Hellboy and Golden Army Soldier Review Part 1

Happy almost Halloween! Rather than do a themed holiday post, I’ve opted to do something that’s at once rare and also very common here- a figure review!

You could say that most of my toy related posts are reviews, as they point out pros and cons, trying to swindle your wallet into feeding more of its delicious insides to the HasTak machine, but this one’s completely a review.

I’m doing it in part because it’s Halloween and the subject is appropriate  to the festive mood,  and partly because I have been unable to find reviews of this particular pair of figures on the internet.

Hellboy and Golden Army Solder was an exclusive set, but details were hard to come by.  Most places even incorrectly say the number of joints on the Golden Army Soldier. Still, Mezco’s website had a good deal on them (and still does), and if there was a set I was going to get it’d be this one, but I had to make my decision based on the quality of their other products.

And it was worth it!

So, on to the review!

This is the first exclusive that I’ve ever bought, and the price almost bordered on being a bit much for the set, but I bought it because it had my favorite Hellboy of the line and it was the only place to get a Golden Army Soldier for him to fight. That and the price was what they had charged at the convention, so the only markup I had to deal with was the shipping cost.

I don’t know whether the availability at retail price was because of overstock not selling at whatever summer conventions these were offered at, or because Mezco is just awesome. After dealing with them, I’m inclined to believe the latter. Heck, I want to believe the latter.  I’m not much of an action figure collector, but this is my favorite scale and Hellboy is awesome. Lets hope they sold enough of this line to make more at some point, even if it’s not till the next Hellboy movie.

First up let me show you the packaging.

HBGASBox

Hellboy is Marvel Universe\GI Joe\3.75″ sized, and he’s tiny compared to the Golden Army Soldier. I hadn’t seen either of them in person (I’d passed up Wink and Johann at a TRU, but Monty has been kind enough to pick them up for me as my finder’s fee for DCUC 10 Joker and Powergirl, both of which I found at retail.) and I guess I hadn’t really thought about Hellboy being that small.

This is a good thing. Although impressive, I just don’t like the 6-inch figures.

The packaging is a very big box in comparison, nicely decorated with golden machinery and steam punk gearwork. Hellboy and the Golden Army Soldier are both encased in their own plastic trays, and the bulk of the box is taken up by the GAS.

Maybe I’m just used to TF packaging, or maybe I just paid attention more because this was my first exclusive set, but Mezco really did a kick ass job on the packaging. Even the placement of the figures was done for maximum effect, with the GAS looming ominously above and behind Hellboy.

HBGASBoxSide

In the upper corner of the box, there’s a little warning text…

HBASRange

That is awesome. It’s probably to satisfy some toy law, but I’m going to pretend it’s a legal age restriction like an alcohol drinking age.

You must be at least this old to enjoy this awesome.

Enough with the packaging. I’m not a misb collector, so on to the important details. First, let’s start with the Golden Army Soldier.

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Golden Army Soldier

HB2GASFront

10 Points of Articulation – Two swivels at each elbow, swivel shoulders, swivel head, swivel waist, swivel at each upper thigh.

Although most websites have reported the figure as having 8 points of articulation, he actually has 10. Unfortunately, Mezco made some unusual choices about what joints to include. The figure is full of tech details that would be great to integrate joints in ways that would make a regular figure look ugly (mid thigh swivels on DCUC, for instance), but Mezco opted not to take advantage of some of them.

Some, like a side ratchet (so it could do the splits) on the hips, finger joints, or even even ankles can easily be cut for cost.  Those fingers are really begging for individual movement (centered at the wrist) though.

HB2GASHand

But no hip movement? Really?

And yet they gave the hips thigh swivels. Why, Mezco?

If you twist the thighs and the waist it can do a great shoulder charge, or falling over position, but those aren’t exactly stable.

So the GAS can’t move his legs back and forth, but it can rotate the legs at thigh swivels. Again, this was not a great decision.

Some would suggest it’s so the GAS always remains standing and stable, given it’s top heavy nature. I’d say that’s a pretty lousy excuse, as the GAS has pegs on its feet where a stand could go. You know, the stands usually included with Hellboy figures anyway?

The head’s swivel joint is severely limited by the torso armor, and would have benefited from a raised balljoint. I can understand the swivel, though, as it’s probably cheaper and less of a hassle.

There’s only one other joint that’s missing, and its exclusion makes even less sense than the missing hip joints. The GAS has two swivel joints for the elbows. Joints which, when used in conjunction, mimic a hinged elbow. There was even a great spot for a hinged elbow just above the swivel joints.

HB2GASElbow

Why not just have a hinge joint there and lose the swivels entirely? Sure, I’d like to have a hinged elbow with a swivel just below that, but I’d understand cutting the single swivel for the hinge over losing the hinge for two swivels.

Still, he has enough articulation to be fun, and is still worth his part of the price in the set.

HB2GASdouken

Sculpted Details – They danced a fine line between economy and detailing, and generally succeeded. The figure feels a bit smoothed in some places, but most of the mold has enough intricate detail work (particularly the arms) that I’d list this in the pros category. This is a 3.75 inch scale figure, so it should be rated as such. Overall, GAS’s detailing is pretty good.

Paint – The GAS looks to be molded in black and painted from there. This works out nicely, actually. If it had been molded in the main color, the toy might come off looking, well, like a toy. As it is, the paint makes for a dirty bronze, the tarnished gold of a construct sitting unused and dark for ages in the dust. On the opposite end of this, it’s also supposed to be lit with an inner fire and the figure does a pretty good job of that as well. The best paint app is on the blade, with it really coming off as glowing hot metal. The torso is as good as they could’ve done it, and it’s probably best they didn’t go with a clear plastic flame on this. The paint here is definitely in the pros category.

