Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'm A Grown Man And I Bought This: Pacific Rim Action Figures

Straight from the new movie of the same name, it's Pacific Rim action figures!

They're made by NECA, a company who's been tearing it up lately when it comes to movie-based toys. Their stuff is always very well sculpted, actually resembles the source material, is painted well and is reasonably articulated.

The only real complaint I have about them is the price, but that's a problem shared by all action figures today. The days of figures costing five bucks a pop (as they did in the mid 1990s) are long gone.

Wave 1 consists of two Jaegers and one Kaiju. A second wave will be released later in the year if sales are good.

First up is Gipsy Danger, the main Jaeger (pronounced "Yay-ger, which according to the film is German for hunter) in the film. Gipsy Danger is the American Jaeger.

Then there's Crimson Typhoon, the Jaeger from China (Heh, the robot's from China and the figure's no doubt made in China as well. Com-O-Dee!).

And lastly, the Kaiju codenamed Knifehead (for obvious reasons). "Kaiju" is Japanese for strange or giant beast.

One thing before I open them. The way they spell "Gypsy" here is bugging me no end. 

There's no way I can look at that spelling and not pronounce it "Ghip-see," as in rhymes with "Nipsey." This isn't a typo either; it's spelled this way on every piece of promotional material I've seen and even on viewscreens in the movie!.

And yes, I'm aware that "gipsy" is the preferred spelling in England, which makes perfect sense since this is the American Jaeger.

Anyhow, here's Gipsy Danger freed from its plastic prison. The sculpting looks pretty accurate to the film. As near as I can tell, that is.

This is how you're most likely used to seeing the Jaegers, courtesy of Photoshop.

In the film, every single one of the Jaeger vs. Kaiju battles takes place at night, in the pouring rain. I can only assume they did this because they were counting on the rain to obscure the CGI and make it look better, a trick first used way back in the 1999 American Godzilla movie. I'd have thought we'd have advanced beyond the need for such crutches by now, but apparently not.

One thing I wish they'd done is add a little bit of wear to the paint job. In the film these weren't brand new giant robots that just rolled off the assembly line, they'd been around for years and seen many battles. That's a minor gripe though. I could probably scuff them up myself if I had the time and the inclination.

By the way, good luck to anyone who ever decides to cosplay as Gipsy Danger, what with its legs that are longer than its torso. You'll have to have your leg bones lengthened!

Overall it's not a bad figure, but the articulation is a bit lacking. The head seems like it's supposed to turn, but I can't for the life of me get it to do so because of the "hood" thing on the back. The shoulders are ball jointed (good) but the pin-joint elbows move about a grand total of three degrees, if that (bad). Why even bother if that's all they're going to move? The wrists turn too (good).

One strike against this and all the figures: They come with absolutely zero accessories. It wouold have been nice if they'd included an interchangeable "wrist cannon" hand like the one in the movie. Or the chain sword! Why the hell didn't it come with a chain sword? That sword's a pretty big deal in the film.

The hips are ball jointed, the knees bend adequately, and the feet bend and twist. He's got a waist joint too, so he can turn from side to side.

Be careful when posing these figures, especially the Jaegers. The arms and legs have an alarming tendency to pop right off. Fortunately they pop right back on again. 

A light up feature in the chest would have been nice, but these things were expensive enough without adding electronics to the mix, so never mind.

Here's Gipsy Danger in the obligatory "Bigfoot walking" pose.

There's supposedly an 18" version of Gipsy Danger coming out later this year. Cool, but god knows how much that'll cost.

Next is Crimson Typhoon. In the film the Jaegers are so massive (I don't know if they ever said exactly how tall, but they're the size of skyscrapers) that it takes two people to pilot them. Crimson Typhoon here is manned by three pilots, triplet brothers from China. Hence the third arm.

I read on the internet (so you know it's true!) that NECA used the actual CGI files from the film to model the figures, so I suppose the accuracy is spot on. It's hard to tell though, because Crimson Typhoon didn't get a lot of screen time in the movie.

It's got pretty much the same articulation as Gipsy Danger, but with a few extra joints in the satyr-like legs. Oh, and his head moves around quite freely.

Watch that rear right arm though-- on mine it pops off very easily.

Last up is Knifehead, one of the Kaiju from the first battle we see in the film. 

I had no idea that Knifehead had four arms or a tail until I saw this figure. Unfortunately you don't get a very good look at him in the film, due to the aforementioned darkness and downpour in the fight scenes. I'll have to take NECA's word for it that he actually looks like this. 

Most of the Kaiju in the film were designed by Wayne Barlowe, who's been drawing bizarre but oddly plausible aliens for decades now. Track down a copy of Barlowe's Guide To Extraterrestrials sometime. You'll be glad you did!

Knifehead's kind of become the official Kaiju of the movie, the one featured on most prominently in the promotional materials. I kind of wonder if he's an homage to Guiron here, from Gamera vs. Guiron? That's a knife head if I ever saw one!

Sadly, poor Knifehead has the worst articulation of the lot. The shoulders and elbows on his upper arms move, but his smaller lower arms are forever frozen in place. His hips and knees move a bit too.

He's got a bendy tail as well, that doesn't really bend all that much. It's got a wire inside, but it doesn't seem to hold poses very well. Mostly I think it's there to keep him from falling over backwards.

Knifehead has one more point of articulation-- his jaw. It opens and closes slightly so you can make him bite the crap out of your Jaegers.
Seems to me like the bifurcated forearm would just make his limbs weaker, but what do I know about interdimensional evolution?
"I say there, Knifehead old boy, prepare yourself for a good drubbing!"
It's Jaeger vs. Kaiju Wrestling! Here we see Gipsy Danger, pinned by Knifehead, trying to tag out!

Overall they're good looking figures, if a little lacking in the articulation and accessories departments. You'll have to decide for yourself if the $17 to $20 pricetag (depending on where you buy them) is worth it.

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