#2063: Dutch & Linn

DUTCH & LINN

ALIEN VS. PREDATOR (NECA)

“Terror grips the city of San Drad as it is overwhelmed by a mysterious outbreak of aliens.  The cybernetically-enhanced Major Dutch Schaefer and Lt. Linn Kurosawa of the USCMC are surrounded by a swarm of Xenomorph drones when a pair of unlikely allies – Predators – appear and offer a temporary alliance.  Now it’s a battle to end them all as human and Predator join forces against unending waves of deadly Xenomorphs!”

In 1994, with the golden years of both franchises firmly behind them, Aliens and Predator decided to meet in the middle, and dive headlong into the world of Alien Vs. Predator, in all its shapes and forms.  While it would take us another decade to actually get a movie made out of that concept, one was in the works, and a script was drafted for a mid-90s release.  Capcom was contacted to make an arcade game to tie-in with the film, and when the film fell through, decided to go ahead and release the game anyway.  Players could choose between four playable characters on their trek to mow down Xenos.  There were two variants of Predator, and then there were Dutch and Linn, who I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Dutch and Linn are a two-pack release as part of NECA’s game-based Alien Vs. Predator line.  They hit shelves between the Predators and the Aliens, which I guess makes some sense.  Both follow NECA’s trend of video game figures filtered through the lens of pseudo realism.

DUTCH

Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer was no stranger to that whole Predator thing, being the main protagonist of the first movie and all.  He’s also no stranger to the NECA thing….being the protagonist of the first movie and all.  And, given Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ’90s stardom, it’s no surprise that there were plans to include him in the film crossover.  Whether he would have actually been cybernetically-enhanced in the movie is anyone’s guess, but it was a cool game concept.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  Unsurprisingly, this Dutch figure makes use of the molds from NECA’s previous Dutch figures.  As I noted when I reviewed the Contra figures that were also built on this body, it’s a strong starting point, and still remains one of NECA’s best bodies.  Dutch gets a new, slightly less Schwarzenegger-looking head, plus a new belt and knee/elbow pads.  And, of course, most notably, he gets a new right arm, replicating his big robot arm from the game.  Boy is this a thing of beauty.  It’s a clean sculpt, and it’s got working pistons and joints in all the proper spots.  It could have easily been badly articulated or overly fragile, but it’s neither one of those things, and it even manages to be pretty well balanced on the figure, so he won’t fall over as much as you might expect.  Man, is that a cool arm.  Dutch’s paintwork follows the usual NECA classic video-game trend, with actual painted shading and lighting, simulating the way the sprites in the game are painted.  It’s surprisingly subtle on Dutch, and adds a pop to the figure without making him look weird from non-highlighted angles.  Dutch is packed with an extra, slightly more relaxed hand for his robot arm, as well as a fire-effect piece to plug onto the end.

LINN

Lt. Linn Kurosawa was a brand new addition for the game, though given that she was given the Aliens connection, one has to wonder if at some point in the process she was meant to be a returning Aliens franchise character.  Whatever the case, she’s just as prominent in the game as Dutch, and a natural choice here.  The figure is 6 1/2 inches tall and has 25 points of articulation (including a balljoint on her pony tail; that’s pretty darn cool).  Though she’s a new character, she’s not all-new pieces.  She’s instead built on some of Pvt Vasquez’s parts.  Given they’re both USCMC, it’s s pretty sensible bit of re-use.  Like Dutch, there are still plenty of new parts, including a new head and torso, as well as new dressing for the arms and legs.  If Dutch is NECA’s best male body, Vasquez is their best female, so Linn’s got another good starting point.  The new parts are all pretty good, though she doesn’t have anything that immediately stands out the way Dutch’s robot arm did.  Still, a pretty solid sculpt all around.  The paint on Linn is certainly bright and eye-catching, though I did notice that it seemed a little more prone to slop and bleed over than Dutch’s.  You might want to keep an eye on that.  Linn is packed with a katana, and a handgun, with right hands to match each of them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve not played the game these two are based on, but I’ve always liked the designs, especially Dutch.  While I passed on the rest of the game figures, I liked these two enough in-person that I didn’t want to pass on them.  Dutch is probably one of my favorite NECA figures, truth be told.  That robot arm is just so much fun!  Linn may not have the wow factor that Dutch is, but I didn’t feel like I was gipped by having to buy her as well.  All-in-all a very fun set.

