Bandai Ben 10 HYPERALIENS
It's hero time with large-scale alien battlers...
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For years Bandai’s Ben 10 toy collection has followed pretty specifics lines, focusing on 4 inch figures, 6 inch deluxe figures, and larger scale kid-friendly toys. This year, the stakes are raised with new Hyperaliens! These 7 inch vinyl figures were influenced by Bandai’s long standing work in vinyl Godzilla figures and according to Ben 10 Brand Manager David Schmidt designed to “bring some of those qualities (amazing detail and vibrant paint operations) to the Ben 10 line since so many of the characters have great skins and alien textures in kaleidoscopic colors” (you can read our full interview with David HERE). Today we’ll be taking a look at two of the initial Hyperalien figures: the heroic Four Arms V.2 and villainous Highbreed!
The Ben 10 Hyperaliens are reminiscent of the Godzilla figures right from the first glance in the toy aisle, as their packaging is very similar. The vinyl figures stand in cardboard containers consisting of a base and backing. The result is a very visible figure that you can actually hold in your hand and play with before you even get it home. The Hyperaliens are now using the new 2011 Ben 10 packaging theme with its strong green/white color scheme and distinctive image of current Ben and silhouette of the original version. Each figure’s base has the individual character’s name along with an image from the cartoon, and behind each one is a character-specific landscape (rocky wasteland for Four Arms and a techno-organic interior for Highbreed).
The back of the Hyperalien packages, with the new green and white Ultimatrix background, shows the four current releases at the top and a selection of 4 inch figures at the bottom. In addition to Vilgax and Ultimate Swampfire shown on these, look out for Ultimate Aggregor and Vulkanus coming soon.
To further the main design elements of the Hyperalien line, Bandai has chosen some of the creatures with the most interesting body shapes and skin textures. Four Arms is a heroic alien that’s been around since the very beginning of Ben 10. A huge red-skinned creature with four arms (and four eyes), it left the lineup for a time and only recently returned in a new, more mature “V. 2.”
Meanwhile, the Highbreed aliens appeared in Ben 10 Alien Force and attempted to cleanse the universe of “lower life forms.” Truly alien, the Highbreed are huge bipeds with long limbs, folding wings on their shoulders, textured skin, and monstrous heads. Basically, they’re perfect for the Hyperalien treatment.
Made from solid yet flexible vinyl, the Hyperaliens are sturdy and tough. The material allows for a huge amount of sculpted detail, and it’s taken to full advantage. Four Arms is massively muscled, with deep outlining grooves and defined veins. His brief costume is likewise well sculpted with textured trunks and banded chest harness, wrist, and leg cuffs. Totally show accurate, Four Arms even has spikes on the back of his forearms, a low profile ponytail and soul patch. Highbreed, on the other hand, has almost no smooth surfaces on his entire body. Instead, the alien is covered with veiny textures that range from musculature to root-like on the limbs and striated inside the wings. The alien pods on its chest and head contrast nicely with all of that detail.
Paint on vinyl figures can be a bit of a tricky proposition. A lot of the traditional Godzilla toys have very basic paint jobs, though Bandai’s take it to the next level with highlights and multiple colors. For the Hyperalien series, the company has gone with bold colors and a unique palette for each figure that includes plenty of detail work. Four Arms is very red, but it’s a new darker shade than previously seen on figures. Black is used to outline muscles and other details, and of course shows up on the alien’s trunks. His harness, belt, and cuffs are a mustard yellow, while his eyes and the chest-mounted Ultimatrix are bright green.
Highbreed’s body is mostly pure white shot through with black on the muscles and skin textures, while the arms and legs darken to black at the hands and feet as well. Beyond the monochrome, the alien has bright orange on the inside surface of its wings, a purple “face,” and orange pods. It’s a cool look on the basic design that translates really well onto the vinyl figure.
Continuing the Godzilla vinyl figure trend, the Hyperaliens emphasize sturdiness and look over articulation. That being said, they’re not completely un-poseable. Four Arms has joints at all four shoulders, waist, and V-cut hips. The leg and waist articulation is good for play, while moving the arms up and down give you some interesting display options.
Highbreed is a bit more limited with only four joints at the shoulders and hips. Still, it gives him some movement and kids will find it fine, especially for bashing into the heroic Hyperaliens.
Bandai’s Hyperaliens are sure to be a hit with both kids and collectors. The former get tough vinyl figures that look even cooler than their onscreen counterparts, while the latter get classically-inspired and detailed giant aliens that will look great on their own or with other vinyl monsters. The first wave of Hyperaliens is on sale now including Vilgax and Ultimate Swampfire, and Bandai promises more to come!
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Samples Courtesy of Bandai America