About two weeks ago, my toy collecting mentor sent me a text message to tell me that Raddj's toy store in Greenhills, Shoppesville Plus had a Mezco Sammael from the first Hellboy movie still mint in the clamshell. This toy has been on my wants list since Hellboy II: The Golden Army came out and I was able to see the Mezco line first hand. I wasn't collecting back during the first movie, so missed out on the first series of toys. I did complete the essentials from the second series like Johann and Liz and later lucked into The Ghost of Lobster Johnson, but the really great ones like Sammael and Officer Kroenen were out of my reach.
I honestly never thought I'd get a chance to own this figure. Since Mignola's poster boy has never been as popular as Batman or Wolverine, production runs of the action figures were never big to begin with and the people who bought them tend to be fans. That meant few people were giving up their Hellboy collections. Now that it's been so long since the last installment of the film series and chances of a third are slim, I doubt we'll ever see them re-issued either. Current eBay prices are just pure evil.
Imagine my surprise when I saw this for only P1,300.00 (less than $30 US)
Wink from the second movie. Like the old school Toy Biz Marvel Legends, you need to get a sharp knife and cut your way through the sealed plastic if you want to open this sucker. Once you open it, there's no turning back.
The graphic design on the package isn't that great anyway, so that's fine by me.
The first thing that struck me is the paint and plastic fumes that come at you like an 18-wheeler when you open this sucker. Whoa. Heady.
The second thing I noticed when I finally got it free from the twist ties (it's been so long since I've gotten a toy with twist ties I'd forgotten how much I hate the things), was how wonderfully made Mezco's stuff was back in 2004. There's no cost cutting here. The figure is solid, dense plastic, with paint applications, decent articulation, and a superior sculpt that is very near the model in the movie.
The third thing that struck me is that the fucker can't stand by himself. More on that later.
Let's start with the sculpt. It's amazing.
There's no other word for it. Unless that word is geekgasmariffic.
The thing is just layer after layer of niceness. The three eyes are there, lopsided so the right side has two while the other has just the one. The long middle finger on the right hand is there, and you can flip it out if you want. The fangs... oh the fangs.
The skin covering the whole thing is textured all around, with deep wrinkles and the signature spirals that Guillermo Del Toro's creature designs always seem to sport are all over the figure. They're not just painted either, but carved into the plastic.
Sammael is big, too. Not as massive as Wink was, but tall. Or long depending on how you have him oriented. If you stand him straight on his legs (a chore) he is about the same height as the troll.
I especially love the tentacles on his head. The way they've got them weaving and twisting up there really makes it look alive. And since they're mostly individual pieces and the material they're made of is soft, the headdress doesn't limit his head's motion.
It's also great that the articulation is so well worked into the artwork. He's got plenty of joints and most are very useful.
There are standard swivel-hinge joints at his neck, shoulders, hips and ankles, with hinge joints at his elbows and knees and a simple cut joint at the waist.
The jaw is the best part. The inclusion of a hinge joint that allows him to open and close his mouth is just the awesomesauce on an otherwise sweet action figure steak.
I do feel kind of annoyed at the wrist joints. The swivel hinges are oriented in a way that has the hands swing from side to side, rather than up and down. That's fine if he needed to shoulder a rifle like the Pursuit of Cobra Snake Eyes, but it's not really useful here.
He makes up for it with a hinged middle finger/ club thing. He used it in the movie, but I still think it is odd looking.
Which I suppose is what Del Toro was going for in the first place.
Paint wise he also gets top marks. Unlike the Series 1 Abe Sapien, the paint used on Sammael is mostly a matte finish. That's good news for me since it means I won't have to keep sticking him in the freezer to unstick his paint whenever I take him out from storage.
The washes and applications go well with the rough rhinoceros hide of the creature. I wish the second movie's toy line's paint applications were half this good. That huge gray splotch on my Wink still annoys the hell out of me.
About the only thing bad about the figure is the fact that the design of the creature itself is meant to stay on all fours. This means that the toy, which is pretty near the movie model, can't really stand on its own. Neither of the front limbs is posed for using as a foot, and the surface area of the rear limbs are too small to support the weight of the top half unless he's standing straight.
You can't really pose him sitting either, or crouching, because of the limits of his articulation. The best you can do is use a stand and display him in a lunging pose, or use the claw without the finger as a third leg, standing him on his finger tips.
Acceptable workarounds considering how cool he looks in both positions.
The price he currently demands is also a problem. I regularly see it on eBay for around $80 US, which I've considered paying more than once. When it came out, the thing was around $16-18, I think.
If you can find one for the price I got him at, I'd say pull the trigger and add him to your collection too. He makes a super monster to terrorize 3.75" figures even if you don't collect the Hellboy line.