Dungeons & Dragons: Ultimate Grimsword by NECA

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!

Dungeons & Dragons: Ultimate Warduke by NECA

It’s crazy how you can go ages without any real D&D licensed toys and then all of the sudden, they’re dropping all over the place, like slimy guts out of a slain Beholder. Hasbro has been using the license to make figures based off the old 80’s cartoon and the upcoming film, Honor Among Thieves, but now NECA has stepped into the ring with the license to do modern versions of the old LJN Advanced Dungeons & Dragons figures. The first two releases are Warduke and Grimsword, and I’m starting my look at these today with Warduke!

To me, Warduke was the Boba Fett of the AD&D world: A mysterious masked warrior with waves of badassery wafting off of him. He was easily my favorite figure in the LJN line, and he would always be waging some epic battles with the heroic Strongheart. NECA’s version comes in their standard Ultimate style packaging. You get a window box with a flap covering the front and a mix of artwork and actual photos of the figure all around. And that’s a hell of a piece of character art on the front of the box! I’m really excited to check this guy out, so let’s just dive right in!

Even before I got him out of the box, I have to admit that I was in awe of this figure while still peeping at him through the window. NECA took the original toy design and just ran with it, turning everything up to the hyper-detailed and realistic max. I’m actually a bit speechless and not sure where to begin, because this figure looks absolutely stunning on just about every level. The network of belts and straps crisscrossing his torso are all sculpted separately, giving up a lot of depth to the figure in general. The yellow belt from the original figure is now painted in gold with a demon-head motif and a more pronounced brown furry sash dipping down between his legs. He has one buccaneer boot on the right foot with red oval stones and his left boot is fortified with a sculpted, spiked armored plate and straps. Warduke’s right side is far less heavily defended and showing a lot of skin, while his left arm and leg are clad in sculpted chainmail, with a gorgeous metallic blue finish. His right arm also has an armored bracer and gauntlet with individually sculpted straps, painted right down to the tiny silver buckles. The eclectic costume is rounded out by a spiked left shoulder guard and an amulet hanging around his neck, strung with what looks like golden fangs. Warduke may not be a fan of symmetry, but he sure knows how to look intimidating!

The mysterious helmeted head is painted in the same sumptuous metallic blue as the chain mail, with the exposed area inside the helmet left black and featureless, except for two piercing red eyes. The package suggests there is just a man under there, by as a kid my imagination went with something more dark and demonic. He has some red ornamental stones on the forehead and back of the helmet, as well as stubby horns on top. The wings on the helmet are a bit more refined than the ones on the original figure, and they’re even pretty damn sharp at the tips! Part of me would have liked to see a little more in the way of facial contours inside the helmet, but it almost looks like he’s meant to be wearing a mask under it, and that’s fine.

Warduke wears three blades on his person, carried in varying styles of scabbards and sheathes. The most notable being his broadsword, which resides in a scabbard across his back. The scabbard is smooth and without texture, but does have some sculpted straps and a copper painted throat and tip. The second largest is a blue scabbard with ornamental gold throat and tip, as well as some bands, and hangs off his belt by a real gold chain. He also has a sculpted red pouch hanging between this scabbard and the one for the larger sword. And finally, on his right hip he has a brown sheath with some black wraps, sculpted stitching along the edges, and a red diamond-shaped jewel with some ornamental beads hanging. The detail on all of these pieces is fantastic, and they contribute to his eclectic look. Campaigns in AD&D are always about improving your gear through loot, and all of this stuff certainly looks like it was acquired and added to his arsenal along the way.

The articulation here is pretty solid, with rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles. The neck is ball jointed, and you get another ball joint down near the waist. The hips are ball jointed, allowing for a bit of swivel up there, and the ankles ensure his feet can stay flat on the ground in wider stances. The wrists are hinged pegs, allowing for the hands to be swapped out. You get two pairs of accessory holding hands, and a right hand with a pointing finger. I had no issues with any of the joints on this figure, and I think the range of motion is really good. The elbows can pull of 90-degrees, which is not bad for this type of joint, albeit double hinges would have been preferred. I think my only nitpick here would be that the arms hang a little far from the body, but I guess that gives him a readiness stance, which works for the character. OK, let’s look at the weapons, and we’ll start small and work our way up!

The brown sheath holds what looks like a miniature fachion. It has an angled blue hilt that matches the color of Warduke’s chainmail and helmet. The blade is painted silver and has some notable wear on the blade. I’m actually not sure if this is intentional or not, but it really looks great for weathering. The grip has some deep sculpted scrollwork patterns and two silver painted rivets.

The dagger is probably big enough to be considered a short sword. It has a long, thin blade, almost like a stiletto. The hilt is gold with some red painted jewels and not much of a guard. It’s not a perfect match for the broadsword, but the two do go together fairly well.

The broadsword is certainly an imposing piece of cutlery, with an extended grip that could work as a two-hander. The grip is painted brown and the guard and pommel are both gold, with a painted red jewel in the center of the guard. The blade thins near the blade and then swells out just a bit for the remainder of its double-edge. Unlike the smaller weapons, the silver finish on this blade is immaculate.

Of course, Warduke also comes with his rather iconic skull shield! It never occurred to me as a kid playing with the figure, that Warduke’s armor was designed with his left arm intended as his sword arm, and the shield carried in his right to protect his less-armored half. I don’t think I made that connection until I was a teenager studying arms and armor in my spare time. The shield looks amazing with a beautiful dark steel finish and a lumpiness to the sculpt that makes it look like it was forged with a bit of crudeness. It’s an absolutely intimidating piece with the horned skull and dark voids for eyes. The reverse side has a grab bar and a sculpted arm strap textured like leather with rivets holding it into place.

And finally, Warduke comes with a flame effect for his sword, which really elevates the display quality of what was an already amazing figure. The piece is cast in soft orange translucent plastic and it fits rather snugly around the sword. Because clearly this guy didn’t look badass enough without igniting his blade. I mean, holy shit!

