Wednesday, October 19, 2016

31 Days of Halloween: Spooky Toy Review – WWE Zombies Triple H from Mattel


Happy Halloween and welcome to the newest spooky toy review of the season on Needless Things!

I’ve already reviewed the undead versions of Paige and Bray Wyatt. We’ve got two more to go before the end of October, and today’s review is of Zombie Triple H!


Over the years I’ve felt lots of different ways about Hunter Hearst Helmsley and much of the time those feelings have been informed by rumors and unsubstantiated stories from the internet, as well as my own perceptions and assumptions. These days, I pretty much just respect Triple H and all that he has accomplished. I certainly don’t want the guy to end up as a skull on top of a rotten body.

In my review of Zombie Bray I talked about how strange it was that the publicly-traded, Make-A-Wish giving, pink-breast-cancer-shirt wearing, Connor’s Cure-promoting, PG-TV WWE was letting Mattel (who themselves are fairly averse to controversy) produce these gory action figures. I think this Triple H might be the most grotesque of them all, what with the aforementioned skull head and rotten body.

FIRST GLANCE

I said that Paige was immediately a must-have, and this was the second figure I saw that I knew had to come home with me. It’s so brutally clear that this is a dead person. Triple H doesn’t have some minor gashes or just a simple change in skin tone. HIS FACE IS FUCKING GONE.

That’s intense and disturbing and I had to have it.

PACKAGING

I actually had a tough time deciding to open these. I knew I wanted to review them – part of my rationalization for buying them was that I’d be able to do one a week for 31 Days of Halloween. But the cardbacks looked nice and the blisters are among the best I’ve ever seen.

Each character has a uniquely designed plastic blister, which blows my mind. Triple H’s looks like maybe a sort of alcove or entryway with a heap of skulls at the bottom. Awesome.


The back of the card features a brief blurb about Triple H being The Skull King, a name WWE recently trademarked. I can’t see anyone actually referring to him this way on TV, so I’m assuming it’s just for this figure. I wonder how he issues orders to his undead horde? I mean, the guy doesn’t have a jaw. Either he’s telepathic or zombies can make sense of, “Bluh gluh rrrrrrr bluh aaaaarrr”.

LOOKS

Zombie HHH doesn’t have a jaw, but he doesn’t have eyes, either. I think this is an interesting decision, and my guess as to why the designers left eyeballs out of that skull is that they either made the figure look too gruesome or they just looked silly. What we’re left with doesn’t exactly look sentient, but it does look badass.

I have a pretty good imagination, but I’m having trouble figuring out how the damage we’re looking at went down. Maybe a group of zombies were nibbling on Triple H’s head and shoulders and got distracted by something else, jumped up and just sort of held onto what flesh they had? I dunno. Whatever the case, this skull and associated gristle are impressive. The skull looks like something straight out of Pushead’s portfolio, which I’m sure delights Triple H to no end.

As good as the sculpt on the skull and flesh and muscle is, the paint is what it blowing me away. I tend to think of Mattel as company that is extra cheap about paint apps, but so far these Zombies have been quality. The skull has three distinct colors, the exposed muscle has a beautiful wash, and the surrounding ghastly green flesh even has an extra nasty black to give it some depth. Sure, the whole figure could use such detail, but remember – this is technically part of Mattel’s Basic line. It costs a few dollars more, but I could see this sub-line as being promoted closer to the premium Elite series. What we got is pretty solid.


The rest of the figure is pretty much just a ghastly green Basic Triple H. It’s a solid sculpt, though I would’ve liked tape on his forearms and hands. That’s pretty much a constant for this guy. Bu maybe he got attacked right after a match – after he took his tape off but before he changed out of his gear. Sure. Let’s go with that.


The skull and ripped open torso situation is pretty intense and involved, so I’m okay with there being only one other spot of damage on the figure. Especially considering how grotesque it is. The trauma on Triple H’s left thigh is almost more graphic than the head. There’s rent flesh and exposed muscle and an actual flap of skin just hanging to the side. Even part of the muscle is torn out. This is one of the nastiest wounds I’ve seen on a toy, and I have owned a lot of McFarlane stuff.


Like the other Zombies, Triple H’s boots have a detailed sculpt and a great coat of painted grime from the grave. I love that this is something the designers focused on.

ACCESSORIES

The figure comes with a crown that is very similar to one Triple H wore for a WrestleMania entrance, if not the actual same crown. It’s made of rubber and the little panels around the top don’t exactly stand up like they should, but it still looks okay. It fits on the skull and stays put quite well.

If you wanted to, you could consider the knee and elbow pads accessories, but I don’t. I do like that Triple H’s logos are painted on them; and in two colors, no less!


I would’ve loved it if this figure had come with a sledgehammer and maybe some skulls. Or Mattel could even do a deluxe box set with a skull throne and I’d buy it. But as-is I still think this figure is a solid deal.

FUN

Mattel has two ranges of standard WWE action figures – Basic and Elite. Elites are super articulated, have detailed paint apps, and cost twenty bucks or more. Basics have much less articulation and paint and cost half as much. I have to say – the ten dollar basic figures are the best deals on the toy market right now.

As a cost-saving measure, Mattel will carry accessories from the Elite line to the Basic line when it makes sense. So a Basic figure might actually end up with some fancy HHH kneepads or something only because it costs Mattel less to do it that way.


This figure has a very good amount of articulation for a Basic figure. The shoulders are ball jointed with bicep swivels, the wrists swivel and pivot, and there are swivels at the boot tops. The only significantly limited joints are the hips, which are simple pivoting joints. You can still achieve a wide variety of poses with this figure.

OVERALL

I dig the heck out of this gruesome dude. The skull is almost too ridiculous, but when you know Triple H’s tastes and gimmicks over the years, there’s a certain factor there that makes it work. Like, just knowing that the guy probably saw this figure and was grinning ear to ear makes it more fun.

If you’re only going to buy four of these, this should absolutely be one of them. Fine work from Mattel.

But I still would have liked wrist tape.

4 out of 5

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