Halloween (2018): Ultimate Michael Myers by NECA

Since I’ve been back to semi-regular content, I’ve been trying to spread the love around to the offerings I collect from various toy companies that are piling up on the floor of my Toy Closet. I’ve also been trying to combine some reviews when possible to help me not be so far behind. This week, I thought a return to NECA was long overdue. I’ve got tons of new NECA figures to look at, so today let’s open up the Ultimate version of Michael Myersfrom the recent 2018 film. I had originally intended this to be a dual review of both Myers and Laurie Strode, but I found that I had a fair amount to say about each of these figures, so I’m breaking it up into two reviews, which will hopefully both post this week.

I’ve been a dedicated fan of NECA’s Ultimate line, so it should come as no surprise that I was beyond excited to get this figure. As always, these Ultimate releases come in what appear to be enclosed boxes, but actually have opening front flaps to show off the figure and accessories inside. The front panel looks fantastic, there are lots of pictures of the goodies inside, and the box is collector friendly. Yup, these are some of the few figures that I keep in their boxes, not only to keep all the accessories together, but also because NECA’s Ultimates look great lined up on bookshelves. And oooh, look at that sticker! There’s a flickering pumpkin inside!!! As for the film? I really enjoyed it. I don’t think it was mind-blowing, or in any way exceptional, but it was refreshing in its simplicity, especially when you consider what a shit-show the Halloween franchise had become. It’s been a long time since I cared about these movies, and I feel that the new one set things back on a positive track. So let’s get this box open and check out The Shape!

I have to imagine that even people who didn’t care for the movie, would still have to concede that Myers never looked better. And as usual, the same can be said of NECA’s version. Granted, from the neck down, this isn’t a terribly complex or flashy sculpt, it’s a just a dude in a boiler suit, but it’s still loaded with details. You get wrinkles and rumples, pockets, stitching, and all that jazz. Exciting? Maybe not, but it sure looks great, right down to the meticulously sculpted work boots.

The high collar of the suit gives way to the iconic mask and this portrait is fabulous. The expressionless visage of the Shatner mask has chiseled creases and wear making it look as frighting as ever. As time wore on, the mask began to take on more detail, which lends itself well to the HD age of film. I also really dig the way the shock of hair is swept back and the mask ends high enough so you can see Myers’ real neck protruding from it. And then you have what might be a sticking point for some classic Halloween fans, and that’s the eyes visible through the holes in the mask. There’s some wonderful depth here that really makes the mask feel like it was layered onto the head and there’s a face sculpt under there. And let’s not forget, this is Myers as he appears in the 2018 film. A film that dared show a glimpse of Myers unmasked.

But, let’s say you don’t like the visible eyes, and you just want a pair of vacant black pools where his peepers should be? That’s right, you get an alternate head to suit your preferences. It’s actually a completely different sculpt, with subtle changes in the mask itself, and the hair is a lot less unruly. And the eyes are actually still in there, they’ve just been painted over to make them harder to see. Normally, I would prefer the blacked out eyes, but to be honest, I think the first mask just looks loads better, and it’s probably the one I will go with for the display. It’s certainly the one I went with for a majority of the pictures in this review.

The articulation here is very good, and it even holds a few surprises in the elbows. NECA is usually content with giving their figures rotating hinges in the shoulders, but Myers here has double-rotating hinges! Yeah, they’ve done this before, and it’s nice to see them doing it again. It allows for a much tighter bend in the elbow, and overall better posing. As for the rest, the shoulders are rotating hinges, and the wrists are ball jointed… or so I thought! They’re actually pegs on tiny ball joints, similar to what we get with a lot of Sixth-Scale figures these days. Not bad! The legs have rotating hinges in the hips and knees, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. I’m not sure what’s hiding under the rubber boiler suit in the torso, but it does feel like there’s some movement in there. Finally, he has a ball joint in the neck. Let’s move on to the accessories!

First off, Myers comes with a modest assortment of killing tools. These include a bloody hammer, a fireplace implement, and his rather iconic butcher knife. He also comes with extra hands to help him hold each of these. Actually, you get both a right and left accessory holding hand, so he can dual wield if you like. Extra weapons are always nice, but there’s only so much I can say about these. The very iconic butcher knife is my favorite. To me, it’s as much a part of Myers, as Jason Voorhees’ machete is to him, or Leatherface’s chainsaw is to that demented freak. As for the others, the poker is very thin and frail, and I probably won’t be pulling it out much just for fear of snapping it. The hammer is great, and I appreciate the bloody paint apps, but it’s still just a tiny hammer.

Myers also comes with a left hand with two of the fingers blown off. God bless ya, NECA. You really do think of everything!

Also included in the box is the severed head of the police officer from Laurie Strode’s protection detail that Myers decapitates. And wow is this a delightfully gruesome piece of work! I’d dare say that this is one of the most grizzly accessories I’ve seen included with a horror figure. I dig how it’s been hollowed out and carved up like a Jack-O-Lantern, complete with the eyes taken out. Yup, this is pure nightmare fuel cast into plastic and lovingly painted.

