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Liz Sherman

Hellboy 2
by Artemis

There's no kind way to say it: Hellboy 2 was a pretty shoddy sequel. Oh, sure, it had creature design that stands up well to masterpieces like The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, but as a story, you have to admit that any movie that's scraping the bottom of the barrel so desperately as to rip off Men in Black 2 badly has run off the rails good and hard. Still, it was pretty.

Mezco, when designing the backing insert for this figure's packaging, didn't bother defining Princess Nuala's character, but neither did the movie, so all's fair there. She's your basic elfin damsel in distress, who floats about ethereally until it's kidnap time, then proves to be heroically plucky in the end, because everyone knows you can't get away with truly helpless damsels these days. Especially not if the deux ex machina they use to win has been staring everyone in the face for the past hour. Oh, and she's sporting a dash of twincest, just to give all the perverted fantasy fans their jollies.

Nuala as an action figure measures just under 7" - insert obligatory penis joke here - and I wish I had a scale to hand so I could also tell you how bloody light she is. Her entire body from the neck down (arms excepted) is a single hollow piece, very slightly flexible so as to avoid brittleness, which in turn makes the sculpt of her gown rather unambitious. On the plus side, the flat base to her gown makes her damn near impossible to tip over unless you take a proper swing at her. Her outfit is cast in dark blue, with light blue shaded on from the waist and biceps up - on the arms the shading is a bit haphazard, evidence of being done by simple drybrushing rather than the more refined effect you'd get from an airbrush, but on her torso the jewellery "corset" obscures the transition line. To the dress-painters' credit, they took the time to give her a slight dusting of light blue on her backside, just so we all know what Abe was thinking of.

The fine detail, sadly, isn't that fine. The grade of plastic used for the hollow body already puts the intricate strings of beads and metal plating around her middle behind the gun, and the gold paint picking them out doesn't go out of its way to help. I had only two Nualas to choose from at the store, and I went for face over figure, so I've wound up with the gold dots that are meant to be hitting the sculpted beads actually straying around above and below them, and the edges of the central plate (a darker, more bronze-y shade) insufficiently painted, with the underlying blue showing through. Her collar, cuffs, and the inner layer of skirt visible at the front are also picked out in gold - no highlighting or ink wash, just plain gold, which looks a bit cheap on the skirt as a result.

The shortcomings of her body aside, the face could have saved her - her dresses weren't that memorable in the film anyway. But the face is by far the worst part of the figure, not because of what it does, but because of what it doesn't do. The actual face, in shape and appearance, is decent work - she's got the fine nose, the dainty little chin, the strong cheekbones, and those big limpid eyes, with the features painted cleanly over a suitably pale, wan skin colour. But her face is perfectly plain, without the raised markings, and she's missing the eye shadow colouration extending back beneath her temples - in short, aside from the base skin colour, they forgot to do all the stuff that turned the actress into Nuala. Her hair is a bleached blonde-white, but the sculpt causes irritation, with the left side of the part falling down her back sculpted with a prominent cavity for her shoulder to fit into - a quarter inch above where her shoulder is.

What with the hollow body she's got less articulation than the average porn star - balljoint neck, swivel/pin shoulders, and swivel wrists. Now, granted Nuala wasn't a kung fu elf or anything like that (that was her brother's domain), but when a 7" figure that purports not to be a McStatue can't strike any pose besides the Team America secret signal, that's a let-down. The crinkled sleeves could have hid, at the least, a slanted swivel joint, which with the swivel wrists would have allowed her arms to be useful, and it's pretty disappointing that the cost-cutting hollow body ruled out a waist balljoint beneath the bottom edge of the corset thingy. Meanwhile, her shoulders don't allow the arms to rest straight down, which interferes with how "elegant" she can manage to look just standing there in her finery.

She's got three accessories, all of which are useless. First us is her piece of the Crown of This Movie's Goal, a teensy piece of plastic with a murky sculpt, and inelegant dark gold paint on the front only; the rear is flat black. Then there's the map cylinder, which has a slightly rough sculpt around its body, but for all intents and purposes is a plain cylinder that looks like a telescope you'd get with a cheap pirate figure. Lastly there's a blue book, with a very perfunctory drybrush on the page edges - which does nothing to disguise the fact that they're the same colour as the cover - and gold name plates on the front cover and spine, neither of which have any markings. Nuala's awkwardly tense hands are incapable of holding, using, manipulating, storing, or interacting in any way with any of her accessories, so you might as well just chuck them in the bits box.

This, then, is a cheap figure. The body is too cheap to be impressive, the face is too simplified to be credible in today's market, and the technical design of the figure is just poor, with no articulation possibilities and no way to display her own accessories. In fact, the only way in which she's not cheap is her price - even with the store discount I bought her at, I'd want an exceptional 7" figure at this price point, and Nuala isn't even adequate. You know how the Reviews page on OAFEnet says "You will not buy that of which we say, 'This sucketh.'?" This sucketh.


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