First and foremost, I would like to offer my immense thanks to Ridureyu for working so hard to keep us all informed and up-to-date as possible on developments at SDCC. It allowed me to relax* a lot more and recharge my batteries before what I hope turns out to be a very busy August here on PoeGhostal.com. Please be sure to visit Nerditis, where Ridureyu writes regularly about toys.
And now, presented in no particular order, are my thoughts on the various news and reveals at this year’s San Diego Comic Con.
I was hoping to do this in one, but I got an hour in and realized I was still stuck on NECA, so there will be a part II and a part III to this.
Tamashii Nations has been tossing the names “Alien” and “Predator” around alongside their S.H.MonsterArts posts for years now, and at SDCC we learned why:
Photos by Michael Crawford
An Alien and a Predator from 2004’s Alien vs. Predator.
That sound you hear is the collective “thud” of this reveal hitting the ground like a dead facehugger. At a time when NECA is crushing it with their Aliens and Predator lines, Tamashii offers up two versions of the characters from what’s arguably the second-worst entry in both franchises (the worst from both franchises being Alien vs. Predator: Requiem). These are some of the least-popular designs of these characters, they won’t be in scale with anything else you own, and they’ll cost at least twice as much as NECA’s products.
I have a theory as to why it’s these versions, though – I think NECA may have the North American 6″-8″ figure rights locked up for Aliens and Predator. I doubt Tamashii wants to make these if they can’t also import them to the U.S. via Bluefin, so AvP may have been the only license available to them. All of that is pure speculation, however – for all I know, the Japanese love AvP.
On the plus side, S.H.MonsterArts Godzilla 1964 was there! I should have this long-awaited bad boy in just a few weeks.
Even though it came in after the convention, there was some S.H.MonsterArts news in the form of Battra from 1992’s Godzilla vs. Mothra. For the uninitiated, he’s basically Mothra’s evil twin. It’ll cost around $55 USD, it’s a Web exclusive in Japan but will no doubt be imported here by Bluefin. The wingspan is 12.5 inches (in “real life,” it’s 180 meters, or 7087 inches). If we assume the regular S.H.MonsterArts Godzilla is supposed to represent 100 meters, then a little math tells us Battra’s wingspan should be just under 11 inches. So, really not that big a deal.
I’m ambivalent about this. Godzilla vs. Mothra is a pretty dull movie, and Battra is one of my least-favorite Godzilla-related kaiju (the only one I care about even less is Megaguirus, whose movie I haven’t even seen). Frankly, this worries me that we’ll get a Heisei Mothra before a 1964 version.
I’m finding my completism on S.H.MonsterArts sorely tested by Heisei-era stuff like this figure and the Destoroyah Evolution set. The fact that we’ve only had one Showa figure so far is disappointing.
NECA has been on a roll for a couple years now with the seminal 1980s geek properties of Aliens, Predator, Terminator (well, less so on that one lately) and Robocop.
SDCC didn’t have a lot in the way of new reveals, as we’d seen a lot of this either at Toy Fair or in the months since, but there were a few new things.
This new Dutch, painted as he looked when viewed through the Predator’s thermal vision, would have made an ideal SDCC exclusive in my opinion. (Bearing in mind that NECA’s SDCC exclusives are usually not that difficult to get a hold of.) Evidently he’ll be either a TRU exclusive or a regular release figure, but either way, he’s awesome.
Follow this link for larger versions of the pics above.
The Predator on the left, evidently known as “Wasp,” is yet another one from the fan film Batman: Dead End. Color me impressed that we’re getting at least three Predator figures from a fan film (Big Red and Albino Predator are the other two).
Next up is a fellow who’s sometimes known as “Lost Predator” but is more accurately known as “Borg.” He’s only seen briefly in the film, wearing armor that may have been cribbed from a bad Terminator rip-off called The Vindicator that Stan Winston worked on. NECA’s done Borg before, but for this version NECA seems to have taken some creative license with his armor, resulting in a very unique-looking Predator.
Finally, we get a new version of the Elder Predator. I’m not sure how it differs from the original version, but I’m guessing he uses fewer recycled parts.
Photos by Michael Crawford
There’s a two-pack coming of filthy, bloody, half-naked Dutch vs. filthy, bloody, half-naked Predator. Not sure if this is a TRU-exclusive or not.
This one’s pretty special. Sculptor Kyle Windrix is the man behind many of your favorite NECA figures, especially from Aliens and Predator, and is a big part of why those figures are so accurate. Very sadly, his brother Craig has Stage 4 stomach cancer, and has been given six months to live. NECA has created this “Sergeant Craig” Marine to honor Craig and support him. Let’s hope he beats the odds and gets to enjoy his action figure for years to come.
This is the version of the Xenomorph Warrior I’ve been waiting for – blue highlights and more gloss.
NECA is also releasing a newly-sculpted version of the xenomorph from the first Alien. There was also a “Jones the Cat” on display; it may just be an accessory for the alien, but the rumor was that NECA had finally secured Sigourney Weaver’s likeness for Ripley figures. That really has to be the white whale for them at this point, right?
Personally I was the most interested in Pacific Rim, and we did get one new reveal:
Leatherback looks great. He appears to have far more articulation than Knifehead, with what looks like at least some semi-ball-joint movement on the elbows, hinges or ball/hinges on the elbows, swivels or ball-hinges at the wrists, and articulated fingers. Moreover he appears to be far more in-scale with the Jaegers than Knifehead was.
We’ve already seen Striker Eureka, but here he is again because awesome.
I’ve learned time and again not to buy oversized figures because I ultimately never hang on to them. NECA’s Balrog, Mezco’s 18″ comic Hellboy – I’ve owned and sold them all. And so I keep telling myself not to get this 18″ Gipsy Danger. Which is difficult, because it looks great, plus I really want this line to continue and get to Cherno Alpha, plus THIS:
An unpainted prototype for an 18″ Knifehead. Resisting these became ten times harder when NECA confirmed they’d be making an 18″ Godzilla (based on the new movie) next year…
— NECA (@NECA_TOYS) July 22, 2013
— NECA (@NECA_TOYS) July 22, 2013
NECA also had some cool stuff from Portal, Team Fortress, Gremlins and Kick-Ass 2, plus a ton of cool 18″ superheroes ranging from Thor to 1989 Batman to 1966 Batman, but I’m not as interested in that and this thing has already run way longer than I expected.
*Although my family will tell you I still spent way too much time on my phone, but it’s not my fault they scheduled a big family vacation on SDCC weekend – technically it was the dogsitters’ fault, since they couldn’t watch the dogs the following weekend as we originally planned.