Mezco One:12 Collective Baron Bends ReviewJose Lopez
IN THE BEGINNING
While the initial claim to the success of the One:12 Collective line was the licensed characters that Mezco Toyz produces, ranging from the heroes of Marvel and DC Comics to the world of Star Trek and Judge Dredd, the line has gained considerable popularity with the introduction of its own original properties. Starting with a figure based on the company’s mascot, Gomez, the One: 12 line has seen other characters added to the “Gomezverse”, such as the Pink Skull Chaos Club. Our focus for today is the newest character that has been added to Mezco’s growing world, Baron Bends.
A brand new and original character created by Mezco Toyz themselves, Baron Bends is apparently the lone survivor of the ancient Aqua-Knights and the only remaining member of some sort of cosmic realm. His armor was created by the Tangaronian race and allows the warlord to survive in any atmosphere. The Baron has several seemingly-robotic companions called the Aquaticons that serve his every telepathic command. Bends is also a member of the Rumble Society, some sort of group that exists to antagonize Mezco’s heroic mascot, Gomez.
Mezco is no stranger to high-end, unique packaging for their exclusive releases and Baron Bends continues that trend, which is a very welcome one. There’s a special feeling that one gets when the box design that a figure comes in is unique to that figure and I wish more companies followed their lead. The Baron’s packaging is simplistic yet sneakily fancy. The flat black of the box allows the glossy outline of the skull on the front to pop out at you. The same goes for the gloss finish applied to the Rumble Society logo on the side.
Complimenting the metallic gold of the “inner” box is a magnetic seal designed to be reminiscent of a gold doubloon with the skull and Rumble Society logo again. The magnet is strong and keeps the “barn door” flaps from coming open on their own. When those are open, a cardboard art piece of Baron Bends and his Aquaticons is revealed, which is itself removed to reveal the figure and its accessories in all of their glory. As usual, Mezco Toyz packaging is sturdy and collector-friendly, easily replaced once removed. The plastic trays and wrapping keep everything secure and safe from damage.
Bends’ outfit is very basic, being made up just of a baby blue-colored jumpsuit with a zipper down the middle. It’s extremely utilitarian, which suits the nature of the character from what we know. It also relies heavily on the sculpted “armor” like the boots, belt and gauntlets to maintain visual interest, which I think works. Those pieces are the real show here, and the fabric outfit is there to allow them to come to the forefront and catch your eye. The suit fits well, not appearing too baggy or loose but still allowing for a solid range of motion.
Whereas the actual fabric suit for Bends is pretty basic, the sculpting is truly what makes the outfit come alive. The various armored sections are all exquisitely detailed in a way that makes them not only look very realistic but also feel of one piece. The design has a certain vibe that reminds me of famed comic book artist Jack Kirby, with the chunky sections and overlong helmeted portrait. The various cylindrical ports and tubes and rivets all give Baron Bends a particularly alien appearance, which is obviously the point.
As usual, there is more than one head sculpt, which is great for collectors wanting to army build the Aqua-Knights, I suppose. Both are beautifully done and quite unique from each other. The standard portrait he comes with out of the box is the elongated helmet which definitely has the more alien design to it. There is some wear in the sculpt as if the helmet has begun to degrade from use. An added cool factor is that the visor is actually able to be flipped open, revealing some of Bends’ green-hued visage underneath. I do think the head underneath looks a tad small for the body, but it is still a nice extra they didn’t have to throw in.
The second portrait is my preferred option with its mechanical tendrils. Both have the same level of detail and care as the rest of the armored pieces, which makes for a breathtaking figure.
The paintwork with this release is definitely in service of the sculpting and it comes together nicely. While the amount of blue tones is at times a bit overwhelming, a decent amount of effort is paid to at least varying it up with different shades of blue. The armor and helmet are able to retain their exquisite detail due to some lighter and darker shades bouncing off of each other, while the darker blue wash keeps things looking crisp. The bright yellow accents found in the belt buckle and the helmets’ visor and lenses bring some much-needed contrast to the Baron, acting as a saving grace to what could have been a bit drab overall.
The Aquaticons fair much better in the color department, with vibrant oranges, yellows, and translucent blues. I’d bet that the Baron’s singular color scheme was designed with the more eye-catching colors of the accessories like these Aquaticons in mind. Overall, the paint application on these little guys is solid. Little to no slop, though there is some to be found with a macro lens, but in hand, you’ll barely notice.
In addition to the impressive packaging and amazing figure, Baron Bends also includes some fun and great-looking accessories. Along with the two portraits that I’ve already discussed, Bends comes with four of his trusted servants, the Aquaticons. They’re what looks to be robotic Anglerfish. The Aquaticons have articulated jaws, allowing them to open and close their mouths, but otherwise, that’s it. The sculpt and paintwork on these guys is very well-done, though. If you’re wondering what to do with your Aquaticons in terms of display, there is a stand included which you can place them on.
While the stand looks great, emulating a water structure of some kind, it feels cheap to the touch. I also had a miserable time trying to get those robot fish on there and not knocking the entire thing overdue to its lack of weight.
For weapons, an anchor on a chain called the Weigh of Woes and a glaive, called the Omni-Glaive, are included. Both look exceptional and suit the Baron’s color scheme. The Weigh of Woes is particularly well-done, with lots of detail on the anchor itself. In addition to the standard Mezco stand and articulated display arm, this set also came with a “Swag Bag” of additional items, ranging from a t-shirt with Bends on it, to a mini-comic and a pin, none of which I decided to review.
IN THE END
Mezco has obviously hit on something with their original concept Gomez and Rumble Society figures. While it’s always fun to buy a figure of your favorite comic book or movie character, there is something to be said for introducing a new action figure that the collector themselves can create the backstory for to a certain extent. Baron Bends is one of the company’s home runs in that regard, and I look forward to seeing what new ideas we’re introduced to next. Keep it coming, Mezco Toyz.