Next up is the grave-marker of Judith Myers, which is a nice addition to the little collection of headstones that NECA has been giving to us with some of their Ultimate horror figures. This one is very thin and lightweight, but it looks fine, and will make a nice addition to the display when off-set behind him on the shelf.

And finally, you get the accessory that’s so damn good, they had to call it out on the package with a sticker. At first, I assumed this would be the iconic Jack-O-Lantern from the credits, but in a really nice callback, it’s actually Vicky’s pumpkin with the heart-shaped eyes and nose. You know, the one that wound up in the fishtank! The lighting effect is activated by pushing down ont he top of the pumpkin and it really is superbly done.

Who doesn’t love Halloween in August, eh? Finally seeing Michael Myers done by NECA feels so right and this is yet another Ultimates release that they knocked right out of the park. The sculpt and articulation on the figure itself are both great, and the entire package is elevated by the wonderful accessories. There’s enough here for plenty of fun, as well as some great display options. And to think, when I pre-ordered this figure, I imagined it was going to be the only Myers that we get out of NECA because of licensing issues. Of course, they have since shown off the Halloween II version of The Shape, and that one has me very excited. But hell, even if they couldn’t swing that deal, I still would have been perfectly happy with this figure representing Myers on my Slasher Shelf! And what could possibly be cooler than this? How about a figure of Laurie Strode from the 2018 movie as well? Yup, we got that too, and I hope to be back by the weekend to have a look at that figure!

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Predator (Dark Horse Comics): Ultimate Ahab by NECA

It’s been a few weeks since I opened some NECA goodies, so let’s remedy that on this fine Friday by plunging into their Predator pool and pulling out something new! I’ve still got two of the three figures from Series 18 to look at, but I think I’m going to set those aside and instead open up another of their Ultimate Series, and one that’s been sitting around for way too long. Let’s check out Ultimate Ahab!

Pulled from the pages of Dark Horse’s Predator comics, Ahab is an Elder Predator with a bit of an obsession over hunting Engineers (as in Space Jockies not people who drive trains or design bridges!) and oh my, what a great choice he is for the Ultimate Series treatment. As always, the packaging here consists of a window box with a front flap covering the window. It’s got plenty of pictures of the figure as well as some kick-ass artwork, and everything is collector friendly. The fact that these are some of the few action figure packages that I actually keep should speak volumes about how much I dig them, but saving the boxes also comes in handy to keep all those extra goodies! They don’t call these Ultimate for nothing!

After the uniquely crazy look of Broken Tusk, Ahab is kind of a return to basics, or at least a much simpler and streamlined outfit. He’s got the usual net-motif sculpted into his torso and legs, as well as armor on his lower legs, forearms, shoulders, and the upper left part of his chest. The outfit is rounded out with a simple belt, thigh armor, partially covered by sculpted fur, and an alien skull hanging around his neck. He also features a stylish crimson cape, which is made of an exceptionally nice material and hangs down just a bit below his waistline. Obviously, the comics and other associated Predator fiction has given us a wide array of different looking Predator outfits, and while I dig the more distinctive ones, it’s also refreshing to get back to basics.

The paintwork is excellent and the figure exhibits all the usual flourishes I’m used to seeing on these guys. Ahab’s Yautja flesh varies from a sickly pale yellow to orange, and he’s got several natural markings on his skin, particularly at the inner thighs and shoulders. The armor isn’t as heavily weathered on this guy as some of my other Preds, but it has just the right amount to make it look lived in and well used. There’s also a bit of gradient brown on the sculpted fur patches.

The exploits of Ahab’s hunts are written all over his face. His right eye is missing and flesh has grown over the socket. He’s also missing his right upper mandible, and there are some scars interrupting the spotting on the top of his head. But he’s still a handsome devil and I will never stop being impressed by the work NECA puts into the Predator dreadlocks, with each one separately sculpted. And while it’s not actually part of his head, now seems as good a time as any to talk about the hose that connects the shoulder armor to the piece of chest armor. With my past Preds, articulating the arm would cause this to pop out of the hole on the chest armor. That’s fine, because otherwise it would severely limit that limb’s articulation. Unfortunately, this one appears to be glued in, because instead of simply popping out, the tab broke off in the hole. I may glue it, I may leave it out, or I may just snip it off entirely.

Instead of a swappable head, Ahab actually comes with a wearable mask. This is held on mostly by friction, but it fits pretty well and leaves his mandibles exposed. The interior also features some great detail, and I love that NECA bothered to paint the interior of the eyes red.

Ahab’s arm bracers conceal the usual Predator gadgets. The left arm has his flip up computer and his right arm houses his twin extending blades. You can also swap this piece out for one with triple blades, which is a damn cool bonus. And if you don’t want either sets of cutlery getting in the way, you can remove them and attach the bracer piece to have them retracted all the way in.

Ahab also comes with a satisfying number of weapons, the first of which is his shoulder-mounted plasma-caster. If you’re familiar with NECA’s Predator figures, than you’re familiar with this piece. It clips onto the shoulder and features the same level of detail in the sculpt and paint finish as the rest of Ahab’s armor, blending in perfectly. The caster itself is positioned on an articulated arm allowing it to target his pray. I love the look of these as display pieces, but they tend to get in the way of the head articulation, so I tend to use them for regular display, but not when I’m playing around with the figure.

