Ben Grimm

The Thing
7 Inch Scale
By: Marvel Select

This is a review I’ve been sitting on for a while. I love the Thing. Ben Grimm is one of those characters that I’m constantly picking up in various forms. When Marvel Select announced a Grimm, I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to stand up to my Thunder Launcher Thing as one of the best versions of the character. However, I soon realized that this Thing was perhaps the biggest version of the character released in a long time and at an affordable price, too. In that sense, he became a must buy.

The Thing’s mutated physiology grants him tremendous superhuman strength and durability, the levels varying with his different forms. There have been periods where Ben could assume human form at will; however, these situations seldom last long. He also has enhanced stamina and lung capacity, and increased resistance to sensory and temperature extremes. His reflexes are above-average by human standards despite his immense mass, and he retains a reasonable level of agility and dexterity.

But if you’re not a collector of the Marvel Select line, is this one Thing you should pass up? How good is his articulation? Is this finally the definitive Thing figure that we’ve been waiting for? We’ll answer those questions and more, inside.

The package is pretty standard for Marvel Select, although exactly how identical to previous packages I couldn’t say right offhand. It’s definitely similar in style, but it’s been a while since I’ve had any MS. Regardless, the similar style bubble card will go well with your previous collection if you’re a MOC kind of guy.

The back has a little info on Ben and shows off the other upcoming figures. I also want that giant Abomination figure, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I think part of the problem is, I’m not 100% sold on the Marvel Select Hulks, and since I’m not as enamored with Hulk as I am Thing, it’s not an instant buy… But I digress.

There’s a fair amount of Thing artwork on the exterior and even some on the interior. Some of the inner artwork is sort of wasted, as you can only really see it when you rip the package open. However I definitely give points for effort and it wasn’t too hard to open this package. However it loses some points for having about 6 twist ties that were a bit of a pain.

Sculpt & Paint:
This is an impressive sculpt. One of the things that Marvel Select has finally started to embrace is doing larger scale characters so that this toy line can be compatible with Marvel Legends. Thing here in my mind is a bit too big for Marvel Legends, but if you’re one of those guys who likes your Thing HUGE as sometimes depicted in artwork, he’s perfect.

The face is a little small for my tastes as well, but he doesn’t look at bad as the MS Hulk. That figure seemed downright pinheaded to me. There is a great expression etched across his face and plenty of stone and chisel to give ol’ Blue Eyes his patented good looks. There’s a nice black wash over the orange stone that gives it one of it’s most realistic stone visages. As much as I love Thunder Launcher Thing, this guy has even better detailing than him.

The size is what’s really impressive. It’s hard to get a grasp on just how huge this dude is until you have him in hand. He’s heavy too. Not only is this guy tall, but he’s wide. His fists are gigantic. This is one of the most imposing figures released in recent years.

Ben definitely looks like he could unleash a clobbering on just about anybody. If anything, the sculpt is perhaps a bit one note, but it does portray the character well. I think even harsh critics would be generally impressed with this figure. Again, a lot of that has to do with sheer size. This guy would be less impressive if he was 3 inches smaller all around.

This guy has been worked over pretty hard online for his articulation. Part of that seems to be based on the face that Marvel Legends were able to pack in so much articulation in their toy line. Marvel Select has never been able to compete, even though they have a fair amount of articulation in their figures.

The articulation is definitely lacking if you’re comparing him to one of Toy Biz’s old Things. However, I don’t think that necessarily makes him a bad figure. The Thing is sort of a big giant block of rock. This figure has ball jointed shoulders, a ball joint neck, ball jointed legs which more or less end up like a v-crotch, as well as hinged ankles, elbows, knees and swivel wrists. He’s not going to win any awards for articulation, but for Ben Grimm he’s not bad.

My one real complaint in the articulation would be that one elbow has a deep hinge with a cut out in the rock allowing him to get pretty much a full 90 degree bend. His other? It has a signifigantly smaller cut in the hinge, allowing him less of a bend. I’m not really sure why that is.

He also looks like he might have upper bicep swivels, but they weren’t added. It’s hard to say if they were originally intended or not. His design could be a bit confusing. Still, even missing a few swivels and some limitations on his actual articulation… I think he’s passable.

Marvel Select is sort of random with their accessories. Sometimes a figure will have several and sometimes they’ll have next to nothing. Ben Grimm falls into the latter category.

He was actually announced as coming with a strange little round hoverboard-like stand. Instead he comes with this lump of metal. Historically Marvel Select has included some sort of diorama type piece, but this isn’t really in that same realm.

It does have a two sided paper background which you can stick in it. Novel idea, but one I never cared for in the Legends line either.

