#2548: Brett

BRETT

ALIEN: 40TH ANNIVERSARY (NECA)

“Parker, what do you think? Your staff just follows you around and says ‘right’. Just like a regular parrot.”

What good is a manager without some staff to manage?  Parker’s definitely the brains of the Nostromo’s maintenance division, but he’s kept company by his slightly slower on the uptake subordinate, Samuel Brett.  Played by veteran character actor Harry Dean Stanton, Brett has the misfortune of becoming the titular creature’s first victim, but is never the less a memorable part of the film’s cast.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Brett joins Parker as part of the second series of NECA’s Alien: 40th Anniversary line, where the two ship alongside a variant of the main alien.  If Parker’s been scarce as a toy, Brett’s only been scarcer, with only a Minimate preceding this release.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Much like Parker, Brett’s got a lot of articulation, but the range isn’t quite all there.  It’s a little better here than on Parker, and the double joints on the elbows help a little more with posing.  That being said, those double joints aren’t really much to look at, and do end up being more than a little bit jarring in regards to the flow of the sculpt.  The actual quality of the sculpt’s not bad, but I’m not sure it’s quite as strong as Parker’s, which is interesting, because my opinions on the two were swapped based on the prototypes.  Something seems to have happened in the production process, however, and the likeness in particular on this guy took a real hit.  It’s not terrible, but it’s not nearly as spot-on as it looked to be in early shots.  The rest of the body’s not bad, apart from the previously mentioned issue with the wonky elbow joints breaking things up. The detail work is crisp, and there’s a lot of effort that’s been put into making him look properly disheveled.  The only part that’s not really got that disheveled look is the bottom of the shirt, which just ends up looking a bit too neat and even by my mark.  Brett’s paint work is overall pretty decent.  There’s a reasonable amount of accent work going on in the uniform, which helps the make the sculpted details pop.  The head gets the worst work again, unfortunately, with the eyes in particular just seeming…off.  Like, possibly misaligned?  It looked like this on all of the figures I had to pick from, so it seems like a line wide issue of some sort.  Brett’s packed with a motion detector and the same cattle prod that came with Parker.  He can hold them both a bit better than Parker could hold his accessories, so that’s a plus.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Parker was definitely my most wanted member of the Nostromo crew, but Brett wasn’t too far behind him, so I was quite happy when they were confirmed together for this line-up.  I find Brett’s got more issues that hold him back than Parker, but ultimately he’s still a good figure, and I’m glad we got them both.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for NECA figures, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2547: Parker

PARKER

ALIEN: 40TH ANNIVERSARY (NECA)

One of Alien‘s enduring contributions to the sci-fi lexicon was moving space-faring characters away from being just purely scientists and military experts, running around in spandex jumpsuits and carrying fancy laser guns and the like, speaking in perfect english, and rarely ever showing any actual normal emotions.  The crew of the Nostromo were a decidedly blue collar bunch, a band of career space truckers not even remotely qualified to be the ones handling first contact with a hostile species.  Their interactions with these strange situations, coupled with their own very realistic interactions and dialogues with each other, gave the film a far more believable and realist feel, and had the side effect of also making the tragedies that befall each of them even more impactful.  Perhaps two of the most interesting characters in the film are the Nostromo‘s engineers, Dennis Parker and his subordinate Brett, two men stuck at the bottom of the Nostromo‘s totem pole.  Parker in particular is one of the film’s most central characters*, his very reactionary and fiery responses to the growing threat serving as a consistent counterpoint to Ripley’s coldly rational approach.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Parker is part of Series 2 of NECA’s Alien: 40th Anniversary line, which celebrates Alien‘s 40th anniversary, albeit a year late.  NECA’s gotta NECA.  Oh, also Series 2 is the only one available through specialty markets, with Series 1 going to Target and 3 going to Walmart.  Why they decided to split up the line between three different venues is anyone’s guess, and I feel it’s only going to further the growing frustration with NECA’s distribution practices and the relative difficulty of following any of their lines right now.  Not helping matters is the difficulty of getting even this specialty assortment, which appears to have been rather scarce.  But, I’m getting away from the actual review.  Back on topic.  Parker here is getting his third ever action figure, following the old Galoob Action Fleet version and the Minimate.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  While he’s got a lot of articulation, the range is definitely more on the limited side with this guy.  I had some trouble getting him to properly hold the flamethrower on my figure.  It’s certainly nothing terrible, but he’s not quite up the same level as the Marines.  It’s possible he might have a little more range if I pushed a little more on those joints, but I’m hesitant to do that, given NECA’s usual track record on such things.  Parker’s sculpt is all new, and it’s a pretty impressive piece of work.  The likeness of Yaphet Kotto is definitely a very strong one, and the detailing on his uniform is nice and crisp…well, nice and crisp in the appropriate, disheveled way.  The only thing that seems slightly off to me is the figure’s torso, which appears to be a bit too long to be a proper proportionate match for the rest of the sculpt.  It’s not really far off, but it’s enough to stick out.  Parker’s paint work is pretty decently handled.  His face isn’t quite on par with some of Hasbro’s more recent work, but it’s still quite lifelike, and the detailing on the uniform aids in showcasing the depth of the sculpt.  Parker is packed with a flamethrower (the same one originally included with Ripley), the cattle prod he and Brett whipped up, and a second right hand with a slightly different grip.  The hand perplexes me a bit, because it’s a tighter grip than the standard, but not enough to actually let him hold either of the accessories any better, which makes me question why it was included.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Parker’s my favorite character from the film, and I’ve been hoping to see him added to this line pretty much since NECA started doing the Nostromo crew back in 2015.  I’m glad to have finally gotten the figure, and he’s a pretty solid addition to the overall line.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for NECA figures, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

