  While Space Ghost is almost exclusively depicted in his original, Alex Toth-rendered animated style, this figure opts to add a more real world touch to him.  The heads do a pretty decent job of meeting in the middle; offering a realistic looking character, but still keeping the important hallmarks of the character.  It does definitely lean a little more to the cartoony side of things than prior figures in the line, though.  He comes wearing the more calm head, which is good for a lot of poses, and generally seems to be the “default” piece.  The more expressive head has his teeth showing, in something go a grimace.  Exactly what the expression is supposed to be is a little hard to tell, but it works for a number of different poses.  While general consensus seems to prefer the calmer head, I actually like the more expressive one just a bit more.  In the show, and especially in promotional images, Space Ghost rarely had his mouth completely closed the way it is on the basic head.  The nice thing is, though, that both heads are there, so no one has to settle for one over the other (well, unless you got the exclusive…)  The paint work on both heads is generally pretty clean, and I quite like the variance in finishes between the various different parts, especially the slightly metallic finish of the eyes.

Space Ghost is built on the basic mid-sized One: 12 body.  This is my first experience with it, but it seems pretty well designed.  The costume hangs well on it and it poses well, and those are really the most important things.  I do wish there were a little more side to side motion in the upper arms, so that he had less trouble pressing his power bands, but you can make it work.  Space Ghost’s outfit is made up of several different pieces and of varying materials.  He’s got a cloth bodysuit, which is fairly nicely tailored, and has a small enough weave so that it’s not too distracting.  It’s a little prone to snags, though, so you have to be really careful.  It’s held in place at the bottom of his feet by a pair of sculpted soles.  I gotta say, I’m not super into these; they just have too much detailing for my liking.  I think the tread is just too much.  At the top of the torso, the suit’s held in place by a neck piece that matches up with the head, and also features his communicator/emblem, which is very nicely sculpted.  Attached to that is a cloth cape.  I’m not always big on cloth capes, but this is a really nice one; it’s got a wire sewn into the lining, allowing for some really fantastic posing options, and the wire’s sturdy enough that it doesn’t feel like it’ll break at a moment’s notice.  The costume is topped off with sculpted pieces for his belt and power bands.  The belt can be a little tricky to get seated right, but the power bands fit perfectly, and look super awesome to boot.  I like the slight transparency to the buttons; that’s a cool touch!

This guy comes with a pretty amazing selection of accessories.  He’s got the previously mentioned extra head, as well as four pairs of hands (in fists, open gesture, flat, and button pressing), 6 different effects pieces, and a display stand that can be configured for basic standing or flight.  The most prominent extra, of course, is his sidekick Blip, who’s a whole separate figure in his own right. Blip’s about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  He’s a little on the tall side for Blip, but not horribly so.  Remember how they made Space Ghost a little more “real world?” Well, that goes double for Blip, who’s been made to resemble an actual, real-life monkey.  The end result is certainly well sculpted, but also a little bit frightening.  Still, it’s cool to have gotten him, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I discussed in my last Space Ghost review, I’ve been a huge Space Ghost fan since I was four.  As soon as this figure was announced, I knew I was definitely getting him.  This guy was given to me by my parents.  He was *supposed* to be here for Christmas, but he missed it by about six months.  Story of my life.  So, after all that waiting, was he worth it?  That’s a very strong affirmative.  I still love my Toynami figure, but this guy’s definitely the new definitive Space Ghost figure.  He’s just a whole lot of fun, exactly like a Space Ghost figure should be.  Now I desperately want a Jan and Jace to go with him!

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0011: Johann Kraus

Hey ho, it’s another Friday, which means it’s time for another Flashback Friday Figure Addendum!  Today, I move away from Marvel and DC and set my sights on another big comics company, Dark Horse, specifically the Hellboy side of things.  Let’s have a second look at the esteemed Johann Kraus!

