Heroes of the Storm: Sylvanas (Warcraft) by NECA

Last week, I started looking at the last wave of NECA’s wonderful Heroes of the Storm line with the Orc Warchief Thrall. Today, I’m pressing on by opening up Sylvanas. It’s the last Warcraft-based figure in the line, and that makes me a very sad little Murloc.

Ah, but check it out! It’s the sexy and deadly Ranger-General of Silvermoon, Sylvanas Windrunner, now known as the Banshee Queen of the Forsaken. Give me a moment to unsheathe my Sin’dorei Warblade, slice open her sealed prison and release her. ACK! I HAVE UNLEASHED THE NOXIOUS PLASTIC GASSES!!!

Once again, NECA really knows their way around the Warcraft aesthetic and have done a beautiful job bringing this figure to life. She’s their first female from the Warcraft universe and still manages to retain her shapely form while including the jagged and somewhat bulky armor that is so popular in the realm. Sylvanas features beautifully sculpted armored boots, gauntlets, and shoulders, with some added plates on her thighs and to cover her blood elf bewbs. Her midriff and ample cleavage are, of course, exposed, because who would ever take advantage of that in battle?

As with Thrall, the illusion of layered gear on this figure is very well done. The armor pieces are all part of the sculpt, but thanks to the carefully detailed underlying clothes and the sculpted straps and buckles, I could almost be convinced that she’s actually wearing the armor. The attention to detail in the shoulders is particularly exquisite. All the armor pieces have that wonderful hammered metal finish, the reinforced borders harbor tiny nicks and dents from battle, and the shoulders are adorned with spikes, sculpted feathers and tiny skulls.

From the back, Sylvanas sports a purple fabric cape, which shows some considerable wear. She also has a quiver, which also has its share of nicks and scrapes from use. The quiver is designed to hold the loose arrows she comes with, but I’ve only been able to get two in there at a time. I’m not sure what’s going on down inside that thing, but the arrows are fragile and I don’t want to force them.

The paintwork on this figure is a real treat and is all about the contrasting of the drab brown and black of the trousers, boots, and straps with the beautiful metallic purple of the armor plates and the soft matte blue of Sylvanas’ skin.

NECA did a bang up job on the portrait here. Sylvanas is wearing a sculpted hood with slits for her long and elegant ears to protrude through. Her wispy eyebrow extends out over her right eye, but her left eyebrow is concealed. Bits of her hair peek out from the hood to frame her face. Her eyes are beautifully painted, but they can be tough to see under normal conditions, because the hood casts a shadow over the top part of her beautiful face.

Sylvanas sports many conventional points of articulation, some of which are at odds with her sculpting and character design. Y’all know how much NECA loves their rotating hinges, and this figure has them in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. She also has a ball joint under her chest and in her neck. The shoulder armor pieces are flexible, so you can manipulate them to allow her shoulders to move a bit more than you might expect, but maybe not as much as you might like. She also has swivels in her biceps, and mine look like they’ve been pulled a bit, as there’s a noticeable gap. It’s tough to see, since they’re buried under the shoulder armor, but I worry a bit that they may get floppy over time.

As for accessories, Sylvanas comes with her bow, Deathwhisper, which is a damn beautiful sculpt. It includes a lovely organic shape, as well as a shield attached to the center. The underlying bow is brown with bulked out pieces painted in silver and metallic purple to match Sylvanas’ armor. It also includes a real string. It’s a little tough to get her to hold it. I actually had to razor apart her fingers, so that I could wrap her hand around the grip, but once it’s in hand it stays put. Also included are her three loose arrows, which I mentioned earlier.

The articulation allows for her to knock an arrow and get ready to fire, but she can’t really pull back on the string very far. I actually think this may not be so much a restriction of the articulation, but more because the bow is strung tight, and there isn’t much elasticity to allow it to be pulled back. Now, with that having been said, I was still able to get some nice poses of her leading up to taking a shot.

Sylvanas also comes with an effect part for one of her skills, Wailing Arrow. This is a great looking piece, but I was totally stumped as to how it’s intended to be used. I was ultimately able to wedge it in between the shield and her grip to make it look like it’s being fired, but I tend to think it was just included as a bonus and not to be used with the bow in any specific way. I’d say this was a pretty big oversight, but at least I was able to get it to work.

