B.P.R.D. Buddies Review: Hellboy "Red" with Big Baby & Abe Sapien

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It used to be that toy collectors focused on one of two scales: 6 inch and 3 3/4ths. But as the cost of oil increased, toys began to jump in price and decrease in size. The new standard is around 4 inches tall, but for every mid range toy you’ve got either 12 inch giants, 6 inch specialty figures and the ever growing segment that has become my person favorite: the 2.5 inch figure. Over the years this size of figure has come and gone with popularity, the M.U.S.C.L.E. Men of the 80s, the Z-Bots and Monsters in my Pockets in the 90s and then the Playskool Galactic Heroes in the early 2000s.

But then something odd happened: the figure stopped being made for kids. Sure, stuff like Batman the Brave and the Bold Action League and most of the Super Hero Squad were intended for kids, but the first two waves of the Transformers Robot Heroes were based on a movie that came out in 1985! It’s the same with the G.I. Joe Combat Heroes and the first wave of the Indiana Jones Adventure Heroes. These were toys designed for kids based off properties for adults who were nostalgic. And then other companies decided to play ball and Mezco threw their hat into the tiny toy market with the adorable B.P.R.D. Buddies!

I try to avoid talking about packaging too much because I doubt many of my readers share my obsession with the cardboard and plastic that entombs the figures, but the B.P.R.D. Buddies packaging is worth mentioning for a few reasons. First off, the package is massive. There’s enough space to probably fit four or five figures in it and yet this pack only has two figures. It’s wasteful and that bugs me a lot.

The other odd thing is that the package makes no reference to the name of the hero: Hellboy! The reference to the movie is HBII and the figure is only referred to as “Red.” Yeah, it is his nickname but the only instance of the title is on the back of the packaging in the copyright section where it says “Hellboy II the Golden Army Movie.” I know some retailers are reluctant to sell any product that has the word “hell” in it, and the design of these figures makes them appeal to a younger demographic, so Mezco is playing it safe.

The front of the package says for ages 8 and up, while the warning says not intended for under the age of 3! It’s seems weird since this style of figures is intended for the 3 and up demographic. But enough about the weird packaging, on to the figures!

Hellboy, or as the packaging calls him “Red,” is a demon from Hell who was found by Nazis and trained by Americans and now works in at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. He’s basically a giant red demon that fights other monsters, usually with an assortment of guns.

Hellboy was created in the early 90s and managed to escape the awful world of pouches and belts, instead he’s got the most basic outfit of a trench coat, black pants and boots. Nothing too crazy and this itty-bitty version looks like Hellboy.

Red’s face is smiling, like he’s just found some monster worth fighting. His yellow eyes are peaking out from underneath his sawed off horns while his hair is perfect with his goatee, mutton chops and pulled back tie in the back. What’s even more impressive is the amount of detail on his Right Hand of Doom! It has a fantastically elaborate sculpt that looks even better because of the wash on it.

In his left hand, Hellboy is holding his newest toy: the Big Baby. It’s a cross between a revolver and a shotgun and looks absolutely menacing. Sadly because of the limited articulation, the Big Baby can only rest in his Right Hand of Doom or be pointed upwards, no aiming ahead for him! The one main point where this figure differs from Hasbro’s Heroes or Mattel’s Action League is the pose. This version of Hellboy is standing straight up and is about half a head taller than the average figure. It works though since he’s supposed to be a big guy.

The paint is well done but the Big Baby looks a tad off. It looks like Mezco intended for the gun to look like it was made out of metal but ended up painting it too black so instead it looks like it was just poorly painted, not that it is weathered. The only big lacking area on the figure is articulation. Red only moves at the wrists, neck and possibly the tail – I can’t quite tell.

This pack pairs Red up with Blue by including Abe Sapien, the Icthyo sapiens that is a telepathic and psychometric merman. Named after Abraham Lincoln, Abe works with Hellboy at the B.P.R.D. and is basically a blue man with gills.

While Hellboy is big and stocky, Abe is the opposite being slender. Wearing what is almost a wetsuit (but instead of keeping him dry, it keeps him actually wet) with a special water filled collar that allows him to breathe. Abe face is exposed with giant goggles covering his eyes. He hands are also uncovered and webbed; they look like they could be touching something so it’s a great way to show off his psychometric power.

The overall sculpt is one that looks just inhuman enough. His slender limbs and long neck all contribute to the figure looking almost right. Since most of the figure is just black plastic, Abe relies on his sculpt to carrying him through. Abe’s sculpt is full of small details like his boots, golden belt buckle, belt pouches, chest valves and even fins on the back of his legs. Abe is standing straight up just like Red, so he ends up slightly taller than similar style figures. Abe moves at the shoulders.

Abe’s collar is nicely detailed and painted allowing for some color on the figure besides his skin and belt buckle. His eyes are hidden by his goggles that are painted to look like they’re full of water.

Overall, the paint is well done but in a few areas the coverage is lacking, specifically on the collar but trying to paint over black plastic is always a challenge. The paint used on Abe’s exposed skin is incredible though. It’s a great teal color that contrasts drastically with his costume. His palms are painted cream and remind me of the underside of a frog. On his head, the paint design is interesting but looks a little odd, like they didn’t know if they should follow his movie design or the comic design. His face matches his hands while the back of his head has a dark blue pattern that kind of looks like scales and the rest is a darker shade of teal. It’s odd.

These two figures are well done, with great sculpts and above average paint applications. Stylistically, they fit in well enough with the Heroes and Action League lines but the big problem is price. This two-pack cost $9 for these two figures. While Galactic Heroes and Super Hero Squad can cost upwards of $8 a pack, Combat Heroes retail at only $5. I know the cost of licensing and lower production runs increase the overall cost, but I don’t know if I can say that these figures are worth almost $5 a piece. I’m glad a have a mini Hellboy and Abe to hang out with other heroes, but at that price point I’m not rushing out to get the other three sets.

Written by jestergoblin

May 21st, 2010 at 12:00 am

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