I came in somewhat late to the Hellboy scene. My first interaction with the characters and story was the release of the first Hellboy movie in 2004. I saw the movie with a group of friends and had no expectations at all. I actually thought that Abe Sapien was supposed to be the villain! Anyway, the movie was really good, and I was hooked on all things Hellboy. Mezco Toys had the license for the movie, and I picked up a few figures from that line, and then Mezco decided to move onto a line of figures based on the comicbooks. Today, I’ll be looking at that line’s version of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense’s resident expert on ectoplasmic stuff, Johann Kraus.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Johann was released as part of the second series of comicbook-inspired Hellboy line from Mezco Toys. He stands a little over 7 inches tall and features 15 points of articulation. He’s based on Johann as Mike Mignola drew him. Seeing as Mignola originated the design, that’s a good call. The sculpt does a pretty good job of translating Mignola’s 2D drawings to 3D, which was no easy feat, I’m sure. They’ve incorporated some great texture work all around, which captures the gritty look of the series very nicely. The paint is serviceable, with some pretty decent dry brushing all around. They’ve used a semi-translucent paint on his head, which works nicely to capture his ectoplasmic look. Sadly, my figure has a scratch on his face, which brings the work down a bit, but I’d be exceptionally happy were that not the case. Johann included a spare set of hands to simulate his ectoplasmic powers at work.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Johann from my local comic store (Cosmic Comix) when series two was first released. Shortly after the release of the first Hellboy movie, I picked up an issue of Hellboy Weird Tales, which among other things, contained a story that focused on Johann. It was my first interaction with the character, and I enjoyed him immensely. So, when the figure came out I knew I definitely wanted one. I never got any of the other comicbook Hellboy figures, but Johann is still very entertaining, and a great representation of the character.

Right, I forgot I went through this second period of brevity about 3/4 of the way through my first year.  A lot of these reviews were written during a visit with Super Awesome Girlfriend early that summer, and I didn’t actually have the figures with me, which kind of shows, if I’m honest.

First off, I incorrectly listed the articulation; he has 17 points, not 15.  Not a huge difference, but lets get those facts straight, shall we?  Aside from that, my review of this guy wasn’t too bad.  I mean, it’s kinda short, and only briefly touches on everything, but at least nothing major got left out.  The first time around, my figure was missing his extra hands with the ectoplasm attachments.  I found those during The Find, and I’m really glad, because they add a lot of life to the figure.

That outro is, of course, now inaccurate, since I did eventually pick up both Lobster Johnson and Roger, just last year.  But, for a while, this guy was the only one I had, and that wasn’t so bad.

#0898: Roger

ROGER

HELLBOY (MEZCO)

Roger1

The artificial man is a recurring story element in lots of different popular culture. Typically, it’s the likes of Frankenstein’s monster, or even characters like Ash and Bishop from the Alien franchise, or perhaps just a more generic robot. They’re created through scientific means. However, there are a few examples, such as the Golem or the Homunculi, which are created through supernatural means. Today’s focus, Roger, is officially the latter, but functionally works as the former. Just go with it. Without further ado, here’s Roger!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Roger was released in Series 2 of Mezco’s comic-based Hellboy line. The figure stands just shy of 8 inches tall (Roger’s a big guy) and he has 23 points of articulation. Roger has a sculpt courtesy of Inu Art, and he’s based on Mike Mignola’s artwork from the main series. A lot of Roger’s appearances were actually in BPRD, which was drawn by Guy Davis, not Mignola. However, it makes sense to have all of the figures in this set be in the same basic style (plus Davis’ style isn’t too far removed from Mignola’s to begin with). Roger’s sculpt is totally unique to him. His proportions are a pretty spot-on rendering of what’s seen on the page, and the resemblance to Roger is definitely there.  Roger’s far less clothed than the other two figures I’ve looked at from this line, but that doesn’t mean he lacks Roger2the attention to detail. Like Lobster Johnson, he has that chiseled look, with a ton of cool texturing, which really makes this figure stand out from others. The hatch at the center of his torso is actually articulated to allow it to open (though the interior of his torso is merely simulated, not actually shown). The loop on Roger’s… modesty… plank (?) is a separate, metal piece, which is a nice touch. Roger’s paint consists almost entirely of variations of browns, but there’s enough there to keep him from being too boring. The paint is all nice and clean, and there’s some pretty cool shading throughout the figure. Roger includes a BPRD flak jacket, if you prefer him a bit more clothed, as well as a book with a skull on the front of it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

