#1400: Sarah Connor

SARAH CONNOR

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (HOT TOYS)

Oooeeee, look at that.  1400 reviews.  Another hundred down.  Seeming like less of a milestone these days, but I’m noting it nonetheless.  I’m noting it the usual way, with a deluxe review of one of my higher-end figures.  Today, I turn back to the film that kicked off the milestone reviews, Terminator 2.  So far, I’ve looked at both the terminator and the protector from the film, but I haven’t yet looked at one of the franchise’s central characters, Sarah Connor.  So, uhh, come with me if you want to…read this review?  …Doesn’t have the same ring, does it?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sarah was released as figure 119 in Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series, placing her between Inglorious Basterds’ Aldo Raine and Iron Man 2’s War Machine numerically.  Not as themed as other releases, but the T2 figures were all pretty scattered.  This figure is based on Sarah’s “terminator” look from around the film’s mid-point, when she goes to kill Miles Dyson.  It’s really her most distinct look, and definitely my favorite.  Sarah stands roughly 11 inches tall and she’s got 28 points of articulation.

Let’s start things off by looking at Sarah’s head sculpt.  While heads are usually one of HT’s stronger suits, this one’s not one of their best offerings.  The prototype actually looked pretty good, but it seems something was lost in the manufacturing process.  It’s far from a terrible sculpt, of course.  The resemblance to Linda Hamilton is passing; it’s not spot-on, but it’s decent enough that you can tell who it is.  I think it’s the hair that’s throwing it off.  While I’m definitely a fan of the hair being sculpted, rather than rooted, and the overall shaping and detailing is pretty solid.  The biggest issue is with the bangs, which are just a little too short; they really should be getting closer to her eyes, and I think that throws off the likeness.  The bangs actually swap out, and there’s another pair that’s parted and closer to the head.  It doesn’t really improve the likeness, but it does allow for the addition of the included hat.  The paintwork on the head is generally up to the usual HT quality.  The only real flaw is the color of the hair, which is a touch too dark for Hamilton.  It’s not that far off, though, so it’s pretty minor, all things considered.

Sarah’s costume is made up of four main pieces.  She’s got a shirt, pants, a tactical vest, and a belt.  All of the pieces are very well tailored to the figure.  The vest in particular is really cool.  All of the pockets open and the the clasps all work like they’re supposed to.  There’s also a pair of sculpted boots, which are very nicely sculpted, and well scaled to the figure.  She’s also got a watch and a wristband, which are mostly there to hide the wrist joints on the arms.  They do that job well, and add some extra character to the figure as well.

The underlying body is largely unique to Sarah.  The arms in particular are unique; they’re armatures with a rubber coating over them.  They actually look quite a bit like Hamilton’s arms from the film, and she’s even got her scar on the left shoulder.  The rest of the body is decent, but could be a little more tailored to the figure.  The shoulder’s are definitely too narrow, and the neck is a little thin, which makes the head look really large comparatively.  Once again, nothing too terrible, but it’s definitely a little off.

Sarah’s accessories are definitely this figure’s strongest suit.  She includes:

  • 6 hands
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Shotgun
  • Assault Rifle
  • Handgun
  • Knife
  • Display stand

She’s got the basic relaxed hands, as well as a right trigger finger hand, a left gripping hand, a a right cigarette holding hand (with removable cigarette!), and a right hand for holding her knife.  They’re all very nicely sculpted and quite realistic looking.  They’re a little hard to swap the first time, but once you swap them a few times, they go alright.

The hat works in conjunction with the alternate bangs piece.  It’s cloth, and a little oversized, but it’s generally a pretty nice piece.  Just, whatever you do, don’t leave it on for long periods of time.  It’ll stain her forehead!

The sunglasses are very definitely my favorite piece.  They’re just amazingly detailed, perfectly scaled, and sit amazingly well on the figure’s face.  I wish I looked this good in sunglasses.

The shotgun, assault rifle, and handgun are close runners up to the glasses.  They all have a number of moving pieces and all of the details that you’d see on the full scale weapons.  The shotgun has a folding stock, as well as five removable rounds.  The assault rifle includes a removable scope, rail, and silencer, allowing for a few different looks.  The handgun has a removable clip, and the clip even has a removable bullet at the very top, which seems like it’s asking to be lost.

