Half-Life 2: Gordon Freeman by NECA

1999 was a rough year for me, and I’m not just talking about the release of The Phantom Menace. HA! No, seriously. I was working a full time job while also trying to get my own business off the ground, and living in a shitty apartment with a difficult roommate. My downtime consisted of weekends playing games on my computer, which was propped up in the corner of my mostly unfurnished bedroom on a computer table made out of plastic totes and a wooden board. My PC was one of the few things of value that I owned that wasn’t in storage and it was my only means of escaping my dreary surroundings. Thank god, Half-Life came out when it did, because I was able to lose myself in it. It was the only thing that I looked forward to when I got home from work and playing it got me through a tough time. So, besides being such a mind-blowingly influential game for its time, it’ll always be extra special to me. Why did I gas on about all this in the intro? Because sometimes I like to point out that some of these bits of plastic that I collect do indeed have special meaning to me.

And here comes NECA giving the intrepid Gordon Freeman the action figure treatment. This is actually a re-issue of their original figure, and as you can see from the packaged shot, he’s based off of Gordon in Half-Life 2, a great game to be sure, but one that doesn’t instill as many strong memories for me as the first one does. Indeed, I’m drawing a blank on most of what happens in it and seriously considering giving it another play-through. So, yes, I would have rather had a new figure from the original game, but I’ll happily take this one as a consolation prize. And hell, it’s still amazing to me just how iconic Gordon Freeman has become despite him starring in a First-Person Shooter where you hardly ever see him. Anyway… enough about the games, let’s get this figure open and check him out!

Gordon comes wearing his trusty Black Mesa HEV (Hostile Environment) Suit. It’s still totally recognizable as the iconic suit from the original game, which was a Mark IV, but with some notable changes (both cosmetic and functional), upgrading it to a Mark V. Suffice it to say, NECA did an amazing job recreating the suit in 7-inch scale plastic form. Despite being all cast as part of the buck, it has a convincing layered look to its construction. The mesh under-suit can be seen between the armor pieces on the arms and legs, and it’s sculpted to have a very fine chain-mail-like texture. The armor plates feature various cut lines and the lambda logo on his chest is actually sculpted as well as painted.

The suit’s deco is darker and less polished looking than the Mark IV he wore at Dark Mesa, but it definitely fits the darker and dystopian feel of the second game. There’s less orange, but still enough to keep the sense of connection to the older suit. Most of it is done in matte colors, but you do get a little gloss on the red panels on the leg armor. I really like what NECA did with the finish on the shoulder armor as it has a cool unfinished metal patina to it. It really invokes an old medieval suit of armor feel to it, which again meshes well with the feel of the sequel. You get more of that rough metal finish to the armor pieces on the arm, only much darker. I especially like the hint of red padding that can be seen picking through the shoulder sockets. Finally, NECA did some nice weathering in both the sculpt and paint, including some scratching and scarring on the orange plates. This is a well-worn suit that shows off the wear-and-tear of Gordon’s adventures.

The portrait is excellent. This is definitely the slightly gruffer Gordon from HL2, but he hasn’t changed that much. He still sports the clean haircut and the neatly trimmed goatee. One of Gordon’s most iconic features has always been his nerd glasses and they are extremely well done here. Glasses on figures often come off as too large or bulky, but these are perfect. They’re cast in a separate piece, permanently attached to the head, and feature actual lenses. There’s a little bit of spray from the hair on his forehead, but it’s nothing too bad and looks more like dirt than anything else.

The articulation here is pretty solid, although a few of the points are a bit unconventional. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, with the wrists attached using ball joints to allow the hands to swap out with his two additional accessory-holding hands. The torso features a ball joint under the chest and another set deep in the base of the neck. The odd bit I was referring to earlier are the hips, which feature pins running from the front and back to form a rotating hinge. They work fine, but they still always look weird to me, and these certainly do their part to identify Gordon as the reissue of an earlier release. Finally, the legs feature rotating hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. Let’s move on to accessories!

Let’s face it, Gordon Freeman and his crowbar go together like King Arthur and Excalibur. Whether I was busting apart crates or putting the beat-down on head crabs, this trusty tool was always by my side. It’s not just an implement and a melee weapon, but it’s a symbol that Gordon Freeman is the average schlub turned action hero. Well, assuming your average schlub has a Ph.D in theoretical physics from MIT. Anyway, the crowbar is… well, it’s a crowbar. It’s an essential accessory, it sure comes in handy when you run out of ammo, but there isn’t a lot to say about it as an accessory. It has a nice weathered finish and you can see some of the red paint that’s been worn off of the handle. The right hand that comes on the figure can grip it nice and tight.

More interesting, and more central to HL2 is the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator and boy is that a mouthful! The Manipulator was created as a lifting tool, but it has the power to hurl heavy objects at enemies, which allows it to be classified as a pretty deadly weapon. Gordon’s second set of hands are designed specifically to hold the Manipulator and they do the job perfectly. This is a great looking piece with a lot of attention to detail, although I would advise caution when dealing with the mandibles at the end of the device as they appear to be frail. I’ll likely wind up keeping the box for Gordon, because I don’t want to risk bagging that accessory and having those mandibles wind up breaking or warping.

And Gordon also comes with a Pheropod, which he could use in the game to summon the Antlions to attack his targets. It’s a well-sculpted little ball that fits into one of Gordon’s left hands. A cool addition to be sure!

Finally, Gordon comes with a headcrab, which to me remains the all-time best copy of the Alien facehugger. These things were so damn annoying in the game and were equally creepy when you saw them attach themselves to unfortunate Black Mesa scientists and convert them into unwilling zombies. They kind of look like mutant roasted turkeys, and NECA did a fine job on this little static figure. From the blue veins that run under their golden roasted turkey skin to the unsettling orifice underneath that is meant to wrap around a person’s head and basically turn them into a bipedal murder vehicle. Ugh, it’s really disgusting inside that thing!

As grateful as I am to NECA for re-releasing this fantastic figure, I’m actually quite surprised they did. Sure, the prospect of a coveted Half-Life 3 is forever lurking in the dark corners of the PC Gaming community, but it’s been a long time since Half-Life 2 and sadly Gordon Freeman isn’t the household name he used to be. And as great as this figure is, I think this may be one of those figures where you really have to be centered on the character to appreciate how great it is. But for me, Gordon Freeman is monumental in his importance. He introduced the idea of the everyman protagonist to video games, which in turn made it easy for me to identify and put myself into the game. But most of all, he’ll always be a cherished character who was a symbol of relief in a rather rough year of my life, and I’m very happy to be able to add this figure to my shelf. I was on the fence over picking up their Chell reissue from Portal 2, but now I’m thinking I may go ahead and pick her up too.

