Sunday, August 26, 2012

Marvel Universe 3.75" Series 4 Beta Ray Bill (010)

Weeks after I get this guy, can you believe he's become a peg-warmer?  In these parts, there's so much of ol' BRB on the racks that the 5 Kraven, 3 Astonishing Beast, 2 Hulk and numerous Jubilee look like they are hot items.  Well, I guess they are, depending on where you live, but I jumped at the chance to get him at full retail thinking that he'd be hard to find.

Given that he's a cult favourite and that he has a working jaw makes him hard to resist.  But never did I think the cases that came over to Singapore would have so many Beta Rays that he'd be left on the shelves like an unwanted knockoff.

Clearly, he isn't.  I was always curious about the character.

Well, after I got over my "meh, this guy is  horse dude in Thor's armour" phase, anyway. (I was just 6 year-old or something.)  I'd did find out from the time I got BRB that his story is fleshed out in "The Ballad of Beta Ray Bill" but I have yet to locate a physical copy so I'll still have to wait to find out more about him.  The action figure though?  I can tell you about him right now! ;)


Like: The working jaw/mouth!  Seriously, it's awesome!  I think this is a first for Marvel Universe figures, so I'm glad they put in the extra effort/resources to get it done.  His head sculpt is new and they could have left it at that but didn't.  Great job here, Hasbro!

Like: The great head sculpt and paint!  He's got stern look moulded into his skeleton horse head (though Korbinites will say he's actually smiling or something), with very nicely detailed cheekbones and teeth.    Even his "nostrils" above his upper lip have been moulded in.  These even have some pink wash in them to match the gums and inside of his mouth.

The wings on his helmet are separately sculpted and glued onto his head.  They're nice and soft and match the colour of the silver they used for his helmet.


His eyes have a black base with white "pupils", while his teeth are also well picked out in white.

I like that they aren't all neat-looking as it adds to the alien-ness of the guy.  Overall the paint on his head is clean, though the close-ups can really enhance the paint flaws.  BRB actually has one of the more consistently painted heads I've seen in the line.

Dislike: That because of the working mouth, the rear clip that keeps the lower jaw in place block the up/down movement of the head.  It's a pity because the back of Bill's head is free from obstruction and could otherwise give full ball-joint movement.  ah well, you can't win 'em all. :/


Like: His new new-age legs!  These are new sculpts, with the thigh cut nearer the knee to accommodate the thigh-high "pre-boots."  Lol.  I'm referring to his thigh armour pads, if you will.  Those are sculpted as part of the upper thigh, so it's nice and solid.  The lower thigh has banded armour detailed worked into it, even though it could've been plain and we could've gotten by.  But again, A+ for effort on Hasrbo's part.

Like: His fancy-schmancy knee-high boots!  These are very cleverly done.  Newly sculpted lower legs are topped by regular knee joint pieces.  But they've glued on specially moulded, form-fitted soft plastic knee pads.  End it off with newly moulded feet and the end result is pretty comic book accurate as far as I can tell. :)

Like: The moulded gold plastic they used from Stormbreaker, his belt (separately moulded piece) and his boots.  It's shiny enough and doesn't look plasticky.  And because it isn't painted it looks really smooth and burnished.  I really like it!

Like: His articulation.  He's got 26 points by my count, which includes a chest pivot and a waist swivel.  Them's the benefits of sharing a body with classic Thor! ;)  But more impressively, he's got thigh cuts as well as the aforementioned hinge jaw.  All the better to jabber with! Or bite.  That works too. :P

A point about the jaw: if you find one that's misaligned in package, it's probably because it's a snap-on hinge joint that's gotten a little loose.  What would help would be to close his mouth and snap the jaw back in properly.  That's all you need to do it shift his lower jaw back in place. :)

Dislike:  This is more of an "I'm not so sure" but it's that his shoulder guards are sculpted as part of his cape.  That means when you remove his cape, the guards come off too.  The upside is that you have shoulder guards which sit very nice and high above his shoulders as they should.  I guess this must have been the cheapest way to do it but then again, this is a small price to pay for new legs, a new head, and a working jaw.  Oh and they did sculpt the patterns on hi shoulder guards so it isn't all a cheapo job, if at all.


RATINGS


Aesthetics: 9/10 - This guy looks great, even if you don't know who he is!  Granted, he may look like a Thor ripoff to some, but Thor doesn't even dress this way any more.  His alien head, futuristic go-go boots, some blue torso lines and circles, and his white gloves may be all that separate him from classic Thor, but you won't notice these unless you put them side by side.  But the fact his that he's comic book accurate and has really great new sculpts for his head and legs.  BRB will look great next to classic Thor, modern Thor, or even movie Thor--he's just different enough to make him stand out.


