Review : The Angel of Death
Hellboy II (Mezco)
Wave/Series : Deluxe Boxset Release
Released : 2008
Price : N/A
Pros : large and imposing
Cons : practically no articulation
Anyone who follow the site and my reviews knows I like nothing more than hunting down some older figures for my collection and for a couple of years now the main focus has been the Mezco Hellboy figures from the first two movies.
While the basic figures are, to an extent, easier to find at a decent price - the larger deluxe figures are more of a challenge. Particularly the 2008 deluxe Angel of Death from The Golden Army. Truly a figure that can be called a "Grail" piece.
There is a saying that you should never meet your heroes as you will be disappointed, and there is sadly a trend here that you should never own your grail pieces. We will see why shortly.
I secured my Angel of Death as a loose piece, so the images here are stock photos of the packaging. The Angel came in a box rather than the blister packs of the other figures. It was predominantly a gold clockwork design, in keeping with The Golden Army, with a contrasting burgundy background. Rather than "Hellboy" the text goes with "HBII" as the main box logo and the character name is placed to the side of this. The figure can be viewed through a window in the front that then wraps round the top flap.
Round the back, the box had no text details like we see on many figures at the moment - no plot summary, no character bio. We do get a look at figures also available for the Hellboy sequel - there are images of Hellboy, Nuala and the brilliant Goblin.
In hand this is a pretty impressive piece size wise. The figure stands from base to crown of the skull at just under 9". At the time of release the promo text boasted the figure standing 13" tall, but this would be achieved by posing the wings upwards to reach that height.
The sculpt, considering the Angel is pushing 10 years old, is excellent and very accurate to the movie. The crown is grotesque and bone like and under this the partially decomposed mouth with its crooked teeth. This goes down into a partially exposed rib cage and into the skirt area, with a robe of some description slung over shoulders and to either side.
While the sculpt is good the painting is pretty basic. The bone is a brown with a slightly darker brown wash. The grey is just grey with a slightly lighter grey drybrush. At the base of the figure the brown merges into the grey. There is nothing precise or detailed with the only painted detail of note on the figure being the teeth.
The wings are impressive and are two individual pieces with a ball joint socket that slots into the two holes on the rear of the Angel figure. Once installed the wingspan gets as wide as 16" and that really bolsters the Angels shelf presence. The wings, like the grey robes, are painted grey with drybrushing to accentuate the feathers.
While the wings are articulated, the size of them vs the joint makes them subject to being quite loose as the figure ages. You may find the wings may need some additional support on display, or be posed at a more relaxed position.
While the figure paint work hasn't wowed much, the wings do raise the bar with the individual eyes down each wing picked out in gold with a black pupil.
Calling the Angel of Death an action figure implies a degree of articulation. We've already seen how the wings move so that is technical two points of articulation. Sadly the Angel only gets two more - making it four points of articulation in total.
The arms are ball jointed at the shoulder. These can be moved out to side or rotated upwards.
And that is it.... there is no elbow joint, no head movement, no waist or torso swivel.
The Angel of Death is also very light in hand considering it is meant to be a deluxe release. When you inspect the base you will see why as the whole thing is hollow. It is the same design used on Nuala, and makes the figure feel more like a shampoo bottle than an action figure that is going for upward of £50-£60 on the secondary market.
So should you every own your Grails? And with this one will you be disappointed.
To me it is all about expectation, and I hope this review has managed yours if you are thinking of tracking down this figure. I had no idea I was buying a hollow figure with 4 points of articulation and ended up feeling a bit flat.
That being said, the figure is a good looking one when you line it up with Hellboy and it's companion from the film - the Goblin. Once I get this on display and see it day in day out I will grow to love it I am sure.
Even at the 2008 retail price this would have been a touch disappointing. At the inflated prices now, I cant award the Angel of Death much more than 1 out of 5.