Name of Toy Line: BEN 10 DNAnimators
Production Company: Bandai
Characters & Elements: Cartoon Network
Years of Production: 2010
Countries/Regions Available: USA
Figure Trade Markings: None
Approximate # of Figures: 4
Premiering one year after where Ben 10: Alien Force leaves off, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien the cartoon follows the now sixteen-year-old Ben. The Omnitrix has been destroyed, and Ben must learn to master the secrets of the new Ultimatrix, a gauntlet-like version of the old Omnitrix that not only gives him access to all of his original powers and abilities, but also allows him to evolve his alien forms into even stronger and more powerful versions (called "ultimate forms"). (source: Wikipedia)
With the DNAnimators line, Bandai once again cleverly translates the alien creation and transformation theme of the BEN 10 cartoon into a toy line, much like it did in its BEN 10: Transforming Alien Rocks line. And although they seem to have put a good bit of time and energy into this line, I'll let you determine if it is a win.
The concept is certainly a winner, that's for sure. The line consists of 4 mini-figure molds into which a "compound" is to be pressed resulting in the creation of a mini-figure. In other words, you get to create your own alien mini-figures. It's a really fun idea. There are two sets with two molds per set/package.
The four molds are for the following four characters: Set One: Ultimate Humungousaur and Water Hazard, and Set Two: Ultimate Swampfire and Ultimate Echo Echo. Let's take a look at the molds! Each mold is made of two parts, a top and bottom. The two parts snap together nice and tight.
In addition to being able to create mini-figures, one also has the option of transforming the mini-figures by mixing and matching the two halves of the molds. Bandai certainly can't be faulted for not providing enough direction for this toy line. There are three visual sets of directions that come with the packaging: photos on the front and back, and nice, illustrated directions enclosed inside.
Looks easy, right? Yeah, unfortunately the supplied compound, though of nice quality, wasn't so malleable. Ultimate Humungousaur and Water Hazard came with red and yellow compound, and Ultimate Swampfire and Ultimate Echo Echo came with blue and yellow compound. The compound came in a nifty little storage bin. Like the molds themselves, they are of good quality and close tightly.
Let's take a look at the compound and how I
Pretty bad, huh? And that's with me spending a good 4-5 minutes on each mold working the compound in as best I could. It just wasn't happening. I was trying to think of a good way to describe the compound, and the best I can come up with is balloon rubber. If you've every popped a rubber balloon and mushed the material around between your fingers, that's a little bit what this material felt like. I could push it into the crevices of the mold, but it would shrink right back. I even tried heating the compound in front of a space heater. It didn't seem to make it any more malleable. The upside is that the compound doesn't mush apart easy to get smeared on clothing nor attract dirt and
Fortunately, I had another, erm, high quality polymer material at my disposal. I experimented with green and blue colors.
Ultimate Swampfire & Ultimate Echo Echo
It was much easier using the softer material, but the results aren't much better. So as far as making display-worthy mini-figures, this set-up will get a D- from me; however, as a toy line with some cool playability, if you toss in the softer material, I'd give it an A. (It's also worth mentioning that some younger children might even mistake the compound that came with the line as some kind of candy, so it's probably safer to use the "other" material anyhow.)
For those interested only in collecting mini-figures, the molds themselves stand on their own quite nicely, and would display just fine beside any mini-figure toy line. Conclusion: Definitely worth picking up if you're a fan of mini-figs.
BEN 10: Ultimate Alien Website