Unique set brings Ben's transformation sequence to life...


















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The current batch of four inch scale Ben 10 figures includes some really interesting variants and repaints to represent some of the specific quirks and functions of the Ultimatrix. Most notable is the sub-theme of ďHaywireĒ figures that takes pairs distinctive aliens and swap their colors (see our review of one such pair HERE) to show how the device can sometimes cause unexpected results. And now, one of the coolest visuals in the current series comes to life as part of an exclusive two-pack along with an all-new figure of a current Ultimate Alien: X-Ray Ben & Diamondhead V.2!


The new DVD packs have replaced the defunct comic book packs but like those include two figures (generally one is either a repack or a repaint while the other is all new) along with media. It will be interesting to see if these more expensive DVD sets fare better at retail, but already the exclusive figures are much more exciting. The sets are packaged similarly to the other current Ben 10 toys, and blend into the crowd with the same white and green color scheme. The showís logo appears in the top-left corner while Ben stares out from the top-right, and below are floating green Plumber symbols in the background. The figures stand side by side in a plastic bubble, and while it appears as though there are two DVDs in the package behind them the top one is just a paper insert for show (the real disc is the bottom one).


The back of the card shows off the other DVD set with Galactic Enforcers Ben and a great new Azimuth figure along with some vehicle upsells at the bottom.


The basic workings of the Ultimatrix havenít changed since the first seasonís Omnitrix. Ben turns on the device, chooses an alien, activates it, and the transformation occurs. As the series has evolved so have these DNA-altering sequences, culminating in the Ultimate Alien version in which Ben appears in x-ray and his glowing bones twist and shift into the new form. Itís a very cool image, bordering on the fine line between science-fiction and horror, and now itís been captured in toy form. The new X-Ray Ben takes the 16 year old Ben Tennyson figure mold and recreates it in a smoky translucent plastic with a glow in the dark green skeleton painted on the outside! The figure is really eye-catching and more than a little creepy.


In terms of sculpt, the figure has more going on than youíll notice unless you look very closely. Because itís a ďrepaint,Ē this Ben has all of the original details like the clothing, shoes, jacket details like the stripes and circle on the chest, and of course the Ultimatrix on Benís wrist. Of course, the cool thing about this figure is its paint job, and thatís executed very well. The front of Benís body is decorated the aforementioned green skeleton from shins to skull. The only parts that are noticeably lacking are the thighs and pelvis, but thatís okay since the rest looks so good.


Benís face is really striking with its huge eyes, cheek stripes, and separating jaw complete with teeth. Turning the figure around youíll see that while there are bones painted on the outsides of his arms, thatís it. Thereís no other side decoration and nothing at all on the back. Ben has basic but serviceable articulation (normal for the 4 inch figure line) at the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees.


In this set the all new figure is Diamondhead V.2. Long ago in the very first season of Ben 10 one of the young heroís transformations was that of a petrosapien which he named Diamondhead. When the show evolved to Alien Force Ben got new aliens, and it was a while until we saw the return of Diamondhead in Ultimate Alien. While still the same basic alien, a big and beefy creature made of organic crystal and able to alter his form into spikes and swords, the new version has a unique outfit consisting of an armless bodysuit and hood.


The new V.2 harkens back to the more cartoony figures of Ben 10ís past with its tiny legs, big torso, gargantuan arms, and wild facial expression. The sculpt is good with some intricate clothing details that contrast nicely with the wide, smooth planes of the alienís crystalline body. Four spines extend from Diamondheadís back, and the two on his chest flank the Ultimatrix. The arms are pretty much identical with open fists, though the left one has a huge forearm-mounted crystal structure like a spur.


Like the Diamondhead figures that have come before him, V.2 recreates the cartoon characterís look with pale greenish-blue. Meanwhile, his outfit is a dark navy. Neither has any variation, but some details emerge with the green, black, and gray Ultimatrix and Diamondheadís green eyes. The big guy doesnít fare so well in the articulation department, with joints at the neck, shoulders, hips, and knees. Some arm articulation would have been very welcome, but definitely would have added a whole new layer of complexity to the relatively simple sculpt. On the plus side, Diamondhead does have an accessory in the form of a huge crystal weapon. Itís kind of like a tall pyramid with spikes sticking out of it that he holds by a handle in its base. Itís weird-looking, but fitting for the alien and highly reminiscent of the arm weapon of the previous translucent-plastic version of Diamondhead.


The big bonus in this set is the DVD which contains the episode ďThe Secret of Chromastone,Ē top secret files on the two included characters, and some video game trailers. Sets like these are always interesting, because they seem to appeal to different audiences at once. The longtime viewers and collectors will love this for its new figures and cool new Ben, but theyíll have almost certainly already seen the included episode. Packaging in previously aired content always works best to draw in people new to the franchise, but in this case they might be put off by Benís scary appearance. Regardless, this set has two solid figures that fit in perfectly with the Ben 10 line and look great by themselves (especially Ben!), and the DVD is just a bonus.



Review and Photos by Scott Rubin