Next up is his spear. It’s got a beautifully sculpted blade with serrated hooks trailing down the top of the shaft. The middle is sculpted with a thick grip and the far end terminates into a sharp point. Ahab comes with a pair of accessory holding hands, which allows him to wield this in one or both hands. Although it should be noted that it’s a delicate piece, and some care should be taken when getting it into his fingers. NECA also included a small clip that can be attached to his back to hold the spear, but I doubt I’ll use it since the cape gets in the way.

The Smart Disc is an accessory we’ve seen before and it’s always a welcome addition. It’s painted gold and features some great sculpted detail, along with finger holes to work with one of the right hands. The only downside here is that he doesn’t have a place to store it when he’s not using it.

And I saved my favorite weapon for last, and that’s the Engineer rifle. The design of this weapon is just so damn cool and it brilliantly reflects the HR Giger techno-organic motif seen in the Engineer’s spaceship. The way it coils around it looks like some kind of worm-like creature is wrapping around Ahab’s arm. I’d love to get another one of these to give to one of my Engineer figures, but I’m sure as hell not going to take this one away from Ahab.

The final accessory is the skull and spinal column of an Engineer. It’s a beautiful, albeit grim, sculpt and features a gray painted finish.

I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of adding new Predators to my collection, and Ahab here is yet another great example of why. The team at NECA clearly loves these alien hunters so much, and that comes out in all the beautiful details and wonderful craftsmanship and bevy of accessories. It’s hard for me to choose favorites here, but Ahab surely takes a place right beside the Jungle and City Hunters as my top Predators. And best of all, since I never owned the original NECA release of Ahab, I didn’t even have to double-dip to get this Ultimate edition.

Evil Dead 2: Ash and Evil Ed (30th Anniversary Set) by NECA

What was an early birthday present back in August has now been sitting on my shelf for months waiting to be opened on the spookiest of weeks. And here we are! Believe me, there were plenty of times when I was tempted, especially when I was binge watching the third season of Ash Vs Evil Dead on Blu-Ray. The last time NECA dipped its toe into Classic Ash was back in 2016 with the release of Ultimate Ash from Evil Dead II. Now we get another version from the same flick, and this time he comes bundled with Deadite Ed Getley!

I’m sure I’ve gushed plenty in the past about my love for Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, so I’ll spare you the repeat performance. Suffice it to say it’s been a favorite of mine ever since discovering it as a VHS rental back when I was a teenager. NECA is no stranger to the property, as they’ve produced lots of figures and merchandise from the films and TV Series. They also know how to do some killer presentation. This set comes in a big window box with a front flap showing some of the vintage poster art from the film and also the tagline, “Kiss Your Nerves Goodbye!” The package is totally collector friendly, which is great because there’s a bunch of stuff in this box to keep track of. Let’s start with Ash!

The previous Ultimate Ash from Evil Dead II depicted our hero from earlier in the movie, with his clothes still in tact and without his soon-to-be-favorite accessory. But this? This is Ash as I love him best. He’s in his full-on Deadite Hunting form from the second part of the movie and also from the beginning of Ash Vs The Army of Darkness. So iconic! Here he is with his shirt torn to shreds, his makeshift chest harness, his boomstick scabbard, and his chainsaw arm attachment. This is The Prophesied One!

As always, NECA did a beautiful job with the sculpt and attention to detail. From the waist down, he appears to be a straight re-use of the Ultimate Ash right down to the shredded left trouser leg. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The top half features a torn shirt that’s actually sculpted separately and attached to the figure. This not only adds a great deal of depth and credibility to the sculpt, but allows for the ball joint to be partially hidden by the shirt. Other nice touches include the immaculate stitch lines on the trousers, the carefully painted eyelets on the shotgun scabbard, and the blood splattered on the shirt. Rotating hinges give him some decent articulation, no surprises here, although I would have liked to be able to get a tighter bend in those elbows.

The chainsaw is also pitch-perfect when it comes to the sculpt and paint, but it does have a couple of drawbacks. First, the blade is super soft and bendy, which has not been a problem with my previous NECA Ash figures. Second, the peg that connects the chainsaw to the wrist stump is a pretty weak connection causing it to come off frequently, and I mean FREQUENTLY, when I’m posing him. I really wish they had used a ball joint for that connection point. But since the swivel is separate from the connecting peg, I may just wind up gluing that bad boy on him.

Ash comes with a whopping three heads! The first is a variant of the sort of surprised or scared-stupid look that came with EDII Ultimate Ash. The big difference here is a lot less blood on the forehead, but that’s not to say there isn’t a fair amount of blood here and there. Ash has taken a few blows to the face and it shows. The paint for his five-o-clock shadow is particularly well done. Is it a great likeness? Well, I think NECA’s younger versions of Bruce Campbell tend to have an element of caricature to them. Don’t get me wrong, the likeness is there, and it’s better at certain angles, but I don’t think it’s quite as good as what they did with older Ash from the TV Series.

