Mezco Hellboy 2 3 3/4" Hellboy

Mezco Hellboy 2 action figure

July is all set to be the blockbuster comic book superhero movie month. No, I haven't forgotten that the excellent Ironman came out already, or that Hulk is hitting this weekend. But in July it's wall to wall, weekend to weekend superhero goodness. It all starts on July 2nd, with the release of Hancock, a movie that looks promising...but could go either way. Then on the 18th we get the Dark Knight, a highly anticipated film by many. And wedged in between on the 11th is a movie that hasn't gotten nearly as much press as the other two - Hellboy 2.

Guillermo Del Toro is back on the film, and it looks to be visually stunning. After seeing the excellent Pan's Labryinth and The Orphanage, I'm feeling good that this sequel may be one of those rare part 2's that's even better than part 1.

Mezco is also back as the maker of the movie based toys. They are producing another 7" line, including old favorites with new looks like Abe Sapien, Liz, and Hellboy, and new characters from this film including WInk and Prince Nuada. The comic book regular Johann is also in this film, making his first big screen appearance, and he'll get the figure treatment in series 1 as well. And if you know Mezco, you know there will be a variety of exclusives too.

But that's all about the 7" line, and I'm not here to talk about the 7" line. One of the things coming out of Toy Fair 2008 that had me excited was all the licenses that were releasing figures in the 3 3/4" - 4" scale this year. From the obvious like Indiana Jones to the unusual like Heroes, it seemed like everyone had something coming out in that scale. And Mezco wasn't being left out, planning several lines for this size range, including Hellboy 2.
Mezco Hellboy 2 action figure

Mezco Hellboy 2 action figure
Mezco Hellboy 2 action figure

Mezco Hellboy 2 action figure
Mezco Hellboy 2 action figure
Mezco Hellboy 2 action figure Big Baby shotgun
Mezco Hellboy 2 action figure
Mezco Hellboy 2 action figure
Mezco Hellboy 2 action figure

Tonight's review is of the SDCC exclusive 3 3/4" scale series 1 Hellboy. Now keep in mind that this is a final packaged sample, so what comes off the boat for the store shelves could potentially be different. But that's not the plan of course - this figure should be identical to what you see on the pegs. This is also the SDCC 2008 exclusive version (which will be limited to 2500), as he has the black shirt. From the photos of the boxed set, it also looks like this head sculpt is unique with the cigar. You can already pre-order him at Mezco's site for $10, or pick him up at the show. You are going, aren't you?

The first series will be available at Toys R Us single carded - Hellboy, Liz, Wink and Johann. These four will also be available at specialty retailers in a boxed set. The one I have here tonight is the SDCC exclusive black shirt version, which was originally planned for series 2 but was moved up. As I said, he'll cost you ten bucks, but the retail price on the boxed set is around $22 or so depending on the retailer.

I am a bit concerned however about the specialty market support for these guys. If you're considering pre-ordering, doing it sooner rather than later could be good for the longer term future of the line.

BTW, while some of the future lineups are still up in the air, Mezco has hinted that they'd like to do a Golden Army soldier in this scale...kick ass.

Packaging - ***
I really like the look of the cardbacks, using the tight shot of HB from the film. I'm also happy that the accessories are named on the package with each character, saving you from the confusion. "What is this little green square of plastic supposed to be?"

I am kind of surprised that there is less of a HBII logo here, but that might change by the time the actual production figures hit. The cardbacks are nice and small though, making them compact in your hands, and this, combined with the very square top on the bubble, should make them easy for the MOCers to store.

Sculpting - ****
The sculpting on this figure is excellent, particularly when you take into consideration the small scale. The head sculpt is very realistic, with just the right amount of wrinkles and texture. The horns have a slightly different, bone like texturing that sets them apart, and the facial hair looks amazing. The soft rubber jacket looks very much like cloth to the nekkid eye, and the size and style match up to the film quite well. Proportions are great all around, with legs, arms, head and body all being fairly realistic.

There's nothing cartoon or caricature style here, but rather a straight movie rendition, and Mezco has captured it perfectly. The original 7" Hellboy line helped put them on the map with larger retailers, and this line looks to be every bit as good.

If there's one spot I think folks might complain about, it's the thighs. I think they could have been a *smidge* beefier, but part of this issue is a limitation with the ball jointed hips. Even if they were a bit bigger, it wouldn't make a huge overall impact on the look of the figure, and I can live with the slightly skinnier legs.

Some folks might complain about the large holster, which was a common complaint with the Indy figures in this scale.  However, the large holster is necessary since Samaritan is such a large gun.

The sculpted left hand holds either weapon well, and the detail work on the Right Hand of Doom is terrific. He stands great on his own in plenty of dynamic and interesting poses.

In photos, it's very easy for this figure to pass for a figure twice it's size - the quality and detailing of the sculpt is that good.  He stands just over 4" tall, fitting in perfectly with other lines in this general size range.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint is awfully good too, although I still had a few minor nits. However, compare this figure to one of the Hasbro Indy figures in the same scale, and it's like comparing art to a Sears Sunday circular ad.

