Sunday, September 26, 2010

TZ Spotlight: Gremlin bobblehead (Bif Bang Pow!)

Summer's funny. The kids are out of school, routines are disrupted... and one's attention span gets compromised by sunlight and warmth. Consequently, things go undone. Not much of an excuse, but it's the only one I can think of to explain my negligence in posting the fifth --- and final (for now) --- spotlight on Bif Bang Pow!'s amazing Twilight Zone bobbleheads. This poor guy has been sitting on a shelf with its four siblings for well over two months, waiting for its moment in the spotlight. My head is hung in shame (which makes it kinda hard to type, truth be told, but I digress). Ladies and gentlemen, your attention is (belatedly) drawn to.... The Gremlin.

Let me say up front that The Gremlin is not a character that I'm particularly fond of. The episode that features this particular furball, season five's "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," isn't bad at all (especially for season five, which misses more times than it hits). Not one of my favorites, but I can't deny that Richard Matheson's teleplay (and seminal short story) are quite effective. We all know the story, so I won't recount it in detail.... basically, nervous guy (played to the hilt by William Shatner) on airplane sees creature outside on the wing, but nobody believes him. Creature starts tampering with the engines, and things get progressively tense. Great story. Unfortunately, in its translation to a visual medium, all tension gets shot to hell by the ridiculous character design of The Gremlin. It hurts --- but doesn't necessarily ruin --- an otherwise good episode.

Here's looking at you, Kirk.

The above comments are intended to illustrate the fact that any disdain I might have for the character does NOT transfer over to this amazing bobblehead. In fact, it may be Bif Bang Pow's best sculpt to date. The fur texture is very well done, and happily extends to the backside of the creature as well. No corners cut here!

And that face... wow. Well, see for yourself.

The Gremlin is perched atop a plane's wing, prying up a cowling plate to access (and damage) the engine. If you haven't already noticed, this particular bobblehead has a clever extra feature: a window looking into the cabin.

And if you turn the bobblehead sideways, you get a fully-decorated mockup of Shatner's window seat looking out!

If you lean in close and look through the window (which is an actual hole carved into the piece), you can see The Gremlin... well, kinda. Okay, barely. The Gremlin is WAY too close to the window, and it's set too far back (well, to the left) to get a good look at it through the tiny opening. However, I can't imagine that the sculptor actually intended to achieve a Shatner-eye view of The Gremlin through this window. It's just a cute touch, and it works brilliantly. It's evident that a lot of thought went into this sculpt. Y'now, if Bif Bang Pow! ends up doing a companion Bob Wilson (Shatner's character) bobblehead, it would be ultra-cool to use a similar (albeit opposite) approach, with a forced-perspective tiny Gremlin viewable through the window. Just a thought.

This bobblehead is BY FAR the heaviest of the bunch. In the months that have elapsed between my reviews of the other four bobbleheads and now, I somehow acquired a postal scale, so I was able to compare all five. They weigh in as follows: The Mystic Seer and The Kanamit tie for the lightest at 12.5 ounces each. Talking Talky Tina lands in the middle at 14.5 ounces. The Invader, which is a formidable chunk of spaceman, is 19 ounces. The Gremlin trounces them all at a staggering 22 ounces. No wonder it costs a few bucks more than its lighter peers.

The Gremlin is further differentiated from the others by the fact that both Twilight Zone and Bif Bang Pow! logos are nowhere to be seen, either on the front or the back of the piece. Fear not. You'll find both logos coexisting harmoniously on the bottom of the base.

Verdict? Another excellent effort. Given my ambivalence for the character itself, my hopes weren't terribly high this time around. Not only has Bif Bang Pow! pulled off yet another resounding success, they've actually made me like The Gremlin... well, almost.

As I write this, all five are still available through Entertainment Earth. If you don't already own The Gremlin (or the other four bobbleheads), what the hell are you waiting for?

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