Predator (Dark Horse Comics) by NECA

The Predator hit the theaters a couple of weeks back like a wet splat. I saw it on opening night and I really enjoyed it, but I could easily see why a lot of people didn’t. Even if the newest film in the franchise didn’t feel like it was edited in a blender, let’s face it, the original Predator is damn near a perfect film and I hold the second in very high regards, but everything after that has sucked hard. Maybe my expectations were low, but at least I had fun seeing this one. But forget about the movie, today I’m talking comics. Sure, I will be reviewing some Predator figures from the new movie, but in the meantime, I picked up today’s figure from a Twitter buddy and thought I’d have a look at him before the new ones start rolling in.

The box has seen better days, but it’s still a thing of beauty. Like a forerunner to NECA’s Ultimate Series, this Predator comes in a colorful and collector friendly box with the front panel recreating the brilliant cover art from The Concrete Jungle, Issue #1. On cold dark nights, I still have nightmares about the day I was moving out of state and I gave a huge box of comics to my brother’s girlfriend’s brother and this issue was in it. I spring awake and then scream because only then do I realize it really happened and wasn’t just a horrific dream. Oh well… live and learn. In addition to the cover art, the box also has some comic panels from the Dark Horse comic series.

NECA has created quite a little niche by creatively repainting their figures to reproduce their look in both comics and video games, and that’s exactly what we’re looking at here. I don’t own all of NECA’s Predators (far from it!), but I think I’d be safe in saying that the majority of the parts and sculpting on figure has been used before. The figure’s deco makes brilliant use of some blues and reds to simulate the coloring of the cover, along with some silver paint hits to further simulate the art. It not only works well as a recreation, but I think the colors look particularly striking on the figure alongside the Yautja’s yellow skin. Additional black paint is used to pick out some of the details in the leg and arm armor.

The back of the figure is bathed in a deep crimson shadow with black wash, save for that one blot of blue paint that landed on my figure’s left leg. The back is intended to soak up the shadows from the comic cover’s mostly red field, which makes this a figure that is best viewed from the front or a front-focused angle, in order to make the comic inspired paint effect really work.

That’s not to say that this figure is all about the paint job, because the sculpt is quite spectacular too. What can I say? NECA knows their away around Predators and their gear and here it really shows. The attention to detail on the arm bracers is particularly well done, although the left arm computer doesn’t actually open on this figure like it does on a lot of their regular Preds. The right arm bracer also has a bunch of sculpted detail and the blades will extend and retract. He has a sculpted leather belt, complete with detailed stitching and he also has a pair of bone trophies on strings that crisscross his chest. The plasma-caster on his shoulder is mounted on an articulated arm and the whole assembly is removable. Add to that the sculpted body net and the great texturing on his skin and you’ve got a figure that is clearly a labor of love.

Articulation here is standard NECA, which means a whole lot of of rotating hinges. With that being said, this particular Predator isn’t the most fun figure to pose. Most of the articulation points don’t offer a whole lot of range and he has tiny hoses in his shoulder and left arm that will pull out of their sockets at the hint of re-posing. Plus, as always, the plasma-caster is a tight fit on that shoulder and moving the head will frequently knock it off. Nonetheless, I was still able to get some cool poses out of him for the shelf.

Most of my Predators from NECA are of the Ultimate variety, so I’m used to getting a fair number of accessories with them. This Dark Horse Pred only comes with a couple. In addition to the plasma-caster, you get his staff, which is a grizzly piece of work. The top of the staff is capped off with a rotting skull and the attached spine snaking down around the shaft. There are some additional bones and finery attached as well. His left hand is capable of holding it, but the grip is a little loose.

In the past, I haven’t been an avid collector of NECA’s comic and video game repaints, but I mainly picked up this Predator because I have the Dutch and Linn two-pack from the Alien Vs Predator arcade game on pre-order and wanted a similarly painted Predator to go with them. With that having been said, I think I’m enough in love with this ugly motherf’er to motivate me to hunt down some more. And unlike a lot of NECA’s regular figures, the video game and comic releases don’t seem to get too pricey on the aftermarket. Hopefully, the next time a NECA Predator crosses my desk, it’ll be the fugitive from the new film.

