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Trenchcoat Hellboy w/ Von Klempt

Review by SamuRon. Pictures by Magnuz.

Fans of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy rejoiced when Mezco Toys announced they would be following up their highly-regarded Hellboy Movie action figures with a line based on the comic. The 8-inch scaled Hellboy Comic line hit specialty stores last month – and the line has lived up to the hype, with uniformly positive reviews across the board. In this review, I’ll be taking a closer look at one of the two exclusives available – the Trenchcoat Hellboy with Von Klempt. (For a review of the other exclusive, the Battle-Damaged Hellboy from figures.com, please see Michael Crawford’s review.)

PACKAGING

Trenchcoat Hellboy comes packaged like the other figures in this series, in a sturdy clamshell suitable for display. Mike Mignola created new artwork for the insert for each character in the series, and the Trenchcoat Hellboy shares the artwork produced for the Hellboy that is available at retail. Even though I like to keep a carded collection, I couldn’t resist cutting this package open, completely neglecting my duty to take a picture of the packaging for this review.

SCULPTING

If you are a fan of Mignola’s artwork, this figure is eye candy, plain and simple. The sculpt looks like it was lifted directly off the page, with many of the minute details captured faithfully, like the protrusion of Hellboy’s jaw, the barrel chest, the hooves, and the off-balanced appearance of the Right Hand of Doom coupled with his almost scrawny left hand. His skin is riddled with pockmarks, and the Right Hand of Doom is textured and cracked like a piece of marble that’s seen some years.

Like some of the more recent super-poseable figures, Mezco has been able to include sculpted details on joints. In this case, Hellboy’s ball-jointed hips feature the clothing folds also seen on his shorts. In addition, his "utility belt" features the creases and folds of worn leather, on the pouches and pockets that are hard plastic as well as the softer plastic used for his holster.

One note: the head sculpt of the retail version of this figure has three variants (closed mouth, teeth showing, and open mouth). The head sculpt on this exclusive features the closed mouth only, so if you’re looking to get one of these and want a different head sculpt for the retail version, look for the teeth showing or open mouthed versions.

PAINT

The paint is clean and precise. There’s no bleed where you might expect it, like at the hairline or edges of clothing – the paint is so precise that each of the five sculpted hairs on his chin are covered without slop on the jaw.

And he’s not just red and black. Deeper shades used in both a wash and airbrush very subtly bring out the details of the sculpt.

ARTICULATION

Hellboy does not include all the points of articulation that today’s super-poseable action figures have, but he comes close. More importantly, though, what is there is highly functional, and for the most part, well hidden.

He features ball-joints for his neck, chest (although with its limited range, it acts more like a swivel), shoulders, hips and right wrist for the fist portion of the Right Hand of Doom. The ball-joints provide really good range of motion and are deeply recessed, allowing them to flow smoothly with the sculpt. The articulation in his chest is well hidden by the cut of his pectorals – I didn’t notice it at first.

He has hinges for his elbows, knees, and left wrist, with the elbows and knees being single-jointed. Finally, he has swivels for his biceps, forearms, waist, and tail in two spots.

Most noticeably absent is articulation in the ankles, offsetting the poseability offered by ball-jointed hips and knees. Since Lobster Johnson and the Kriegaffe, two of the other figures in the line, have ankle swivels, one theory is that Mezco wanted to avoid the unstable ankles that plagued the Comic Hellboy figure from Graphitti.

ACCESSORIES

This figure is downright loaded with accessories. The first is the Herman Von Klempt head in a bottle. Von Klempt first appeared in a promotional piece published in the Comic Buyer’s Guide (and reprinted in the trade paperback of Seed of Destruction) and was a pivotal character in Wake the Devil. You can also get Von Klempt with the shortpacked Kriegaffe in the regular series, but the one in this package comes with a not-too-friendly-for-retailers but comic-accurate swastika painted on the forehead.

The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) trench coat is also unique to this package. Those familiar with the high quality work done for the San Diego Comic Con exclusives (the Extreme Hellboy and the Extended Features Hellboy both featured leatherette trench coats) will be happy with what Mezco has done with the cloth version here. It features a leatherette collar, sewed-on buttons and pocket flaps, and even the piece that reinforces the seam where Hellboy’s tail comes out. The right sleeve features the BPRD logo and the Clubs symbol that he had in the comic giveaway at the 1993 SDCC (also reprinted in the Seed of Destruction TPB).

The work is so intricate I almost expected to be able to stick some of the extra accessories in those pockets – unfortunately, you can’t. There’s some extra thread from all the stitchwork, but nothing that can’t be easily trimmed with scissors. Don’t expect to remove the coat without some work. I’ve heard that the Right Hand of Doom can be heated and popped off, but otherwise there’s no getting the sleeves over that big hunk of hand.

The rest of the accessories are all identical to what comes with the retail version. The "utility belt" is removable and comes with a separate crucifix on a chain looped around it. The holster is softer plastic with a bendable flap for holding the Samaritan, Hellboy’s gun. The Samaritan itself is highly detailed, with notches and scuffs on it. It’s one solid piece, so don’t expect it to flip open for ammo loading, like the one included with the movie version Hellboys.

And if that’s not enough, Hellboy also comes with a horseshoe (he used one in The Corpse short story to reveal a demon baby, featured in The Chained Coffin and Others) and a Zinco radio (he tried to use one in Wake the Devil). I couldn’t get him to hold the radio (his hand is inflexible, and molded to work with the Samaritan), and there’s no place to really put it on his belt – it can be wedged between some of the pouches, but I expect to lose it.

(Editor’s note: Magnuz schooled SamuRon on how to remove the trenchcoat – "You can pop off the RHOD if you just work it off slowly, while gripping the elbow firmly. It’s a really thick peg with not much lip, so its not that hard." – and how to fit the radio in Hellboy’s hand – "Just heat and bend.")

PLAYABILITY

This Hellboy is loaded with fun. The joints are sturdy and hold poses well, and with the accessories and the companion figures from the retail line, a lot you can recreate from the comics. The trenchcoat limits some of the movement possible, but I didn’t consider that a negative, since it was the primary reason I wanted this version of Hellboy.

IF FWOOSH RULED THE WORLD

If you couldn’t already tell, I’m all gaga over this figure. But if I had my way, I’d have made the Right Hand of Doom removable, so the trenchcoat could be easily removable too. I’d put real pockets on the trenchcoat, so I’d have a place to put the horseshoe and radio, plus I’d slip in a BPRD badge that he likes to flash. I’d either add articulation to the fingers of his left hand or make them more flexible, so he could actually hold something other than the Samaritan. And while I’m wishing here, I’d throw a strap-on Zinco jetpack with this figure, instead of waiting for the Rocket Hellboy that’s coming in series 2.

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Review by SamuRon. Pictures by Magnuz.

Fans of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy rejoiced when Mezco Toys announced they would be following up their highly-regarded Hellboy Movie action figures with a line based on the comic. The 8-inch scaled Hellboy Comic line hit specialty stores last month – and the line has lived up to the hype, with uniformly positive reviews across the board. In this review, I’ll be taking a closer look at one of the two exclusives available – the Trenchcoat Hellboy with Von Klempt. (For a review of the other exclusive, the Battle-Damaged Hellboy from figures.com, please see Michael Crawford’s review.)
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