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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Hellboy, Prince Nuada mini-busts
Hellboy II

Gentle Giant
Date Published: 2009-03-27
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 2.75 out of 4

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Hellboy, Prince Nuada mini-busts by Gentle Giant

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Introduction

Hellboy II might be a distant memory for some, but that doesn't mean the collectibles have dried up entirely. Gentle Giant is now releasing their series of busts, starting with Big Red himself, as well as Prince Nuada. Coming very soon should also be Wink and Johann.

These busts retail for a slightly higher price tag than their Star Wars or Harry Potter busts, running around $50 - $55 at most retailers right now. Part of this might be the low edition sizes, since Hellboy is 1400, and Nuada is only 700.

Hellboy, Prince Nuada mini-busts by Gentle Giant

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Packaging - ***
Yep, standard boxes. However, the graphics are good, including a shot of the actual character. I would like a window of course, to allow you to see the actual bust you're buying before you plunk down your hard earned cash, but the nifty Certificates of Authenticity that Gentle Giant provides, done up like trading cards, are enough to outweigh my minor displeasure.

Hellboy, Prince Nuada mini-busts by Gentle Giant

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Sculpting - Hellboy **; Nuada ***
I opened Nuada first, and my first impressions were quite good.  The detail work on Nuada's costume is quite good, even though it does have the usual lack of texture that has plagued most of GG's bust lines.

Nuada benefits from a cool costume that translated well into this format. He also benefits from a very dynamic pose, but more on that in the Design section.

However, on closer inspection, one glaring issue started to really bother me. It's the open mouth, sculpted without any tongue or teeth. Huh? He certainly had teeth and a tongue in the movie, and we've seen well sculpted open mouths on figures far smaller than this. Hell, Gentle Giant has done it with past busts! This empty mouth looks odd, and ends up bringing down a sculpt that is otherwise solid work.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same for Hellboy. The lack of texture on the body and coat hurts him more than Nuada, since he has such large expanses of bare polystone. The coat and skin blend in together, making the bust look cheaper than it should.

Another problem is with the Right Hand of Doom. It has good detail, but it looks too thin to me, especially along the forearm.

But the biggest issue isn't from the neck down. The detail work on the gun, his Right Hand of Doom, and even the belt goes a long way to make the lower 2/3rds of the bust more than acceptable. Nope, it's the head sculpt that pulls this one way down for me.

When I pulled this bust out of the box, my initial impression was that Seth Rogan was dressing up for Comic-Con. The nose and mouth look nothing like the movie character as played by Ron Perlman, and he has a dopey expression. It's not so much a matter of detail (I like what they did with the horns in particular), but rather in matching the on screen character.

On a side note, this version of Hellboy does not have nipples. Contrary to what some folks seem to believe, the movie Hellboy DOES have nipples, but the are fairly low and toward the outside edge of his pecs, and is very similar in color to his chest. You can clearly see it here...but GG decided not to include them.

Hellboy, Prince Nuada mini-busts by Gentle Giant

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Paint - **1/2
The paint work has very similar issues to the sculpt, but there's enough positive here to balance things at least a bit.

For Nuada, the major issue is that mouth again. Painted white inside, with sloppy lips that are a shade too light, it's the one area that doesn't work. The rest of the face paint, including the eyes, looks good, and I love the light to dark varitone hair.

Hellboy's big issue is his eyes, which are slightly cross eyed, lending more goofiness to an already goofy expression. He doesn't suffer from any slop on the rest of his clothing or body, and his colors are sharp and clean.

If you can overlook his eyes and Nuada's mouth, this is some of the better paint work I've seen on a GG bust in awhile.

Hellboy, Prince Nuada mini-busts by Gentle Giant

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Design/Quality - ***
This was a tough one for me, because these were so close to excellent. The goofy mouth on Nuada hurts him, but had they added some detail inside, or better yet closed his mouth, this would have been another full star higher here.

I also love the slightly dynamic nature of the Hellboy pose. Had the basic issues of the Sculpt quality been corrected, the design choice would have been great.

Hellboy, Prince Nuada mini-busts by Gentle Giant

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Value - **
If you pick these up for $40 - $45 (which is possible with one of the suggestions below), you can add another half star here for an average value. However, I'm grading this assuming you're paying something closer to the $55 that most people are charging.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not much. There's nothing here that's likely to break, at least any more than a normal mini-bust.

Hellboy, Prince Nuada mini-busts by Gentle Giant

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Overall - Hellboy **1/2; Nuada ***
These are tricky busts - at first glance, I was impressed, but after looking them over, the issues started to add up. By the time I got done shooting them, I was far less impressed. Nuada's biggest issue is the mouth of course, but if you don't look at him straight in the face (and his head is sculpted downward) it becomes less of an issue, so the rest of the sculpting work managed to get him a B overall. Unfortunately for this Cosplay Hellboy, you can't avoid seeing his inaccurate mug.  I still have high hopes for Wink and Johann, but I wish these first two had turned out a bit better.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Hellboy **; Nuada ***
Paint - **1/2
Design/Quality - ***
Value - **
Overall - Hellboy **1/2; Nuada ***

Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has Hellboy (but not Nuada) for $54.

- Entertainment Earth has them for $55 each.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've reviewed a metric TON of Hellboy goodies:

- if you're looking for an expensive collectible, check out the 1:1 replica Samaritan.

- there's the 3 3/4" line of action figures from Mezco, the SDCC exclusive Hellboy that is also in that scale, as well as their 18" HB II figure, and the smaller scale Angel of Death.

- Gentle Giant did some animated versions, including one included in the most recent release of the movies, and there was also a guest review by Poe Ghostal of the first DVD release of Hellboy. I looked at the regular release animated figures as well.

- I have reviews of the comic based battle damaged Hellboy and 18" version, the stylized Extreme Hellboy, the movie 8" line  (including the Nazi Kroenen in the second series), the 18" version, and even some Mez-itz.

- also movie based, Sideshow has done several 12" figures, including Abe Sapien, Nazi Kroenen, regular Kroenen, and regular Hellboy.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Hellboy, Prince Nuada mini-busts by Gentle Giant

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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