Next up is a sort of neutral expression. I like the blood applications on this head a little better and the overall paint is fantastic.

And finally, you get the teeth-gritting “I’m sick of taking shit off these Deadites” expression. I think in terms of likeness, this one may be the weakest of the three, but given the way I’m likely to pose him, this one will probably get the bulk of the display time with my figure. I really do need to pick up some of those Head Display Stands that NECA does.

In addition to the chainsaw, Ash also comes with his sawed-off boomstick, which he can hold pretty well in his left hand. It is, however, a tight fit in that scabbard on his back. I’m hoping it stretches out a little over time. Moving on to Deadite Ed…

Or as he’s lovingly known as Evil Ed or how about just Edite? Whatever you want to call him, this is Annie Knowby’s significant other after who got possessed. From the neck down, he’s just a dude in khaki pants, loafers, and a striped dress shirt, oh yeah… and demon hands with creepy, spindly fingers.

But from the neck up he’s a whole lotta grusome. NECA went above and beyond recreating this portrait down to the finest details: The pupil-less eyes surrounded by blotchy purple skin, the wrinkled nose, the extended maw of a mouth overflowing with a mess of green teeth. Disgusting!

Evil Ed even has a hinged jaw so you could recreate him eating Bobby Joe’s hair! *Hair not included. What more could you ask for?

How about a second head that’s cut across the top to recreate Ash’s killing stroke? The top piece attaches well enough so that it looks like he just has a scar, but you can indeed pull it off to reveal his greasy green brains. COOL!

Ah, but we’re not done yet. You get a few more cool accessories in this box. First up is the Necronomicon Ex Mortis and this one one-ups the Book of the Dead that came with Ultimate Ash because it actually opens to show a couple of pages and holy shit, that’s going above and beyond! Seriously, it’s ridiculous how impressed I am by this!

Next, you get the very Gigeresque Kandarian Dagger! It’s pretty big for a dagger and the sculpt is packed with little details. Ash can hold it pretty well in his good hand.

And finally, the set includes the Deadite-possessed deer trophy! It’s a great bonus to beef up the value of the set, and the sculpt is superb, capturing all the personality of the outrageous puppet used in the film. I’m just sad because I have no idea how I’m going to display it. I’ll probably just try to find a panel of wood and blue-tack it to it, or maybe just attach it right to the back of the shelf where I wind up displaying these figures.

With the unfortunate demise of Ash Vs Evil Dead after just three seasons, it’s nice to know that NECA is still mining the classic movies to get Ash and the Deadites some love, and this set is indeed full of a lot of love. This will always be the most iconic look for Ash as far as I’m concerned and NECA did a fine job on him while still packing in a much-needed Deadite figure and some cool extras. I think this set retailed for around $45, but I’m not sure as it was a birthday gift, but if that was the MSRP then it was worth every damn penny. I can only hope that NECA isn’t going to let the Evil Dead license vanish into obscurity.

Friday the 13th (Part 5: A New Beginning) Ultimate Jason Voorhees by NECA

I tried my darnedest to pack in as much spooky content as I could before Halloween, but I couldn’t get to all of it. That’s why my Twitter #HalloweenCountdown has become the #HalloweenAfterParty. Yeah! I still won’t get to everything because I’ve got a busy week and weekend ahead, but let’s see how much more damage I can do before the weekend’s over. Aaaaand…it just so happens that NECA’s latest version of The Scourge of Camp Crystal Lake showed up at my door last week!

If you’re playing along at home, this is the fifth version of Jason to get the Ultimate treatment. For those of you who haven’t been keeping up, the Ultimate moniker means that NECA packed as much articulation and extra goodies as they could into these releases and wrapped them up in some premium and collector-friendly packaging. And if had any doubt as to NECA’s commitment to Jason Voorhees, then know that this version is indeed coming from the one movie in the franchise that technically didn’t even have Jason in it. It’s also quite possibly the first figure in my collection based entirely on movie dream sequences. A lot of people don’t care for Part 5 because Jason sits it out and it’s definitely not one of my favorites, but I actually find it to be pretty enjoyable. If nothing else it has a few pretty creative and grizzly kills.

Continuity is a beautiful thing, especially when it means an action figure can recycle a lot of parts. In this case, Part 5 Jason shares his entire body sculpt with that of the Part 4 release. The paint is also fairly similar, although this version is given a more slicker, glossier, and wetter look to simulate the rainy dream where young Tommy Jarvis watches two idiots dig up Jason and quickly get dispatched by him. Of course, it doesn’t work quite as well for recreating Dream Jason at the end. As usual, the sculpt here is excellent and you get rotating hinges in all the right places to pose your imaginary Jason. That’s really all I have to say about this body, let’s check out some heads!

There are two heads that are tied directly to the opening dream in the film and both feature the extra wet and dirty hockey mask. The only difference between these two is that one has the worms coming out of his eyes from when he was lying in the grave and the other is sans worms for when he got up and started killing. Now, unlike most of the Ultimate Jasons, all the heads in this set feature the mask permanently sculpted onto the head. They did this with the original Ultimate Jason from Part VI and I wasn’t a big fan, mainly because the blacked out eye holes are a lot less convincing. It’s not as big a deal for me here, since Dream Jason was never unmasked, and I guess you could argue that the blacked out eyes adds to his dreamlike qualities. With that having been said, I think the decos on these two versions of the mask look fantastic. These are undoubtedly the masks that I will display this figure with the most.

