Review : Sammael
Hellboy (Mezco Toys)
Wave/Series : Previews Exclusive
Released : 2004
Price : N/A
Sammael, The Desolate One, was one of the prime antagonists from the 2004 Hellboy movie. He was initially excluded from the subsequent figure range from Mezco, and then released as an exclusive via Previews.
Like the other larger figures across the Hellboy range, such as the Angel of Death and Wink, Sammael commands a premium currently on the secondary market - more so fully packaged with the exclusive sticker.
After bagging Johann Krauss recently I believed my Hellboy luck was out for another few months, but I then stumbled across this loose figure of Sammael. The figure we are reviewing does have a couple of issues - including a broken tusk on his left cheek and loose hip joints, hence the stand used in our images.
If you find Sammael carded, then he arrives in the clamshell packaging in the same style as the other figures from the 2004 basic releases. With the figure and blister offset to the right, the left hand side of the card bore the Hellboy logo and a picture of Red himself. The figure name was picked out in a grey insert at the base of the blister, and for Sammael an over-sticker indicated his exclusivity to Previews. Sammael was not packed with accessories, so if you are buying loose your only concern needs to be the condition of the figure.
The card back is standard across the Hellboy 1 figures with a group shot of the released figures and an image of Sammael hovering over them. Across this to the right is a paragraph detailing the films basic plot.
Sammael stands almost 9 inch tall and is a hefty weight in hand. The sculpt is amazing with a mountain of detail from head to toe. Starting at the head, the sculpt captures Sammaels's gaping jaws and his 4 eye sockets. It is worth mentioning here that I believed one of my eyes was missing on the figure, but research has shown that this intentional to mirror the film. From the head a series of head tails snake away and flow over his shoulders. These are cast in a flexible plastic so that they move easily with the head.
If you work your way down the body you will see the skin is a textured almost bark affair, with swirls and patterns painstakingly carved in - none of this is paint work, its all sculptural. Some of this detail is almost runic, there is no repetition. The back is particularly impressive with an exposed spine working its way down to his stunted tail area. Under the head around the neck area is another texture, again all sculptural and almost looking like coral.
The hands end in huge 3 fingered claws, with the right hand having what looks like an additional extra long digit. This is actually Sammael's ulna (forearm) which he can extend outward of his body to use as a club when needed. This club isn't an ultra brittle plastic, but I would check that this is not damaged if buying loose.
The whole figure is painted with a green colour scheme, starting with a pale green and over this a darker wash which has settled in all the sculpted effects to bring out the design. On top of this is some degree of drybrush. Areas like the knees and shoulders have a lighter finish, while the chest and hands are much darker - and it is this variation that tops off a wonderful paint job.
Articulation on the figure gets off to a great start with a ball jointed head AND an articulated jaw which means Sammael can be posed with mouth wide open, mouth closed, or anything in between.
The shoulders are ball jointed and move out fully to the side and above the head. The shoulders are then supported by a bicep swivel, and a well done one at that as it is shaped in with the muscle of the arm not just a flat cut that you quite often see. Elbows are a pinned joint and can be bent at 90 degrees. The wrist is a similar joint allowing the hand to pivot back and forth, although there is no option to rotate. Even the right hand Ulna-club is articulated and can be bent back and up against the forearm if you want to hide it from view.
There is no chest joint, but the waits can swivel - although doing so pushes the stomach and spine detail out of line and looks a bit odd. The hips are ball jointed, and are sadly a weak spot in terms of not being ratcheted and able to support the weight and bulk of the figure - watch out for this when buying loose as I had to drop my Sammael onto a Kaiser stand to put him on display. Just under the hips is a thigh swivel - not as well done as the bicep, but its not as ugly as others I have seen.
There is a single knee joint and the same at the ankle, which allows Sammael to be stood fully upright, or with bent knees and hunched forward - with both options still letting the feet be flat to the floor.
Sammael is a big, bulky, heavy and very impressive figure and if you are a Hellboy fan don't let the age put you off. Even though he is 12+ years old now, he still holds his own against anything being done today by Diamond or even NECA to a degree. Be aware he will set you back as his stock has risen considerably since release - more-so due to his exclusivity. Loose is obviously cheaper, depending on your collecting focus, but watch out for damaged digits, head tails and the cheek tusks. On the flip side don't forget the eye is supposed to be missing. Watch out for loose joints at the hips (may be inevitable considering the figures weight) and be prepared to invest in a good stand for him.
Scoring Sammael, I have very little choice other than to give a top score of 5 out of 5. The sculpt and paint job are really well done and the articulation is great - with more than you would expect in terms of the jaw and club. Nice work Mezco.