The knife is a key piece to the film, so it’s great that it was included here.  Like the other weapons, it’s very well scaled and detailed.  It includes a sheath, which feels a little cheap and quick by comparison, but it’s nice to have the option of putting the knife away, I guess.

Lastly, there’s the display stand.  It’s the same basic oval stand we’ve seen a number of times before.  It gets the job done, and it looks pretty decent, so that’s good.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sarah is a very early Hot Toys figure for me.  I believe she was my third.  She’s also got the notoriety of being the very first Hot Toys figure I bought for myself.  I ordered her off of Amazon, in anticipation of getting the T-1000 figure later that year.  She’s not a perfect figure, and is definitely the weakest of my three T2 figures, but she’s still a pretty darn fun figure in her own right, and she completes one of my favorite sets of HT figures.

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#1342: T-800 – Final Battle

T-800 — FINAL BATTLE

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (NECA)

“Specs: Model T-800 {Final Battle} – After escaping Cyberdyne, the T-800, Sarah and John Connor are pursued by the T-1000 into a steel mill. The Terminators engage in violent hand to hand combat causing the T-800 to sustain critical damage. Now missing his left arm and operating on limited power and capacity the T-800 staggers to Sarah and John’s rescue and fires his last grenade into the T-1000 causing it to explode and fall into a vat of molten steel.”

Wow, it’s been like a year since I looked at anything Terminator-related.  Guess I’ll be fixing that today!  So, remember back when I reviewed NECA’s Ultimate T-800 figure from Terminator 2?  And how I mentioned that I owned one of the prior, non-Ultimate-y ones, from their earlier line?  Yeah, well that’s (one of) the figure(s) I’m looking at today!  Let’s get right to that, then!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Final Battle T-800 was released in Series 2 of NECA’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day line of figures.  At this point, the line was still exclusively variants of the T-800, but hey, that’s what we all wanted at the time.  The figure stands about 7 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation.  This is before NECA had gotten quite as good with articulation, so he’s a little stilted.  The upper half of the figure’s pretty solid, though, and while the legs are essentially motionless, there’s just enough movement there to help him balance.  On the plus side of things, the lack of motion’s not quite as killer on this particular figure, since the T-800 wasn’t exactly doing kung-fu high-kicks after taking all that damage.  As the name of the figure informs us, this guy’s based on the T-800 as he looks at the very end of T2, after he’s lost an arm and taken a serious beating at the hands of the T-1000.  The figure’s sculpt is pretty darn fantastic, offering a ton of amazing texturing on the leather jacket and pants, and even on the underlying machinery that’s been exposed. There are two heads included with this guy, with varying degrees of damage.  He’s packaged wearing the slightly less damaged of the two, which has the more unencumbered likeness.  While NECA’s gone on to give us better Schwarzenegger likenesses in recent years, this was pretty darn great for the time.  There are maybe some minor quibbles, but that’s really all that can be held against it.  The damage is consistent with what’s seen in the movie, too, which is really great.  The second head is far more damaged, depicting him after he takes a girder to the face a couple of times.  It’s actually one of those cases where the figure looks a bit better than what’s seen in the movie, since the movie had to rely on rather bulky prosthetics, and the figure can just actually carve away chunks of his face.  It’s definitely a nice piece.  The paintwork on this guy is decent enough.  Like the Kyle Reese figure, I did find the soulless eyes to be rather jarring (it’s more obvious on the more damaged head), but it’s far from awful.  There’s a lot of good work on the body, especially the clothes, though.  I do wish the damaged arm had slightly more convincing blood splatters, since these look more like red paint, but that’s minor.  In addition  to the spare head, the figure also includes the slightly damaged grenade launder, which he can hold pretty well.

Did you see in the intro where I hinted at more than one figure?  Well, I’ll touch on that now.  Alongside their 7-inch line, NECA also did some 12-inch Terminator 2 figures, and the Final Battle T-800 was one of the two they chose to do.  The figure is essentially just an upscaling of the 7-inch figure, but there are a few tweaks, most notably the inclusion of a light-up feature for the eye (activated by pressing the panel in the center of his chest).  It’s also worth noting that the larger figure only includes the more damaged head, presumably because a swapping head wouldn’t have worked too well with the light-up bit.  The larger size actually really helps the figure.  The likeness on the head, in particular, is a lot stronger at this scale (to the point where I honestly think it’s a better Arnold than Hot Toys ever gave us on a T-800), and the paint looks way better, since there’s a lot more room for subtlety.  Just like his smaller counterpart, this guy included the damaged grenade launcher.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Final Battle T-800 is the second NECA figure I ever owned, and it’s certainly the one that got me to notice them as a company.  I don’t recall exactly when I picked it up, but I do remember anxiously awaiting its release after seeing it on the back of the Series 1 packaging.  It’s a nice figure because unlike a number of other looks from the movie, the fully battle-damaged appearance really does warrant a whole figure to itself.

