(Check out my NECA gallery here.)
As always, NECA had some fantastic stuff on display at Toy Fair this year. Randy Falk, the Director of Product Development, gave me a tour of their major action figure lines for 2011.
Predators: NECA’s Predators line has been a big hit, and it will soon be moving away from last year’s movie and spreading into the first two films. Wave 3, which will be out in a few months, features the masked Predator from the first film, as well as the Elder Predator from the end of Predator 2 who gives Murtaugh Harrigan a centuries-old pistol from a previous kill.
Falk says NECA wants to produce figures of all the Predators from that final scene, and told me a funny story. I knew those Predators from the end of P2 (often referred to as the “Lost Hunters” because the suits were tossed immediately after filming) were played by L.A. Lakers players, but what I didn’t know was that those players had spent an afternoon filming a dance sequence to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (if you’ve never seen it, go watch it. Now). In fact, according to Falk, the dance video provided more references for potential figures than the movie itself.
In addition to Wave 3, we’ll also be seeing a new 7″ figure of the main Predator from Predator 2; his 2-up was on display. Unlike the other Predator figures so far, he’s going to have double-jointed knees and ball-jointed hips–creating an odd parallel with how McFarlane did their Predator figures. Why does Predator 2 always get the works for articulation? I suppose it’s because companies only get to him after the line has proven a success and they’re willing to spend a bit more on tooling. Here’s hoping we get a revised Predator 1 Predator with the double-knees and ball hips. Yes, I would buy him again.
Of course, the giant quarter-scale Predator was also on display. This thing is amazing. I’m very tempted to get it, but in this case space would be a huge issue. Still…
On display next to the Predator 2 figure was an unusual Predator mask. It was used for one of the Lost Hunters, but it was originally designed for the first Predator, but discarded because it was determined to be too detailed/busy for what they wanted at the time. While NECA is producing the Predator from the second film with that mask, they are also planning an SDCC exclusive figure of the Predator from the first film with that mask, to commemorate his original look.
(I also asked whether we might see the “River Ghost” alien that chases Edwin (Topher Grace) in Predators; it’s unlikely due to lack of screen time and recognition. But if collectors want him and we can show NECA that interest, maybe we can get one down the line…)
Terminator: NECA scored the license for the original Terminator, and they’ve got a number of figures planned this year to coincide with the twentieth anniversary (20 years?! Good Lord…) of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. On display were a new T-1000, a motorcycle cop T-1000, and three Terminators from the first movie–a regular gray-jacket version, a battle-damaged gray-jacket version, and the leather-clad version from the police station shoot-out.
As with their T2 line, it looks like these will have ball-jointed necks and shoulders, hinges elbows, and fairly non-articulated legs. The non-articulated legs do tend to make these figures less of a must-buy for me. I wish NECA would give us at least one super-articulated Terminator.
Gremlins: This line has become an unexpected hit at Toys R Us, and NECA has a ton of product planned for 2011. There will be two series of Mogwai, one in spring and one in summer, followed by a series of Gremlins in the fall:
But the big daddy of them all was the huge Mohawk Spider Gremlin, which was something I think Gremlins fans have been waiting for ever since NECA started the line. Now all we need is the Gargoyle Gremlin (with alternate stone version).
Player Select: NECA is continuing its Player Select lines with new figures from perennial favorites Gears of War and Bioshock. But the big news (for me, anyway) was the Duke Nukem figure. Due out in late April to coincide with the May release of Duke Nukem Forever, the figure is super-articulated and will feature some great accessories. If Duke (the figure and the game) sells well, we could get other figures such as Pig Cops down the line.
There was also a Claptrap from Borderlands on display; my wife and I, both fans of the character, have been waiting for this one for a while.
And the rest: NECA has some other great product coming, including some new, definitive Freddy figures from the various Nightmare on Elm Street films and sequels, all of which will feature alternate heads (not sure if they’ll be pack-ins or alternate figures, but I think they’ll be pack-ins). They’re also producing scaled-down 7″ versions of their Scarface 18″ figure.
I thought I’d heard they were going to be doing a 7″ Robocop as well, based on their 18″ figure, but nothing was on display, so for now that remains a rumor.
Overall, NECA’s plans for 2011 look strong; they’re getting their product out to TRU in good quantities, and they continue to experiment with more and more articulation. Thanks again to Randy Falk for giving me the tour of the showroom and answering my questions.