In 2001 a Hong Kong company called Toy2R, created a line of small action figures called Qee. These “designer toys” were aimed at more than the usual collector. They were aimed at trend setters and hip people who would love to have diminutive buddies in their pockets or night tables. Designer toys are, in my opinion just another marketing spin trying to remove the stench of geekyness from action figures. Whether Toy2R succeeds or not, it has created a Hellboy version of the Qee Key Chain Collection which is now offered in North America through Dark Horse Deluxe.
This little guy resembles Tasmanian Devil more than he does Hellboy. Ok, he has the chopped horns, the ponytail and the huge right fist, but his jaw is so huge, it seems it will eat its head! Nevertheless, this is meant to be a cute version of Hellboy, not a realistic one or macho version.
The sculptors gave Hellboy a huge chest which makes him look more like a hunchback than a cute little hero. I would have stuck to the standard Qee body type, used on Abe Sapien if I were them. It would have made the exaggerated jaw stand out even more. Currently, the character looks constipated and one cannot feel any of the empathy one usually has for Hellboy. He’s just a mean little demon.
This is a spotless application with a little problem. Hellboy is completely covered in a red base coat. Than other applications add other details, such as his hair or utility belt. The top part of the utility belt, painted beige, lets the red undercoat show through. A thicker coat of paint would have helped.
The paint coat used on Hellboy is not sufficient to protect it from scratches if you use the action figure as a key chain.
Hellboy is of course in scale with all other Qee toys and Abe Sapien. At about 2 ½ inches, he will fit with a number of small action figures.
Hellboy is stable, thanks to his flat feet and his torso which balances him well. And just in case you have problems standing him up, an impossibility, he has peg holes drilled in his feet so he can be put on an action figure stand.
There are articulations at the shoulders, the hips and the wrists. According to Toy2R, the head can be removed to add the key chain insert between the head and body, but I don’t trust it. It feels like it could break. Hellboy’s tail also rotates.
Probably made of PVC, the interior of this toy is hollow. Hellboy’s eyebrows are glued on. His tail looks like it could easily fall apart, so watch out for that.
Hellboy comes with a small gun painted silver. It fits better in his left hand than the oversized right one. Of course there is the key chain insert that comes with the package.
Hellboy is packed in a small clear plastic wrapper which is easy to open. The chain floats at the bottom of the package. There’s a postcard used for product art and product information. The card stock is of good quality, unlike that used in other action figure packages.
Hellboy costs about $7.99. Now I don’t know how much the average key chain costs, but I probably could find a similar one with a rubber version of a Disney character for less than $5 that actually resists the rubbing assaults of my keys in my pockets. Sure these are designer toys not for geeks but for chic people with a high sense of taste. But aren’t most people buying this geeks? Are they trying to make geeks feel good about buying toys?
Available originally in China, in Chinese editions of Hellboy comic books, Dark Horse Deluxe distributes them in North America currently. They are available at Dark Horse’s Web site or through any store that orders through Diamond Comics distributors. It’s a cool toy to put on a night table, I will give the manufacturer that much, but please, don’t make me feel snobbish about buying toys.