REVIEW: BEN 10 OMNIVERSE KICKIN HAWK
One of the things that has always impressed me about the Ben 10 concept is its popularity. It seems to be a relatively rare occurrence these days when something rather new and innovative comes along and manages to establish itself as well as Ben 10 has. But Ben 10 has done exactly that, through multiple TV series, several movies, and certainly a long-lasting toy line courtesy of Bandai.
The current series is known as BEN 10 OMNIVERSE. The visual style of the show is somewhat different than before, a bit more cartoonish, at least insofar as the human characters are concerned, and I'm not entirely sure that I approve of the alteration. However, there's still an abundance of alien heroes into which the central hero Ben Tennyson can transform, using the alien device which gives him this ability, and those alien heroes are as wild as ever, and from an action figure standpoint, can certainly be said to be compatible with one another.
The series follows the adventures of Ben Tennyson, bearer of the Omnitrix, the watch-like device that allows Ben to change into aliens. Storylines alternate between that of eleven-year old Ben (a year after the original series) and sixteen-year old Ben (a few months after Ben 10: Ultimate Alien), hopefully not creating too many continuity problems in the process. After Ben's cousin Gwen leaves for college and Kevin leaves to be closer and nearer to her, sixteen-year old Ben gets a new partner, a rookie by-the-book alien named Rook. On a mission to explore a secret underground alien city named Undertown, Ben explores the quirkier side of things in the alien underground and discovers that enemies from his past are looking for a rematch. All the while, Ben becomes targeted by a mysterious hunter known as Khyber who is working for Malware (a psychotic mutant Galvanic Mechamorph) and Dr. Psychobos (a Cerebrocrustacean mad scientist).
One thing that should be mentioned about the 4" line of Ben 10 figures. It is not, and never has been, a scale line. The figures are all more or less four inches in height. In the show, they can range from the near microscopic to the truly gigantic. A to-scale line of these characters would be impossible -- or at the very least, a display nightmare for any retailer's action figure section. And so Bandai came up with the very reasonable compromise of making all of the alien figures pretty much the same height, regardless of how large or small they are in the various animated series in which they have appeared.
One of the additions to this line goes by the name of KICKIN HAWK. I was able to track down a bit of background information on him, and present it herewith.
His powers include retracting talons from his hands and scythe-like blades from his elbows and using them for battle. He can cut objects by using the blades on his arms. He also has enhanced strength, durability, agility and reflexes. Ben accidentally downloaded Liam when fighting him. He scanned him and turned into a Ben 10 version of Liam and called him Kickin' Hawk. He is also one of Ben's favorite aliens.
He first appeared in the episode "Outbreak" fighting Liam, his genetic donor despite being more chicken-like.
So, how's the figure? Very impressive, really. As the name implies, Kickin Hawk is loosely based on a chicken hawk, an actual species of bird. As for Kickin Hawk's overall appearance -- well... remember the old Warner Brothers cartoons? Remember the loudmouthed rooster known as Foghorn Leghorn? One of his frequent adversaries was a diminutive chicken hawk with a heck of a lot more attitude than size who went by the name of Henery Hawk. He wasn't much bigger than Foghorn's foot.
Kickin Hawk looks like what you'd get if you crossed Henery Hawk with a professional wrestler. Really, no kidding. If Foghorn had ever had to face this Hawk, he might have actually shut up for two seconds.
Kickin Hawk follows a structural pattern similar to quite a few of the physical powerhouses in the Ben 10 universe. He has a powerful torso, a relatively narrow waist, huge arms, and comparatively small legs. It should be noted, however, that Kickin Hawk isn't quite as exaggerated in his proportions as some of the others. He's nowhere near as exaggerated as, for example, Rath, who's certainly one of the strong guys among Ben's alien options.
There's also something to be said for the fact that Kickin Hawk has more of a resemblance to his real-live avian counterpart than one might expect. While he doesn't have wings, he certainly appears to have feathers and definitely has a beak and other bird-like attributes, while I shall shortly describe. While not all of Ben's alien counterparts can trace their likenesses to real-world animals, several of them come close to one degree or another, but I think Kickin Hawk comes a lot closer than most.
Kickin Hawk has a tan body, with a number of visible "ruffles" here and there to definitely give one the impression that he's feathered. He has a lighter tan, cockatoo-like crest on the top of his head, a bird-like mohawk, really. And his chest is also a lighter tan than the rest of his body.
Kickin Hawk is wearing black shorts, and a limited amount of green straps here and there, as well as a green mask, with upswept details on the sides, looking rather feather-like. While the green details of Kickin Hawk's outfit are not an especially bright green, they are a decidedly intense green. If you wanted to show someone the most direct, straightforward, in-your-face green possible, this would be the green you'd want to use. It's not light green, it's not bright green, it's not olive green, it's just -- GREEN.
Kickin Hawk's outfit consists of the aforementioned mask, ridged straps around his shoulders, with connecting straps across his chest and back, and additional straps around his lower arms and lower legs. He also has a green belt with some white detailing on it. In the center of the chest strap is the emblem of the Omnitrix, the device Ben Tennyson uses to transform into the various aliens. All of his alien counterparts have this on them, somewhere.
Below the straps on the arms and legs, Kickin Hawk's appendages become even more birdlike. Both his hands and feet look very much like somewhat cartoonish versions of birds' legs. They are yellow in color, with sculpted ridges. The lower legs are particularly narrow. The hands end in two fingers and a thumb each, each with sharp black claws, and his feet end in two toes facing forward, and a third, much smaller toe pointing backwards, and each of these also have a sharp black claw on them.
Additionally, Kickin Hawk has two long, black spikes on the backs of his arms, just below the elbows. These spikes curve upwards and face backwards, slightly out to the sides. For a character named "KICKIN Hawk", it seems that most of his weaponry is in his arms, which are distinctly larger than his legs. But the name is not as much of a misnomer as it seems. According to some additional information I turned up, Kickin Hawk can generate powerful shockwave-like kicks. So there's the explanation for the name.
The figure is very neatly painted, including light blue eyes, and a yellow beak. Strangely, he seems to have teeth inside the beak. Just in case you thought Iago from Disney's "Aladdin" was the only bird out there with a set of choppers inside his bill. But the overall detail work, right down to the claws, is most impressive. Bandai is capable of great precision in painting, and it certainly shows on this figure.
Kickin Hawk's articulation is especially impressive. Admittedly, one never quite knows what one's going to get with these figures. Some are more easily articulated than others. Some don't even entirely correspond to a humanoid design, and I can't imagine that makes them easy to articulate.
Kickin Hawk is largely humanoid, and is certainly very well articulated. He is poseable at the head, arms, elbows, lower arm rotations, legs, knees, and lower leg rotations. That's well in the upper levels of articulation for a Ben 10 Alien Force figure.
Kickin Hawk comes with one accessory, a small tan statue of himself with a base. This item can be used with a separately-sold toy called the Omnitrix Challenge.
So, what's my final word? This is one cool bird. I wouldn't want to pick a fight with him, but I'm glad to have him in my collection. Bandai has done a magnificent job with this figure, and if you're any sort of Ben 10 fan, then you'll definitely want to add him to your figure collection.
The BEN 10 OMNIVERSE figure of KICKIN HAWK definitely has my highest recommendation!