I picked this set up from All Time Toys, where it can still be purchased here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

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#2058: Ofelia

OFELIA

GUILLERMO DEL TORO SIGNATURE SERIES (NECA)

As one of Guillermo del Toro’s most successful films both commercially and critically, as well as good number of movie-goers’ first exposure to del Toro’s work, Pan’s Labyrinth, unsurprisingly, makes up the backbone of NECA’s spotlight on the director’s work.  In addition to getting two of the film’s most distinctive creatures, we also get the film’s protagonist (a real rarity when it comes to toys from horror properties), Ofelia, whose reality and fantasy blending quest drives the film.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ofelia is figure 3 in the Guillermo del Toro Signature Series from NECA, following Santi from The Devil’s Backbone and the Pale Man, also from Pan’s Labyrinth.  She’s the middle of the three Pan’s Labyrinth figures, and actually works as a pretty solid bridge from Pale Man to Faun.  Ofelia is seen her in her green and white party dress, which she wears on her way to the first of the three challenges from the Faun.  It’s not a particularly long-lived outfit, but it’s somewhat important to the plot, and definitely her most distinctive look from the movie.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  The articulation on the upper half of the figure is definitely well-implemented, but the legs, especially the hips, are rather restricted by the thick plastic dress.  There’s no easy solution to that, though, and I can’t really fault NECA for choosing aesthetics over performance on this one.  It’s not like Ofelia’s going to need to get into a ton of action poses, so this should do.  Ofelia’s is a pretty decent recreation of her appearance in the movie, though perhaps not quite as strong as the Faun was.  She overall seems a little too stretched out and lanky for actress Ivana Baquero in the film.  I had a similar complaint about the Newt figure from the Aliens line.  I think it’s just something that comes with the translation from real person to articulated figure.  The likeness on the head also isn’t the best we’ve seen from NECA.  It’s not bad, but it’s not quite right.  The hair is definitely throwing it off somewhat, as is the slightly blander expression than Ofelia tended to have in the film, but the face also seems a little too rounded for Baquero, especially at the jawline.  The prototype looked a little closer, so it’s possible it could be a paint thing.  Speaking of paint, Ofelia’s paint is a little more basic than we tend to see on NECA offerings, since the dress is, by it’s very nature, meant to be a much cleaner looking piece.  There’s a little bit of slop on the edges of the transitions from white to green, as well as the edges of her socks.  The facial likeness is again impacted here, I think mostly by the eyebrows, which are just the wrong shape.  It’s minor, but it definitely throws some things off.  On the plus side, NECA’s usual knack for subtle accent work shows up on the green section of her outfit, which have some very nice depth work going on.  Ofelia’s smaller than the average figure, but is at the same price-point as the Faun.  She makes up the difference via accessories.  She’s packed with the key retrieved from her first task, her storybook, three differently colored fairies, and the stone sculpture from the beginning of the film.  The sculpture is made from polystone, and is a very impressive backdrop, but by far my favorite of the extras included here is the story book, which has a hinge, allowing for it to be opened to view two fully detailed pages.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember how I hadn’t seen Pan’s Labyrinth when I bought the Faun?  And then I sat down and watched the movie before writing his review?  Yeah, well, I really liked the movie, and I knew as soon as I finished watching it that I was going to need an Ofelia to go with my Faun, so I grabbed her the next day.  While she’s not as technically impressive a figure as the Faun, she’s definitely a solid accent piece, and the extras included really make her worthwhile.  Plus, she’s kind of the main character, so…

Ofelia was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and she can still be purchased here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2038: The Faun

THE FAUN

GUILLERMO DEL TORO SIGNATURE SERIES (NECA)

One of Guillermo del Toro’s most visually stunning films, Pan’s Labyrinth is a dark yet beautiful fantasy set five years after the Spanish Civil War.The insidious brutality of the real world continues to cast a long shadow, infiltrating even the fantasy world of eleven-year-old Ofelia, who begins a terrifying, reality-spanning journey after meeting a mysterious faun in a crumbling labyrinth.Her mystic quest crosses seamlessly from one world to the other, weaving a parable about the power and pain of innocence.”