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Friday the 13th (Part 2): Ultimate Jason Voorhees by NECA

NECA has been pouring a whole lot of love into the Great Slashers of the 80’s, and Jason Voorhees has received the Ultimate treatment several times now, with releases from Part 3, Part 4, and Part 6. And in case you haven’t guessed, I’m hoping they don’t stop until we get each and every version of the Scourge of Camp Blood. This time, we’re dialing it all the way back to Friday the 13th: Part 2.

The Ultimate Series figures come in window boxes with a closed front flap that make them look a wee bit like overweight VHS sleeves. The front of the box has a glorious recreation of the film’s poster, while the side panels are also branded so you can line all your boxed Jasons up on the shelf and still know which is which. Part 2 was a special time for Jason. It was his first outing in the Friday the 13th series as the actual killer, but he wouldn’t don his iconic hockey mask until the next installment. I’ll be honest, I don’t go back to this one as often as some of the others. It takes a while to get going and most of the kills don’t pack a punch. And while I’m often apt to toss in The Final Chapter or The New Blood because I adore those two so much, I usually reserve Part 2 as either a double-feature when I’m watching the first, or for that week in October when I go through the whole series again.

And this is indeed a different look for Jason. The previous releases have all felt like variants of each other with fairly similar wardrobes and hockey masks. Here Jason dons denim overalls and a plaid shirt. He looks more like your stereotypical backwoods killer then he does the iconic slasher we’ve all come to know and fear. I really dig the way NECA did the overalls, with the top portion being sculpted in soft plastic and actually hanging off the buck. This gives a nice sense of depth and credibility to the outfit, while not sacrificing articulation. As expected, the level of detail in the overalls is crazy. You get all the sculpted wrinkles and stitching, as well as the carefully painted buttons. Likewise, the pattern on the shirt is sharp. The entire outfit features some weathering, mostly with dirt painted onto the shirt and trousers, and the faded wear marks on the overalls. All in all, this is some excellent work on what could have been a very ordinary outfit.

Easily the most distinctive thing about Part 2 Jason is his choice of headgear. He has yet to meet Shelly to procure his hockey mask, so here he gets by with a dirty sack tied around his neck and with one hole cut out for his good peeper. The sculpting here is excellent, especially around the eye hole, where, if I didn’t know better, I’d be inclined to believe they sculpted an entire head under that sack. The dirty bits are a combination of what looks like dry-brushing and some half-tone printing. The sack rests on his shoulders fairly naturally, but still allows for the neck articulation to work quite well. So, what’s under that sack? I’m glad you asked, because Jason comes with an unmasked portrait as well…

Yeah, a lot of people have issues with Jason looking like this, but I was always OK with it. I started the Friday the 13th series when I was a teenager and the first three films had already been released, so it’s very possible I saw Part 2 before the original. As for the sculpt, I think it’s solid, but possibly not some of NECA’s better work. It looks a little soft to me and the blending of the hair and flesh on the right side of the face isn’t as defined as I would have liked. The painted eyebrows look a bit like an afterthought and I’m not sure why they went with glossy paint on those. Even the teeth don’t sport the kind of crisp detail that I’m used to seeing in NECA’s portraits. I don’t want to pick on it too bad. It’s fine, but when I compare it to some of the other Jason portraits they’ve done, I think it could have been a lot better. Let’s move on to accessories…

A campfire! I love that NECA tossed in a campfire here, as it felt like something that should have been included in the Camp Crystal Lake Accessory Set. This is a really cool piece with a ring of realistic looking rocks, a pile of crisscrossed logs, and a translucent flame piece that sits on top. Considering how many accessories NECA packed in with this guy, I’m surprised they were able to cost out something like this, but I’m glad they did.