I’m well aware that I tend to churn out pretty positive reviews on the stuff I look at here. What can I say? I don’t buy stuff that I don’t think I’m going to like, and as a result I’m not usually disappointed. But when I say that Warduke here is one of the best figures I’ve handled in a long while, I hope that comes across as genuine and not just some hyperbole. This figure is absolutely stunning to look at and loads of fun to play with, and while some would demand more in the way of articulation, I think this is a perfect blend of sculpt and poseability. But in the end, it’s the modernized design, the detail in the sculpt, and the quality of the paint that sells it so well. It is indeed the ultimate version of the character that I could have only dreamed of owning as a kid. And with so many excellent Mythic Legions figure reviews under my belt, I’m still willing to say that this is probably the best fantasy-themed figure I’ve ever looked at here. I’m anxious to check out Grimsword, and I can only hope that this line continues to cover as many of the LJN figures as possible.

ALF (Alien Life Form) by NECA

I was quite the TV junkie as a teenager and ALF was a weekly sitcom that I never missed. It’s a show that absolutely oozed 80’s charm, and it’s crazy to think it spanned nearly the entire second half of the decade, clocked in at just over 100 episodes, and managed to welcome in the 90’s before going softly into the night. It premiered just as I was starting High School and went out just as I was headed off to College. Sure, there were shows that lasted longer, but this was a show about a goofy alien puppet given asylum by a suburban family. It was one of those lightning in a bottle scenarios, with ALF getting cross marketed into video games, comic books, a cartoon series, and his face graced countless t-shirts right alongside pop culture icons like the immortal Spuds Mackenzie. Kids watching ALF were learning how to give attitude and spouting off “NO PROBLEM!” before giving it up for “EAT MY SHORTS” and “DON’T HAVE A COW, MAN!” And by God, you know what? The show still holds up remarkably well today! I recently streamed some episodes, while partially hiding behind a pillow in anticipation of the awkward disappointment I was about to receive, but before I knew it, I was laughing my ass off. Back in the day, ALF got a pretty cool doll from Coleco and some simple toys based on the cartoon series, but did he ever get an ULTIMATE action figure? Not until now!

For the uninitiated, ALF’s real name was Gordon Shumway and he hailed from the planet Melmac. Crashing his spaceship into the Tanner family’s garage, he’s given shelter from nosey neighbors and FBI goons who wanted to cut him up for research. In return for saving his life, ALF made the Tanner’s lives a living hell by causing them non-stop grief and raising Willie Tanner’s blood pressure with his constant wisecracking. In reality, ALF was mostly a puppet, but every now and then he would be swapped out for an actor in a suit when the script called for him to be mobile. NECA put out an ALF puppet a year or so back, and I picked it up but never got around to checking it out here, but that’s a review for a different day. This ALF comes in the usual Ultimate-style box, which features a front flap that opens to reveal the figure through a window. There’s also some great fourth-wall breaking quotes scattered about the box. In addition to the figure, you get a lot of goodies, so let’s get Gordon out of the box and check him out!

It’s still kind of weird to me to see ALF’s complete body, because it was only occasionally shown on the TV show, and I never did get into the cartoon. He’s basically just a little brown, furry guy with huge feet. NECA did a nice job detailing all that fur in the sculpt, and while there are some inevitable breaks in the sculpt to allow for articulation, it doesn’t spoil the effect for me. I was a little taken aback when I turned him around. To my great shame, I did not remember that ALF has a tail, but there it is! It’s worth noting that like NECA’s Gremlins, ALF is a 6-inch figure, but not really 6-inch scale, since in reality he’s roughly the size of a small child. A small, fat, furry child. So don’t expect an in scale Willie Tanner figure to go with him. I guess they could do Brian Tanner, but I wouldn’t count on that either.

The head sculpt here is fantastic. The black eyes, the bulbous snout, the weirdly shaped ears, and the comb-over are all realized perfectly. I dig the wash that brings out the ribbing in his snout, and he’s even got his warts! Sure, NECA often gives us multiple heads with their Ultimate figures, but since ALF was a puppet he couldn’t emote all that much, so I think the single noggin is fine. You do get some articulation in the jaw, which is pretty cool!

The rest of the figure’s articulation is the usual assortment of rotating hinges that we’re used to seeing from NECA. They’re situated in his shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles, in the neck and in the torso. The hips are ball jointed, there are swivels in the biceps, and you get hinged pegs for the wrists, allowing you to swap out the assortment of hands. These include a pair of relaxed hands, a pair of pointing hands, and three additional accessory holding hands. ALF is loads of fun to play with, and I didn’t have any troubles with stuck joints, so ALF did not have to get a dip in the hot tub. Naturally, because this is a NECA figure, you get a bunch of fun accessories, so let’s check them out and learn a little more about ALF on the way!

The subject of snacks are a running theme with these accessories, because ALF was a little glutton. So first off you get a heaping bowl of popcorn and a Fusco, which is off-brand Pepsi. These are appropriate, as ALF was often seen watching TV on the sofa and eating and drinking before the doorbell rang and he got rushed out of the room to hide. And yeah… popcorn and soda is about as normal as ALF’s diet gets here.

Next up, we have a sack of Slimeballs, which was a popular snack on Melmac. It kind of looks like a sack of broccoli, but to be fair, I don’t remember these getting all that much screen time. In fact, I had forgotten they were a thing entirely.

And then you get the ultimate in Melmacian cuisine… the Cat Sandwich! Now, as a well known cat enthusiast, I do not endorse or approve of the act of eating cats, but I guess we have to respect alien cultures. This accessory is nothing less than inspired, as the poor kitty sits rather perturbed between two halves of a hoagie roll and presented on a red plate. It feels like sacrilege to nitpick this majestic piece, but if I were to make one little gripe, I don’t know why they didn’t paint the cat to look like the Tanner’s cat, Lucky. OK, that’s it for the food related items… let’s move on.

Willie’s HAM radio set was a major recurring plot point in the series, as ALF tried to use it to send messages back home. This is a beautifully detailed piece of kit with a wire connecting the main unit with the microphone, which rests on a stand. It’s a shame NECA didn’t provide a desk to put it on, but I’ll come back to that at the end.

Also included is a framed portrait of ALF’s girlfriend Rhonda. The back of the picture has an easel so it can stand up on its own. Rhonda had a much bigger role in the cartoon, but she looked a lot different.

And that brings us to some accessories of the clothing variety in the form of an obnoxious yellow shirt and sunglasses. The shirt is actually a nod to the shirt he wore in the cartoon. Yeah, I guess they believed in shirts but not pants on Melmac. The shirt fastens down the front with velcro it it looks great on him. Indeed, it looks better than the one shown off on the package photograph. Meanwhile, the sunglasses simply rest behind his ears and stay put pretty well down toward the edge of his snout.