HB2GASBlade

HB2GASBack

Accessories – The Golden Army Soldier is its own accessory. If you have to count something that it comes with, I’d say presence. It towers over Hellboy, and will happily menace any GI Joes you throw its way.

Quality control – No problems on mine aside from a small paint smudge on the torso flames. Some of the joints were tight but an hour in the freezer fixed that. (For those of you that don’t know, put a fig in the freezer to harden the paint. When you move the joint, the paint is more brittle and will break away from where it had sealed the joint. It’s a quick and easy way to unstick joints without worrying about breaking them.)

Overall – If you don’t mind the articulation problems, this figure is a great. I’m an articulation junkie, but I can’t help liking this figure. At just a bit taller than it’s waist (see the box set picture), Hellboy should have his hands full with the Golden Army Soldier.

 

Come back tomorrow for Part 2, where I review Hellboy!

~Matt Booker

http://img195.imageshack.us/img195/3814/hbgasbox1.png

21 thoughts on “Hellboy and Golden Army Soldier Review Part 1

  1. I’ve been thinking of buying this set solely for the lil’ Hellboy. Mezco did well on the 7 in. Hellboy figures and even The Spirit figure (I liked that movie, OKAY?!), and their Joe sized Jason is nice as well, so I have a lot of faith in Mezco.

    And, it’s worth mentioning, your Johan and Wink look great as well.

  2. Wow, I hate that this figure is so pretty, and you did such a good job of showing that off, because now I really have to buy him.

    It’s sad when the movie figures are better than the movie.

    …wait, I’ll clarify: I liked HB2, but it had some pretty huge plot holes (ones that could have easily been prevented/fixed), and that can often taint my opinion of the movie as a whole… which it did in this case.

    The figures look badass though.

  3. What plot holes are you talking about?

    I’m not saying they’re not there but I can’t think of them at the moment.

    :<
    [r
    _L

  4. That movie was a great flick! In some ways not as good as the first one, in other ways better. I think it did okay so far as sequels go. Kicked things up a notch without changing the mood.

    What are these plot holes you speak of? :)

    You know what part I really don’t like? The scene with the baby. IT DID NOT NEED TO BE IN THERE. It only made me wonder how Hellboy kept from hurting it, and it ruined the suspension of disbelief.

    Also, if that HB is as good as this Golden Army Soldier, I may just have to expand the collection…

  5. i loved that movie. hellboy’s kickass.

    nice review. the figure is nice, but i doubt i’ll ever pick one up.

  6. The big plot hole that stood out to me:

    Nuada cannot command the Golden Army if he’s challenged by royalty, right? That’s the rules of the game, so to speak.

    But see, Nuala, the person who Nuada is psychically bonded to and cannot kill without killing himself, is standing RIGHT THERE, and is also royalty. All she had to do was go “oh hey, I challenge you bro”, and the whole thing ends in a stalemate.

    As near as I can tell, there’s absolutely no reason why she couldn’t have done that… all the characters simply ignored that it was a possible. And to explain it would have taken only a few lines: Someone to point out she should do it, and she says she can’t because only men can challenge for the crown. Then make a joke about sexism not being exclusive to humans and move on.

    That’s the big one that bugs me. There’s a few others (like why they broke the crown instead of melting it down if the Golden Army was so dangerous), but it really, really annoyed me that I saw this option while watching, waited about half the movie for it to happen or at least be dispelled as an option, and… nothing. The fact that there IS royalty who CAN stop Nuada is something that the entire cast just appears to be completely blind about.

  7. That and once it was established that they both got hurt, who didn’t see the suicide\murder thing coming?

    (Still a great movie, though.)

  8. hey what do you think hellboy is the right hand of doom? i bet thats why he could do it and she was too scared to challenge her brother cause she couldnt fight but he might kill her like their king.

  9. “she was too scared to challenge her brother cause she couldnt fight but he might kill her like their king.”

    But… he COULDN’T kill her. They were linked, remember? If she died, he died. If she challenged him, he simply CANNOT fight her because defeating her would also defeat him, and since he can’t command the Golden Army if he doesn’t answer the challenge OR if he’s defeated… well, it sucks to be him. Guess he won’t kill all hoomans after all.

    Of course, this brings up the fact that the climax couldn’t have happened in the first place but for ANOTHER plot hole: Abe gives Nuada the last piece of the crown he needs to control the humanity-killing army to save the life of Nuala… you know, the one person on the entire planet that Nuada can’t kill! “Hey, if you don’t give me what I want, I’ll kill myself–her, I mean I’ll kill HER, yeah, totally!”

    Talk about falling for a bluff!

  10. After saying all that, I did want to state again: I liked the movie. Just because the flaws bug me doesn’t mean I can’t find it enjoyable. I’m not trying to go on a “OMG HORRIBLE MOVIE HAET” rant here, and I know it sounds like I’m slamming it, but I’m addressing the flaws specifically (the things that annoyed me) and not the movie overall.

    Also, the ads at the bottom are especially hilarious today. Just a bunch of random machinery ads brought on by the phrase “swivel joint”. I love it when that sort of thing happens. :D

  11. LOL, Luke. Good points everyone. Luke, I hadn’t thought about Nuala challenging him. In fact, so I can still enjoy the film unscathed I’m going to pretend only a man can challenge for the golden army.

    *sobs*

    ~Matt Booker

  12. …currently, there is an ad at the bottom of the screen.

    “All Metal & Rubber Expansion Joints”

    I thought of Sunstreaker. It was hilarious and very, very wrong.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. What have you done to me, Matt?!

  13. “And the crown probably couldn’t be melted down.”

    Liz seemed to have no more trouble with it than she would lighting a candle.

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