As the DVD and BluRay release of Guillermo Del Toro's sleeper hit, Pacific Rim, draws near, NECA has unleashed their second wave of 7" figures!
I am going to do something different this time around. Instead of creating three different individual reviews for NECA's latest wave of Pacific Rim figures, I will be combining them all together in one post as a 'Triple Figure Review!'
So without further adieu, let's proceed with Striker Eureka first!
Striker Eureka is the first and last 5th generation Jaeger! It's sleek, fast, and powerful. Before being stationed in Hong Kong, Striker was the designated Jaeger for Australia and piloted by father and son duo, Hercules and Chuck Hansen.
The figure for Striker Eureka was first unveiled alongside Wave 1's Gypsy Danger and Crimson Typhoon at Toy Fair 2013. The figure stands at the typical seven inch height, and is in proper scale with the two other Jaegers in the figure line. It was packaged in NECA's standard blister packaging. It's a shame that NECA does not package their figures into boxes that can be used to repackage figures in. It always kills me when I have to destroy the packaging. Fortunately enough I keep the labels and the status sheets from the blister packs before I dispose them.
The overall sculpt for Striker is pretty good. All of NECA's Pacific Rim figures are sculpted based on the 3D renderings used for the actual film from Industrial Lights & Magic. Personally, I was pleasantly surprised by Striker Eureka. Even though it looks bland at first glance with much of its body being a solid light gray color, the range of articulation and posing compared to the previous releases is quite an improvement. That remark about the coloration earlier, don't get me wrong. Even though Striker is mostly colored in a solid gray, there are enough details on the figure to allow shadowing under certain lighting to bring out much of the hidden detailing. That is something that I love.
Striker's blade swords are indeed articulated via a hinge joint on each blade. Unfortunately, they cannot be hidden nor removed. As a word of warning, the tips are sharp as #*$&. I already cut myself by accident and drew a bit of blood on my thumb. Just be careful when handing Striker around that area.
Articulation on Striker, as I have mentioned earlier, is an improvement over Gypsy Danger and by extend Crimson Typhoon. Due to the flexible nature of this Jaeger, Striker's shoulders are on a ball joint and can be moved around freely. The elbows are certainly better than Gypsy's, but only by a bit. The torso, while stiff at first, is quite flexible. Give it a few twists and it'll be loose enough to bend around to give Striker an action pose. The Jaeger's design once again allows the joints in the midsection to be more concealed and dynamic at the same time.
Striker's legs are similar to Gypsy's in regards to joints and articulation, but fortunately Striker's knees and ankles are a lot more stiff and bulkier than Gypsy's. Therefore it won't topple over so easy unlike Gypsy Danger, according to some collectors.
To be honest, I was not expecting much from Striker Eureka at first, but he turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me. He has a great sculpt, good enough detail, and improved articulation! For anyone who is a fan of Pacific Rim, I'd suggest that you pick up this figure wherever it is available. It's definitely becoming my one of my favorite figures as of now!
Now let us move onto our next figure, Battled Damaged Gypsy Danger!
When NECA's 2nd wave of figures for Pacific Rim was first announced, I was confused as to why they would release another Gypsy Danger so soon. Cherno Alpha would've been the more logical choice. Is it because they anticipated that the first Gypsy figure would sell well that another variant would bring in more money? Perhaps. Surprisingly enough, even though the Battle Damaged version is essentially the same exact figure as the first one, I like it a lot more!
Collectors have speculated that the Battle Damaged Gypsy Danger would have some improvements in regards to the level of articulation and some other inconsistencies with the original, but in fact, there is no difference in the overall sculpt whatsoever. They are the same exact figure only with a couple of differences. First off, the paint job obviously reflects Gypsy Danger after the Hong Kong battle scene. By extent, it resembles Gypsy more during its underwater battle with the Kaiju, Scunner and Raiju, at the Breach. It's a shame that this sculpt didn't have Gypsy missing an arm and damaged leg. That would have been a creative way to alter the sculpt. *Note, I find that Gypsy's visor is much better painted this time around.
The second difference between this figure and the original is that it is compatible with the two Chain Swords that are supplied with this figure. The swords are obviously neat and add much needed detail to the overall figure. This is another reason as to why I prefer this Gypsy over the first one. Also, whether this is due to the fact that I have not toyed around with it much, but the ankles on this one seem to be much more firm, allowing it to hold a pose or stand upright. Only time will tell whether this will remain standing or topple after a while like its counterpart.
Since this figure is essentially the same as the previous one, there is not much left to say. I happen to like this version of Gypsy a lot more due to the differences that separate it from the original. The dirtier paint job adds a great amount of detail to the figure, which the original lacks. And the Chain Swords are just awesome and add to the figure's overall detail as well. It's a great one when compared to the first. I'm glad I got it!
And now onto our final review, the Kaiju, Leatherback!
Leatherback is one of the two Category 4 Kaiju that invaded Hong Kong. It destroyed Cherno Alpha, immobilized Striker Eureka, and ultimately it was destroyed by Gypsy Danger. Leatherback is perhaps one of the more distinct and recognizable Kaiju from the film. It resembles what appears to be a reptilian gorilla (the closest thing we'll ever get to an actual Kongzilla!)
The figure for Leatherback measures up to seven inches in height, around the same height as the Jaegers. It is definitely in scale, for those wondering. Despite being at the same height, Leatherback is still a much larger figure. It's bulky and has a great deal of weight to it! It is obviously the largest and heaviest figure in the line so far. While there are many great things about this figure, the thing that I can't get passed by is the lack of necessary detail in the face. It resembles Leatherback from the press material as opposed to what you see on screen. Leatherback's eyes are supposed to be blue and there are at least one or two more pairs of them. One small set in the front and another smaller set behind the main set. Regardless, it's still neat.
Leatherback is a much needed improvement over Knifehead. Not only is it in proper scale, but Leatherback has much more points of articulation. The mouth opens and closes, the head can spin left or right, the shoulders move front and back as do the elbows. The wrists can be rotated around and each finger has a hinge joint as well. The legs, knees, ankles, and feet all have articulation as well. This figure definitely stands out as the one with the most posability in the line!
Detailing on this figure is absolutely fantastic, aside from my issue with his face. The figure is colored in a way that it seems that it reflects the light from its bioluminescent markings. It also gives us a much better view of his back since that is the side we don't see much of in the movie unless you pause it.
When compared to Knifehead, Leatherback is a true beast! It makes you wonder how big a figure of Slattern, the Category 5 Kaiju, would be in this line!
Leatherback can interestingly balance on its fists too! With that, you can pose him in a charging position as seen in his battle with Gypsy Danger in the movie.
In conclusion, Leatherback is a really great figure and a must-have for any Kaiju collector and Pacific Rim fan! It is definitely a step forward in regards to what collectors expect from articulated Kaiju figures. I found Knifehead mediocre in that regard. I seriously look forward to what NECA has to offer us next in the third wave. Cherno Alpha and Otachi were hinted at via NECA on Twitter.
As of now, I have all of NECA's Pacific Rim figures with the upcoming 18" Figure Series Gypsy Danger on reservation. The first wave alone wasn't too impressive, but when displayed with the second wave, these figures really do come to shine!
Pacific Rim hits DVD and BluRay on October 15th. It is currently available for Digital Download via Itunes, Xbox Video, and more! If you still haven't seen it then drop everything you are doing at this exact moment, download it from Itunes, and watch it!