But that's not quite fair, as he's been in over 80 films and television shows. He worked with del Toro in Blade II, and is a great character actor. But for them to go with
someone in the lead who wasn't the 'hot this minute' action star is quite refreshing.
The toy license has been split up between companies based on scale and style. Sideshow will be doing a line of
figures, and one of the large 18" 'mixed media'
style high end figures. Mezco has the license to produce a line of 8" figures, and their own 18" figures done
roto-cast style. Tonight I'm reviewing the 8" series, sans one figure, and next week I'll have both my own review and a guest review of the 18" version (the short version -
The 8" set includes two versions of Hellboy (one with his jacket, one without and different accessories), Abe
Sapien, Rasputin, Kroenen, and Sammael (not reviewed tonight). There are also variations in the series - both Hellboy's come with and without his teeth showing, perhaps with an open fist and a closed fist - and a couple Diamond exclusives.
The exclusives include a Battle Damaged Hellboy, and a Wet Suit Abe. You can find these for $10 at many retailers, including your local comic shops (where the price may vary wildly).
I'd like to thank Killer Toys for
sending this set of five along. You can pick up the full set of six there
for about $65, or the individual figures for about $12 each. They also
have the 18" version for $45.
Packaging - **1/2
I'm being a little rougher on the packaging here because this is Mezco, and I
expect the kind of creativity we see in the packages for their in-house
developed properties. Of course, they were probably limited by the
licensee in this case, so the rather bland nature of the insert is
excusable. Hey, at least they're in clamshells!
Sculpting - ****
There are figures in this wave that will be your favorites, and others that
you'll be less interested in. But that won't be because of poor sculpting
on any of the characters.
I've said for a long time that Mezco is the great underachiever of the action
figure world - they have some tremendous talent, but they've never found the
right license with which to showcase it. They've done great work on their
in-house stuff, but last year's attempt with Underworld was less than
impressive. This time around though, they nailed it. This license
could be the one that really puts them on the map with a wide range of
collectors - especially the Toddites.
Every detail on these figures - and there's tons of them - are done with
excruciating accuracy and attention. Every head sculpt is dead on, and
even the "I'm grittin' my teeth cuz I'm bad" expression on the variant
Hellboys works perfectly. Too often that particular expression comes off
constipated, but not here.
Every figure also has something that really sets the body sculpt apart as
well. The trenchcoat Hellboy has his, well, trenchcoat, one of the most
realistic and well done soft plastic coats I've seen. Both he and regular
Hellboy have the concrete right arm, and both the closed and open hand versions
look terrific. The left hand is sculpted to hold the gun nicely, and you
can get it to fit without too much trouble.
Then there's the amazingly detailed glove on Rasputin, which is
removable. He has a properly sized fisted right hand underneath, and the
glove fits snugly and looks great on as well.
Kroenen has his body armor, and his 'secret' face. Yes, that face plate
is removable, but it's a bit of a spoiler for the film. On the left you'll
see a photo of him with the face blacked out - if you'd like to see a close up
of what he looks like under the mask, just click on that photo. If there's
one sculpting issue - and without seeing the film, I can't be sure it's an issue
- is that Kroenen seems too skinny. It's really only an issue in his legs,
but without seeing the film I can't be sure that this isn't just the way he
And finally, perhaps my overall favorite of the group, Abe Sapian. The
detail work on both his heads and the great hand sculpts are my top two reasons
for picking this guy up - at least in terms of sculpting.
Paint - ****
When you have a lot of dark colors and lots of wash, sometimes it's easy to
hide paint application issues. But the work on this entire set of figures
is truly astounding, and the more I look at them, the more impressed I become.
Detail work, especially on the faces, is perfect, with no slop or bleed
anywhere. Likely problem spots like the line between Rasputin's beard and
face, or the reds and blacks of Hellboy are clean and neat. And on several
of the figures, they've used slightly different finishes to give the impression
of different materials, even when using the same basic colors. A great
example of this is Kroenen's black boots and black pants, where a gloss versus
matte finish was used.
But the most impressive paint work here was reserved for Abe. The paint
work on both heads is beautiful, and that's not a word I use very often in
describing toys. The blue-green skin colors look fantastic, and they've
managed to prove that you can use a gloss coat to imply a wet appearance.
I complained when McToys tried this with the Matrix figures - here it works
Articulation - Abe Sapien, Kroenen ****; both Hellboys, Rasputin
Kroenen and Abe almost classify as 'super poseable'. Almost. They
have all the joints you could ever possibly want - ball jointed necks (in Abe's
case, TWO ball joints, one at the top and bottom of the long neck), ball jointed
shoulders and hips, elbows, knees, wrists, ankles, waist, chest, and at the half
foot. On top of that, Kroenen's knees are double joints, and Abe has cut
forearms. That's pretty impressive by any standards, and all the joints
were tight and worked well...except for one minor quibble. The ball
jointed hips didn't quite have the range of motion I expected. By twisting
the ball around a bit you can get them to take most positions, but I still
expected a slightly greater amount of movement. However, this is a very
Both Hellboys and Rasputin aren't *quite* as articulated, but still have more
than enough to give you lots of posing possibilities, and allow the figures to
stand perfectly on their own in dozens of ways.
