If we set aside anything 12″ or larger, there are two significant Robocops missing from this comparison: the Aoshima Robocop and NECA’s spring-out holster Robocop, which seems to be generally considered superior to their first release. Aside from the holster and paint work it’s identical to the first release, so I don’t consider its absence a big problem for what I’ll be looking at today. As for the Aoshima Robocop, well, I just don’t own one so it gets left out.
I’ll be honest, I’m really not the best judge of this sort of thing. I know some fans – i.e., most anyone who hangs out here – can nitpick the tiniest differences in sculpt accuracy compared to the source material, i.e., the movie. But unless something’s really glaringly wrong, I tend not to overlook those differences. This is a roundabout way of saying that with the exception of the Kenner figure, they all look pretty good to me.
On a side note, why is the Kenner Robocop’s pelvis silver? You could say it was done to match his appearance on the Marvel cartoon, but why the heck did the cartoon do it? Did they think it just looked too much like a leotard and little boys would be turned off? Or maybe they felt it highlighted the crotch region too much and it would make little boys unnaturally curious about their adolescent equipment. Either seems plausible to me. To make a long story short, yes, as a kid I painted my Kenner Robocop’s pelvis black to match the movie. I also gave him a blue sheen to match his look on Robocop 2. I did this with enamel paint, which left him feeling tacky to the end of his days.
Back to the sculpt – the Figma figure won’t win this category. As with many Japanese figures, Officer Murphy has been anime-ized about 10%, resulting in a slimmed-down body and a face that’s nothing more than a simple black line, like the mouth of a South Park character. He’s also smaller and therefore some of the bits are simplified; for example, the “clamps” on the shoulders are just solid on the Figma figure, whereas they’re half-rings on the NECA and McFarlane versions.
The McFarlane and NECA figures are fairly similar. Given that the NECA figure came later and NECA’s tendency to be a stickler for accuracy, I’m going to go out on a limb and give NECA the nod. WINNER: NECA
I’ve seen different reviewers have completely different assessments of the paint on Robocop figures. One reviewer will praise a figure for having a blue sheen while another will praise it for not having much of a blue sheen. For the record, I think there was a very slight blue sheen in the first film and a very strong blue sheen in the second. Of course, in theory all of these figures are based on the first film.
Which means McFarlane is, in theory, right out – it’s very blue. But wait! One thing McFarlane has going for it is that the paint job really brings out the details in the sculpt, thanks to some a decent wash. Compare him to the NECA version, where a lot of the details blend together among all the silver.
The Figma figure also has a better wash than the NECA version. However, it has some oddities, such as the strong blue coloring around the “headband” and odd tones here and there, such as touches of purple on the toes.
I believe that technically, the NECA version is the most color-accurate to the film. But that leaves me in a bit of a quandary; do I award it to NECA for the accurate coloring, or McFarlane for the wash that highlights the sculpting and details better? I’ve also read that the paint on the spring-out holster version is improved from this version. In the end, I’m giving it to NECA for the greatest film accuracy. WINNER: NECA
Actually, not quite enough. This is sort of a review of the Figma figure, so I should state what he’s got: a ball-jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders with a very wide range of movement, hinged elbows, ball-jointed wrists, a ball-jointed upper torso, a ball-jointed lower torso, ball-jointed hips (again, with a far wider range of movement than either McFarlane or NECA), hinged knees, and hinged ankles with excellent side-to-side motion.
The Figma is also the only one capable of pulling off the no-look shot from the drug warehouse shootout. WINNER: FIGMA
All Robocop figures have to come with his iconic gun (well, except for the Kenner version, much to the chagrin of 10-year-old Poe), and I’m not sure whether any of them have been quite right. Honestly they’ve always seemed a little too short and thin to me, but it’s possible that’s just the way it was in the movie. Let’s have a look, shall we?
Here’s a side shot of the weapon from the movie.
And here it is straight-on.
And now, on to the toy guns.