*Re-reading some of my old reviews, I see that in my review of the Parker Minimate, I referred to him as “not a character who’s key to the plot.”  I’m not sure why I said that, and I’m gonna have to call out 2015 Ethan for his totally incorrect and bogus assessment of the character there.  What gives, man?

#2474: Rhino Alien

RHINO ALIEN

ALIENS (NECA)

NECA’s Aliens used to be a rather frequent feature around these parts, but the line has slowed down a little bit as of late.  The core stuff right now has been a handful of one-off releases, largely centered around Kenner-inspired variants on previously.  A few months ago, I took a look at their Kenner-ized Drake, and now I’m jumping over to another one of the Xenos.  As I’ve no doubt brought up before on this site, Kenner took the concept of the Dog Alien from Alien 3 and really ran with it, creating all sorts of Xeno off-shoots.  NECA’s crafted a few of them in their 7-inch line, and the latest of the bunch is today’s focus, the Rhino Alien!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Rhino Alien is a standalone release for NECA’s Aliens line, loosely meant to coincide with the Kenner Drake figure, though it’s at a different price point and in a totally different style of package than Drake.  It started hitting shelves not too long after he did, although due to some production errors I know he’s been rolling out a little more sporadically.  At full height, this figure’s a whopping 10 inches tall and has 34 points of articulation.  Of course, given that he’s based on one of the Kenner line’s quadrupedal Aliens, he’s not really meant for standing at full height, and is instead meant for posing on all fours.  Fortunately, the articulation works well enough to make both types of poses possible with this guy.  The hips can be a little tricky, but for the most part he’s pretty easily posed, and I don’t feel quite as worried about breakage as on other NECA offerings.  I’m still going to be slightly cautious, because I’ve been wronged before, but it does seem a little better.  In terms of sizing, this guy’s one of largest Xenos (barring the Queen, of course, which is in a class of its own), not just in height, but in bulk as well.  He achieves this through an all-new sculpt, and a pretty impressive one at that.  It’s somewhat patterned on Kenner’s own Rhino Alien, of course, but it’s worth noting that in terms of body construction, it seems to be taking more of its cues from Kenner’s Bull Alien.  The Kenner Rhino’s anatomy was a bit more further removed from the standard Xeno’s, while the Bull had something a little more in line with the Dog Alien’s merging of the Xeno with a quadrupedal design.  Ultimately, I think the Bull’s approach worked a little bit better, and as an added bonus, this leaves the door open for a possible Bull Alien later down the road, which would certainly not be a bad thing.  The quality of the sculpt is on par with NECA’s other Xenos, so the details are all quite sharp, and follow all of the broad strokes of the original Kenner figure, while also filling in some of those smaller parts.  The head dome has been designed to be removable, revealing a whole bunch of further details, which had been hidden under the dome.  This is probably NECA’s most impressive Xeno sculpt, honestly.  In terms of paint, the figure steps things up for Xenos.  He’s molded in orange, with black, brass, and some purples painted over top.  It makes for an incredibly impressive appearance, and looks pretty sick when it catches the light just right.  In addition to the previously mentioned removable dome, the Rhino also includes a reprint of the “Ice Storm” minicomic that was included with the original Kenner figure.  It’s definitely a fun read, but very much a product of its time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I haven’t been quite as completist on the Kenner-tribute Aliens as I was the movie stuff, so there were a fair number I’d missed.  Because of that, I wasn’t 100% certain I’d be getting this guy, but after seeing him in person, it was definitely hard to say no.  It’s a very, very fun piece, and definitely the best of the Xenos I’ve gotten.  It’s just so much fun to mess with, and pairs off well with the Space Marines I’ve picked up.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for NECA figures, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2446: Ash

