10" Marvin 

Last weekend, the highly anticipated and now much maligned film version of the classic novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy hit screens.  I reviewed the flick last weekend, and while it wasn't great, it had its moments.

I've been disappointed that the figures for the film didn't coincide with the release.  The 6" figure line is still not here, but I did finally receive the 10" Marvin this week.  Marvin was a high point in the film for me, so I was looking forward to getting in the large version.

NECA has the license, and is also doing a variety of prop replicas from the film, 3" figure sets based on the 6" line, and several plush items.  This 10" Marvin, the depressed robot, is most closely in scale with 18" figures.  NOTE - after reviewing some stills from the film, he actually looks out of scale with everything.  He's too small for a 12" or 18" scale, and too large to be in scale with the 6" figures.  Weird. What's even weirder, is that he didn't leave me with the impression of that kind of size after seeing the film.

I have some sponsors at the end of the review that have him in stock, and you can expect to pay around $18.

Packaging - **
NECA went with the same style of packaging that they - and companies like Toybiz - have been using for other 10 - 12" rotocast figures lately. This open box is certainly cheaper than other types, but does leave the figure open to some damage.

The box is fairly plain, one of the plainest we've seen from NECA in quite awhile. Considering how cool the posters were for the film, I was expecting a little more. Still, if it keeps the costs down, you can't complain too much.

Sculpting - ***
I've seen the film once, so Marvin isn't a character design ingrained in my brain, but this version looks extremely close to the film. In fact, I'd be surprised if he wasn't since it appears that NECA was given access to the props very early in the process.

I really like the design for Marvin as well, somewhat traditional in the robot appearance, with a plain head, and little facial detail. Marvin has so much personality though that you'd think it would be difficult to impress that personality on you with such a basic design, and yet that's not the case. The simple down turned line across the forehead in combination with the shape of the eyes let's you know that this is one unhappy robot, all in the most basic way.

Of course, his posture, or lack of it, also works to that end. More about that in the articulation section, but it's worth pointing out here that the sculpt and articulation work well together.

There are a couple oddities though. The smooth round head isn't quite as round as you'd expect. Mine has some flatter spots, and is slightly raised in other places, as though this was carved by hand rather than molded (or machined as would be the case in reality). The battery compartment and button for his light up eyes feature is centered on the back of his head, and is quite large and obtrusive.

The scale completely through me.  I remember him as small, maybe half height, from the movie.  But I'm wrong - he was actually about as tall as the humans.  That means he's too small to look right with any sixth scale stuff, but about waist high to the 18" figures.  In other words, this guy doesn't fit in scale with anything.

Paint - ***
There are two main colors, the pearlescent white that covers most of his body, and the black that covers the areas around his joints, hands and feet.

The white has a nice shimmery quality to it, but tends to be inconsistent across the body and head. Some places seem to be better covered than others, and in some spots it is a little to thick and clumpy.

The black looks good, and has a nice weathering effect on the components that would normally move, like the hands or joint connectors at the neck and waist.

Articulation - ***
Marvin has a ball jointed neck, pin elbows and wrists, ball jointed shoulders, cut joints at the top and bottom of the black chest connector, and cut joints at his hips, so that he has a V joint, allowing him to sit down.

The joints all work well, and are fairly tight. He has no trouble standing on his own and sitting down, and you can get his center of gravity nicely balanced in a number of positions. The hand articulation is slightly limited by the design of the forearms, but that's not NECA's fault.

The neck is the best of the articulation, allowing him to stand up straight, or droop forward as he is so often wont to do. It allows the figure to be more expressive than a simple cut joint.

Accessories - **1/2
Marvin comes with two accessories, his extra right hand and his goofy gun. The gun fits in the extra hand well, which is a good thing, since that's the entire point of having the extra hand. The hands pop on and off at the joint easily, and he looks good brandishing the weapon. Or at least less bored.

Action Feature - ***
Press a big button on the back of his head and Marvin's eyes light up. The light isn't particularly bright, but his eyes were lit in the film anytime he was awake. However, this action feature just makes it painfully obvious what we really needed - Marvin had to talk.

Perhaps there was some issue with Rickman, or perhaps they just couldn't get the taped lines in time. I don't know what the reason, but I'm sure it wasn't because NECA didn't think of it. All their 18" figures talk, so I'm sure they would have considered it here as well. No, something had to have interfered with the idea, and that's too bad, because adding three or four lines from the film to this figure would have made a HUGE difference in his appeal.

Fun Factor - ***
My four year old son loved him. He's also very sturdy, so it's unlikely that your kids will break him too quickly, or at least any quicker than the average toy. I think there's something very appealing about the design to small children, although they won't realize for many years just how sad and depressed the poor little guy is.

Value - **1/2
At $17 - $18, he's a decent value. He is rotocast, so getting him closer to the $10 we've started to expect would have been nice, but the license for the film was probably fairly expensive. Had he talked, just three or four of the best lines, he would have been worth $20 easy.

Things to watch out for - 
Since you can touch the figure in the store with this style of packaging, you might try to find one with the best shaped head. Also watch those paint ops, as some may be better than others. And finally, make sure the batteries for the lights aren't already dead.

Overall - ***
Both the film and this first toy left me feeling the same way - meh. Marvin isn't bad, but the light up eyes are weak considering what we've come to expect in large movie toys. He'll look okay on the desk at work, and he'll fit in with the 18" figures at home, but he wasn't a must have.

I just received the first wave of regular figures as well, so expect a review next week.

Packaging - **
Sculpt/Design - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***
Accessories - **1/2
Action Feature - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy - 
This may show up at specialty stores like Media Play and Sam Goody, but that's not a sure bet.  Online options include:

- Dark Shadow Collectibles has this figure for $18.  They also have the POV gun prop replica for just $125.

- CornerStoreComics has this figure for $17, along with the rest of line.

- doesn't have the 10" figure available, but they do have a great price on the smaller figures.

- Alter Ego Comics doesn't have this figure, but they do have the Vogon prop replicas.

Related reviews:
This is the first of the HHGTG stuff I've reviewed.

- But hit the NECA website for more info on the whole line, including the cool prop replicas.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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