ThunderCats Ultimates: Captain Cracker by Super7

I’m trying to parse out my reviews of Super7’s third wave of ThunderCats Ultimates, since there are only three figures and who knows when more will ship. Last time I checked out Slithe and now I’m turning my attention to that cantankerous clockwork clunker and evil space pirate, Captain Cracker!

You get the same beautiful style packaging as we saw last time, but Cracker’s box is a lot smaller, as he doesn’t have nearly the chonk factor of Slithe. It seemed to cause some collectors a lot of distress to see Captain Cracker turn up in Wave 3 of Super7’s ThunderCats. No doubt, they were hoping for a more prominent character, but I was pleased to no end. As eager as I am to complete my ThunderCats and Evil Mutants, I’m fine with them peppering the waves with more peripheral characters. And it’s not like Cracker was a one and done villain. After he was introduced running afoul of Mandora the Evil Chaser, he returned for two more episodes, the third of which even got him top billing in Cracker’s Revenge!
ThunderCats character designs tend to cut two ways. You’ve got your bad-ass characters and your goofy characters. Guess which group Cracker belongs to! But goofy or not, he has the potential to make for a great action figure!

And on the whole, I think that fun potential is realized here. Despite being a robot, Cracker wears clothes! His plastic wardrobe consists of tan trousers with a brown shoe on his left foot and just a metallic peg protruding from his right knee. He’s got an orange shirt with sculpted black vest, ragged sleeves, fingerless white gloves, and a brown belt with a sheath for his dagger. The sculpt is pretty basic here, which fits for the animated aesthetic. I do think it was a little cheap sculpting the vest as part of the body, rather than making it a separate piece worn by the figure. The paint could have been a lot cleaner around those ragged sleeves. If this were a twenty dollar, off the rack figure, I could be more forgiving.

At least they didn’t cheap out on the heads, as you get two portraits to choose from. The standard features Cracker offering a malevolent mugging and evil grin, showing every one of his weird white robot teeth. Super7 did a nice job capturing Cracker’s personality with some very nice detail. The Captain has a sculpted dew-rag “tied” around the top of his head. He’s got a prominent, a pointed spike for a nose, and an eyepatch bolted to his face. His exposed right eye is drawn on his face and looks wonderfully cheesy. Cracker has what looks like whiskers for a mustache and right eyebrow. I seem to remember the mustache sparking when Cracker got mad in the cartoon.

The second head gives Cracker a surprised expression, with his jaw clamped shut and his one eye wide open. Who’s laughing now, Cracker?

The Captain comes with three sets of hands, including two fists, two relaxed hands, one right accessory holding hand and one left graspy hand. Considering he comes with two weapons, I’m kind of put out that we didn’t get a left hand for holding his other weapon. So, let’s take a look at the weapons.

The dagger is a nice piece, with a gold painted hilt and a silver blade. It fits snugly into the sheath on his belt, and he can hold it perfectly fine in that one accessory holding hand.

His other weapon is a cutlass, and this is all silver. Either they were going for something simple to emulate the animated look, or they were too cheap to paint the hilt. Honestly, I can’t remember what Cracker’s sword looked like in the cartoon, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s fine. There’s no scabbard for it, but you can thrust it through his belt when he’s not using it. It sure would have been nice to have him hold the sword in one hand and the dagger in the other, but nope!

Cracker also comes with a wrench, which I assume was included based on the scene in Mandora and the Pirates, where he threatens to take Quick Pick apart with the wrench if Mandora doesn’t give herself up. I suppose he could also use it to do maintenance on himself. Also… Can we get a Quick Pick figure, please?

And last but not least is Cracker’s bird, which I’m pretty sure was never given a name, but hopefully someone will correct me if I’m wrong. [Oh, wait. It’s Polly. It’s actually printed on the back of the box!] Actually, you get two versions of The Captain’s trusty sidekick, one with wings at his side and one with wings spread. Both of these are sculpted and painted very nicely, and both feature rotating heads. They also both feature a peg in the feet that plugs into the hole on Cracker’s left shoulder.

The peg works pretty well, but for it to work, Cracker’s arm needs to stay down. I would have loved another display option. Like maybe a way to clip the bird to his arm or a hand with a peg hole to hold him.

I like robots. I like pirates. It stand to reason that I would love a robot pirate! With that being said, I think Captain Cracker turned out pretty good, but not quite great. It felt like I had a litany of nitpicks in this review, and they started to add up. Cracker is a great looking figure, and I’m happy to have him in my collection, but I think this was a figure that needed to really win fans over for being released so soon in the line, and I’m not sure he has what it takes to do that.

Gremlins: Ultimate Gremlin and Gamer Gremlin by NECA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Child’s Play: Ultimate Chucky by NECA

Did you think that after Puppet Master, I was done talking about evil, murdering dolls? Well, think again! I can’t have a Halloween Horror Month without paying my respects to Child’s Play, now can I? And it’s a good thing because this figure has been kicking around here for ages waiting to be opened. I absolutely love Child’s Play, it was another one of those horror flicks that I was introduced to on Cable TV late one night and I regard it as a Modern Classic. I seem to recall liking the second one quite a bit too, but after that they started to blur together until I stopped watching them. Nope, I didn’t bother with the remake, and I haven’t really looked at that TV Series either.