I’ll always be grateful to NECA for digging up licenses like ALF. The series is available to stream, but you really don’t hear much about it these days. It hasn’t had any kind of revival apart from NECA’s merchandising, but I have imagine if it did get a remake it ALF would be some kind of CGI abomination, so I think it’s best to let it go. Either way, this is a super fun figure, and he displays well with some of NECA’s other Ultimate figures like ET or the Gremlins. Indeed, if you have some Gremlins, their accessories are interchangeable and really enhance the fun you can have with Gordon. It’ll be interesting to see if we get any other versions of ALF down the road, but as I hinted earlier, I’d love to see an accessory pack similar to the one NECA released for the Gremlins, notably with a desk and/or a sofa. I’d buy that in a heartbeat!

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Ultimate Mummy by NECA

NECA has been working their way through releasing Ultimate versions of the Universal Monsters and I’m all in on the color versions of these releases! They started off with Frankenstein’s Monster, then went to The Wolfman, and then everyone’s favorite shambling Egyptian corpse, Imhotep, aka. The Mummy, which I’m checking out today. Don’t worry, I’ll swing back to The Wolfman eventually!

No surprises with the packaging. The figure comes in a window box with a front flap. The front panel has a great recreation of the original movie poster with pictures of the figure itself on the back panel and inside the flap. The window gives you a good look at the goodies inside, and the whole shebang is collector friendly. I’ll go on record as saying The Mummy is among my favorite of the Universal Monsters, but I watch the Hammer Horror flicks more often than the Universal original. Let’s unwrap this guy and check him out!

Well, I’m really impressed with the overall sculpt, but this is NECA, where great sculpts are par for the course. Where The Mummy is concerned, it’s all mostly just bandages, and there aren’t a lot of specific details to hook onto, and I think that’s what makes me dig this sculpt all the more. It feels like they went all out on making sure that each and every bandage was recreated, and I had a bit of fun just turning this figure over and over in my hands and drinking it all in. Only the exposed smooth joints in the elbows and knees are there to interrupt all that wrapping!

The figure also comes with two loose wraps: One intended to hang around the neck, and the other to hook around the ankle, so it can drag along as he shambles toward his victims. I’ve also taken a few shots of the ankle bandage hanging off his wrist, because I think it works pretty well either way. I like the idea of these, but I wish the neck wrap laid flat against his chest a bit better, and I would have liked a peg to attach the one to his ankle.

You get three heads, two of which are rather specific. One has his eyes closed in case you want to display him resting in his sarcophagus, and I do believe that NECA is planning to release one for this figure in an accessory pack. The other is the normal face, and the final shows The Mummy making his O-Fface, which to me is the creepiest of all the heads. It’s just something about that black soulless void in his maw that gives me the shivers.

The articulation on the figure is probably more than you could possibly need for a shambling corpse, but I find the double hinged elbows very useful, especially if you want to put him with his arms crossed on his chest. The double-hinged knees are probably not necessary, but heck, it’s nice to have him. The figure comes with two sets of hands, one pair of relaxed and open hands, and the other Imma gonna getcha hands. I’m assuming that the second pair were supposed to be right and left, but mine came with two right hands of the second set. They’re extremely close to each other, so I’m not sure if that was intentional or not.

As for other accessories, you get a chest that opens and contains the legendary scroll of Thoth, which consists of hieroglyphs printed on some heavy stock paper. You want more accessories? Pre-order the Deluxe Accessory Set you greedy bastard!

Probably my most anticipated release in NECA’s revealed Universal Monsters, The Mummy does not disappoint. He’s got a great sculpt, an abundance of heads, and some cool accessories. In other hands, this one could have turned out to be a big bore, but NECA did their usual nuanced treatment to bring out every last bandage and some super creepy portraits. Now I’m just waiting on the accessory set to drop, so I can have a proper sarcophagus for him to rise from!

Ming the Merciless (The Original Superheroes) by NECA

When I reviewed Flash Gordon from NECA’s Original Superheroes series, I promised to get to Ming the Merciless the following week. Well, here we are a month later, and what can I say? I’m easily distracted. But as one of my favorite sayings goes, better late than never, so let’s check out the ruthless tyrant of from Mongo!

When NECA secured the King Features license, their main intention seemed to be doing Defenders of the Earth (and I’ll get to those figures eventually!), but they also produced these variants based on Flash Gordon and The Phantom’s standalone adventures and called it The Original Superheroes. Which is why it says that on Ming’s box, despite him being a Super Villain! The packaging here is very nice, with some great pulp artwork, some faux weathering, and a collector friendly box.

Out of the box, Ming does make use of a buck that he shares with his nemesis, Flash, and that even includes the belt with the padded waist wrap and holster. As such, I won’t run through the articulation here, but just note that this figure has all the right points and plenty of range for some fun posing. The tops of the boots are newly sculpted, with a front crease coming to a point at the front of each. You also get some new sculpting for the shoulder ridges, the color piece, and the band that secures the cape. The body suit is green with gold paint for the gauntlets and the new sculpted bits. You also get a different shade of green for the boots. Finally, you get a very nice green softgoods cape, which is fashioned out of a light cloth and falls about the figure quite naturally.

There are two heads included with the figure, one wearing his helmet, and the other without it. Both are decent sculpts, but it’s crazy how hideous these portraits look when you punch in close with the camera. The paint is pretty rough on the helmeted head, with some green spray on his cheeks and some random spots on the helmet itself. It really doesn’t show too bad to the naked eye, but it sure looks terrible when scrutinized by the camera.

The other portrait has a pretty impressive skin tone going on for his bald head, with some spots here and there. This one also has Ming offering a villainous laugh, and boy do the teeth look like a jumbled mess up close. Again, it’s fine with the figure in hand, but the camera just does not do either of these portraits any favors. With that having been said, I dig the crazy eyebrows on both of the portraits, as well as the pointed ears and the trademark beard. The helmeted head is the more iconic look for me from this period, but I could see myself going either way when it comes to choosing a head to display.

Ming comes with three sets of hands, but only the fists are painted to look like gloved hands. The other two are graspy hands and accessory holding hands, and they are sculpted with his long fingernails and rings. I guess if you’re using either of these pairs, the gold paint on his forearms are supposed to be bracers, rather than the sleeves of his gauntlets. And it’s a worthy compromise, because I really dig the detail on the bare hands.

