My memory of Wetaâ€™s Righteous Bison: Indivisible Particle Smasher at Comic-Con are mostly faint. I recall that the prototype needed some fine tuning (reversed insignias, that sort of thing) but more vividly stuck in my mind was how poor display piece had begun to bear the toll of being fondled by the eager SDCC masses, developing cracks, scrapes and other unspeakable signs of collectibles abuse.
Itâ€™s alright though, lifeâ€™s never really been easy for the Bison, having to fight perceptions toward its plastic pedigree since its moment of birth.
In addition to the obvious goal of attracting a broader audience with something more affordable, Weta has cited requests for a â€˜convention friendlyâ€™ Raygun as an impetus for the product. Considering the Righteous Bison is not only less expensive and less fragile, but also transport-friendly without losing life-size form, that logic seems well supported.
Putting the final product through its paces, the Bison comes through in two righteous waysâ€“ fit and finish.
The details are crisp down to the rivet. You can count the handle detail (where the Atom is) which is rather â€˜blobbyâ€™ looking as an exceptionâ€“ though it seems to be conceived that way, rather than it being any sort of manufacturing issue.
It all comes together darn precisely which is equally impressive. Although there are quite a few â€œplastic seamsâ€â€“ most notably where the two major halves join down the centerâ€“ for the most part they are dead flush; there are no odd ridges or dodgy alignments. In the best cases, the seams can almost look as if they belong with the intentionally sculpted ones.
A good test jiggle revealed no rattles or crackles and creaks of any kind. Itâ€™s a clean fit. Itâ€™s solid.
The gun is trimmed in gold and black with a metallic base. The weathering on top of the body is actually phenomenal, and if you do sense some surprise itâ€™s because so often one would find this to look quite â€˜painted onâ€™ and artificial. Contrary to that, a beautiful job is done on the rust/oxidation along the adjoining panels. At worst, some of the black pieces, especially the large tail fin that look bare could do with a coat or two of paint. Black is black right? Why not leave as is? Because it does look more characteristically plastic there I wish they would have painted that not for color, but texture.
Nevertheless, the paints are bit better than what Iâ€™ve come to expect from a perceived â€˜budgetâ€™ piece. Fit and finish, pleasant discoveries thoseâ€“ and really the difference that elevates this from merely â€œtoyâ€ status.
Not that it canâ€™t be that too. If intended, it can suit that purpose quite well. You donâ€™t feel compelled to don kid gloves every time you handle it, as you would its more expensive brethren. It doesnâ€™t make any noise or light-up (which Iâ€™m absolutely fine with) but the trigger does squeeze quite ably! And while the Bison is certainly lighter than said brethren- which should not come as any surprise- itâ€™s no flyweight either. Thereâ€™s some decent mass to the thing; itâ€™s perhaps at the upper limits of what youâ€™d want it to weigh if you were to actually tote this around for an extended amount of time. A pretty good balance was achieved.
If you are dead opposed to a Raygun made of â€œimitation metalâ€, you might never get right with the the Righteous Bison. I was rather on the fence as wellâ€“ but the bottom line is I would not hesitate to display this alongside the bona-fide high end Rayguns.
Dollar for dollar, I find the Righteous Bison to be more impressive than the identically priced miniature Unnatural Selector.