Heroes of the Storm: Sylvanas (Warcraft) by NECA

Last week, I started looking at the last wave of NECA’s wonderful Heroes of the Storm line with the Orc Warchief Thrall. Today, I’m pressing on by opening up Sylvanas. It’s the last Warcraft-based figure in the line, and that makes me a very sad little Murloc.

Ah, but check it out! It’s the sexy and deadly Ranger-General of Silvermoon, Sylvanas Windrunner, now known as the Banshee Queen of the Forsaken. Give me a moment to unsheathe my Sin’dorei Warblade, slice open her sealed prison and release her. ACK! I HAVE UNLEASHED THE NOXIOUS PLASTIC GASSES!!!

Once again, NECA really knows their way around the Warcraft aesthetic and have done a beautiful job bringing this figure to life. She’s their first female from the Warcraft universe and still manages to retain her shapely form while including the jagged and somewhat bulky armor that is so popular in the realm. Sylvanas features beautifully sculpted armored boots, gauntlets, and shoulders, with some added plates on her thighs and to cover her blood elf bewbs. Her midriff and ample cleavage are, of course, exposed, because who would ever take advantage of that in battle?

As with Thrall, the illusion of layered gear on this figure is very well done. The armor pieces are all part of the sculpt, but thanks to the carefully detailed underlying clothes and the sculpted straps and buckles, I could almost be convinced that she’s actually wearing the armor. The attention to detail in the shoulders is particularly exquisite. All the armor pieces have that wonderful hammered metal finish, the reinforced borders harbor tiny nicks and dents from battle, and the shoulders are adorned with spikes, sculpted feathers and tiny skulls.

From the back, Sylvanas sports a purple fabric cape, which shows some considerable wear. She also has a quiver, which also has its share of nicks and scrapes from use. The quiver is designed to hold the loose arrows she comes with, but I’ve only been able to get two in there at a time. I’m not sure what’s going on down inside that thing, but the arrows are fragile and I don’t want to force them.

The paintwork on this figure is a real treat and is all about the contrasting of the drab brown and black of the trousers, boots, and straps with the beautiful metallic purple of the armor plates and the soft matte blue of Sylvanas’ skin.

NECA did a bang up job on the portrait here. Sylvanas is wearing a sculpted hood with slits for her long and elegant ears to protrude through. Her wispy eyebrow extends out over her right eye, but her left eyebrow is concealed. Bits of her hair peek out from the hood to frame her face. Her eyes are beautifully painted, but they can be tough to see under normal conditions, because the hood casts a shadow over the top part of her beautiful face.

Sylvanas sports many conventional points of articulation, some of which are at odds with her sculpting and character design. Y’all know how much NECA loves their rotating hinges, and this figure has them in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. She also has a ball joint under her chest and in her neck. The shoulder armor pieces are flexible, so you can manipulate them to allow her shoulders to move a bit more than you might expect, but maybe not as much as you might like. She also has swivels in her biceps, and mine look like they’ve been pulled a bit, as there’s a noticeable gap. It’s tough to see, since they’re buried under the shoulder armor, but I worry a bit that they may get floppy over time.

As for accessories, Sylvanas comes with her bow, Deathwhisper, which is a damn beautiful sculpt. It includes a lovely organic shape, as well as a shield attached to the center. The underlying bow is brown with bulked out pieces painted in silver and metallic purple to match Sylvanas’ armor. It also includes a real string. It’s a little tough to get her to hold it. I actually had to razor apart her fingers, so that I could wrap her hand around the grip, but once it’s in hand it stays put. Also included are her three loose arrows, which I mentioned earlier.

The articulation allows for her to knock an arrow and get ready to fire, but she can’t really pull back on the string very far. I actually think this may not be so much a restriction of the articulation, but more because the bow is strung tight, and there isn’t much elasticity to allow it to be pulled back. Now, with that having been said, I was still able to get some nice poses of her leading up to taking a shot.

Sylvanas also comes with an effect part for one of her skills, Wailing Arrow. This is a great looking piece, but I was totally stumped as to how it’s intended to be used. I was ultimately able to wedge it in between the shield and her grip to make it look like it’s being fired, but I tend to think it was just included as a bonus and not to be used with the bow in any specific way. I’d say this was a pretty big oversight, but at least I was able to get it to work.