Chucky comes in your typical NECA Ultimates box, which means it looks fully enclosed, but the front flap opens to reveal a window and the figure inside. The box plays off the the doll’s package design in the movie with the Good Guys logo and even challenges you to collect all the different Chucky accessory packs. Very cool! Like the Puppet Master figures, NECA went with an extra small figure here that kind of puts it in scale with the regular 7-inch line. I mentioned how I would have preferred the Puppet Master figures be 7-inches, but I think the smaller size works better for Chucky. It also allowed NECA to absolutely load him up with three extra heads and an obscene amount of murdering accessories.

NECA certainly did not let Chucky’s small size get in the way of pumping him full of a crazy amount of detail. He features his long sleeve striped shirt, overalls, and red sneakers. If I didn’t have the figure in hand, I would swear the overalls were soft goods, but nope they’re sculpted plastic! The rumples and stitching are just so damn convincing, and they are littered with printed images of the various Accessory Packs shown on the front of the box, from construction worker to cowboy and doctor. It looks like Chucky’s has more professions than Barbie! The striping on the shirt isn’t exactly crisp, but I think that lends to the idea that it’s supposed to be printed on fabric. The painted laces on the shoes, on the other hand, are pretty sharp. This is just a great looking figure!

As I mentioned earlier, you get a total of four heads for Chucky, each one sinking further into the realm of nightmare fuel. The first is his stock, straight out of the box, Good Guy noggin. They did a great job making this look like a lifeless doll head, with vacant, staring eyes, puffed out, pinchable cheeks, and a golly-gee-willikers pucker of a smile. The hair is sculpted into an immaculate bowl-cut, parted on the right side, and his eyebrows, lashes, and freckles are printed on in the most appropriately un-realistic fashion possible.

From there we go to the head with Charles Lee Ray’s personality poking out. It’s great how just a change in expression can bring the portrait to life. His once blank eyes are now bulging with villainy, his hair is a little mussed up, and he looks decidedly displeased with the world around him. It no longer looks like a doll, but a living psychopath!

From there we go to the damaged “OH, LAWD HE CRAZY” head, and this just a lovely work of art. Chucky’s got some really nasty gashes running up from his chin, across his mouth, right up his right eye, and forking into a puckering “V” on his forehead. Meanwhile another gash runs from above his left eye down to his nose, along with sutures holding it together at the top. His hair is now parted dead center at his widow’s peak, and he looks like he means to do a lot of harm.

And just when you think it couldn’t get any more horrific, here’s Chucky with half his face gone and advertising that there’s meat and gore inside, rather than plastic and sawdust. “The more time you spend in that body… the more human you become!” Hot damn, I love it! Let’s check out his accessories!

Chucky does love him some cutlery, and he comes with a nice assortment of it. He also comes with extra hands so he can wield these blades. You get a bowie knife, a butcher knife, a straight razor, and a dagger. Each of these are wonderful sculpts with detailed paint to their hilts. I have a passing curiosity as to whether that butcher knife is repacked from one of the Michael Myers figures, but knowing NECA it’s probably brand new.

The dagger is the one he’s chasing Andy with through the doll factory in Child’s Play 2. Chucky gets his hand ripped off, and using the dagger and some duct tape, he makes himself a blade hand. Naturally, NECA included a swap out arm with the blade attached! You gotta hand it to them, eh? “I hate kids!” Me too, Chucky. Me too!

Also included in the mix of knives is the VooDoo knife. This fearsome blade features VooDoo symbols on the hilt and blade. It’s good for VooDoo rituals, stabbings, but can it cut through a can and then slice through a ripe tomato like butter? It would have been cool to also get the VooDoo Doll he used on Dr. Death, but there are so many goodies in the box already, it’s hard to nitpick what’s not.

I mean, holy crap you even get the yardstick he beats the teacher to death with while she finger-paints on the desk with her own blood! “You’ve been very naughty, Miss Kettlewell!” And just look at! All the units of measurements are drawn on it in teeny tiny little numbers, and it even has The Good Guys logo!

What’s that? You want MORE? How about a baseball bat? Or the Good Guys claw hammer? Or the gun he used to take Mattson hostage in Childs Play 2, albeit ever so briefly. They’re all here! I do wish that he came with a hand that held the gun better. I can make it work, but it’s a little iffy.

Lastly, but easily one of the coolest accessories, is a scaled cardboard replica of the Good Guys box to put Chucky in! I almost missed it in the box, as it’s flattened out. It’s so damn cool, and the figure looks great displayed in it. It’s accurate right down to the tiny Play Partners Toys logo in the bottom corner.

