Bioshock Infinite: Booker DeWitt by NECA

Bioshock Infinite is one of my favorite games in recent memory, so when NECA offered the action figures, I was quick to buy. Of course, they went with some enemies (Boys of Silence and Motorized Patriots) and Elizabeth first. It kind of makes sense, as the game is a first-person shooter and so secondary characters and enemies are more recognizable. There was even some question for a while whether we would ever see an action figure of the game’s protagonist, but now that question has been resolved… behold, Booker DeWitt!

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NECA’s Bioshock Infinite releases have been spread out quite a bit, with the first two releasing way back in April of last year, but the packaging and presentation has still remained consistent. Booker comes in a sealed plastic clamshell with an illustrated insert with the series title on the top and a bubble insert showing some character art and the name of the figure. The back of the insert has a blurb about the character. The package certainly excells at showing you what you’re going to get. You can scrutinize the figure from three sides and even get a great look at his accessories. On the downside it’s not collector friendly and you’ll need a blade to get Booker out. NECA has since adopted window boxes for some of their other lines and I sincerely hope that means we’re seeing an end to these sealed blisters. Ah well, at least with these you still get that amazing rush of plastic smell when you slice into it.

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The sculpt here is absolutely fantastic, particularly in the outfit. Booker sports a jacket with sculpted lapels, rolled up sleeves and tons of little details from the stitching and texturing to the double rows of buttons and the button slits down toward his waist. The flaps of his jacket can be pulled aside to reveal the detailed wrinkling and stitching on his button-down shirt and he has a sculpted neckerchief and pronounced collar. Booker also features a shoulder rig with a holstered pistol (non-removable) under his left arm and some ammo pouches under his right. He even has Anna’s initials sculpted onto his right hand!

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As already mentioned, we don’t get to see a lot of Booker in the game, but he does feature prominantly in some of the artwork and we do see him from time to time on wanted posters throughout Columbia. I think the portrait is pretty good, although the plastic used for his flesh is a little shiny making him look sweaty under the studio lights. He also has a rather bewildered expression on his mug. In hindsight, considering what goes on in this game, it’s probably appropriate. Although, a more action-orientated expression would have suited the figure better, which leads me to the articulation…

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Booker’s articulation  is acceptable on paper, but the sculpt has other ideas. The points include rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and knees. There are ball joints in the hips, wrists, ankles, and neck, and there appears to be a ball joint in the waist as well. The biggest limitation on the articulation is found in the shoulders. It seems like the sculpted shoulder rig is preventing the arms from going down all the way, although I have some doubt over whether they would even if those pieces weren’t there. Either way, it’s impossible to get Booker into a relaxed pose with his arms at his sides. It’s mildly annoying to me, but I’m happy to stick with action poses instead.

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The paintwork on the figure is exceptionally good. The pin striping on his pants is neat and clean as is the silver applied to the tiny buttons on his coat and the fine striping at the lapels. Still, I’m most impressed by the paint on the shoulder rig. Not only does the wash make it look like worn leather, but tiny dots of brass paint on the buttons is impressive. Even the five-o-clock shadow on the face is pretty convincing.

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Booker’s two accessories are his shotgun and the skyhook. The shotgun has a pistol stock and a lever action guard. It’s a good sculpt and it’s finished with black and brown paint with some nice bronze for the fixtures. His right hand is sculpted to hold it perfectly with the trigger finger fitting through the guard.

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The skyhook is also a great piece of work. Of course, this isn’t NECA’s first time sculpting this unique tool as they put out a 1:1 scale version of the contraption a little while back. I love all the detail they crammed into this little accessory. All the tiny gears are there and you can even make out the sculpted moon deco on the side. The stock is made of soft plastic and if you pop off Booker’s hand you can slide it right onto his arm. Pop the hand back on and his individual fingers fit perfectly into the knuckle guards. Considering that I had an unfortunate breakage with the handle on the Motorized Patriot’s mini-gun, I’m really pleased with the way this piece turned out.