The larger figure was a Christmas present, given to me by my parents.  It was the year after I’d gotten the Hot Toys T-1000, and I was really wanting to have at least some version of the T-800 to go on the shelf with him and Sarah.  While I did eventually get the Hot Toys release when it came out (a whole three years later), this guy held me over in the mean time, and actually fit in surprisingly well with the two HT figures.  Looking back, he’s still a pretty awesome figure.  It’s too bad NECA never did any other characters to go with  him!

#0924: Guardian T-800

GUARDIAN T-800

TERMINATOR GENISYS

PopsT8001

“Protect her, Kyle Reese. Protect my Sarah.”

Terminator Genisys, the fifth installment in the Terminator franchise, was released last summer to mixed reviews. I kinda liked it (actually, I liked it a whole lot), but it seems I was in the minority. Oh well. On the plus side, NECA picked up the license to make action figures from the film, and spared no effort in making them as awesome as possible. Back in the fall, they released a pair of figures inspired by the film’s 1984 sequence, and back in January they added one more figure, another variation of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Pops” T-800, to the line. I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

PopsT8002The Guardian T-800 was released as a stand-alone figure, though he’s technically the second “assortment” of the Terminator Genisys line. He ended up hitting around the same time as the Ultimate Sarah Conner figure. The figure is about 7 ½ inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation. The first Guardian T-800 was based on his brief 1984 appearance, but this one is based on his later 2017 look. While the 1984 look had some cool moments, the bulk of the film is spent in 2017, and Pops’ look there ends up being more definitive, so it’s nice to finally have this one.  As I guessed, this figure has more than a few parts in common with the earlier version; he gets a new jacket, arms, and head, as well as a slightly tweaked shirt piece for the torso. The head is a pretty important change: in the film, Pops is damaged and can’t accompany Sarah and Kyle in the time machine that takes them from 1984 to 2017. He has to get to 2017 the long way ‘round, resulting in him aging 30 some years (and giving the filmmakers a plausible reason for the T-800 aging in sync with Arnold). The new head gives us the aged T-800, and, more specifically, an older Schwarzenegger. In my review of the 1984 T-800, I noted that the likeness was just a bit off; I’m happy to say that’s not the case with this version. That’s definitely Arnold, displeased scowl and all. There’s a second head, which features battle-damage (a thing no Terminator seems to be able to avoid); it’s the same basic sculpt as the normal head, but with a bit of the Endoskeleton skull poking through on the right side of the face. The underlying skull is very nicely captured, and has some fantastically sharp detail work, resulting in the damaged head being my favorite of the two. The new shirt cover also features a little bit of damage, though it’s not quite as revealing as the head. His jacket seems to have avoided being damaged, but it’s certainly not lacking in detail. In the 30 years he spent waiting for the other two, Pops seems to have gotten over his fixation on leather, and moved onto something a bit more laid back. The texturing on the jacket makes it look quite realistic, and also makes it clear that it’s a totally different jacket from the prior figure. The paint on this figure is a step up from the already pretty great work on the 1984 T-800. The basic work is nice and clean, and there’s some fantastic accent work on the jacket and hair. Also, he’s got the best looking eyes I’ve seen on a NECA figure, or any small-scale figure for that matter. In addition to the extra head, Pops also includes a stump to replace his left arm, which can be a little difficult to swap out, but is a pretty cool piece otherwise. He also has a shotgun; it’s different from the 1984 version, which is nice for variety’s sake, but bad because he has the same hands as the 1984 version, which makes holding the gun slightly difficult.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I was right on the ball with the first two Genisys figures, why the delay with this guy? I honestly can’t say. I mean, I was definitely looking forward to this figure; he was the one I wanted the most out of the three figures in the set. However, my usual stores for NECA figures didn’t get this guy for whatever reason, and I just never got around to ordering him online. I ended up finding him at Toys R Us, while looking for the Alien Day Ripley figure (which I didn’t end up finding). Now I feel a bit bad for not tracking him down earlier because he’s just a fantastic figure, start to finish. It’s a shame we aren’t getting a John Conner for him to do battle with, but I’m just glad to have gotten him.