Egads, this is an incredibly fun figure! There’s so much great stuff here to play with, and I’ve been tempted to pick up another if I come across it, just to display one in the Good Guys box. I remember having some trepidation over whether this figure was going to be worth it, as it’s so small and released all by itself, but those concerns vanished after just a short while of playing around with him. I think the three extra heads and assortment of accessories more than make up for the asking price, even if Chucky is rather small. I’ve still got quite a few horror flicks scheduled to watch this month, but I may just have to slip Childs Play and Childs Play 2 into that mix somewhere. It’s been too long, and playing with this figure has made me want to revisit them again!

Puppet Master: Ultimate Blade and Torch by NECA

FFZ Halloween Horror Month continues, and nobody is more surprised than me that I’ve been able to stick to it this long. But we’re only at the halfway mark and I’ve still got lots of spooky plastic to look at. Today I’m covering the second two-pack in NECA’s Ultimate Puppet Master figures with Blade and Torch.

I said my piece about the packaging last time, so I won’t dwell on it here. For the record, the last film in this series that I saw was Puppet Master 3, released in 1991. I thought I’d check in to see if I missed any and HOLY SHIT THEY’VE DONE LIKE TEN OF THESE GODDAMN MOVIES??? I was not expecting that! And that’s not counting a cross-over with Demonic Toys. Crap, where the hell have I been? I loved the first three, but even then the concept was getting a bit thin. I can’t imagine how bad it gets by the tenth movie. My Halloween horror movie schedule is all booked up for the month, but at some point I’ll check out some more of these. But I digress, let’s start with Torch!

Last time, I mentioned what a wonderful collection of designs they came up with for these demon puppets, and Torch is a shining example of that. I love everything about this little guy! He’s got a tan trench coat that looks like he should be reviewing troops on a muddy battlefield and a glimpse of blue trousers, which disappear into his high boots. His left hand is clad in a black glove, while his right arm terminates in a flamethrower nozzle. I really dig the texture they gave to the coat, and it still amazes me that they were able to pack so much great articulation into such a little figure. Heck, this guy has double rotating hinges in the elbows!

But the real star of this figure is undoubtedly the head sculpt. It’s like someone took a boiler plate and reforged it into a combination Prussian Helmet and Darth Vader mask. The top portion of the helmet has a blackened finish while the lower jaw is silver. There are individually painted silver rivets around the nose and lower edge, and he’s got freaking bullets for teeth. BULLETS FOR TEETH!!! The narrow slits that pass for eyes are painted to show flames burning inside the helmet.

Compared to the last two figures, Torch is rather light on the accessories. Indeed, he only comes with one flame effect part. But that’s fine, because Torch is kind of a one-trick pony and it allows him to do what he does best. The flame part tabs right into the nozzle at the end of his arm and it looks pretty good. He can also stand surprisingly well with it in place. Let’s move on to Blade!

If I recall correctly, Blade was kind of the leader of the bunch, and he features another really cool design. Clad in a black Gestapo-style trench coat and black fedora, he’s instantly menacing. His super thin frame adds to his creepiness and reinforces the fact that he’s just a puppet. He certainly looks more like a marionette than any of the others. And don’t offer to shake hands with him, because he hasn’t got any. His right arm terminates into a blade and his left arm into a fearsome hook. Blade takes a hit in the articulation, but he’s still pretty poseable. He is not, however, easy to keep standing.

The head sculpt is fantastic. It’s like a skull with lips, being vaguely cute and horrific at the same time. The large eyeholes have little blades sticking out of them, and he has stringy gray hair cascading down from under his fedora. The white face contrasts with the all black outfit nicely and I just couldn’t imagine that creepy grin being the last thing I saw.

You get a second head as well, which is just blood splattered and has the mouth closed all the way.

Blade only comes with one additional extra and that’s a blood splattered blade to swap out with his clean one. These two definitely got the short and of the stick when it comes to accessories, but I honestly can’t think of anything they could have added. Maybe a blood splattered hook too? Either way, it’s not like Blade can hold anything!

While I definitely dig Tunneler and Pinhead, I have to give the nod to this pair as my favorite of the two sets. Yeah, that’s mainly because Pinhead’s design is kind of boring compared to all these other guys. But even so, these are all really solid figures and I’m glad that NECA acquired the license and that I talked myself into getting them.

And while last time I lamented the fact that they weren’t bigger, I’m kind of digging the fact that their small size means they are releasing in two-packs. There are still some great puppets to be made, and I do hope that these are selling well enough for NECA to continue the line, because I’m all in! Don’t bother with the Dollman and Demonic Toys flicks though. I’ve never been able to make it through any of those movies.

Puppet Master: Ultimate Tunneler and Pinhead by NECA

Welcome back to FFZ’s Halloween Horror Month extravaganza with the sixth installment of plastic spookiness. Today I’m having a look at NECA’s recent series of murdering marionettes! I wish I could convey to you younger folks what it was like in the late 80’s to have crippling insomnia and Premium Cable TV. Well, actually, Cable TV was probably pretty lame compared to the awesome power of the Internet. But back then it was pretty new to me, and I still get nostalgic about sitting up late at night and watching the horror schlock cheesefest that was Cinemax until my insomnia would finally give up and let me go to sleep. Puppet Master was one of those series, and teenage me thought it was glorious! Needless to say, I was pretty excited when I saw NECA was doing these figures!