And so, it is with a heavy heart that I end this review, knowing that there will be no more Warcraft figures from NECA. Boo! It’s especially painful because Sylvanas really is a great little figure and I wanted to see so much more out of this line. Which begs the question, where did the license go? Well, I know Blizzard struck a deal with Max Factory to produce Overwatch Figmas, but I don’t know why that would necessarily preclude NECA from continuing with this line. But, them’s the breaks and I really have to learn to be thankful for what I have, rather than what else could have been. Besides, I still have one more figure (from the Starcraft franchise) in this line to check out, and I’ll swing back to him in a couple of weeks.

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Heroes of the Storm: Thrall (Warcraft) by NECA

After being locked into Marvel Legends reviews for over a week, it’s nice to stretch my legs and write about something different. I have piles of stuff to choose from, but ultimately I decided to go with NECA’s Heroes of the Storm line, because the final wave is out and I want to both celebrate this line and sob mournfully because it’s going away. This last assortment includes two figures from Warcraft and one from Starcraft.  And, today I decided to open up Thrall, Warchief of The Horde!

Because who rolls Alliance, amiriiiight? Well, I did once just to see how the other half lives, but most my time in WoW, I was Horde through and through. As usual, the figure comes in a sealed clamshell, which means it is not collector friendly, but it will give you a delightful plastic fume high when you open it. Just a reminder, I’ve never played Heroes of the Storm, but I have played the games that it draws its characters from. In this case the hundreds of hours I spent playing World of Warcraft served as a buttress to my life when I needed it the most. I also really love the aesthetic, characters, and lore. Oh, and it ran pretty well on the shitty laptop that I had at the time. Previously, Warcraft characters have included Stitches, Arthas, and Illidan Stormrage. It’s about time Orgrimmar was represented. What about Stormwind? Pahleeeez!

Mmmhmmm… NECA gives good Orc! Despite already putting out three Warcraft figures in this line, this is NECA’s first crack at one of the Orcs. I wasn’t worried, because they have proven that they have the Warcraft aesthetic down pat and Thrall here is yet another example of that. Just look at the love and detail poured into this sculpt. The figure feels so layered, as if all that armor could be removed, even though it’s mostly part of the buck. Each of the heavy armor plates are thoroughly convincing, with hammered finishes, sculpted rivets, and a gorgeously worn bronze paint making up the reinforced weathered edges. This is some incredible work!

Thrall features raised Horde emblems sculpted into his large disc belt buckle as well as the plates on his gauntlets. The furry fringe on his boots and gauntlets have that distinctive angular flavor to them that comes out in the games’ Toons. The cloth sash has subtle sculpted wrinkles, which are beautifully brought out with a paint wash, and I love the sculpted feathers, which give the outfit a tribal motif. Behind those heavy plates on his legs, you can make out a cross-thatched pattern to the underlying suit, as well as the sculpted straps and painted buckles that are meant to be holding them on.

And those shoulders! Warcraft is infamous for its ridiculously proportioned shoulders and Thrall here is displaying the latest in Horde shoulder fashion. You get more of that wonderful hammered texture in the panels, laid into the bulky bronze frames with chunky spikes protruding outward. As for the portrait…  Those narrow eyes, the protruding tusks, those sharp ears, no doubt a handsome devil like Thrall has all the She-Orcs of Grommash Hold under his spell. I really dig his incredibly long braided hair as well. These are cast in fairly flexible plastic, and spill down the front along either side of his neck. I also love the color paint they used for his orc flesh. It’s a fairly bright green that contrasts beautifully with the armor.

With plenty of rotating hinges throughout the figure, Thrall features a respectable amount of articulation and all of those points do the best they can against a design that is not by nature intended to be limber. The shoulders threatened to be the biggest impediment, but they are designed to be flexible and lift up to allow for a fairly good range of arm movement. The elbows are a lot more restrictive. Still, all in all I’m quite pleased with the posability in this figure.

