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by yo go re

Okay, the monster was nice - how are the humans?

Hank believes in the simple things, like the value of a hard day's work or the joy of indiscriminately firing a Laser Cutter at bloodthirsty predators. Which is why he cherishes the quiet moment after calling down an Orbital Barrage on whatever creature is currently pissing him off. The ensuing bombardment of fiery death really puts things into perspective.

There are four classes in the game: Assault, Trapper, Medic, and Support; the Support characters' job is less about doing direct damage to the monster, and more about helping their teammates out. While they can hit the beasties and knock off some of that health bar, it's not their most valuable trait. Some of them can find the monster, or track the monster, or make the other hunters hit harder or travel faster. Hank, meanwhile, is great at keeping his teammates alive.

Grandson of the first colonists on Mercury, Henry "Hank" Allen is a grizzled space prospector. He's got both a mining license and a demolitions license, which is why he's allowed to launch bombs from orbit. He's got a big, bushy beard, and a cigar dangling from his mouth. A cigar! When was the last time a toy of a character who smokes actually smoked? Even Nick Fury and Howard the Duck had to give it up, and that was at least a decade ago. Hank completes his look with a backwards baseball cap, a pair of goggles on his forehead, and big yellow headphones, because this is the future, and old guys will dress like they play Madden.

The Support class all seem to wear some sort of heavy mechanical braces on their legs, possibly suggesting the equipment they carry around is heavier than usual. It starts with steel toes on the boots, jet boosters on the ankles, thick kneepads, a low-slung belt, and then a bar that runs up along the spine to a large set of shoulderpads. He has a large jetpack in the center of his back, and two smaller boosters on his belt. Plus, a pair of fancy flashlights point over the shoulders. The Support's signature color is yellow, and it's all over his harness, which is also painted with black and silver splotches to suggest the paint is wearing away. It's really well done, and adds some character to the design.

Actually, speaking of paint, Hank has a queen of hearts playing card strapped to his left arm. It's molded in place, but the paint on it is perfect. And over on his right arm, he's got a large tattoo that has been reproduced exceptionally well. The tattoo is of a cowgirl named Ivy, sitting on the Earth and clutching her namesake plant to cover her chest. It's crazy how much detail they got into this! Sure, the moon is blue when it should really be pale gray, but they colored the globe, the continents, the yellow banner curled by her feet, all of it. There's less shading, but the colors are there. Oh, and one of the minor little Easter eggs on the game renders is that the girl in Hank's tattoo has his name tattooed on her arm - the toy does that! We're talking letters that are less than a millimeter high, and that no one would miss, but they're here. That's outstanding!

But while the paint is the most professional thing you've ever seen, the sculpt it's applied to is less than impressive. The box seems to credit Gentle Giant for the sculpt, but all the detail everywhere on the figure is soft. This is like a RealScan product from a decade ago. Think about the way NECA or the Four Horsemen sculpt clothes and exposed skin, where you've got unique textures and small wrinkles and everything that makes an item look real. On this figure, you get just the loosest basic shapes and everything is kind of smooth, like it hadn't finished rendering when they hit the big green "GO" button on the computer to start prototyping it. The Goliath was much better.

Hank's articulation is fine. He has swivel feet, hinged ankles, hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, swivel/hinge wrists, elbows, and shoulders, and balljointed torso and neck. The leg braces are designed to work with the articulation, by having hinges of their own next to the knees, and not actually attaching to anything at the waist - rather, the upper ends are just tucked in behind pods that look like they would attach. This keeps the legs' range of motion mostly unimpeded. Unfortunately, no one thought to do the same thing for the spinal bar, which attaches to both the waist and the shoulders, making the chest joint pointless.

Rather than being armed with the Laser Cutter shown in the promotional game rander on the back of the box, Hank comes with his Shield Projector, which creates a single-target protective bubble, allowing him to prevent damage to his fellow Hunters. It looks like the in-game device, and he has enough articulation to hold it, but it could still have been done better. Only one side of it is painted, and according to screenshots, it's the side that faces his body. Plus, it's only flat like this when it's not in use: to activate it, he pulls the two handles toward himself; so it would have been nice if they were hinged, here; heck, even molding it in its "active" position would have been preferable.

I got the Goliath because it was a big cool monster for anybody to fight. I got Hank because he reminded me of WizKids and Plan-B Toys' Shadowrun: Duels game figures. He's a cool old dude, but amazing paint can't make up for an undetailed sculpt. I still like him, he's just not the best that he could be.

-- 09/03/15

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