And so, it is with a heavy heart that I end this review, knowing that there will be no more Warcraft figures from NECA. Boo! It’s especially painful because Sylvanas really is a great little figure and I wanted to see so much more out of this line. Which begs the question, where did the license go? Well, I know Blizzard struck a deal with Max Factory to produce Overwatch Figmas, but I don’t know why that would necessarily preclude NECA from continuing with this line. But, them’s the breaks and I really have to learn to be thankful for what I have, rather than what else could have been. Besides, I still have one more figure (from the Starcraft franchise) in this line to check out, and I’ll swing back to him in a couple of weeks.

Heroes of the Storm: Stitches, The Terror of Darkshire by NECA

It took a while, but I’m finally all caught up on NECA’s Heroes of the Storm line today as I look at Stitches! While this is intended to be the specific character from HotS, I’ve gone on record in saying that I don’t play that game and that I buy these figures for the games from which they’re sourced. In the case of Stitches, I know this guy best as the Undercity Guardians from the dark days of my World of Warcraft addiction. While WoW has spawned it’s share of figures and statues, I think this may be the first time we’ve seen an Abomination’s delightfully repulsive visage in plastic form, so I am super excited to check this guy out!

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Stitches comes in a sizable (and quite hefty) window box with some great artwork and shots of the figure, as well as a little blurb about him on the back panel. While Stitches is still scaled to go with this 6-inch line, and indeed isn’t all that much taller than his fellow figures, he’s still an absolute behemoth. As any good Abomination will tell you, it’s not the height, but the girth that matters! While the box is mostly collector friendly, getting Stitches off his tray will require a bit of patience and some deft fingers to work all those twisty-ties. Also, you’ll need to razor the bubbles, which hold his weapons to the sides of the cardboard insert.

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Out of the box, and it’s easy to see why they call him Stitches. Virtually indistinguishable from the run-of-the-mill Abominations that stalk The Undercity, this guy is a giant patchwork lump of dead flesh, stapled together and animated into a slobbering brute, literally spilling his guts out of the gaping maw in his belly. The sculpt here is absolutely stunning, with acres of mottled blue flesh, exposed muscles and ligaments, warts, and a delightful pair of saggy man-tits, which based on their color, were actually put there by design! And as good as the sculpt is, the paint easily matches, or possibly surpasses it. The sickly grayish-flesh tone of the skin on his right leg, left hand, and breasticles, is all truly disgusting and the subtle variations in his blue skin are phenomenal. It’s all so beautifully contrasted with the bright crimson of exposed meat and neatly painted silver staples. I was suitably impressed when I got him in hand, as even the production pictures of this guy really didn’t do the quality of paint justice.

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I mean, just look at that! Glorious! The open abdominal cavity shows exposed bones, some organs, and his intestines dangling down between his legs.

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From behind, we’re treated to a huge helping of saggy blue Abomination ass covered in warts, more miles of saggy blue skin, and the pizza-colored exposed section of his spine that curves up the top of his back. We can also get a good look at the third arm that grows out from behind his left shoulder. All of these lovely bits feature a respectable amount of articulation. All three arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, with his two main hands sporting the same in the wrists. The legs are all about rotating hinges too, here you get them in the hips, knees, and ankles. He’s also got what appears to be a ball joint under his chest, but it really only swivels. There are a few more points to talk about, but to do that, let’s move on to the portrait.

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Well, hello there! Wanna make out? This goofy bastard features an intense stare and a dental situation that looks like a 20-mount pileup on the road to Tirisfal Glades. Again, the sculpt and paintwork here is just phenomenal. I especially love all the necrotic looking tissue around his chin. But wait, there’s more…

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He not only has an articulated jaw, but an articulated tongue as well. I can’t think of too many action figures that can boast that! So good! The neck is also on a swivel, but since the head juts forward out of his torso, it doesn’t really turn side to side, but he can make those motions that a puppy does when it hears a strange sound. Adorable! Let’s look at his killing implements…

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Nothing makes a statement quite like a giant clever. I mean a clever that’s about as big as most of the other figures in this line. Seriously, this thing probably weighs more than Nova and it is every bit a work of art. The realistic looking wood-grain handle comes apart, so you can stick it in the top of his hand and plug the bottom of the handle into the bottom, pegging them together inside his grip. The blade is a huge slab of plastic with a convincing rusty patina on the surface, scratches from seeing a lot of use, and a bloody edge… from seeing a lot of use. Only his enlarged right hand is big enough to wield this thing.

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But we don’t want his freaky back hand to get lonely, so he also comes with a sickle. Same deal with the handle. It splits apart and pegs together in the grip. This is another accessory that features some quality paint.