Next up is Pamela’s severed head, and like Jason’s portrait, I can’t say I’m really feeling this one either. Pam’s head has two appearances in Part 2: One in Alice’s refrigerator at the beginning and one in the shrine at the end. The head was a lot fresher in the beginning, but I’m guessing some time has passed and plus, if you don’t keep your severed heads in the fridge, they will tend to rot. Anyway, this is a cool sculpt, but I have to ding it for accuracy. It just looks too elongated to me, almost like it’s being held up by the hair and the rest of the face is just drooping down. I’m still glad we got it, as I absolutely love the end of Part 2. It’s clever and tense as all hell and boy did Ginny have some major courage to try that. And with those two accessories out of the way, let’s move on to the kill tools! And as usual, I’ll take these in chronological order.

We don’t get the implements used for the first few kills, so we have to jump ahead to the machete. It was used for my two favorite kills in the flick. First when Scott gets caught in the snare trap, Jason comes up behind him and cuts his throat while he’s hanging upside down. Later, in the most spectacular kill in the film, poor wheelchair-bound Mark gets it right in the face before rolling down the stairs. Jason is no stranger to machetes, but this is one of the most distinctive ones he’s wielded, with a cool up-swept curve to the blade. It has a convincing rusted metal finish and some nice blood painted on the blade.

Next up is the spear. I honestly don’t remember where Jason got this or if it was even explained. Are they spear fishing in Crystal Lake? Either way, he goes straight for the two-for-one special by ramming this through Jeff and Sandra while their making naughty. Remember how the whole point was that Jason drowned while two councilors were having sex? Well, that makes this kill particularly on point. Get it? I considered that this could have been a re-purposed fence post or something, but it sure looks like an actual spear to me.

The kitchen knife isn’t as flashy as a machete or spear, but it was enough to get the job done for Vicki. There’s almost always that one character in these flicks that I don’t want to see get it, and in Part 2, that was Vicki. She seemed really sweet, but she sure didn’t have what it takes to be a Final Girl, so she had to go. I don’t have a lot to say about the knife, other than I really dig that NECA actually recreated the abrasions on the blade from where it was sharpened. So cool!

Next up is the pickax, and I don’t recall that this one was actually used as a kill tool, but Jason did get a slice out of Ginny with it before Paul jumped him. Again, this is a great looking accessory with some blood lovingly applied to both ends.

And lastly we have the pitchfork, and this one befuddles me. I don’t remember Jason ever even handling a pitchfork in Part 2 let alone killing anyone with it. Granted, I didn’t have time for a re-watch before writing this review, so maybe I’m just forgetting it. When I first saw this piece, I assumed it was a repack from the Part 3 Jason, but nope… it’s a completely different accessory. And hey, I’m fine with that. Part of the fun of collecting the different Jasons is building up a huge selection of accessories.

It may sound like I was a lot harder on this figure than any of the previous releases, but don’t for a minute think that I don’t love it. Sure, I think there’s some room for improvement in both the Jason and Pamela heads, but everything else about this figure is totally on point. I will concede that Part 2 Jason is probably for the more hardcore fans out there. If you’re looking to own the most iconic Jason, then this one sure ain’t it. But if you’re like me and you want every goddamn Jason that’s ever been on the big screen, then this figure is essential.

Crash Bandicoot by NECA

Do you remember the Great Mascot Wars of the 90’s? After SEGA’s Sonic The Hedgehog arrived on the scene to challenge Mario it seemed like every game publisher out there was hell bent on developing a new animal mascot with The ‘Tude©. A few of these turned out OK, most were terrible, but from the ashes a new champion was born. In 1996 developer Naughty Dog gave us Crash Bandicoot, which was published by Sony and soon became a mascot for the Sony PlayStation until eventually flying the coop and going multi-platform. I’m glad that he’s on multiple platforms now, I’m playing N-Sane Trilogy on my Nintendo Switch and enjoying it every bit as much as the originals, but if my interactions with idiots on Twitter are any indication, there are a lot of younger folks out there that aren’t even aware that Crash was such an important poster child for the PlayStation. Kinda sad.

And with his original three games now rebuilt from the ground up, along comes NECA to deliver some toys! This Crash figure is the first in a number of offerings NECA has revealed. Also recently shown off at  SDCC were Crash with a jetpack and Crash with a hoverboard. But the first to arrive on the scene is plain old Crash. He comes in a sealed blister card, which isn’t collector friendly, but does offer up a nice whiff of plastic fumes when you break the seal. The packaging is colorful and there’s even a fun surprise folded up inside the insert. Let’s break this Bandicoot out and have a look!