In person, the eyes are extremely nice. The left does appear to be *slightly* larger, but that's only clear in a macro photo. Considering the scale, I was surprised at how clean they were. No googly eyes here.

There's some amazing small detail work on the body, including the insignia belt buckle. I do wish some of the other sculpted details were painted, like the buttons on the jacket, but this is one of those minor nits. The jacket itself has some nice sweat/dirt paint work on the sides and back, as well as a painted collar.

I have a few other minor nits - the red hand on the right doesn't quite match the red stone on the arm, and there's a little slop around the holster tie-down and the pants - but for the most part the paint job does exactly what an excellent paint job should. It makes an already great sculpt even better.

Articulation - ****
While all the joints aren't absolutely perfect, this is still one of the best articulated figures in this scale that I've seen in awhile. And considering how many lines are out this year in this scale, that's saying a lot.

He has a ball jointed neck, and true ball jointed hips and shoulders. This works particularly well here since the jacket style does a fantastic job of hiding the ball joints, but the jacket is soft enough not to cause a lot of restriction in their movement.

I'll come back to the arms, since each is different from the other. The chest has the pin joint (ab crunch), with a cut waist, pin knees, and what appears to be pin ankles. The feet move forward and backward much better than usual too, due to the pant sculpt taking the articulation into account.

The tail has two cut joints, allowing you to pose it quite a bit. It's also not necessary to use the tail to keep him standing (something that was true for some of the past figures), so it's actually useful to set the look of various poses.

Finally, there's the arms. The left arm has a pin elbow and cut wrist. The pin elbow moves much further inward than I expected, and made poses with the gun look much better.

On the right arm, or the Right Hand of Doom, there are also two joints. There's a cut joint at the top of the rock hand, and a ball joint at the wrist. While the sculpt of the overall hand makes using the ball joint a little tough, it's still a very nice touch.

There's plenty of poses you'll get out of this guy, and if the rest of the line is this well articulated, I'll be an extremely happy camper.

Accessories - ***
While there aren't a ton of accessories, what's here is extremely well done.

Each of the figures comes with a small display stand, and there's a hole in their foot to work with it. These stands have stickers on the top with different emblems, depending on whether they are good guys or bad. The stands work fine, but the good news is you really don't need them unless you plan on doing a one footed pose.

Hellboy comes with two guns: the necessary Samaritan, and the Big Baby shotgun. Both of these are extremely well painted and sculpted, especially for this scale.

Both guns fit nicely in his left hand, and look terrific doing it. As an added touch to the shotgun, it even has the 'Big Baby' emblem on the side of the stock! This gun is only 1 1/2 inches long, and not only does it have the emblem, but the strap is some sort of leather material, with real metal loops holding it on the gun! That's quite impressive.

Samaritan is scaled nicely to the figure, and fits well in the large holster. Mezco always does a bang up job on accessories, and this is another example of that tradition.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
I don't know how many 'kids' will be seeing this movie, even though it is PG-13. Even though this figure and the rest of the series are largely aimed at collectors, there's simply no doubt that they are excellent toys as well. If you know a kid who loves the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or other lines in this scale, picking these up for them will add to their play battle mayhem and open them up to a whole new license as they grow older. I highly recommend it!

Value - ***
This whole line up is a better than average value. When was the last time you got an SDCC exclusive for ten bucks? ANY SDCC exclusive, regardless of size? And you can get the regular figures for under $5 in the boxed set, not bad at all.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not a thing. The figure was very sturdy, with no apparent joint issues. I was able to use all the joints without any of them feeling like they would tear or break, and even the holster was attached well.

Overall - ***1/2
I've only seen one figure so far, and that's a final packaged sample at that. But from this figure, I have extremely high hopes for the whole line. While I've never been a huge fan of doing cartoony versions of real people (as opposed to cartoony versions of things that should be cartoony, like The Goon or Family Guy), I have to say that Mezco can do realistic sculpts just as good as any other company out there, when that's what they set out to do.

If you're seriously considering buying these, I think you should pre-order now if at all possible.  In the current market, retailers need to know as far in advance as possible what kind of interest there is in a line, and I'd hate to see this line have issues with series 2 or 3 because folks that really were going to buy them waited too long to order.

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

Where to Buy -
There's two options for the black shirt version - Mezco's site, or right at the San Diego Comic Con. 

You can get the single carded figures at Toys R Us, or pick up the boxed set at one of these sponsors:

- CornerStoreComics has the fantastic price of just $18 for the boxed set. That's just $4.25 a figure!

- Urban Collector has it up for pre-order at $23.

- Alter Ego Comics has the boxed set pre-order for $24.29.

- Entertainment Earth has the preorder up for $25.

- for those in the UK, Forbidden Planet has the boxed set up for pre-order at 20 GBP.

- or you can search ebay using the sponsor

Related Links -
Head over to Mezco's site to chat about this line in particular, or check out these other Hellboy reviews:

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

- not too long ago, I looked at the animated line from Gentle Giant.

- there was also a guest review by Poe Ghostal of the DVD release of Hellboy.

- 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.

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

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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