HBII Liz Sherman
Just the other week we took a look at a Hellboy action figure from Mezco. He had some problems - some serious problems, in fact - that dragged his score down, but overall he was a great figure. So, as I expected, I found myself back at Toys R Us looking for more figures.
But, alas: I was too late.
It turns out that ten bucks for an action figure that should be eighteen is a tough deal to pass up.
Well, a few days passed, and my birthday rolled around. My wife handed me a pile of presents and - wouldn't you know it - she'd picked me up a Liz Sherman (she must have gotten to Toys R Us a few days before me).
Needless to say, I pulled Liz out of her package to take a look. I was a little concerned, since her boyfriend had some issues, but I'm happy to report that she was problem-free.
The majority of what I have to say here is positive: overall, Liz is a great looking figure. But there are, of course, a few points that could have been improved.
Lets start with the head. The sculpt work here is exceptional: I don't have anything bad to say about her face. The hair is little more mixed. I actually love the design for the hair, and even the sculpt looks good. My only point of contention here is with the paint work, which is missing some detail in parts.
Overall, the body is very well done, though, from certain angles, she does look a little skinny. This is pretty common with female action figures, though, so I'm not going to judge it too harshly. Like Hellboy, she's in a seven inch scale, but keep in mind she's not a huge character. Hellboy towers over her, which seems right to me. The arm sculpts - all four of them (more on this in a minute) look fantastic, though the poses of some of the hands are a bit... silly (I'm not deducting for this, since there are plenty of options that look fine).
I am, however, deducting for the hips. Ball joints, no matter how well done, never look right on a human figure (at least not at the waist). That said, these are about as good as they come. It's not quite on par with the solution Mattel's been using... but it is really, really close.
The overall "clothing" is well done, if a little plain. To be honest, I can't tell if more detailing would have worked or if less might have blended better, but the overall effect just isn't quite as good as it could have been. Also, the boots are bit large for the figure, which makes her appear somewhat animated. It's hard to complain too much about this, though, since I doubt she could stand if they'd made her feet the right size. Now, just to be clear, I'm really nit-picking about a lot of this: the toy they ended up with is in no way bad. In fact, it might be the best looking female action figure I've seen in a long time.
I'm giving Liz a score of eight. She's not perfect, but she is close. If they'd gone for the style of hips used in the DC Universe Classics line, she'd have easily gotten a nine.
Packaging and Extras: +1
I don't have a lot to say about the packaging that I haven't already said. And, since I didn't say much when I reviewed Hellboy, I really don't have much. I still think it's weird that the movie's title is only advertised in abbreviated form, but at least they're able to give Liz's name:
Beside Liz, you get three accessories: two alternate arms and a utility belt. She actually comes wearing the belt: I almost didn't notice it came off. Actually, I should warn you, it comes off better than it goes back on. If you absolutely want to display her with it on, I'd leave it on. But, if you're like me, you'll think she looks better without it.
Play and Display: +1
You get a lot of articulation here, though there are some omissions you'll wish had been included. The ball-jointed head gives you some options, but the sculpt restricts it a bit.
The shoulders are also ball-jointed. Sort of. They're actually really weird, but you get a good range of motion without hurting the appearance. The elbows are pins, which is pretty much the expectation. The swappable forearms function as a cut joint, which is nice. All in all, the arms are really good, but... there's something missing. If there was an added cut joint beneath the shoulder, she'd be able to bring her hands together. Why does this matter? Because both of her empty hands would work with the item held in the other. The empty left hand could be placed over the gun, as if she's loading it. The empty right could be used with the fire, so it would appear that she was conjuring with both. Her arms work fine as is, but they'd be perfect with the extra joint.
Also, I just want to add that the extra arms work great. They fit in tightly, turn easily, and go in and out without difficulty. That may not sound like anything out of the ordinary, but I've seen a lot of alternate joints that either become stuck and lodged in place forever or constantly fall out of the socket. It's always nice to see something work the way its supposed to.
Liz also has a cut waist, but this is problematic,since she's not (obviously) not a perfect circle. If you turn her a little, it looks fine, but turn her more and large sections of plastic become apparent. This, incidentally, is where that belt comes in: it covers the joint, so there's no problem. Personally, I prefer her without the extra belt: it just looks a little over sized, and I like the normal belt she has underneath.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 10/10
According to my records, I haven't been able to dish out a score this high to an action figure since last November. It isn't that Liz is perfect, it's just that she's ALMOST perfect. What's more, for every problem the figure has, there's something else that makes up for it. The alternate arms really make the figure stand out, at least in terms of value.
Originally, she was going for about sixteen dollars, which is pretty standard for toys in this scale (remember: she's seven inch, not six). Given the quality of the figure, along with the accessories, it isn't hard to make the case that she's worth every penny. If you picked her up for closer to ten, well: that's a heck of a deal. I just wished I had picked up an Abe Sapien when I had the chance.