The third head depicts Jason from the dream sequence towards the end of the flick. It’s slightly cleaner but has the cut in the upper corner and the blood trickling down. This is another great looking mask, but here the blacked out eyes bother me a lot more.

The fourth head is a bit of a reach, but it’s based on the very stylized looking mask with glowing eyes depicted in one of the film’s posters. I guess it’s a cool item and it’s a great reason to pick up one of NECA’s head stand packs, but it really feels like NECA was desperately looking for something extra to include in the box, given that this set is light on weapons and completely reuses the body from a previous release. This extra is even more puzzling since NECA didn’t even use this particular piece of art for the cover of the box. I’ll be honest, I never really cared for this particular poster. The styling never made any sense to me and I could easily see some more casual Jason fans not even realizing what this head is supposed to be. Let’s check out the other accessories!

For starters, you get the machete and what I think is either supposed to be a chisel or a screwdriver. Both of these are the implements Dream Jason used to dispatch the idiots who dug up his grave. They’re decent looking accessories and Jason can hold them pretty well in his right hand.

The third and final weapon is this double-bladed axe. I don’t remember Dream Jason ever holding an axe, but maybe this is supposed to be the one that was used to kill Joey? It’s been a long time since I saw this flick, so I don’t remember. Either way, this is a cool killing implement and NECA went heavy with the blood!

The final accessory is Jason’s grave marker from the first dream sequence and it’s a pretty rad piece. It’s meant to be crudely fashioned from boards and has Jason’s name inscribed across it in what looks like white spray paint. Of course, it’s just an imaginary version of Jason’s headstone. We get to see the real one in the next movie.

If I ever had any doubt that NECA was committed to releasing a Jason from every damn movie, than this one puts that doubt to rest. And if ever there was a figure made for Jason completists like myself, this is the one! It’s a figure of an imaginary Jason from a movie that he doesn’t even appear in and a lot of folks don’t seem to like all that much. And as great a figure as it is, it’s also probably the least impressive when it comes to extra accessories. Sure the passel of heads is great, the worm-ridden one if fantastic, and I love the grave marker, but there’s not much else in this box to generate a wow factor. And so Part 5 Jason is really going to be for those of us who are all in and digging deep and buying them all. If that’s not you, you may want to sit this one out or hunt down one of the others.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday the 13th (The Final Chapter): Ultimate Jason Voorhees by NECA

NECA has been killing it (HA!) with their Ultimate line of action figures, each one curated from some of the most iconic horror, sci-fi, and action films of the 80’s. Among them has been their love letters to a personal favorite franchise of mine, Friday the 13th. This is Jason Voorhees’ third outing in the Ultimate line, preceded by versions from Part VI and Part III. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll refer you back to the first review if you want a little taste of how much these films have meant to me growing up. As for now, let’s dig right in!

I’ve reviewed at least a dozen of these Ultimate figures, and if you’ve been on board for any of them then you should be familiar with the packaging. You get a collector friendly window box with a front flap, poster art from the film on the front, and artwork on the side panels to identify the figure. As for the film, The Final Chapter was the fourth installment in the series, and there wasn’t an ounce of truth to the title. But I didn’t care. This one is one of my favorites. From the moment the title collided with Jason’s mask and exploded right in my face, I just knew this one isn’t f’cking around.

I was excited to get this version, as it’s probably my most iconic version of the scourge of Crystal Lake. As expected, this Jason shares a lot of parts with the Part VI figure, as that version wears the same outfit and just accessorizes with a belt of killing tools and some work gloves. With that having been said, the clothes on this version are painted with a gloss that makes him look wet and the pants don’t have the ragged edges around the ankle cuffs that the version from Part VI has. So, there are some changes here to make him unique, but the underlying body is mostly the same.

With the same body comes the same articulation. Jason sports rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. You also get a ball joint in the neck and swivel in the waist. That’s a lot of points for this lumbering killer, and probably far more than he needs. Then again, more is always better than less.

And that brings us to the noggins. Yes, you get two swappable heads with this figure, and both of them feature removable masks. One of the biggest improvements NECA made from that initial Part VI release was actually putting eye holes in the hockey mask, rather than just sculpting them and painting them black. The two masks that come with the figure are virtually identical, with just some natural variations in paint that are bound to happen. I’d dare say, the extra mask was really unnecessary, as one will fit over either head, but it’s still nice to have. And I can’t say enough good things about the masks. They are perfect little replicas of the one worn in the movie. The detail and paint are just off the charts and the way they fit the heads with actual straps is particularly nice.

The standard unmasked head is a work art as well. I mean, damn, just look at all that detail! The twisted flesh, the jumble of teeth, this is fantastic portrait just brimming with love and affection. What’s more the paint work really backs it up. You get some wonderful variations of brown, and just the right of that glossy wet look around the lips. Jason’s face might be a train-wreck, but NECA elevated it to a masterpiece in plastic.

