Last year I picked up NECA’s excellent Robocop figure and not long after they revealed another one at about the same price with a working holster in the leg. CURSES!!!! I usually cry foul when companies make me double-dip, but it’s hard to get mad at NECA or the prospect of having another Robocop figure in my collection. It’s not like Robocop figures are flying at me from all directions. Anyway, I’d say I bought this one more out of curiosity than anything else just to see how the holster gimmick turned out, and whether it could replace the figure I already have as the definitive version. We’ll take a look at the packaging first, and then I’m going to dive right into what will largely be a comparative look at both figures. Robocop vs. Robocop… FIGHT!
While this figure still comes in NECA’s usual sealed clamshell, they did redesign the inserts since the release of my other Robocop. It makes sense to call attention to what is a new release, but honestly, I like the package design on the older release better. It was grittier and more in spirit with the original movies and it even had Murphy’s directives printed on it. This one has a somewhat cheesy top view of Robocop’s head making up the bottom insert, and overall it looks a lot more polished and sterile. Of course, none of this matters because the package will soon be in the trash. I’ll also point out that the new package includes a side panel with instructions on how to work the holster, because there is a trick to getting it closed properly. Also worth mentioning, Robocop is strapped into his tray with a bonafide zip tie, so make sure you have a good pair of cutters handy.
Straight away, Robocop is a great looking figure, but he’s mostly the exact same figure as the previous release. That’s a mighty good thing, because I think this is a pretty amazing sculpt. As near as I can tell, the only thing that’s been changed on the figure is the upper right leg for the new holster gimmick. The pistons on his back legs seem to stay on better than on my original release, but it doesn’t look like they’ve been actually changed. Maybe NECA just used better glue. Suffice it to say, with the holster closed, the only noticeable difference between the two figures, is the little button on the back of the right leg.
I will say that the consistency of the silver paint is slightly better on this newer release, but only slightly. I never really had a problem with the paint on the old one, but it did have some swirly bits on the top of the helmet, which this one lacks. I’m sure it’s probably more an instance of variances in QC than a deliberate change on the figure.
As with the original release, this newer one comes with the same swappable right hand, which has the data spike deployed.
And now we come to the reason we’re here… the spring loaded holster! You all know I love functional holsters on my action figures, but this one is a SPRING-LOADED functional holster. It’s one of the coolest aspects of the Robocop design, and no matter how good a Robocop figure may be, if it doesn’t have this feature, it seems like it’s missing something. Nonetheless, the idea of getting the feature to work in a 7-inch figure hardly seems feasible. Does NECA pull it off with this figure? Yes, they do… mostly. Flipping the switch in the back causes the front of the leg to snap forward and the side portion back, revealing the gun inside, and it all happens in an instant. Closing it up again is a tad more precarious. You only push on the front panel, and you have to use a fairly good amount of force. Once you hit the sweet spot, the side panel will come along and the whole thing will lock together with a satisfying snap.
There is a little room for quibbling here. The gun, which is the same size as the gun included with the original release, sits pretty far inside the leg, so you really need to dig it out, and getting it back in can be a bit of a chore, since it has to sit just right in order for the leg to close up again. The side panel is held on by two pegged hinges and can be very prone to popping out, especially if you try to close it by any other means than ONLY PUSHING IN ON THE FRONT PANEL. It easily pops back into the hinges, but just looking at all the tiny plastic machinations inside makes me really nervous. It doesn’t look like it will take much to break any one of the tiny plastic parts that make this whole thing work. Now, with all that having been said, I really have to applaud NECA for not only getting this to work so well in a figure at this scale, but also for being able to contain the whole shebang inside the one leg piece without effecting the aesthetics of the toy beyond the small button on the back. Which brings me to…
Articulation! Because everything involving the holster mechanism is confined to the one leg piece, this figure pulls off the exact same articulation as the first figure. In case you missed it last time, the arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs have ball jointed hips and hinges in the knees and ankles. The torso has a swivel at the waist and a ball joint in the torso, and the neck is ball jointed as well.
You’d think the extra engineering would come at a price, but I picked up this version for around $17, which is actually a little less than I paid for the original release sans the springy holstery goodness. If you’re in the market for a Robocop and you have neither, I’d definitely recommend going for this one. Apart from the little button in the leg, it’s the same figure. The leg holds together so well, you can hardly notice it’s designed to open, and nothing else on the figure is compromised. The only downside is that I can see the holster mechanism breaking pretty easily, so caution is advised. Still, he’s an amazing figure for a very good price, but hey… it’s NECA… I would expect nothing less.