Just to show how behind I am on unfinished business, it’s been over TWO MONTHS since I checked out Warduke, from NECA’s first wave of Ultimate Dungeons & Dragons figures. Poor Grimsword has been waiting all this time to get the spotlight and he’s probably starting to take the snub personally. And seeing as how this is a guy I probably don’t want to piss off, let’s give him his due today…
Like Warduke, Grimsword comes in what appears to be a fully enclosed box, but it’s actually got a front flap that opens to reveal a window to show off the goods. It’s the same thing NECA has been using for their Ultimate figures since the beginning. The artwork on the front is nothing terribly gripping, but it gets the job done. You get a diagonal band at the top left corner pointing out that he is yet another EVIL action figure, so thankfully we’re going to get at least one hero in the next wave.
And here is Grimsword freed from his cardboard tomb and ready to prowl the dungeon looking for Do-Gooders to slay! Grimsword is a brute of figure, being overall bigger and bulkier than even the mighty Warduke. He also looks like some kind of evil golem clad in armor cursed with a snake fetish, and ready to do his evil master’s bidding. But, according to his bio, he’s just another evil warrior looking for trouble. What I love the most about this figure is how NECA managed to take what was a pretty silly looking design and make it both imposing and scary without actually changing any of the design elements of the original LJN figure. And there is indeed so much great stuff here, I don’t know where to begin.
Perhaps the coolest thing here is the weathered finish on the black plate armor. It has a rich and almost chalky look to it that practically radiates evil. Worked into all that black is some silver wear at the edges and overall scuffing that reveals the bare steel underneath it all. The gauntlets have sculpted brown straps with silver painted fixtures, along with rivets and detailed segments in each of the fingers. Similar straps are sculpted onto the greaves. The elbow and knee guards are painted red with silver bolts and his left knee has a green snake’s head. Another green snake motif coils itself around Grimsword’s abdomen, with it’s head reaching up and flicking a red tongue, which becomes a stripe for the flared right shoulder guard. The lower left shoulder is battered with markings from previous battles. The sculpted texture on the snake’s body is simply superb and really transforms what was kind of goofy on the LJN figure into something pretty badass. The armor is finished off with textured silver chainmail exposed on his upper thighs, his shoulders, and more peeking out around his elbow guards.
The head has also been amped up for a more realistic and sinister visage. Grimsword’s head is encased entirely in the same deep dark armor to match his body. There are sculpted bolts and some nasty gashes. The top of the helmet is crested with a mohawk-like comb of tan bristles and red barbed spikes protrude from the sides of the helmet. These can be angled in different ways, but I prefer them pointing forward and slightly down. From inside the deep set eyeholes of the helmet’s mask, you can make out two glowing red eyes.
Grimsword packs the same articulation as Warduke, so I won’t run through it all again here. I will say that as a chonky boi, he’s fun to play with, but the range of motion in his elbows is somewhat hindered by all that armor. He comes with a bevy of hand options, including fists, pointing finger hands, relaxed hands, and several designed to work with his accessories.
As for weapons, Grimsword comes with a scimitar, which can be worn on the golden hook on his left hip, which is a direct callback to the vintage figure. There’s no scabbard for the sword, so it just slides in there, but it stays put pretty well. The grip is simple, with a gold pommel and red crossguards. The silver blade has a sweeping curve, swells a bit toward the point and looks like it would be pretty fierce for slashing at foes. NECA really took some liberties with the simple LJN accessory, and I like it a lot, even if it feels a little too elegant and stylish for this brute.
His other weapon option is definitely a lot better suited to him. His spiked flail continues the running snake theme with the shaft being a hooded cobra and the handle a golden rattle. Yes, he’s mixing his snake metaphors, but I’m not going to be the one to tell him. Like the snake coiling itself around Grimsword’s armor, this flail is a beautifully sculpted piece with the nasty spiked ball hanging from an actual chain. I love it!
And finally, Grimsword comes with his shield, and boy is this a real showpiece of an accessory! It’s a giant snake head in the center of more of that awesome blackened steel. I’d like to think that this is an actual giant snake head taken as a trophy in battle, but that could probably get pretty messy every time he deflects a blow with it. Nonetheless, the sculpting and paint on it are both gorgeous, and once again NECA managed to take a pretty goofy looking aspect of the LJN figure and make it stunningly cool! The reverse of the shield has two arm straps, which secures it well enough without the hand needing to grip anything.
I kind of feel sorry for Grimsword. He is an absolutely fantastic figure, but he had to share a wave with Warduke, and as great as he is, there’s no way he could compete with that Warduke figure. I doubt anyone could. Warduke just has a lot more potential for detail in his design, more accessories, and he remains quite possibly the best figure in this scale that I’ve seen this year from any license or manufacturer. On the other hand, with Grimsword NECA was able to take a design that looked like bad Renaissance Festival cosplay and make it into an absolutely fierce and formidable design. They were practically able to reinvent him without really changing any of his trademark details. Warduke made me feel like NECA presented the best this line could offer right out of the gate, but Grimsword makes me very eager to see what amazing things they can do with some of the other LJN character designs. We’ve got Strongheart and Zarak coming next, and boy do I hope this line keeps going well beyond that!