The alternate head is designed with a gash that will fit one of the weapons to recreate Tommy’s “killing” blow at the end of the flick. He did it with Rob’s machete, but as you can see in the above shot, it works with the cleaver as well. This head sculpt features the mouth slightly more open and the left eye closed. Magnificent! And speaking of cleavers… let’s move on to the accessories!

NECA usually does a great job of including the more memorable weapons from the film. In this case, you also get an extra right hand with a different style grip. Here are the cleaver and butcher knife, both appropriately smeared with blood. It’s hard to pinpoint which kills were done with the knife, but I’m pretty sure he used it to stab Samantha through the bottom of the raft and later Teddy Bear got it right through the movie screen. Jason buried the cleaver right into Dead F’ck’s face, but not before…

Nailing his hand to the kitchen counter with this corkscrew! Why am I so pleased that I own a 7-inch scale bloody corkscrew murder weapon? I don’t know, but I think it’s awesome that this is one of the accessories. Knives and cleavers are all well and good, but NECA knows that when Jason gets creative, you’ve got to include that shit in the box! I might point out here, that the killing tool from one of the best kills in the film isn’t in the box. I’m talking about Paul getting the harpoon right in the worst spot imaginable. On the other hand, the Jason from Part III comes with a harpoon gun, so you can always borrow his. Mixing and matching accessories is one of the cool things about owning a bunch of these Jasons. Anyway, back to the accessories…

The bone saw! When Jason woke up at the hospital morgue, he must have felt like a kid in a candy store. So many great toys to choose from! First he cops a feel on a pretty nurse and then he uses the bone saw on morgue attendant, Axel’s neck before finishing the job by twisting his head all the way around. Let’s take a moment and give a thought for poor Axel. He loved his exercise videos and had one of the best swearing fits ever committed to film.

And that brings us to the Axe, which was used to pretty great effect as Sarah was running to escape through the front door of the cabin and Jason threw it right through the door and into her chest. I know Jason’s been perfecting his game up to this point, but even for him, that was an impressive throw. It’s worth noting that this axe is different than the one that came with Part III Jason.

And finally, we have Rob’s machete. Rob came up to Crystal Lake specifically to hunt Jason for killing his sister and he brought along his trusty machete. I like that it’s kind of ironic that the machete in this film belongs to someone else and Jason doesn’t really use it. It’s also fitting that it’s the weapon Tommy uses to strike that impressive blow right to the side of Jason’s face after his sister knocks his mask off.

Before wrapping things up, Jason does come with one final accessory and that’s his mother’s gravestone. We see this pretty early on as the carload of teenagers pulls over to check their map. It doesn’t really hold any other significance in the film, but it’s a really cool piece and I’m glad NECA included it. Especially since now we have gravestones for both Jason and his mom.

If you’re already collecting the many Jasons of this line, The Final Chapter Voorhees should not disappoint. It’s a great looking figure with solid articulation and a gaggle of extras to play around with. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a single Jason for your shelf and you’re not interested in grabbing them all, this one is a pretty good choice. It would be tough for me to pick a favorite of the bunch, but this one is definitely an iconic look. Ultimate Part IV Jason retails for between $20 and $25 depending where you buy him, and as always, that’s a damn good deal for what you’re getting. NECA has already hinted that they’re hard at work on the next one, and I hope they keep going until we get them all. And maybe an accessory pack, like they did with their Aliens and Predators lines.

Predator: Ultimate Jungle Hunter by NECA

It wasn’t too long ago that I checked out the aptly named, Ultimate City Hunter from NECA. Yes, the Ultimate Pred from the second movie was actually released first, and now hot on its heels comes the Jungle Hunter from the original flick. I need not gas on about how much I’m in love with NECA’s Ultimate figures. To the uninitiated, these are basically characters that NECA has released before, but now they’re given the utmost attention when it comes to articulation, accessories, and overall presentation. They’re not only wonderful action figures, but the line touches on all those wonderful nuggets of cinematic nostalgia from my youth. Needless to say I am super excited to dive right in and check this ugly sunovabitch out!

If you’re like me and already own City Hunter, you’ll be happy to know that Jungle Hunter’s package pairs up with it perfectly on the shelf. Hell, it pairs up beautifully with all the other Ultimate figures on my shelf from Terminator to Commando, to the slew of 80’s horror figures. Seeing these boxes all lined up is a beautiful thing and it reminds me of the VHS cassette cabinet that I had in my room with all the same titles on the spines. The package consists of a seemingly enclosed box with an opening front flap that reveals a window and allows for a good look at the figure inside. You get the Predator title running down both side panels and a whole mess of pictures of the figure on the back. Of course, everything is collector friendly and the only thing standing between me and my new Predator is a piece of cello tape and some twisty-ties.