Advertisements

Friday the 13th: Camp Crystal Lake Accessory Set by NECA

It’s a common belief among retailers that playsets and accessory packs are death on the shelf. Whether or not that’s true, it sure has impacted what companies are willing to release these days. But there are still those out there that fight the good fight, and NECA is one of them. Granted, what NECA produces is strictly targeted at the collector community and that probably gives them a lot of leeway. From giant display stands for their Ninja Turtles to equipment packs for Aliens Marines, and now we get this box of Camp Crystal Lake environment pieces for Jason Voorhees to play in. I can’t wait to dive in! …to the box. Ain’t no way I’m swimming in that lake!

The set comes in a fully enclosed box with some shots of what you’re getting inside. Open it up and pull out the tray and you can see all the goodies laid out before you. There are three separate vignettes in here (convenient since NECA has given us three Ultimate Jasons so far!) to create and all of them require some level of assembly. There’s nothing too crazy, and everything can come apart again to go back in the box. With that being said, there are a few fragile parts in this box that I would recommend lots of care handling, and I’ll point those out when I get to them. All of these set-pieces are versatile enough to be used for different display ideas, but a couple of them are clearly intended as call backs to specific scenes.

First up, you get the pier on the lake. This little diorama consists of a set of weathered boards resting on a piece of rocky shore. You tab two posts into the sides and the lamp post into a peg on the surface of the dock. It looks great, as there’s loads of detail in the individual boards and the sculpted nails meant to be holding them together. One of the posts on my set doesn’t quite peg all the way in, but a little shaving on the tab would probably fix that right up. The post is sculpted to look like a wooden beam with the metal pole for the light secured to the side of it and the lamp itself curving downward. One thing I will say is it would have been really cool if NECA could have worked in some LEDs for the lights in this set. A lot of the promotional work looked like these were intended to light up, and I thought they might up until I saw the retail price. It’s not a deal-breaker for me, but I would have happily paid extra for that feature.

While the pier can be good for any number of displays, it’s probably most intended to recreate the harpoon kill in Part 3. It’s always been one of my personal favorites, as Jason proves himself to be quite a marksman by scoring a hit right through poor Vera’s eye. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first kill where we see him wearing Shelly’s hockey mask, and thus quite a historic moment in horror cinema, now beautifully recreated in plastic. So, while any Jason in my collection would look great displayed on this pier, but my Part 3 Jason will be the one that gets it most of the time.

The next display piece is the Welcome to Camp Crystal Lake sign and, as simple as it is, I absolutely love it. Assembly requires putting the three pieces of the frame together, attaching the clear discs to the bottom of the posts to stabilize it, and then hanging the sign on the hooks. The hooks are scary fragile, and I would recommend caution over taking attaching and reattaching the sign over and over again. And once again, I’ll toss out my wish that they had gone with LEDs in the lamps, but regardless, this is a fantastic piece. The sign itself has a rustic, hand-painted look to it that lends it a lot of authenticity. It does not, however, warn against undead masked killers.

While this sign may have featured prominently in one of the chapters, I’m drawing a blank right now, so to me this is the most generic piece in the whole set. I’d happily display any of my Jasons in front of it, but by default, it’s probably going to be my Jason from The Final Chapter. And as great as these first two pieces are, I’ve saved the coolest for last. Let’s recreate the end of Part VI: Jason Lives!

Tommy’s plan to throw a chain around Jason’s neck and trap him at the bottom of the lake was either ridiculous or brilliant, I can’t quite decide. But either way it didn’t work. What does work, however, is NECA’s wonderful recreation of this scene. The set up includes a base made up of the rock and an old defiled Camp Crystal Blood sign. The rock is wrapped in real chain and there’s a clear plastic rod that comes up the back and ends in a spatula. You just stick this up the back of Jason’s shirt and put the chain around his neck and voila! I have never wanted to go out and buy an aquarium more than I do right now.

The rock is a very realistic sculpt, has some nice heft to it, and I love the weathering and graffiti on the sign. The chain even includes a tiny sculpted padlock. This is just fantastic!

And there you have it… three set pieces for three Ultimate Jason figures. Of course, we’re getting Jason from Part 2 soon and NECA promises many more, so let’s hope that this sells well and we get another one in the future. I paid $25 for this set and oh, boy was it worth it. Not only does it add even more value to three great figures, but I’m happy to send the message to NECA that I want more sets like this. They recently showed off an Accessory Set for A Nightmare on Elm Street and a re-release of the Freddy’s Boiler, so it seems like the demand among collectors is definitely there.

Ash Vs Evil Dead: Henrietta by NECA

And now, the end is near… and so I face the final curtain… The only thing sadder than a show you love coming to an end is when there’s an attached line of action figures that goes down with it. As all fans must know by now, Starz Network opted not to renew Ash V Evil Dead for a fourth season, and as a result will forever go down in history as a bunch of shitheads. At least in my book. Anyway, it’s safe to assume that this second wave of AvED figures from NECA will also be the last. Oh, we’ll still get some Evil Dead figures from the films, but now the chances of ever getting figures of Ruby, Kelly, and Pablo are lower than a flying Deadite eyeball not landing in someone’s mouth. I’ve already looked at Asylum Ash and the Demon Spawn from this wave, so let’s wrap it up today with a look at Henrietta.

The figure comes in the same style window box as the rest of the figures with a creepy red and black tree motif and some character art specific for the figure. AvED was pretty damn good about not constantly retracing the material from the films. Indeed, this series introduced more new elements to the Evil Dead lore than I could have imagined. But every now and then they threw the fans a bone, and thus we saw the Deadite Henrietta make her glorious return at the end of Season 2. Give me a minute to get her open and I’m going to change the backdrop to something a little creepier.

Ah, that’s better! And wow, is she disgusting! Every time I see Henrietta I think about poor Ted Raimi pouring gallons of sweat out of this massive latex suit. Talk about suffering for your art! And yes, he reprised the role in the series, which I think was awesome. This release is NECA’s second crack at a Henrietta figure with the first one being from Evil Dead II. I don’t own that figure, but from pictures it looks like there may be shared parts here, but plenty of new stuff as well. Every inch of Old Mrs. Knowby is covered in gross, from her nasty toenails all the way up to her nearly bald head. The body is bloated, the skin is mottled, and there are sores all over her. There are parts of her skin that look like it’s ready slide right off, and you can see her ribcage beginning to manifest between her saggy dead-gramma breasts. Even something as simple as her naval is a deep, dark abyss that looks like it’s about to open up and spill her entrails all over the floor. Of course, all this is just another way of me saying, I freaking love this sculpt!!!

