B.P.R.D. Buddies - Hellboy
By Mezco Toyz

Hellboy B.P.R.D. Buddies action figures by Mezco Toyz

Over the last couple years, I've had to scale back my collecting. Okay, fine, stop making that face...I know it might not seem like it, but I have.

One of the lines that I religiously collected, but which is now no more for me is Galactic Heroes, the cute little Star Wars guys that Hasbro has been pumping out. I'm a toy collector at heart, so things that are lots of fun (like Legos, Playmobil, etc.) are always high on my list. Sadly, I just couldn't keep picking them up though, and decided to stop that collection. I don't like them any less though, and the pull is always strong whenever I see a new set on the pegs.

One thing you can always say about Hasbro (and Mattel, for that matter), is that when they find themselves a thoroughbred, they ride that pony fast and hard til it drops dead from exhaustion. Then they kick a few times just to make sure. Since these little funky figures have been successful for them with Star Wars, they expanded them to G.I. Joe, Marvel, Transformers, any license they could.

Oddly enough, it appears that they are more popular with collectors than kids. Oh, there's no doubt that plenty of 2 - 5 year old kids are having tons of fun with them, but something about their design and nature draws adult collectors as well. Mezco Toyz noticed this, and decided to try the style with their most popular license, Hellboy.

And so were born the B.P.R.D. Buddies, based on Hellboy II. BTW, B.P.R.D. stands for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, just in case you haven't been paying attention.

There are 4 two packs - Hellboy and the Golden Soldier (reviewed tonight), Wink and Prince Nuada, Abe and Hellboy (with Big Baby), and Johann with black shirted Hellboy. These run about nine bucks a pair at Toys R Us.
Hellboy B.P.R.D. Buddies action figures by Mezco Toyz
Hellboy B.P.R.D. Buddies action figures by Mezco Toyz
Hellboy B.P.R.D. Buddies action figures by Mezco Toyz
Hellboy B.P.R.D. Buddies action figures by Mezco Toyz
Hellboy B.P.R.D. Buddies action figures by Mezco Toyz
Hellboy B.P.R.D. Buddies action figures by Mezco Toyz
Hellboy B.P.R.D. Buddies action figures by Mezco Toyz

Packaging - ***
The packages are the usual attractive work from Mezco, with bright Hellboy graphics and photos on the back of all the sets.

I do wish that they'd gone a bit smaller though. While Wink and the Soldier are clearly larger figures than the usual in this style, the packaging is still a tad oversized.

Sculpt - ***1/2
Generally, figures in this style don't have a whole lot of detailing to their sculpts. The are cartoony in nature, and part of that nature is to be smooth and relatively plain.

Mezco doesn't do things the usual way though, and they've stepped up the game in cutesy figures here, adding quite a bit of sculpted detail to both figures. Of course, this is particularly true with the Soldier, who has the intricate designs carved into the arms, legs and body.

That's not to say Hellboy is missing any detail, however. They've done an excellent job carving in the stone texture on his right hand, and added small elements like the buckles on his jacket or the buttons on his pouches. These could have simply been painted on (or left out altogether), but Mezco took the sculpted route.

While we've gotten animated versions of Hellboy and his buds before, this time the look and manner matches other figures in this style. Hellboy stands about 2" tall, while the Soldier is about 3" tall. Both stand great on their own, as well. And in case you were wondering, they fit in perfectly scale-wise with the similar Hasbro lines.

These are solid toys too, with some real heft. That's especially true with the Golden Soldier, and his round nature makes him perfect to chuck at whomever might be annoying you at the time. Not that I'd ever do that.

Paint - Hellboy ***1/2; Soldier **1/2
Much like with the sculpt, the paint work on this style of figure is never over the top. But as I said earlier, Mezco never just goes with the 'usual'.

Here, they've gone above and beyond with Hellboy. Not only are the paint ops clean with sharp cut lines and consistent coverage, they've added small details like the aforementioned sculpted buckles and buttons painted up gold, as well as a nice subtle wash on the coat. Get up close and personal enough and you'll find some issues, but with the nekkid eye, he looks terrific.

