#0465: Tacit Ronin

TACIT RONIN

PACIFIC RIM (NECA)

This site is in desperate need of some giant fighting robots. Seriously, our quota is way down. It’s been like seven or eight months. Obviously, the go to when you want cool giant fighting robots is Pacific Rim. And, would you look at that, I just so happen to have one of the Jaegers from NECA’s latest series of Pacific Rim figures sitting here, waiting to be reviewed. That’s convenient!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tacit Ronin is part of the fourth series of NECA’s Pacific Rim line. Beginning with Series 3, the line split into two concurrent lines devoted to Jaegers and Kaiju, respectively. Tacit is a member of the former line. If you saw Pacific Rim, you might not recognize Tacit right away.  Unlike all of the previous Jaegers released by NECA, Tacit Ronin does not have any actual scenes in the movie. The Jaeger is only seen briefly during the opening montage of Jaegers. It did, however, serve as a prototype for Striker Eureka, one of the film’s primary Jaegers.  Essentially, Tacit Ronin is the Mk 1 version of Striker Eureka (and early versions of the film’s story even had Tacit in Striker’s role). The figure is roughly 7 inches tall and features 24 points of articulation, as well as dual-piece sliding blades on each forearm. Like the majority of the Jaegers from this line, Tacit is an all-new sculpt. The sculpt is pretty well handled. It’s a little soft in some areas, but not excessively so. In a few cases, the sculpt also impedes the articulation, especially on the lower legs, which can make getting Tacit to stand a very difficult proposition. Going by images I was able to find online, the sculpt is pretty accurate to Tacit’s on-screen appearance. The cool thing about Tacit’s design is that, while it’s none of the individual elements are unique to this Jaeger, a lot of them have been taken a generation or two back, which makes this guy a really cool precursor to the other Jaegers. Tacit doesn’t have the most thrilling color scheme; it’s mostly just white and red. That said, the paintwork is fairly cleanly applied, and NECA’s added a thorough amount of detail to the figure’s armored bits. Tacit includes no accessories, though he does feature a set of slide out blades on each forearm. They’re pretty cool, though they are a little difficult to slide back and forth.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Upon seeing Pacific Rim and receiving the first assortment of figures, I was pretty much on board to buy just about any of the Jaegers NECA saw fit to release. One of my particular favorites was Tacit here, so I was absolutely thrilled to find out NECA would actually be releasing him. I ended up finding the figure at an FYE at my local mall. I actually had to pass on the figure at first (I was buying a few Christmas gifts). After the Christmas season, I went back and was pleased to find that they still had a Tacit left. While Tacit isn’t quite as thrilling as, say, Cherno Alpha (still my vote for the best of the line), he’s still a very strong figure, and he fits in very nicely with the rest of the Jaegers.

#0303: Scunner

SCUNNER

PACIFIC RIM

Scunner4

There’s been plenty of movies that have come out since Pacific Rim that have delivered on the awesome quotient, but it’s a movie that had its own definitive style, and it left a very lasting impression on me. That impression was mostly: Holy crap those robots fighting those giant monsters were SO AWESOME!

NECA picked up the license to do figures for the movie. The first two series of figures weren’t bad, but they weren’t quite as awesome as the movie. Most notably, the monsters, or Kaiju, were lacking in detail, articulation, and especially size. Beginning with Series Three, NECA set out to fix this, going so far as to split the Kaiju off into their own sub-line so that they could truly be the gargantuan creatures they deserved to be. Today, I’ll be looking at one of the Kaiju from the film’s climactic underwater battle, Scunner!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ScunnerWilsonScunner was actually not part of a series-proper. He ended up being a single release in NECA’s Pacific Rim Kaiju sub-line, hitting just a few months after Series One. The figure is about 8 inches standing tall, and it features 29 points of articulation, plus a bendy tail! That’s certainly an improvement over the original Knifehead’s less than 7 inch height and 15 points of articulation. Scunner makes use of the new and improved Knifehead body from the first series of Kaiju. It’s a sensible re-use, as the creature designs used many of the same elements, and it’s also a key plot-point that the creatures are all manufactured by mixing and matching parts. If you’re going to get extra mileage out of a sculpt, this is definitely a good one to do so with. The sculpt is well-detailed, well-proportioned, and well-articulated to boot. In addition to the Knifehead parts, Scunner gets a brand new head sculpt and a torso overlay to reflect his slightly tweaked design. The pieces match the quality of the body pieces very nicely, and accurately reflect the design of the creature in the movie. Scunner has been molded in a dark gray/brown plastic, with paint to add texturing as well as Scunner’s bioluminescent features. The paintwork is mostly good, and is definitely a step up from previous Kaiju offerings, but there are still a few areas of slop, most noticeably around the edges of the bioluminescent green. Fortunately they aren’t too distracting, but it would be nice if it were a bit cleaner. Scunner includes no accessories, but given the lack of any real accessories to include coupled with the sheer size and mass of the figure, this is forgiveable.