From the back, things aren’t much better. In fact, she’s got a gaping chunk taken out of her left buttcheek, revealing the wet, red insides. As great as the sculpting is, the paint is also there to back it up. The bulk of the figure’s limbs have a matte old leathery finish that I can only assume came out of a jar labeled “necrosis brown.” Other parts of the skin are painted with a gloss to show that they’re the juicier bits. And all the open sores are finished off with more of that glossy wet red. Just beholding this figure is enough to put me off roast beef for a while. And while Henrietta doesn’t have much to cover her Deadite modesty, she does have the shredded remains of her house dress, which she wears almost like a cape, and is sculpted separate from the figure. I particularly love the detail in the broach that holds it in place around her neck. This is such beautiful work!

The head sculpt is pure magic. Dark, vile magic, but magic nonetheless. Henrietta is no doubt one of the most distinctive and familiar of the Deadites and they captured the look of the on-screen makeup brilliantly. Her black lips are parted in a jovial smile as if she can already taste your soul. I love the raw, red skin around her eyes and the eyes themselves are clouded over white as Deadite eyes are apt to be. The head features all sorts of nicks and cuts, some bloody and others that look like they’ve already bled out. She’s also missing some cheekmeat. And that’s your word for the day, kids… cheekmeat! But as good as all that is, the crowning achievement here is that NECA took the time to give her paltry gramma coif actual rooted hair. God bless you, NECA!

We’ve seen other companies do figures like this with a few swivel cuts and call it a day, but Henrietta has several useful points of articulation. Now, I’m not saying the old girl is going to be posing like a goddamn ninja, but she does feature rotating hinges in her ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. So you can say she’s pretty spry for an old undead granny. She also has a ball joint buried under all that bloated flesh, and a ball joint in her neck. Granted, some of these joints don’t have a big range of motion because of the sculpt, but I’m happy with what I can get her to do. Ah, but NECA didn’t stop there… how about a really long neck and an extra head to go with it?

Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about! Pop off the regular head, pop on the bendy neck and pop the new head onto the end of it, and you’re all set to elevate Henrietta to that whole new level of weird. It was a stand out scene in Evil Dead 2 and it was wonderfully recreated in AvED Season 2.

The head is that perfect marriage of terrifying and goofy. It’s got more of a glossy finish and it also has a shock of white rooted hair. Plus, they actually gave this head a hinged jaw, which is just priceless.

The neck also features a break in it so you can have Ash hack off the head about a third of the way down the neck. The inside area where the neck breaks apart is even painted bloody. It’s a play feature!!!

And finally, NECA included a stand to simulate Henrietta levitating as Deadites are want to do. It’s a simple black base with a rod that plugs into the base and into her back. It works quite well, but I wish they had cast it in clear plastic. Either way, it’s a nice bonus to throw in with a figure that already uses a heck of a lot of plastic.

If you can’t tell by now, I really dig this figure a lot. AvED’s Henrietta is a great release on her own, and all the more welcome when you consider that the original version goes for a fair bit of coin these days. The two designs aren’t 100% interchangeable, but I’d be fine having this one stand in with my Ultimate Ash and call it close enough. In fact, I may very well pick up another so I’ll have one for both the modern and more classic displays. She feels like a Deluxe figure, but at about $21, she’s at the same price point as the other two figures in this line, and that’s a pretty damn good deal!

Ash Vs Evil Dead: Asylum Ash and Demon Spawn by NECA

Did you ever get a letter from a dead person? I mean, like someone mails you a letter, then dies and it turns up after the fact? No, me neither. But that must be a similar feeling to the one I got when my last wave of NECA’s Ash Vs Evil Dead figures arrived. I pre-ordered them back when the series was going strong and they sat in my Pile of Loot at the retailer for a while. Ultimately I shipped, not remembering everything that was in there, and when I opened the box this last weekend I was like… “Oooooh!” Yeah. It was kind of depressing to see these appear after the show ended. I’ll refrain from running on about how much this series meant to me. I did that a little bit back in this review, and if I do it again now I’ll just get all weepy, so let’s move on to the figures…

This second wave of AvED figures consists of a new version of Ash from the Asylum in Season 2, a grown up Demon Spawn (remember, we got the kiddie versions in this three pack), and Henrietta who made a return appearance at the end of Season 2 (and who I’ll be reviewing separately next week). The packaging consists of standard window boxes, which share the same cool deco as the packages from the first wave. They are collector friendly and look great all lined up on the shelf, but sadly I won’t be able to keep these figures boxed because of space limitations, so I’m just going to tear right into them. Let’s start with Ashy-Slashy.

The Kenward County Asylum was the setting for Episodes 7 and 8 of the second season, where Ash woke up as a patient and was made to believe that he was really crazy and that the last thirty years of his life had been a delusion. At first, I was a little disappointed they were going this route, it is a bit of a cliche, but they really sold it to me thanks in no part to some absolutely fantastic acting on behalf of Bruce Campbell and Dana DeLorenzo, not to mention the addition of an adorable possessed Ash puppet. Anyway, this version of Ash is from Episode 8, where he’s fashioned himself a new set of battle fatigues from the remains of a straight jacket. The sleeves are nearly ripped off, it’s loaded with cuts and tears, and he’s got a series of belts around his torso holding it together. It’s a great look for him and it makes him appear as if he’s been stalking the halls of the Asylum and fighting its inhabitants for years. It really fits with the confused and dream-like flavor of the episodes.

The detail here is every bit as good as I expect from NECA, even when they’re turning out another version of Ash and in a one-off outfit to boot. Their passion for the source material comes out in all the meticulous details. Besides all the little sculpted buckles, wrinkles and stitching, the paint her is pretty phenomenal. The jacket itself is yellowed and filthy, like it’s been drenched in piss and OH MY GOD, I JUST REMINDED MYSELF OF THE SCENE WITH KELLY AND THE BEDPAN. Also sculpted into the torso is the rig of black straps that Ash uses to secure the sheath for his boomstick that’s slung diagonally across his back.

Of course, Ash’s right arm terminates in his iconic chainsaw, which obviously allowed NECA to reuse the one they used for the original Ash… and the Bloody Ash… oh, and the Ultimate Ash. OK, so it’s been recycled a few times. It’s still great. I really dig all the detail in the attachment on his stump, and the chainsaw includes the grab bar and some great looking teeth on the belt. The only thing missing is a tiny Ashy Slashy puppet to attach to his right stump. Well, at least NECA did a full-sized version.

You also get two different head sculpts, which means not counting the bloody Ash variant, I have a total of six different Ash heads just from the TV series, as two came with Hero Ash and two came with Value Stop Ash. And yes, they’re all interchangeable between the three figures, which is really damn cool. In the case of Asylum Ash, you get a really nice portrait with Ash smirking and another with a more grim, downturned mouth. They also feature his miffed crazy hair.

The articulation here is the same as we’ve seen on previous Ash figures and that means lots of rotating hinges. You get them in the ankles, knees, hips, wrists, two sets in each elbow, and the shoulders. There’s a ball joint hidden in the chest under the straight jacket and the neck is ball jointed.