At the time of this figure’s release, my only real exposure to the franchise was the first movie and a handful of comics I’d picked up, none of which featured Roger. Not knowing the character, I didn’t pick him up. Then I actually read a number of his appearances, and quite enjoyed the character, but finding the figure at that point was…less than practical. At this year’s MAGFest, one of the vendors had a Lobster Johnson figure, which I very happily snapped up. The next day, they had added Roger to the table, and I happily snapped him up too. I don’t find him to be quite as fun a figure as Lobster J, but he’s still pretty solid, and I’m happy I got him.

#0880: Lobster Johnson

LOBSTER JOHNSON

HELLBOY (MEZCO)

LobsterJ1

After being introduced to the Hellboy franchise by the 2004 movie, I was very invested in finding out just what this series had to offer. I was thrilled to find that there was a ton of stuff in the comics that the movies didn’t even begin to touch on. One of my favorite non-movie characters (and apparently one of Mike Mignola’s favorite creations) was pseudo pulp hero Lobster Johnson. After the modest success of their first movie-based line of figures, toymakers Mezco put together a tragically short-lived line of comic based figures, granting good ol’ claw-hand a shot at a figure, which I’ll be reviewing today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

LobsterJ2Lobster Johnson was released in the first series of comic-based Hellboy figures. It’s actually a little surprising that Johnson got a spot so early in the line, but he was the one figure in the line-up specifically requested by Mignola (the same thing happened with the small selection of Heroclix the series got). Johnson was released in two different variations: a regular one, and a translucent blue “Ghost of Lobster Johnson” one. The Ghost version was a summer convention exclusive, with the normal colored version being the regular, mass market release. Mine’s the regular one. The figure is 7 ¾ inches tall and has 20 points of articulation. He has a sculpt by INU Studios, based right on Mignola’s art from the series. This sculpt is an incredibly masterful translation of Mignola’s style into three dimensions; it gets the proportions down great (though, boy does this guy have some skinny wrists), and just overall does a really nice job of capturing Lobster’s look. Also, unlike a lot of comic-based figures, Lobster doesn’t skimp on the texturing; he almost look likes he’s been chiseled out of stone, which is definitely befitting of a Mignola design. The paintwork does a nice job of accenting the sculpt; the uniform gets a nice assortment of dry-brushed details and the like, to make it look good and worn-in. It would have been nice if the claw logo on his torso were a bit brighter, just to stand out a bit more, but it’s not bad. The face is really impressive, making use of several different flesh tones to give him a distinct, almost picturesque quality. Lobster is packed with a pistol (which can be held, or stowed in his holster) and the evil brain from Lobster’s debut story, “Killer in My Skull.”

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite loving the movie and having a few of Mezco’s figures from that line, I never got any of the Series 1 comic figures (and only a single Series 2 figures). It was a choice I came to regret much later, after the prices had all sky-rocketed. At this year’s MAGFest, I saw this guy on a vendor’s table, and was very happy to find out the guy was asking well below the figure’s going rate. I’m really happy that I got Lobster; of all the comic figures I missed out on, he was probably the one I most wanted. He’s an incredible figure, and it’s a shame Mezco didn’t get to do way more of these guys.

#0772: Officer Kroenen

OFFICER KROENEN

HELLBOY (MEZCO)

OfficerKroenen1

“The freak—In the gas mask!”