ASH

TOONEY TERRORS (NECA)

In addition to putting together a fairly consistent stream of usually quite accurate recreations of various horror and sci-fi fixtures, NECA has a tendency to experiment with some slightly different styles and ideas from time to time, in order to get a little bit more mileage out of some of their licenses.  They like to have a little bit of fun with whatever their working on, and that translates to some often rather goofy, off-beat ideas.  Tooney Terrors, a line launched late last year, fits right in with that.  It’s not the most complex idea; essentially, they’re filtering horror icons through the lens of a Scooby Doo-esque Saturday morning cartoon.  I myself am not the biggest standard horror/slasher fan, at least as far as collecting toys goes, but they managed to pique my interest with their latest assortment, which happens to include Ash Williams, Bruce Campbell’s groovy, chainsaw-handed, boomstick-weilding fighter of evil from the Evil Dead films!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ash is one of the three figures in Series 3 of NECA’s Tooney Terrors line, which started hitting right at the end of May.  He’s the first “heroic” character to grace the line, though he still does kind of fit with the “terrors” descriptor.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  It’s mostly cut joints on the movement, but he gets a ball-jointed neck, which was a pleasant surprise, and gives him a nice bit of range.  Given how stiff the figure is otherwise, it actually does quite a bit for posing.  Kudos to NECA for that.  I do have to say, I was a little sad at how large he was, since he’s a little too big to fit in with any of my Scooby Doo figures.  That said, he does fit just fine with the rest of the line he’s *actually* from, so I suppose I can’t be too mad at NECA for not making him fit with a line they didn’t manufacture.  He’s also close enough to be fudgable, so it’s hardly the end of the world.  Ash’s sculpt is pretty fun.  He’s based on the character’s Evil Dead 2 appearance, which is really his most distinctive, and therefore the best choice for such a figure.  It also translates quite well into that simplified design they’re going for, goofy expression and all.  There’s a lot of character behind this sculpt, and even without the usual super hyper accurate recreation of the movie look that NECA’s usually known for, there’s no confusion about who this is supposed to be.  Ash’s paintwork is quite clean, and bright as well, which makes him stand out very nicely on the shelf.  Ash includes his “boomstick”, the twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington he carries through both Evil Dead 2 and its sequel.  He can hold it in his left hand, or stow it in the holster on his back, depending on your display preference.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Tooney Terrors has fascinated me since NECA introduced it, but none of the characters were on the nose enough for me to really warrant picking them up.  As soon as they showed off Ash, though, I knew I had my entry point.  There’s not a ton going on with this figure, but I really do enjoy it.  As much as I love having my movie-accurate 7″ figure, there’s something about this one that almost feels more on the mark to the tone of the movies and the character.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy to review.  He and the rest of his assortment, and many other cool toys both old and new, are still available through their website and their eBay Store, so check them out.

