Vintage Vault: Bionic Six Helen Bennett (“Mother-1”) by LJN

Yes, we’ve come back to the Bionic Six here on FigureFan and I thought it was long past time we took a look at one of the good guys for a change, or in this case, one of the good girls. It’s the matriarch of this super-human family, Helen Bennett, better known as Mother-1 when her bionics are turned on.

I’ve said my piece about these cards. I still hate the whole black and white geometric pattern, and oh god, how I hate the character art on this particular card. I’ve already mentioned that the art for Glove and Mechanic were passable but a little off, but Helen’s is just terrible. Seriously, couldn’t LJN have just used a screen grab from the cartoon? Sure you can tell who it’s supposed to be, and I like the pose with her activating her bionics, but it still looks like hack fan art to me. The figure comes incased in a coffin-style bubble with a compartment above the figure for the accessory. I should mention here that I really hate the fact that LJN went with using the Bennett’s first names on the front of the card. She was Helen Bennett in her civies… this figure is Mother-1 and should have been named as such. The back of the card shows all the figures you can get in the line and has a little blurb about the Bennett’s backstory.

So, this is kind of the first figure in which the whole die-cast metal and translucent plastic gimmick sort of makes sense. The Bennett’s are part cybernetic so let’s make parts of the figure out of die-cast and have some translucent. I could argue the logic and the pitfalls behind the concept, but I do get what they were going for here. Helen is one of those figures where the die-cast doesn’t hurt it too much. Helen’s head sculpt is ok. I’m fine with the face, but the sculpted hair is all wrong. You just need to look at the figure and look at the character art to see that. For the most part, Helen had long hair and the figure’s got a soccer mom cut. Surprisingly, this inconsistency isn’t a deal breaker for me.

The body sculpt is pretty simple, as this figure mostly makes use of paintwork to distinguish the uniform. Ironically, the biggest problem with this figure isn’t the use of die-cast, but rather the unsightly seams that run down the fronts of her plastic upper legs. They’re an eyesore. I’m also not terribly thrilled with the clear plastic on her legs. It just doesn’t mesh with her animated, on-screen counterpart.

And then there’s the paintwork. I’ve already mentioned how spotty some of the paint on these figures can be. My Mother-1 is straight out of the package and still looks like she’s been kicked around the playground a couple of times. The yellow paint that borders on her translucent plastic legs is really rough and probably has a lot to do with why I don’t like these clear parts. There are a few other spots of slop and chipping around the figure and the bevy of exposed screws on the back of the figure don’t help the aesthetics either.

You get the same level of articulation as the other Bionic Six figures. The head rotates, the arms are ball jointed at the shoulders and hinged at the elbows, the legs are ball jointed at the hips and hinged at the knees. Mother-1 is not the most poseable of figures, but she’s not all that shabby considering the time she was released.

Helen comes with one accessory. It’s a soft plastic backpack that rests on her shoulders and straps around her waist. It’s all cast in blue plastic and it’s a decent enough piece for what it is, but it’s also completely unnecessary. I don’t recall Mother-1 having any such backpack in the show, and I prefer to display the figure without it. Still, I never get too upset about anything I can toss into a bin and forget about. So long as it’s an optional accessory, I can toss it into a bin and forget about it.

Helen is a decent figure. It’s easy to nitpick given the scale, the decision to go with die-cast, and the age of the figure. The mismatched hair style is my biggest stumbling block, but she’s a nice, colorful figure despite some hiccups in the paint. In the end, she’s sort of a frustrating figure. She’s just cool enough to get by, but she really makes me want a better executed figure of the character. But as we’ll see again and again that’s par for the course with a lot of the figures in this line.

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