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Booker set me back about $20, which is right in line with NECA’s figures these days. I think he turned out great and I’m very grateful that we finally got him. As I’m sure I already mentioned, Bioshock Infinite is one of my favorite games of late and it’s nice to have a selection of figures from the characters. In fact, I’m still debating going back and picking up the Ben Franklin Patriot and a second Boy of Silence just to round out my display. My guess is Booker will be the last figure we see from this line, but hey… if they happened to turn out a Handyman, I’d happily buy one.

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Bioshock Infinite: Motorized Patriot by NECA

It’s been a long time since I looked at NECA’s Bioshock figures, but then this offering is only their third release in the line and it took them a long time to get it out. I make it no secret that Bioshock Infinite was my favorite game of last year and it’s probably single handedly responsible for getting me back into gaming again… and I’ve come back to gaming hardcore. Once I played Infinite I knew I had to have some figures and NECA obliged by giving us Elizabeth and a Boy of Silence. Now they’re finally upping the ante with one of the game’s “Heavy Hitters.” It’s the Motorized Patriot and he cannot tell a lie… he’s going to murder the shit out of you motherf’ckers in the name of Freedom.

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Holy hell, that’s one gigantic blister pack. It’s possibly the largest I’ve ever seen. While lesser companies would have buckled and put this guy in a box, NECA stood their ground and vac-sealed this plastic behemoth sonvabitch into a perfect prison of plastic. Because the bubble takes up the entirety of the package, the presentation here lets the bubble insert do the talking and the back of the insert has a little blurb about this guy. The Motorized Patriots were a major pain in my ass in the game. They were relentless and they took a ton of damage before dropping. Plus, once I got used to fighting one of them, the game would start throwing a pair at me. On the other hand, it was always fun to take control of them and make them fight for me. Anyway, I’ve been waiting to get this figure in hand for what seems like an eternity, so let me go find a razor blade and slice this guy out… And back! Opening the seal on a normal sized NECA figure usually produces enough glorious plastic fumes to make me feel like I’m going to pass out. Imagine what opening something this big is like? I seriously think I slipped into an altered state of reality for a few moments. That smell of plastic is what tells you you’re getting your money’s worth. Well, that and the fact that this thing weighs a ton.

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If you’re unfamiliar with the game, the Motorized Patriot is basically a robot. Think of it like one of those animatronic figures from the Hall of Presidents, only this one carries a chain gun and wants to give you a patriotic suppository made out of white hot lead. NECA did an amazing job crafting this guy into action figure form. His Colonial Era outfit is recreated all in soft plastic with rips and tears in the knees and right elbow to reveal his robotic joints. The overcoat is layered onto the figure and it’s damn gorgeous. The sculpt features all the little buttons, clasps, wrinkles and stitching that I’ve come to expect out of NECA’s superb detail work. The huge brush-style epaulettes are glorious and he has clockwork gears and wheels exposed on his back and hips. The figure also features a lot of useful points of articulation. I’m not going to run through them all, because it’s tough to see what all is there under the layers of plastic clothing. I originally didn’t care because I thought I’d be content to always pose him firing his weapon, but the truth is there’s a lot more fun to be had with him.

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Patriot’s portrait is a grizzly visage of George Washington with a cracked porcelain style mask and a powdered wig. His noggin is nestled in the high collar of the coat, but you can still get some good movement out of the ball joint in there. Creepy!

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Of course, one of my favorite things about this figure is the set of soft goods flags that come with him. Each one is crafted to look old and tattered. They come attached to poles, which fit into sockets on the back of The Patriot. You can leave them hang free like a cape or you can tuck them into the gilded loops on his back to make them appear more like wings. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen softgoods used this effectively to enhance the appearance of an action figure as these flags. They’re simply brilliant and they just look perfect on the figure.