PopsT8003

#0922: Techno-Punch Terminator

TECHNO-PUNCH TERMINATOR

TERMINATOR 2 (KENNER)

TechnoPunch1

Back in the 90s, tie-in toylines were all the rage.  They were so the rage, in fact, that a fair number of movies that weren’t exactly “kid-friendly” ended up getting some very kid-aimed action figures.  One such film was Terminator 2, which got a fairly nifty line of toys courtesy of Kenner Toys.  A good chunk of the line consisted of figures with looks quite divergent from the movie, but a few, such as today’s focus figure the T-800 Endoskeleton, stuck pretty close to the movie designs.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

TechnoPunch2The Endoskeleton was released in the first assortment of Terminator 2 figures from Kenner.  His official name was “Techno-Punch Terminator,” in reference to the figure’s special action feature, which I’ll touch on in a bit.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  He also features movement at the waist, but it’s tied into his punching feature: when he is twisted to either side, he snaps back into place, and if the hands are placed right, this simulates a punch…sort of.  Not sure it was worth sacrificing actual articulation, but there it is.  Also, the lack of knee joints is somewhat baffling, seeing as there are joints sculpted there, they just aren’t mobile.  The sculpt on the figure is fairly decent.  Obviously, it’s not on par with NECA or Hot Toys’ takes on the design, but it’s hardly expected to be.  For a figure from the early 90s, it does a respectable job.  The basic details of the Endo are all pretty much there, just a bit more simplistic.  The proportions have also been tweaked a bit, presumably to make the Endo a bit more imposing (provided you overlook the monkey arms).  The overall result is a figure that is clearly meant to be a Terminator, and that’s what counts.    As far as paint goes, this guy’s pretty simple.  He’s straight silver, up and down, with the exception of the eyes, which are molded in clear red plastic and use light-piping to light up a bit.  The figure was originally packed with a blaster and some sort of bent metal thing, but my figure doesn’t have those pieces.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy is a relatively recent acquisition (though he does predate the site by a small margin).  A few years ago, Cosmic Comix picked up a pretty sizeable collection of loose figures, and this guy was amongst them.  The figure shows his age, to be sure, but he’s actually not a bad figure at all, and he’s certainly better than some of his compatriots.

#0861: Sarah Connor

SARAH CONNOR

TERMINATOR 2 (NECA)

SarahConner1

The first time I really noticed NECA was when they kicked off their pretty awesome T2 line several years back. The line actually had a pretty decent run of figures, but, aside from a single Kyle Reese figure towards the end of the line, they mostly stuck to the killer robots from the future. That meant that one of the franchise’s key characters, Sarah Connor, was sadly missing. Recently, under their “Ultimate” heading, NECA’s gone back to some of their older lines, making some slight adjustments to prior figures to make them fit with current offerings. For a first in the Ultimate sub-set, they’ve released a totally new figure, offering a Sarah figure to go with the recent Ultimate T-800.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SarahConner2Sarah Connor is the second “Ultimate” figure in the Terminator 2 line. She’s a single release, though she shipped right around the same time as the second version of the Terminator Genisys T-800. The figure stands 6 ¾ inches tall and she’s got 24 points of articulation. Technically, she should be little shorter to be in scale with the T-800(Linda Hamilton’s 8 inches shorter than Arnold in real line), but she’s really not that far off. As noted in the intro, Sarah is not a re-tooling like prior Ultimate releases; she is instead an all-new sculpt, handled by Adrienne Smith. Her basic look is her black tactical gear from the mid-point to climax of the film. It’s easily the character at her most distinctive, so it’s well-chosen. The proportions on the body are pretty much spot-on, including Linda Hamiliton’s impressively toned arms. Seriously, she was jacked, and so is this figure. Her clothes are incredibly well detailed, with tremendous texturing, and just the right amount of weight. To ensure the best poseablity for the torso, the webgear is a separate (non-removable) add-on piece. It has the same great work seen on the rest of the body, and some amazing little touches, such as the unfastened buckle at the top of the vest, which looks like it’s really a separate piece. She also has a separate belt piece (also non-removable), SarahConner3complete with a sheath for her knife. Like the Ultimate T-800, Sarah includes three different heads: Ponytailed with hat and sunglasses, ponytailed without hat and sunglasses, and hair untied (once again without the hat and sunglasses). Some people have complained about not getting another head with the ponytail and sunglasses, like she’s shown on the front of the box. While it’s a shame that look isn’t represented, if we could only have three heads, these are the three I want. The hat and sunglasses head is my favorite of the three. The likeness is the best here, the hat is fantastically detailed, and while the sunglasses aren’t quite as clean as the T-800s, they still look pretty cool. The other two heads are no slouches either, doing a nice job of capturing Sarah as she progresses through the movie. Sarah’s paintwork is pretty solidly handled; all the base colors are where they should be, and there’s some nice work differentiating the blacks of the various parts of her outfit. The heads show a bit of slop around the hairlines, but the overall paint looks quite nice, and I was especially impressed by how well the eyes turned out on the two non-sunglassed heads. In addition to the extra heads, Sarah includes an m4 carbine, a colt 1911, and a knife (complete with a sculpted tassel at the end) that fits perfectly in the sheath on her belt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Sarah at the same time I got Chopper, though she was more of an impulse buy than a planned purchase. I was a little underwhelmed by this figure when viewing her in the packaging, but once I had her out and posed her a bit, I really came to enjoy the figure a whole lot. She’s a worthy companion piece to the T-800 to be sure, and I’m happy she finally got made.

