Review > Farewell to Arms Ash & Deadite Ash (Evil Dead II, NECA)

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Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

When I was fifteen years old, I discovered the wonders of the Evil Dead trilogy. I can’t remember how it all started, though I know I saw Army of Darkness first. I loved it, but when I saw Evil Dead II (Amazon) I knew I’d found what was destined to be one of my all-time favorite films. I’ve seen it dozens of times, including twice in a movie theater (the Brattle in Cambridge, MA). But back when I first discovered the movies – this was around 1994 or so – they weren’t easily available on VHS aside from Army of Darkess. But for Christmas that year, my parents tracked down some used videostore copies of Evil Dead and Evil Dead II from Canada. (Of course, just a few scant years later the Evil Dead boom began and suddenly it was everywhere, available on every format.)

Some of you may not know this, but the reason I joined the McFarlane Toys forums – where I invented the handle “Poe Ghostal” – was to push for Ash in the Movie Maniacs line. I’ve told that story before, so I won’t rehash it here, but suffice to say I am a very big Evil Dead fan (as a teen I even started a huge ED-themed fanfic that can be summed up as “Ash Goes to Hell” with multiple versions of Ash from different universes…but that will never see the light of day).

Man, did I try hard to like the McFarlane Ash figure. And man, did it truly suck. A terrible likeness, an awful fixed pose…McFarlane managed to make one of their most requested figures ever one of their worst products of all time. That hit stores in 2000, and it’s been a long twelve-year wait for better Ash figures to come along. Given the rights issues that evidently surrounded ED2, I’d more or less given up hope.

Enter NECA, who somehow managed to score the Evil Dead II rights (which are fairly complicated, I’ve heard). I was cautiously optimistic when the announcement was made, but I worried NECA would go the Terminator route and give him immobile legs. Thankfully, they didn’t.

Back in the McFarlane days when I would imagine my dream Evil Dead II line, it included an Ash from the end of Evil Dead II, when he’s got the chainsaw and sawed-off shotgun, as well as Henrietta and a Deadite Ash. NECA is giving us them all. I’ve been even more keen on a Deadite Ash since playing Evil Dead: Regeneration, which featured the ability to “hulk out” into Deadite Ash and slice and dice through dozens of enemies.

Packaging: As someone who opens his toys, I don’t give packaging much consideration, but NECA scores points with me simply by using the classic eyeballs-in-skull poster from the original film. Years before I saw Evil Dead II, that unique design was etched in my childhood memory from the VHS box in the horror section of my local video store (Max Movies in Carver, MA, now long gone).

The packaging also includes some classic quotes from the film on the sides and a brief explanation of the film on the back. And as always, I appreciate the fact that NECA includes credits for each figure on the bottom of the packaging.

Design & Sculpt: Despite his classic, chiseled-chin superhero good looks, sculptors have had a notoriously difficult time capturing his likeness in plastic (examples here, here, and here). The best I’ve ever seen on an action figure until now was McFarlane’s 18″ Ash, though NECA got pretty close with their Medieval Ash and S-Mart Ash. But sculptor Adrienne Smith may have come the closest in capturing the young EDII-era Bruce on the Farewell to Arms Ash.  It’s a strong likeness that captures Ash’s usual expression during the early parts of the film. The monstrous Deadite Ash was probably a lot easier to sculpt, yet I think it’s even better than the FTA portrait.

The body (identical for both figures) is well-sculpted and highly detailed as well. There’s some excellent texturing on the pants and even on the bandages on FTA Ash’s left stump. The figure seems to have come through the production process fairly intact, making this one of NECA’s best efforts to date.

Plastic & Paint: This is often NECA’s Achilles’ Heel, but both versions of Ash come through fairly well this time. There are two fairly tricky things to pull off here: the smeared blood on both portraits and the dirty, wet, sweaty shirt. The paint on Deadite Ash’s face is nearly flawless, but it looks a bit odd that none of that dirt and blood make it down to the neck (this may have been done to facilitate head-swappage, as this figure was supposed to come with an alternate regular Ash head). FTA Ash’s face suffers from too-thick eyebrows and a bit too much black around the eyes, making it look like he’s wearing guyliner.