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The Patriot features two extras: First off, you get a second head in which the mask and hair has been blown away revealing the robotic skull underneath. It’s made to look part metal but with a nose and jaw carved out of wood. There’s one fake human eye remaining and the other has been blown out of the socket. The skull matches the exposed robot joints on the body quite well, making for a great effect. The heads swap out pretty easily, although I thought it odd that that the post and ball joint is part of the head and not the body.

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The other accessory is his big ass chaingun. This weapon is a very cool piece and includes a working crank that rotates the gun barrels. On the downside, the handles are too big for his hands and the overall gun is ridiculously fragile. Those two things don’t mix well because you have to apply a lot of force to get the handles into his hands. The crank is designed to separate from the gun to avoid breaking, which is good, but the main handle isn’t, and that’s not so good. The handle on mine broke on the very first try to get it into his hand. In retrospect, it seems impossible for it not to break as it’s attached with such a thin point of plastic. I will likely be able to glue it back, and eventually I’m going to have to put a pin in there to keep it from breaking again. I think a swap out hand holding the handle that attached to the gun would have been a better way to do this.

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The Motorized Patriot retails for around $30-35 depending on where you get him. It seems right in line with NECA’s larger deluxe figures and yet it still feels like a pretty good value. Sure, I could bitch about the handle on the gun breaking. It’s a big deal and even in hindsight I don’t think I could have avoided it, but it is something that can be fixed. I could also probably take issue with his size as I think he should scale bigger when compared to Elizabeth or the Boy of Silence, but he’s so damn gorgeous I can’t help but love him. In fact, my only real complaint about this guy is I don’t have a Booker DeWitt figure to stand next to him on the shelf. NECA showed off an early test shot of a Booker figure a little while back. I do hope he’s still coming! I also still need to pick up one more Boy of Silence.

Bioshock Infinite: Elizabeth by NECA

I’m back again with more Bioshock goodness from the fine folks at NECA, and this time, I’ll skip the long ramble about me and video games. While the Boy of Silence may have been an odd choice for the one of two figures, Elizabeth certainly is not. Short of making Booker Dewitt himself (which I hope they do!), Elizabeth is the natural choice. She is, after all, the entire reason you’re in Columbia, and she remains your companion throughout most of the game. I’ll confess to being pretty worried that BI was going to turn out to be one big escort mission, but the guys did a great job making sure that Elizabeth wasn’t a nuisance in the game. Quite the contrary, she helps you out a lot and while I rarely feel a lot of attachment for characters in games, Infinite got me to sympathize quite a bit with the leading lady.

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The packaging is almost identical to what we got for the Boys of Silence. There’s a printed insert unique to Elizabeth and the back panel has a picture of her with a blurb about who she is. Opening this one didn’t give me quite the heady rush of plastic fumes as yesterday, but it was still a nice little hit of the good stuff.

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NECA based their figure off of Elizabeth from late in the game where she cuts her hair and raids Lady Comstock’s wardrobe. I wouldn’t mind seeing a variant of her from before she changes out of her battle-ravaged garb. Then again that would require a whole new sculpt so I doubt it’ll be forthcoming, but this is NECA we’re talking about, so you never know!

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Elizabeth’s design is much simpler than The Boys of Silence, but NECA did a great job with what they had. The portrait in particular is pretty impressive. I think they got the face quite close, and I’m particularly impressed with the sculpted hair. The paintwork is also quite good, right down to her faint freckles. The eyes even have an eerie spark of life to them. Best of all the head sculpt captures all irresistable innocence and charm of the Elizabeth’s game model. She’s just adorable.

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Of course, the first thing one tends to notice about Elizabeth is that NECA used softgoods! Yes, she has a luxurious, deep blue velvety skirt, complete with some stitched fringe along the bottom. I tend to really like softgoods on my action figures, at least when it makes sense and when it’s done right, and Elizabeth’s skirt certainly meets both of those criteria. In the end, I just ask, “does it enhance the aesthetics of the figure?” Yes, it does! Besides looking snazzy, it’s a lot more forgiving than plastic when it comes to articulation.

