Sunday, April 29, 2012

WWE Elite Flashback, Big Boss Man - Review

Trying to jump back into my semi-regular posting schedule and instead of backtracking to figures I purchased over two months ago, I thought I should jump into one I just picked up last week.

WWE Legends proper may be all but extinct at retail, but it's heart still beats within Mattel's WWE Elite Collection as they've incorporated FLASHBACK figures into the line. This opens up a whole lot of possibilities for bringing retired Superstars and older versions of currect Superstars on to retail shelves. I've already reviewed the first two flashback figures (debut Kane & Papa Shango), picked up the third (Edge from series 13) and now have the first of two from series 14, the Big Boss Man. Get ready to do some hard time!

Big Boss Man
WWE Elite Collection Series 14 - Flashback
Mattel/ 7" Scale

Now this is almost shocking for me to say, but BBM is a nearly 100% new sculpt(!). As far as I can tell he only reuses his forearms, hands and feet (from Mr. McMahon), but everything else is brand new. As this is Mattel's first BBM figure the head is all-new, but I have to say the likeness isn't that great. The designers don't always hit the mark on these figures, but for the most part the faces end up looking realistic. Boss Man for some reason looks VERY cartoonish to me. Something about his face makes me think he looks more like a figure based on an animated character instead of a real person, but I can't really determine what it is. Aside from that the paint applications on the head are nicely done and very clean.

Considering that starting with Elite series 12 Mattel has begun to move away from cloth costume accessories, it makes sense that they would sculpt BBM's uniform completely, plus it lets them achieve the tucked-in shirt look. The sculpt on the torso is great, with plenty of wrinkles, buttons, straps and seams all around. Even the flaps that cover the breast pockets are sculpted. You can tell his lower body is a new sculpt also thanks to the sculpted strips running down the outside of each leg. The lower torso piece also features a sculpted belt, although it's a bit difficult to see since it's the same molded black color as the pelvis.

Just like the head the paintwork on the body is mostly well done, especially on the upper body. All the tampos for his nabme tag, chevrons and Sheriff's Dept. shields are applied crisply and are easy to read. His upper and middle torso are molded in light blue, creating the challenge of matching the exposed portion of his neck and chest to the molded skin tone on his arms and head, but they managed to pull off a decent job of that and even added a little bit of "chest hair." The shoulder strap is also painted well and avoids bleeding on to the shirt.

Not as impressive is the paint on the lower body. It was simple enough, only requireing two applications: the silver belt buckle and the yellow pant stripes. The belt buckle is fine, but the stripes are a bit sloppy. If you've ever customized a figure using yellow paint, you know it can be a pain-in-the-ass to paint over a dark color, doubly so when the base color is black. Aside from not covering up very well in several places, the apps were sloppy with yellow running on to the pants themselves instead of just the raised stripes.

While we received a mostly brand-new sculpt, all the familiar articulation is still present on Big Boss Man and if you own any of the other fat guys in WWE Legends, then you know what to expect out of BBM as far as his range of movement.

Big Boss Man received no less than four (yes, FOUR!) newly sculpted accessories. That's almost unheard of in a line were the average is one or two pieces per figure and in a few cases only a microphone or nothing at all (guess who). For BBM Mattel could have slid by with only his glasses and nightstick, but they also threw in a pair of handcuffs and a ball-and-chain. I was surprised to run into an issue with the sunglasses, though. Mattel has done excellent work on crafting sunglasses for several figures in both the Elite & Legends lines, which are always made to fit each figure perfectly. BBM's look very similar to Sgt. Slaughter's, but I do believe they are new. I don't know if it's the paint, but they kind of contracted on themselves on don't sit well on BBM's face. They tend to push off and hang ahead of his nose. I think some time with a hairdryer could fix that problem, but I haven't gotten around to doing that, yet.

The handcuffs are made of the same rubbery material we encounted on Kane's first two Elite figures. The actual cuff parts can stretch over another figure's hands to effectively restrain said figure.

If Boss Man encounters a "runner", he can slow him down with the use of his trustly ball-and-chain. This accessory is made of two pieces: a hard plastic ball and a rubber chain and ankle cuff similar to the handcuffs. However, the black leg cuff is really thick and a doozy to get onto a figure's leg. I first tried putting it on Akeem, but that proved to difficult so grabbed Cody Rhodes who was handy at the time for the picture above. It's funny because that accessory, along with Boss Man cartoony face remind me a lot of the old Dick Tracy toys by Play Mates.

His final accessory is his even trustier nightstick, perfect for beating down bigger (or tougher) opponents. It's a simple sculpt, but does it's job well. The stick is a bit slim, but he's able to hold it in his right hand by either one of the handles.

Big Boss Man (real name Ray Traylor) sadly passed away back in 2004 due to a heart attack. I remember watching him when he debuted in the WWF wearing this attire and when he resurfaced during the "Attitude" era in his S.W.A.T. gear. He was always entertaining and posed a credible threat, even if you knew he was going to lose to whatever babyface he was feuding with.

While I do have some nitpicks with the figure, overall he's very good and is a welcomed addition to my Legends collection. If you consider that the figure is based on a much younger version of BBM, you can forgive the doughy look of his face. Aside from that the paint issues are a bit annoying, but not dealbreakers. When you consider the amount of new tooling involved here in addition to the amount of newly-sculpted accessories, Big Boss Man is probably one of the best values in the line so far. And considering that this body can't easily be reused, he really feels like a one-of-a-kind figure.

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