They have ball jointed necks, shoulders and hips, elbows, wrists (the
concrete right wrist on Hellboy is also a 'pseudo' ball joint), chest, waist,
knees and ankles (although the ankles on all three figures are fairly
restricted). Hellboy also has a cut joint at the top of the concrete hand,
and three - THREE - cut joints in his tail.
Accessories - Trenchcoat Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Rasputin ***1/2; regular
Hellboy, Kroenen ***
All the figures have well sculpted, nicely painted accessories - the difference
is in how many and just how nice.
Trenchcoat Hellboy comes with his gun (which breaks open at the back of the
cylinder), and the corpse torso he can drag around by a noose. The noose
is made of burlap type string, and works great with one minor nit - there should
be 13 'wraps' on the knot of a hangman's noose, or so I remember from the old
The corpse is fantastic, with an exceptional sculpt, and even three points of
articulation! His neck and both shoulders are cut joints, and that was a
real surprise to me. Most companies would have gone for the solid plastic
accessory. The paint work is also very impressive, especially in the eyes
The gun fits nicely in the holster, but there's no real way to close the
flap. That's another pretty minor nit to pick though.
Abe has three accessories - his alternate head, the necklace piece that fits
around his neck, and what appears to be an Abe fetus. Perhaps there's
something up with Abe and Hellboy that we don't know about...
UPDATE! An eagle eyed reader points out that this is probably a Sammael
fetus - notice the three eyes!
The two heads pop on and off easily, and both look terrific. The collar
has a hinge at the back that allows it to open and close tightly around the
Rasputin comes with two accessories, but both are huge. One is the
aforementioned steel glove, which fits easily over his right hand. Then
there's the 'baby' Hellboy, complete with huge concrete right hand. Like
the corpse accessory, baby Hellboy is articulated. He has a ball jointed
neck, concrete wrist and shoulders, and there's a cut joint at the top of the
rock hand. I was slightly surprised that his tail wasn't articulated, but
that's just because Mezco is setting such high expectations.
UPDATE! That same eagle eyed reader (thanks Chris!) also noticed that
on top of Rasputin's glove is a hinged cover - it opens to reveal what looks
like some sort of compass. Another very cool touch!
Regular Hellboy and Kroenen don't do quite as well here, due to a lack of
accessories in comparison to the others. Regular Hellboy has the same gun
as Trenchcoat Hellboy, and while it's a good piece, it's a re-use. Kroenen
has two 'blades' that fit in both fists, and look deadly, but that's far fewer
than the rest of the series. I suppose you could count his mask as an
accessory, but since most folks won't take it off for display, I count it as
part of his basic appearance. Perhaps a final battle version of the mask,
similar to Sideshow's 12" figure, could have been included?
Value - Trenchcoat Hellboy, Rasputin, Abe Sapian ***1/2; Kroenen, regular
These figures are just ten bucks at specialty stores like Sam Goody and
Media Play. That's the same price as non-licensed figures from companies
like Mcfarlane. They are also bigger than most, done in an 8" scale,
have tons of articulation, a nice selection of accessories, and excellent
quality. Even at $10 that's a great value.
Overall - Abe, Trenchcoat Hellboy ****; regular Hellboy, Rasputin, Kroenen
This wasn't a line I was laying awake at night in anticipation for, but it's
quickly becoming my first top line of 2004. I expect the Trenchcoat
Hellboy to end up on more than one Best Male Figure list for the year, and the
line could be one of the best licensed lines we see. The competition for
licensed action figures that sport great sculpts, paint ops and style has just
Mezco has also announced Family Guy figures for this year, and there's a line
I'm also really looking forward to. With the overall quality of the
Hellboy line, I hope we see Mezco pick up more licenses in this vein as
well. I'll have my review of the 18" version up at Movie Poop Shoot
next week, so keep an eye out for that!
Where to Buy -
The only store I've seen these in so far is Media Play, but comic shops should
be getting their's as well. Choices include:
- Killer Toys has the set of six
available for $65, or each individually for $12. They also have the
18" version for $45.
- Aisle Sniper has a couple
different bundles, and the figures come out to about $12 each.
- If you're looking for the Sideshow Hellboy stuff, both Alter Ego Comics
and Southern Island has a variety of
it available for pre-order at discounted prices.
KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR MORE PHOTOS!