REVIEW: Ben 10 Alien Force Alien Collection - SWAMPFIRE & HUMUNGOUSAUR
The Ben 10 alien invasion continues with a new cartoon and new characters...
Earlier this year Bandai closed out the Ben 10 toy line on a high note, with a final batch of excellent figures. Now, the toys for the sequel, Ben 10 Alien Force, are hitting store shelves. Just like with the previous line, Bandai is starting out slow (probably to gauge fan reaction). If it’s anything like the explosive support for the first show, Alien Force will be a major hit and collectors will get their fill of toys!
Alien Force fasts forward the story of Ben Tennyson and friends, jumping forward to his high school years. After taking time off from being a hero, Ben is forced to put on the Omnitrix once again when an alien conspiracy threatens the Earth and his grandfather, Max. Joining Ben are his cousin Gwen, now with great powers of her own, and former enemy Kevin. In addition, the Omnitrix has rebooted, giving Ben access to a whole new cast of alien heroes!
The Ben 10 Alien Force packaging is reminiscent of the old Ben 10 version, but with some new distinctive features. Where the old card was predominantly green, the new one is mostly blue, utilizing the blue starburst background from the website with silhouettes of the aliens around the edges. Each figure is nicely visible in the plastic bubble, complete with an insert with the figure’s name on the bottom.
The back of the card continues with the same green blue background and green section across the top. The bulk of the card is devoted to other Ben 10 Alien Force products. In the middle are all four of the current Alien Collection figures: Humungousaur, Chromastone, Jetray, and Swampfire. At the bottom of the card are three images of the upcoming Ultimate Omnitrix role-play toy, designed to work with the mini figures included with the Alien Collection toys (more on this below).
The Alien Collection figures of Alien Force, like the Ben 10 line before, are colorful characters in a 3 3/4 - 4 inch scale representing the fantastic creatures of the show. They are always very show accurate, with emphasis on the sculpt and paint over articulation. With the huge number of aliens already in the Ben 10 line, these new ones will fit right in.
Thus far, the new Omnitrix aliens are replacing the old ones one (or two) by one. Humungousaur is a massive dinosaur-like alien, immensely strong and resilient. Massive arms hang down almost to his feet, while the alien stands on tiny legs. A small, rocky head conveys lots of personality. Humungousaur clearly takes the place of Four Arms.
Swampfire is a mix, part Wildvine and part Heatblast, with plant control/features and fiery blasts. His lithe body is composed of vines, while his shoulders and head sport wicked red spines. His feet end in tendrils, specially designed for digging in and added stability. Both aliens have already seen a lot of screen time, and will most likely prove to be among Ben’s new favorites.
Sculpt on the Alien Collection figures is good, closely matching the visual style of the show. Humungousaur has the smooth musculature and bony plates of a dinosaur, with good anatomical details around joints, the chest, and neck. The mighty alien’s head is very well detailed, with a really distinctive face: craggy pursed lips, high small nose, and tiny well-protected eyes. Each hand has a thumb and three fingers, while each foot has three forward-facing claws. The attachable tail is short, curved, and smooth. On Humungousaur’s chest is the Omnitrix.
Where Humungousaur is massive, Swampfire is a lean, mean, green machine. The verdant alien, comprised of tendrils and vines, has a generally humanoid shape set apart by the enormous lower legs and protrusions about the arms, shoulders, and head. Look very closely to see sculpted tendril details on the torso and legs, while the feet are cleverly done in alternating elevations to create the illusion of Swampfire standing on vine-like growths. The plant alien has a very distinctive head, a black sphere within a crown of spines, with a large crest down the center. As with Humungousaur, Swampfire’s Omnitrix symbol is in the center of his chest.
In accordance with the bright and vivid colors of the cartoon, the Alien Force toys each have their distinctive palettes. The Vaxasaurian Humungousaur is earthy in light brown, with yellow underbelly and inside of his arms. That’s pretty much it on the dino alien, except for the details of dark gray talons, bright green eyes, and the gray, black, and green of the Omnitrix.
Swampfire the Methanosian, being a plant dude, is primarily a deep green. Black sections on his chest, shoulders, and neck offset the main color, while in the feet it stands for spaces between the “toes.” Reddish-orange spines decorate the shoulders and crown, while the bright yellow crest on the top of the head really stands out. Additional painted details include the vibrant green eyes on the black face and the Omnitrix logo on the chest.
While the look of the toys closely match the look of the aliens on the show, articulation on Ben 10 toys is sometimes given the short end of the stick. Thankfully, these two figures have at least decent articulation, fitting with their shapes and sizes. Humungousaur clocks in on the lower end with six joints: shoulders, elbows, and hips. While only the arm articulation is good, it would’ve been tough to squeeze knees into his tiny legs. A neck joint would have been nice, even if it were cut somewhere along his hunched back. Meanwhile, Swampfire has a very respectable nine points: neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. He is very poseable, and with his huge feet can balance quite well.
The final series of Ben 10 Alien Collection toys spoiled collectors with a surprising amount of accessories, though the distribution was irregular, to say the least. It appears that the Alien Force toys are going back to the focus on the figure. However, each toy does come with two items: a bio card and a mini figure. The cards are similar to those included with the Ben 10 figures, but without the home world background on the flip side.
The minis are small (about one inch) versions of the larger toys, clear solid pieces standing on crystalline bases. These are designed to mount on the upcoming Ultimate Omnitrix toy. This cool role-play toy simulates the Omnitrix choosing which alien’s DNA to use, lighting up a mini figure through its clear base. This looks like a really cool feature, and the mini figures are great, with surprisingly detailed sculpts.
As a fan of Ben 10 since the beginning, I was a bit apprehensive about the new show and the toys for it. Thankfully, Ben 10 Alien Force is proving to be a worthy successor of the original. The figures follow along in the same tradition, highlighting the incredibly imaginative aliens in faithful reproductions. These truly are fun figures for kids, and neat collectibles for more adult fans.
CLICK HERE for more images of these two new Ben 10 Alien Force figures!
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
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