Jungle Hunter comes out of the box with his shoulder cannon off, but I’m starting out with it attached to the figure and with the masked head on. Remember how I gushed over the City Hunter? Well, all that gushing goes for this guy too! The detail on display here is just crazy. I adore the creepy plastic they use for the Predator skin and how convincing the body net looks, even though it’s sculpted as part of the buck. I also love that I’m getting high off the fumes of this fellow even though he wasn’t sealed in a clam shell. Despite seeing both Predator and Predator 2 more times than I can imagine, I was never really aware of how many differences there were between the Preds until I had these figures in hand to compare. In fact, it’s worth noting that I’m hard pressed to find any parts shared between this guy and the City Hunter.

Some of the wonderful details on this Pred include the leather loin cloth, the beautiful pitting in the leg and thigh armor, the alien carvings in his belt buckle, and the strings of bones that hang off of his shoulders. Oh, and let’s not forget the sculpted sandals. Am I the only one who thinks that Preds wearing sandals is weird? Well, this one does so I should probably just get over it. Where was I? Oh yeah… the details! So good! I know I use the phrase “work of art” a lot when I talk about NECA stuff, and here’s yet another example where it’s appropriate. I can just get lost in every little loving detail that NECA put into this figure. If you want better than this, you’re going to have to go to Sixth-Scale and shell out a whole lot more money. Or maybe just go for one of NECA’s Quarter-Scale Predators.

The shoulder cannon is a lot beefier than what we saw on the City Hunter and it is a beautiful piece. It tabs in at the shoulder and again in the back, making it pretty easy to put on and take off. It also holds in place quite well. I love the segmented armor running down the back of it like a crustacean shell. The piece also mates nicely with the armor sculpted into his left arm as well as the hoses. It all makes him look more formidable, and yet a little more primitive, than his urban-hunting successor. The hoses have a habit of pulling out when I’m posing this guy, as you may notice in some of the pictures, but they can be stuck right back into place.

NECA included an effect part that pegs into the shoulder cannon. It looks OK, but the added weight is too much for that little ball joint to take, so it doesn’t really work that well. I can usually get it to sit right for a little while, but then it just droops. I guess it’s the thought that counts.

The masked head is a lot cleaner than the pitted and weathered City Hunter’s mask, although it does have a few painted blast marks and some light scratching and scarring. I really like the detail in the laser tracker just above the right eye slit. But in the end, it’s the dreadlocks that impress me the most with this head. Each one is individually sculpted and painted and boy do they look great. And while I do enjoy the masked head a lot, it’s hard to go with it when the other display option is this…

Fantastic! Once again, I’ve got to say how great this plastic is. It’s very glossy, giving the Pred a slimy look and it takes the coloring very well. The sculpting on the mandibles is beautifully done and again we get the individually sculpted and painted dreads hanging off the back. The deep set piercing eyes, which are practically buried under that prominent brow are also superbly executed.

In addition to the shoulder cannon, Jungle Hunter includes the retractable blades on his right gauntlet and the self-destruct computer on his left gauntlet. Once again, both of these are completely different sculpts from City Hunter.

Probably my favorite extra included in the box is the mask, which obviously doesn’t fit over the face, but allows you to display him as if he’s taking it off for that memorable moment in the film. It’s especially nice if your torn between displaying him masked or unmasked, because it gives you the best of both worlds without having to buy a second figure.

And finally, you get some trophies! The skull with spine is the same piece included with City Hunter, only this time without the gore. You also get an extra skull. Jungle Hunter also comes with an extra set of hands, which are designed to hold the spine.

Is it any surprise that City Hunter turned out so fabulously? Well, it shouldn’t be, because NECA has been working their magic on Predators for what seems like forever now and they know their stuff. Their regular release Predators are fantastic in their own right, so it’s only natural for me to have high expectations from the Ultimate Preds, and all those expectations have been fulfilled here. It’s the crazy level of detail and all the differences between the City and Jungle Hunters that make me want to start collecting NECA’s regular Predator line. And yet it’s still something I’m trying to resist. Both my wallet and limited space do not need me to dive down that rabbit hole. Now, I’m just counting the days until the re-releases of Dutch come out, so I’ll have someone for Jungle Hunter to fight. Sadly, still no Lt. Mike Harrington figures on the horizon, but a fella can still hope.

Predator 2: Ultimate City Hunter by NECA

It’s been a couple of months since I last checked in with NECA’s amazing line of Ultimate figures, and that just won’t do! Luckily, I happen to have their Ultimate City Hunter from Predator 2 hanging around and waiting to be opened. I should first go on record by saying that I really dig this movie a lot. Taking the franchise out of the jungle and into the city was a great idea, and Danny Glover was a great choice as the lead. It wasn’t just more of the same, but rather felt like something new and different. And so, while I’m not really collecting NECA’s regular Predator line, I am all-in on the Ultimate figures, and I was really excited to get this one.

The Ultimate line’s packaging features beautifully illustrated boxes with a front flap that opens to reveal a window and the figure inside. There are some great pictures of the figure in action, and the name of the franchise is printed on the side panel, so you can line these boxes up on the shelf as if they were chunky VHS tape sleeves. Everything is collector friendly, so let’s carefully take this guy out and start with a look at the figure itself.

