Sunday, December 5, 2010
Playmates Spotlight- Bele
Figure Name: Bele
Manufacturer: Playmates Toys
Bele was released as part of the "Warp Factor"-style 9" figure series.
The Rundown: Cherons are easily one of the more iconic aliens of classic Trek, though they only made 1 appearance in the series. I think their status owes more to their unique look and Frank Gorshin's lively portrayal than it does to the episode itself... but I digress. There have only been basically 2 Cheron figures produced over the years; the original Mego figure (and it's reissue) spotlighted HERE, and this 9" Bele figure we are looking at today. A Bele figure was planned for the 4.5" line, but sadly never saw release. Which leaves this 9" guy as the only true Bele action figure ever released. Let's check him out...
Bele features the same male body used across Playmates 9" line. It's not what you'd call "super-articulated" by any means, but there are enough joints here to pull off a few good poses. The most glaring problem with these bodies is the lack of ankle and wrist swivels. Those articulation points make a world of difference for more natural posing.
The Cheron uniform is pretty simplistic in the show, consisting of basically a gray jumpsuit with very few extra details. Not that it was a hard task, but Playmates did a fine job of reproducing that here. There's a nice bit of trim around the waist & wrists, and the collar has a nice "sparkled" look.
The best thing about this figure is the work on the head. Bele's head sculpt is one of the best in the 9" line. The likeness to Gorshin is solid even by today's standards, and the paint work is really clean and nice (even featuring a nice reddish line right at the edge of the eyelids). I've never used the stuff before, but I'm tempted to pick up some Hydroshrink to try and get this head down to 4.5" size for a custom... it's that good. It's nice to see that even though most of Bele was easily cobbled together, Playmates went the extra mile on the head to really make this figure shine.
Accessories: Bele didn't really have much in the way of accessories in the episode (even his ship was "invisible"), so Playmates did the best they could with what they had to work with. In one scene, Bele sits down for a drink with Kirk & Spock... so Playmates included a bunch of bottles of liquor and a couple of glasses so you could recreate this in 9" form. I'm sure that 9" Scotty is pleased to see these done in his scale. Nothing better than promoting alcoholism in those young Trek fans.
Here's his box bio for ya-
If you're buying 9" Trek figures, Bele is definitely one to take a look at. Though a bit on the plain side, the figure is very well done and features a fantastic likeness. Though I wish Bele had made it into the regular Playmates line (or even better... as an Art Asylum figure), I have no real complaints on this one. If we only ever get one true Bele figure, I'm glad that it's at least a good one...