Avatar Norm Spellman

July 9, 2010 | By More

Avatar Norm Spellman, comes from the second wave of 1:18 scale (3.75 inch) Mattel figures devoted to the Avatar movie directed by James Cameron. In the movie Norm arrives on Pandora alongside Jake Sully, although unlike Jake, Norm has spent most of his adult life preparing for this off-world assignment as a member of Dr. Augustine’s Avatar Research Program.

Avatar Norm Spellman is dressed in very civilized outdoors fashion. Out of all of the RDA Avatar hybrids, this figure is the one with the best overall look due to the richer color palette. Norm wears a tan vest, full of pockets, a maroon t-shirt, brown pants and boots. In conjunction with the Na’vi blues, the resulting figure looks a tad more interesting than the other fatigue-clad Avatars.

Sculpt-wise, Norm is also quite unique. The clothes show seams and wrinkles sculpted at the right places and the level of detail is consistent with that of the other figures in the line. The body proportions are slightly off though, as Norm is sculpted to be noticeably thinner. From the waist up it is not immediately evident, but from the waist down, the legs look way too thin, even though the character is depicted wearing baggy cargo pants.

The head sculpt is simply amazing. Mattel’s toy designers may not be the most artistically proficient of the bunch (other than the infamous 4Horsemen), but provide them with a digital 3D model and they certainly know how to produce amazing results. Avatar Norm’s face has all the nuances of the onscreen character played by actor Joel David Moore, even despite the toy-ish look of the blue plastic used to mold it from.

Articulation in this figure is so well blended in with the sculpted detail, that at first I thought Norm lacked ankle joints as a cost-cutting measure, but it turns out I was wrong on that account. Avatar Norm has the following:

Ball jointed neck. This works as a simple swivel because the ball rests too deep inside the head, but it rotates without problem.

Peg & hinge shoulders. Excellent, with full 180° lateral arc and free 360° rotation.

Peg & hinge elbows.  Also great 90° bend on both arms and full rotation.

Swivel waist. 360° unimpeded swivel.

Double hinged hips. These are designed after the same type of joint Mattel uses for their DC Super Heroes line, and allow the legs to extend sideways as well as rotate back and forth.

Peg & hinge knees. Very good bending range and sideways swiveling.

Hinged ankles. Decent movement back and forth, only slightly limited by the sculpt and placed rather high on the limb, which looks odd at times.

The paint applications on Avatar Norm Spellman are all clean and sharply defined. The figure is molded in the correct plastic colors, thus limiting the number of things that could go wrong.

Norm Spellman comes equipped with the exact same futuristic machete packaged with Dr. Augustine. It has a flat, pointless blade with triangular patterns carved lengthwise. The accessory is molded in gray rubbery plastic and only the handle is painted dark green. Norm comes with his corresponding iTag base plate, which resembles a Na’vi carving design and is molded out of translucent amber-colored plastic.

The sticker on top is a portrait of Norm Spellman as a Na’vi human hybrid, and after logging at Mattel’s Avatar site, it produces a CGI model of a creature called Stingbat. The thing is very reminiscent of the other flying beasts seen in the movie, although according to the info snippets encoded to the plate, it is a much smaller creature. The CGI Stingbat model looks very detailed and has a few animation cycles thrown in to show it in flight, accompanied with some grunting noises.

Norm Spellman in his Avatar form makes for a pretty decent action figure even with the thin leg sculpts. However, Mattel is really cheapening out in terms of accessories, particularly when you stop to consider the price point these figures sell at. The iTag gimmick isn’t much of a tangible bonus, although I can’t deny it’s ingenuity, but I doubt that the inclusion of some more accessories would bankrupt Mattel.

Errex Score: 85/100

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Category: Avatar, Featured, Toy Reviews

About the Author ()

I've been collecting action figures since the original Kenner Star Wars days. Nowadays, I still collect pretty much anything that catches my eye.

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