Well, the con is winding down, and everybody’s shared all their secrets. Since I am currently embroiled in an illicit affair with NECA (or so my critics say!), I feel I should give my final thoughts on their reveals this week.
First off, there was a lot of unexpected stuff. Sure, we got to see plenty of things we knew about – Pacific Rim Series 2 had already been spoiled, and we knew about Thermal Vision Dutch or the 18″ Elder Predator. Things like that. In fact, they had even commented on having a prototype Wasp predator from Dead End, commenting that maybe it’ll be produced, maybe not. But all of that is beside the point. For the things we’ve seen before – the Aliens 2-pack, Predators Series 10, etc. – for the most part, they were exactly the same. I did notice that Nightstorm Predator seemed to have lighter paint apps from previous images, but that could just be lighting. What wasn’t lighting was the fact that the skull on hiss taff is now painted to look like bone – in all earlier pics, it’s the same gold metal as the rest of the staff. Interesting, that. Anyway…
Honestly, the new reveals really surprised me. NECA has been promising a set of AvP Predators starting with Series 11, but this week we got absolute confirmation that it will not be the case. And why? I assume that it’s a delay based on all the new tooling necessary – those guys do have different body types than Predators in other movies, so they might be constructing a new torso. So, with that delay in mind, NECA had to fill Series 11 with filler. I don’t know if Thermal Dutch is part of the set, so we’ll leave him out of this for now. But the two filler figures? An Elder with updated articulation, which is something that fans have been demanding ever since the new P2 body debuted. The other looks like an original variant of Lost Predator, and it’s the figure we never knew we wanted. The original Lost got third place in MWC’s picks for outstanding paint of 2012, and that was going up against Hot Toys figures. The toy’s unique coloration and cyborg armor sparked a lot of speculation of why he had it, where he was from, and what his deal was. So, with a new mask and shoulder cannon personally designed by Randy Falk (so they said on Facebook), Armored Predator, as he’s now known, gets to show off his gear. A new cyborg bio-mask, a massive shoulder cannon, and a sword that could cleave horses in half! I like this. What I’m hoping is that he’ll have a bio paragraph explaining more about him. So, Series 11 has filler, but it’s filler that is either heavily-requested, or builds on something that fans love and want. This is awesome!
Thermal Dutch could be hit or miss. He’s a cool, fun gimmick, but he needs a backdrop. Needs. Even if it’s just a fold-out piece of paper, Thermal Dutch just doesn’t work without other thermal stuff around him. I don’t know.
The 18″ stuff is as good as always – very awesome, not as cool as Hot Toys, but also not as expensive. All right.
The Final Battle set is something that I had a feeling was coming, even without any actual previews or hints. Dutch looks great in it (and bloody), as does the injured Predator. Telling from the photos, it looks like the Pred is made from flesh-toned translucent plastic, so now I want one without the blood! But this set completes the Dutch Schaeffer collection, unless they want to make him in that polo shirt from the beginning of the movie.
Bishop was confirmed before the con, and I heard rumblings about Apone, and we all know about the upcoming Queen, but none of those were on display today. We had another look at the three upcoming two-packs, with nothing different from previous reviews, but we also got a look at some new things:
There is going to be a spring-loaded Alien egg with a Face Hugger inside of it. I’ve seen footage of the thing in action, and it’s gimmicky, but… gimme. Gimme, gimme, gimme. I will terrorize my friends with it.
Aliens Series 2 has a blue-tinted Xenomorph (so stop complaining about the brown one), and “Sgt. Wyndrix.” Now, here’s the thing – Wyndrix is a new character, but he’s based on the sculptor’s brother, who is dying of cancer. Likely by the time the figure comes out, it will be in memorial of him. As touching as this is, I really hope that Wyndrix’s family is going to see a cut of the proceeds, because not doing so just feels like a cheap way to exploit people’s emotions. If he’s married, or married with kids, his family will need the support. And hey, toys like Rainbow Connection Kermit have proven that yes, you can do this sort of thing… I just don’t know, if I buy something like this, I’d rather find a way to tangibly help those affected.
But the biggest Alien-related news was the Alien 35th Anniversary collection! We saw the Alien, which looks fantastic, and… Jonesy. Jonesy the Cat is confirmed to come with a figure and not the alien, but no word besides that. I doubt it’s Ripley, as Sigourney Weaver just doesn’t lend her license out, but who knows? Everybody is all ears, so even for a non-announcement, it’s got people talking.
The contents of Pacific Rim Series 2 were leaked a little while ago, but we actually got to see them this week! Striker Eureka and Gipsy Danger can’t help that their designs are boring (my opinion! My opinion!), but Leatherback is huge! Although Leatherback looks like he might have some of the same articulation problems as Knifehead. A nd look, I like my Knifehead, but he’s pretty disappointing. This line is going to have to really grab my attention…
There was no Spider Gremlin on display, which is odd since we know he’s sculpted. But aside from that, we got a look at some concept Mogwai, and several new Gremlins, including a melting guy who might be there to mirror the Electric Gremlin from last year. The line is apparently hard to sell to Toys R Us, so we can only hope that I guess Greta will be popular enough to justify the Spider appearing on shelves. I don’t know about the new guys, though – where’s my veggie Gremlin? My bat? Well, we’ll see.
The Diablo III reveal came out of left field, and is AWESOME! But I wonder how it looks next to blizzard’s old figure – undoubtedly taller, but I’d like there to be some continuity between the two. I also don’t know how they’ll articulate it, or what scale, or anything. But it’s nice to see the hint there.
Hello Kitty? A risky experiment, but it should payoff massively with the cute cat’s fans.
Kick-Ass 2? I have no interest in these, but it looks like people love them, so good job.
And the rest? I am looking forward to Freddie’s Boiler, the Star Trek Deathpuppets are terrifying, and the carrie figures will probably be pegwarmers. But overall, I’d say that NECA had a really good showing today, especially in how they handled things like Predators Series 11. I can see a few potential worries (future Pacific Rim stuff, uncomfortable implications with Wyndrix), but overall? Good show, people. Just don’t go the way of McFarlane.