In addition to the chainsaw arm and extra head, Ash comes with his trusty Boomstick, and yup, it’s the same one that came with Hero Ash. It’s still a solid sculpt and his left hand is sculpted to hold it pretty well. It can also be carried in the sheath on his back. If I was going to limit myself to just a single Ash figure from the series, I’d say Hero Ash is still my favorite, but this one comes in at a close second. But hell, they’re all good and I consider them all essential for my collection. I can never have too many Ash figures, NECA, so keep them coming. And I’m really glad they snuck this version in before the end of the series, because it represents what I consider to be two really standout episodes. Let’s move on to the Demon Spawn…

I don’t have nearly as much to say about this guy, as he is a pretty simple figure, but that’s not to say he’s not good. One of my pet peeves for lines like this is sometimes you just get a bunch of versions of the hero and no one for them to fight. But NECA’s been good about doing the creatures in this one, as this is the third version of the Demon Spawn. Unlike the kiddies, this fella has an ashen colored skin, making him look a bit like he’s made out of stone. That effect is furthered by some of the subtle sculpted cracks and fissures in his skin. The only other detail sculpted into the body is the black patch that covers his demon spawn junk. And as much as it troubles me to have to admit this, it’s a thong. Ewwww.

To make up for the simple body design, Demon Spawn comes with not one, but TWO extra heads. These are all superbly detailed and consist of creepy smile, open mouth snarl, and wide open “I’m going to swallow your soul” mouth. The vacant black voids that make up his eye sockets look great and they have cracked fissures in the skin running all around them. The mouths are also all very well done and display some truly nasty teeth.

The Demon Spawn is also a surprisingly fun figure to play around with, thanks to a few extra points of articulation. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, and double rotating hinges in the elbows. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, double rotating hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso has both an ab crunch hinge and a ball joint under the chest and the neck is ball jointed at the base and where it attaches to the head. Not bad at all! I really expected this figure to just be a throwaway to pad out the wave, but I’m having a blast with him.

Once again, NECA has worked their magic and added a couple of excellent figures to this short-lived, but much appreciated, series. My only complaints are the obvious omissions of the other mainstay characters, Kelly, Pablo, and Ruby. I can’t say that I’m surprised we didn’t get them, but part of me was still holding out hope. With the series now dead and buried, I’d say it’s a safe bet that this line is done as well. But I’m thankful for what we got, and that I have one more figure to check out, so come on back next Friday and I’ll open up Henrietta the Deadite!

Predator: “Concrete Jungle” Scarface by NECA

I’m slowly getting caught up on my NECA reviews, and that’s a good thing because I have a bunch more figures coming in the next week or so that will start filling up the hopper again. Today I’m checking out Scarface from the game Concrete Jungle. I originally played it on the PlayStation 2, but a little while ago I picked up a copy for the Xbox, since my OG Xbox is now rigged for HD. Alas, my poor old girl died on me shortly afterwards and I’ve only recently been able to do the surgery required to get her running again. If I’m being honest, Concrete Jungle is a decent game, but not a great one, although I’ll confess that I’ve enjoyed playing it a lot more than I enjoyed watching any of the films that followed after Predator 2.

I don’t know if NECA classifies this figure as one of their Ultimate releases, but the packaging suggests that it is. You get an extra thick window box with a folding front flap, and there are a lot of goodies inside. The box has plenty of pictures of the figure and accessories and, unlike NECA’s regular Predators, this packaging is totally collector friendly. Let the gushing begin!

Getting Scarface out of the box, I’m immediately greeted by a sense of awe that I rarely encounter with figures in this price range. Seriously! He’s big, he’s beefy, and he’s absolutely gorgeous. Sure, NECA knows their way around a Predator better than anyone other than Stan Winston. They’ve been sculpting these deadly interstellar hunters for ages now and they bring with it a passion that can be seen in the craftsmanship. Scarface features the same familiar body type as previous releases, with the creepy yellow-and-black skin and all kitted out with a sculpted body net. The outfit, on the other hand, is new and distinctive among previous Predator releases, and almost has a medieval flavor to it. For starters, you get some ragged chain-mail protecting the upper part of his torso and his groin. Segmented plate armor covers his shoulders, arms, hips, and lower legs. All of the plate armor is sculpted with pitting and wear, making it look like this dude has seen some major action in his day and the paint is totally convincing as weathered metal.

Some nice extra touches to the outfit include two human skulls, one mounted on his right shoulder and the other used as a belt-buckle. Both are missing their lower jaws and feature a realistic bone finish with a wash to bring out all the details. Additionally, he has a traditional bone sash hanging off his right shoulder and crossing his chest. Scarface also likes his spikes, as his armor is literally studded with them. He’s got some real sharp ones on his right shoulder, hip plates, and knee guards, and some more blunt and knobby ones running around his belt. He ties the outfit together with a ragged brown sash that obscures some of the chain-mail protecting his unmentionables.

As is often the case with NECA’s Predators, Scarface comes with both a masked and unmasked head, and both of these are works of art. The mask is a lot more intricate than what we saw on the City and Jungle Hunters. The configuration of the forehead is similar, but Scarface again sports some spikes on a short ridge that rises up from between his eyes. The almond-shaped eyes are black and soul-less as ever, but the biggest difference here comes in all the detail in the area that covers his mandibles, which looks damn cool and adds to the intimidation factor of the mask. The surface of the mask features the same worn and pitted look as the rest of his armor, and as always, I’m impressed by the individually sculpted dreadlocks. The final touch comes with the splash of red paint that covers the damaged side of his face.

A simple pop-and-swap gets you the unmasked look, and once again I’m faced with the impossible decision of which way to display this figure. Scarface’s naked visage features his mandibles open in full, bloodcurdling scream, allowing for quite the view of his alien oral cavity. Above, you can see his yellow, beady right eye as well as the vacant socket to the left where his horrific wound was suffered, granting him his nickname. I really need to invest in one of those packs of head stands that NECA has on the market, because not displaying both of these noggins is nothing short of a crime. Let’s move on to Scarface’s various instruments of killing…

No Predator feels complete without a shoulder-mounted plasmacaster, and Scarface’s is quite a doozy. The entire assembly tabs easily into the notches on his back and the weapon itself has a track that allows it to be slid forward and hinged into a firing position. NECA did not include a firing effect part with this figure, and I can’t say as I really miss it. If you absolutely must have one, you might be able to borrow from one of the previous releases. As usual, it’s a tight fit between the weapon and the head, but I’m used to that by now.

Next up, Scarface comes with this speargun. I’m pretty sure a version of this thing was seen in Predator 2, but it was really given its due in the Predator video games. The Concrete Jungle version is a bit more compact, not quite a rifle and not quite a pistol. I really dig the design of this thing, and the right hand is sculpted to hold it quite well.