Thrall includes one accessory, and that’s Doomhammer. The hammer actually comes in two pieces, allowing you to pass the shaft of the handle up through the bottom of his closed right grip and then peg in the head of the hammer. It works well and gives him an infallible grasp on the weapon. Although, he can actually hold it in his left hand as well, just not as securely. It’s a heavy and bulky chunk of plastic, with all the same great level of paint and detail that is exhibited in the figure. And damn does it look great in his hand!

At this point it’s safe to say that, Blizzard’s art design and NECA go together like PB&J, which makes it all the sadder that this line is dying and NECA isn’t going to be doing Overwatch figures. Yeah, I was really hoping for that to happen. But rather than end this review under a cloud of doom and gloom, let’s just revel in what we’ve got. Thrall is a fantastic figure, which exhibits all the passion and craftsmanship that NECA pours into the licenses they work on. The coloring and complexity of sculpt bring this figure to life and make him look like he just stepped off the screen. He’ll likely be spending a while sitting on my desk, so that I can keep glancing over and admiring him, before joining his friends on the shelf. Thrall is available now at NECA retailers for around twenty bucks.

Heroes of the Storm: Stitches, The Terror of Darkshire by NECA

It took a while, but I’m finally all caught up on NECA’s Heroes of the Storm line today as I look at Stitches! While this is intended to be the specific character from HotS, I’ve gone on record in saying that I don’t play that game and that I buy these figures for the games from which they’re sourced. In the case of Stitches, I know this guy best as the Undercity Guardians from the dark days of my World of Warcraft addiction. While WoW has spawned it’s share of figures and statues, I think this may be the first time we’ve seen an Abomination’s delightfully repulsive visage in plastic form, so I am super excited to check this guy out!

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Stitches comes in a sizable (and quite hefty) window box with some great artwork and shots of the figure, as well as a little blurb about him on the back panel. While Stitches is still scaled to go with this 6-inch line, and indeed isn’t all that much taller than his fellow figures, he’s still an absolute behemoth. As any good Abomination will tell you, it’s not the height, but the girth that matters! While the box is mostly collector friendly, getting Stitches off his tray will require a bit of patience and some deft fingers to work all those twisty-ties. Also, you’ll need to razor the bubbles, which hold his weapons to the sides of the cardboard insert.

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Out of the box, and it’s easy to see why they call him Stitches. Virtually indistinguishable from the run-of-the-mill Abominations that stalk The Undercity, this guy is a giant patchwork lump of dead flesh, stapled together and animated into a slobbering brute, literally spilling his guts out of the gaping maw in his belly. The sculpt here is absolutely stunning, with acres of mottled blue flesh, exposed muscles and ligaments, warts, and a delightful pair of saggy man-tits, which based on their color, were actually put there by design! And as good as the sculpt is, the paint easily matches, or possibly surpasses it. The sickly grayish-flesh tone of the skin on his right leg, left hand, and breasticles, is all truly disgusting and the subtle variations in his blue skin are phenomenal. It’s all so beautifully contrasted with the bright crimson of exposed meat and neatly painted silver staples. I was suitably impressed when I got him in hand, as even the production pictures of this guy really didn’t do the quality of paint justice.

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I mean, just look at that! Glorious! The open abdominal cavity shows exposed bones, some organs, and his intestines dangling down between his legs.

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From behind, we’re treated to a huge helping of saggy blue Abomination ass covered in warts, more miles of saggy blue skin, and the pizza-colored exposed section of his spine that curves up the top of his back. We can also get a good look at the third arm that grows out from behind his left shoulder. All of these lovely bits feature a respectable amount of articulation. All three arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, with his two main hands sporting the same in the wrists. The legs are all about rotating hinges too, here you get them in the hips, knees, and ankles. He’s also got what appears to be a ball joint under his chest, but it really only swivels. There are a few more points to talk about, but to do that, let’s move on to the portrait.