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And since Stitch has one more hand, he gets one more weapon. This time it’s a hook on a chain with a counterweight on the other end. You get a similar rusty-silver finish as we see on the other weapons. NECA really captured the WoW aesthetic with all of these pieces, but for some reason the hook and chain totally nails it.

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Stitches is an absolutely gorgeous hunk of plastic and yet another fine example of the sort of love and craftsmanship NECA pours into their figures. He retails at around $45-50, but I was able to snag mine for just under $30. He completes the initial assortments of NECA’s Heroes of the Storm and despite some QC issues in the beginning with Nova, I’m truly happy to have jumped on board this colorful line. I’m also pleased to know that the line will be continuing and we’ll be seeing some of the upcoming figures later this month at SDCC!

Heroes of the Storm: Arthas (Warcraft) by NECA

I’m continuing to dig through the pile of figures waiting to be opened on the floor of my closet and I’m proud to say that I can finally see carpet and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! This time I’m returning to NECA’s Heroes of the Storm line and after a brief interlude with Diablo’s Tyrael back in April, it’s back to Warcraft with Arthas!

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This is the fourth time showcasing this packaging, so I don’t have much new to say about it. We’re back to the sealed clamshell, which is most decidedly not collector friendly and therefore requires a trusty, and preferably not cursed, blade to open it. It also rewards you by releasing the sweet, noxious gasses of plastic goodness. Ahhh, nobody gives plastic fumes like NECA does. So good!

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Arthas, aka The Lich King, needs no introduction to any followers of Warcraft lore. He’s as iconic a character as they come and NECA did a beautiful job here reproducing him in action figure form. The proportions, with chunky hands and feet, convey that delightfully distinctive WoW style that is instantly recognizable and this figure is absolutely packed with rich sculpted goodness. From the hammered finish on his boots, to the amazing skull-adorned armor plates on his legs, arms, waist, and shoulders, every little detail of The Lich King’s gear is lovingly recreated here. All the armor plates are sculpted over a cross-thatch chain mail texture that give the suit a satisfying feeling of depth. Oh, and is that soft goods I see?

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Indeed it is! You get a purple cloth sash and cape, which are certainly not firsts for NECA, but definitely this line. I dig it!

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Arthas’ portrait is mostly obscured by his elaborate helmet, complete with the spire-like spikes that rise off the top in a crownly fashion. Strands of his blue hair cascade down the sides and if you get in there close enough you can make out his eyes and mouth. It looks like there’s a fully realized head sculpt under that helmet, and that kind of effort impresses the hell out of me.

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The paint on this figure is phenomenal. You get a muted mix of grays and silvers with copper painted rivets and borders. The mix of drab grey and metallic silver does a fine job of picking out all the careful texturing and sculpted scrollwork on some of those armor plates, as well as weathering. I especially love the effect in the eyes of most of the skulls, which use various shades of blue to give off an illumination effect. It’s brilliant. The paint is rounded out with some buffed brown for the leather gauntlets and straps and some tan for the tufted fringe on the gauntlets and boots.

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For a guy in a clunky suit of armor, Arthas sports some damn fine articulation. NECA kitted him out with rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles. He’s got swivels in the wrists, a swivel in the waist, a ball joint under the chest and a ball joint in the neck. Both the knee and shoulder armor are soft plastic so as not to inhibit those joints. I had to do a little gentle coaxing on one of the elbow hinges, but once I got him warmed up the joints all feel great and he’s a pretty limber fellow.

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The Lich King comes with one accessory, and as any Warcraft fan could have guessed, it is indeed the cursed sword Frostbourne. It’s lovingly recreated with the iconic ram skull at the center of the guard and the blade features a tarnished paint with a copper center. The hilt is designed to come apart so as to stick the hilt into the enclosed fingers on his right hand from the bottom and the top part of the hilt and blade into the top, pegging them together in his grip.

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NECA is absolutely killing it with the HotS line and I can’t say enough good things about these guys. Of course, that’s coming from someone who doesn’t even play Heroes of the Storm, but rather I collect this because it’s populated by familiar characters from Blizzard games that I have played. But even if I’d never spent a single day venturing in Azeroth, I think I’d still be buying these. The crazy money I spent on The Four Horseman’s Mythic Legions figures (which should be shipping any time now) prove that I’m a sucker for 6-inch scale fantasy and there’s no doubt that Arthas fits that bill nicely. Now I just have to pick up the Deluxe Stitches figure and I’ll be all caught up!