Scarface also comes with this rather distinctive curved sword to hold in his left hand. The handle works so that it is above the blade, allowing for slashing moves with the serrated edge that rests past his elbow as well as downward swipes with the hooked edge that protrudes past his wrist. The exotic shape of the blade reminds me a bit of the Klingon swords from Star Trek and that’s not a bad thing. It’s a very utilitarian looking weapon, without any real ornamentation, save for the artistic curves of the blade.

And for added slicing, dicing, and skewering, Scarface has the retractable blades on his right gauntlet that we’ve seen with most previous Predators. As usual, these don’t actually retract into the gauntlet, but rather tab into the slots when you want to display him with them deployed. There’s also an open right hand that can be swapped out for when he’s not holding his spear gun.

And last, but not least, Scarface includes the opening wrist computer on his left gauntlet. The hinges on this one are a lot sturdier than they’ve been on some previous releases.

Generally speaking, I’ve been pretty good at resisting going nuts with NECA’s Predators line. It’s not that I don’t want to own them all, but I’m at that stage with my collecting, where I really have to think about how much space I have and how deep I want to go into any particular line. So far, I’ve restricted myself mostly to the boxed releases, and one or two of the carded ones. Whatever the case, I’m so very happy I decided to pick up Scarface, because he is a stand-out figure in a line populated almost entirely by stand-out figures. NECA worked their magic with this design and created a masterpiece of a figure that is far better than the rather average game deserved. I’ve had this one sitting around waiting to be opened for a while now, and I was actually surprised to see that he’s still available at the original MSRP of about $25, give or take a little, depending on where you find him. In terms of iconic designs, I’d say that the City and/or Jungle Predators are still the must-haves for any collection, but beyond that, you can’t go wrong picking up this bad boy. He’s quite simply a stunning figure.

RoboCop Vs Terminator: Future RoboCop by NECA

Wow, was it really over a month ago since I looked at NECA’s EndoCop and Terminator Dog from Dark Horse’s RoboCop Vs Terminator comic? I’m pretty sure I promised back then that I’d be back with a look at this Future RoboCop the following week, but things appear to have gotten away from me. Nonetheless, when I was picking up in the Toy Closet the other day, this guy fell off a stack and hit me in the head. It was clearly the Universe’s way of reminding me to make good on my promise. And finding a new NECA figure to open makes every day better! So let’s check him out!

If you were here for the EndoCop review, then you’ll know exactly what to expect from this packaging. The figure comes in a window box, but it has a hinged front flap that secures with the premium goodness of velcro. It’s also the same style packaging that NECA uses for their Ultimate figures and I hate it because it’s so nice and I can’t throw it out and it takes up so much space and oh my god, I have so many shelves of these things! Naturally, it’s all collector friendly, although I would recommend a modicum of care when removing Robo from the tray, as his legs pass through holes in it and he’s got those somewhat fragile pistons down there. The artwork on the box is superb as it looks like it’s straight out of the comic. It also compliments the artwork on the EndoCop box perfectly. The photos, on the other hand, are pretty awful. I don’t know what happened here, but most of the official promo shots of this figure look really rough and rushed. I’m glad I didn’t let that influence my decision to purchase it. Oh yeah, the lettering on the front flap is printed in rich foil blue and red and it looks super spiffy. The whole presentation is just a wonderful send up to the comic and a perfect example of how NECA pours their collective heart and soul into these projects.

And here he is out of the box and ready for action! Far in the future, Alex Murphy’s consciousness hides within Skynet’s artificial intelligence until the time is right to fabricate himself a new body. Augmented by Terminator technology and a new battle frame, RoboCop allies itself with the human resistance to take out Skynet and prevent the annihilation of mankind. At least that’s how I remember it. It’s been a while since I read this comic. As you can probably tell, there are a lot of parts shared between this figure and the EndoCop, indeed the bulk of the figure is very much the same, but there are also some cool new bits here as well. From the waist down the only thing that I can see different is the little device coming off of his right hip. I have no idea what this is, but I really hope someone can enlighten me. At first, I thought it might be a gun, but it doesn’t pivot into what would resemble a firing position. The torso is the same as the EndoCop’s and includes the fortified pistons and shoulder plates.

The right arm is the same, but his lower left arm has been replaced with what looks like a rocket launcher. The sculpt still features all the great little touches like the OCP branding on the leg and helmet, the working pistons on his lower legs and the backs of his upper arms, the thruster modules attached to the outsides of his lower legs, and the detail in the right hand is extremely intricate.

The head appears to be the same sculpt that NECA used for their regular RoboCop figures. The only major difference here is that the chin guard is painted silver instead of black. And speaking of paint, it looks great all over the figure. NECA did make use of some blue highlights here and there, and at first I thought this was to recreate that blue-purple hue the suit sometimes showed on screen. It sort of works at some angles, but it looks a bit obvious if you get in close. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that they were probably going for more of a comic coloring effect here, and if that’s the case… well, bravo!

From the back, we can see the biggest change on the figure in the form of his massive backpack-o-death. This thing is like a Swiss Army Knife of Mutual Assured Destruction. It’s got missiles, rockets, and something that looks like an anti-tank gun. Sadly none of these pieces are removable and are for display only, but holy crap does it look cool!

Future Robo does, however, have a mini-gun mounted behind his right shoulder that can be deployed for attack. I dig this thing a lot and it gives me a bit of a Predator feel. But lets not get them or the Aliens involved. This crossover is mind-bending enough.

And when a back full of ICBMs and mini-guns can’t get the job done, or just for old times’ sake, Future Robo also still comes with his trusty Auto-9 pistol. This looks like the exact same accessory that came with the EndoCop. It’s a decent enough sculpt, but it feels a little too flat and two-dimensional. The right hand can hold it perfectly and you can even thread the trigger finger through the guard.

After playing around with the EndoCop, I was pretty excited to get my hands on this figure and I have to say I am not disappointed. This line is so damn fun and it’s making me want to go back and pick up the RoboCop video game figures that NECA did a while back. I think if there are any fan complaints here, it’ll be that Future Robo and the EndoCop share so many parts, but you won’t hear me griping about it. They’re both accurate to the comic designs, and the ability to share so many parts is probably what allowed this project to happen, because I fear these figures will have a rather niche audience. To be honest, at this point I’ll take any new RoboCop figures that NECA is willing to produce. I just wish they could get some likeness rights and do an unmasked Murphy in this scale.

Alien: Lambert in Compression Suit by NECA

The folks at NECA are damn busy people trying to give the proper love to a lot of different franchises. That’s why I can forgive them for taking so long in getting back to releasing figures the original Alien film. I also get that a lot of this has to do with what likeness rights they can and cannot secure and other behind-the-scenes stuff. But I do love Alien and I was always hoping they’d come back to filling out the roster of the Nostromo crew. On the downside, there’s still no Brett or Parker, but hey look… It’s Lambert!