SarahConner4

#0708: T-1000 – Police Disguise

T-1000 – POLICE DISGUISE

TERMINATOR GENISYS (NECA)

T1000Genisys1

One of the most distinctive parts of Terminator 2 is its main antagonist, the T-1000, played oh so menacingly by actor Robert Patrick (and some CGI). The T-1000 upped the threat presented by the original T-800 in spades. After T2, the movies really struggled to up the ante again, which was disappointing. Genisys not only successfully brought up the threat, but they also brought back the T-1000 for a second round. The new T-1000 was chosen as one of the characters to be represented in NECA’s line of figures based on the movie. I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

T1000Genisys2The T-1000 is the second figure in the first assortment of NECA’s Terminator Genisys figures. He’s based on Byung-hun Lee’s performance as the T-1000 in the movie. The figure is 7 inches in height and he has 22 points of articulation. As far as sculpt goes, he’s got more than a few parts in common with NECA’s previous Robert Patrick T-1000. Seeing as they wear more or less the same uniform and Lee’s build isn’t that different from Patrick’s, this is a pretty reasonable re-use. The re-used parts are generally pretty good, but they are just a tiny bit more stylized than NECA’s more recent stuff. It’s not horribly noticeable, but the arms are definitely longer than they would be realistically. Still, the line work is nice and sharp, and the overall look of the character is captured very nicely. The figure obviously gets a new head sculpt (well, technically two), but he also gets a new lower half, which has been updated to give him proper leg articulation. That’s much appreciated. The figure has two different heads and two T1000Genisys3fronts for his torso, with and without bullet wounds. I prefer the damaged pieces, as they quite succinctly illustrate the T-1000’s abilities, but both sets of parts are nicely handled. The head sculpts both do a decent job of capturing Byung-hun Lee’s likeness, though I think the one with the bullet hole looks a little more like him. The paint on the T-1000 is pretty solid work. Nothing extraordinary, but nothing particularly bad either. Hopefully, the color of the uniform on this one will match up with the upcoming Ultimate T-1000 figure, but only time will tell. In addition to the extra head and torso pieces, the T-1000 is packed with his standard issue sidearm, two alternate right hands (trigger finger and basic grip), an alternate nub piece for his left arm, and liquid metal javelin. Hook arms would have been nice, but I guess they had to draw the line somewhere.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I ordered the T-1000, alongside the Guardian T-800, from NECA’s eBay store. The character’s relatively minor in the film, but I never got any of NECA’s previous T-1000s, so this one’s a good stand in, at least until the Ultimate version is released. But, you really can’t have too many T-1000s, can you? Plus, this guy makes for a pretty awesome pairing with the 1984 Guardian. He’s got a fair bit going for him!

