Sunday, August 19, 2012

NWC Figure Fraction - Venture Bros. 3 & 3/4 Inch Brock Samson

By Geddy Cahoon

Yes everyone, your eyes do not deceive you - After a 9 month hiatus due to a broken camera, the NWC Figure Fraction is back! I was kindly lent a camera, and have been taking photos of tons of things over the course of the past few days - I'll be set with reviews for the next few months.

I decided to start this new pool of reviews with probably the most recently released figure I own - Bif Bang Pow's 3 & 3/4 inch scale Brock Samson. 

Hit the jump to here my thoughts on Bif Bang Pow's first offering from the sporadically released Venture Bros. line!
I've really been warming up to The Venture Brothers in recent weeks - In one of the first NWC podcasts, I noted that I had given the show multiple shots and couldn't get into it. Well, I gave it another shot a few weeks back, and I'm happy to say I really dig it now. It is a show that warrants multiple viewings if you're on the fence about it.

Anyway, whenever I get into a new property, one of the first things I do is pick up some figures. Bif Bang Pow is the company that owns the rights to produce figures of Venture Bros., and they haven't been doing much with the license. Last year, they attempted to introduce a subscription-based series of Venture Bros. figures a la MOTU Classics from Mattel. It didn't work.

They didn't reach the minimum number of preorders to produce the line, so instead BBP is opting to release two figures every few months in small numbers. Brock Samson, the Venture family's murderous bodyguard, is the first of those figures. One of the only issues with this release schedule is that we won't be seeing a figure of Rusty until February 2013 - The next figures releasing after Brock are Hank and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, and those aren't dropping until November. The scheduling of these figures is somewhat maddening.

 Without any further background info, let's dust off the keyboard and hop into this thing.

Packaging: 9/10

I very much like Brock's packaging. It's a tad big for such a small figure, but it just looks nice. I like the sky blue and the earthy green colors together - They mesh very well. I also really dig the fact that it looks as though Brock is standing in front of Venture Industries - If you leave him in the package, it's almost as if you've got a little diorama.

Brock also features a nice little name card in front of his feet.

The back of the package is nice as well. It features Hank and Dean doing their signature "Go team Venture!" pose in one of their bedrooms or something. I assume this back is not specific to Brock and rather will be a generic cardback that all of the figures will feature. It's nice looking at any rate.

This figure's packaging is really great. I was almost tempted to leave him encased in his plastic prison because it looks so great and complements the figure so well, but in the end I opened Brock so I could review him here.

Paint: 5/10

Yeah so that's a bit of a red flag. I wanted to put some kind of spin on this or something to make it seem less bad, but the paint on this thing is fucking atrocious. He definitely looks good from a distance, but he's riddled with little issues that bothered me more and more as I looked him over for this review.

As you can see, Brock has a large black smear on his right bicep. Again, something that isn't visible from a distance, but it could conceivably get aggravating for the price these figures go for.

Brock's two-way wrist communicator watch is atrociously painted as well. The little aqua screen part looks okay, but it's a bit off-center. Also as you can see, the brown from the strap sloppily overlaps onto the gray of the watch itself. It looks fine from a distance, but are you getting as sick of hearing that as I am of saying it? Also just to note it while the picture is up here, his hands are very sloppily molded as well.

The paint on his shoes is largely fine. Brock's legs are molded in the baby blue color of his jeans, and the blue is bleeding through his loafer a little bit. But the paint on the strap and the shoe itself is actually decent. A tad sloppy, but not as annoyingly bad as the wrist communicator. Especially since you're not really looking at his shoes.

Most of the paint issues I've listed have been bad, but not shamefully bad or anything like that. The paint on Brock's head? Up close it is shamefully bad. It's spotty, sloppy, and just.... Ugly. As you can see, there's some yellow from his pompadour slopping onto his forehead, as well as parts of his hair that don't actually have any color.

As you can see, a chunk of the back of his mullet is mussing too. His hair is covered in patches and scratches. One other thing I want to note that isn't paint-related - I really hate the fact that you can see the mold lines around Brock's hair and chin from where his head was chopped out of the mold during production. Seriously, it's like sub-bootleg quality. Bif Bang Pow couldn't bring themselves to clean up the cuts a little bit? Jeez.

As you can also see, the paint around Brock's collar is pretty terrible, and his eyebrows look a little funky as well.