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Well, hello there! Wanna make out? This goofy bastard features an intense stare and a dental situation that looks like a 20-mount pileup on the road to Tirisfal Glades. Again, the sculpt and paintwork here is just phenomenal. I especially love all the necrotic looking tissue around his chin. But wait, there’s more…

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He not only has an articulated jaw, but an articulated tongue as well. I can’t think of too many action figures that can boast that! So good! The neck is also on a swivel, but since the head juts forward out of his torso, it doesn’t really turn side to side, but he can make those motions that a puppy does when it hears a strange sound. Adorable! Let’s look at his killing implements…

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Nothing makes a statement quite like a giant clever. I mean a clever that’s about as big as most of the other figures in this line. Seriously, this thing probably weighs more than Nova and it is every bit a work of art. The realistic looking wood-grain handle comes apart, so you can stick it in the top of his hand and plug the bottom of the handle into the bottom, pegging them together inside his grip. The blade is a huge slab of plastic with a convincing rusty patina on the surface, scratches from seeing a lot of use, and a bloody edge… from seeing a lot of use. Only his enlarged right hand is big enough to wield this thing.

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But we don’t want his freaky back hand to get lonely, so he also comes with a sickle. Same deal with the handle. It splits apart and pegs together in the grip. This is another accessory that features some quality paint.

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And since Stitch has one more hand, he gets one more weapon. This time it’s a hook on a chain with a counterweight on the other end. You get a similar rusty-silver finish as we see on the other weapons. NECA really captured the WoW aesthetic with all of these pieces, but for some reason the hook and chain totally nails it.

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Stitches is an absolutely gorgeous hunk of plastic and yet another fine example of the sort of love and craftsmanship NECA pours into their figures. He retails at around $45-50, but I was able to snag mine for just under $30. He completes the initial assortments of NECA’s Heroes of the Storm and despite some QC issues in the beginning with Nova, I’m truly happy to have jumped on board this colorful line. I’m also pleased to know that the line will be continuing and we’ll be seeing some of the upcoming figures later this month at SDCC!

Heroes of the Storm: Arthas (Warcraft) by NECA

I’m continuing to dig through the pile of figures waiting to be opened on the floor of my closet and I’m proud to say that I can finally see carpet and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! This time I’m returning to NECA’s Heroes of the Storm line and after a brief interlude with Diablo’s Tyrael back in April, it’s back to Warcraft with Arthas!

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This is the fourth time showcasing this packaging, so I don’t have much new to say about it. We’re back to the sealed clamshell, which is most decidedly not collector friendly and therefore requires a trusty, and preferably not cursed, blade to open it. It also rewards you by releasing the sweet, noxious gasses of plastic goodness. Ahhh, nobody gives plastic fumes like NECA does. So good!

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Arthas, aka The Lich King, needs no introduction to any followers of Warcraft lore. He’s as iconic a character as they come and NECA did a beautiful job here reproducing him in action figure form. The proportions, with chunky hands and feet, convey that delightfully distinctive WoW style that is instantly recognizable and this figure is absolutely packed with rich sculpted goodness. From the hammered finish on his boots, to the amazing skull-adorned armor plates on his legs, arms, waist, and shoulders, every little detail of The Lich King’s gear is lovingly recreated here. All the armor plates are sculpted over a cross-thatch chain mail texture that give the suit a satisfying feeling of depth. Oh, and is that soft goods I see?

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Indeed it is! You get a purple cloth sash and cape, which are certainly not firsts for NECA, but definitely this line. I dig it!

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Arthas’ portrait is mostly obscured by his elaborate helmet, complete with the spire-like spikes that rise off the top in a crownly fashion. Strands of his blue hair cascade down the sides and if you get in there close enough you can make out his eyes and mouth. It looks like there’s a fully realized head sculpt under that helmet, and that kind of effort impresses the hell out of me.

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The paint on this figure is phenomenal. You get a muted mix of grays and silvers with copper painted rivets and borders. The mix of drab grey and metallic silver does a fine job of picking out all the careful texturing and sculpted scrollwork on some of those armor plates, as well as weathering. I especially love the effect in the eyes of most of the skulls, which use various shades of blue to give off an illumination effect. It’s brilliant. The paint is rounded out with some buffed brown for the leather gauntlets and straps and some tan for the tufted fringe on the gauntlets and boots.

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For a guy in a clunky suit of armor, Arthas sports some damn fine articulation. NECA kitted him out with rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles. He’s got swivels in the wrists, a swivel in the waist, a ball joint under the chest and a ball joint in the neck. Both the knee and shoulder armor are soft plastic so as not to inhibit those joints. I had to do a little gentle coaxing on one of the elbow hinges, but once I got him warmed up the joints all feel great and he’s a pretty limber fellow.

