Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Gas Bawer by Longneck

Since I reviewed my new Bemon and drew the BIG BATTEL scene between the Bemon and his arch-nemesis the Gas Bawer (in my mind anyway), I decided to finally review the Bawer figure. I picked up this figure from Super7 a few months ago on a whim and it has remained a focal part of my rapidly changing collection.

Like the Bemon, the Gas Bawer is shrouded in mystery for me, as I honestly know very little about him. With the Bemon at least I have some background though the old Smogun header. But as far as I know, the Gas Bawer's only background is that he is a relatively new character created from scratch. It has been speculated that the figure was designed by the same person that designed the Bemon figure, and evidently the Gas Bawer was sold in the same Japanese shop. I would like to verify this!

What draws me to him like the others is the pollution aspect. What makes the Gas Bawer unique is that where essentially all pollution themed kaiju are what appear to be mobile piles of sludge, he seems to be a mobile volcano spewing his noxious fumes over the land.

This was the only Longneck figure that I knew about until they released this:

I'm not positive what is name is, but the head on this snail creature is very phallic. I figured surely it coincidence until photos of the snail's undercarriage showed up!

No mistaking what that is supposed to be!

Anyway, back to mine, this new figure got me looking at the Gas Bawer again. As I was drawing the Bawer in my sketch posted earlier, I noticed how the arms had a phallic appearance as well. And the folds on the chest began to take on a whole new vaginal appearance! Could this be a common theme in Longneck figures? I guess we'll see when a new Longneck beast comes our way. Just thought this was kind of interesting.

There are several color schemes of the Bawer from a black, grimy looking one to an almost completely white albino. There is a pink one with spots that is supposed to resemble a strawberry, and one painted to resemble Mt. Fuji in Japan. I really like the color scheme of this one I have, although I just don't think it has the popularity of the Bemon.

I compare it so much to the Bemon mainly due to the two figures' similarities... general shape, the pollution theme, etc.

Sculpt (3.5 out of 5): This figure has a unique look for sure. Unlike the other pollution monsters around, the Gas Bawer is a walking mound of cracked stone, and this is reflected well in the sculpt. The cracked texture of the surface is nice... it reminds me of Marvel Comic's Thing from the Fantastic Four.

The giant smooth eye in the front becomes the obvious focal point in that is essentially the only smooth surface on the entire figure. There is also a giant, creepy vertical eye on his back that adds to the oddity of this monster as well.

Another nice touch in the sculpt is the "chest wrinkle" and what appear to be exhaust tubes around the waste. I can image the noxious fumes spraying from the chest and mid-section of the beast as his head explodes up top.They look almost rubbery or fleshy and add more contrast on the otherwise rocky surface.

The body is a little too barreled in my opinion. There is no distinction between the chest, waist and pelvis of the creature except for the skirt formed by the exhaust tubes. The legs seem a little too stumpy (it looks as though he would have trouble moving well) and the arms are posed at a bit of an awkward angle.

I would also have liked to see articulation at the hips and/or under the head instead of the big seam across the figure's belly. I suppose this was needed somehow in the sculpting process due to the shape of the head or something, but the seam under his chest is distracting and could have been hidden better I think. Granted, the legs couldn't really be posed, but it would have been really nice to be able to turn the head and have the seams hidden a little better.

Paint (3.75 out of 5)
: While there aren't as many colors as the Bemons (and no hand paints as far as I know), the Gas Bawers sport some great paint jobs... all very different from one another. This particular figure has an overall red scheme in the vinyl which is contrasted well with a cool blue and black sprayed on top. There is a metallic gold used for highlights as well in the large eye, on the tops of the claws and on the tips of the exhaust valves.

It is a pretty simple paint application despite all the colors involved. I cannot help compare to my Bemon which despite having only one paint applied, the mix of clean application to the eyes and messy runs that mesh well with the sludge surface. This Bawer figure has a uniform, airbrushed approach throughout which works for the rocky texture, but could be more interesting with a more fluid application I think. With the gaps left in the blue in the front, I believe a runny feel is what the intention is anyway, as if the red were running down the chest.

I do really like the colors used, and where they are used. The black top of the head really adds to the volcanic feel and the blue on the front helps to add variety and add a more organic feel to the hot rocks.... like there is some sludge mixed in with that volcanic, gassy ash.

Decent paint application, and good color selection, but could have a more interesting application.

Coolness (4 out of 5)
: To me this is still a very cool figure. I'm a sucker for uniquities, and even though this is another pollution monster in a large collection of them, this is the only rocky themed kaiju I own. What's not to love about a hideous volcano monster that spews gas and has a giant cyclops thing going on? Well, unless hideous just isn't for you I guess.

Value (3 out of 5): In the United States, these have a hefty pricetag. In comparison to similar toys, it's about par, however. Guess I'm just not a high roller. It is very large and comes in crazy colors, but it just does not have the same cool home made yet still professional feel that some other comparable toys do.

Overall (4 out of 5):
Positives: Unique approach to the pollution monster theme, nice colors, large in size

Negatives: Somewhat boring paint application, awkward joints, seam across belly

I would recommend this toy to any collector interested. In the battle of pollution beasts, I still view him as my favorite underdog (to Bemon). Secretly I want him to win in the battle that I drew earlier... well, that's not so secret anymore.

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