Marcus Fenix

I’m back, baby!

Spent last week hopping about the country–first to Houston for a wedding, then to Los Angeles to make preparations for my own nuptials. But now I’m back in Boston just in time for the Celtics to have to go to Game 7…again.

When I got back, I made my usual toy rounds and picked up a figure I’d been waiting to see in person: Marcus Fenix from NECA’s Gears of War. NECA isn’t exactly striking while the iron is hot; Gears dropped in November 2006, and even Halo 3 and its subsequent McFarlane toy line has come and gone since then. However, Gears of War 2 hits this fall, so I imagine these figures will find plenty of collector enthusiasm.

If you’re curious about my thoughts on Gears of War the game, you can read my review. Today I’m just going to be talking about the action figure.

Marcus stands about seven inches tall, putting him in line with most of NECA’s figures. The sculpting is fantastic, but I’ll just let the photos show you that. What impresses me even more are the paint applications; the grimy wash on the armor is very well applied, and they found just the right shade of blood-rust red for the Lancer rifle. The detail work on the various tiny graphics and icons on the armor–such as the “Skull Gear” on the chest–is nothing short of amazing (they may be decals or decoupage, I’m not certain). The only bit that isn’t perfect is the somewhat gloppy work on Marcus’s hair.

NECA has recently wowed fans of articulation with their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and Raziel figures, but the company seems to pick and choose which licenses get the works. Even different figures in the same line might get differing articulation; the Alien Warrior in their Alien vs. Predator: Requiem line (see the last pic) had excellent articulation, but the Predator from the same line was rather pre-posed. The amount of articulation is often tied to how well it can be integrated into the sculpt. Since the soldiers of Gears of War are classic examples of the gigantic, beefy types Epic Games is known for in their games (such as Unreal), extensive articulation probably would have hindered the sculpt (and besides, in that get-up, there’s a limited number of poses Marcus can get into anyway). So while Marcus does feature the all-important ball jointed neck, as well as ball jointed shoulders, hinged knees and what appears to be swivel-hinge wrists, everything else is a cut joint, including the elbows.

Marcus comes with two accessories: his Lancer–the game’s iconic “chainsaw gun”–and a pistol. In the game, the pistol can be holstered on Marcus’s back, but there doesn’t seem to be an attachment for it here. He also has a knife in a leg sheathe, but it isn’t removable.

Be careful with the Lancer. It can be tricky to fit Marcus’s left hand into the grip above the chainsaw, and if you’re not careful you might break the blade. Also, the rifle has a tiny swing-out handle attached to the left side, which apparently is used to stabilize the weapon while you’re chainsawing a Locust’s face off (I never noticed it in the game, but that may have been due to all the blood splattering across the screen). The handle pops off really easily.

While I would have preferred more articulation on Marcus, he’s still a great figure (though at $17 at Newbury Comics, these purchases are getting harder and harder to make).

And he looks awesome fighting an Alien.

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