Review : Abe Sapien
Wave/Series : Basic Series
Released : 2004
Price : N/A
Mezco's first Hellboy figures are now over 10 years old, yet still stand up really well in the modern collection. Hellboy is my grail collection, and I am slowly building my Hellboy assets year by year. After bagging Hellboy himself, Nuala and Liz Sherman in 2015, 2016 has started really well with the acquisition of not one, but two Abe Sapien figures.
Abe was released in 2004 as part of the first wave linked to the first Hellboy movie. Other figures in the launch wave were 4 variant versions of Hellboy himself as well as Kroenen and Rasputin. He would get a re-release in a 1.5 wave with battle damage added.
He arrives in a sealed blister pack, and unless it has been curated well over the past 12 years or so it will likely be starting to yellow and there be a brittleness to the perspex. The card art is quite dark, in tones of blue and black. In stark contrast there is a red Hellboy head & shoulders image to the left hand side and above this the intricate Hellboy logo in silver.
The back of the card details the plot of the Hellboy movie to the right hand side in a crisp white text. The rest of the card is made up of a composite image of all the figures in the wave with a grey lined art image of Sammael, the Desolate One, hovering above them all.
Out of the packaging and you will be presented with a rather naked looking Abe, as well as an alternative head sculpt, a belt, one of Sammael's eggs and a two part breathing apparatus. Abe stands dead on 7 inches high and has quite a bit of weight behind him considering what a slight frame he has.
There are two head sculpts included - one with goggles and one without - and both are a great likeness to Abe from the first HB movie, despite a lack of actual features for the sculptor to work with. Both heads, like the rest of Abe's body is decorated with a variation pattern of blue's and has a very high gloss finish to represent the wet look of his skin. The goggles on the alternative version are fixed into the sculpt and are decorated in black with bronze trim. The heads are really easy to swap over, a feature that more modern figures may want to look at.
Down from the head is a sculpted neck with gills to either side. The neck works down into a muscular chest which is again decorated in this blue variation with a high gloss finish. This continues down the arms to a web sculpted hand which is then over-painted with a more greenish tinge on the palms.
Abe wears a basic pair or knee length shorts, and as these are a lycra (or similar) fabric there is no discernable detail apart from a side seam, and a slit at the back where Abe's leg fins poke through. The shorts appear to be painted a flag grey, with a further wash on top. Like other figures of the era, the hip joints are quite clunky looking with the choice made of articulation over the look of the figure. Down from the shorts the high gloss blue skin continues down into the legs and finishes with some pointed toed feet.
Accessories are easy to install. The first is the belt and this wraps quite loosely round Abe's waste and fasteners with a plug. The belt is leather look with a dark brown base colour and a lighter brown dry-brushed on top. The buckle of the belt bears the BRPD logo and is picked out in a silver and bronze trim. Being quite a loose fit can mean the belt can slip down too low, but in the main it sits fine and can be adjusted easily.
The second accessory is the two part breathing accessory and this needs installing while the head is removed. The ribbed piece slots over the neck and the head goes back on to hold this in place. The second piece, the one that looks like a horse collar, is hinged and then slips around underneath the ribbed neck piece. Once on the head still keeps a good degree of movement, with the neck section concertinaing nicely as the head moves.
The final accessory is one of Sammael's eggs, and this doesn't really add any value. Abe's hands are both flat palmed so he can't hold these eggs at all - and it is a bit too small to have any impact as a display/diorama piece.
Articulation on the figure is awesome, and will put some modern figures to shame. Starting at the head and this is on a ball joint that not only serves move the head fully but is a dream to swap in and out for the two head versions. There is then a second joint under the neck piece giving Abe the ability to both move his head and then his neck. This means that without the breathing gear, Abe can actually look directly down at his own feet.
Ball jointed shoulders move the arms either straight out to one side or round right above his head. The arm articulation then goes on to a bicep swivel, an elbow joint, a forearm swivel and a pegged hand. There is a torso joint, but no waist swivel, and you then move down to those unappealing hip joints. They may not look great, but they move brilliantly and Abe can do the splits, or sit down or anything in between. Just below the hip ball is a thigh swivel, and then there is a basic knee joint and a final pivot on the feet which can be pointed with toes vertically downward.
I guess the articulation, all 21 points of it, is geared around getting Abe into a number of swimming/underwater poses - and it is therefore unfortunate that Mezco didn't go the extra mile and include a clear "flight" stand to help Abe make the most of all this movement.
Everything about Abe Sapien is brilliant, there are very few flaws and that is amazing considering he is already 11 years old as I write this. He isn't that easy to find nowadays, but when he does show up he isn't breaking the bank like some other HB figures like Sammael or Nuada. As one of the main backup heroes to Hellboy I think every HB collection needs an Abe, and this one is as good as any - with the other option being the Hellboy 2 version where Abe gets shoes and a shirt and a BRPD scanner.
I score Abe Sapien a perfect 5 out of 5