Blizzard! It’s one of those video game companies that has made a huge impact on my life… just not so much lately. Warcraft, Starcraft, World of Warcraft, Diablo... if I were to add up all the hours (or days, even) that I spent playing these franchises, I would probably die of shock. And while I’m still down for a little Starcraft or Diablo now and again, I’ve mostly been able to kick the Blizzard monkey off my back. I relapsed twice before finally quitting WoW for good! That having been said, when NECA announced their Heroes of the Storm figures I was on board. Not because I’ve ever played the game, but because the game draws characters from all of these properties that I know and love. I’m kicking off my look at this line with Nova Terra from Starcraft.
I’ve been enjoying the collector friendly presentation of NECA’s “Ultimate” line, but lest we forget, NECA is also the king of hermetically sealed clam shells and that’s exactly what you get with Heroes of the Storm. I had to razor my way into this package and was instantly rewarded with a heady dose of lovely plastic fumes. Ahhh… contact high! The packaging is nothing much to write home about. The bubble shows off the figure, and you get a bubble insert with a rather nice character portrait. It’s serviceable and at least it doesn’t make me feel guilty about pitching it.
Here she is and she is absolutely gorgeous! But, before getting in too deep… We got breakage! Yeah, Nova’s right leg snapped off at the hip almost immediately after taking her out of the package. At first I thought it was just a ball joint popped out of the socket. That’s how easy and quickly it happened. Then I realized that there’s nothing holding that leg on but a tiny pin and some quick Internet research told me that the snapping right hip is a common occurrence on this figure. I write a lot of favorable reviews of NECA product, but paying $22 for a figure that breaks so easily and so commonly is really disappointing, especially when it’s this wide spread.
Aaaaand especially when the piece is as beautiful as this one. NECA did a wonderful job capturing the look of her Ghost Suit. From the smooth form-fitting midriff and thighs to the slightly bulkier armored pieces on her forearms, lower legs, chest and shoulders, everything about the hostile environment suit is recreated here in beautiful detail. The paint is also very well done. The metallic blue used for the armor pieces is brilliant and the panel lines are colored in black or light blue. There are a few smudges here and there, which are certainly not intended as weathering, but they’re less bothersome because they do make the suit look used.
The portrait here looks particularly good. It’s funny, but at the right angles I could swear I see a little Billie Piper in the likeness. Maybe it’s because I always have Doctor Who on the brain. Either way, the paint on the lips and eyes is sharp and the large ponytail (which comes separate from the figure has to be pegged in to the head) is certainly impressive.
And that brings us to articulation, which is where this figure runs into problems. Yes, obviously, I did some hip surgery. After two attempts to save the right hip articulation, I realized that my only hope was to fuse the leg in place with an ample dose of glue. Even now, because of the weird way the hip joints are constructed, the fused leg wants to move when I move the left hip and so I have to be extra careful when posing even her good leg. Beyond that, the legs include double hinged knees and ball joints in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. There are generous ball joints in the neck and just under the chest. The rest of the jointing on the figure feels great, so it’s a real shame about the bum hip.
Nova comes with two accessories. First, you get an extra left hand that allows her to point with two fingers. I’ll likely go with this hand permanently since the articulation isn’t quite there to let her hold the huge gun across her chest and cradle it in the left hand. Besides, this hand works just as well for holding the gun in firing poses.
And speaking of huge guns… You also get her trusty AGR-14 rifle, which is almost as tall as she is. It’s a relatively simple sculpt, but looks good and does include some panel lines and a few paint apps. The grip includes a peg that pegs into Nova’s right hand to help her hold it. Guess what? That snapped off too. Ugh… today just hasn’t been my day. Fortunately, she’s capable of holding it without the peg assist.
Poor Nova… first your PS2 game gets cancelled (yes, I’m still bitter about that) and now this. This is an otherwise excellent figure taken down by either poor quality control, poor joint design, or maybe a little of both. Either way, I know NECA has a reputation for some delicate joints, but firsthand, I’ve had very few problems with their figures and I do own a lot of them. That having been said, this is one that I can join fellow collectors and have a cry over. I absolutely love the figure, and as much as I hate to do it, I’m seriously tempted to buy another and try again. But then with so many other reports of the same thing happening, I may be better off just sticking with my repaired figure rather than risk having another snap on me. If and when I do get another I’ll do a follow up feature. Either way, she still looks mighty nice standing on my shelf. Hopefully things will look up from here, and next week, I’ll revisit this line of figures again with a look at Illidan Stormage.