Gremlins: Ultimate Gizmo by NECA

It’s October, and that means I’m going to try to get to a lot more horror and creature-related reviews leading up to Halloween. And so, I was going to start digging into some of my Ultimate Gremlins this week, but then I realized I had yet to review Ultimate Gizmo, a figure that NECA gave us quite a while back. Fair is fair, so I’m going to skip all the way down to one of the lower levels of my Pile of Shameâ„¢ and open up Gizmo. Gremlins is a flick that I am long overdue to re-watch. As a kid, I was pretty obsessed with it when it came out, and I can remember LJN’s Gizmo was one of my favorite toys of that year. At least it was until I got their Stripe figure, but that’s a story for another time.

NECA has the Ultimate Series packaging down to routine. The figure comes in a collector friendly box with a front flap secured by Velcro. Open it up and you get a window showing the figure inside. The front has some promotional art for the film and you get plenty of shots of the figure itself around the rest of the box. Best of all, these all line up beautifully on the bookshelf, which is why they are some of the very few action figure boxes that I actually keep. Not to mention it gives me a place to store all the accessories, and Gizmo here comes with an awful lot of extras.

And that’s to be expected, because Gizmo is quite small. No, he’s not actually in scale with the normal 7-inch scale of the Ultimates Series, because if he was he would be absolutely tiny. I’m not sure exactly what scale you’d call him, but I’d venture to guess maybe close to Quarter Scale. Either way, I will include a shot with one of NECA’s regular figures at the end for comparison. In hindsight, it seems like a good size for him, especially now that we’ve got some Gremlins. As always, the sculpting here is excellent. NECA is famous for doing their research and really digging into the details, and that’s quite apparent here. All the little tufts of fur are sculpted in and looks about as good as anyone can get plastic fur to look. The exposed skin on the ears, fingers, toes, and around the mouth is also quite detailed with wrinkles, creases, and veins. All this is backed up with some fantastic coloring. Obviously the articulation is limited for such a little guy. The head is ball jointed, you get rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows. There’s some rotation in the wrists and hips, and you even get some ear articulation. So far, I’ve got no complaints from the front. If you turn him around, the only thing here to interrupt the sculpt is the ball in the back of his head, and we’re going to talk about that right now…

The track ball in the back of the head is designed to move Gizmo’s peepers. Other action figure developers have messed around with the idea of movable eyes, but most of those that I’ve seen have been dealing with larger and more expensive figures. In theory it’s a great idea, especially when you’re trying to pad the value on a figure this small by giving it extra features. In practice, it just doesn’t work so well. For starters, the eyes on my figure rarely line up right, making him look more like Daffy than Gizmo. I think it’s because the eyes are too loose and there’s a lot of play in the movement. It is possible to get them aligned properly from time to time, particularly if he’s looking extreme right or left. The second issue here is that the figure employs different face plates for different expressions, and the eyes are rather deep set because of this and it makes them look extra creepy. The three expressions include smiling Gizmo, sad Gizmo, and happy with mouth open Gizmo.

It’s one of those situations where I want to applaud NECA for trying something cool and new here, but after seeing the results, I’d rather they just put regular eyes on each of the face plates. Is it enough to ruin the figure for me? Nah, truth be told I can usually get a decent look out of him, but as you can no doubt tell from some of the photos, sometimes the eyes are too deep set to even really see all that clearly. OK, enough about Gizmo’s peepers… let’s check out some accessories.

The box includes enough goodies to recreate a couple of scenes from the movie. The first is a Santa Claus hat, which is sculpted in plastic and designed to fit fairly well on Gizmo’s head. There’s a notch for one of the ears to rest in and secure it, so long as you don’t move him around too much once it’s on. I’m a little surprised that they didn’t go cloth on this one, but the plastic looks good.

Following the Christmas theme, he also comes with a trumpet and a candy cane. These are all great display pieces, but Gizmo only has the one pair of hands, and they aren’t really designed to work with the accessories. The candy cane will hook around his wrists, and after a bit of fiddling about, I was able to get him to hold the trumpet.

The second assortment of accessories centers around Gizmo’s Rambo moment, and I really had mixed results with this. The headband is actually attached to a fourth face plate and it king of just floats on one side. I may try to glue it down on that end, but right out of the box, it just doesn’t look right. He also has a rope belt, his paperclip bow, and his arrow fashioned out of a pencil and bottle of liquid paper. These are all fine looking accessories, but once again, he just isn’t designed to use them very well.

Despite all the griping about the eyes, I actually dig this little figure quite a bit. Yeah, I would have liked him a lot more with just regular painted eyes in each of the different face plates, but hey… kudos to NECA for trying something new. To be fair, I was originally going to give this figure a pass, but went back and tracked him down after the Ultimate Gremlins started hitting. Luckily the local Target has been a prime source for NECA figures and I was able to find him right on the shelf, along with the Gremlins. Maybe next week, I’ll feed this guy after midnight and we can check out some of them Gremlins!

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