NECA has been cranking out some incredible toys all year long, and they’re not done yet– there’s a whole swath of new product finding its way to retail just in time for the Holidays, including the third set of incredible figures from their stellar Rocky series. For the third series, the new figures are based on Rocky’s third outing, as the champ faces off against a younger, stronger and much more vicious rival, Clubber Lang, played by that bastion of the 80s, Mr. T. The new set brings us a new version of Rocky Balboa, decked out in his gold trunk, and two versions of Clubber, one neutral and one in mid-fight.
The new Rocky is a solid entry to the line, although he is mostly a repaint of the previously released Wave Two figure. The sculpt remains excellent, an uncanny interpretation of Stallone’s on screen look. Much like the Rocky IV version, this Rocky is mostly cast in skin tone plastic, not painted like the original version. The result makes him look a but more ruddy and reddish in his complexion, especially when it’s offset against the bright gold trunks and boots. This aside, the portrait is great, and it’s nice to have Balboa in all three of his most iconic outfits.
The real star of this wave is Clubber Lang. Featuring an impossibly great headsculpt of Mr. T, the tough boxer features an all-new sculpt with a considerable amount of height and bulk over his opponent. From his angry expression to the signature mohawk, this figure absolutely nails Clubber’s on screen likeness, and the figure features a high gloss finish that replicates the sweaty appearance of the fighter. Clubber is available in two versions– the neutral figure features Rocky’s rival in his classic black trunks, while the alternate includes blue trunks and a separate portrait of Lang with his eyes closed and his mouthguard exposed in quite a grimace. The alternate head also looks great, but between the black trunks and the perfect standard head, I think the neutral figure is the biggest winner.
The one thing I miss from this third wave is the “battle damage” gimmick of the two previous sets. Yes, we get an alternate Clubber, but he’s not really beaten or bloody, and this Rocky is only available in his standard version. It’s by no means a deal-breaker, especially with figures this good, but it was such a fun concept I hoped NECA would keep it going throughout the life of the line.
NECA managed to release three waves of Rocky figures in their first year, a feat only more impressive when you realize in that short window we now have all four of the most famous fighters in the film series. Sure, there’s other figures that can be added, like Thunderlips or the eye-rolling Tommy Gunn from Rocky V (or, as I’m hoping for, an elder Rocky Balboa and Mason Dixon from the most recent film), but even if this was it for the series, it would feel pretty complete.