Evil comes in all sizes! It says so right on the package! This seemingly fully enclosed box looks similar to most NECA Ultimate figure packaging, but it actually opens in the middle to reveal not one but TWO windows showing the figures inside. It’s a nice homage to Andre Toulon’s carry case in the film. The scale here is a little wonky, as they are not 7-inch figures, nor are they really scaled for 7-inch figures. I think these would more be in line with Sixth-Scale, which makes them rather small, but not too small in my opinion. Let’s open them up and check them out, and I’ll start with Pinhead. We have such sights to show you! No, not THAT Pinhead!

This Pinhead! Pinhead is a fun design, but he is easily my least favorite of all of Toulon’s puppets. I mean, look at some of the other cool designs and then you’ve got this guy, which is essentially an oddly proportioned brute with a tiny head. Sorry, man. Someone has to come out on the bottom and you’re it. Still, NECA did a wonderful job with the sculpt and making the articulation work. Pinhead’s oversized upper body consists of a dirty brown turtleneck pullover, and his atrophied lower half is clad in blue trousers. His giant fists have fingerless gloves, sculpted to look like knitted material. Everything here looks great!

The head is so tiny, it almost needs to be seen in person to be believed. His knobby acorn of a noggin still manages to capture the look of his onscreen counterpart pretty well. I especially love how they gave him articulation at the top and bottom of the turtleneck.

As you might imagine, Pinhead is not a well-balanced figure and getting him to stand can be a bit of a frustrating chore. I don’t think I actually started crying until the seventeenth time he toppled over before I could snap the picture. Of course, that’s more a fault of the design than the figure. Still, his tiny feet are not equipped with any peg holes, so if you want this fella standing upright, you’d best use some kind of Figuarts-type stand. The articulation consists of lots of rotating hinges, and he is lots of fun to play around with.

Pinhead comes with two sets of hands, which includes a pair of fists and a pair of accessory holding hands. The left is designed to hold his poker, and the right holds his wrench. I remember his kill in the original movie with the poker, but I don’t recall the wrench. It’s been at least 10 years since I’ve seen it, and I might have to toss it into my October Viewing Schedule in order to remedy that. Both accessories are satisfyingly chunky and well done. I like that they painted the shaft and head of the poker different colors, and the weathered finish on the wrench looks great. OK… moving on to Tunneler!

Now this is one of the more creative designs I was talking about! I love Tunneler! He looks like a little toy soldier with a giant drill on the top of his head. The uniform looks a little more WWI than WWII to me, but the detail is great, including the painted gold stripes on the cuffs and breast pocket, the tiny individual buttons, the cinched belt, and the tiny medal pinned to the left side of his chest. Like Pinhead, we get a lot of rotating hinges here, and he’s a lot more of a balanced figure than his cohort.

You get two heads for Tunneler, and the only real differences are that his eyes are squinting in the second one, and his drill is all bloody. I think I recall this puppet having blinking eyes in the film, so this head makes for a nice detail to give to what would have otherwise just been a bloody variant. And YES! The drill bit does spin! Tunneler had one of my favorite kills in the first movie, where the chick is looking under the bed and he just comes charging at her head.

Tunneler comes with a bunch of cool stuff, including an extra right hand to help him hold some of it. First off, you get this adorable, tiny sub-machine gun. I don’t remember it in the movie, but I love it.

Next up, he comes with this little pick-axe.

And how about a pair of fishhooks, attached with a piece of string! Yeah, he got a lot of cool stuff, considering he already has a drill on his head. But that’s OK, because despite the last item being in his tray, I gave it to Pinhead!

It’s a bottle of the Elixir, which if I remember correctly was what gave the puppets life. Tunneler’s hands are too small to hold this, but Pinhead can hold it really well in his right hand. Maybe it was meant for him, but it just wouldn’t fit in his tray?

OK, now cards on the table, I do wish NECA had made these as 7-inch figures. Yeah, I already discussed this, they aren’t really 7-inch scale, so why not just make them bigger? I guess, it allowed them to do them as two-packs, and that’s fair enough. Honestly, the scale doesn’t hurt them at all, but I would have preferred them to be bigger. That having been said, I absolutely love how they turned out, and if you come back on Friday, I’ll have a look at Torch and Blade!

Universal Monsters: Ultimate Frankenstein’s Monster by NECA

My sincerest apologies to those of you who aren’t into horror, but I’ll be back to comic characters and transforming robots and all the other stuff in just a few weeks. For now, it’s the second week of my Halloween Horror Month and I ain’t done with The Universal Monsters just yet. After a week of looking at Jada’s efforts, it’s time to switch gears and check out NECA’s own version of Frankenstein’s Monster! And I’ll go ahead and do some comparisons throughout.