After making a modest impact on American audiences in 2004 with his live-action adaptation of Hellboy, Guillermo del Toro found his first real critical acclaim in the States with 2006’s Pan’s Labyrinth (El laberinto del fauno, in its original Spanish release), which firmly established del Toro’s signature dark fairy tale aesthetic to mainstream audiences, and helped to make him more or less a household name.  At the time of its release, these sorts of films weren’t getting a ton of toy coverage.  Like, just right at the time of its release.  They were all over the place before, and after, but it was in this sort of window of things taking a step back.  Whatever the case, it meant no toys.  Fortunately, NECA’s coming to the rescue with a whole line devoted to del Toro’s filmography, a sizable portion of which is devoted to Pan’s Labyrinth.  Today, I’m looking at Ofelia’s guide to the mystical side of her journey, the Faun!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Faun is figure 4 in the Guillermo del Toro Signature Series, and the third figure in the line to be based on Pan’s Labyrinth.  Also, the second Doug Jones character (the other being the Pale Man, also from Pan’s Labyrinth), for those playing at home.  He won’t be the last.  The figure stands 8 inches tall (8 1/2 with the legs fully extended, but then he can’t stand) and he has 29 points of articulation.  The Faun’s an all-new sculpt, patterned on his design as seen in the film.  It’s one of the most distinctive designs from the movie, and NECA’s done a pretty respectable job of capturing it in plastic form.  If you’re familiar with the structure of other NECA creature figures, then this one’s pretty much following their established formula.  He’s got a articulated body, with some rubber overlays in place to help keep the design from being too segmented and broken-up.  The detailing is up to the usual NECA standards.  His details are sharply defined, and he incorporates all of the Faun’s earth-y textures quite nicely.  The head is, admittedly, probably the weakest piece of the figure.  It’s the least defined and seems to be the most caricatured part of the figure.  The face of the Faun in the movie is obviously very stylized, but this rendition seems to stand-out from the body a little more so.  That said, it’s hardly a bad offering, and all of the important details are there to sell the design.  The paintwork is again pretty standard for a NECA release of this style.  There’s a lot of washes and accenting to bring out all of the small sculpted details, and to help bring him in line with how the character is lit on screen.  Again, the head is sort of the weak point, specifically the eyes, which just feel way too cartoony when compared to the movie.  They’re really the one part of the figure that sort of ruins the illusion for me, and they really don’t seem to fit with the rest of the figure.  The Faun is packed with a few character specific extras.  He’s got his satchel and a bone to carry in it, as well as the container he gives to Ofelia when she enters the Pale Man’s abode.  There aren’t any fairies to store in it (you’ll have to pick up Ofelia for those), but he does get the dagger that she retrieves for him, which he can hold or store in the container.  I wouldn’t have minded an extra head with a different expression, but it’s not a bad selection of extras at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, confession:  I bought this figure without having seen the movie.  In fact, I sat down and watched this movie for the first time immediately prior to sitting down to write this review.  The things I do to write an informed review for you guys… Okay, actually, I have to say, I don’t know why it took me so long to finally watch the movie, and I’m really glad I did.  Whatever the case, it was the Faun’s cool del Toro design that got me on-board with this figure, and it does make for a really cool toy, even with its few small flaws.  I think I may have to grab an Ofelia to go with him.

The Faun was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2017: Scorpion Alien

SCORPION ALIEN

ALIENS (NECA)

