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Calculon and Super King
Futurama wave 5 from Toynami

Futurama wave 5 Caculon action figure from Toynami

I don't know about you, but as a line gets more characters, and starts to fill out a bit on the old display shelf, I start to get a warmer feeling for it in general. That's particularly true of cartoon lines where there's usually such a tremendous amount of character selection potential. Remember the King of the Hill figures?  As much as I complained about them, by the second series I was hooked. I'd kill to get my hands on that Cotton Hill prototype...

And so goes my love affair with the Futurama series from Toynami.  Yes, I've had issues with specific figures, and I often which the line was more articulated in general. But it's one of the few lines that I look forward to these days, even with the long periods between releases.

The newest wave (wave 5) of two figures is now hitting - Calculon and Super King Bender. This wave also includes two more parts to the Build-A-Robot Santa Robot figure.

Anyone that watches the show knows who the great Calculon is, star of All My Circuits, along with other overly melodramatic movies and shows.

In the episode "Less than Hero", Fry, Leela and Bender take on the roles of superheroes. Bender doesn't actually have super powers (as do Bender and Leela, due to a salve's side effects), but as a robot, he can already do some pretty super things.  Bender takes on the name "Super King" as his hero persona.

You can pick these up at most retailers for that $13 - $15 a pop price tag.

Futurama wave 5 action figure from Toynami

Futurama wave 5 action figure from Toynami
Futurama wave 5 action figure from Toynami
Futurama wave 5 action figure from Toynami
Futurama wave 5 action figure from Toynami
Futurama wave 5 action figure from Toynami
Futurama wave 5 action figure from Toynami

Packaging - ***
These are almost boxes - and if they were, they'd get another half star.  I'm not a big fan of the header card and j hook on top of the box, since it just ends up taking all the shelf damage.

The do provide some nice background text on each character, and if you don't mind fighting through a couple twisties, they are quite collector friendly - you can always pop the figure back into the package later without any damage.

Sculpting - ***1/2
I love it when an animated line can get past the obvious main characters, and start exploring more of the B characters. This line really only needs an Amy and a Farnsworth to get through the critical list of must do characters, and for me, it's nice to see them already adding in some of the more interesting B-listers like Calculon. Yea, I know we need a Hermes too, but he's not one of my A-listers.

Of all the various robots we've seen, Calculon is arguably the second most important to Bender. His design makes him fairly unique, and they've done a solid job capturing the simple lines and shapes.

I've mentioned before that it's often harder for a sculptor to capture something that appears quite simple like this, than something with great detail. It's even tougher since the shape and look of the character can vary from frame to frame, and that's pretty obvious when it comes to the size of Calculon's head.  In some scenes it's fairly tall, with the mouth quite a way above the neck joint.  In other scenes, it's quite short, and with much more compact features.

Toynami has done a great job of finding a happy middle ground, and creating a version that's quite obviously Calculon to the casual observer. There's a few noticeable difference when you start getting picky, like the elbows, which are a bit too large. But these are issues that you'll only see on close comparison.

I did have minor issues keeping him standing on his own, but with a little effort you'll find a happy place. Super King Bender stands great on his own, and the bendy legs allow for you to get a few interesting poses as well.

All the Benders have had the same basic, well done sculpt.  This one starts there, and adds the nicely detailed cape and crown, as well as the sculpted ring.  Some folks are going to skip him because he's simply a variant they aren't interested in, but if you are looking to complete your New Justice Team (Clobberella will be in the next wave with Amy), you won't be disappointed with Bender's sculpt. I had a couple paint issues though...

Calculon stands almost 5 3/4" inches tall, while Bender is 5 1/2".  That's about right in terms of scale from what I can tell.

Paint - Calculon ***1/2; Bender ***
The paint detail for animated characters, particularly on a show like Futurama, is usually pretty basic.  That's the situation here, and it's no surprise.

Calculon is very close to the right color, including both his lighter and darker shade. All the various parts are the right shade as well, and the cut lines between the few finer areas (like his chest symbol or his teeth) are quite clean and neat.

Super King Bender has a few additional issues, but he also has more detail work particularly in the fur on his cape and in the crown on his head. There's a small blip here or there (notice the smudge of his left eye) but they are minor issues.

A minor issue for me is the color and finish of the mask. In the few screen caps I could find (and from my memory as well, poor as it is these days), it seems this version is a bit too brightly colored, and a bit too blue-ish. The original was a bit more of a flatter purple-gray. However, half of this is probably my eyes, so I'm not deducting much of anything for it.

