Fariboles Hellboy Statue review
“When it comes to physical representations of Mignola’s Hellboy, there’s been no particular shortage of options since his solo debut in 1994. From fridge magnets to action figures and on into the realms of sculpture; there’s been a sporadic yet varied output from a range of sources. Mezco brought us both the much loved 18” and 1/12 scale figures in the style of those early books, while Bowen delivered busts and statues. Mondo, Sideshow, Electric Tiki, Mindzeye and others have all taken a swing at Big Red or others from the Mignolaverse since those early days. Of course, the success of these various releases is as the cliche would have it “in the eye of the beholder” and while some have had widespread approval from the Mignola-faithful, others have been been more divisive.
Enter Fariboles Productions and sculptor Alban Ficat and we have a triumvirate of, arguably the most widely accepted, faithful renderings of Mignola’s art in three dimensions that have yet been commercially available. The first large format piece featured a somber Hellboy, gazing to the distance with that pesky scrap of paper collected by Professor Malcolm Frost held loosely at his side, while the second took on a decidedly opposing vision of Anung un Rama in full form.
This third and latest offering differs from those previous releases in being approximately half the size. This could be seen as a draw back by some but it does come with some very practical pluses. For one; what you may lose in sheer shelf presence, you comfortably gain in practicality and the scope to add some extra elements for context.
Before we get to the statue, a quick word on the packaging. Here we have a simple black gatefold box with a B.P.R.D logo applied to the top as a large sticker and then layers of foam. Being honest, it’s a less than inspiring initial impression and would have been elevated greatly by the addition of custom foam cutouts in layers that actually fit the box and sculpt, rather than the generic slaps of foam that were used and simply don’t fit terribly well. That said, it does serve to protect the piece well enough and I have no complains about how well packaged the statue was for shipping. In short, effective but inelegant.
The sculpt itself follows a very recognizable take on our beloved, reluctant beast of apocalyptic pre-determinism. Pensively moving, gun drawn with an expression that at once captures the characters readiness, curiosity and gentility. Hellboy’s proportions slant towards those favored by Mignola from around the time of Conqueror Worm and beyond; heavily slanted shoulders, elongated right arm and an extra softness to the facial features. The addition of a fabulously Mignola-esque tree is wonderfully apt, as are the several rocks scattered on the plain black base. The whole piece looks every bit as good as Mr Ficat’s previous sculpts and speaking completely subjectively, it is perhaps my favorite so far due to the character it seems to capture.
The paintwork, much like the sculpt, feels all but lifted directly from the page. Dave Stewart’s coloring has long been a cornerstone of the Hellboy world and Fariboles have done an excellent job here. It’s a very flat, light absorbing mat finish that has an almost chalk-like quality. It highlights the detail of the sculpt well and in doing so helps to enable this piece to mimic the impressionist shadows that Mignola’s artwork is so well known for. Lit with this in mind, this piece really comes to life. Caution should be taken when handling and initially assembling the statue however as this paintwork is notably fragile and can certainly mark swiftly if two parts accidentally collide with each other.
As a run of 500 and at an understandably considerable price-point I’m sure this piece will rise in value in future, particularly if Fariboles continue to add to this range with further characters in this scale as time progresses (I’m holding out great hope for a Hellboy Bust, Roger and a Hellboy In Hell piece of some form). This is one of the very best, most accurate and evocative of all Hellboy Collectibles and I can’t recommend it strongly enough.
A note on QC and Customer Care. After having pre-ordered and waited long for this piece, my first unit was delivered with some obvious quality control issues. While this was very disappointing and unfortunate, the odd error is inevitable and I always attempt to rate a company by how they handle problems when they occur. In this instance, I can only praise Pascal and the team at Fariboles. They were clearly very regretful at the problem and promptly dispatched a replacement and a hassle-free return label for the defective piece. As such, I would order again without concern.