McFarlane’s gun is clearly too small compared to the size of the figure’s hand. The wide of the barrel seems about right, though. You can’t see it in the pic, but the edge of the clip is also sticking out from the bottom of the grip, which appears to be accurate to the film.
In terms of length and width, NECA’s already looks like the winner. And while the details of the gun barrel aren’t quite as sharp as those of McFarlane, it has more detailing near the back of the gun. NECA’s gun does not have the end of the clip sticking out. NECA’s own prop replica version of the gun had the clip sticking out, so there’s really no excuse for this oversight. (Unless I’m missing something here? I find it weird that the accuracy-obsessed Kyle Windrix missed this, so it makes me wonder if I’m actually the one who’s wrong here.)
As a kid, I always thought of Robocop’s gun as a huge hand-cannon. Watching the film now I realize it wasn’t actually that big, but what I like about the Figma version is that while it’s not as accurate to the movie, it’s more accurate to how I think of the gun. That doesn’t mean it’s going to win the category, but it is something I personally like about the Figma version. Like the McFarlane version, the Figma version has a bit of clip sticking out from the bottom of the gun.
So who wins? McFarlane’s is too small, but has good proportions and details and has the clip; NECA’s is the most accurate in size and details except it’s inexplicably missing the clip; and while I like the oversized Figma gun, it’s inaccurate to the film. I’m calling this one a draw.
McFarlane’s version only came with the gun and a sculpted display base. The NECA version came with the gun and the alternate data spike hand. So, how about the Figma figure?
We’ve got the gun, an alternate “battle damaged” helmet, ten separate hands including the spike hand, a muzzle flash, and alternate thigh parts to recreate the opening thigh. It’s worth noting that unlike NECA’s spring-out holster version, the inside of the Figma’s holster is actually sculpted to match the movie.
Oh, and I almost forgot – he also comes with a stand that can plug into his back, to help with poses that might otherwise be difficult to balance.
While the base that comes with the McFarlane figure is nice, I think the Figma figure gets this one. WINNER: FIGMA
McFarlane’s Robocop had a notorious tendency to break at the foot or the pistons on the back of the calf. As for NECA, here’s what I wrote in my previous comparison:
Speaking of quality control issues, another reason I returned my first [NECA] Robocop was because one of the little round clips on his shoulders was torn off in the package. Upon opening my replacement, I discovered the ankle piston on the right leg was simply missing. I’ve emailed NECA’s customer service to see if I can get a replacement–I’d be happy with just the part, since I could just glue it on.
Funny thing about the Figma figure – while the pistons can fall out, they snap right back in. They’re basically designed to be removable, as are the arms and legs and possibly the whole figure. I haven’t had any problems with it. The only more durable Robocop is the Kenner version. WINNER: FIGMA
Of course, when you get all those accessories, you have to pay for them. When McFarlane’s figure came out in 2004, it retailed for somewhere around $12, as I recall, and included the base. NECA’s figure will run you between $18-$22 depending on where you get it. Figma’s version will cost you at least $40.
This one’s tough, because it depends on what you want from your Robocop figure. Do you want lots of articulation and accessories? Or just a really accurate sculpt, and decent articulation? Do you want a display base?
This one’s very close but I’m giving it to NECA, partly because you can get the version with the spring-out holster, which a lot of collectors seem to want. WINNER: NECA
So, let’s tally it all up:
And so we have a tie, with NECA and Figma each pulling three apiece (while McFarlane’s version sits in the corner, sobbing softly and thinking of how he’ll never know the touch of his wife again). Disappointing perhaps, but what I take away from it is that you should just get whichever one appeals to you the most. Prefer to have tons of accessories for posing options? Go Figma. Really love the idea of a spring-out holster? Go NECA. Want to pose him like the cover of the first issue of the Marvel comic, as I did? Go Figma. Cheap? Go NECA. The important thing is that whichever one you get, you go through one of my sponsors as a simple thank-you for this write-up. Or don’t. I don’t like being pushy.
Note: This article was updated to add mention of the McFarlane figure’s display base.