Cartoon Network has been producing many great cartoon shows in the past few years for kids of all ages. One of their longest running franchises in recent times is “Ben 10,” the story is about young Ben Tennyson, his cousin Gwen, and their grandfather Max who discover a mysterious watch-like device called the Omnitrix during a camping trip. Like all 10 year old kids, Ben realizes the only course of action is to battle aliens and right the wrongs of the universe by transforming into aliens. It’s only logical.
It was not long before toys had to be made, and Ban Dai has been producing these figures since the show first debuted in 2005. Now, over six years later, the characters have all aged in real time and star in “Ultimate Alien,” where Ben now uses the Ultimatrix and transforms into even bigger and cooler aliens. Today, we look at one of those aliens.
“Ultimate Swampfire” is part of Ban Dai’s “Ben 10: Ultimate Alien” line, and first premiered on episode 53 in the episode, “Ben 10 Returns.” Hailing from the planet Methanos, Swampfire has pyrokinetic powers, a rotten scent, and a nasally voice, making him the Woody Allen of aliens. So, let’s dive in and take a closer look at this figure.
Packaging – Nothing too out of the ordinary here. Swampfire comes on your normal blister card, which is a very compact nine inches tall. There are no frills here, as it’s very economic packaging. Since these toys are intended for kids who are going to rip them open immediately, the main event is the figure itself which is given the most space on this box.
The back of the box features a look at the other figures in this line, as well as the “Disc Alien Ultimatrix,” which we will talk a bit more about later. A character bio would have been nice to see on the back, but again, being for younger kids (many of whom probably can not read yet) there is not much of a huge need for that. It’s pretty straight forward, and it serves its purpose of being a window for a child to see and scream “GIMME GIMME GIMME!”
Taking him out of the package was very easy too. No twisty-ties or rubber bands, just one plastic case that he pops right out of easily. The plastic is pretty thin, but the figure is well-protected and snug in his molded coffin.
Sculpting – Swampfire captures the style of the cartoon dead on. He could practically pass for a model that the animators would use for reference. The character design reminds me of “Holocaust” from Marvel Comics (remember him), but unlike that character, Swampfire is a more balanced looking figure. For someone like me who knows Ben 10 only in passing, I can still enjoy this unique looking creature, and can figure out what he is all about just from looking at him.
He might not be the most detailed figure compared to more realistic lines, but this is a cartoon which focuses on style more than realism. There is no variety in the texture of the figure other than some indents on the muddy section of his body, but the figure seems to be more about the color combinations than it does about fancy sculpting. It accomplishes what it sets out to do, and looks good doing it – simplicity, and some times, there is nothing wrong with that.
Paint – As I said above, I think this figure is more about color than it is about detail. One look at the cartoon show will tip you off to that, and this figure is very accurate in terms of its color. At it’s core, it’s a blue and green color scheme with black highlights, and it works together in unison very well.
I am happy to report that there is no slop around the edges or any blotches. The paint is smooth all over the toy and gives it that feel that it came right out of your TV screen.
Accessories – Swampfire comes with only one accessories, a mini-disc thing with his alien symbol. This disc goes into the Ultimatrix accessory that your child (or you, I’m not judging) wears on their wrist, where it then lights up and spins into action.
To use it, you nestle the character down into the disc, then release it to see him and his arms pop out. The disc looks nice enough on its own, but without the Ultimatrix, this accessory does nothing except get lost when you put it down.
Playability – Swampfire has nine points of articulation, many of those joints hidden nicely, while his knees do have blatantly visible pins. At four inches tall, this figure is great for a kid and will fit in with most other action figures in that scale like Star Wars or the upcoming four-inch Thundercats figures.
The toy is made from sturdy plastic and feels pretty solid, so I would not be worried about your youngling dropping it and smashing it into trillions of pieces. If they own the Ultimatrix, they will have tons of fun roleplaying with it, making the single accessory great for kids, not so much for collectors. Then again, how many collectors are hoarding Ben 10 toys?
Final Verdict – When I asked how many collectors hoard Ben 10 toys, I did not mean that in a negative tone. Far from it, as Ben 10 really is intended for kids to play with. I wish there were more toy lines like this, since it seems nowadays companies are more interested in the adult collectors than they are in entertaining children.
Ban Dai keeps the integrity of the franchise as well as a high play factor for kids. They are still great for collectors too, but this is a toy that was meant to have fun with. So if you buy one, make sure to get yourself one to take out of the package too.
Check out the gallery below to see more photos of “Swampfire”