When it comes to accessories, there’s a lot of stuff here that we saw with Flash Gordon. The pistol is exactly the same, as are the two blast effect parts. One is a long laser stream and the other is just a muzzle flash. I don’t mind the gun being the same, as it’s a given that Flash just acquired a Mongo blaster, so there’s no reason it shouldn’t be the same. It would have been cool to get the blast effects in a different color, but I guess if it’s the same model pistol, the effects would be the same color anyway. Either way, I’ve already covered this stuff with Flash, so I won’t spend any more time on it here.

Like Flash, Ming comes with a sword and scabbard, but these are thankfully different, and pretty damn awesome as well! The scabbard is painted in the darker green with gold fixtures to match his outfit. There’s also a real chain that hangs from the throat and connects to one of the bands, which looks great. As with Flash, the scabbard has a hole to peg into the side of the figure’s belt.

The sword features a knucklebow, fairly reminiscent of a sword design found on 19th century Earth. The blade is thick and yellow near the hilt and turns silver and tapers off to the tip, where there is a red diamond painted on each face of the blade. The hilt guard is painted green to match the scabbard and you get a splash of gold on the pommel. I dig this sword a lot!

This version of Ming is certainly not as flashy as the one I’ll eventually look at from the Defenders of the Earth line, but it is a really cool nod back to the earlier days. It’s a great looking figure, even if the amount of recycling here is really on the nose, as NECA tried to get some serious mileage out of the license with as many variants as possible. Yes, there’s even an exclusive boxed set of these figures redone in the style of the Dino De Laurentiis film as well as packaged on retro-style Filmation cards. I’ll pick a day when I’m pressed for time to show off the Filmation ones, because I plan on leaving them carded. The Original Superheroes line also included The Phantom, but I opted out of that one, since I’m content with owning just the one from the Defenders line.

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark by NECA

It’s hard to remember when and where I was first introduced to Cassandra Peterson’s alter ego, Elvira. I was a full-on horror hound by my early teens, so it’s likely I first met her on her 1980’s Movie Macabre series. She was certainly just the thing to make young, pubescent me sit up and take notice. It’s safe to say at that age, I often found myself watching horror as much for the gratuitous sex and nudity, as for the gore and violence. Either way, I was familiar with her by the time her own feature film came out in 1988, a campy romp which I remember enjoying well enough, but I haven’t revisited it in a while. Anywho…. last year was the 40th Anniversary of the Elvira’s creation, and NECA showed up to celebrate with this release. And naturally, I showed up to pre-order it!

Well, the package looks outstanding! You get a collector friendly window box with some lovely pictures of the super-sexy Elvira on the front and side panels. The top of the box has her signature sign-off catchphrase, “Unpleasant Dreams!” and there’s a 40th Anniversary logo down in the bottom right corner. I guess this figure counts as part of NECA’s clothed retro-line. I like those figures well enough, but I’ve only picked up a couple over the years. Regardless, Elvira here feels like she’s a bit more premium than those retro cloth releases. Let’s get her out and set her up!

This is one of those cases of the actual figure living up to the superb prototype tease that NECA did when they first solicited her release. Elvira sort of strides the fence between realism and a stylized look, and that really works for me. Her signature black dress sports some excellent tailoring and it fits the figure quite well. The bottom edge of the dress is ragged cut, along with both sleeves, and she has a wide pleather-like belt girded around her waist with a loop for her dagger accessory. Everything about the outfit looks great, although while it does show off a satisfying amount of cleavage, even the package photos depict Elvira’s dress showing off even more. Maybe they scaled back a bit for marketing purposes, but either way it still looks fine.

You get two heads to choose from, and both are pretty damn great. The first is a standard look, with Elvira wide-eyed and smiling. Her signature mascara is wonderfully recreated here, and the paint used for her lipstick, blue eyes, and eyebrows is applied nice and sharp. She even has her beauty mark just off to the side of her right eye. Her iconic beehive hairdo towers on top of her head, and the the hair cascades down to her shoulders. The sculpt does a good job of resting on her shoulders for most poses, without hindering the neck articulation too badly.

The other portrait has Elvira giving a saucy wink to the camera. She’s still got a beaming smile, although this time her mouth is a little more open. I honestly didn’t think I’d gel too much to this look, but now that it’s in hand, I dig it quite a bit. It’s very much in character, and I could see myself swapping it out from time to time for display. If I were a greedy sort, I’d say a third head with a shocked expression would have been a very welcome bundle. But, if we were only going to get two heads out of the deal, I’d say I’m glad they went with the wink.

The articulation here is pretty good, with a fairly wide range of motion in most of the points. The arms are definitely the best, with rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinged pins in the wrists, and double hinges in the elbows. It can be a bit tricky to get the elbows turned right under the cloth sleeves, but you can always roll them up to see what’s going on under there. I also like that NECA gave her a pair of black wrist bangles to help conceal the wrist joints a little bit. If I were to complain about anything, it’d be the knees. I really wish they had given her double jointed knees. It might have been a little less aesthetically pleasing, but it would have helped with her signature reclining pose, which this figure can’t really do. I will say, that I’m beyond impressed with the figure’s balance, as the only time I resorted to using a stand was to show off the one included in the box. Sure, a couple times I had her leaning on something, but still it’s pretty impressive for a figure wearing high heels!

As for accessories, Elvira comes with three! First, you get the little dagger, which she can wear in the belt loop. It’s kind of silly, because it actually looks like all adorable and super-deformed. with a squat golden hilt and a tiny little silver blade. Neither of her hands are really ideal for holding it, but I was able to make it work OK.

Secondly, you get this chalice, with some mystical green smoke coming out of it. I really dig the sculpt on this piece. Her right hand seems best suited to holding the chalice, but I was able to make it work in either one. Again, the hands provided seem to be more for gesturing, and that’s fine, but a second set of hands wouldn’t have gone unappreciated.

Lastly, Elvira comes with this absolutely amazing skull candle holder. What can I say, other than it’s glorious, and I’ll bet someone at NECA had a blast designing it. It looks like just the sort fo thing you’d find on the set of a cheezy late-night horror movie hostess. The paintwork is also worthy of high praise, from the patches of brown flesh rotting off the skull, to the bloody eye sockets, and the glossy green on the snake slithering in and out of the mouth. There’s even a black spider nesting on the side of the the skull. Quite magnificent!