My bigger issue is the wide eye expression, which is a result of the paint. With the mask covering the 'visor' around his eyes, the eyeballs appear even further set back in his face. They have no painted lids that you can see, giving him the same wide eye expression as Calculon. The mask really accentuates this, and along with the gritted teeth, makes him look quite surprised. I would have preferred something like the Santa Bender, where the lids are painted on to give him a mean, angry look. YMMV.

Mine also has the pupils on the eyes painted on an inward angle, giving him a slight cross eyed appearance. This might be just a result of the paint, or they may have actually assembled the eye balls with them turned inward slightly.  Either way, you end up with the same slightly odd look.

Of course, this Bender also has the same issue as the previous regular Bender where the shoulders are painted the lighter gray. They did this to try to give him a shadowed, natural light look, but it doesn't work for me. Fortunately, it's largely covered up by the cape collar.

Articulation - Super Bender ***; Calculon **1/2
As mentioned, Super King Bender is really just the previous Bender with the addition of the 'mask'. Therefore, he has the usual articulation - cut neck, cut shoulders, cut hips, and bendy arms and legs. An extra boost to his Articulation score always comes from the opening door on the front of his torso.

Calculon is a bit less articulated however. He has a cut neck, cut shoulders, cut waist and cut wrists.  While there is no articulation below the waist (and some would have made it easier to keep him in a good standing pose), the added cut wrists are a nice touch. I wish I had some ability to pose the antenna as well, since they are an expressive part of Calculon's appearance.

Accessories - want BAF ***; don't want BAF: Super King **, Calculon Bupkis
Both figures come with more parts to help build your Santa Robot figure. Calculon comes with his two legs/feet, while Bender has the lower section of his torso.

I like the BAF concept, although I think some folks are worried that there have been so many over the last year that the idea is getting a bit hackneyed. As far as I'm concerned, you can never have too many BAF's.

But if you aren't interested in the Santa Robot, either because you picked up the one at SDCC and that's enough for you, or you just aren't interested in the character, then Calculon doesn't have any accessories to thrill you.

Super King does have the removable crown and cape though. Since the mask isn't removable, I don't see a lot of folks undressing him, but at least it's an option.

Fun Factor - **1/2
These aren't really designed as a kid's line, although they are very toy-like. The show isn't much of a kid's show, so any real interest in these is likely to come from adult fans, yet they do a decent job of remaining true to their action figure roots.

Value - ***
These are edging up into that $13 range or so, depending on the retailer, but if you pick up the set they are closer to $11 each. It's tough to find a decent mass market action figure at that price these days.

Things to Watch Out For - 
As is usually the case, if you have the option of picking them out on the shelf, look for the best paint.  Other than that, there isn't anything to worry about.

Overall - Calculon ***1/2; Super King ***
When all is said and done, the only thing holding Super King Bender back a bit for me is the wide eye expression of shock and cross eyed-ness. Give him some straight angry eyes, and you get your extra half star.

Calculon looks terrific, and while he doesn't stand quite as well as I'd like (and lacks the leg articulation to do a whole lot about it), he's still one of my top favorites of the line so far.

Next up is Clobberella and Amy Wong - bring 'em on!

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

Where to Buy -
You have plenty of online opportunities, including these fine sponsors:

- Circle Red has the pair for just $23.

- CornerStoreComics has the pair for $23 or the singles for $13.

- Entertainment Earth has the pair for $28.

- for the UK collectors, Forbidden Planet has them for 10 pounds each.

- You can also search ebay using the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.

Related Links -
Other related reviews include:

- I've looked at series 4, as well as the Robot Santa and Santa Bender SDCC exclusive, and series 3 in a couple reviews, since I didn't get them all at the same time.  Here you can see Bender and the Robot Devil BAF, and here's Kif.

- I also covered the second series and first series as well.

For more Futurama stuff:

- Toynami got their feet wet with the Futurama I-men.

- there's the series 1 set from MAC, along with the Toyfare exclusive Leela.  There was also some Christmas ornaments, a larger scale (8") Nibbler.

- Rocket USA did some cool die cast figures and the tin wind up Bender.

- there were also quite a few bendies, including Kif and Leela.

- and if you're looking for the unique, try the Horrible Gelatinus BloB, or the Brain Slug!

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

Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score, averaged over the two figures and converted to a five star system for comparison: 4.06

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Futurama wave 5 action figure from Toynami



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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