Neca wants your money!
Is it poor timing or all just part of a grand plan? You have to ask yourself this question when you look at the mountain of awesome product to come out from NECA and we are only one month into the year. In the course of a week I purchased a new wave of predators, aliens, the gorgeous Spider-Gremlin and the long awaited ED-209. One month 8 pretty amazing figures; let’s take a look at what’s currently available before I jump into the time machine and look at what’s coming in the future.
Predators series 11:
Somehow Predators has become NECA’s longest running figure line ever. On paper a line that consists of repaints and excessive reuse of parts would be something that would sink pretty quickly but NECA has managed to keep it constantly interesting and fresh while completely avoiding beating a dead horse. Wave 11 is a perfect example of this.
First of all you have the Masked “Borg” predator, a background predator from one quick scene at the end of Predator 2, who was part of the “Lost tribe” of predators, sent to earth to hunt 90’s character actors. “Borg” was nick named such due to his wide array of techno armor, something quite different from his brothers who all had their standard predator stuff (loin cloths, fish nets, medical marijuana). In Predator 2 “Borg” was unmasked, and that version has already gotten a figure, but what would he look like masked? NECA went all out and not only gave Borg a mask that would make Darth Vader blush, they also gave him an insane cyber kitana, because why not right? I know you’re probably thinking that you don’t need a predator that isn’t technically in the movies but once you see him you’re going to have a hard time saying no.
Next there’s the “Wasp” Predator, the final(ish) Predator that appears in a fan movie called “Dead End” where Batman squares off against not only the Joker, but some Xenomorphs and 4 very cool looking Predators. Yeah it’s nothing official, just a quick 8 minute movie made buy some fans that you can find on youtube. Despite its lack of a pedigree “Dead End” has produced some of the coolest predators to date. “Wasp” joins “Big Red”, and “The albino” Predator (aka Cheetos). The design of this Predator is nothing special beyond bright yellow skin and black marking akin to a wasp, the real selling point is his awesome accessory, a Xenomorph head impaled on a spear. If you have managed to track down the other 2, having them face off with Batman in your toy display is just awesome.
Lastly, the one figure that makes no sense but managed to be awesome, Thermal Dutch. If you’re like me you found it hard to have reasons to buy every single Dutch figure thus far beyond the fact you’re getting an Arnold figure. Luckily Neca made enough where you could pick and choose which ones you wanted and which ones you didn’t. That’s until Thermal Dutch. Clear green plastic, painted on heat signature, a toy so cool by the simple fact they tried and succeeded, it’s a must own in every way shape and form. Sorry he doesn’t taste like green apple.
Aliens series 2:
Not nearly as cool as the latest series of predators but still worth your money if you understand some of the choices they made.
Right from the start you’re going to notice another repaint of the Warrior Alien, this time black with blue highlights, and the 5th repaint of this figure in less than a year. If you don’t have one, or you’re a collector of the Xenomorphs this is a great figure, if your happy with the one you have already this figure is an easy pass.
Second in the series is an all new Big Chap (the original Xenomorph from 1979), which makes improvements to the articulation and sculpt of NECA’s first big chap. Sculpt wise there wasn’t much to improve on in the first figure from 5 years ago, but the articulation left much to be desired, that’s where this new figure is a huge improvement. You get double jointed knees and elbows along with ball jointed hips and shoulders plus added articulation pretty much everywhere imaginable to give you a figure that can take almost any pose from the movie, which makes upgrading this space monster a pretty easy choice.
Lastly there’s the elephant in the room, Sgt. Craig Windrix. If you’ve seen this figure and you don’t know his back story you’re going to wonder just who the hell he is. Did you miss a background marine in Aliens; is he from a comic or one of the video games? None of those actually, he’s just a very fitting tribute to an awesome brother. Craig Windrix is the brother to NECA head sculptor Kyle Windrix. Craig had been fighting stomach cancer and lost his battle as I wrote this article, and it just happens that his favorite movie is aliens. NECA can’t cure cancer (I don’t think they can anyways) but they can immortalize you in plastic. So while Craig was never officially in any Aliens cannon you still have a pretty kick ass marine to play with. Craig comes with the standard colonial marine gear to play with along with a new flame thrower accessory and a fun shifty eyed glare. If you don’t want to buy this figure for whatever reason that’s fine but you might want to consider donating to a good cause http://5000milesofcraig.com/
Gremlins and Robocop:
Neca also dipped their toes into a market they have just recently begun exploring again with making larger scale more expensive figures. The two boutique items on everyone’s mind that just recently came out are the Spider Mohawk gremlin and the coveted Ed-209. Having both I can assure you they kick all sorts of ass.
The spider gremlin is perfect, as hard as I try it’s almost impossible to find a thing wrong with the figure. There is little to say that hasn’t been said before, the paint, the sculpt, the presentation are all perfect, hell even the price is less than what I would expect. The only complaint if you could call it one is that you need to use a blow dryer to assemble the legs to the body, which in the end gives everything a better fit so it’s hard to stay mad. If you’re a gremlins fan, this is a must have.