Scunner5Scunner7

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Scunner was picked up from a small toy store called All Time Toys, located near where I live. While Super Awesome Girlfriend was visiting, she and I went out and about to explore the area. We stopped by the store, and I was definitely intrigued by their impressive Pacific Rim display. I resisted the urge to buy anything, and we continued exploring. However, we had to pass the store on our way back to the car, and Super Awesome Girlfriend, living up to her name, encouraged me to go back in for one of the Kaiju. I decided on Scunner, as I felt he offered the most unique look of the possible options. He’s really a fun figure, and it’s nice to finally have a Kaiju that matches the quality of the very impressive Cherno Alpha from the most recent series of Jaegers.

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#0027 – Supplemental: Give Me A Break….

STRIKER EUREKA

PACIFIC RIM

Striker2.0

Wait a second… haven’t I done this review before? Why yes, yes I have. Here’s the deal: I’ve got a story to tell about a somewhat common issue that plagues action figure collectors.  And that issue is BREAKAGE!

Toys generally are made out of plastics, and one of the important things to remember about plastic is that it isn’t indestructible. Plastic can suffer from some serious wear and tear. Depending on the type of plastic used for a figure, breakage can be a rareity or an inevitability. Most importantly, as figures become more and more detailed, and gain more and more articulation, they are more and more likely to break.

I am no stranger to toys breaking. When you own well over 2000 action figures, you tend to get really familiar with the idea that they aren’t always built to last. When I was a kid, my dad had a box on his desk where I could place my broken action figures. Every month or so, he’d sit down with a tube of apoxy and repair them to the best of his ability. For the most part, it was simple stuff. Arm joints broke. A head might fall off. Easy fixes. But, as the toys got more and more complex, they became more difficult to fix. My first real experience with an un-fixable toy came when I was about 12 years old. I had just gotten the Marvel Legends Series 9 Nightcrawler. I was so thrilled! But, not long after opening him, I was showing him to my dad and I dropped him. It wasn’t a big fall, maybe 3 or 4 feet. Regardless, his head came clean off. Due to the nature of the neck joint, there was no fixing him. He was broken, what could you do. Not too long after, my Dad felt bad about it, so he bought me another one. He was a $7 figure, so it’s not too much of a loss, but it still sucks.

StrikerComparisonSo, where does Striker Eureka come into this? Well, Striker is a really cool figure, but he’s also a master of the “Shelf Dive” where a figure takes a tumble off of the shelf they’re being displayed on. Striker did this a few times to no ill effect, but one day, I picked up Striker to take some photos with Cherno Alpha, and off came his leg, right at the hip. I closely looked at the brake and noticed that the hip’s swivel joint had split in two. All the pieces were still there, so I figured I could probably fix him without any frozen joints. It took me a few hours of careful work, but I got him put back together. And back on the shelf he went. For, a few months, he sat there, no issues. Then a couple weeks ago, I was doing some cleaning before a few friends came over, and down he came again. I picked him up like I had lots of times before, and went to put him on the shelf. Then, I noticed his arm was missing. Yep, it was lying on the floor. I looked at it and quickly diagnosed it was a lost cause. The weight of the arm and the small size of the broken peg meant there was no way to fix him. Since Striker’s a fairly popular figure who comfortably sells for north of $60, I wasn’t going to rush out to get a new one. So, Striker sat armless on my desk for the past few weeks.

Yesterday afternoon, I was walking through my local Toys R Us, and I came across another Striker, sitting on the shelf alone. So, I picked him up, happy to find a replacement at the retail price. I guess things worked out, huh? Sure, having a non-broken Striker means he effectively cost twice as much as the other figures in the line, but I guess it could be worse. Regardless, I’ll definitely be more careful with this one!

If you’d like to read my actual review of the Striker Eureka figure, go check it out here!

#0170: Coyote Tango

COYOTE TANGO

PACIFIC RIM

I’ve talked quite a bit before about my love of the movie Pacific Rim.  Suffice to say, I am obviously picking up NECA’s line of action figures based on the movie.  So far, I’ve looked at three of the Jaegers (Monster fighting robo-suits) from the movie.  Today, I’ll be looking at another: Coyote Tango.  To those of you casual observers of the film, you may not remember Coyote.  Coyote has a small but important role as Stacker Pentacost’s Jaeger in a flashback.  The scene is efficiently awesome, but most of the actual fighting happens off-screen, leaving Coyote with a small amount of screen time.  Still, he’s a cool design.  Let’s take a look.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Coyote Tango was released as part of the third, much-improved, series of NECA’s Pacific Rim line.  Coyote stands about 7 inches tall (not counting the cannons), and has 24 points of articulation.  As I noted in my Cherno review, the articulation hasn’t jumped much in number of points, but it has taken a decent up-turn in actual movement.  It’s not quite as impressive as Cherno’s, but Coyote can get some pretty great poses.  Notably, the cannons are also articulated, which is a really great touch and adds a whole new level of play to the figure.  The sculpt is the usual NECA quality.  Lots of really great details, all wonderfully handled.  The paint just adds to the sculpt, bringing out lots of great details, plus it has some great detail work of its own, with logos and letters all over the place.  Coyote includes no accessories, but that’s not really anything new for the line, nor can I really think of anything Coyote should include.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t as excited for Coyote as I was for Cherno, but he’s still a really cool character, and the figure is really high notch.  Getting the Jaegers as a set may be the most economical option if you’re after Cherno, and getting saddled with Coyote is hardly the worst thing to happen.  Coyote will definitely be getting a spot on my shelf!

#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.

#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.