If you’re familiar with NECA’s Ultimates line, then the packaging here should be instantly familiar. Frank comes in what appears to be a fully enclosed box, but there’s actually a front flap secured with a little velcro. Opening it reveals a peek at the figure inside. While I wasn’t entirely sure whether or not Jada was up and up on all their likeness rights, there is no doubt at all, that NECA is offering the real deal here! You get a beautiful recreation of the movie poster on the front and they rightfully dub him The Monster in the bottom left corner. This figure was released in both Color and Black & White versions, and I’ll be looking at the Color Edition here today!

IT’S ALIVE!! ALIVE!!!! Well, he looks so damn good, he might as well be! Let’s be honest, NECA has their share of problems, but when the stars align just right, and the QC holds up and the joints don’t bust, you can count on them to produce an amazing looking action figure. And to be fair, I’ve had precious few issues with NECA’s stuff over the decades, and absolutely none with this figure here. Frank looks amazing, from the top of his flat head to the bottoms of his platform monster boots. If I’m being honest, I fell in love with this figure the moment I got him out of the box, and I’ve had a big dumb smile on my face the whole time.

As always, realism is the order of the day, and Frank’s suit fits the bill! It actually has less textured detail than Jada’s, but manages to look more convincing with it’s smoother finish. The jacket is cast in soft plastic with the sleeves sculpted as part of the arms. The jacket is fastened at the top two buttons, showing off the top of his black undershirt, and parting down below his trousers. You get some rumpling in the sleeves, and a lot more down in the trouser legs. The suit has mostly a matte finish, but there’s some gloss splashed here and there to give him a bit of a wet look in some areas. The coloring on the trousers and coat also match quite closely here. The sleeves are short, exposing part of his forearms and they have all the detail that I lamented was lacking in Jada’s release, including staples and sutures.

You get three heads here, and each and every one of them is a winner. The standard head is just Frank being Frank. His eyes are partially rolled up into his head, and he’s generally expressionless. Here is all the Karloff likeness that I couldn’t find in Jada’s figure, and I’m still not sure that’s what they were going for anyway. Whatever the case, this is a strikingly gorgeous sculpt with some absolutely amazing paintwork. Let’s talk about skin color! I’m no Frankenstein expert, but I do know that the makeup was tinted green, and as I understand it, that was to make it look gray and dead on B&W film. As such, NECA went with an approximation of what that would look like in color. It’s more yellow than gray, but the jaundiced hue works for me very well indeed. I also love the glossy red they used for his forehead wound.

The next head is kind of derpy and I mean that in every positive way, because I LOVE derpy Frank! Yes, this is actually designed to replicate his cheeky growl, and it’s a mighty fine effort, but frozen like this it takes on a whole different meaning. NECA’s wizards manage to keep the likeness there, and the mouth is just some fantastic sculpting!

And finally, you get grimacing Frank, and again I think this one is up for interpretation. I think they were going for angry or scared, but I think it looks more like a big dumb smile, which I really adore because it reflects the misunderstood tragedy of the character. This is also some wonderful execution, and again the depth and realism in the mouth is striking. I don’t think it’s like has been equaled at this scale by many other figure sculptors. Take it as you see it, but like the previous one, I think this head works for a couple different possibilities.

In terms of articulation, NECA’s Frank takes a step back from Jada’s, favoring rotating hinges in the elbows and knees, as opposed to double-hinges. In this case, I don’t mind. As I stated in the other review, I don’t need super-articulation out of my Monster figure, and this guy is capable of whatever pose I wanted to do with him. I will say that the elbow joints look a bit unnatural in some poses, but I guess those double hinges aren’t always attractive either. In the end it’s all compromise, but I’m happy with what we got here. The figure also comes with three sets of hands to change up for different poses. He has a relaxed pair, a grasping pair, and a pair to interact with his flowers.

Yes, flowers! Frank doesn’t come with a whole lot of accessories, but he does come with a trio of flowers to recreat the famous scene. The flowers are sculpted in two pieces, one pair and one individual and he can hold them quite well in his special hands. These are perhaps not the most exciting accessories, but I think they were essential part of the character’s true nature, when people weren’t antagonizing him.

You also get a set of manacles, as opposed to the two sets that came with Jada’s figure. These feature a shorter chain, and the cuffs do not open so you have to pop off the hands to put them on. Still, they look better and feel more substantial.

By every assessment, this is an excellent figure, and for fans of the original film, I think it’s a must own. Jada’s figure still has it’s merits, and I’m happy to have it in my collection, but it’s an entirely different take and comparing the two is like apples and oranges. For a while, I was actually going to pass on this release, since I’m trying to limit my acquisitions these days rather than expand into new areas, but once I saw that the line would be expanding, I jumped on board. I think you’d probably have to look to Mezco’s One:12 release to find a suitable rival, and considering the vast price difference, I think this one wins the day.