Yes, Joan Lambert, navigator on board the Nostromo and one of the crewmembers chosen to accompany the ill-fated survey of planet LV-426. She made out a lot better than Kane on the survey, but the Xenomorph later punched her ticket back on the ship, and off-camera no less! NECA has been sticking to the sealed clamshell packaging for the regular releases in their Aliens and Predator lines. And I’m cool with that. They may not be collector friendly, but they do give up that wonderful rush of pure plastic fumes when I cut into them.

Lambert is the fourth figure based on the Compression Suit body sculpt. We got both Ripley, Dallas, and Kane from the original film and later Amanda Ripley from the game Alien Isolation. Hey, it’s an amazing sculpt, so I don’t mind that NECA dipped their bucket into this well more than a few times. Of course, each of the suits featured their own unique deco, and Lambert’s may feature my favorite coloring of the bunch.

Indeed, even now I still found myself lost in all the rich details of this sculpt upon opening her up. High points include the ornamentation on the shoulders, the quilting on the mid-section and upper arms, the lacings on the elbows and knees, and the the pads that are strapped onto the lower legs. Extra props go out for the little things, like the painted patch on her left ass-cheek and the personalized strip across her chest. I also love the green-coppery patina that they gave to the parts that are supposed to be metal. The suits look old and well-worn, and that really adds to their character. Indeed, the entire design of the suit looks like just the kind of DIY patch job that a commercial towing vessel might use. It’s both wildly imaginative and hideously practical and it gave NECA an opportunity to run wild with the detail.

Lambert comes with two heads, which is pretty cool considering Kane only came with the Facehugger head, something I’m still a little bit miffed about. Anyway, this is a pretty solid likeness to the Veronica Cartwright.

The alternate head features her with a horrified look and I think this sculpt is downright amazing. I would imagine that it’s hard enough to do decent likenesses, but when you toss in rather extreme expressions, it seems like it would be a lot tougher. Either way, NECA nailed this one perfectly, and I like that it also features her wearing the hood for the suit, while the other one just had her sculpted hair. Another cool detail is that her hood is completely different than the tanker-style cap on the Dallas figure. NECA just loves all those little details!

The helmet is identical to the Kane’s and comes apart into two halves. To put it on, you just pop the head, put on the lower piece, reattach the head and snap on the top piece. The sculpt here is every bit as impressive as the rest of the suit with all sorts of little controls and bits and bobs littered around it. The oxygen tank/backpack includes some detailed paint apps as well, and I love the two furnace-style knobs stuck onto the back. There are two tubes coming off the top of the tanks, which plug into the slots on the helmet.

Articulation on the figure is great on paper, with rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. There’s also a ball joint under the chest and in the neck. The sculpt, however, does impede a lot of movement. For example, there’s virtually no range of motion for the bend in the elbows, but the suits didn’t look terribly agile, so I’m fine with that.

Lambert comes with two accessories, and they are the same ones that came with Dallas and Kane. First up is the pistol. I’ve said it before, I absolutely love this design. Like most everything else in the Nostromo equipment lockers, this looks like a wonderful patch job. At the core it looks like a traditional 20th Century handgun grip and trigger assembly, but with a cylindrical body and a cone for the laser emitter. There’s a scope mounted on top, and what looks like a laser scope slung underneith, because who doesn’t need a laser scope for their laser gun! There’s some great diamond texturing and I can even make out the detail in the brackets that hold the extra bits on. Lambert’s right hand is sculpted to hold the gun. Oh yeah, and I still think the loop holster is a rubbish design, though. It’s tough to get the gun to hang in it, and if I needed to fast draw that weapon I’d probably be dead by the time I got it out.

The flashlight is just a box with a light emitter on the end and something protruding out of the back. The left hand is sculpted to work really well with the carry strap.

Lambert is an excellent addition to the Nostromo crew and another way to showcase this fantastic suit sculpt. And NECA, if you want to get your money’s worth out of the likeness rights here, I’d be happy to pick up Lambert in her regular jumpsuit as well. I was able to grab Lambert for about $20 and I’m still hunting for the two Xenomorphs that make up the other two-thirds of this assortment. And yes, I’m still going to hold out hope that some day we’ll get a Brett and Parker two-pack, but until then, it’s nice to have the LZ-426 survey team complete.

Nightmare on Elm Street (Freddy’s Revenge) Ultimate Freddy Krueger by NECA

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 is a weird movie. It has some really cool imagery that makes it worth watching, but it comes from that transitional period where ANoES was taking its first step into becoming a franchise. A lot of it makes no sense. It’s nowhere near as scary or impactful as the original, and it doesn’t have the charm or personality of the later installments. It does have a psychotic exploding parakeet, so there’s that. It is undoubtedly the one movie in the franchise that I revisit the least, but as an Elm Street movie it still has some merit. And no, the remake doesn’t count, BECAUSE I HAVE NEVER REVISITED IT! Of course, when it comes to buying action figures, none of this matters to me. As long as NECA keeps putting out horror icons of the 80’s, I will keep supporting them. And that goes double for Freddy. I’m always ready for Freddy.

This is a the third time NECA has awarded Freddy the Ultimate release treatment. The first was the 30th Anniversary figure and the second was from Part 3: The Dream Warriors. The figure comes in a premium window box with a front flap that covers the window and is secured by velcro. And yes, when you hear that velcro tear, you know this is premium packaging. The front has some fantastic poster art for the flick, the back panel has some shots of the contents, and the whole thing feels like an oversized VHS sleeve. In this case, it’s extra over-sized, because Freddy comes with a couple of buddies. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Let’s start with Freddy.

So, this is largely the same body sculpt as we saw for the Dream Warriors release. The biggest difference being that figure’s torso was designed so you could take off the front and swap it out with the exposed chest showing the faces of his victims. I thought that gimmick was well worthy of having some seams on the shoulders and down the sides, but if that bothered you, here’s the same body without the seams. Beyond that, the paint on this Freddy’s sweater is a little darker and dirtier, which is keeping with the darker look of the film. Conversely, he is easily distinguished from the 30th Anniversary figure as that one did not have the striping on the sweater sleeves. It’s worth noting how the sculpted sweater looks great, with a realistic knitted texture and some nice tattering at the edges. Beyond that from the waist down this release appears to be identical to Dream Warriors Freddy, with the same wonderful attention to detail in the boots.

You get three different heads and the fedora is a separate piece so he can wear it no matter what head you’re using. The stock head is probably my favorite. It’s a good pissed off look for Freddy with some beautiful attention to detail in the burned skin. That goes for all these heads. The teeth are appropriately nasty, and the whole thing has a juicy, glossy finish. Yum!

