I still consider T2 to be the greatest sci-fi action flick ever made. It’s one of those handful of older movies that I can still remember seeing in the theater because it had such a big impact on me. It’s also a prime example of a franchise that should have been laid to rest after the second installment, not just because most of the subsequent movies have been sub par, but because T2 is almost an impossible act to follow. So, it’s nice to see after all this time, the movie is still getting action figure love, and after a bumpy ride with McFarlane, it’s also nice to see T2 in the far more capable hands of NECA Toys, a company that is proving to be masters at their craft.
NECA’s relatively new”Ultimate” line of action figures spans many movies and genres and features some damn snazzy packaging. We last saw it when I looked at their Ultimate Freddy Kruger figure and you’ll be seeing it again here many times, possibly as soon as next week. The T-800 comes in a great looking box with an opening front flap that reveals a window, allowing for a good look at the figure and all his accessories. And man, does he come with a lot! With three different head sculpts and a mini arsenal of weapons, it’s no wonder NECA calls this the “Ultimate” T-800! The box features some stills from the movie, and some shots of the figure that practically look like stills from the movie. Everything is collector friendly and that’s a good thing because this box is definitely a keeper.
The T-800 comes in his bad-ass biker outfit looking like he just stepped right off the screen. The attention to detail on this guy is staggering. From the stitching and wrinkles in the pants, stitching on the gloves, to a jacket that uses every modicum of surface space to pack in more detail. The use of matte black for the pants, boots, and gloves and gloss black for the jacket is a welcome sight and the various silver zippers are all neatly painted on the jacket. This is one of those figures that clearly represents a labor of love on the part of everyone involved in its production.
I think this is one of the best examples of a figure using the old “vest with sculpted sleeves” trick to mimic an actual jacket. The area around the shoulders where the jacket and sleeves meet just looks like part of the jointing. The back of the jacket features all the individual bullet holes sustained in battle, and the figure comes out of the box wearing the bandoleer strap of M-79 grenade rounds with one round missing.
As mentioned, you get three different head sculpts with the figure and doing the pop and swap is super easy. The stock head is regular old Arnold featuring a solid likeness and some pretty clean paint. You really need to get in close to see any degree of uneven lines. Also, the neck joint is set deep enough into the shirt collar that you can’t even really see it when the head is attached.
Next up, we have Arnold with shades. This is my favorite of all three of the portraits. I think the likeness is even better than the stock head and I like the more determined expression on his lips. The creasing between his eyebrows is more pronounced and the muscle definition in his chin is particularly good. This is likely the head that this figure will wear the most on my shelf, although I have been entertaining getting one more of these guys for a couple different display options, because…
…ripped up cyborg head!!! This thing is a mess and I mean that in every positive way. The meat from half of the T-800’s head is blown off revealing the cyborg parts. The sculpt is fantastic, but what really sells this head is the paint, which is spectacular for a figure in this price range. Yup, if I buy a second one of these guys, this is the other head that will always be on display.
Articulation is this figure is very solid, which has been one of my biggest gripes with Terminator figures in the past. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, while the legs feature the same in the hips, knees, and ankles. The neck is ball jointed and the torso can swivel at the waist. The only odd thing worth mentioning is that the left leg has swivels in the thigh and boot, while the right leg has only the one swivel at the boot. I found that odd, but it really doesn’t affect the poseability of the figure much. All the joints are nice and strong.
Moving on to accessories, let’s start small and work our way up. The automatic pistol is pretty standard stuff. It’s a nice sculpt with a detailed paint job. The trigger guard is very soft plastic so you can theoretically get his trigger finger in there, but I’ve avoided it because I don’t want it to tear. That’s happened before on at least one of my DC Collectibles figures.
Next up is the M1887 lever-action shotgun. Man, I loved the way Arnold worked this thing while on the motorcycle. When I first got the film on DVD I must have watched that scene a dozen times. The sculpt and paint on this piece is great, right down to the wood grain on the stock. It also fits beautifully into his left hand, which of course was the hand Arnold used in the film to show off his flip-cocking prowess.
Next up is the M79 Grenade Launcher. Just like the shotgun, this little piece is expertly sculpted with great paintwork to pick out the detail between the metal and wooden components. This piece also includes a carry strap. I think this one is designed for his right hand, but I rather like the way he holds it in his left hand too. And you know that one round missing from his bandoleer is in that pipe and ready to go! I’m sure it’s just teargas. Afterall, he did swear not to kill anybody.
Lastly, we have the grand daddy of all his arsenal… the minigun, which comes complete with the shoulder satchel full of ammo and the belt running from the satchel to the gun. Holy hell, is this a cool ensemble! The satchel wears well on the figure’s shoulder and he can hold the minigun perfectly. I was a little dubious on how well all these weapons would work with the figure only having two hands, but I’m really impressed to find that they all do. There’s a crazy amount of detail in the minigun and I love the silver paint they used on it.
Honestly, I’m happy with most figures that I buy (and obviously I buy a lot of action figures}, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I was a) blown away by a finished product this much, and b) amazed by the value of a piece. I bought this figure for $22 (regular price, not on sale) and I’m floored that NECA can produce something this good and with so many accessories for that kind of price. I mean, that’s right around the price I’m paying for Hasbro’s 6-inch Black, Marvel Legends and DC Collectibles these days and in terms of craftsmanship, accessories, and even overall packaging and presentation, NECA is blowing those other companies out of the water. Not to mention that producing figures off a 25-year old movie is what some might call a niche-market. When it comes time to start doing my Favorites of 2015 Feature, this figure is going to be damn hard to beat.