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Hellboy II: Abe Sapien
By Hot Toys

Abe Sapien Hellboy II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys


I received my Hot Toys Hellboy and Abe Sapien at the same time, but broke up the review into two for several reasons. First, there's always a lot to talk about with any one Hot Toys figure, let alone two. Second, when removing Abe from his box I broke a small piece off his rebreather equipment (more on that in the Accessories discussion), making it necessary to use a little super glue before any photos could be taken. And third, and most important, I thought Abe was so much nicer than the Big Red, that he deserved his own discussion.

That was my initial impression, but as anyone who has bought collectibles like this knows, sometimes as you spend a little time with your insanely expensive toy, your opinion changes. I wonder if that happened this time? Oooo, foreshadowing!

Abe is HB's right hand fishman, and has had a key role in both films. We got a Hellboy I version of Abe from Sideshow about 5 years ago, but the figure was weak for even back then, so getting this new, updated version is much appreciated. Also, there were more changes in Abe's costume between Hellboy I and II, making him an even better candidate for a new version.

Like all Hot Toys figures, this guy is a little more expensive than your basic Ken doll. He'll run you $150 at most places, and I suspect he's one that's going to rise over time.
Abe Sapien Hellboy II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Abe Sapien Hellboy II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Abe Sapien Hellboy II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Abe Sapien Hellboy II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Abe Sapien Hellboy II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Abe Sapien Hellboy II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Abe Sapien Hellboy II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Abe Sapien Hellboy II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

Packaging - ***
It's the usual attractive Hot Toys packaging, with the outer sleeve over the inner five panel box.  I like that Hot Toys uses an actual character still for the front of the sleeve, allowing the buyer to instantly compare their work to the real deal.

I did dock them though and it's for the same reason that I docked the Hellboy package - twisty ties. I'm not a fan.

Sculpt - ****
Hot Toys keeps cranking out the exceptional sculpts. It's clear they have this scale down, and some how they manage to get prototype level quality out of a production process.

The skin has the soft texturing we've come to expect, but this time it's a tad more amphibian than human. The gills and lips have the extremely fine sculpt work that adds so much verisimilitude (hey, I'm running out of ways of describing realistic, so expect to see some new words with Hot Toys reviews), and the large eyes are distinguished enough from the face as to appear as separate entities.

The neck is covered in a soft rubber skin, just like the arms. Hellboy got the skin treatment too, but I think it works a bit better here with Abe. You still have to take the same precautions, and not over bend or over use the joints, but the elbows have more a much greater range of movement than HB, probably due to the slightly thinner rubber.

All four hand sculpts look great, and the gripping right hand works fine with the gun. He comes wearing two slightly relaxed posed hands, and the fourth is in his trademark splayed hand pose. The little 'suckers' on the palm look great, as does the finger webbing.

Abe is right about 12" tall, and stands just slightly taller than Big Red. When I reviewed that figure, I wasn't sure if that was appropriate or not, but mentioned that knowing Hot Toys like we do, I figured it was. Several readers were kind enough to send in some useful stills from the movie, and sure enough, he should be slightly taller.

Paint - ****
Every great sculpt deserves a great paint job, and we got one here. The eyes are the most impressive, with their extremely complex pattern. On close inspection they only look better, something that's pretty rare.

With the 'lightening bolt' patterns, scaling on the sides of the head, fleshy gills, and random dots, Abe has quite a bit of variety and detail in his paint job. Even the rubber skin looks like it would be right at home wrapped around the meat of an exotic fish.

How Hot Toys manages to get this kind of high quality paint application out of a production facility is a secret every collector hopes other high end manufacturer will to learn. Of course, if your Hot Toys, you're hoping they won't.

Articulation - ***
While Abe has the usual exceptional Hot Toys body, the rubber suit does tend to restrict the articulation. It works a bit better than Hellboy's at joints like the neck and elbows, but the tight wet suit tends to restrict other joints like the hips, shoulders and knees. You'll be able to get some good, natural poses out of him, but it's not going to be anything extreme.

Accessories - ****
What you count as 'accessories' and what you count as 'outfit' is likely to alter how you score these two areas. I'm counting his gun, display stand, extra hands, goggles and breathing equipment. That leaves the wet suit, belt and boots as his outfit.

I already mentioned the extra set of hands, with one hand designed to grip the gun, and the other with the fingers spread out wide. Swapping the hands was quite easy, and I never felt like the wrist pegs were in danger.

The display stand is the usual. Yea, I don't use them, but if you do, it fits in with the rest. It's also the new style that hangs under his crotch, rather than around his waist.

Then gun is an excellent sculpt, scaled perfectly, and has a spring loaded action! The top slide can move backward and springs forward, adding to the realism. Of course, the clip is also removable.

Because I added in the goggles and breathing equipment here, the score goes way up. Both of these are simply amazing.

There's an additional rubber neck that goes with the breather. You pop off the head, slide this rubber piece on over the gill neck, and pop the head back on. The fit is great, and doesn't restrict the neck due to the soft nature of the rubber.

