May 28, 2009

Bub from Day of the Dead (Toy Review)

REVIEW

Bub (from Day of the Dead)

Company: Amoktime Toys
Release Date: 2008

RATING:
4 / 5 zedheads



For toy reviews we'll assess each aspect of the toy on a 0-5 scale and determine an overall score.

As well as being a fan of zombies, I collect toys. Thankfully, my two hobbies often coincide. There has been a recent offering of zombie toys since 2000, and many companies have picked up rights to make figures from the Romero dead series. In 2008, Amoktime toys entered the game and released Bub, the first (and so far only) in their Day of the Dead series. I'm a loose collector of toys, which doesn't mean I'm promiscuous but rather that I open all my figures for display. As such, when I judge a toy I'm concerned with four things: sculpt, paint, articulation, and accessories. Let's see how Bub stacks up.

SCULPT





Bub is about 7.5 inches tall, a scale favored by collectors for its balance of affordability and detail. Before we talk about Bub, however, take a look at his diorama. Bub comes packaged with a diorama stand and backdrop to represent Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory from the film where Bub is chained to the wall for his experiments. There is some really lovely stone-work sculpting here, and the chain that feeds through the neck collar loop on the back of Bub's jacket is real metal. Very nice touch. Bub himself is a decent depiction of the character although his face is a little off. From certain angles, it is unmistakeably Howard Sherman as Bub with that pitiful expression with the lower jaw pushed off to the side of his face. From other angles, however, it doesn't look right. I think the face is too thin and not detailed enough to capture the look of sunken teeth and deep skin wrinkles that so distinctly define Bub's face in the movie. These are details better captured at the 12" scale in Amoktime's 12" Bub figure; however, the 12" figure's head is oddly shaped at the top. Convincing movie likenesses are one of the hardest things to do in toys. Bub's body sculpt, however, is fantastic. Very loving attention has been paid to the scuffed, torn texture of his jacket, shirt, pants and boots. I love the look off all the layers. Even though the face isn't quite detailed enough, they still included the tears on the right cheek caused when Bub attempts to shave himself. Very obvious thought was put into this figure. As a side note, Bub doesn't stand well on his feet unless pegged into the base of the diorama, but we'll discuss this more in articulation.

PAINT





A good paint job can enhance a plain sculpt as much as a poor paint applications can cover up the beautiful details of a well rendered sculpt. It is always a balancing act. The makers of this Bub figure decided to go with some very muted colours -- predominately rusty reds and browns with some black, grey, and a hint of copper. They all blend together well with little to no slop. Had the face more detail, I think a nice wash of blue would help bring out the lines, but I can see how that could go very very wrong. Subtle touches such as the blood spatter on the diorama set and the gruesome glossy shine of the bucket of entrails really help compensate for some of points lost for the face sculpt.

ACCESSORIES





Bub comes with a number of movie-specific accessories that also benefit from the fine detail of the sculpt and the quality of the paint applications. He comes with a tape recorder for listening to Beethoven, a bucket of gory reward treats, the gun with which he shoots Captain Rhodes, a small razor, and an alternate arm right that is sculpted with a 90 degree bend at the elbow so Bub can salute his superiors or hold his arm closer to his body.



While all these accessories are nice, the razor is quite useless. I appreciate the nod to the shaving scene in the movie, but the razor is so TINY that it cannot possibly fit in any of Bub's hands. While the gun fits into the hands even if loosely, it does fit; the razor will fall right through the open fist. It exists as a nice touch, but one that any loose collector will surely lose because it is so ridiculously small. Presenting the Gillette Micro: Microscopic enough to give you a smooth clean shave from inside your pores. They should have put a phone accessory in the package so Bub can practice saying "hello" to his Aunt Alicia. Even a plastic copy of a book (Salem's Lot perhaps?) would fit better in his hands than the razor.

ARTICULATION



Bub really suffers in articulation. Some fans don't like toys with a lot of articulation because it breaks up the sculpt into obvious segments. Not me. I don't want a statue -- I want something that can be posed. Bub, unfortunately, only has seven points of articulation. He has two ball-jointed shoulders, a peg-joint neck, two peg-jointed wrists, a swivel joint waist, and articulation in the chest that allows him to assume a slouched position. His legs and elbows are completely static. This creates a limited range of poses through which Bub can emote. If you try really hard, and bring in some other accessories not packaged with him, you can sometimes come up with some interesting stances (see below)




Dr. Frankenstein discovered the real secret to taming the zombie:
booze and intestinal security blankets

An odd choice was made in the design of the figure to further limit movement. Bub cannot be removed from his diorama base. As you can see, a chain connects the figure to the back of the diorama at two locations. One location can be removed by design but the other cannot. I modified my figure so I can remove the figure, but if you are worried about damaging the toy or keeping it exactly-as-is, you're never going to get Bub removed from the diorama. Even if you do remove him, since his legs and feet are static and he has very narrow boots, he has a tendency to fall over if not plugged into the base of the diorama.

CONCLUSION

Amoktime's deluxe Bub action figure is a worthy addition to the 6-7 inch scale zombie. With many movie-specific accessories and a high level of detail enhanced by some very nice paint applications, I was very happy to receive this figure despite its lack of articulation!

This toy also has me excited about several other upcoming Amoktime zombie toys. First, Amoktime is set to release the second in their Day of the Dead series: Doctor Tongue. I'm more excited for this one than I was for Bub! Also, as I reported earlier, Amoktime is also going to release the much anticipated toy version of the Tarman from Return of the Living Dead. My zombie collection hungers for them!

If your taste is for larger zombie figures, Amoktime also offers several 12" figures. Aside from their 12" Bub, they also have a series of 12" Night of the Living Dead figures that includes Bill Heinzman as Cemetery Zombie, Duane Jones as Ben, Judith Odea as Barbra, and Kyra Schon as zombie Karen Cooper. I don't normally collect 12" toys, but between these and the 12" The Dead line from Sideshow Toys, I'm seriously thinking about it.

If only I could kick my habit for Transforming robots. Until the summer is over, zombies will have to take a backseat to Transformers.