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The rest of the outfit consists of her corset, which is very nicely sculpted, and her jacket, which is cast in a separate piece of soft plastic. The plastic corset hangs over the fabric of the skirt and the arms are sculpted as sleeves for the jacket. She is wearing her choker necklace from the game, and mine has the Bird emblem. I’m not sure if NECA varied up some of these figures to have the Cage, but you can barely see the emblem, so I doubt it would be worthwhile. Appropriately enough, she is missing half of the pinky from her right hand, although I’m surprised NECA didn’t sculpt the thimble, or just paint the end silver. The paintwork is simple but effective and the wash on her jacket looks quite nice indeed!

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Most would have been happy to use the softgoods skirt as an excuse to not sculpt the bottom of the figure, but not NECA. No sir, they not only sculpted her bloomers (I have an action figure with BLOOMERS!), but they also sculpted her little boots right down to the bows. If you look close enough you can even see the little painted scrollwork pattern on them. It’s just another example of how much love NECA puts into their work. You’re never going to see this stuff, but it’s there just the same!

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Elizabeth features a lot more articulation than I expected. First off, her head is on one of the best ball joints I’ve ever seen. You can really get some nice range of motion out of it. Her arms are ball jointed at the shoulders and elbows, and her wrists can swivel. Her legs feature a T-crotch with lateral movement at the hips. Her knees are ball jointed and her ankles swivel. It doesn’t look like it, but there’s also a waist swivel hidden under her corset and skirt! On the downside, Elizabeth is very difficult to stand in any pose other than straight, and even then she tends to topple over. In fairness, the instability is more a result of the character design than anything else. Those tiny feet were made to defy physics.

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As nice a figure as Elizabeth is, there are certainly some missed opportunities in the accessories department. Elizabeth doesn’t come with anything, and that’s sad because there were so many great choices. A quantum physics book, a Skyhook, a Vigor container, even a swappable hand where she’s pointing to open a tear. This is a figure that was really screaming for something. Oh, I know… how about a figure stand? She has pegs in her feet and she can’t stand up to save her life… seems like a missed opportunity there. Still, it’s hard to gripe when the figure itself is this good.

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In the end, it’s quite remarkable just how well NECA captured the Elizabeth’s in-game model for this figure. Everything from the portrait to the softgoods skirt is executed with a pinache that I think few companies could pull off. The figure ran me $20 at an online retailer, but I think that’s more because of demand and second-party scalping than anything else. I already have my Motorized Patriot on pre-order and I’m hoping that NECA turns out at least one more wave. We got to see what Booker DeWitt looks like in the game, so there’s really no excuse not to do the figure and complete this set.

Bioshock Infinite: Boys of Silence by NECA

Get your blankets and milky ba-ba’s kids, because before I get to today’s review… it’s story time! About 15 years ago, I was a video game junkie. I mean, I was seriously obsessed. I found myself at Gamestop or EB Games every single Tuesday picking up whatever the newest releases were. Racing, RPG, Action, Shooter, it didn’t matter… I bought and played them all. Games consumed most of my life and my money and I even spent most of my time at work paying myself to talk about them on Forums (own your own business, kids, I highly recommend it!). Remember that ridiculous Steel Battalion game and controller? I was the sad, sorry sod that bought that! Fast forward to today. I own a 360 and a PS3. I still have my original Xbox and my PS2 hooked up, along with my Dreamcast. I still own hundreds of games. But it’s rare that I pick up a controller on any day other than my day off, and sometimes it’s because I feel obligated to. I don’t know what happened. Maybe my life became so saturated by gaming that I lost interest. Maybe the premature death of the Dreamcast (still my favorite console ever) broke my little gamer heart. That’s why sometimes I light some candles, bust out the Dreamcast, pour a lot of booze and sob like a sad, drunk baby while playing Crazy Taxi and Cannon Spike.

