#0168: Cherno Alpha

CHERNO ALPHA

PACIFIC RIM

Last year saw the release of a lot of great movies, but my favorite was definitely Pacific Rim, Guillermo Del Toro’s tribute to Japanese giant robots vs. giant monsters movies. The film had some really great design work, especially the Jaegers. NECA acquired the license to the film and has done three series of figures. The first two waves were perfectly fine, and even gave us a pretty great figure of Jaeger Striker Eureka, but they weren’t quite on the same level as the movie.

With the third series of figures, NECA announced that they had heard fan complaints and they would be stepping up the quality of the figures. Did they succeed?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cherno Alpha was one of the four main Jaegers featured in the film. Cherno is Russia’s resident Jaeger and is a Mark I, making it the oldest of the Jaegers still in action. Cherno had the boxiest of the Jaeger designs, taking more after the giant robots of old than the others. Cherno’s figure stands about 8 inches tall and features 22 points of articulation. While the amount of articulation hasn’t changed that much, the usability of it has been tremendously improved. The range of motion on this figure is tremendously good. He can not only take some dynamic poses, but he can hold them without too much worry of toppling, something that really can’t be said of any of the figures from the first two series. The articulation also includes moving fingers and fists that can slide back and forth, allowing Cherno to deliver some harder hits. Cherno’s sculpt looks spot on to the design from the movie, and the figure doesn’t suffer from any of the “gummy” details that plagued Gypsy. The paint work has also taken a step up. Previous Jaegers used molded plastic for the majority of their coloring, resulting in flatter colors on the figures. This didn’t bug me initially, but after seeing the metallic tones present on Cherno, I can’t help but feel the previous figures don’t look quite as cool. The details are also really great, especially the really small ones, such as Cherno’s logo, and the figure has some great weathering to help bring out the sculpted details a bit more. Cherno includes no accessories, but I can’t really think of anything he should have, so no complaints there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cherno was my favorite of the Jaeger designs in the movie. I feel it’s the one with the most character. As such, I was a bit disappointed to see it was not in the lineup for the first two series of Pacific Rim figures. I was thrilled to see him announced for series three, and after seeing the tremendous jumps NECA has made in quality with this series, I’m happy Cherno got pushed back a little bit. He is easily the best thing the line has had to offer so far. I hope all future Jaegers can follow in this figure’s footsteps.

#0101: Corporal Hicks

CORPORAL DWAYNE HICKS

ALIENS (NECA)

So, I don’t know if you, the readers, are aware, but the film Aliens is, in fact, the greatest movie ever made.  Everybody agrees.  No contest.  If you thought another movie was the greatest movie ever, you were sadly mistaken.  Because it’s Aliens.

Okay, I may have exaggerated a bit up there.  If you couldn’t tell from the hyperbole, Aliens is one of my favorite movies ever.  So naturally, as a toy collector, I should be all over the toys, right?  Except, more often than not the toys a) suck and b) only ever get the aliens themselves made.  I mean, the alien is a good design and all, but come on, the reason we love the movie isn’t the aliens, it’s the awesome characters fighting the aliens.  So, what good are the aliens if they’ve got nobody to fight?

So, I was quite excited when NECA announced that not only were they making an Aliens line, but Hicks and Hudson, two of the movies main characters where in the very first wave!  And they didn’t suck!  The first wave’s been out for a good long while now, and with the impending release of the second wave, I thought I’d give it a review.  Up first, oh so cool marine Corporal Dwayne Hicks!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Corporal Hicks was released as part of the first wave of NECA’s Aliens line.  Obviously, he’s based on Hicks’s appearance in Aliens, but more specifically, he appears to be based on Hicks’s look shortly after the initial battle in the alien hive, after he loses his helmet, and before he dons the headset he wears for the rest of the movie.  Technically it’s a bit off, because he should still have his shoulder lamp at that point (yes, I’m that much of an Aliens geek), but I think it’s close enough.  Hicks stands about 7 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  The sculpt is quite well done.  They’ve sculpted his fatigues onto the underlying figure, and added the armor over top as a separate piece.  The detailing on the sculpt of the uniform is superbly detailed.  The armor is scratched and dented, and the fatigues are appropriately wrinkled.  All in all, it looks like the armor of an experienced marine, which is exactly how it should look.  I’ve heard complaints that the arms are too thin, and while I can see how they might seem that way on first glance, actually comparing the figure to Michael Biehn in the movie, they look about right.  Topping it all off, the head is pretty good.  It’s not as spot on as some of NECA’s work, but it’s easily the best Michael Biehn sculpt that’s been done.  The paint work ranges from decent to pretty darn good.   The head, especially the hairline has a little bit of slop, but nothing too major.  The skin tone is a bit too orange for my tastes.  The paint on the uniform is the best work on the figure.  Lots of little details, especially on the armor that could have been left off, but I’m very happy weren’t.  Hicks is decently accessorized.  He includes the standard pulse rifle, a welder, and his shotgun he kept handy for “close encounters” with its own case.  The welder plugs into his belt, and the shotgun can be slung easily.  The guns are both well sculpted, and fit very nicely into his hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I preordered Hicks and the rest of series one as soon as I possibly could, because there was no way I was missing out on these guys.  I was super excited to get these guys, and Hicks was the figure I was most looking forward to.  While he’s not a perfect figure, he’s a darned good one, and I’m really glad to have him.

