Any day that a new “Ultimate” figure from NECA hits my doorstep, I know is going to be a great one. After three solid releases in the Ultimate Terminator 2 line, NECA is headed back to the film that started it all with the T-800 and his rampage through Club Tech Noir. I can’t wait to check this figure out!
What’s the first thing I expect from NECA’s Ultimate line? Killer packaging. The figure comes in a box that looks like an over-sized VHS sleeve. You get the title, The Terminator, clearly laid out on both side panels and that iconic poster on the front. The back features some shots of the toy and there’s a velcro-secured opening front flap that allows you to feast your peepers on the figure and accessories inside. Back when I was a kid I joined one of those movie clubs where they let you pick out a bunch of movies for cheap and then you agree to buy one a month for a while. The Terminator was one of the first tapes I got from there, so this box art holds some major nostalgia for me.
I’d wager that most folks would consider the black leather jacket and shades as the iconic look for the T-800 in the original film. Well, we’re getting that, so be patient. In the meantime, that’s what makes this figure all the more special, because I never thought we’d get this version. Besides being the outfit he wore in the nightclub assault, this is what he was wearing during one of my favorite scenes with Dick Miller in the gun shop. In other words, I dig this look and really happy to get it in figure form.
The crazy gray jacket is a freaking work of art. The sculpted detail on the stitching and pockets and rumpled fabric is all so incredibly well done. Not to mention the chain looped through the left epaulet and all the studs on the back of the jacket. The zippers are all painted gold, even the one on the back of the collar. Underneath the jacket you get a crazy shirt with the graffiti all over it. This is crazy. I never even noticed how totally metal this outfit was until right now, and I’ve seen this movie a hell of a lot of times.
You get three portraits with the figure via three swappable heads, and here’s where things get even better. The first head features the T-800’s long hair from the beginning of the scene up to the Club battle. Is it even worth pointing out that this is a great sculpt with a great likeness? Probably not, because NECA has been killing it with the Schwarzenegger likeness for a long, long time now. It’s hard enough for some companies to get the general likeness right, but NECA has done a great job even nailing the age differences.
After Tech Noir, the T-800 literally gets his hair and eyebrows burned to a crisp, which is reflected in the second head. You also get a slightly different expression. Wow, he really looks pissed. “My eyebrows will be back!”
The third noggin reflects the shorter hair and no eyebrows, but this time with some facial damage. It’s not as extensive as what we saw in the T2 damaged head, and that’s appropriate, but he does have one eye closed and some bloody paint apps.
Articulation has been a big part of these Ultimate figures and it’s the only category where this figure comes up a bit short. Don’t get me wrong, the points are all there, but some of them have issues working with the sculpt. Let me run them down before explaining what I mean. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles. The wrists are ball jointed, as is the neck. The legs swivel at the hips and have swivel cuts at the tops of the boots. Finally, you get a ball joint just above the waist. The issue here is all in the elbows. The way the sleeves are sculpted make the range of motion there very limited. I think NECA was worried about sacrificing aesthetics in the arms and as much as I would have liked more elbow movement, I still think they made the right choice. Alas, it does make it difficult to make use of the next extra bits that I’m going to talk about…
Yes, you get a replacement right forearm recreating the scene where the T-800 had to do a little self-maintenance. You also get two pairs of forceps. He can even hold them pretty well in the extra left hand, but with those elbow limitations, he can’t really get them anywhere near the arm to look like he’s poking around in there. Still, it’s a cool piece with some impressive sculpting and paintwork that shows the inner workings of his arm with all the “meat” torn away. Hey, how about some guns?
The 12-gauge auto loader. It’s Italian!
The .45 long slide with laser sighting. It’s a good gun. Just touch the trigger, the beam comes on and you put the red dot where you want the bullet to go. You can’t miss! Phased plasma rifle in the 40-Watt range? Hey, just what you see, pal!
And the Uzi 9mm. The T-800’s right hand is sculpted to accommodate any of the guns, and his left fist can be swapped out with a second gun-toting hand so he can dual wield his hardware.
The Ultimate line continues to do NECA proud with collector grade packaging, some amazing sculpt and paint, and a hearty helping of accessories. And once again I have to call out just what a great value these figures are. At $22, this T-800 doesn’t quite feel on par with the T2 figures in terms of extras, but it sure feels like I’m getting a lot more than what I paid for. You simply cannot find this kind of craftsmanship and value anywhere else in the toy aisle these days. So long as NECA keeps putting these out there, I’ll keep picking them up!