Mattel still hasn’t figured out the mystery of Flashback managers. The Battle Pack format seems an ideal way to get classic old school characters paired with their most famous client. That would have been a far easier way to get Paul Bearer. It’s not The Undertaker, Kane or Mankind would be tough sells.
Instead, Mattel went with the Build a Figure release strategy for Uncle Paul. Ask anyone who’s tried to assemble a Mattel BAF and they’ll tell you the process is incredibly frustrating. Paul Bearer was no different as I found three of the four figures to build him at Wal-Mart. The fourth — Neville — proved far more difficult. But now that he’s here, let’s see if he was worth all the hassle.
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Packaging: As the BAF, there’s no set packaging for him. I’ve griped for a while that BAFs deserve some sort of bio/write-up like the regular figures. For a series with only tangential connections to Paul save The Undertaker.
Likeness: I love the head sculpt. That’s immediately recognizable as Paul Bearer right down to the slight sneer and bags under the eyes. We’ve seen this repeatedly with the wrestlers having idealized bodies and that carries over to Paul as well.
I’m not sure Percy Pringle was ever this slim while playing Paul Bearer. But making a wider suit body probably wasn’t very cost efficient. The jacket portion looks better as it has a decent amount of girth, but Paul is wearing skinny slacks that kill the wide body illusion.
Paul’s ‘signature’ pose was clasping his hands or holding the urn. This was probably a good time for Mattel to use the wider open hands. If nothing else, he would have been able to hold the urn.
Scale: At 5’11” Paul Bearer wasn’t that short, but he’d still be looking up at the 6’10” Undertaker and 7’ Kane. That should put Bearer at Kane’s shoulders. The figure is just a little taller than he should be, but the scale is close enough.
Paint: There’s not a lot of paint work required here. Paul wore a black suit and tie. The most intricate paint work is on the head with the black around the eyes. What’s here is solid, but it’s definitely not all that remarkable.
Articulation: Paul gets the standard Elite suit body articulation. He wasn’t the most physically involved manager so this figure covers everything I’d need.
Paul Bearer has:
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
- knee (double-jointed)
Accessories: Despite being a Build a Figure, Paul Bearer does come with an accessory. It’s The Undertaker’s urn. There’s nothing particularly exciting about it and you have to position it just right to sit in Bearer’s arms, but this is an accessory that definitely needed to be included. It’s just a real boneheaded move not to have hands for him to hold it.
Worth it? Paul Bearer is clocking around $40 to $55 right now. In terms of value, that’s not awesome and it’s paying a premium price essentially for a head.
Rating: 7 out of 10
While I don’t have buyer’s remorse since Paul was a pivotal manager in the 90s, this figure isn’t all that special. Coupled with the hoops to get him and less than accurate body, Paul isn’t worth the BAF price for all but the hardcore fans.
Where to get it? Wal-Mart was pretty terrible in terms of stocking this wave so eBay was the best resort. That’s the main way to get him now, but at least you’ll be spared the frustration of not finding all the pieces in stores.