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Avengers coverage for a look at another “A” franchise.  Yes, it’s April 26th, or 4-26, also known as Alien Day, or at least it has been for the last few years.  And this year, I did actual manage to flag something special to review for the occasion.  Last month, I took a look at the NECA’s Kenner-inspired take on Sgt. Apone.  Today, I’m following that up with my first look at one of NECA’s Kenner-style Aliens, namely the Scorpion Alien, the closest the original line got to a standard-issue Xenomorph variant.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Scorpion Alien is the second of the three figures in the Kenner-inspired Series 13 of NECA’s Aliens line.  As sort of the quintessential alien of the original line, it was a little bit of a surprise that the Scorpion Alien wasn’t in the first Kenner-inspired assortment, but my guess would be that NECA was looking to space him out a little bit from the other more standard Alien variants.  At this point in the line, a more standard Xeno is a little more appreciated.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 39 points of articulation.  The Scorpion Alien uses the general model of the recently released Ultimate Alien Warrior as a starting point, mostly cribbing the internal workings and articulation scheme of that figure.  Most of the exterior is new; I think the pelvis and maybe the lower legs are the only truly un-changed parts.  Everything else gets a new skin.  It’s not *terribly* different from the film design, just a lot spikier, really.  For the sake of mixing things up a bit, and making him a little more unique, NECA’s also changed up the musculature a little bit, making him ever so slightly bulkier in areas such as the shoulders and the thighs.  It matches better with the slightly stouter build of the old figure, making him a more true adaptation of that figure.  The paintwork on this figure also leans pretty heavily on accuracy to the original’s exact coloring, with a heavy bronze accenting.  It’s a good look, though, as always, I’m slightly partial to blue, so I wouldn’t be opposed to a re-paint.  Still, this is a good look for the figure, and I appreciate the heavy bronze to black ratio.  The Scorpion Alien doesn’t have any accessories, but he does include a reprint of the comic included with the original figure.  I was slightly saddened by the lack of a blast apart feature, but I can’t really blame NECA for leaving that one out.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I was already picking up Apone, the Scorpion Alien was a pretty easy sell for me.  Though not far removed from the original design, he’s always been my favorite Kenner Alien design, so I was happy to see him show up in this line-up.  If you have any of the other Xenos from this line, he may not feel like much new, but I dig the changes they made, and I think he makes for a fun variant.  Hope you didn’t mind the detour.  The Marvel stuff will be back tomorrow!

I picked up this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, who have (or had, at least) the whole series.   If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1989: Sgt. Apone

SGT. APONE

ALIENS (NECA)

“Tough and gritty, Apone keeps the Marines in line. Right arm now bio-mechanical.”

When NECA’s highly-popular Predator line started running out of actual movie-based Predators to release, they started reaching back to the ’90s line of Predator figures from Kenner, a fairly popular move.  Obviously, it’s not a huge shock that the Aliens line would follow suit.  We got the Kenner variant of Ripley back on the first Alien Day, with Vasquez following suit the next year.  There was an assortment of Kenner inspired Xenos released between the two in 2016, and we’ve finally gotten a follow-up assortment just this year.  We’ve also gotten our first main series release for a Kenner human, Sgt. Apone, a character whose movie version we have still yet to see, due to Al Matthews, Apone’s actor, being notoriously protective of his likeness.  But hey, at least we have *some* version of Apone.  And one that’s super ’90s-tastic at that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sgt. Apone is one of the three figures in the Kenner-inspired Series 13 of Aliens from NECA.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  As I noted when I reviewed the original Kenner Apone, his design from Kenner was perhaps one of the most divergent from the source material.  Gone was his uniform and standard military gear, replaced by something I can only describe as “uber ’90s”.  He’s got a backwards baseball cap, fingerless gloves, a bright-colored t-shirt with the sleeves torn off, and even a pair of sneakers inspired by the ones Ripley has in the film (which her Kenner figure didn’t have; I can only imagine that Al stole them from her).  The look is unique to say the least.  For the part of this specific figure, he’s done a pretty amazing job of faithfully capturing the details of the original figure, while still updating him so that he won’t look *too* out of place with the rest of the movie-inspired figures.  There’s a lot of great small detail work going on, from the wrinkles of his pants, to all the little stitches and wear on his boots.  The facial likeness is a tricky area of course, since it’s not officially an Al Matthews likeness, same as the Kenner figure before it.  But, like the Kenner figure, it’s still got a more than passing resemblance to the guy, meaning he still looks like Apone.  For the more resourceful customizers out there, I can see this head leading to a pretty easy movie accurate version of the character.  If there’s one drawback to the sculpt, it’s the way the cybernetic arm impedes the articulation on his right elbow.  It’s not terrible, and you can still get some good poses, but it’s not as good as the left.  In NECA’s defense, the original Kenner figure threw the arm on with no intention to articulate it, so they’re just doing their best to remain faithful to that design.  In the end, it’s not that big an issue, but it did somewhat stick out at me.  Moving onto the paint, Apone’s got some solid work, and is appropriately garish in color scheme.  He’s got his signature “No Bugs” scrawled across his shirt, which definitely looks cool, and as a whole the figure just really pops.  What I like the most about it, however, is that NECA didn’t just do the basic colors, they’ve also gone behind and added some accenting work, especially on those boots, so even though he may be bright and painful, he still looks like a real person.  Apone includes two “grenades” and a shotgun, just like his old figure.  The gun is re-used from one of the Genisys Terminators, but it’s actually a surprisingly good match.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve definitely been wanting an Apone for my NECA Aliens collection, and while I still want a faithful movie version at some point, I really can’t complain about getting this one.  The super ’90s nature adds a lot of charm.  Here’s hoping for some more Kenner Marines to go with him!

