#2262: Prince Barin



“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.


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.


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.

#0815: River Song, The Narrator, & Donna Noble




It’s day 14 of the Post-Christmas gift reviews. Fun fact, 14 is one more than the number of cannon incarnations of the Doctor. That’s not really related to anything, but there it is. Anyway, I’ll be doing one last Doctor Who-based review for this gift-giving season. This time, I’ll be looking at three figures (sort of…), none of whom are the Doctor. So, let’s dive right into looking at the three “R”s: River, Rassilon (aka the Narrator), and… Rdonna…


These three were released as the Series Four boxed set. All three are re-releases of single-packed figures from earlier in Character Options’ Doctor Who line.


River Song is a favorite character for a lot of Who fans. She is not really a favorite of mine, however. I liked her fine enough in her first appearance “Silence in the Library,” but in all subsequent appearances, I just found her incredibly…grating. Fortunately, this figure is from her initial appearance, back when I didn’t dislike her. Yay. The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation. As she’s from “Silence in the Library,” River is depicted here in her compression suit she wore for the entirety of the episode. The sculpt does a pretty nice job of translating her look from the episode into figure form. The suit has a nice amount of detailing and texturing, which makes the whole thing look pretty realistic. The proportions do seem just a touch skewed, though, especially if there’s supposed to be a normally proportioned person inside the sculpted suit. However, it’s not too far off. The head sculpt does a decent enough job of capturing Alex Kingston’s likeness. It’s not perfect, but you can identify who it’s supposed to be. Her hair is a bit perplexing, though; her hair in the episode is rather messy, but it didn’t quite look like this. She’s got this two-piece construction going on, which has a somewhat obvious seam. It looks alright from the front, but just looks odd from any other angle. The paintwork on River is decent. Nothing stands out as particularly good or bad; it’s just kind of there. Her eyes do seem a bit on the lifeless side, even more so than usual on a Who figure. Other than that, the paint generally goes where it’s supposed to. River is packed with a gun, and what appears to be a small sonic screwdriver (it’s been forever since I saw the episode, so I can’t remember what she has). It’s a bit perplexing that she doesn’t include her helmet for her suit, but the two included pieces aren’t bad.


DWHOS4bRassilon is a rather minor character in the grand scheme of the show. He’s only in the last two episodes of Tennant’s run, and only actually plays a role in the story in the second part. Sure, he’s kind of involved with Ten’s death and subsequent regeneration into Eleven, but only kind of. Heck, his figure doesn’t even get his actual name! He’s just called “The Narrator.” I think most people remember him for being played by Timothy Dalton, which is probably one of the best things about the character. The figure stands 6 ¼ inches tall and has 18 points of articulation. There are parts of Rassilon’s sculpt that are pretty good, but there are also parts that are not as good. The underlying body is pretty decently handled; the torso’s a little flat, but the texture work on his outfit is pretty nice. His coat/robe is probably the weakest part of the figure. The main piece of it is reasonably handled (though lacking in texturing), but the arms are just very awkwardly constructed, and pretty flimsy to boot. At the very least, his metal hand is pretty well done. The headsculpt is overall pretty good, but not quite perfect. Looking at this guy, you can definitely see some of Dalton’s likeness, but it feels almost a little squashed, making the figure look more like Dalton’s lesser known brother. The paintwork here is pretty much on par with the rest of the line, which is to say it’s good, but not great. The detailing on the front of the robe is pretty nice, but the skintone used here feels a bit too yellow to be right. The Narrator includes a staff, which was a fairly key accessory for the guy.


Donna is the figure in this set I’ve looked at once before, as part of the Companions set. This figure does appear to have slightly better paintwork than the last one, but other than that, this is the same figure as before.


This trio was given to me by (who else?) my Super Awesome Girlfriend, who is deadset on getting me just as many Doctor Who figures as possible. I’m not the biggest fan of River as a character, but this figure is a pretty decent one. The Narrator could probably be better, but I like Timothy Dalton, and he’s really not that bad. All in all, not a bad little set.