Unfortunately, I'm not quite as happy with the Golden Soldier. The gold works well enough, as does the wash used to highlight the carved patterns. But some of the paint cuts, particularly around the small head, are a bit sloppy, and the orange/red/yellow interior body just doesn't work for me. Yea, I know they were going for that fiery look, but while the idea was fine, the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

Articulation - Hellboy **1/2; Golden Soldier **
Yep, these actually have some joints! Now, it's important to note that you can't grade the articulation of these little figures against the articulation of something like a 7" scale action figure. Instead, I'm comparing them to other figures in that 2 - 3" range, particularly the Galactic (and others) Heroes.

The Golden Soldier has cut shoulders. That's really about all his design can allow for, but a cut neck certainly would have been nice. Looking at the overall design of the character, I can see all kinds of potential for articulation in the larger figures coming as an SDCC exclusive.

Hellboy does better than the enemy, with a cut neck, cut wrists, and a cut tail. Cut shoulders would have done him some real good, but I can see where the jacket would have made that awfully tough to pull off in a way that wasn't unattractive.

Both have just enough articulation to allow you to get a couple nice poses, and to allow any kid to have some fun playing with them.

Since these small style figures are usually nothing more than unarticulated lumps, the fact that they got any score here is a plus for them in the Overall.

Accessories - Bupkis
Nope, no accessories. That's pretty standard for this style, but it's still worth mentioning.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
No doubt about it - these are fun. The films are rated PG-13 as opposed to most of the Star Wars films being at the more kid friendly PG level, so it's unlikely that little Johnny is going to have any idea who they are. Not surprisingly (since they did it with the larger figures), there's no mention of the name "Hellboy" on the packaging.

Still, if your kids enjoy any of the Hasbro figures in this style, these figures will fit in perfectly.  Because these are comic originated characters for the most part, adult collectors are likely to pair them up with the Marvel line, but I can see kids easily adding characters like Wink or the Soldier to their Galactic Heroes fun.

Value - **
It's tough to find much of any thing under $10 these days, but $9 for a pair of these is still pushing it a bit. Production runs on something like this isn't going to be nearly the same as it is on the Hasbro lines (which cost $7 a pair), and the quality of the figures is generally higher, but it's still a bitter pill to swallow at the check out stand.

Things To Watch Out For
Not much. Mezco is generally good about consistent paint ops, so I wouldn't worry too much about getting a lemon. And once they are free, they can do duty on the shelf or the sandbox, without a worry.

Overall - Hellboy ***1/2; Soldier ***
If you don't like this style of cute, adorable, animated figure, you aren't going to like these. 

But for those of you that do enjoy fun, silly figures, these should live up to your expectations. The sculpts are much better than most of Hasbro's similar work, and while I'm not thrilled with the paint work on the Golden Soldier, both really do make for some fun toys. The price tag might make you pause, but if you have a child that enjoys this type of figure, at least grab them Wink and the Golden Soldier. They'll fit in great with the Hasbro lines, and they add some much needed size and bulk to the two footed characters in the toy box.

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

Where to Buy -
You can find these at Toys R Us or their website. 

- You can also order a case from Things From Another World

- If you're just looking for one full set of four 2 packs, Entertainment Earth has them for $33, a better price than TRU!

- CornerStoreComics beats that by a couple bucks, with the set at $31, but they aren't in stock yet at the site.

Related Links -
I've covered a ton of Hellboy stuff over the years, but here's my favorites:

- in sixth scale, you can't beat Hot Toys Hellboy and Abe Sapien.

- in other high end collectibles, there's the Samaritan prop replica, and the Hellboy II Premium Format statue.

- and if you're looking for something smaller and cheaper, check out Mezco's 3 3/4" figures, their 7" line, or one of their 18" versions.

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Hellboy B.P.R.D. Buddies action figures by Mezco Toyz

This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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