I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, who have (or had, at least) the whole series.   If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1974: Leonardo

LEONARDO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE MOVIE (NECA)

Okay, so at this point, you can’t really be surprised by the subject of today’s review.  I looked at the other three, obviously I was going to round out the full set of Turtles and look at brother number four, Leonardo, the leader of the team.  I don’t really have a ton to say about Leo as a character, but I will say that the order of this week’s reviews correspond with my rankings of the for Turtles, so make of that what you will.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Leonardo is the fourth of the GameStop-exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie figures from NECA.  He too is based on his appearance in the first TMNT film.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has, you guessed it, 21 points of articulation.  Leo is once again a scaling down of the 1/4-scale release from last year, and just like that figure, he shares most of his parts with his three brothers.  Hey, if you’re gonna commit to it, commit to it, right?  He gets a new head, showcasing Leo’s more reserved and disciplined nature.  Perhaps it’s not the most exciting expression, but it’s certainly true to the character and versatile as well.  He also gets a new belt/shoulder-strap, which, like Donatello’s, sits a little higher than I’d like.  Of course, it’s not quite as high as Donnie’s, and it’s still film accurate, so I can’t complain too much.  I mean, I *can*; it’s my site and all; but I won’t.  The new straps have sheaths for Leo’s katanas, and it’s definitely the most easily utilized storage of the bunch.  Leo’s paintwork is pretty much the same song and dance as it was for his brothers, but obviously with blue for his mask, what with it being his main color and all.  Leo is packed with his twin katana, two sets of hands (gripping and relaxed), two styles of ties for his mask, and another slice of pizza.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If you’ve read the other three reviews, then you know that Leonardo, like the rest of the set, was gotten for me by my Super Awesome Fiancee, who put a lot of effort into securing me a complete set of these figures.  The larger scale figures weren’t my thing, but I always appreciated the work put into them.  These smaller releases are pretty great, and I hope they aren’t too hard to get in the long-run.

#1973: Michelangelo

MICHELANGELO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE MOVIE (NECA)

Hey, did you dig yesterday’s one-armed review?  Okay, before you answer that, I’m gonna need you to clarify if you dig my two-armed reviews as well.  You know, for a more controlled study and what not.  So, what am I getting at here?  Well, I’m writing another one-armed review.  So, you know, there it is.  Please enjoy it to level you would a two-armed review.  For a controlled study and what not.

Today, I’m looking at the next piece of the Turtles puzzle, Michelangelo!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Michelangelo is the third turtle in NECA’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie figures, available exclusively at GameStop…until they inevitably unload the excess stock on some other retailer…because they’re GameStop.  Anyway, the figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 21 points of articulation.  Like Donnie and Raph, he’s a scaled-down version of the 1/4-scale figure from 2017.  As with that figure, this one uses the same body as his brothers, along with a new head sculpt.  Mikey’s expression is much lighter and more jovial than his brothers, with a wide-eyed expression and a light-hearted grin.  His expression is definitely my favorite of all the figures in this line-up, and is certainly a spot-on look for the character.  Mikey is also sporting his own unique belt, which, like Raph’s, is a simple across the waist affair.  It’s a nice enough piece, and while it doesn’t have specific storage for his nunchucks, there’s enough give that they can be wedged in there as they were in the film.  His paintwork matches the other two, aside, of course, from the color on his mask.  Mikey is packed with his nunchucks (which get my vote for least impressive weapons in the set.  It’s not really NECA’s fault, though; the nunchucks are always hard to adapt to toys), two sets of hands (gripping and thumbs up; I particularly love the thumbs up ones), two styles of mask ties, and a slice of pizza.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mikey is once again a gift given to me by my Super Awesome Fiancee, just like the rest of the set.  Despite Donnie being my favorite Turtle, I think Mikey’s my favorite individual figure, because he just so clearly captures the look and spirit of the character in the movie.  And boom: two one-handed reviews.