#0028: Leatherback

LEATHERBACK

PACIFIC RIM

Today, I’ll be looking at the final figure in the second series of NECA’s Pacific Rim figures.  This review will take a look at the lone Kaiju in this series.  I reiterate that if you don’t know what that means, stop reading now and go watch Pacific Rim.  Actually, even if you’ve already seen it and know exactly what I’m talking about, you should probably go watch it again!

On to the review…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The figure in question is the Kaiju Leatherback.  Leatherback doesn’t actually do a large amount in the film, being largely secondary to his companion Kaiju Otachi, but what he does is fairly memorable, and he’s a good pairing with Striker Eureka, so he’s a good choice for the line.  Leatherback is in scale with the rest of the line and stands about 7 inches hunched.  He has 24 points of articulation.  The most noticeable part of the figure in hand is the serious heft that the figure possesses.  You could kill a man with this figure.  Well, maybe not kill, but seriously maim.  Anyway, the figure is pretty well sculpted, especially the texturing on the skin.  It lives up to his name.  Unfortunately, due to Leatherback’s more organic nature, the articulation is incredibly obvious, especially in comparison to the Jaegers from this series, who all work it in more naturally.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Leatherback is probably my least favorite figure in the series, mostly due to the issues with the articulation.  However, being my least favorite in this series is far from a bad thing!  Leatherback is still a high quality figure, and is a nice contrast to the Jaegers.

#0027: Striker Eureka

STRIKER EUREKA

PACIFIC RIM

Today, I’m looking at another figure from NECA’s second series of Pacific Rim figures.  Yesterday, I looked at a variant of the main Jaeger from the film, Gipsy Danger.  Today, I’ll be covering the second most prominent Jaeger from the film:  Striker Eureka!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Striker is built to fit in with the rest of the Pacific Rim figures, so he stands about 7 inches tall.  He has roughly 21 points of articulation.  Striker is mostly a light grey color, so the figure is molded in this color, with details added over top of it.  The detail paint is superbly done, and he has a nice wash applied all around that gives the suit a nice worn in look.  Striker’s design is very much influenced by the fighting suits from Neon Genesis Evangelion, with a design that features lots of sharp angles.  As such, it was very important for the sculpted details on this figure to be sharp.  There was a bit of concern on this point because it seemed that such details may have been lost on the Gipsy Danger sculpt, but I’m happy to say that it’s not an issue with Striker here.  Striker technically includes no accessories, thought he does have his stinger blades, which are jointed so that they can swivel back and forth, and can be removed if you so desire.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Striker was one of my favorite of the main Jaeger designs, so it follows that it was the figure I was most looking forward to in second series, and heck, even NECA’s Pacific Rim line overall.  The figure definitely doesn’t disappoint.  I was initially a bit let down by the lack of the nuclear device that Striker has strapped to his back during the final battle, but the rest of the figure is so well done that I don’t mind so much.  Striker is some serious awesome!

#0026: Gipsy Danger – Battle Damaged

GIPSY DANGER  – BATTLE DAMAGED

PACIFIC RIM

Okay, changing gears.  Today I’ll be looking at the first of the three figures in the second wave of NECA’s Pacific Rim line.  I just got this set, so I wanted to try to get the review up while it was still slightly relevant.  I know it’s the second wave, and I haven’t done the first, but I’ll to get to them soon enough.

Today’s figure is the main Jaeger Gipsy Danger.  If you haven’t seen the film and that confused you, stop everything and go see the movie.  Right now.  Go buy it.  I’ll wait.  Back?  Wasn’t it amazing?  The correct answer is “F*** Yes!”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Okay, so this figure is of Gipsy Danger.  Gipsy is depicted here in her more damaged look from later in the film.  The figure stands about 7 inches tall, and has roughly 20 points of articulation.  The sculpt is really nice.  I’ve heard complaints that the details are a little gummy, but given the scale, I think they’re pretty well handled!  The paint is supposed to be the focal point of this figure, as that’s what separates it from the previous release, but let’s be honest, that’s not the reason people want this figure.  The real reason is the accessories, something that the previous release didn’t include:  Chain swords!  The chain swords are well sculpted and go in fairly easily.  However, they do have a tendency to fall out if you don’t put them in just right, so be careful.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have to say that, while Pacific Rim series 2 was a set I was very excited for, this version of Gipsy wasn’t something I was really looking forward to.  I was wrong.  While I still don’t feel it’s the be-all-end-all Gipsy, it’s really fun, and it makes deciding which version to put on the shelf much more difficult.