#2425: Leonardo

LEONARDO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: TURTLES IN TIME (NECA)

What?  No Legends review today?  But I’ve only reviewed half of the set!  How can this be?  Well, I got a lot of Legends in the last two weeks, so I’m going to be trying something a little different in terms of how I drop the reviews, so that I don’t get too Legends-ed out.  So, let’s jump over to something a little bit different: Ninja Turtles!  They’re hardly one of my primary interests, but the Turtles have been showing up with a decent amount of frequency on this site in the last year.  Back in March, I took a look at the Foot Soldier from NECA’s recently launched Turtles in Time line.  Now I’m following that up with a look at the Turtles’ leader, Leonardo!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like the Foot Soldier before him, Leonardo is part of the first series of NECA’s Turtles in Time line, which is somewhat of a follow-up to their arcade-based boxed sets from 2016.  Unlike those, however, these guys are available at mass retail.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  All of the figures in the first assortment barring Slash make use of the sculpts from the 2016 set, which, in the case of Leo, means he also shares his mold with all three of the cartoon-styled Leos released in the last three years as well.  It’s a nice, clean sculpt, which captures the design from the cartoon quite nicely.  It also does a pretty respectable job of working in the articulation, although in the case of this particular figure, I did have some troubles with stuck joints that took a little bit of working with.  Leo’s paintwork is much like the Foot’s, going with a slightly stylized approach to the game’s 16-bit graphics.  It’s a little more pronounced here than it was on the Foot, and is in fact an exact match for the boxed set release this time around.  It still looks pretty cool, and works in its own way.  Leo is packed with two sets of hands (gripping and gesturing), his twin swords (which are actually distinct sculpts from the one included with the Foot Soldier), and a hoverboard with a flight stand.  The board is again the coolest extra here, and I really dig the color coordination with Leo’s mask going on there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Foot Soldier was really the only of the figures from the first assortment that I truly felt like I needed to own, since I’m starting to hit my limit on how many versions of the Turtles I can have in my collection.  If I’m going to break that rule, it’s also probably not going to be for Leo, what with him being my least favorite and all.  Why am I reviewing this guy, then?  Poor packaging design, that’s why.  While moving the figures from one location to another on the store floor at All Time, Leo’s hook broke off (that’s why you shouldn’t really make them out of cardboard), so since he was going to need to be opened anyway, Jason passed him along to me for a quick review.  He’s not a bad figure, and it’s nice to get a taste of the cartoon Turtles molds.  If you’re a Leo fan and just want a solid version of his ’80s look, you could do a lot worse than this one.

As mentioned above, I was given this guy to review by my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’d like one of your own, he’s still available via their webstore here.   Or, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2412: Space Marine Drake

SPACE MARINE DRAKE

ALIENS (NECA)

Specialty: Never defeated in hand to hand combat

Home Planet:  Detention Planet 27, Requist System

Background: Born in captivity, he fought his way out to join the Space Marines at 21

Quote:  ‘Stay Frosty, Marines…and LET IT ROCK!'”

Hey, look at that! It’s another new item, even!  Man, this is just going off the chain with the new stuff, isn’t it?  Three new things?  I better slow down!  In the midst of all this pandemic stuff, I kinda missed Alien Day.  I knew it was coming up, but I honestly didn’t have anything on-hand to review, so I just let it slip by without saying anything.  It’s been just over a month, but I’m finally coming back around, with one of the items that NECA dropped right around the celebratory day, Space Marine Drake.  We’re now four Space Marines deep in the Kenner-inspired Aliens sub-line, and much like last year’s addition of Apone, Drake’s another character whose movie incarnation we have yet to see, so this figure pulls a touch of double duty, until such time that we might actually get a proper movie figure.  Does he do alright?  Let’s find out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