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The Lich King comes with one accessory, and as any Warcraft fan could have guessed, it is indeed the cursed sword Frostbourne. It’s lovingly recreated with the iconic ram skull at the center of the guard and the blade features a tarnished paint with a copper center. The hilt is designed to come apart so as to stick the hilt into the enclosed fingers on his right hand from the bottom and the top part of the hilt and blade into the top, pegging them together in his grip.

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NECA is absolutely killing it with the HotS line and I can’t say enough good things about these guys. Of course, that’s coming from someone who doesn’t even play Heroes of the Storm, but rather I collect this because it’s populated by familiar characters from Blizzard games that I have played. But even if I’d never spent a single day venturing in Azeroth, I think I’d still be buying these. The crazy money I spent on The Four Horseman’s Mythic Legions figures (which should be shipping any time now) prove that I’m a sucker for 6-inch scale fantasy and there’s no doubt that Arthas fits that bill nicely. Now I just have to pick up the Deluxe Stitches figure and I’ll be all caught up!

Heroes of the Storm: Tyrael (Diablo) by NECA

I’m continuing to work my way through a rather large receivings pile that dates back at least a month and it includes loads of great stuff by NECA. So, with that in mind let’s check back in with NECA’s Heroes of the Storm line. This time e’re dipping into the Diablo franchise with Tyrael, one of the five Archangels of the Angiris Council and the personification of Justice itself! Damn, those are some impressive credentials!

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As we already saw with Terra Nova and Illidan, the figures come in sealed clamshells with the logo on top and an insert customized to the character. These are not collector friendly, but they do look nice and offer a great look at the figure inside. I’ve gone on record before saying that I don’t actually play the Heroes of the Storm game, but rather I’m in this line more for the Blizzard franchises that originally spawned these characters. Today’s figure fits nicely as I recently grabbed Diablo III off my pile of unplayed games and started taking it for a whirl.

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And here he is out of the package and looking rather the imposing chap! This version of Tyrael is spawned from Diablo II before he was condemned by The Council and stripped of his angelic status. His full plate armor is absolutely stunning with a silver and dull copper paint scheme and some crisp scrollwork designs scattered throughout. Between many of the plates, the cross-thatched chain mail can be seen, and he wears a cream colored sash that starts at his hood and flows down between his legs. This is a pretty complex design even for a 7-inch scale figure but NECA nails it perfectly.

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His armored angelic wings are particularly impressive as the feather motif forged in steel takes on a sharp-edged plumage, rising above his already impressive shoulders. Further spiked feathery motifs are added to the points on his knees and ankles. Damn, this guy looks great!

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As far as articulation goes, Tyrael has a lot of serviceable points, but the sculpt does work against them in a few areas. He has rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles, as well as his two wings. His head is ball jointed. The large shoulder plates and the hip plates are made of soft, rubbery plastic to allow for movement. The biggest restrictions are in the elbows. They will swivel, but the sculpted plates don’t offer a lot of room for them to bend. With, that having been said I’d say articulation is overall on par with what you would expect from a heavy suit of armor.

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The portrait is… empty! Yes, Tyrael just sports an eerie empty hood, which works rather well on the figure. I’ve always had a fascination with empty-hooded fantasy characters. My notebooks in Middle School were probably littered with sketches of this sort of thing, along with flaming swords and other metal AD&D-fueled references.

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Tyrael comes with one accessory, his rather large sword, El’Druin. It’s a magnificent piece of sculpting and paintwork and cast in a stiff plastic, so no worries about warping. The spiked appendages coming off the hilt nicely mirror the steel wings on his armor. The pommel pulls off of the hilt, so you can slide it into his closed grip and then pop it back on and he’s good to go.

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While some restrictive articulation means Tyrael isn’t as fun to play around with as Illidan was, he’s still an amazing looking figure which continues to makes me very happy that I’ve decided to collect this line. Oddly enough, he’s also made me all the more anxious to get my hands on T4H’s Mythic Legion figures, because I think this guy will fit right in with them in terms of scale and aesthetics.