On both figures, the shirt effect is done by molding it in light blue plastic and then applying a heavy dark wash. It works well, though the wash is a bit too thick and smeared in some places (i.e., it looks like paint on a flat surface and not wet fabric). It’s also worth noting the elbow joints and shoulder joints are cast in light blue and the dark wash quickly peels off, leaving bright exposed joints – though only on the inside of the shoulders and the back of the elbows, so it’s not too noticeable. The shirt on the torso is made from a pliable material that allows the ball joint underneath the shirt to operate.

The paint on the pants is very well done, with an excellent dry wash over the dark brown plastic. The paint work was done by Jon and Karin Wardell.

Articulation: Both Ash figures include a ball jointed head, ball and hinge shoulders, ball jointed wrists (except for the bandaged arm, of course), hinged elbows, what appears to be a ball jointed upper torso beneath the shirt, a swivel waist, V-cuts at the crotch, swivels at the thighs, hinges at the knees, and ball joints at the feet. The hands, especially the left hand (oddly enough) tend to pop off easily, but they’ll pop right back on.

The arm articulation is mildly disappointing in that the arms can’t quite come close enough together on Farewell to Arms Ash to balance the shotgun on his bandaged stump. And I would have preferred Ash had H-hinges at the hips instead of the V-crotch, but compared to completely immobile legs I’ll take it, and happily.

Accessories: Farewell to Arms Ash comes with an axe, a shotgun, a stump arm, a possessed-hand arm, and a separate possessed hand. The axe is the one he used to kill “Evil Ed” (whom I sincerely hope we get as a figure…) and is smeared with his green blood. The possessed and stump arms are easily interchangeable at the elbow between both figures (along with the “normal” arm on Deadite Ash).

Two minor complaints: The shotgun doesn’t sit in his hand very well, and the hand doesn’t fit the trigger guard quite right; the trigger guard is brittle and broke on mine. I also wish the possessed hand were sculpted more spider-like so that it could  stand up on all five fingers, rather than resting on the wrist.

Deadite Ash comes with the Necronomicon ex Mortis, Professor Knowby’s tape recorder, and the severed head of Ash’s girlfriend Linda. The paint work on Linda’s head is excellent; check out the filmy eyes! And the blood spatter is done very well too. The tape recorder is fine, if a bit uninteresting, but the Necronomicon seems much too small – closer to the size of the book in the original Evil Dead.

The accessories were fabricated by Brad Haskins and Anthony Minichino.

Quality Control: As mentioned, the trigger guard on my FTA’s shotgun broke. Other than that, no problems.

Overall: These are the Evil Dead II figures I’ve been waiting for all my life. They are a few things I might have wished for – H-hinge hips, double-jointed elbows perhaps – but with all the accessories and interchangeable parts, NECA has more than made up for that. And yet, these two are only the appetizer for the main course of Hero Ash and Henrietta (due out sometime over the summer).

Unfortunately, it appears that the four figures we’re getting in this line are going to be it (along with what looks like an SDCC or TRU exclusive sepia-toned “Hero Ash”). NECA has said these figures are “a labor of love, not profit.” So I encourage you to buy these – otherwise we may never get an Evil Ed or figures from the first film.

I don’t often say this, but go buy these. Now.

11111/2

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Comments now closed (20)

  • Just bought these this weekend. These are really, really nice. I don't think I was ever as harsh on ol' McFarlane Ash as you were, but these new figures definitely blow what has come before out of the water. The accessories are really nice on these, even if the Necronomicon is too small. I actually thought the tape recorder was a fantastic accessory. The level of detail on it is insane!!

    I wish there was a decent way for Ash to hold Linda's head, though.

    It is a shame that this line will be so limited: I'd love to see an Ash from the original Evil Dead, as well. I know there aren't too many differences, but I think he could easily be made using some existing pieces.

    • Well these are Evil Dead 2 figures, because it marks the 25th anniversary of the movie. They've already had an Army of Darkness line, and we won't see any Evil Dead 1 figures in an Evil Dead 2 line, because…well that doesn't make any sense.

