Another Happy Meal toy set, another Burger McDo hangover...
At least it's not as bad as the last time, when I had to scarf eight McDo’s so that I could complete the Philippine set of the last Sponge Bob Squarepants figurines. This time I only had to get 4 Happy Meals to complete the four toys in the Ben 10 Ultimate Alien set that was released at the beginning of the month. The other four slots were taken up by Hello Kitty, so they can be readily ignored.
This Ben 10 Ultimate Alien set consists of 4 figures: a yellow Armordrillo, an orange Rath, a blue Echo Echo, and a green Ultimate Humungousaur. These are the figures that were released locally, but there seem to be a total of 6, including a red Water Hazard and gray Cannonbolt. If you’re a completest, you’re going to have to put in some time in with eBay and hunt them down some second hand ones.
Me? I just pretend the other two don’t exist and call my set complete.
If you’re not familiar with the cartoon series, Ben 10, it’s about a boy that finds a cool watch (actually the Omnimatrix, a repository of the genomes of numerous alien races) and discovers that with it, he can “go hero” (which means assume the form of one of those numerous alien races) and fight bad guys (which are usually members of one of those numerous alien races). It was a load of fun until they decided that Ben had to grow up and get all angst-y.
The figures are all cast in color and are translucent. They’re also hollow, with a small piece of cardboard inserted inside with an image of Ben Tennyson (or one of his many alien forms). I guess it’s a good way to show the transformation of the boy into the alien, but it looks kind of goofy, especially from the back.
Aside from being hollow, the bigger figures also have arms that aren’t entirely closed off. The back of their limbs are just hollowed out shells with some perpendicular supports, a lot like The Hulk figure from the Marvel Superheroes set. Coupled with they’re limited articulation that means the number of posing options aren’t really impressive.Rath is the bad. He looks fairly good (all four do), but he's articulation is the worst of the lot. Not that any of them have great joint work. They've all basically got shoulders and a neck, all swivels. However, Rath's neck is at an angle so he can't really look any way but one.
As usually, lets go from bad to good.
As usually, lets go from bad to good.
Ditto his shoulders: because of the way he's balanced, there aren't many positions you can keep the arms at. If you're a hair off, he falls over.
Still, the decent sculpting gets him a passing grade.
Echo Echo is my one of my favorites from the series, but this figure isn't the best. Like Rath, he good enough, if your standards aren't skewed by years of Marvel Universe and Revoltech figures.
While his joints are more along the proper planes, the pose the sculptor chose is unfortunate. Like Rath, it restricts him to a single pose if you want him to look like he makes any since. The right arm is so pre-posed that the shoulder swivel is practically useless, while the left arm just look awkward in anything but the relaxed position when paired with the right.
Like I said though, if you try and pretend that this a small, unarticulated figure, he works.
Armordrillo is huge compared to the other two, which automatically gives him extra brownie points.
I also like the fact that his color is lighter than either Rath's or Echo's, so you can see through him more. It's as if the Ben image inside is encased in a hologram, which is just neat.
Again, he suffers from the fact that he's got very limited articulation, but as his stance is less animated than the other two, moving his arms and head changes how he looks much more. Plus he doesn't have the balance issues that Rath does.
Ultimate Humungousaur is my favorite of the bunch, largely due to being the biggest and the greenest (I'm a Hulk fan). I love the fact that he's got a face, too, and like Rath, he's pissed.
Like Armordrillo, he's a beefy beast, with a form that can looked relaxed or in the midst of an action, depending on where you position his hands. His head rotates, too, and the angle of the swivel allows you to cock it in a way that makes him seem like a ornery cuss.
Two drawbacks to him though: his green is dark, so it's harder to make out the Ben image inside (which is actually an image of Ben's Humungousaur form). The green tone of the body is also different from the green tone of his arms. They used a different plastic for each part: the arms are made of a softer feeling material that is cloudier than the torso. Armordrillo has the same problem, but the lighter color makes the tonal shift less noticeable.
Still, his size and looks overpower that detail.
I'm likely going to be keeping this set of Happy Meal toys. I just love the core idea behind Ben 10: how a little boy gets to play hero for real. In my opinion, these are even better than the official Bandai line. They're bigger than those toys and they don't feel as stiff.
It's been several weeks since they've been released, but seeing as how Ben 10 isn't that popular a franchise, you might still have time to collect them all.
Get to it.