Ultimate Voltron by Super7

I did some reorganizing in the closets this weekend and found some stuff that I never got around to reviewing and set aside a small stack of goodies. Among that pile is Super7’s stab at creating a stylized and articulated 7-inch version of the Legendary Defender of the Universe, Voltron, for their Ultimates line!

Everything about this packaging screams premium! You get classy angled edges and a swank glossy black sleeve with foil lightning bolts surrounding a foil Coat of Arms. Lifting off the sleeve reveals a foil window box with Voltron and his accessories filling out the inner tray quite nicely! The rainbow Voltron logo is situated below the figure and the back of the package has the opening narration of the cartoon series. Everything is collector friendly, and that’s a wonderful thing, because this is a figure I intend to display in the packaging. Let’s get him out and have a look!

Obviously, this is a Voltron figure that does not separate, which allows for creating a sculpt with all the stylish flare of the big robot’s animated appearance. And I’m happy to say that Super7 took full advantage of it! The limbs are devoid of the more unsightly lion kibble, with those details softened and blended into the robot. The arms are a bit more rounded, while the legs are left more boxy. Meanwhile, the torso is perfectly proportioned. And while the goal here was to create a simpler and more animated look, there’s still plenty of nice detail, particularly in the lower legs, the “belt,” the chest crest, and of course the head sculpt. Along with a solid sculpt, the colors are vibrant with a mix of metallic and matte finishes to offer some nice contrast.

Unfortunately, as I really started to scrutinize the figure, the cracks in the foundation began to show themselves. There are some weird imperfections in the plastic, like creases and blemishes showing some problems with the molding process. Likewise, the paint application shows a lot of inconsistencies. It’s sharp in some areas, messy in others. There are a number of flubbed areas where brush strokes and swirls can be seen. No single one of these nitpicks is terrible, but when they all form together, the figure just doesn’t stand up to careful inspection.

But where this figure really flops is in the articulation. Now, Super7 is a stand up company, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they did a complete run down on the articulation when they solicited it. But, I bought mine from an online retailer, which simply listed it as Super Articulated. What I got was profoundly disappointing. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, there are swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, and rotating hinges in the wrists. All that is pretty good, although the shoulders tend to look rather awkward when angled out. It’s the legs that really hurt the figure. The hips have front and back rotation, and that’s it. No lateral movement at all. The figure is sculpted with a bit of a wide stance, but again… that’s it. The knees are hinged. You do get rotation in the waist and the neck. Voltron can achieve some decent looking modest poses for display, but sadly I did not find him to be a fun figure to play around with.

As for accessories, you get two extra hands, with the lions’ mouths open. Why Super7 didn’t just hinge the mouths is beyond me. Maybe they felt the hinge wouldn’t hold the accessories well, and that’s fair enough. The regular lion hands have soft mouths to grip the accessories pretty strongly.

Naturally, Voltron comes with his Blazing Sword and Shield and these accessories are absolutely gorgeous! The sculpts are great and they are actually vac metalized so they have stunning silver finishes. As mentioned, the grippy lion head hands hold them extremely well, although the joints in the shoulders and elbows aren’t always up to the task to hold their weight for long.

And finally, you also get a Summoning version of the Blazing Sword with a blue hilt and a glow-in-the-dark blade. Necessary? Nope! But it sure is a heck of a nice bonus!

I was really excited to finally open this figure, but I’m sorry to say it did not live up to my expectations. You get some stellar packaging and a figure that looks pretty good just standing on the shelf, but I found him to be frustrating to pose in any meaningful manner, and in severe need of some lateral hinges in those hips. Added to that, the strange imperfections in the molding, and some sloppy paint just doesn’t reflect the $45 price tag. There’s definitely some stuff to like here, but not enough to make this a happy purchase.

Halloween (2018): Ultimate Laurie Strode by NECA

Earlier in the week I checked out NECA’s Ultimate Michael Myers figure, based on his appearance in the most recent film in the Halloween franchise. That release was quite special in its own way, as it marked the long overdue return of the Halloween license to NECA’s loving, and abundantly-skilled, hands. But today’s figure? Oh boy, this one is a release that was against all odds. It’s not only Laurie Strode, but it’s Laura “elderly, survivalist-wack-job, ass-kickin, and unbelievably amazing” Strode. Yeah, it’s a great time to be a horror action figure collector, my friends!

I don’t think it would be accurate to call Jamie Lee Curtis my very first celebrity crush, but she’s gotta rank in rather closely. I cut my teeth on the first two Halloween films at a shockingly young age and I’m not ashamed to admit that JLC sure made me feel all funny down there. Since then, I’ve always enjoyed her films. Fast forward to the 2018 Halloween, and her wonderful character arc just made her all the more appealing. Older, Grittier, and a total badass. One time hot Final Girl blossomed into I-Ain’t-Takin’-No-More-Shit-Granny and she has never been more awesome. We just talked about the Ultimate packaging a few days ago with my Michael Myers review, so I won’t spend any time on it here, other than to say how much I love the art on the front panel. That’s it… let’s just jump right into the figure.