      But yes they could make an Evil Dead 1 Ash. In fact they already have. Farewell to Arms Ash IS Evil Dead 1 Ash, since the exact same thing happened to him in that movie.

      • What I want most is (aside from what's already being made) for EDII is Evil Ed (and a box set Dried Apple Head would be amazing…but I digress).

        For Evil Dead, aside from a basic Ash you could get a few different Deadites, but it's not as toyetic as EDII or AOD.

        • Exactly, Evil Dead 1 isn't toyetic at all. You can make a couple of his friends as Deadites, and repackage "Farewell to Arms" Ash but that's it.

          Besides, Evil Dead 2 negates the first movie since it replaces its continuity.

        • Well, Ash doesn't lose his hand in the first film,his outfit is a little different, he could have the weird dagger, magnifying glass necklace, and single barrel shotgun he has in the first film, and a different head sculpt (since Bruce was about 6 years younger for Evil Dead than Evil Dead 2). As a huge Evil Dead fan, I'd love to have an Ash from each film. Cheryl, Linda, and Scotty as Deadites might make for cool figures as well both for fans of the film and for fans of zombies in general. Zombie figures in this scale sell.

          While I know that this is an Evil Dead 2 line, since NECA has put out figures from Army of Darkness and ED2, I figure it means they are big enough fans of the property to attempt something like this. NECA has never shyed away from doing a single figure from a property or movie, so if someday we just got an Ash from the first film, that works for me. They certainly have most of the pieces to do it.

          Maybe someday we'll get a "workshed" playset…..

        • They could have given him the necklace in this line but they didn't for some reason. The magnifying glass necklace would have been perfect with Deadite Ash, since that's what helped him overcome the evil.

        • Oh and yes, the dried apple head would be great as well as Evil Ed. He was the "bit part demon" in the Evil Dead musical after all.

  • I definitely want the iconic "hero" Ash from series two, but I can do without these variations. I have the McFarlane version, which does suck, but the chainsaw is nice and I gave it to Medieval Ash from NECA's Army of Darkness line. I never realized the 18" McFarlane Ash had a new head. It looks pretty good, but I don't collect that scale anyways.

  • And as a side note, I'll never forget the first time I watched ED2. I was over at a friend's house. It was late and his parents weren't home. I asked him what movie we were going to watch, and he says, "Evil Dead 2." At that exact moment, a plate in the kitchen shifted while in the drying rack, making a clear noise. It freaked us the hell out, and for a couple of years I was convinced that it happened because we were watching ED2.

    • That's awesome!

      Growing up, a friend of mine didn't really watch horror movies too often. We watched Evil Dead2 and Army of Darkness because I had those two, but it took awhile for me to get Evil Dead. I finally got it and we were watching it late one night (it really is a very creepy movie) when we heard what sounded like a woman screaming downstairs. We jumped to the most logical conclusion: someone had killed my dad in his sleep and was now killing my mom. We grabbed whatever was laying around and ran downstairs to find that my parents were fine and sound asleep. The screaming was coming from outside!

      We went outside and realized that there was a bobcat or something outside of my house in our neighborhood and it was howling (or whatever it is that bobcats do.) It certainly had startled us and added to our viewing!

      • Yeah, that would have been freaky as a kid. Heck, even as an adult.

  • Id want a BAF or playset of the whole house,electronic laughing moose head and lamp,Henrietta head banging from the cellar door,Blood spraying wall and final encounter tree limbs smashing thru window and monster face on door.Maybe a 4 inch line?

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  • I kinda have to disagree with the assessment of the original AoD Ash that McFarlane put out. Sure in hind sight it’s bad but man, at the time there was NOTHING like having an Ash figure of any type. My favorite version of that mold is the one that came with the Pit Bitch. much better paints. I bought two of that one. I also wish McFarlane did a reduced version of the 18 inch figure at a 6 inch figure. That would have been excellent. Sadly we did not.

    Also another good likeness i think is the pit Ash that Palisades put out in their blind boxed figure run. That thing is gorgeous and a much better likeness than their original head which looked like Bill Maher XD These new figures NECA is doing though…Ohhhh man. I hope they keep going.

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