As I mentioned earlier, you do get a stand for the figure, but it’s just a generic black disk with a peg hole. Still, I’d definitely recommend it for keeping Elvira from taking shelf dives during long term display, but again, I was very impressed that I didn’t really need it for any of the pictures I shot. Well, except for this one leg standing pose. Ultimately, I may just use a Kaiser doll stand to keep her upright on display.

Elvira retailed for $39.99, and she can be found at a few online retailers for a little less. But, this was one of those figures, that I was willing to jump on the pre-order, and not worry about saving a few bucks. She really turned out great, and I had loads of fun playing around with her and snapping pictures for this review. I’d often hoped that TBLeague would secure the rights to give her the sixth-scale seamless body treatment, and maybe that will happen some day, but for the time being, having this figure in my collection will certainly get the job done.

Flash Gordon (The Original Superheroes) by NECA

Growing up, Flash Gordon was a big deal to me. No, not the original serial! I’m old, but not that old. No, I’m partly talking about the 1980 Dino De Laurentiis movie masterpiece, but also the Filmation cartoon. The cartoon was absolutely amazing to me, and I loved how it was separated into Chapters, giving it a serialized flavor like the original. It didn’t hurt that it hit at the peak of Star Wars Mania, giving me a regular dose of fantasy space opera. The cartoon still holds up, and laid a lot of the foundation for Filmation’s subsequent He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon, and I think it’s worth checking out. Of course, all this is pertinent because NECA acquired some rights to the classic King Comics characters, and Flash happens to be one of them.

I’m pretty sure NECA started with figures from the Flash Gordon and the Defenders of the Earth cartoon, and I’ll get to those eventually, but I thought I’d start with what they’re calling The Original Superheroes. There are three numbered figures in this assortment: Flash, Ming the Merciless, and The Phantom. The figures come in attractive and collector friendly window boxes, which have some printed distress to reflect the age of the characters, and a slightly exaggerated half-tone printing to evoke the flavor of the old comic strip. To be clear, this Flash Gordon is not based on the Filmation cartoon, but the look is close enough to work for me.

Flash has had a number of difference comic costumes throughout the decades, but this one ranks in as among my favorites. It’s simple, but colorful, and pretty much the perfect look for a swashbuckling space hero. The bright red shirt is painted onto the figure buck, but features the row of sculpted gold discs around the wide collar. The dark blue trousers have gold stripes on the sides, and feature some nice highlights to give it that comic art flavor. And the costume is rounded out with a belt cinched over a padded yellow wrap. The belt has a permanent holster for Flash’s pistol, and a peg hole to attach the scabbard for his sword. Delete all but three of the collar discs, and the weapons, and you have a fine stand in for Filmation Flash.

You get two head sculpts, the first features the blue form fitting headgear, which frames his face, but allows his coif to fly free up top. This look is tied mostly to the comics, as I don’t recall him wearing it in the Filmation series. I like it enough to be torn on whether or not to use it as my default head for display.

The decision becomes more difficult considering how strong the portrait sans headgear is! This one is a direct hit on so many levels. The facial sculpt, dominant jawline, the paint details, the shadowing on the cheeks, and most of all the hair. It’s all superb, and normally I would be 100% for using this as my default display noggin, but I’m still probably going to go with the blue headgear, only for the sake of variety, as I can enjoy this portrait on my Defenders of the Earth Flash.

The package boasts 33 points of articulation, and this figure does indeed have some excellent poseability. It’s all very standard stuff, but most of the points feature an impressive range of motion. The arms ahve rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double-hinged elbows, and hinged pegs for the wrists. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, double-hinged knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge in the torso, and double ball joint in the neck. Oh yeah, he even has hinges in the feet! Flash comes with two sets of hands, consisting of one pair of fists, a right gun hand, and a left sword hand.

The sword is a real beauty, and it comes with a plastic scabbard, which offers a good fit for the blade. The sword has a straight silver blade with a gold and aqua blue hilt, and painted red jewels in the crossguard. The scabbard is painted in a brilliant blue with a gold throat and tip. The scabbard pegs onto the belt quite firmly, allowing it to swivel to accommodate different poses, and it stays put without popping off. There’s just something I love about space heroes wielding conventional swords, and I wish we’d see more of it. It makes a lot more sense to me to repel boarders in space with trusty old steel, than to be firing weapons that could damage ship consoles, or rupture the hull.

Flash’s pistol is also a little work of art. It’s not quite retro-chic, but it does have a nice shape and design, and it’s packed with a load of detail. The deco is similar to Flash’s trousers, with a dark blue/black finish and some lighter blue highlights.

You also get two effect parts for the pistol, one is a simple muzzle blast, while the other is a full on beam and a contact explosion at the end. Both are cast in translucent yellow plastic, and fit over the end of the gun. These are both great, but the full beam is just absolutely awesome. Indeed, this is probably one of my favorite effect parts in recent memory.

NECA really knew their audience when it comes to this figure and me, and if I were making a list of favorites for 2022, this figure would be high on that list right now. I was more excited to get this one in hand than almost anything else I can think of in recent memory. We’ve had some decent figures release now and then from the 1980 Film, but not a lot when it comes to the classic comic character or his early cartoon exploits. The figure is versatile enough for me to stand in as the Filmation Flash, but I think he works best leaping from the pages of the timeless funnybook. On that note, NECA did give us an SDCC variant of this figure on a Filmation style card, but I’m getting ahead of myself there. Next week, I’ll revisit this series with a look at Ming the Merciless!

Halloween II: Ultimate Michael Myers by NECA

Happy Halloween, Toyhounds! And what better way to celebrate than with a review of a Michael Myers figure, eh? I was really hoping to be able to do a look at NECA’s new Halloween Kills version of Michael, but I haven’t found it and I’m not even sure it’s officially out yet. Luckily, I was able to pluck the Halloween II version of Myers from my backlog… I mean.. I’ve been saving him for just this occasion! Yeah, that’s it!

And that’s works out well, considering yesterday was this film’s 40th Anniversary! Not to mention, that by every imaginable standard of measurement, Halloween II is an infinitely better movie than Halloween Kills. I enjoyed Kills, but when I saw it, I was digesting a 22oz steak and was well lubricated with alcohol, so I was in a very agreeable mood. But, as the direct follow up to Carpenter’s original, Halloween II was a great ride, and still has some of my favorite Myers moments. I still get chills every time he effortlessly walks through that plate glass door without even flinching. I actually did a re-watch of this flick last night and had a great time doing it. So, let me grab a few more Fun Size Snickers from the bowl by the front door and bust open this figure!