While Apone was part of a larger series, Drake seems to fall back on the pattern Ripley and Vasquez followed, being his own separate release.  However, rather than being an exclusive like those two, Drake is still available through most retailers.  I know, a non-exclusive NECA figure.  What a novel concept.  Drake stands 7 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  At his core, Drake has a great majority of his pieces in common with NECA’s Jungle Patrol Dutch figure from their Predator line.  It’s a solid starting point, and one of the better base bodies.  It also looks fairly close to what Kenner’s version of Drake was wearing, so it’s sensible in that regard.  The one major downside is that it’s articulation scheme wasn’t really designed with holding the smartgun in mind, meaning he has a little difficulty on that front.  Drake gets a new head, hands, and webgear to complete his conversion into his Kenner appearance.  The head’s a nice piece, doing a solid job of adapting Kenner’s radically different Drake likeness into a realistic design.  Unlike Apone, though, I don’t feel there’s any way to pass this off as Mark Rolston.  This is definitely a much more divergent look.  It’s still a solid sculpt, though.  The webgear’s a little loose, and floats a little more at the waist than I like, but it looks pretty decent, and is again a solid recreation of the old design.  It adds up to a pretty cohesive design.  The paintwork is again a nice recreation of the Kenner paint scheme, just with a little bit more real world flair thrown in so that he isn’t wildly out of place with the movie-based figures.  Honestly, he more than the other Kenner figures can slot in without too much trouble, given his far more reserved color scheme.  As a smartgunner, Drake gets a re-use of the same smartgun included with Vasquez, though if my figure is anything to go by, it’d not quite as sturdy, as one of the handles broke off in the midst of taking the photos.  That’s not great.  There are a few attachments to make the gun a little more Kenner accurate.  The bayonet is removable like on the original figure, and can even be stored on his shoulder, which is kinda fun.  They’ve also changed up how the arm of the smartgun connects to the figure, and it’s…well, I think it wasn’t assembled right?  There’s a new piece that connects to his web gear, and there’s the part that connects to the gun, but the ends of the two parts don’t connect, and in fact appear to be the same piece.  They’re both glued in place, and neither can be removed.  The stock photos don’t show both of these end segments in place, so I think maybe the one at the end of the arm wasn’t supposed to be there?  Whatever the case, there’s no real easy fix for this, and it means the arm just kind of hangs there.  It kind of ruins the coolness of the actual articulated arm as it was on the Vasquez figure, and kind of makes posing him a bit of a pain, because it just flops around, and it also means that the broken handle is even more of an issue, because there’s not that extra support.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Drake’s been a notable missing character in the NECA Aliens set-up, and once NECA put out the Kenner Apone, I was expecting to see him show up this way first.  I was excited for him when he was announced, I was excited when he showed up, but ultimately I don’t know if I feel like he really paid off that excitement.  He’s not awful, but the breakage and that issue with the arm on the gun is annoying, and I don’t love the Dutch body as much here as I usually do.  Ultimately, he’s a passable figure, but I think he’s a bit of a step down after last year’s Apone.  I hope NECA can some day get us a movie version.  And I also really hope Kenner Hicks is next year’s figure.

I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, who have been helping me keep my sanity with some new toys.   If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2351: Foot Soldier

FOOT SOLDIER

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: TURTLES IN TIME (NECA)

I feel like I’ve reviewed a surprising number of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles items in the last year.  Though the license has classically just been with Playmates Toys, in the last year there’s actually been a lot of coverage from other toy companies.  In particular, NECA has done quite a bit, with movie, cartoon, and now video game-based figures all in short order.  The cool thing about the video game figures is that they’re actually just available at regular retail and not exclusives.  This marks the first time 7-inch Turtles have been available en masse since the old comic figures back in 2007.  Today, I’m not looking at any of the Turtles proper, but one of Shredder’s faceless minions, the Foot Soldiers!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Foot Soldier is part of the first series of NECA’s Turtles in Time line.  The line serves as something of a follow-up to their exclusive Arcade Game-based boxed sets from 2016, and in fact re-issues a lot of the sculpts contained therein.  The Foot Solder in particular is one such case, re-using the majority of that figure’s sculpt, which was itself repurposed from NECA’s then unreleased comics-styled Foot Soldier.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  He’s certainly got a lot of spots of movement, and the arms and legs are very mobile, but the torso and neck are a little more restricted than I’d like.  That being said, it’s still a quite useful selection of articulation, and he’s still very agile.  The sculpt is an impressive piece, and marketedly different from the cartoon version we got in the Target two-packs.  As someone who’s never been much into the cartoon style design for the Foot, I’m all for getting this sculpt here.  It’s a nice, fairly balanced sculpt.  Some of the details of the costume don’t quite match the details of the game designs, but it’s not far off, and I don’t find the differences all that distracting.  The paint scheme on this guy is meant to replicate the 16-bit designs from the game, something that NECA’s gotten pretty adept at.  The Foot Soldiers in the game came in a variety of colors, something that the 2016 set replicated, but for the purposes of this one, they’ve opted for the purple coloring.  Honestly, it’s the best choice for a starter Foot, but I wouldn’t say no to getting more of this guy in the alternate colors.  The nature of the 16-bit replication means that the Foot Soldier definitely has a stylization to him, but honestly he walks the line of stylized, but still workable with non-16-bit figures.  He actually makes some changes from the boxed set version to make him a little less obviously styled, and I like the changes they made.  The Foot Soldier is packed with a sword, a gun, two sets of hands (fists and gripping), and a hover board with a flight stand.  The board is by far the coolest extra, with some really awesome detail work going on.  I really love the cartoon foot symbol at the front.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I’m kinda starting to hit my limit on how many different versions of the Turtles I need, I pretty much can’t have too many Foot guys, and I’ve wanted some form of this particular sculpt since NECA first showed it off back when they were still trying to continue the comic line.  Getting the nifty new game-inspired pieces is really just icing on the cake.  I definitely dig this guy a lot, and I’m resisting the urge to at lest pick up Donatello to go with him.