Poseability: 9/10 - Besides the back jaw clip blocking most of the up and down movement, Beta Ray is very much unobstructed when it comes to his PoAs.  His cape does get in the way sometimes, but that can be adjusted or removed completely.   BRB can almost squat because of the double-hinged knees and the thigh swivels, but he's missing the new hinge/swivel "shoe" ankles, which would've allowed that.  He can still half-squat, so that's something.

He also does have that fabulous hinge jaw, which adds such a variety of looks to the figure.  He can be talking, laughing, taking a jaw-breaking blow, biting, issuing a battle cry--you name it.  It's a pity that his head can't fully tilt up, otherwise it would add even more to his expressiveness.

Fun: 9/10 - A guy who can half-squat, and open his mouth in a battle cry can also look like a guy taking a triumphant dump.

With 26 PoAs, having defeated Thor even before he was given Stormbreaker, and that jabber-jaw, he's more than interesting enough that you'd want him next to Thor or among your Asgardian pantheon display or duking it out with Thor or his enemies.

Beta Ray's uniform can be a great excuse for classic Thor comedy, but is also a reminder that there's more than just one person out there who is worthy of the God of Thunder's powers.  wouldn't it be awesome if he made it into Thor 2? ;)

Value: 8/10 - A new head, new legs, a new joint (jaw), a new cape, and a new hammer.  Now that's great value.

If BRB had come with the old school figure stand and Fury/H.A.M.M.E.R. File, he'd be bumped up a point. But as is, he's already value for money.  I'm also thinking that the shorter lower thigh will come in handy when paired with regular upper thighs for those who want to do customs of shorter figures.


Overall: 8.8/10 - It's a Keeper! (And you'd almost take and arm or leg [non-plastic] for it!) - The only reason there are zounds of him on the pegs here is most probably because he's not well-known enough.

As great a figure as he is, collectors and fans would probably just get the one.  Some would get two--one to open and one to keep in package--but the kids would ignore him.

Let's hope he makes an appearance in an animated series or a movie and we'll see this figure disappear soon enough.  Then again, Hasbro does a great job marketing and moving Marvel Universe really well in these parts, so he may be here today, gone tomorrow.  So I'll say this--get him if you can!  he's obviously important enough that they gave him a spot in the line and bothered to cook up some new parts for him! ;)



16 comments:

  1. I have yet see any figures out of this wave yet in my area. Am still holding out for that Blastarr figure you showed a short while ago he looks so awesome.

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    1. Wow, really? I'd thought the Philippines would've also had their share of these. Ok, best of luck. May you walk into a toy store one day and find more than a few complete waves there. ;)

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  2. Your picture story was great! HAHA! I have YET to find one frickin regular Thor figure. But again Mexico is not only dry in water...

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    1. Thanks! That's too bad about the availability of MU in your neck of the woods. Order online?

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  3. I picked him up yesterday and he's become one MU favorite figures this year!

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  4. No love from Hasbro on the new waves here yet, Mate- waiting... this looks killer! I really want my Blastarr & Jubilee

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    1. Ok. Good things come to those you wait. ;P

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  5. Nice but easy pass for me, not really a big fan of BRB. I'm sure you have the ASX Beast, single Hulk or 2 Pack Hulk, Scarlet Witch and the classic Punisher - These 4 are a must haves for me. I can't their reviews. Btw, we enjoyed your comic strip, keep it up.

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    1. Thanks, I enjoyed writing and shooting it too! Heh. ;) Of the figures you mentioned, I do have the Hulk and ASX Beast, as well as Scarlet witch and Punisher coming in among others. I did the Hulk review a few posts back!

      http://chasevariant.blogspot.sg/2012/07/marvel-universe-375-series-4-hulk-007.html

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  6. Ah yes, I've seen that but forgot to read it. Thanks again for sharing it.

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  7. Finally saw this at my toys r us and they did not stay on the shelf for long. I grabbed one before some other collector got to it. Its like we are getting jacked for good marvel figures in new york

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    1. Oh, wow. There continues to be plenty of them on the pegs here in Singapore. No worries, Hasbro usually does a good job of distribution. Really glad you managed to snag one, though!

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  8. I hope you read his story. He is an awesome character and one of my favorites.
    If you didn't read, hes a cyborg and has a horse head because his creators wanted the cyborg to look scary.

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    1. Actually, I haven't. But I intend to! And thanks for the headsup on his background. ;)

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