So, based on the amount of issues I listed here, you must think I hate this figure. The thing is, as negative as this category sounded, I just don't hate Brock. The issues are deplorable, sure, but from far away, the paint really does look okay and the figure has a certain charm to it. I don't know. I keep glancing at him over on the shelf, and the color scheme of the figure really works, issues aside.

Accessories: 6/10

Okay, now in this category, Brock is actually pretty bare bones. He only features one accessory - His knife.

But sometimes you just have to go with quality over quantity. The knife is a nice looking little piece. The paint is okay and it's made of a material that's a bit too pliable, but it fits in Brock's hand quite well.

One of the other cool things is that Brock has a little holster that the knife can go into. It fits in really well and looks great.

Like I said, Brock doesn't come with too much crap and the accessory he does come with isn't amazing enough to boost the score too too much, but it's a nice little accessory that complements Brock well.

Articulation: 8/10

Brock's articulation is limited, but I really like it. Think Mattel's JLU, but with hinged knees. 

Brock features cut shoulders and hinged elbows...

A cut neck that allows rotation...

Cut legs and hinged knees...

And finally, a cut waist that allows his torso to be rotated.

Again, the articulation is somewhat limited. You can't exactly get Brock into the most dynamic of poses. However, something about the simplicity of it just works. It's one of the saving graces of the figure.

Sculpt: 7/10

Okay, here's (to me) the most important aspect of any figure. A figure's sculpt can make or break it. The sculpt on Brock is... Good. That's it. It's not bad, or terrible. Just good. It is not however, without its share of flaws.

As you can see, Brock's headsculpt is pretty decent. It's appears to be a spot on resemblance, but there is something... Off about it. I can't quite put my finger on what. I think it's the fact that typically, Brock's facial expression on the show is neutral with a hint of anger. Here, he looks like he's upset or in pain or something. It definitely looks like Brock though, no one's disputing that. His hair is quite nice looking as well. I already complained about those nasty mold lines around the hair and chin, but other than that, the headsculpt is a fairly good one.

Brock's torso is spot on. Bif Bang Pow has perfectly captured Brock's barrel-chested glory. The giant bolts in his forearms are a tad obnoxious, but flaws with the hand molding and bolts aside, Brock's upper body is a thing of beauty.

Okay, here's where we run into several issues... Brock's lower body looks great. There's not much else to say there. But the way the figure is sculpted results in him pretty much being unable to stand unless his knees are bent in a very specific way. The thing is - There's weight to this figure. He is much heavier than a figure this size normally would be. However, almost all of that weight lies in the figure's top half. And his legs are extremely spindly on top of that. You do the math.

This happened so many fucking times throughout this review...

So yeah, he tends to fall down. A lot. I get that Brock needs to be proportioned like this in order for the figure to be accurate. But he definitely should've weighed less. This issue shouldn't effect the rest of the figures that are coming out, but it's really aggravating. Brock will stand fine if you get him into the exact right pose, but he topples quite easily. I didn't see any damage to my figure from the falling, but it's definitely possible. Be careful posing this guy.

Overall this is a nice sculpt that is unfortunately bogged down by some issues that cannot be overlooked.

Overall/Value: 7/10

This really is an average figure. The sculpt and articulation are really nice, but unfortunately he has issues in both of those categories, and terrible issues in most other categories. Brock was a real pain in the ass to review but... I still need to recommend him.

Oh his flaws are aggravating and will definitely be a turn off for some. But the thing is, he's inexpensive enough that I can overlook most of the issues. I only paid 12 bucks for him. He's $9.99 straight from the manufacturer. That isn't a bad deal. Perhaps a bit overpriced, but he could've easily cost even more. If you're a new fan of The Venture Bros. like me, or a huge fan of the series as a whole, you should pick this up. I really want to see Rusty, The Monarch, and The Phantom Limb get released next year. It'll only happen if Brock, Dr. Mrs. The Monarch and Hank sell well.

If you've got a spare ten-spot laying around, Brock is worth picking up. You may be disappointed by aspects of him, but overall he's worth owning. Plus, now you have a Brock Samson figure that can fight Batman!

Of course he fucking fell over while I was trying to take this shot.

That's it for today! I'm pretty happy to be running the Figure Fraction again, and I hope you guys enjoy reading my reviews. Be sure to leave a comment or like the NWC Facebook Page to tell us what you thought! Thanks for reading, and let's all keep collecting action figures well beyond the age it's generally considered socially acceptable!

ALSO! Check back Tuesday for the first edition of NWC Figure Fraction: TURTLEMANIA!

This Tuesday, I kick things off with a review of Leonardo.

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