Heroes of the Storm: Illidan Stormrage (Warcraft) by NECA

Last week, I started looking at NECA’s new Heroes of the Storm line with Nova Terra, a great looking figure that unfortunately suffered from fragile hip syndrome. Today, I’m opening up my second figure in the series and hoping he’s made of tougher stuff. Let’s check out Illidan Stormrage, aka. The Betrayer!

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Here he is in package, which gives you a great look at the figure you’re getting. Heroes of the Storm eschews collector friendliness and goes for a sealed clam shell. I’m not going to complain because it gives me a perfectly good excuse to not keep the packaging. Also… plastic fumes. Gotta love the plastic fumes when you cut into one of these babies. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been hoping to get proper Warcraft action figures. So much so, that I nearly went for some of those DC Direct statues back when they were out. Needless to say, I’m damn excited to get this guy out…

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And he does not disappoint! Illidan dons his blindfold to cover the vacancy left behind by having his eyes seared out. Or, if you prefer, it’s because he’s a Demon Hunter and they cover their eyes because the eyes cannot be trusted when hunting disguised demons and instead they hunt auras. Ooooor, if you prefer, it’s so they aren’t tempted by the evil they hunt. Maybe it can be all of those things. Or none of them. Warcraft lore is deep and complex. And to think I spent most of my 10,000 hours of playtime just trying to not get ganked. Where was I? Oh yeah… he wears a blindfold and it makes him look like a badass. And just to please the lady Blood Elves, he doesn’t wear much of anything else. Just a pair of brown fur-lined pants and a loin piece that screams out the familiar aesthetic of the World of Warcraft universe.

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NECA invested just enough detail on this guy to keep the ‘toony look of the game while still delivering on their rep for quality sculpts. The fringe on the pants looks great, as does the stitching up the sides. I really dig the shade of purple plastic used for his skin and the sculpted muscles are a little on the chunky side to further mimic that great WoW style. The green tats on his upper body are sharp and crisp and look great and they are not only painted on, but also part of the figure’s sculpt.

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The portrait here is damn solid. I’ve already mentioned his blindfold. He sports a crazy mane of sculpted hair, a massive pony tail that has to be pegged into the back of his head, and a glorious scowl on his pus. If I had to nitpick something, I’d say the teeth could have been a bit better realized, but I’d have to be really looking for something to complain about.

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I might have started this Feature off with articulation, since it’s the first thing I checked when I got the figure out. Thankfully I found no stuck joints and no breakages. I can tell the hips are the same design as on Nova because when I move one leg, the other moves a little with it. It’s that same pin design and seeing as it’s perfectly fine on this figure, that gives me hope for trying my luck on another Nova. Anyway, Illidan’s arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and hinges in the elbows. The hips and ankles are rotating hinges and the knees are double hinged. There’s a ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. All in all, he’s a fun figure to mess around with.

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In addition to his plug-in ponytail, Illidan comes with the Twin Blades of Azzinoth. AND OH, MY HELL YES!!! These are beautiful, big, and chunky weapons that come sealed in individual baggies to protect the paint. And what fabulous paint it is! The blades feature a sumptuous metallic green with black lines etched into the blades. The hilts are gold and red and have sculpted wrapped handles inside the guards. Once again, NECA has just done a beautiful job of translating that familiar WoW aesthetic to plastic form. These blades look magnifcent in Illidan’s hands.

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Every now and then a figure comes along that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a stand out piece, but it winds up just hitting that sweet spot. Illidan here is exactly that kind of figure for me. If Nova didn’t already capture my heart for Heroes of the Storm, well Illidan certainly would have done the job. Everything about this guy from the sculpt to the quality and colors of the paint, right down to the fun articulation makes him a treat. And, of course the fact that he didn’t come with any joint issues is a huge win too. Illidan The Betrayer indeed… Betrayer of my wallet! I’ve already got orders in for the next three figures available in this line, including the beefy Deluxe figure Stitches, which constitute a couple more Warcraft figures and my first from Diablo. And thankfully, NECA teased the roster for more Heroes of the Storm figures releasing later this year and you can bet that I’m on board.

Heroes of the Storm: Nova Terra (Starcraft) by NECA

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.