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#0707: Guardian T-800

GUARDIAN T-800

TERMINATOR GENISYS

GuardianT800c

Frequent readers of the site will recall that I was quite complimentary of Terminator Genisys. Ever since the movie’s release, I’ve been eagerly awaiting its tie-in toyline. The line is produced by NECA, who are one of my favorite toy companies of late. They’re starting off with a small assortment of three figures. Two of them are available, and the third will be out some time later this year. Today, I’ll be taking a look at the first version of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Guardian T-800.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GuardianT800bThe Guardian T-800, referred to in the film as “Pops,” was released in the first assortment of Terminator Genisys figures. He’s based on his appearance from the 1984 portion of the film. It’s ultimately not quite as important as the 2017 look (which will be the third figure in the line), but it is how we first see him, which is a defining moment, to be sure. Plus, it’s a pretty good move on NECA’s part to release this version first, as many people who might pass on this version were both available will be inclined to get this guy as a place holder. The figure stands a little over 7 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. Pops gets an all-new sculpt, some of which will probably see re-use on the 2017 version. Overall, I really love the sculpt. The proportions are great, the articulation’s been worked in really well, and he has some superb detail work. His leather jacket is creased and worn, just like the real thing, and the rest of the clothing has great texturing and depth. If there’s one drawback to the sculpt, it’s the likeness on the head. It’s not terrible, or anything, just not as good as what we’ve seen from NECA’s previous Schwarzenegger sculpts. I think a lot of it’s the hair, which just seems a little too bulbous around the sides. The actual face seems more on point, though it’s better from some angles than it is from others. From one angle, it’s Arnold, from another, he looks not unlike John Larroquette. The paint is pretty decent, but there are a few minor issues here and there. Most of the issues are on the head; the hairline in particular is a little sloppy. It’s not noticeable from a normal viewing distance, but it’s there when he’s up close. Pops is packed with a shotgun, which is what he’s seen wielding during his introductory scene. It’s nicely sculpted and it fits well in his hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I mentioned above, I was anxiously awaiting these figures. When NECA tweeted that the first two figures were in stock in their eBay store, I ordered them as quickly as I could. The 2017 version is still the one I’m waiting for, but this guy is pretty awesome. He’s got a few minor issues here and there, but the overall figure is cool enough that it doesn’t really bug me. This guy’s definitely a solid figure, and I’m very happy to have him!

#0643: Kyle Reese

KYLE REESE

THE TERMINATOR (NECA)

KyleReese1

For me, the Terminator franchise is similar to the Alien franchise in that I generally prefer the second film to the first. But, like Alien, I still have quite an appreciation for The Terminator. One of the coolest things it has going for it is Michael Biehn’s performance as resistance fighter (and unknowing father of humanity’s savior John Connor) Kyle Reese. Merchandise for the movies tends to focus on the second film, so Kyle’s been somewhat absent from the action figure form. He did get a couple of Minimates and a ReAction figure, so that’s cool. He also managed to get a single figure NECA, right at the very tail-end of their original run with the licenses to the first two movies. That’s the one I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

KyleReese2Kyle Reese was released in Series 3 of NECA’s Terminator Collection, which was the line that replaced their Terminator 2 line after they picked up the first film’s license. The figure stands 7 inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. The Terminator stuff was something of a middle point for NECA in regards to articulation. They’re the first time that NECA really began giving their figures any sort of articulation. That being said, it was pretty much entirely on the upper half, leaving the legs mostly stationary. This can be a little limiting, and makes it especially hard to get figures to stand, but it’s not the worst thing ever. Interestingly enough, Kyle was actually sculpted with leg articulation, but it was removed in order to keep him stylistically the same as the rest of the line. Admittedly, it holds him back a little, but it’s understandable. Kyle is presented here in his 1984 look, specifically his first, green-coated look from the first half of the film. The sculpt is unique to this figure, although it appears that the face on this guy and Series 1 Corporal Hicks are at the very least by the same sculptor, if not variants of the same sculpt. His likeness is decent, if maybe not quite as spot on as some of NECA’s work. While the likeness is a tad off, the rest of the sculpt is absolutely superb. All of the clothing has great texture and small detail work and he’s accurate to the look from the film. The legs have been posed mid-stride, which works with the shotgun pose the figure is destined for. While they look pretty good, it’s really hard to keep him standing, which can be very frustrating. Paintwork is something that NECA’s made great strides to improve in the last few years. This puts Kyle at something of a disadvantage. He’s not terrible, to be fair. Most of the work is nice and clean, and they even managed to get the paint splatters right on his pants. But, they missed the stripes on his shirt, which is minor, but still a bit of a bummer. Also, there’s a certain degree of lifelessness to the paint on the eyes, which stands out in comparison to NECA’s most recent work. Kyle includes a shotgun (with a string to keep it attached to him, as in the movie) and the picture of Sarah that Kyle carries with him in the future sequences.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hey! It’s the beginning of the onslaught of things I picked up while on vacation! I picked up Kyle here from the recently opened Rehoboth Beach branch of Yesterday’s Fun. I missed out on him (and most of NECA’s Terminator stuff) the first time around, and I was really happy to find this guy. Sure, he’s not quite on the same level as NECA’s most recent work, but he’s still a very good figure. A strong figure, all around.

