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Ben - Night of the Living Dead
Amok Time/Executive Replicas

Ben Night of the Living Dead action figure by Amok Time


Partners Amok Time and Executive Replicas continue their series of Night of the Living Dead characters with Ben, the reluctant leader of the little band of trapped survivors in the original George Romero film. They've already released Bill Heinzman's Zombie, as well as Barbra. There was originally plans for a Karen Cooper as well, but I suspect plans for her are either dropped or on hold at this point, since pre-orders have disappeared. I did find one retailer with pre-orders still up, and listed them in the Where to Buy section.

These are usually a very low production run, in the neighborhood of 500 or so, and in the past they gave an edition size. While I didn't see this fact being advertised at this point, I suspect it's still a very low run.

Duane Jones starred as Ben, easily his most memorable role. The casting was historic, as he was the first black actor to have a lead role in an American horror film.

Ben runs about $60 at most retailers, and started shipping in just the last few weeks. Barbra is still available through Amok, but the Heinzman Zombie is sold out. Hopefully Ben will do well, and we'll get the Karen figure as well.
Ben Night of the Living Dead action figure by Amok Time
Ben Night of the Living Dead action figure by Amok Time
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Ben Night of the Living Dead action figure by Amok Time
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Ben Night of the Living Dead action figure by Amok Time
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Ben Night of the Living Dead action figure by Amok Time
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Ben Night of the Living Dead action figure by Amok Time
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Packaging - ***
These are standard fifth panel boxes, with a simple plastic tray holding the figure, stand and gun. There's plenty of annoying twisties - 7 in total - which I dislike in a 'collectors' item like this. But the graphics are decent, and the box is collector friendly once you get past the ties.

Sculpting - ***
One of the keys to the atmosphere of the original black and white film was the dark, moody lighting. However, that means you don't get a whole lot of Ben reference photos that are clear or not heavily shadowed.

There's some decent shots out there though, such as this one or this one. From the various screen caps, you can get a pretty good feel for this portrait. It's reasonably good, with facial features that approximate his look in the film well enough to be recognizable. There are minor issues with the size of the nose, the length of the face, and the size of the eyebrows, but these aren't enough to destroy the overall impression of Jones. The quality is very much on par with Barbra and Heinzman.

The sculpted hands are intended to hold the gun, but suffer from being over sized. It doesn't help that the rifle is a little undersized, making these meat hooks look even bigger when they are grasping it. The right hand works well with the gun, E.T. finger and all, but the left hand's grip is too wide to look good with the weapon.

Paint - ***
Like the sculpt, the paint work is acceptable but not stellar. Keep in mind that this is a $60 figure, not a $150 one.

That said, the lines are sharply cut, with clean edges on the eyes, eyebrows, and hairline.The skin tone is even, although it seems a shade light to me. It's tough to tell though with the original film, due to the lack of color.

They edged the lips with a darker line, which isn't obvious in person but comes through loud and clear in photos. It gives the lips a little more definition in person, setting them out from the skin tone.

Again, just like the sculpt, the paint quality is very similar to what we've seen with the previous two figures.

Articulation - **
This is probably the weakest factor on the figure, causing issues for other categories as well.

The body is very old school at this point, similar to the old 'Buck' employed by Sideshow a couple years ago. All the joints you expect are here, but they are clunky and poorly engineered. There's no way you're going to get a truly natural or realistic stance out of this substandard body.

The body is also on the large side, again similar to older Sideshow figures. He stands about 12 1/4" tall, maybe a smidge more, making him slightly bigger than most Hot Toys and current Sideshow figures. It's not a major issue however, especially since he fits in pretty well with the others in the series and with the many sixth scale zombies out there.

Accessories - **
Ben comes with two extra items - the Winchester lever action rifle, and a display stand.

The stand works fine, and has the NOTLD logo emblazoned on the base. For those that regularly use them, it provides some consistency to the display. He stands fine on his own in basic stances though, making it unnecessary.

The rifle is not up to current sixth scale standards. Its sculpt is slightly undersized, has no moving parts, and is made from a very soft, rubbery material. This is the sort of weapon you'd expect to get with a $30 Hasbro figure.

Outfit - **1/2
Since the original clothing was shown in black and white, we'll have to assume they got it right with their color choices. There's a light blue shirt, blue pants, and salmon-ish sweater.

The pants are fairly well tailored, although they still hang funny on the weird hips. This is more an issue of the underlying body, which also causes some trouble for the sweater. The boxy, square shoulders make getting a natural fit almost impossible.

The large, over sized collar on the shirt isn't the bodies' fault, however, and is very distracting. The buttons are slightly big, but nothing serious, and the sculpted shoes and cloth socks server their purpose well.

I suspect this outfit would look better on a TrueType, although I haven't had a chance to test that theory yet. The only real technical flaw is the collar, and you can always dig up another dress shirt.

Fun Factor - **1/2
While there may be some quality issues, the figure is certainly sturdy enough for play. The only drawback is that for the normal 10 year old, this is just a guy in a sweater. That's perhaps the only thing more dull than a guy in a suit. They could always pretend he's a black Mr. Rogers, I suppose.

Value - **1/2
This is a $60 figure, and while he has his issues, I have to say that those issues are pretty common for a sixth scale figure in this price range these days. While he's not a great value, big fans of the movie won't feel like they overpaid.

Things to Watch Out For -
The soft rifle can be damaged if you put too much pressure on it. Other than that, he's sturdy and solid.

Overall - **1/2
The head sculpt and outfit are serviceable, and it can be swapped over to a TrueType body. That means spending another $25 or so however, driving the price of this guy up over $85.  At $60, he's not a terrible deal, but if you have to start adding in extras to get him to the level you expect, then the quality of the other aspects become an issue.

That being said, he's still a decent add to the zombie display. For major fans of the film (and zombie fans in general), he's worth the money to set next to Shaun and Ed as they battle the horde of undead in the collection. His quality is similar to Shaun and Ed from Sideshow too, and his price matches up as well.

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

Where to Buy -
Most of my sponsors are sold out of Ben (a good sign), but Big Bad Toy Store still has pre-orders up for Karen.

You can get him directly from Amok Time for $60, or you can search ebay looking for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered a number of Amok Time and Executive Replicas figures:

- in the Night of the Living Dead series, there's the NOTLD Zombie as well as Barbra.

- one of my favorites is Boris Karloff.

- before that, there was I was a Teenage Werewolf, I was a Teenage Frankenstein, Gort and Klaatu, Invasion of the Saucer Men, and Rondo Hatton, all sixth scale horror figures. There's also Bub and Dr. Tongue, six inch zombie action figures they've released.

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Ben Night of the Living Dead action figure by Amok Time


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

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