Those were the words that introduced movie-goers to Karl Ruprecht Kroenen, uttered by Sgt. Whitman in the first Hellboy movie. It’s an apt description. Kroenen is kind of one of those characters who’s utterly fascinating and thoroughly entertaining, but who also possesses absolutely no redeeming characteristics whatsoever. Dude’s a Nazi assassin. Kind of a bad guy. But, he also had one of the coolest designs from the Hellboy films, which does tend to make a guy a little popular with the fans. While the guy spends the majority of his film appearance in more of a crazy ninja assassin get-up, he starts things off in World War II, wearing an SS Officer’s uniform, which, coupled with his gas mask, makes for something of a memorable look. Today, I’ll be looking at one of the action figures of that particular look.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

OfficerKroenen3Officer Kroenen was released in Series 1.5 of Mezco’s Hellboy line. I know what you’re thinking: 1.5? What’s up with that? Well, Mezco did the first series of Hellboy figures, which gave us two HBs, Abe Sapien, Rasputin, Samael, and the main version of our boy Kroenen here. That left a few major players out of the line, presumably saved for Series 2. But, before getting there, Mezco announced Series 1.5, which, in theory, was meant to be made up of figures that had parts mostly re-used from the figures in the first series. Series 2 never came to be, meaning 1.5 was the last series we got. Also, most of the figures in 1.5 had a lot of new parts, making the whole “it’s a cost saving mid-way point” seem a bit dubious. But hey, we got another series of figures. Let’s not complain about it! As noted in the intro, this second version of Kroenen is based on his appearance in the WWII-based prologue to the film, where the character is serving as an officer in the German military. The figure stands 7 ¾ inches tall and has 25 points of articulation. While a lot of his articulation is pretty standard, there are a few oddities here and there, such as the weird swivel joints at the middle of his feet, and the awkward hip joints. Overall, his movement is pretty good, though.  The gimmick to Series 1.5 was the re-used parts, so clearly Kroenen has a few parts her shares with his Series 1 counterpart, though not that many, truth be told. The head, neck, knees, shins, and feet are the same as the Series 1 Kroenen. Apart from that he’s all new. It’s not a shock, mind you, since his two designs don’t exactly lend themselves to shared parts.  The shared parts are all just as nice here as they were on the first figure, and they fit well with this design too. The head is definitely the strongest piece, and it does a nice job of capturing Kroenen’s distinctive gas mask. Said mask is removable, allowing you to see Kroenen’s decaying face beneath. The face has been exaggerated a bit from the movie, which makes it a bit more grotesque; it’s well –sculpted and sufficiently creepy. The head is adorned by a newly sculpted hat, which sits in place pretty snuggly, and looks to be appropriately scaled to the figure. The long coat isn’t actually a sculpted piece; it’s made from a faux leather material, and it actually pretty well tailored to the figure, especially at this scale. Beneath the coat, the body sports a fully detailed SS uniform. Even the arms, which are totally hidden by the jacket and never actually seen in the movie, are a fully detailed all-new sculpt, OfficerKroenen2complete with the arm-band on the left arm. The uniform (and the body sculpt in general) is a little more cartoony and stylized than the usual movie figure, but it fits with the rest of the figures. Kroenen’s paint work is pretty decent overall. There’s a bit of slop on the hat, but that’s really the only occurrence. Also, the gas mask is a matte black here, as opposed to the glossy black of the first series figure and the movie. That said, I actually think the matte looks better here. Ever so slightly surprising on the paint front is the presence of a swastika on one of the pins on his chest (though not on his arm band). It is, of course, accurate to the film, but as we’ve seen with Red Skull and all the Nazis from Indiana Jones, such things tend to be omitted from action figures. I guess older target audience for Hellboy and its associated merchandise made for less of an issue. Kroenen included two sets of hands, one with blades attached and one with a trigger finger on the right hand, as well as a Luger P08. My figure is, unfortunately, missing his blade hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the first series of Hellboy figures was released, Kroenen was the very first figure I picked up. As much as I liked him, I lamented the fact that he wasn’t the Officer look from the opening. So, I was pretty pumped when I found out that this guy would be on 1.5. Of course, then 1.5 ended up being pretty hard to find, so I never actually got Officer Kroenen. I wrote off the figure as being yet another I’d never get, and decided to be content with my Series 1 Kroenen. This past month, while attending Philcon, my Dad, Super Awesome Girlfriend, my pal Phil, and I went to nearby toy store The House of Fun, where I found this guy loose. Sure, I paid more than twice what I would have when he was new, but I’m just thrilled to finally have the guy.