The next head is probably my least favorite of the three, but it certainly isn’t bad. He has a snarling expression that shows more teeth, but this time the teeth are painted really dark, like Freddy’s been drinking a toner cartridge. The eyes are a bit more sloppy on this one too.

And finally, we get all out raging Freddy, and the more I look at it this one, it may be tied with the first as my favorite. They really did a beautiful job with his open mouth and the tongue sticking out. You can make out the bottom row of teeth in there too. Superb! It’s worth noting that I found the heads very easy to pop and swap on this figure. That hasn’t always been the case with this Ultimate line.

Freddy also includes two bladed right hands, one with the blades coming out of his fingers, and the other with the more traditional glove. Yeah, I definitely prefer the gloved hand. The glove is Freddy’s trademark, and if he can just grow the blades out of his fingers, why does he need it? So, it’s a nice extra, but not something I’m going to be using a lot. The blades on both hands are a little bendy and don’t always look straight, but I’ll take that over the hard plastic ones that Mezco used on their 3 3/4-inch Freddy a while back. The blades on mine snapped off almost instantly and there’s no worries about that happening here.

Of course, same body means the same articulation, and in this case that’s not a bad thing. Freddy features rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. The neck is ball jointed, and there’s a ball joint hidden under his sweater just above the waist.

In addition to the heads and hands, Freddy comes with a flaming effect part to attach to his back and recreate one of the iconic scenes from the film. It’s OK. The piece is designed to attach to Freddy’s back with a magnet, but it just barely holds in place. It also makes Freddy very back heavy. It looks pretty cool, and I give NECA props for including it, but I can’t see me displaying him with this piece a lot. Maybe if I eventually do a full display of Freddys I’ll throw it on him just to distinguish him from the others. Personally, I liked the smaller accessories that came with the other two releases better than this. But that’s fine, because this box also has a couple of other cool extras…

HOLY SHIT! So, what makes the box extra big is the inclusion of the two Demon Dogs that make a very brief appearance in the film and do absolutely nothing of consequence but add to the creep factor. Here’s a fun fact about me, I have a thing about human-faced dogs that started way back when I saw the Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake as a kid and I flipped out. Seriously, my parents had to calm me down, as I was crying and just mumbling, “Why?” a lot. Funny, but now that I think about it that Man-Dog didn’t really do anything in the film other than show up. What’s with all the human-faced dog cameos??? Anyway, as an adult, terror gave way to fascination. So that’s one reason why I love these extras, but the other is that NECA had the passion to make them and add them to this box.

And these things are seriously disturbing. The faces are disgusting with some kind of lesions or growths or pustules or some goddamn shit all over them. GAH! I can’t believe I had to use the word pustules in an action figure review. Anyway, they share the same canine bodies with sculpted fur and some nice brown paint applications around the feet and chests. The collars are different and the only articulation here is at the head where they can tilt their heads like when a dog hears a funny sound. These are amazing bonuses and well worthy of the little bit of extra charge on this one. Still, I’ve got to admit I’m glad I keep these figures in their boxes, because I don’t need this pair staring at me from the shelves all day.

Most companies would see an opportunity to release a bunch of different versions of the same character as a way to cheap out and grab some extra cash. But NECA always goes that extra mile with these things, and this Freddy’s Revenge version of the “Bastard Son of 100 Maniacs” is a fine example of that. It’s also the reason why I’ll keep buying as many Freddy figures as NECA is willing to pump out. I’m rather obsessed with the idea of having one from each movie. Of course, this one is also a must-have pick up if you missed out on the others and want an excellent Freddy for your shelf. I may not love the film, but I do absolutely love this figure.

RoboCop Vs Terminator: Endocop and Terminator Dog by NECA

I know, most of you came here to see a Transformers Thursday review, but until the new wave of Hasbro’s official convertorobots starts showing up, TF Thursday will have to go on hiatus. I do need to get caught up on my Masterpiece figures, so maybe I’ll add one of them to the collection this month. In the meantime, we’re almost two months into the new year and I still haven’t done a NECA review. And with all the cool shit they showed off at Toy Fair, I do believe I had better get cracking on getting caught up. So let’s remedy that today by checking out the recently released Endocop and Terminator Dog from the RoboCop Vs Terminator comic by Dark Horse!

Holy shit, look at that snazzy packaging!!! I gotta be honest, there could be nothing in that box and I would probably have still bought it. The artwork is fantastic and the logo is printed in a brilliantly reflective foil lettering that screams, “I’M COOL, BUY ME!!!!” Granted, I don’t think I’ve read this comic more than a couple times since it came out. I remember being pretty stoked at finding all four issues at a used book store on the way home from one of my classes one day. I remember tearing into it and being so intrigued by the cross-over and digging the time travel elements, but it just wasn’t something I went back to a lot. Nowadays, when I think of RvT, I tend to think of the video game more then anything else. But that going to stop me from enjoying these figures.

I don’t know if this technically counts as one of NECA’s Ultimate Series releases, but the packaging is very similar, complete with the folding front flap covering the window. The presentation is top notch and everything is collector friendly and that’s a good thing, because while I toss most of my action figure packages, I like to keep all these NECA boxes lined up on my shelves for easy access. The packaging also showcases Future RoboCop as coming soon and indeed, he’s already here! Inside the box, Endocop comes on a tray with the Termitator Dog (T-Dog, hereafter) positioned in front of his legs. Let’s start with Endocop!

The Endocop looks like a kitbash, and that’s totally appropriate since these guys are basically RoboCop’s own design augmented by Terminator parts. And so it’s only natural that NECA raided the cupboard for some parts for this figure. The torso and legs are taken from their regular RoboCop figure, with the biggest change being the rocket boosters added to his lower legs. The chest might be knew, as this one looks a little smaller than the one on my original figure. Either way, you still get all that amazing detail in the sculpt, right down to the OCP logos and the working pistons that connect his legs to his ankles. The silver paint job is a little more dynamic than the original RoboCop release as well. It has some blue spray here and there to simulate that blue-purple sheen that the costume had when seen under just the right lighting. The pelvis is also painted silver here instead of black.

The new arms are patterned after the Terminator Endoskeleton designs. I’m pretty sure these are newly sculpted parts, because they’re a lot beefier and a lot less fragile than the arms on my most recent NECA Endoskeleton. Most notably, the shoulders are much bigger and more pronounced. The arms also include some articulated pistons in the biceps, which are cool enough that they justify the lack of a bicep swivel. Every time I play around with my Endoskeleton I get worried I’m going to break something, but Endocop presents no such worries. He’s a solid dude!

The head sculpt is brand new and it is creepy as all hell. It’s basically Robo’s helmet, but with the grim visage of the lower half of an Endoskeleton’s face where Murphy’s face should be. Here’s where I let you all in on a little secret. Robots with real human looking teeth really freak me the hell out. You ever see those dolls dentists practice on? I’m talking nightmare fuel! Anyway, I really dig the extra parts fitted to the torso to help support the arms. These include some discs where the shoulders attach, and the pistons that sword of resemble a human clavicle. Very cool!

