Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bowen belts out a superb Banshee!

For some reason, my favourite characters in team books are rarely the A-listers. I always seem to gravitate to a less popular, but to me at least, more interesting supporting character. (This is probably not a surprise coming from a guy whose all-time favourite character is Aquaman!). Tonight’s review is a perfect example of that trend in my choosing of beloved characters!

Tonight I’m having a look at one of the latest releases from Bowen Designs: the Banshee Full Sized Statue. I first discovered Banshee in the pages of the original Official Marvel Universe Handbook of the Dead and Inactive (February 1984), and then started reading his X-adventures shortly after when a huge box of older Marvel Comics came into my possession. I liked Sean because he was never quite defined by being an X-Man in the way most other characters were - his life and world were always bigger than just the X! Since the initial loss of powers that ended his X-career, he’s had quite a history, with a second wind as an X-Man and instructor, a totally pointless death and then a resurrection of sorts. What became of him at the end of Necrosha still isn’t clear to me - such is the lot of heroes on the C-list!

We certainly haven’t been inundated with Banshee collectibles over the years, but he has managed the odd action figure here or there, and a Bowen Mini-Bust a few years ago. Randy Bowen himself was the sculptor back when Banshee got the mini-bust treatment. This time around it’s the turn of digital sculptor Jason Smith. There is still debate about whether or not digital sculpting is as good as the traditional method, but if you ask me, this piece puts that sculpt to bed. This is an incredibly detailed headsculpt which captures Banshee in full sonic scream just beautifully. Smith has truly nailed our favourite Irish mutant from head to toe.

While Banshee is the main event here, the base for this statue is particularly spectacular. Banshee is shown launching himself from the battered hand of a Sentinel. This gives the statue quite a bit of extra height compared to an average Bowen piece - Banshee clocks in at just over 16” tall. The pose looks precarious, but the rod that inserts into the Sentinel base is quite long, making the attachment pretty secure. Due to the height and relatively slender nature of this piece, I wouldn’t put it to the kind of toppling test that AFB’s Destructo-Kitty has been known to provide, but it isn’t going to fall over from a simple bump.

The use of the Sentinel base is a very clever move by Bowen. On a practical level, it provides a way to show Banshee using his powers to achieve flight - since sound waves are invisble he can’t be elevated by a construct like flame or ice. On a business-sense level, incorporating the very popular Sentinels with a lower-tier X-Man most likely aided the sale of this piece to collectors who may have been on the fence. Whatever the reason, the effect is incredibly impressive.

I really like the pose of this statue. I’ve read some comment about the angle that  Banshee launches out at not being straight on - he in fact leans to the right a bit - more noticeable from the back (click here to see a photo of this on Facebook). While it doesn’t look quite as I was expecting, I don’t mind it at all. The sculpt of Banshee himself is really fantastic. I’ve always felt that Sean was actually a very powerful mutant and this pose definitely captures that power. I like the fact that some of detail on his uniform is sculpted even when the colour is the same and they easily could have just been painted on - a nice touch .

I’ve mentioned the headsculpt already, but I need to come back to it just to say I think it’s one of the best Bowen has produced in some time. It’s a very crisp sculpt with a great deal of detail, and Smith has also made the open-mouthed pose, which can often come off incredibly cheesy - look very powerful. The detail in Banshee’s hair is also very impressive.

A nice side effect of the Sentinel base is that it makes Banshee fit very well with Kotobukiya’s X-Men Danger Room Series - of which I currently own Psylocke and Colossus. The Sentinel detail is slightly different, but the scale is spot on. I don’t tend to mix lines, but it’s really nice to see these compliment each other so well.

Bowen seems to be on quite a run of mutants at the moment, and it’s been very exciting to see some of the Classic X-Men that have only been made in bust form get the full-sized statue treatment. In this year alone we’ve enjoyed characters like Havok and Kitty Pryde, while characters like Polaris and Sunfire are on the way. A complete full-sized X-Men collection keeps becoming more of a reality! Considering that Banshee is right up there on my list of favourite mutants, I have no doubt that no matter what comes in the future, this statue is going to remain at the front of my display!

You can see more pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and you can comment on this post to enter the October AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!


chrismandesign said...

the statue as a whole is very interesting but i feel that the paint job on the suit of Banshee is not as good as the sculpt itself... myb they used a bit too dark tone to create the sense of volume, specially over the apple green part, so the result is a bit "artificial"...

fishmilkshake said...

One thing that really stands out is the colouring. Just superb. Nice one Andy!

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