#1972: Raphael

RAPHAEL

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE MOVIE (NECA)

C’mon, c’mon, I’ll review ya with one arm tied behind my back!  Or, tied to my front.  Restrained, is what I’m getting at here.  Confused?  Totally fair.  Allow me to sum up:  thanks to one of my shoulders taking on the properties of a chunk of rock, and thereby rendering me down a hand for this review.  Obviously, things had just gotten too easy for me, so I had to take things up a notch.  Because stress certainly isn’t an issue.  Why would you say that?  So, without further ado, here’s this Raphael figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Raphael is the second of the four GameStop-exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie figures from NECA.  Like Donatello, he’s based on the first live action TMNT film (and, by extension, the second as well), and is a down-scaling of NECA’s 1/4-scale figure from back in 2017.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 21 points of articulation.  As with the larger figures, most of Raphael’s sculpt is shared with his brother Donatello.  Fortunately, it’s a really solid sculpt, so it works out really well.  Raph gets a new headsculpt.  He’s more intense than Donnie, with his Brow furrowed and his teeth bared.  It’s definitely appropriate for Raph as a character, and matches his depiction for most of the movies.  Also unique to this figure is the belt.  It’s just across the waist this time, and actually sits far more naturally.  Also, the storage for his weapons is way easier to use than on Donatello.  Raph’s paint is pretty much the same as Donatello’s, swapping out red for the purple on the bandana.  Raph is packed with his sai, two sets of hands (in gripping and relaxed poses), two styles of ties for his mask, and a slice of pizza (the same one included with Donnie).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with his brother, Raphael was given to me by my Super Awesome Fiancee, along with the rest of the set.  Raphael has all of the pluses of Donatello, without the one main drawback of ill-designed weapon storage, which is a definite plus in my book.  And look at that, I’ve written this whole review one-handed.  How about that?

#1971: Donatello

DONATELLO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE MOVIE (NECA)

Despite being a licensed property, rather than an in-house brand, the main license for Ninja Turtles has been held by Playmates Toys since the franchise arrived on the scene in the ‘80s, meaning that other companies have had rather little chance to give the characters their own stab.  Perhaps the only exception to this rule would be NECA, who first got into the TMNT-thing with a set of comics-based figures back in 2007, while the franchise was between re-boots.  Since the brand was bought by Nickelodeon in 2011, Playmates has had more of a strangle-hold on the main figure scales, but NECA again got their foot in the door by offering up some 1/4-scale figures based on the 1990 film.  Those were a rousing success, and through some loop-holer-y, NECA was able to parlay that success into a line of more conventionally scaled figures.  I’ll be looking at my personal favorite Turtle, Donatello, today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Donatello is the first of the four GameStop-exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie figures, which started arriving at stores in the late-January/early-February time frame.  Based on his appearance in the first (and second, since they were the same suits) TMNT movie from 1990, the figure stands 6 inches tall and has 21 points of articulation.  All of the figures in this set are scaled-down versions of the 1/4-scale figure.  This means that the sculpt on Donnie has a ton of detail work, since he was originally 12 inches taller.  It’s a very sharp sculpt, and quite nicely recreates the suit from the movie, albeit in a slightly idealized fashion (because, let’s be honest, nobody really wants a straight re-creation; it would look pretty darn terrible).  The majority of the body is shared with Donnie’s brothers, but he has a few parts to keep him unique.  Obviously, he’s got his own unique head sculpt, which follows the more reserved and calm take on the character that we usually see, and works nicely for a number of poses.  The other unique piece is his belt/shoulder strap.  I’m admittedly not a huge piece, for two reasons.  The first isn’t really NECA’s fault, but I just don’t like how high on his chest the belt sits.  This is accurate to the movie, but it’s a design element that’s always bugged me.  Still, it’s accurate, so that one I can’t hold against NECA.  The second issue’s more on them, though.  See, the design of the back of the strap, where the Bo is meant to be stowed, isn’t so great.  They’ve just used cloth straps, which are tied in place.  The trouble is that they came untied almost immediately after I took him out of the box, they aren’t very easy to re-tie, and even when you do re-tie them, they don’t hold for very long.  Getting them to stay in place for the photos was no small feat.  I don’t foresee myself leaving the Bo on his back much anyway, but it’s a little frustrating not really being able to use this facet of the figure.  Donatello’s paintwork is a pretty solid offering.  There’s a lot going on, with tons of small subtle detail work all throughout, again mimicking the suit from the film very well.  Donatello’s accessory complement isn’t quite as extensive as his larger counterpart, but he’s still pretty well-packed.  He has his Bo, plus two sets of hands (in gripping and open gesture poses, two styles of ties for his mask (relaxed and dynamic), and a slice of pizza.  Not a bad assortment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There have been some definite horror stories from collectors trying to track down a full set of these figures, stemming largely from the problems inherent to giving a highly demanded item as an exclusive item to a retail chain that’s not had a particularly great history with this sort of product.  Fortunately for me, I have someone on the inside: Super Awesome Fiancee.  She was able to be assertive enough with her co-workers to net me a complete set, meaning I had no real troubles!  Donatello has some slight flaws, but is generally a very strong figure, living up the standards NECA has set for themselves.