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#0636: Endoskeleton

HEAVY GUNNER ENDOSKELETON

VERSUS THE TERIMATOR (NECA)

EndoVG2

So, I’m sure you all read my review of Terminator Genisys, right?  If not, what’s wrong with you?  How can you expect to keep up with the site if you don’t read every single word I publish here?  Geez!  Anyway, if you did read it, you’ll know that I really enjoyed the movie, which almost always leads to me wanting toys.  Sadly, the Genisys figures aren’t out just yet, so I’ll have to make due with some earlier Terminator stuff, just to hold me over.  NECA’s had the license to the various Terminator films (well, the first two, at least) for the last few years, and, like many of their licences, they’ve made use of the molds a second time as video game-themed repaints.  Unlike a lot of their other video game repaints, Terminator got a whole subline of figures, shared with other 80s sci-fi hit, Robcop.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the handful of Endoskeletons released, dubbed the Heavy Gunner Endoskeleton.  I wonder what his schtick is!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

EndoVG1The Heavy Gunner Endoskeleton was released as part of the Versus The Terminator line by NECA.  Yeah, I think it’s officially supposed to be Robocop Versus the Terminator, but the box doesn’t have the Robocop part, so…yeah.  The Heavy Gunner is one of three Endos released in this line, but he’s the only one to be released as a single figure.  He’s based on the design of the mounted gunner Endos from the game, but he can also work as a fairly standard Endo as well.   The figure is roughly 7 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation (not counting all the various pistons used to help with that movement.)  Structurally, the main figure is identical to NECA’s revamp of the Endoskeleton from their The Terminator line.  It’s easily one of the best renditions of the Endoskeleton available, so one can hardly fault NECA for using it again.  The detailing of the sculpt is phenomenal and the amount of effort put into making sure most of the pistons are actual working, moving pieces is nothing short of astonishing.  Also, while you might assume the figure is very fragile, based on the slightness of the design, he actually doesn’t feel flimsy at all.  He feels quite sturdy.  I mean, I wouldn’t suggest giving it to a little kid to play with, but it holds up to posing and such very well.  As with pretty much all of the “video game” figures that NECA’s released, paint is one of the figure’s defining traits.  While he shows a bit more pre-placed highlighting and a slightly flatter color palette, this Endo’s actually not too far off from a more basic model.  He won’t be passing for a real life robot or anything, but he’s certainly more grounded than what we’ve seen, giving a nice elegant simplicity.  The other big draw of this particular figure is his titular “heavy gun.”  He includes a minigun, which is actually just a re-use of the same piece from the Cyberdyne Assault T-800 from the T2 line, but it’s attached to a backpack style ammo case, and it includes an optional tri-footed stand to mount the gun, much in the same way it’s shown in the game.  The stand is, sadly, a necessity, as the figure cannot hold the gun without it.  However, he looks so cool all set up that I’m willing to forgive that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy is actually my first NECA Endoskeleton.  For a number of reasons, I never got either the T2 or Terminator versions of the figure at retail, and by the time I tried to fix that, they’d shot way up in price.  So, when these figures were announced I figured one of the Endos might make a decent enough stand-in.  It seems a lot of others thought that too, making this guy fairly difficult to acquire.  Fortunately, I came across one at nearby toy shop All Time Toys, which I was quite excited about.  I got this guy at the same time as the Dog Alien I reviewed not too long ago, and they made for quite an awesome pair.  Of course, now NECA’s come out with a re-release of the Terminator Endo, so this guy won’t really be a stand-in, so much as another Endo on the shelf.  But, hey, worse things have happened!