Of course, even if you love the idea… It’s not exactly useful for this figure. It barely comes up to the rim of his pants. Hardly what I’d call a decent background display.

It works okay with Marvel Universe Thing, though, should you decide to use it there.

This guy retails for $15-$18 depending on where you pick him up at. I actually found him a few months back for $13! Pretty incredible when you get him in hand. The average DCUC figure which has far less sculpting and nowhere near this kind of size, runs $15. That makes this a pretty good deal. He’s big, he’s bulky, and while he may not be the best articulated figure around, he’s a damn good Ben Grimm figure.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to get this guy, nor would I pay much north of $18 for him. But if you’re a fan of a bigger figures, like I am, then this guy is very nice. You could even squeeze him into other collections, like TMNT as a General Traag, or MOTUC as giant rock beast. He’s that big and impressive.

Score Recap:
Packaging: 8
Sculpting: 8
Paint: 8
Articulation: 6
Accessories: Techno-Crap Background
Value: 8
Overall: 8 out of 10

At the end of the day, I can’t score this guy any less than an 8. Even though he’s not super poseable, he works well for the character. He’s not really in scale with much else in my view, but he still works well as a giant badass rock man. That’s what Ben Grimm is, right? So how can this not be a good figure? Especially for the price and the size and girth that you’re getting for that value. If you’re a Thing fan, you owe it to yourself to have this guy in your collection. However if you’re just looking to own the definitive Thing… I’m not certain he’s been released yet.

Several years back I was at a local Meijers and noticed some brand new Fantastic Four action figures. They were similar to Marvel Legends by ToyBiz but had a more cartoonish card and backer. I picked up a Ben Grimm “The Thing” figure and stared at him in amazement for several minutes. This was the most perfect Thing figure I had ever laid eyes on. I carried him around through the store intent to break my stance on buying action figures, but eventually after careful research about the figure’s “action feature”, I decided to pass and set him down.

That figure was the Fantastic Four line’s “Thunder Launcher Thing”. I had no idea what I was passing on at the time. In fact the store had nearly every single Fantastic Four figure from that line, at least three whole pegs and I could have easily bought 95% of the toys in one swoop. Most of those figures fetch high prices now on Ebay, cursed 20/20 hindsight.

Because of the low distribution of that wave and ToyBiz’s Fantastic Four line in general, a lot of people don’t know about Thunder Launcher Thing. Those who do debate whether it’s the greatest Ben Grimm figure of all time or a near miss. To me, for this scale, he’s the best.

Marvel Select appears to be channeling this figure with their upcoming Thing figure and we’ll see if it stacks up when it comes out this next year. For this Thing however, now is the time to gloat. Thing boasts forty two pieces of individual articulation. That’s a feat for any figure, much less a Ben Grimm. This is also one time where ToyBiz’s love of shoving articulation into a figure doesn’t ruin the sculpt as they actually omitted a torso hinge so that the sculpt is more solid.

The Thing is a piece of beauty from head to toe. He has articulated fingers and this really works well on big figures like this. His Hulk cousins almost look like they have too much articulation, but it fits in beautifully with the Thing’s sculpt. His paint is just right and if he was wearing his undies instead of shorts, he’d been absolutely stellar.

The problem that originally made me pass on this Ben Grimm figure was his action feature. It’s one of those “push a button on his back make his arms throw forward” moves. Despite the clunky applications it allows for some movement of the arms individually. It’s actually better integrated than the recent Colossus figure who had a similar movement.

The button itself is pretty ugly though, but don’t let that detour you from the figure. The button could be sanded down or cut off. You can leave it as well, because we’ve certainly had to deal with worse through the years. Scale is the only other area of concern as he is a tad tall for some folks liking. I’m okay with this huge Thing because after years of undersized Ben Grimms a bigger one is a nice change of place, plus he looks good next to several of my Hulks. You may have a differing opinion.

All in all, the Thunder Launcher Thing figure is a forgotten gem and truly one of ToyBiz’s highlights. Everything clicked on this figure and every single 6 inch scale Thing since this one has failed to live up to it. I’m not sure why this version of Thing wasn’t retooled by Hasbro and had the action feature removed and then re-released as I’d bet it would be a sure fire seller.

If you haven’t tracked down this Thing figure and collect Marvel in this scale, I’d definitely recommend him to you.

I’ve been sitting on doing this review for a while. No real particular reason, but I think I decided against doing it the moment I got the figure because several other sites reviewed him around the same time. Eventually I’ve gotten around to him and I needed a change of pace as it’s been a while since I reviewed a Marvel figure which brings us to today’s review, Marvel Universe: Thing.