The Foot Soldier was purchased from my friends All Time Toys, where he is currently in stock here.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2183: Amphibian Man

AMPHIBIAN MAN

GUILLERMO DEL TORO SIGNATURE SERIES (NECA)

“Unable to perceive the shape of you, I find you all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with your love, it humbles my heart, for you are everywhere.”

2017’s The Shape of Water was another critical success for director Guillermo del Toro, who likes to flip back and forth between fun action pieces and deeply personal, gothically-inspired fairy tales.  Shape of Water was a more personal piece, and in fact one that del Toro’s been working on in the background for several years now, originally beginning life as a pitch to Universal Studios for a reboot of their Creature from the Black Lagoon franchise, but this time through the eyes of the creature.  When Universal turned him down, he reworked it into something more distinctively his own, and ultimately passed up directing the second Pacific Rim in order to complete it.  The film’s central creature is clearly its most distinctive design, marrying the classic Gill-man with something a little more Abe Sapien-inspired (and since he was portrayed by del Toro mainstay Doug Jones, he also shares an actor with Abe).  Courtesy of NECA’s Guillermo del Toro Signature Series launched last year, the Amphibian Man has just made his way into articulated plastic form!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Amphibian Man is figure 5 in the Guillermo del Toro Signature Series line-up.  He’s the first, and likely to be only, figure from Shape of Water, and our third figure of Doug Jones in the line, following the Pale Man and the Faun.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s one of NECA’s most articulated figures ever, which is really impressive, as is the range of motion you can get out of all those joints.  For a character like the Amphibian Man, it’s kind of key for him to be very flexible, so it’s nice that NECA kept this in mind when designing him.  Amphibian Man’s all-new sculpt is quite frankly one of NECA’s most impressive, and that’s saying something for them.  Not only is it screen accurate, but pretty much no detail has been overlooked on this figure, and no real sacrifices have been made in the name of all of that articulation.  Unlike the previous Signature Series figures I looked at, I don’t feel that there’s an obvious weak point to this sculpt.  Everything is really good.  Equally impressive is the paint and color work.  I feel the need to specify paint and color, because it’s not just the paint that sells things.  The figure is molded in a slightly translucent plastic, and the paint is applied on top of that, which makes this guy look like an actual aquatic creature, and keeps his fins and gills appropriately clear.  The paint is sharp and clean, and captures the vibrant patterning on the Amphibian Man’s head, arms, and legs very nicely.  The Amphibian Man is packed with a rather impressive, rather immense selection of extras.  He gets an extra screaming head (with articulated jaw), a spare set of forearms and hands (the purpose of which I’ll get to in a second), a plate of boiled eggs, and a chunk of the labroom floor he was chained to in the movie, complete with chains and clasps for his neck and wrists.  The head is a great inclusion given how expressive the character is in the film (and also addresses my only complaint with the Faun’s accessories), and the eggs are a fun moment-specific extra.  The arms end the fins about half an inch earlier than the standard ones, making them ideal for use with the base and the cuffs included, which was a sensible choice on NECA’s part.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Contrary to what my Pan’s Labyrinth review might lead you to believe, I actually saw Shape of Water while it was in theaters, and it was the announcement of this figure that brought my attention to the Signature Series as a whole, ultimately leading to me picking up the Faun.  I loved the creature design from Shape, due in no small part to its Abe Sapien similarities, and I knew I wanted this figure as soon as it was shown off.  He makes for a really nice figure, and definitely is one of NECA’s finest.

Like the Faun and Ofelia, the Amphibian Man 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.

#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.

#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.