The Endocop comes with Murphy’s Auto-9 pistol, which fits quite well into the right hand, and the trigger finger is soft enough so that it can go through the trigger guard. I’m having a lot of trouble keeping track of some of the story elements from this comic, and I can’t for the life of me remember why Murphy would replicate his gun for his Endocops, but whatever. Keep in mind, since this figure uses the earlier RoboCop release, it does not include the spring-loaded leg holster, so there isn’t anywhere to put the gun when he isn’t holding it. That’s probably for the best as that thing was really crazy fragile. All in all, I think NECA did a beautiful job with this figure, and while it does reuse some parts, they still went the extra mile to make the figure feel fresh and new. It would have been a worthy pick up all by himself, and that brings us to the awesome bonus. The T-Dog!

While I was pretty excited about getting The Endocop, The T-Dog was a case of love at first sight. He was the first to come out of the box and I’d say the Endocop didn’t come out until about twenty minutes later because I was busy playing with my new killer robot dog. This sculpt is absolutely magnificent and I found myself just turning the figure over in my hands so that I could drink it in from every angle. Make no mistake, this is a full-fledged figure and not some pack-in accessory. Indeed, I could have seen any number of toy companies stamping out a mostly static PVC piece for this dog, maybe giving it rotation at the tops of the legs, and calling it a day. But NECA just poured the love into this killer mutt. Besides the exquisite sculpt, the articulation goes above and beyond. The legs feature four points each, including ball joints in the feet. You also get a few points of articulation in the body, two points in the neck, and a hinged jaw.

Look at that face! The piercing red eyes and realistically painted teeth make him all the more terrifying! Remember what I said about robots with human teeth? Well apparently it goes for robots with animal teeth too. The T-Dog is no little lap dog either. If you stand him up on his hind legs he’s as tall as the Endocop. He’s also very sturdy and has a nice heft to him. The paint finish is a little less dynamic than The Endocop’s, but it looks like real metal with a little wash to give it a worn patina.

As a two-pack, this release set me back a little more than the usual NECA boxed figure. I was able to get it for $35 from one of the major online retailers, and I’m guessing that’s about what the MSRP is. Considering that the single packed figures go for $22-25 these days, I think this is a pretty good deal. And as excited as I was to get it, this set impressed me even more once I had the figures out and in hand. From the art direction on the box to the little touches of detail on the figures, this is yet another love letter to the fans, and I love NECA for that. So much so, that I can see picking up a second one of these is in my future. And speaking of future, I’ll have a review of the RvT Future RoboCop coming up either next week or the week after.

FigureFan’s Favorites 2017, Part 1

Welcome, Toyhounds, to the first part of my Favorites from 2017 and I’m not really here. In fact, I’m probably out on my patio smoking a cigar and getting caught up on my stack of comics. If you’re confused about why you’re reading some kind of canned bullshit and not an actual review, I’ll refer you back to yesterday’s post where I explain everything. If you’re up to speed, then we’re going to dive right in to my first five favorite additions to my collection from 2017. These are in no particular order, so let’s go…

DC “Designer Series” Frank Cho Wonder Woman Sixth-Scale Statue by DC Collectibles: There was never any doubt that I’d have a statue from DC Collectibles on my Favorites list this year, because I picked up some great ones. But which one to choose? I waited a long time to get a version of Adam Hughes Wonder Woman in my collection and she turned out great. Likewise both the Babs Tarr Batgirl and the Deluxe Harley Quinn Bombshell were superb releases. In the end, I went with Frank Cho’s Wonder Woman because it’s just such a wonderful representation of the character, and it is executed flawlessly. I love the costume design, the paintwork is nearly perfect, and I really dig the materials DCC is using for flesh tones on these pieces. Cho’s Wonder Woman is not only my favorite DC Statue pick up in 2017, she may very well be my favorite statue of all my collection.

Transformers “Titans Return” Jumpstarters by Hasbro: This is only the second item on my list, and I’m already cheating by giving one slot to two figures. But that’s OK, because I couldn’t break up the Titans Return Jumpstarters by showing preferential treatment to one and ignore the other. If I wanted to really cheat, I could have taken up a lot more spots on my Favorites List just from Titans Return alone, so getting me down to just two was quite the achievement of willpower. It’s no secret that I loved this line, and there were a lot of figures that could have landed on this list, but in the end I had to go with Topspin and Twin Twist as my favorites. Not only are these great figures, not only are they superb updates to their G1 toys, but the fact that we got official Jumpstarters from Hasbro still boggles my mind. These are so good, that I ended up selling off my far more expensive third party Jumpstarters.

Ghostbusters Firehouse by Playmobil: If you had told me a few years ago that we’d be getting a Ghostbusters Firehouse playset in 2017, I’d have called you a raving lunatic and poked out one of your eyes as a lesson not to f*ck with me. And yet here it is! What’s even more baffling is the fact that it came from Playmobil. Now, I may be a little biased, because PlaymoSpace and Playmobil Pirates were my jam growing up, but even if I wasn’t already sold on the brand, I probably would have jumped at this. With their track record for going nuts on parts and accessories, and their easy to customize figure buck, Playmobil turned out to be the perfect fit in this otherwise unthinkable union. Yes, I could have just as easily listed the Ecto-1 here, but c’mon… this is the freaking Firehouse! And Playmobil did a beautiful job with it. It’s almost a pity this set didn’t come out closer to Christmas, because it would have been a perfect review for Christmas Morning!

Epic Marvel Quarter Scale Deadpool by NECA: I’ve been trying to stay away from NECA’s Quarter Scale figures. They’re amazing figures and very reasonably priced, but I really don’t have the space for them. Nonetheless, there are some releases that are no-brainers, and when they first revealed Deadpool, I knew I had to make an exception. And I’m glad I did! This figure truly lives up to the name Epic. The sculpt is phenomenal, the accessory count is over-the-top, and despite being such a big figure, he is loads of fun to play with. NECA absolutely surpassed themselves with this figure and it is some of the best work I’ve seen out of anyone all year long.

Star Wars Rogue One TIE Striker by Hasbro: I’m probably as surprised as you are to see this on the list, but this toy just impressed the hell out of me. I wasn’t expecting much, and I didn’t even buy it until it hit deep clearance. Star Wars vehicles aren’t what they used to be, but this one feels like it belongs among the best of them. Sure, I could have done without the Nerf gimmick, but apart from that this is a quality toy and a cool design from what has become one of my favorite Star Wars movies of all time.

And that’s it for my First Five Favorites of 2017. Come on back tomorrow and I’ll wrap up my list of the good stuff!