Ben Grimm is one of Marvel’s oldest and most popular characters. Simply known as the Thing, he’s been kicking butt and taking names since the 1960’s. Grimm holds a special place in my heart as probably the only Marvel superhero that my Dad would occasionally name drop. Apparently he sympathized with the Thing. Really, who wouldn’t? While Johnny, Sue and Reed all got cool powers and kept their charming good looks, Ben got transformed into a rock man.

But what a cool rock man he’s been through the years. The Thing has remained one of my favorite characters in the Marvel universe for decades. He looks cool, acts cool and yet he’s a big softy at heart. This Hasbro version is one of the better Things ever produced, but does that make him king? Read on true believers.

I’m not going to spend too much time on packaging this week. You know what you’re getting here. The Marvel Universe packaging is attractive and very functional. The Frank Cho artwork is top notch and it’s what really makes the packaging work.

One of my main complaints would be that you’re very likely to destroy the package to get the Thing out and ruin that great artwork. On the back is a little bio and a list of the other figures in the series. I do think they should list more than 3 other figures on the back, but it’s a minor complaint.

For a bigger figure in the Marvel Universe line, the Thing has a fair amount of articulation. Much like the Hulk figure in the line, his articulation isn’t as great as it could be because of the sculpt. He just has a cut neck and I’m gonna go Michael Crawford here and say that he’d really benefit from a ball jointed neck.

Elsewhere he has ball jointed shoulders, ball jointed elbows, swivel wrists, mid-waist joint, waist cut, ball jointed legs with extremely limited movement, ball knees and rocker ankles. That’s a fair amount of articulation for any figure and is quite impressive at this scale. Still the sculpt interferes with a lot of posing opportunities.

Particularly that he can’t really get his arms down at his sides. There doesn’t seem to be much of a comfortable position for ol’ Ben Grimm. The big blue eyed ever lovin’ guy from Yancy street could have been a bit better with some different sculpting. His legs are largely useless, but I still found them much more useful than the Hulk’s. As I said with the Hulk, this is a guy who doesn’t do a lot of Karate kicks, so I’m okay with the limited leg articulation.

The Thing has had countless figures through the years and almost NONE of them are the definitive version. This version of Ben Grimm would have to finish in the top 5 I’d think, which is certainly a compliment, but he falls short largely because of how excellent the Superhero Showdown version was. The Marvel Superhero Showdown or Marvel Legends Showdown, Thing, is far and away the best Thing figure ever made.

That puts Hasbro’s effort here in a bit of a negative light. Still, I really like the attention to detail here. He has the mushroom shape to his head without too much noticeable deformity. His rocky skin pattern is done excellent and every third or fourth skin platelet is painted with a darker orange creating a really awesome effect. In fact in the pictures, he looks much better than the SHS version, but to the naked eye it’s not as nice.

The pants are authentic, if slightly uninspired.

This is Thing in pants which is a good look for him, but not my favorite. Thing has a lot of looks but I’d say his definitive one is in tightey whities, but blue. Tightey Blueys? Most of his modern figures have depicted him in pants as well which means this version isn’t even trying to do something new. But with a 40+ year old character I guess it’s hard to get fresh. I’d like to see a version of Ben from his “Spikey” era for a change.

The paint work on mine is very crisp. As I said above the shadowing and highlights on the figure are well done and create a look of depth. Hit pants and boots are rather plain, but still fit the bill. He even has blue eyes. Not much is missing.

Nothing. Well, he’s got some paper accessories, but it’s too bad he doesn’t come with SOMETHING. They usually give him a bent up Yancy street sign or a hat. Oh well.

Additional Notes:
A lot of my other trusted reviewer comrades crapped on this guy pretty hard. I don’t think he’s that bad. I looked at him in a more positive light because of all the terrible Thing figures we’ve seen. He’s really quite good when you look at it like that. Of course that also hurts him because the other 3 3/4 scale Thing is SO good, it makes this guy look worse. Still for what he is, he’s a good figure and a serviceable Thing for your Fantastic 4 inch force.

Ugh, $8 hurts. It hurts every time I buy one. Yet I keep buying them because the Marvel Universe figures are very cool. It’s great to have these guys in the same scale as GI Joes. It’s what makes them so special, the awesome scale. Still, a $1 or several off wouldn’t hurt one bit.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 7
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Nothing
Value – 7
Overall – 7 out of 10

Thing falls on the lower end of the spectrum of a 7. That’s not to say that this guy isn’t a good figure. He’s perfectly adequate. He’s not worth $8 though. He’s not the definitive Thing. He doesn’t come with anything cool to set him apart. He’s just a average figure of a good character. If you can only get one Thing figure in this scale, get the Superhero Showdown version. If you want a second version of Thing, then get this guy also.

But they’re cousins,
Identical cousins all the way.
One pair of matching bookends,
Different as night and day.