EDIT: as pointed out by a reader, it's also possible to remove the rubber neck cover with the gills before you put on the black rubber suit section. It's not necessary for normal display, but if you are going to have him wearing the collar for a long period, I'd remove the rubber gil neck. When two pieces of softer rubber are in contact for any extended period, they can interact and it's never a good thing. END EDIT.

Actually, before you pop that head back on, you should slide the breathing equipment down over the rubber neck cover. To complete the assembly, there are two metal connectors in back that can be inserted into the costume at the appropriate spots. This was a tad tricky, and I found that they tended to pop out too easily. Fortunately, the metal kept them from being too fragile.

That doesn't mean this piece isn't fragile, though. I broke off the little silver handles on the front as I was trying to take the thing out of the tray! Fortunately, they had simply come loose from the holes they had been glued into, so gluing them back in was pretty easy, but be very careful nonetheless.

The detailing on this thing is really amazing. It looks just like the film version, with all the small details necessary to achieve that kind of movie match.

The goggles attach to the face via a magnet. It's a strong magnet too, so you won't have to worry about them falling off with normal handling at any angle. The fit is perfect, and the engineering couldn't have been better.

Outfit - ***
The outfit is the one area where I had some issues. The good news is that they may end up being issues that you avoid.

The boots are about as good as you get, however. They look terrific, with a great sculpt and paint. If I find a set of these parted out, I may pick them up to try to find a way to use them with Sideshow's Sara Connor.

The belt is extremely well constructed, with a nice holster and lots of leather pouches. The holster has a flap that attaches on the inside, rather than the outside. I couldn't find a way to get the gun into the holster without opening the flap, and once you do it's almost impossible to reattach it.

I also had a ton of trouble getting a couple of the pouches to stay closed. This was the same situation I had with Hellboy, and the pouches have the same small post snaps. However, on HB the problem pouch was in back - this time it was right up in front. I'd just get it to close, and it would pop open again. I was almost tempted to glue it shut.

But these weren't my biggest issues, just the minor ones. My big issue was with the wet suit itself.

When I opened the figure, I loved the wet suit. It's amazingly detailed, with small zippers on the sides and back done right in scale, Abe's name plate on his breast, and a perfect overall fit. They used the stretchy type of material that looks like rubber, but fits much better and is far, far thinner. 

Once I started working with it, my issue arose. You can see in the photos that below the round, black plastic piece on his chest, there's a lighter circle. I suspect I'm going to end up with something similar on the right side as well.

The reason for this is pretty simple. The plastic 'caps' were glued to the suit while it was very much at rest on his body. In fact, with the one on the left, there was even a bit of soft wrinkling under it. When I started to move the body and the suit stretched, as you expect it to, the black plastic cap pulled free from part of the suit and took the color with it. It's annoying enough to me that I'm tempted to send it back...but I think that because of the placement and size of the caps, that it will be a more common issue than just this one figure.

Value - **1/2
Yea, he's a hella expensive figure. But with the complex outfit and accessories, you get the feeling that he's one of those that's actually worth the price you're paying. You won't feel like Scrooge McDuck, but you won't feel like you just got stiffed either.

Fun Factor - **1/2
These aren't really toys, although they remain true to their roots. The collector will have fun posing and displaying, but the average kid would destroy them in 5 minutes.

Things To Watch Out For
As I just said, these are fragile. That's the price you pay for extreme realism in such a small scale.

However, the only thing here likely to break is the breathing apparatus. Those little handles in front are extremely easy to snap off if you put any pressure on them, so don't.

There's also the usual warnings about the elbow joints, which are covered by the rubbery skin. Don't overdo the angles or use.

Overall - ***1/2
Abe ended up with the same score as Hellboy, which isn't what I initially expected. However, the issues I had with the pouches and outfit ended up pulling him down slightly. I still think he's a slightly better figure than HB (and HB is pretty damn sweet!), but I had enough issues with the costume to keep him from perfection. 

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ****
Paint -  ****
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ***
Value - **1/2
Fun Factor - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Your best bet is online:

- Alter Ego Comics has him in stock for $148.49.

- Things From Another World also his him, at $149.39.

- Urban Collector his him at $170.

- or you can check ebay.

Related Links -
Other related reviews include:

- last week I covered Hot Toys first version of Big Red himself.

- my favorite high end Hellboy collectible in my collection is the Premium Format Hellboy II.

- Before that was the Gentle Giant Hellboy busts, which I'm not too keen on.

- if you're looking for another 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.

- Mezco released series 1 of their movie figures, which are covered in two guest reviews, one here and one here.

- I ran two 'retro reviews of the old Hellboy movie line - one for Hellboy, and one for Sammael.

- 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 also have guest reviews of some of the comic based figures, including Kreigaffe #10, Lobster Johnson, and the old Graphitti Designs version.

- I have my own 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.

- for those into mini-busts, there's also this version that came with the release of the DVD.

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Abe Sapien Hellboy II sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys



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

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