Planet of the Apes (Classic): Gorilla Soldier Infantry 2-Pack by NECA

Let’s call the first part of this week “unfinished business with multipacks” shall we? Yesterday I finally opened the MOTUC Star Sisters and today I’m busting out NECA’s box of Gorilla Soldiers from the Classic Planet of the Apes movies. Rather then go through it again, I’ll point you to my other Features in this line if you want to hear me gassing on about how much these movies meant to me as a kid or more importantly how amazing these figures have been. Suffice it to say, I’m thrilled that NECA started doing this series and I’ll continue to support it every step of the way.

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This pair of militant gorillas comes in a window box with a deco very similar to the single boxed Gorilla Soldier. It shows off the figures very well and it is totally collector friendly, which is a good thing because there’s a fair amount of accessories to keep track of. While these soldiers did appear in the original Planet of the Apes, it wasn’t until Beneath the Planet of the Apes that we got to see them mobilized en masse. Those scenes are still my favorite thing about that film.

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Obviously, there’s a lot of parts sharing between this pair and the single pack Gorilla Soldier, but there’s just enough variety to keep things interesting. All three figures share the same base body with the same coloring. The biggest difference is the single pack ape has a balrdic and these guys are wearing backpacks. The backpacks are actually worn by the figure using straps, but the connection point is glued together. So, technically, the pack should be easily removable with the stroke of a razor blade, but it’s not meant to come off. I generally don’t recommend the defacing of such beautiful figures, but it does offer some easy customization possibilities if you want to get multiple sets. The pack doesn’t open, but it looks great. I really dig the stitching and the leather look of the pack.

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The head sculpts are where the real variety is at. These guys have a more neatly groomed mane around the neckline. It’s rounded off, whereas the single pack ape’s was uneven and scraggly. One of these soldiers has a black face and the other’s is brown. It looks like there are minor variations in the sculpted lines in their faces and the positioning of the mouth. As always, these are fantastic sculpts, with sharp detail and wonderful paintwork.

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The articulation here is the same on each figure as well as the single pack soldier. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists and the legs have the same at the hips, knees, and ankles. You get lateral rockers in the ankles, a generous ball joint at the waist, and a ball jointed neck. These guys aren’t going to do any advanced acrobatics, but this is some solid and serviceable articulation to have fun with.

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Accessories! One of the biggest selling points of this pack early on were the accessories that NECA was teasing us with on Twitter. The pack contains, two rifles, two poles, and two truncheons. The truncheons are the same pieces that came with the single pack soldier, only without the lanyard piece. You also get swappable right hands to help them hold these. I do kind of miss the ability to hang these on the belt like you could with the single pack figure, but I suppose the omission adds variety.

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The human-hunting poles are identical, simple pieces sculpted to look like wood with thick black string winding around them. By sliding tthe plastic loop at the lower end of the pole upward you can make a lariat to loop around human necks. I love these things, but where are the humans, NECA? WHERE ARE BRIGHT EYES AND NOVA??? OR POST LOBOTOMY LANDON??? Seriously, I just want some humans to go with my apes, please!

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And finally… the guns! I was expecting straight repacks of the rifles that came with General Ursus and the single pack soldier and I was half right. One of the guns is the Ursus gun, but the other is a brand new piece with a brown stock and a retractable bayonet. Holy shit! A retractable bayonet! This is such a cool accessory!

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On a final note, I’ve had a few people ask me about the clear plastic stands I use in some of my 6-inch figure reviews. They are NECA’s own stands, sold in packs of 10 and they work with varying degrees of success on NECA figures. They’re fine for the Apes, but the one NECA figure in my collection that just will not stand up, Bioshock Infinite Elizabeth, doesn’t peg into them well enough to keep her upright. The stands do work pretty well with Mattel’s Masters Classics line and some Marvel Legends, but at an average of $17 for a pack of 10 stands, they aren’t cost effective for wide use throughout my collection. Still, I’m happy to keep a couple packs around for my NECA figures.

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Despite being a Toys R Us exclusive, and my general distaste for TRU’s online shopping experience, I was able to grab this set online without any difficulties a while back at the MSRP of $29.99 and they are still readily available at that price. Considering the single pack figures in this series set me back about $20 each, the price here is really great. You get more accessories than any of the individual figures came with plus two fantastic sculpts. I’d call that a bargain. In fact, I’m continually tempted to go back for one more of these sets before they disappear. In the meantime, NECA has been showing off some teases of a third wave in this line, and you can bet I’ll be on board when they finally ship.

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