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.

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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…

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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…

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What?

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WHAT??

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WHAT???????

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!