The film begins exactly where the first one ends, so we get more or less the same version of Michael for either movie. The one big difference here is the bullet holes where Loomis “SHOT HIM SIX TIMES… SIX TIMES!!!” The Shape dons his dark blue jumpsuit with all the little sculpted stitches that I’ve come to expect from NECA’s plastic tailors. And the rumples! Oh, the rumples! Someone at NECA is just a master at sculpting rumples and wrinkles in plastic clothing. He has a pair of matte black work boots, and his collar is worn up. The jumpsuit that covers the torso is cast in soft plastic and conceals the articulation there. Otherwise, you get plenty of rotating hinges, including doubles in the elbows, which is just fantastic for the stabbing!

You get a whopping three heads with this figure! The first is the standard mask and it looks amazing. This appears to be an actual mask that is permanently attached to the head, which gives the eyes a nice sense of depth, as does the way the neck of the mask sticks out over the figure’s actual neck. The texturing on the pale mask is masterfully done so as to look like vinyl and not real skin. The hair also appears to be sculpted separately, giving it a clean hairline. I really liked the look of the modern, damaged mask in Halloween Kills, but this original will always be my favorite.

The second head is the poor bastard who just happened to be out on Halloween night dressed just like Myers and wearing a similar mask. Loomis mistakes him for Myers, hounds him into the street, and a cop car plows right into him, setting him on fire. Boy, took about shit luck! This head is certainly not essential, but boy it’s a really nice bonus. The face sculpt appears to be the same, but it’s mostly left unpainted. There are no visible eyes in the eye holes, which makes it super creepy. The hair is newly sculpted to look more disheveled, and it’s painted blonde.

The final head features the bloody eyes from the end of the movie. After Myers stabs Loomis with his scalpel, Laurie Strode demonstrates an incredible degree of marksmanship by recovering a gun and putting a bullet straight into each of Michael’s peepers. Two shots and they’re both all net! There isn’t any damage to the mask at all. Wow! This appears to be the exact same sculpt as the regular head with the blood trails painted on. The eyes are still visible too, just painted red. Yeah, that bit could have been done better, but I’m not going to nitpick it. OK… let’s go to the accessories, and just like last time, we’ll go chronologically by kill!

Knife! Myers acquires this piece of kitchen cutlery early on in the film by letting himself into an old couple’s house. He then goes next door and puts it right into Alice’s chest. At this point, I own a surprising number of butcher knives in this scale, and this one actually stands out a bit. It’s got a cool serrated blade!

Claw Hammer! What happened to the kitchen knife? Who knows!?! I guess, Michael doesn’t like his act to get stale. He puts the claw end of this accessory right into the hospital security guard’s melon, and I’m pretty sure that’s the last we see of it.

Syringe! Oh boy this one makes me cringe. He sticks the syringe right into one of the hospital nurse’s temple and pumps air right into her brain. I really dig the work NECA did on this one. It’s possibly a little oversized, but I don’t think that could be helped. The transparent tube is cool, and the business end is nasty. There’s a hand that fits this accessory perfectly.

Scalpel! The final kill accessory is the scalpel he picks up, which is admittedly a pretty small and unimpressive piece. That’s not to say it isn’t a great sculpt, but you can only do so much with a scalpel. He does, however, come with a hand that is specifically designed to hold it, which is very nice. The scalpel is a must, since it’s featured in the end scene where he’s blind and slashing away at the air. That scene always gives me the willies.

The final accessory is not a weapon, but it is very much welcome! It’s the jack-o-lantern from the beginning that opens to reveal a skull inside. This is such a cool bonus accessory, and I love how meta it is. Too bad they couldn’t put a sound chip in there to play Carpenter’s chilling theme.

While NECA’s Jason releases may be a lot more prolific, I’m thrilled to have the two Michael Myers figures they released in my collection. The modern version is an excellent figure, but this one is the one that really hits the spot. I was pretty young when I saw Halloween and Halloween II for the first times and while these films are pretty tame by today’s standards, they scared the living shit out of me in ways that few films have since. And I still felt some of that impact while re-watching Halloween 2 last night. What else can be said, other than the folks at NECA clearly have a passion for these 80’s Slashers, and it comes across loud and clear in these figures.

And that brings this Halloween Horror Month to a close. It’s the first time in ten years that I attempted it, and it was a lot of fun. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you didn’t I hope you’ll be back as regular content resumes next week. Speaking of which, I am going to be at a Horror Movie Marathon today, so I’m not going to have time to complete a review for tomorrow. I will, however, be stopping by to post a little administrative business, and then I’ll be back on Wednesday to review something decidedly Un-Spooky!

Friday the 13th (Part VII: The New Blood) Ultimate Jason Voorhees by NECA

Halloween is on Sunday, so that would normally mean that today will be my last review for Halloween Horror Month, but since I missed Monday due to computer problems, I’ll have one more review for Halloween Day. In the meantime, it may be Friday the 29th, but I’m still busting out NECA’s most recent Jason Voorhees release for today’s review! Because of limited space, I’ve been pulling way back on my NECA purchases these days. But, I’m always ready to go back to Camp Crystal Lake, and the Jason I’m checking out today is extra special! Not only is it the first NECA Jason release since the licensing issues back in 2019, but it also happens to be Jason as he appeared in my favorite of all the Friday the 13th films! Yup, this may be my SEVENTH Jason figure from NECA, but never have I been more excited!

There’s nothing new about the packaging. You get what seems like an enclosed box with a J-hook, but the front flap opens to reveal a window. There are a lot of photos of the figure on the packaging and the front features the movie poster! I love this poster, as it’s not only a cool depiction of Jason versus his new adversary, but it also features the same model Buck hunting knife that I’ve had in my possession since I was a teenager! Anyway, The New Blood is my favorite flick in the franchise because it sees Jason finally meeting his match inTina, an ESPer-fueled avenging angel, making her a very interesting Final Girl!