ED-209, a figure on most collectors top 10 lists that almost never gets any love due to his sheer size. While the NECA ED-209 is beauty he falls short in a few places. The sculpt is spot on, and the scale is correct, but the figure is made primarily of a hollow harder plastic that makes it feel very fragile and lighter than it should be. You’re not going to have any issues opening ED-209 up and enjoying right out of the box, the problems that are going to arise will be if he falls off a shelf or ends up in the hands of a toddler. Once you have him in hand you understand how easy he would be to break. All around ED-209 is a great purchase just be gentle with him at all times.
Now that the obligatory reviews of what’s new and exciting and available right now from NECA are out of the way let’s look into our crystal ball and take a peek at what’s coming for the rest of the year.
NECA, in some not so cryptic tweets has revealed already much of the Alien/Aliens merchandise coming out later this year.
The Queen Alien: While details are still limited it’s expected to be the Queen Alien minus her creepy egg birthing attachments. One item that has been heavily guessed at among those figure geeks in the know is the possible inclusion of the upper torso of Bishop as an accessory. While a ripped in half Bishop figure seems like a logical leap to make, don’t be surprised if NECA releases him on his own and charges full price for him.
Bishop: Bishop has not only been confirmed the final sculpt has been shown minus the head. Neca also recently confirmed Bishop to be a part of the next assortment of Aliens merchandise along with next figure I’m about to mention. As far as I know Bishop will not do the knife trick for you. I’d also expect some sort of dissected face hugger accessory to sweeten the pot.
The Dog Alien: Also announced to be part of the next assortment of aliens toys from NECA is the dog alien. If you remember the Dog Alien is the offspring of a Xenomorph and a Rottweiler as seen in Alien 3. Look for NECA’s new articulation standards like ball jointed elbows and knees along with at least one reuse of the mold, more than likely a repaint to reenact the final moments of the movie when Fido gets drenched in hot lead.
On the alien front there is more news that has been leaked as of late that hints to some long awaited figures finally getting the plastic treatment. First of all it seems any figure in a space suit is fair game to be immortalized in plastic, with Dallas being the first confirmed figure. This fits NECA’s reuse of sculpts to a T so expect Kane, Lambert, and maybe even Ripley down the road.
Speaking of Ripley, will we ever see a figure(s) of her from NECA? It’s hard to tell but going on what’s known, Sigourney Weaver is a very difficult person to deal with when it comes to merchandising. Does she have demands that make producing a figure not economically sound? Does she not want any part of a toy line with guns? Does the idea of an action figure just creep her out? Nothing is for sure except for the one vague hint we got in a Jonesy figure hidden in the display at last year’s SDCC. I can say this, if they have the ok from Sigourney to make figures, the power loader is not far behind.
Everything I’ve said thus far is pretty easy to guess or extrapolate on what’s known and what’s out there, what would NECA do that might be out of left field to surprise people? How about some Konami inspired repaints of the Xenomorphs in pink red and purple? Or perhaps NECA will continue the tradition of paying homage to Kenner and offer up some Kenner aliens, gorilla Alien anyone, perhaps the mantis alien. Kenner reused parts more than NECA in many cases so it’s safe to bet if they wanted reuse of parts to maximize their dollar these are good ideas.
At least 2 more assortments are on the way with many already heavily hinted at. NECA has already teased more Kenner style predators along with a crack at the predators from AVP, but despite that will there be any surprises?
Revealed to be coming from the “Kenner homage” is the Renegade and Scavage Predators and if I had to guess NECA will probably wait to release a flat repaint in a predator like “Cracked Tusk”, nope my money for the next predator is in a nod to another classic Kenner predator like the Clan Leader or Spiked tail Predator, time will tell.
But despite that will NECA surprise us with something else? I think so. Maybe it it’s wishful thinking, maybe it’s the fact they could just slap a new head on the existing Dutch parts but I think we will see another Predator Commando this year, along with with an easy rehash of said Commando getting killed by the Predator. My money is on Dillon, with some sort of dead variant with his arm blown off, probably in a 2pk packed with yet another version of the Predator.
Planet of the apes and Pacific Rim:
These are the 2 lines from NECA where the sky’s the limit. Just about anything is fair game if it’s a monster, robot or guy in a monkey costume. More waves of Kaiju, Jager, and apes are on the way with one small exception. NECA has publically stated that they won’t be focusing on the humans of the POTA franchise just yet. It’s a shame because I hate waiting for a Charleston Heston figure with flocked chest hair.
Oh and NECA recently tweeted this picture… Damn you! I’m sure it’s nothing.
To close what has become a lengthy article, have I covered every single nook and cranny of NECA, not at all, I completely ignored their 18 inch offerings and huge variety of video game related properties. And who knows what new giant city smashing properties NECA has waiting for you in the future. One thing that’s for sure is that they are going to make something your little geek heart desires.