Terminator Genisys: A Movie Review

I don’t write movie reviews. This is an Action Figure review site, after all. However, I’ve just seen a movie about which I want to write.

The movie in question (hey, that would be a catchy name for a movie review site, wouldn’t it?) is Terminator Genisys. I’m a pretty big fan of The Terminator and I’d probably rank Terminator 2 in my top five favorite movies.  It goes without saying that I was more than a little disappointed by the two films that followed. I’ve never actually been able to get all the way through T3, and most of Salvation left me cold. I had pretty much written the franchise off, and I kind of figured it was more or less dead.

When the first trailer for Genisys showed up, I was surprised. Somehow, I’d entirely missed the fact that another film was in production. It actually looked pretty decent, as if this might be the movie to turn the franchise around. I was optimistic, if cautiously so. I was still pretty excited, so when it started showing Tuesday night, I headed out to see it. Without saying too much, my optimism paid off and I thoroughly enjoyed the film.

THE ACTUAL REVIEW

Spoiler-Free:

First off, let’s address the film’s biggest draw: Arnold. His return to acting was one of the driving forces of getting the movie made, and a lot of the film’s marketing focused on his big return to the role. This time around, he takes up a part not unlike “Uncle Bob” in T2, operating as Sarah’s father figure “Pops.” The film seems to draw from the learning ability of the T-800’s CPU established in the extended cut of T2. Here it’s been in operation for a while, allowing Arnold to play a character with a little more warmth and human understanding. That’s not to say he’s completely abandoned his robotic nature, though; it makes its way to the forefront a few times, generally in the more action oriented scenes, but also in a few humorous moments.

The film has more than a few humorous moments, sprinkled throughout. It feels like they’ve gotten the mix of humor and drama right this time around. Part of what I enjoyed so much about T2 was its seamless blending of humor and serious moments. The movies that followed never got this balance down. T3 went too goofy and Salvation went too dreary and hopeless, resulting in both films suffering. Genisys gets it right.

Humor is one thing, but a movie is hardly a proper Terminator movie without some action. Genisys offers a nice selection of action sequences. There are lots of call backs to older movies (especially in the first battle with the T-1000) but there’s a lot of new stuff too, which keeps things interesting. Some sequences relied a little too heavily on CGI, but it never gets distracting to the point of pulling the viewer out of the film. The newest version of Terminator plays a big part in making the action feel new and exciting. One of my biggest problems with the last two films was the stagnation of the Terminators. The T-1000 offered a significant upgrade over the first film’s T-800, and this movie’s magnetically-charged nanite-powered Terminator felt like a worthy upgrade to the seemingly unstoppable T-1000.

I spoke about Arnold’s performance, but what about the rest of the cast? Well, if there’s a weak link, it’s probably Jai Courtney’s Kyle Reese. The biggest issue is that he really doesn’t look like Kyle Reese. Michael Biehn has a particular look, especially in Terminator. He’s not a clean cut, stacked action hero. Jai Courtney kind of is. His performance isn’t terrible, and he had grown on me by the end of the film, but he still felt a little off. Perhaps if Anton Yelchin’s turn as Kyle in Salvation hadn’t been one of that film’s few redeeming qualities, I’d be more forgiving.

Emilia Clarke, on the other hand, feels like a pretty worthy successor to Linda Hamilton. She plays Sarah with a lot of strength and presence, calling back to the T2 version of the character, but she also manages to still play up a lot of the uncertainty we saw in Terminator, giving us the best of both worlds. She and Arnold Schwarzenegger have a lot of chemistry, which really helped to make the movie work.

Jason Clarke takes over from Christian Bale as John Connor, and is probably the strongest of the re-cast parts. He actually plays the role in such a way that you can understand how this guy could lead the resistance to victory.

Byung-hun Lee gives a good performance as the T-1000, though he feels a little under-utilized here. I’m not sure rehashing the plot of T2 would have been the best way to go, but I felt like he should have had a little more to do.

JK Simmons and Matt Smith both give good performances in their respective roles. Simmons once again feels a little under-used, but the few scenes he does take part in use him pretty well. I’ll talk about Smith’s performance more in the spoiler section.

The film has a running theme of “old, but not obsolete.” This line is said more than once by Arnold’s Pops T-800, and it really
feels like it applies to the franchise as a whole as well. The movie strives to show us that this franchise may be old, but it’s not quite outmoded.

Spoilers after the jump.

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