The more zombified Jason gets the better I like it! By this flick, he’d already been killed, electrocuted back to life, and then trapped underwater and left to die again. Some folks seem to misremember his head getting destroyed by a boat motor, but that’s just mass hysteria. It never happened! If it did they would have included it in the recap at the beginning of this film, right? RIGHT??? This Jason is, however, quite messed up for having been down in that water for so long, and that’s why he’s my favorite design. His shredded clothing and badly decayed body gave NECA quite the canvas on which to work! Peeking through the holes in his wardrobe are patches of nasty old skin and even bones. The layering of soft plastic over sculpt creates a wonderful sense of depth and really sells it. There’s so much worth of praise here, but I think my favorite bit are the exposed bones displayed on his back! But really everything about this figure looks phenomenal! I love that they also included the broken length of chain still around his neck.

Jason comes with two heads and two hockey masks. The regular head has the mask held in place with rubbery straps, just like most of the previous releases. The lower left half of the mask has been chipped away to reveal a glimpse of the grim visage that hides behind it. The mask also has a chip in the top and some light scuffing, but otherwise it’s held together pretty well. It’s got a slightly glossy finish to it, which I dig a lot. The straps hold it nice and snug to the head, and the eye holes line up perfectly.

One of my favorite things about watching Friday the 13th films for the first time was always wondering what Jason was going to look like when he inevitably gets de-masked. And boy, this one did not disappoint! Like his body, Jason’s noggin is just some remnants of flesh hanging onto his partially revealed skull. He’s got one eye set deep into the right socket and he’s otherwise just a mess of teeth and beef jerky. It’s worth noting that this movie saw the debut of Kane Hodder as the Crystal Lake Slasher, and despite all that makeup, he got to do some wonderful emoting during his showdown with Tina. I just love the scenes where he is visibly pissed off and sick of her shit.

The second head and mask captures the moment of the big reveal, and holy shit it does it well. Tina uses her powers to tighten the straps of Jason’s mask until it cracks in half in what is easily the best Jason face reveal of the whole franchise. The mask accessory is cracked into two halves and held together by the strap, which pegs into the back of the head. The resulting effect is that it looks like it’s capturing the moment it splits apart and reveals Jason’s pissed off mug under it. The head sculpt shows Jason’s mouth agape in rage. I think my only nitpick about either of these heads is that the right eye should have been a tad more prominent, but otherwise, this is just an epic display! OK, you know the drill. Time to look at the killing implements, and as usual I’m going to take them in chronological order of their appearance. It’s worth noting that this film has a lot of weaponless deaths, which makes me wonder why Jason bothers arming himself anymore. I guess it’s just more fun that way!

Tent Spike! It was not only a makeshift weapon, but also part of Dr. Crews’ sick mind games with Tina. Jason makes a gift of the spike to Jane right through her head and then javelins it into Mikey as he’s running away. It’s a simple but bloody accessory!

Machete! Gotta have it… it’s Jason’s signature weapon! Jason picks up a machete from a couple of campers, but doesn’t even use it to kill them. The dude just gets a fist through the chest and his girlfriend gets bashed against a tree while still in her sleeping bag. I guess he does use it to cut his way into the tent. The machete makes another appearance later when he puts it right into David’s neck.

Wood Ax! I don’t even remember where Jason gets it, but he makes good use of it… twice! First, Russell gets ax to the face while his girlfriend is skinny dipping in the lake. Later, bitchy priss Melissa gets the same treatment right before the final showdown with Tina. NECA did a great job on this one. I dig how the wooden shaft gets bloodstained close to the blade. The blade itself also has a nice patina.

Sickle! Jason picks this up off the wall when he’s stalking Maddie in the barn. I think it was a barn. Maybe it was just a big toolshed. Either way, you probably don’t wanna hide from Jason in a room with a whole wall of killing implements. This was the only kill that really bothered me, because Maddie was one of the few likeable teens in this whole flick.

Butcher Knife! Jason borrows this from the kitchen when the reefer-fiend David is raiding the fridge.

Pole-Ax! I don’t know what else to call this thing, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them hanging in the aisles at Home Depot. It looks like it’s for cutting back trees or some shit. Either way, this kill is great, because Dr. Crews is literally clutching Tina’s Mom and holding her in place when Jason skewers her with this bad boy! And yes, that was Susan Blu, beloved cartoon voice actress that makes me scream, “ARCEE… NO!!!!” every time I see her get killed.

And last, but certainly not least… Motorized Trimmer! This is basically a circular saw at the end of a pole with a chainsaw motor on the other end. Egads, I love this scene! Dr. Crews is just leaning on a tree when he hears the weed-cutter motor turn over and there’s Jason ready to get busy with some yard work! Yeah, the kill itself was a bit anti-climactic, but the lead up was great. It’s worth noting that most of the kills in this flick are set up great, but pretty tame when it comes to the gore. It’s not until the bodies are found that we really see anything good. It’ll always be my one main gripe with this installment, but not enough to keep it from being in my top slot.

The marriage of NECA and Jason Voorhees continues to be one of my greatest joys of collecting. I want to go back in time and tell teenage me, watching these flicks on VHS late at night, that in the future Target will have a whole section devoted to 80’s Slasher action figures, and that I have eight incarnations of Jason standing proudly on my shelf. This version gave NECA a lot to work with and they totally hit it out of the park. Indeed, there’s just one issue I have with this release, and I don’t know how NECA dropped the ball on it. WHERE’S THE PARTY HORN THAT JASON STUCK IN KAREN’S EYEBALL??? Yeah, it would have been fun to get that in the box too, but all is forgiven! There’s still one of NECA’s Jason figures that I don’t have and that’s from the 2009 remake. I’ve only seen that movie once, but I remember actually liking it, so I’ll get to picking up that figure eventually.

Catch you folks on Halloween Day!

Gremlins: Ultimate Gremlin and Gamer Gremlin by NECA

If you stopped by hoping for an action figure review of a Funnybook Character, GI Army Man, or Convertorobo Car, well… THOSE AREN’T SPOOKY! And spooky is what I’m all about right now as Halloween Horror Month grinds ever onward, crushing the bones of those who fall by the wayside into dust. Now, feel free to call foul as Gremlins is indeed a Christmas movie… nay, a Christmas Classic! Right up there with the likes of Die Hard. But it’s also a horror movie, and I’ve got a lot of Gremlins to look at, dammit, so I’m slipping them into this Action Figure Monster-Thon! Today I’m looking at both the regular vanilla Gremlin and the Gamer Gremlin!