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But it’s always nice to know that when a game like Bioshock Infinite comes along, I can fall in love with gaming again. I played the game through in two marathon sessions, and immediately jumped back in to play it again. I took a day to absorb it all and then jumped back in for a third time to really go Achievement hunting. It’s been a long time since any game (or at least any game that didn’t have Elder Scrolls on the cover) captivated me as much as this one. And hey, it never hurts when there’s a toy tie-in, because we’re not here to look at video games, we’re here to look at toys. As is often the case, NECA stepped in to deliver that video game-action figure tie in. I’m going to start out today with a look at a Boy of Silence and then tomorrow we’ll check out Elizabeth.

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NECA does a great compromise between retail-friendly and collector-friendly packaging. The figure comes sealed in a clamshell with a printed insert. To get this guy out, you’re going to have to do some cutting, but if you want to have the best of both worlds, you can razor along the back of the package and get the figure out and return it without anyone being the wiser. I used to do this, but with space concerns being what they are, I’ve come to terms with the fact that most packages need to be pitched. I’m not terribly upset by it, as the package is nice looking and functional, but nothing I feel bad about destroying. I also can’t deny how much I love the choking rush of plastic fumes you get from slicing into a NECA package. Glorious!

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The back of the insert has a shot of the character and a little blurb about them, including one of the Columbian nursery rhymes. I heard the one about Songbird in the game, but I never heard this one in my travels through Columbia. As much as I adore Bioshock Infinite, I’ll confess that The Boys of Silence were kind of disappointing in the actual game. Spoilers! The production team seemed to be building them up a lot prior to BI’s release and seeing as how they were one of the only two initial figures released, I expected them to have a huge presence in the game. In reality, you don’t see them until you’re in the home stretch, and you only encounter a half dozen of them or so. I will grant you, one of them creates the game’s best (and only) “Oh crap, I just pooped the sofa” moment, which I’m not ashamed to say got me again on my second play through.

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Ok, so he’s out of the package and I gotta say NECA worked their usual magic when sculpting this creepy bastard. He’s got the remnants of what looks like a colonial school outfit, maybe? Whatever the case, the detail is crazy. The wrinkling of his coat and pants looks amazing, and the coat is sculpted from separate, soft plastic to give the figure’s sculpt some nice depth. Even the little things like the laces in his shoes look fantastic. One of his socks is pulled down a bit, but this bastard doesn’t give a crap becaue he’s got a fricking Tuba locked around his head. Yes, in case you didn’t notice, his head is enclosed in the ghastly trumpet-looking contraption and features all the little rivets and a sculpted cowl that runs around the neck. The coolest touch here is the old-timey padlock, which is sculpted separately and jingles around on the hook.

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The paintwork compliments the sculpt very nicely. All the little buttons are painted, as are the eyelets for his shoelaces. There’s a fair amount of weathering and muddy paint applied to his outfit and his hands are filthy. What’s particularly cool is the finish on the helmet, which replicates antique brass quite nicely, right down to the tarnish.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect with articulation. In the end, the Boy of Silence has a lot more than I imagined he would. His neck is on a ball joint, which does not allow for a lot of movement, but he can turn a little bit to the left and right and a little up and down. His arms have ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, although the wrists might as well just be swivels because the sculpted sleeves work against them. His legs feature a T-crotch with lateral hinges as well. It’s similar to the funky joints NECA used for Duke Nukem, but hey it works. Lastly, he has ball joints in the knees and ankles, and a swivel at the waist. Oh yeah, his mouth can open a little bit too, and yes it reminds me of Beaker from The Muppets.

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I paid $15 for this figure online and that seems about right, as NECA continues to deliver a lot of workmanship for a decent value (that’ll be a continuing theme here for the next couple of weeks, because it just so happens that I have a lot of NECA figures coming in to look at). I don’t know that The Boy of Silence is a “must own” figure, but NECA certainly fashioned him with as much love as if he were the main character of the game, and I really respect that. No, he wasn’t my first pick for a figure from Bioshock Infinite, but he does represent a nice example of the game’s outlandish and creepy design in figure form.

Tomorrow, we’ll check out Elizabeth!