#1877: Ultimate Alien Warrior

ULTIMATE ALIEN WARRIOR — BLUE

ALIENS (NECA)

I have this running gag with my family where we all refer to Aliens as one of my favorite Christmas movies.  It all stems from me setting up some last minute decorations on the 23rd of December one year, and being a little Christmas movie-d out, I threw on Aliens, since it’s kind of my favorite movie.  The thing is, there’s kind of a solid rhythm to it, so it just kind of stuck, and now it feels weird to have a Christmas without it.  So, I guess this review is me starting to get into the holiday spirit?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Ultimate Alien Warrior is NECA’s latest entry in their ever-expanding Aliens line.  It’s a stand-alone, boxed release, just like all of the other “Ultimate” offerings they’ve been doing, shipping in cases split between the two color variants: brown and blue.  Both figures were shown off a ways back (like, more than a year ago), and seemed to be stricken with quite a few delays, but they’re here now, and that’s the important thing.  The figure reviewed here is the blue variant, because that’s my favorite version.  The Xeno stands 8 inches tall and has 39 points of articulation.  He uses the new and improved Aliens Warrior body, which we got a preview of with the Concept Xeno that was packed with the Burke figure last year.  As I noted in that figure’s review, the body is aesthetically very similar to the Series 1 Xeno body, but it’s far more posable, and just generally sturdier than the prior body was.  The details also look to be a little sharper, but this could just be improvements in the manufacturing process.  This figure, of course, trades in the domed head of the last one for a more Aliens-accurate ridged head.  I think it’s just the same one we saw on the earlier figures, which seems sensible enough.  This new Xeno’s paintwork is, of course, heavy on the blue accenting, as I mentioned above.  This replicates the lighting scheme of the movie a bit more accurately.  What’s quite impressive about this particular release is that it’s a lot more subtle than prior offerings, and it melds the blue with some varieties of brown, making it even more clear that the blue is more of a lighting thing.  Essentially, it matches the Warrior to NECA’s Alien Queen figure, which definitely works for me.  Prior Xenos have been sans-accessories, but as an Ultimate release, this one’s actually nicely accessorized.  There’s the egg and face hugger combo like we saw with the half-Bishop, as well as a newborn chestburster, previously seen in the creature pack.  It’s always nice to get some extras of these, and especially nice to see the Xeno actually get something for a change.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When NECA’s Aliens line launched, I was pretty firm on only getting six Xenos total (because that’s the number of Xeno suits used in the film; it’s a very geeky thing).  I long ago surpassed that.  But, back in the Series 2 days, when I had just gotten my first Blue Warrior, I thought I might actually be able to stick to it, because he was my favorite and I didn’t think he could be surpassed.  Then, while I was taking photos for my Queen review, I picked up the blue guy, and his leg didn’t come with him.  At this point, he was rather expensive to replace, so I just solemnly placed him at the back of my display.  Needless to say, when NECA announced the Ultimate offerings, I was thrilled, and now that I have this guy in hand, he’s undoubtedly my favorite Xeno figure.  I’m glad to have a blue leading the pack again!

This guy was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  As of this writing, the figure is still in-stock, so if you’re interested in this figure, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.