You know the deal by now! NECA’s Ultimate figures come in boxes with front flaps that open to reveal a window to show off the figure inside. Regular Gremlin has a reproduction of the movie poster on the front, while Gamer Gremlin has the same, but with the obnoxious Gamer Gremlin bursting through and looking EXTREME!!! As indicated on the box, the Gamer Gremlin started out as a Gamestop Exclusive, but right now my Target has a few of them, so I guess he ain’t one no more! Man, it’s been too long since I last watched Gremlins. I should remedy that this month, but maybe I’ll wait until closer to Christmas. For now, I’ll just put on my Quarterflash LP and listen to Make it Shine.

It doesn’t matter which one I start with, because as near as I can tell they are both the same Gremlin figure, but with different accessories. Truth be told, I have a few of each and they’ve been mixed up so even I don’t know which is which anymore. The sculpt is excellent, with every inch of the figure covered in reptilian-like scales and texturing. The proportions look good, with the elongated arms and the stubby, canine-shaped back legs and dinosaur feet. I liked the homogeneous Gremlins design from the original film a lot more than the varied look featured in the second. I enjoy Gremlins 2 for what it is, but I don’t love it, and I’m not intending to collect any of The New Batch. The fact that they were just an army of identical beasties made them more like dealing with a swarm. It also lets me army build the hell out of them. The paintwork is solid enough, but I feel like they went a little heavy handed on the yellow stripes, but that’s just me nitpicking. The muted striping on the tail section looks rather cockroach like and delightfully icky.

The head is just about perfect, as far as I’m concerned. It captures all the personality of the original puppets, and I can’t even nitpick the paint here either. The eyes are incredibly lifelike, and I love the evil smile with the top row of teeth showing. The jaw is even hinged, and opening the mouth reveals the bottom row of choppers, as well as his tongue. One of my Gremlins’ jaws opens a little crooked, but it’s not a big deal.

The articulation is good on paper, but all of my Gremlins have at least one or two stuck joints. I haven’t given any of them a hot bubbly stove-top bath yet, but there are some joints here that I’m too nervous to give a workout until I can get around to that. I’ve owned enough NECA figures to know when a joint feels like it might rather snap than cooperate. He’s mostly loaded down with rotating hinges, and the ones in the arms work particularly well. I don’t have as much luck below the waist. The canine-like legs are difficult to work with by design, and these are where I’ve encountered most of my stuck joints. Still, they’re pretty easy to get standing in all sorts of poses, even if their feet aren’t always planted firmly on the ground. And heck, even the ears are articulated! OK, let’s check out some accessories!

The regular Gremlin comes with all sorts of bits and bobs from the film, and it all seems to be from the Bar Scene or the Theater Scene, and that makes sense, because these are where the Gremlins antics involved the most props. The frosty mug of beer looks great, and can be held quite convincingly in the left hand, and a little less so in the right. One of the cool things about it is you can take out the plastic beer and suds and have an empty glass. I know these are considered Adult Collectibles, but I’m still surprised, what with the way the world is today, that NECA was able to include an alcoholic beverage in with an action figure. But, it’s not like they’re promoting tobacco right?

Oh shit, he comes with a ciggy too! OK, I guess all bets are off! Beer and smokes for everyone! I heard that Amblin drew the line at including a gun, which may or may not be true. So that’s just the A and the T out of the ATF. Like Meatloaf sang, Two out of three ain’t bad. So, don’t be sad! Besides, I’ve got plenty of guns lying around to give them.

You also get a hand of playing cards, which are a bit more difficult to get them to hold, but with just a little patience and I was able to make it work. Moving on from the Bar, let’s check out the Theater stuff!

Everybody loves over-priced theater candy, right? The Gremlins sure do, because they didn’t pay for any of it. You get a packet of Brad Bites, which are basically off-brand Skittles, anda Doo-Dah Bar, which I think is an off-brand Baby Ruth Bar. Both are pretty cool, especially since I’m reviewing these figures at Halloween, so I can have them trick-or-treating for candy.

You also get an icy cold Cola to wash down the candy. I really dig that this is a cardboard cup. If you have a bunch like me, you even even crumple one of them to look like garbage.

Finally, you get a pair of paper popcorn bags to put on the Gremlins’ ears and a pair of old school 3D glasses. Yeah, these are pretty cheap accessories, but damn they look great and they are lots of fun. I wish other companies would get this creative with their action figure accessories every now and then. Let’s move on and see what Gamer Gremlin got!

Gamer Gremlin comes with the same paper cup of Cola, but he also comes with a big bucket of golden, buttery plastic popcorn! You can remove the popcorn piece to see that it has eye holes cut out so he can wear it as a creeper mask top hat. I don’t know why I love this so much, but I really do.

He also comes with a beanie hat and a pair of sunglasses. I dig the sunglasses, I’m not as keen on the hat. YES, I REALIZE HE SHOULD BE WEARING IT BACKWARDS!!! I put it on wrong, because I’m a stupid head and the Jameson told me to. It doesn’t matter which way it’s facing. I just don’t care for it. Fortunately, the rest of Gamer Gremlin’s stuff is pure gold.

As an Atari enthusiast, I was absolutely tickled to see him come with a little replica Atari controller as well as a copy of Gremlins in an homage to the game’s Atari 5200 box. I actually played this game most on my Commodore 64, but it’s a really fun and addictive game on any system. I don’t mind the Atari 2600 Gremlins game either, but that shit is crazy expensive and the fact that I no longer own that cartridge makes me sad. Anyway, the attention to detail on these two accessories is just wonderful.

And lastly, Gamer Gremlin comes with an homage to the old Coleco tabletop games. I’m pretty sure it was Coleco’s Donkey Kong in the movie, and I thought I remembered the Mogwai playing it, but like I said, it’s been forever since I watched it. Rather than face the full fury of Nintendo litigation, the game has been rebranded as The Fail Guy, but everything else about this little arcade machine is pretty damn spot on.

At one point I had seven of these little bastards, but I wound up trading a couple to a friend who couldn’t find them. Now, these guys are all over the place, and I’m constantly resisting the urge to pick up more when running into Target for something. I should probably just pour water on the ones I have! It doesn’t surprise me that I’m hooked on these, because when I was growing up I had that big Gremlin figure by LJN and I carried him around all over the place like a My Buddy doll. Needless to say, it’s great to have some Gremlins represented in my collection again. I still need to pick up Flasher Gremlin and the Caroling Gremlins eventually. When I come back after the weekend, we’ll check out one more Ultimate Gremlin… Stripe!