Straight away, I’ve got to commend NECA on the sculpt. They really did a great job capturing Crash’s overall look and personality. A lot of the Mascots with Attitude came across as smug jerks to me, even Sonic, but I never got that feeling from Crash. OK, I mean the look he gives you when he’s about to mount the boar in Hog Wild is a little creepy, but overall I think this Bandicoot is a good guy and that really comes across in this figure. I think one of my favorite things here is the way they sculpted the fur, rather than just leaving him smooth. It definitely gets the point across that this figure is based more on the remake than the original games, but all in all I think it just makes for a better looking figure. The shorts are smooth with a sculpted waist tie, you can see his little white socks peaking out from the tops of his enormous sneakers, and the sneakers themselves are textured and have sculpted laces. His outfit is completed by a pair of finger-less gloves, complete with cut-outs on the backs of his hands, and sculpted stitching! This character has become so surprisingly iconic to me and this figure delivers on every bit of it.

Another thing that really stands out here is the coloring. Crash’s fur is comprised of multiple shades of orange from the bright yellow parts on his chest and and elbows to the darker shades on his shoulders and around his face. I can swear I remember reading an article in an old video game magazine saying something about how developers liked to use orange in their games because it looked particularly vibrant. True or not, it certainly looks great here in plastic. The blues of the pants have a nice glossy sheen to them and the paint lines are all neat and crisp, even on the shoe laces.

As far as the head goes, NECA totally nailed it. This portrait is all about the personality, and thanks to the ball jointed eyebrows, you can get some different expressions out of him. I want to say Palisades did this first with their Muppets line, but whatever the case it’s a really brilliant idea. I’ve definitely had some fun with it, and it’s just so cool to mess around with. His miss-matched pupils give him that slightly crazy look and his smile shows the delight and wonderment of a Bandicoot on a great adventure. Even his spiky fur mohawk looks great.

In addition to those eyebrows, Crash sports a decent amount of articulation throughout the rest of his body. NECA does love their rotating hinges, and here you get them in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and knees. There’s a ball joint in the chest and neck, and ball joints in the hips as well.

 

As for accessories, Crash comes with a cardboard box that’s tucked between the folded inserts of the packaging. It’s pretty durable, significantly better than the ones that Jakks included with their World of Nintendo figures, and infinitely better than the tiny ones Hasbro included with their 4-inch Indiana Jones line. It tabs together well and it’s sturdy enough to hold Crash’s significant weight.

But… and here’s where the nitpicking begins, while the figure itself is fantastic, the package feels light on the accessories. Sure, Crash himself uses a lot of plastic, and I’m not expecting a bunch of stuff. It’s not the lack of a quantity of items, but rather the lack of a couple of key items. I really expected to get Aku Aku or even a foam peach and the lack of either really stings. With the follow up Crash variants being packed with jetpacks and hoverboards, this vanilla Crash release seemed like the best opportunity to get us those things. And I just don’t see how you can do a Crash Bandicoot figure without Aku Aku. If I were a betting man, I’d say they plan on releasing Aku Aku with Coco as an extra incentive for collectors to buy her. If that’s the case, I’m OK with it, because quite frankly I plan on being All-In on this line.

And the last thing I want to do is end this review on a negative, because I’m absolutely in love with this figure. The colors and sculpt come together in a way here that approaches Raziel, my favorite NECA video game figure of all time. But most of all, this release allows me to let go of one of my long-time holy grails, and that’s Resaurus’ Crash figures. For those that don’t remember, Resaurus was a toy company that cut their teeth on some great video game licenses like Duke Nukem, Sonic the Hedgehog, Quake, and Street Fighter. Their figures were great, but didn’t always age well, and most of mine wound up breaking. Resaurus’ Crash figures have become rather expensive on the secondary market, and while I look out for them, I never pulled the trigger. And now I don’t have to. My only hope is that NECA gets to a decent number of other characters. At the very least I’d love to get me Neo Cortex, Coco, Nitro Brio, and Tawna!

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.

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.