Bandai Ben 10 Ultimate Alien "Disc Alien" 4-Inch Figures
Power up with NRG and the ultimate forms of Cannonbolt and Spidermonkey...
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Ben 10 has been going strong since its debut on the Cartoon Network back in 2005. The television show has gone through several incarnations since, from the original to Alien Force and now Ultimate Alien. Keeping up with the characters and cool aliens is Bandai America and its wide range of Ben 10 products. The flagship line has been the basic 4 inch figures, previously known as the “Alien Collection.” Over time these figures have included various pack-ins, some of which interact with other Ben 10 products. On store shelves now are the final figures in the early 2011 collection known for their accessories, the “Disc Aliens.” Today we’ll be looking at three of the coolest Ben 10 aliens: NRG, Ultimate Cannonbolt, and Ultimate Spidermonkey!
The Ben 10 Ultimate Alien 4 inch figures are packaged in identical bubble/cards. The overall look is brighter than previous Ben 10 products, a trend that will continue when the line changes up again later this year. Both bubble and card have a distinct angled top, making the figures easy to spot in the toy aisle. The Ben 10 figures are clearly visible in the plastic, along with any accessories and the included alien discs. At the bottom of the bubble is an insert with character art and the figure’s name, while at the top of the card is the Ben 10 Ultimate Alien logo and an image of Ben.
The back of each card displays a variety of other available products as well as instructions on how the discs interact with the Disc Alien Ultimatrix.
Since the beginning the Ben 10 4 inch line has focused mainly on the show’s heroic Omnitrix (then Ultimatrix) aliens. That hasn’t changed, and now joining the basic aliens are also cool new “ultimate” versions. Of course, Ben’s Ultimatrix continues to add new alien DNA codes to its database as well. Among those is the enigmatic NRG, a radioactive alien entirely contained within a suit of impenetrable armor. Building on previous forms are Ultimate Cannonbolt and Ultimate Spidermonkey, a spiky version of the wrecking ball alien and a gorilla-like upgrade to the six-armed arachno-simian respectively. All three of these show up quite frequently on the TV show, making them perfect inclusions for the line.
The alien collection line is mainly targeted at kids, though animation fans and toy collectors alike enjoy it too. Since the focus is on making the figures look like they do in the cartoon, they generally have bold colors and sculpts that highlight their main features, with enough articulation to make them fun to play with. NRG is stocky and thick, like a furnace with limbs. He’s got some great variations in his sculpt from the central body’s smooth armor to the bulbous shoulders and studded wrist and knee-bands. The harness around his torso is thick and solid, and there’s even a sculpted (though non-functioning) hinge on the back. Ultimate Cannonbolt takes the original form’s sculpt and builds on it. With a wide body, huge shoulders and arms, tiny legs, and a big face on his chest, Cannonbolt is pretty unique already. The Ultimate version adds blunted spikes to the panels on his legs, arms, and shoulders along with segmented studded armor plates on his back! Some of the surface details have changed as well; Ultimate Cannonbolt has a slightly different shaped mouth, loses the full-length central stripe, and instead of a regular Omnitrix symbol on the forehead he has an activated Ultimatrix on his belly.
Ultimate Spidermonkey is an all-new sculpt with tons of character. The central “monkey” body is round and stout with tiny legs and elongated arms. The alien’s face has a huge smile decorated with jutting tusks, while four additional tiny eyes dot its forehead. Meanwhile, four huge spider legs erupt from the monkey’s sides, each with sculpted segments of their own. Finally, there’s an activated Ultimatrix symbol on his chest.
Along with their unique appearances, each Ben 10 alien has its own distinct color palette, and that’s captured in the toys just like in the show. NRG is green upon green in two different alternating shades that add to his industrial look, and the bright green of the Ultimatrix logo and the red of his eye vents are very eye-catching against the drab background. Ultimate Cannonbolt trades in the basic white and yellow for a two-toned blue steel look that’s lighter on his underbelly and darker on the armored plates and spines. Black divides the sections and shows up on his wicked claws while the Ultimatrix and his eyes glow bright green. Ultimate Spidermonkey also differs from his original form’s colors (mainly light blue) with an overall black and purple palette. The ubiquitous green eyes (all six of them!) and Ultimatrix are there as well, and white pops up on the alien’s tusks. All three look very show accurate and will be immediately recognizable to viewers.
As toys directed mainly at kids, the Ben 10 figures don’t often sport a ton of articulation, but they certainly get the job done in the most important departments of standing up on their own and play. Articulation is also frequently at the mercy of the unique alien designs. For instance, NRG is basically a furnace with limbs, so it’s not surprising that there’s no neck or waist movement. This alien does have joints at the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. Ultimate Cannonbolt is the least articulated of the bunch with only “biceps” and hip joints, but at least these let you turn his arms to show off the spines or claws, and he can sit down better than most. Ultimate Spidermonkey has great articulation with joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, and all four spider legs!
You can find all three of these (and many more) Ben 10 Ultimate Alien figures on store shelves everywhere. If you know a kid between the ages of 5 and 15 you’re probably familiar with the show, and plenty of adults watch too. The figures are great miniature versions of the cool aliens on the show, really capturing their different and distinct looks. While they may not be the most poseable toys out there, they’re sturdy and full of play and display value. Each figure in this and previous Ultimate Alien waves comes with a pop up alien disc that works with the Disc Alien Ultimatrix (see our review HERE), another fun toy for kids. Stick around for more Ben 10 reviews coming soon!
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Samples Courtesy of Bandai America