Laurie comes sporting the latest offering from the Survival Chic catalog. I honestly couldn’t even remember much about what she wore in the film, but I’ll happily accept this as screen accurate because I know NECA does their homework and always has an eye for details. She’s got a pair of black trousers with stitch lines running down the sides, and partially tucked into her woodland boots. And I might add the sculpting on the laces and individually painted eyelets just shows you how much love NECA pours into these figures. Whenever I can admire details in an average, everyday costume like this, that’s how I know they are masters at their trade.

Working our way up, she’s got a thin brown belt with a knife sheath on her right hip, a dark blue t-shirt, and a jacket which makes use of the old trick of using sleeveless soft plastic and sculpting the sleeves onto the arms. Like the boots, the jacket sports all sorts of great details, from the sculpted pockets and wrinkles, to the stitch lines and carefully painted silver zipper tracks. She even has a tiny cross hanging from a chain around her neck, both of which are part of the body sculpt. The articulation here is basically the same as we saw with Myers, and yes that does include the double rotating hinges in the elbows. As some of you may know, Hasbro’s elbow articulation gender inequality in their Marvel Legends figures is a big sticking point for me, and it’s nice to see that Laurie here doesn’t take a hit just because she’s a woman.

But the gushing doesn’t stop there, because now we get to the portraits, and wow are these great. I think the likeness is instantly recognizable, although I will say I think it looks better from an angle than when viewed from dead on. If I were to nitpick, I might suggest that it could have used some more age lines, especially since these are very apparent in the art from the box. The film did not play down JLC’s age, and I really respected that about the film and the actress. But when the figure looks this good, why complain?

The secondary head looks more or less identical, with the one exception being the granny glasses. I’d argue that these are some of the best executed glasses I’ve seen in this scale. Now, did I really need a second head to display her with or without glasses? Nah, if the extra head weren’t in there, I wouldn’t have missed it. Did NECA throw it in anyway? You bet your ass they did! They cool like that. What other extras are in the box? Let’s have a look!

NECA bundled enough weapons in here to make their own Ultimate Sarah Connor jealous. She also comes with a right hand that is sculpted with a trigger finger to work with all the guns, and a left hand that is designed to cradle the long arms. The first of the guns is her Smith & Wesson Model 66. This is the one she was using for target practice in the yard. The sculpt is ridiculously well detailed for such a tiny weapon, and includes some really nice silver paint and brown paint on the grips.

Next up, we get one of my all-time favorite rifles, the Winchester Model 1873. This one really appeals to the Western lover in me, and it was great to see it make an appearance in the film and in this figure’s accessory list. Once again, you get some wonderful detail in the sculpt, and the paint includes an authentic finish to both the metal and the wood.

And finally, Laurie comes with her own boomstick, and another iconic beauty, the Mosberg 500 shotgun. This one is easily the simplest sculpt of the three firearms, but it’s still quite accurate and her left hand is sculpted to fit the pump action slider very well.

And just when you think we might be done, Laurie comes with one more weapon, and that’s this little survival knife. It fits into the sheath that hangs off the belt on her right hip and the sheath itself is a magnificent little piece of work. It features a retaining strap for the hilt, sculpted stitching, and teeny-tiny rivets, which are individually painted in silver. The kicker is that this entire thing is only visible if you peel back her jacket flap, which just goes to show you how much love NECA puts into these figures. The knife itself is very small, and Laurie comes with an extra right hand sculpted specifically to hold it with a tight grip. I dig the finish on the blade. It looks like it might be intended to be a Damascus blade.

What more can I say, other than, “HOLY HELL, WE GOT A LAURIE STRODE FIGURE!!!” What other company would take the risk of making a figure like this? I can’t think of many. And all I can say is I hope she sells well enough to justify it. NECA did a beautiful job with this one, and I consider an essential companion figure to the 2018 Michael Myers. What’s more, I’m so happy to see this license back in NECA’s hands and I’m eagerly looking forward to the classic Halloween II version of Myers that’s supposed to be shipping sometime this month. Keep them coming, NECA, and I promise to even buy versions of The Shape from the movies I hated.

Marvel Legends (Hobgoblin Wave): Ultimate Spider-Woman by Hasbro

Sorry about Marvel Monday being cancelled last week, but I had me some Star Wars to look at and now it’s back to business. Today I’m opening my second figure in the Hobgoblin BAF Series and it is indeed Jessica Drew from the Ultimates Universe as Spider-Woman. If you know me, then you know I don’t spend a lot of time in the Ultimates Universe. I’ve got nothing really against it, but I don’t have enough time to read all the regular comics that I want to without delving into the made up universes within other made up universes.