NECA has been doing Predators in this scale for what seems like forever, so it should be no surprise that they’ve nailed the sculpt. Indeed, I think you’d be hard pressed to find another figure in this scale that has more loving attention to detail and is this screen accurate to its source material. I’m sure a veteran Predator collector could point out some parts reuse on this guy, but the only other Predator I own is from the Aliens Vs. Predator 2-pack, so this is all new to me. I don’t know what flavor plastic they use for the skin, but it’s incredible stuff. It has a glossy and almost translucent sheen about it that takes the various painted skin patterns and makes it look real and it also contrasts beautifully with the pitted and ancient looking armor pieces. The net body suit is part of the sculpt as well, and he even has that bone handbag-looking thing hanging off his side. Anyone know what that is?

From the back, you can get a better look at some of that armor detail. Again, the pitting and wear in the sculpt, along with the aged patina, really sells these plastic parts as well-worn metal. As for the rest of the detail, just check out the intricate scaled pattern in his right shoulder guard, or the medical kit pod on the center of his back. Oh, and see that track running down from his left shoulder. Is something missing there? Well, I’ll get to that in a bit.

The helmeted head is equally fantastic. It looks like it’s made out of hammered copper, thanks to the intricate pitting in the sculpt and the beautiful paint wash. The dreadlocks spill out the back and sides, and each one is an individual piece with its own unique detail and paintwork. Now, as much as I love and respect the amount of work that went into this masked head, this is the last time you’re going to see it on the figure in this review, and that’s for two reasons. First, the ball joint piece has a habit of coming out inside the head and is a bitch to get out. This makes swapping the heads a pain in the ass. Second, the unmasked head is so damn great that I want to keep it on the figure all the time.

Because just look at it! I can never decide whether the markings on the Predator’s head reminds me of a snake or a cockroach, but either way it’s deliciously repulsive and recreated here just perfectly. The beady little eyes can just barely be seen under the pronounced brow ridge, and those mandibles? If those aren’t a work of art, then I don’t know what is. He may be one ugly sonofabitch, but I’m most definitely in love with every bit of this portrait.

This line has been a champion of solid articulation and City Hunter is no different. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinged elbows. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips and ankles, swivels at the hips, and double hinged knees. There’s a ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. Not bad!

Before moving on to the accessories, City Hunter has a few tricks up his sleeves… literally! His right gauntlet features a twin set of vicious looking blades with some nasty serrated edges. These will extend a little bit just by pulling them out. These are also among the many aspects of the figure that I would recommend being careful with. They are fairly rigid and probably pretty easy to chip or crack.

His left gauntlet features his self-destruct computer, which hinges open and shows the alien characters on the displays. The hinge on this device is another part of the figure that feels extremely delicate. It’s also an area that I find myself gripping when changing the right hand, which is probably not the best of ideas. Of course, as a release in the Ultimate line, The City Hunter comes with a ton of stuff and a bunch of extra hands to interact with all the accessories. But before I go on, I do have to circle back to that empty track on my figure’s left shoulder. Unfortunately, my City Hunter came without his shoulder cannon. I have been able to rectify that with a replacement from the retailer, but it hasn’t arrived yet, and I firmly believe in pressing on with the review based on how the figure arrived. When the replacement does arrive, I’ll update this review appropriately. Now, let’s get to what my figure did come with.

First off, he comes with his spear, in both its retracted and deployed forms. The retracted spear can be clipped to his back, which points to one of the many things I love about this figure, that being his ability to carry all his weapons at once. He also comes with left and right hands designed to hold the weapon. I’m glad they went with two different pieces, rather than try to make the spear telescope. This route allowed for better sculpts of both and probably a much sturdier extended spear.

Next, he comes with his Net Launcher. This piece can be pegged into his lower left leg for storage. He also comes with a left hand specifically designed to hold it. The fingers are flat and they go right into the groove on the back.

The Smart Disk, or Glaive, can be stored on his right hip, and it’s a damned fine sculpt, complete with little gears on the back and finger holds.`

The final weapon in City Hunter’s arsenal is the retractable laser on his left gauntlet. You get two covers for this, one that pegs in flush with the gauntlet to depict it closed and another that depicts it deployed and ready to fire. As subtle as it is, I think it’s fantastic that NECA included these little pieces. It really shows how much thought and love goes into designing these figures and what kinds of extra features they can include.

The last accessory isn’t a weapon, but rather a trophy in the form of a skull and spine. This is a brilliant sculpt, especially for this scale, and the paint features a grisly red wash that suggests it’s a fresh kill. This piece looks so great, it really makes me want to go back and pick up the Predator accessory kit that NECA released a little while back.

It’s a remarkable thing that NECA can keep the prices of these Ultimate figures just under the $25 mark. The sculpt and paint are incredible and they really pack a crazy amount of stuff into the box. Granted, my figure was missing one of those extras, but it was easy to resolve, as I’m getting a second figure as a replacement and I’ll happily use the extra one to display the masked head. If picking up this figure has a downside for me, it’s that it really makes me want to start collecting more of NECA’s lovely Predators. It’s an urge that I’m trying to stave off, because there are so many of them and the last thing I need is another line to collect. hopefully, I can last at least until the Ultimate Jungle Hunter comes out. What’s that? It came out yesterday? Dammit!