mlultsw1

There’s the packaging and unlike last time the top reads “Spider-Man” as opposed to just “Marvel” and that’s the case for the rest of the figures in this wave. You’ll also note that Spider-Woman doesn’t appear on the front of the package anywhere, because she shares this slot with the other “Warrior of the Web,” May Parker Spider-Girl. As always, the window box shows off the figure quite nicely and you also get a good look at the Hobgoblin BAF part, in this case the torso. You also get a good look at my big mitts reflected in the plastic, because I’m a great photographer. Seriously, I do weddings. Anyway, let’s bust her out and take a look…

mlultsw2

mlultsw3

Brown is not the first color I think of when I think of my Spidey costumes, so this is not one of my favorite designs. Granted, it’s kind of a reddish brown. Maybe a chocolate brown? The pearlescent white paint does help jazz things up and I really dig the head sculpt. You can just about make out some of her facial features under the mask and the hair blowing off to the side looks great. Also, the…

mlultsw4

What?

mlultsw5

WHAT??

mlultsw8

WHAT???????

mlultsw7

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Welp, it’s not really worth going on, is it? The arm snapped right off at the elbow with practically no force applied at all. Hell, it might have just been held on by paint. Although the rest of this figure’s joints are janky as all hell, so I’m not sure what’s going on here. Obviously, this has been a huge problem with Funko’s Legacy line and a lot of DC Collectibles figures over the last year, but this is the first time it’s ever happened to me with a Hasbro figure. I guess, that’s a pretty good track record, but it still sucks when it happens. Oh, well. At least I got the BAF part. And honestly, if this had to happen to any figure in this wave, I’m glad it was this one.

mlultsw9

mlultsw10

mlultsw11

mlultsw12

As for next Marvel Monday… I’m going to take a break from the Hobgoblin Wave to check out a certain Walgreen’s Exclusive and then we’ll get back to it the week after.

mlultsw13

Marvel Legends: Ultimates Captain America by Hasbro

It’s Marvel Monday again! I’ve got some new MU figures on their way to me, but until then, I’ll just have to substitute a Marvel Legends figure for today: The Ultimates version of Cap! Captain America has already had his share of love from the new Legends line, with Steve Rogers and Bucky Cap, but I’m not complaining, because I do love Captain America, and as it turns out this figure is pretty fantastic.

mluca1

There are no real changes to the packaging since the last wave. It’s still as delightfully obnoxious and in-your-face as a comic book figure package should be. The character art is a little wanting, but that’s ok because the huge bubble displays the figure well, and draws in the eye. Cap comes with his shield beside him, and despite the package exclaiming that Cap is part of the “Hit Monkey Series” there is no BAF part included with this one. My guess is that Hasbro knew this guy would sell by himself, and in my case they were absolutely right.

mluca2

mluca3

Out of the package and oh, shit, this guy is all sorts of awesome. I’m not a big fan of the Ultimates books. I tend to turn to them when I have nothing else to read. That having been said, I do tend to like the character designs a lot, and Cap here is a perfect example of why I do. It’s the magnificently rugged, battlefield look that I love so much. It made perfect sense that the movie costume drew so heavy from the Ultimates design, because this looks like proper WWII Cap, thanks to all the added gear.

mluca4

mluca5

He’s got a softer plastic vest with pouches and a painted buckle, and his belt has sculpted ammo pouches, grenades, a combat knife, and canteen. It all looks outstanding! It’s a shame his gun is not removable, but it’s sculpted and painted well enough that I thought it might be. All of the gear is cast in soft brown plastic with some bright silver paint apps.

mluca10

mluca8

All that gear is placed onto an excellent body. The gloves and boots are slightly oversized to keep the chunky Ultimates aesthetic going, and the head sculpt conveys a delightfully self-righteous and pissed-off Rogers. The paint on the figure is also executed quite well. Yes, there’s a little chipping and bleeding on the white, which is clearly not intentional, but I think it adds to the weathered look of the character design.

mluca6

Naturally, Cap comes with his trusty shield, which is the same sculpt as the one that came with last year’s Steve Rogers. It does, however, have a fresh coat of paint, which includes a slightly more metallic finish to the front and the back is painted grey now, instead of red. The shield can clip onto his arm, or peg into the hole on his back.

mluca7

POA Roll Call! There’s nothing new here in articulation. You get ball joints in the neck, shoulders, hips, and ankles. The arms feature swivels in the biceps and gloves, and double hinges in the elbows. The legs have swivels in the thighs and boots, and double hinges in the knees. The torso swivels at the waist and has an ab crunch hinge. Apart from the usual annoying qualities of those Hasbro hip joints, the articulation is fab.

mluca11

Hasbro has delivered a number of 5-star figures in the new Legends line. Well, for my money, this version of Cap certainly takes his place alongside the likes of Thor, Punisher, and the first Steve Rogers figure, as one of them. He looks fantastic and he’s so much fun to play with, he’s probably going to land on my desk for a week or so before getting put up on the Legends shelves. Yes, a removable gun would have really sealed the deal, but even still, this figure has nothing to apologize for. He’s a fine example of everything I want out of this line… aside from good retail distribution. That still sucks.

Ok, with Marvel Monday out of the way, it’s going to be a DC theme up through to the end of the week. I may deviate Saturday for something different… we’ll see!