I’ not sure if it’s just my aging sensibilities, but I’ve been appreciating the wonderful work by NECA more each year, and 2013 looks to be a truly banner year for the company, with some of their best lines continuing in awesome new directions, plus some very cool brand new properties, which ranges from the Summer’s biggest blockbusters and video games, to modern classics like the eagerly-anticipated Aliens.
Speaking of Aliens, I guess we’ll start there. Wave One of the amazing new 7″ series will be released in April, set to feature highly detailed and incredibly articulated Colonial Marines Hicks and Hudson, along with an Alien Warrior. These will be followed in the early Summer by “Marine vs. Alien” two-packs, which will include variants for both the jarheads and the creatures. The alternate marines will include new weapons and gear and variant, helmeted heads, while the Aliens will feature “battle damage” acid blood sprays and exploding heads (similar to the Gears of War battle damaged figures). These two packs will not be retailer-specific, so look for them early Summer at your favorite store.
NECA has more plans for the Alien franchise later in the year, including their take on the Alien Queen, as well as possible toys from the new video game Colonial Marines, another license they have secured. They would love to do as many Marines as they can, however it gets difficult when several actors don’t want to approve likeness rights– it’s been fairly public that Sigourney Weaver’s refusal to sign likeness rights meant we wouldn’t be seeing a Ripley in this line– but apparently Jenette Goldstein, who plays the fiery Vasquez, is also not too keen on seeing herself captured in plastic.
It’s going to be an equally exciting year for Predator, and the long-running line welcomes several iterations of Dutch, the first film’s hero, into the fold, starting with Jungle Extraction Dutch in Series 8, which will be available in a few short weeks. Wave 9 will see more Dutch figures, including his shirtless and mud-covered looks from the movie, while Wave 10 will have a very cool Kenner homage, with three highly detailed NECA Predators designed and colored to look like the charmingly absurd Kenner figures from the 90s– look for Night Storm, Lava and Hive War Predators coming this Summer, along with the trophy wall playset this May.
More classic movie items landing this year are the first Rambo action figure in May, an insanely cool ED-209 from Robocop, set for release this Summer with a retail tag of around $50, along with more Prometheus figures (David and Deacon are on their way to the US now, while Fifield, Holloway and Shaw will all see release this year).
The massive 1/4 Scale will continue with The Avengers— Captain America is out ow, to be followed by a truly stunning Iron-Man in his Mark 7 armor (complete with flip-up exhaust ports and panels!). The 18″ figures will also include some classic Batman figures, as both Adam West’s campy 60s hero and the Tim Burton/ Michael Keaton Batman get immortalized in 1/4 scale.
NECA had quite a few new properties on display as well. They will be releasing several series of Kick Ass 2 figures, with Wave One including Kick Ass, Hit Girl and the Motherfucker. While those aren’t exactly family-friendly names, NECA plans to release them at mass retail, so be on the lookout for “The M-Fer” at Toys R Us this Summer, alongside the movie! A second series is planned, likely to include Colonel Stars and Stripes (as played by Jim Carrey). And Hit Girl won’t be the only Chloe Moretz Grace figure NECA has on tap… the star will get two toy versions of her iconic role in the new Carrie movie– both feature the disturbed girl in her prom dress… one is clean and happy, the other covered in blood and ready to exact her revenge.
Disney’s The Lone Ranger will get the toy treatment in three scales– 7″ and 1/4 scale figures of Lone Ranger and Tonto to coincide with the movie’s theatrical release, followed by a 3.75″ line, complete with horses and riders, planned to hit around the time the DVD drops.
But the new property that had me most excited was Pacific Rim. Based on Guillermo Del Toro’s upcoming movie, NECA’s toy line will feature 7″ versions of the amazing looking giant robot Jaegers and their monstrous Kaiju opponents. Wave One will hit in June, just weeks ahead of the movie, and will feature Gipsy Danger (our hero Jaeger), Crimson Typhoon and a Kaiju (who have yet to be revealed). Wave Two will follow in September with Striker Eureka (I love these freaking names!) and two more Kaiju… I’m a little let down we’re not seeing 18″ Jaegers and Kaiju, but I think the more reasonable 7″ scale is likely a wise move for a brand new property… and regardless of size the toys on display looked absolutely incredible. There’s a chance we will see more Jaegers and Kaiju, mostly depending on how the movie does when it finally hits in July.
On the video game front, the successful Portal series will continue, with both figures (Atlas and P-Body) plus some prop replicas from the game. The use of LED lights in all these toys looks fantastic. Bioshock Infinite will see the demented Automatic Patriot, and Gears of War will continue… now in two scales: The 7″ line will feature Baird, while the new 3.75″ lineup will feature main heroes and villains from the series in a more concise (and GI Joe friendly) scale.
We did follow up on the long-awaited Borderlands 2 follow up series, which is currently still up in the air. Wave One saw the release of Psycho Bandit and Claptrap, but unfortunately the robot outsold Psycho by a HUGE margin– this is what lead to the variant blue Claptrap seen at retail late in 2012, and as of right now, most retailers are saying they would only carry the line if it featured exclusively Claptraps… with plenty of colorways and even silly, out-there designs like Gentleman Claptrap to choose from, NECA is still taking it into consideration.
NECA’s showcase is always one of the highlights of Toy Fair, and 2013 was by far the most exciting display I’ve seen from them, ever. They’ve been very smart with their properties, ranging from the mass appeal of Lone Ranger and Gears of War to the instant cult classics like Kick Ass 2 and Aliens. We’re finally seeing some long-awaited pieces, like Dutch, the Colonial Marines and ED-209, and their final designs look just as stunning as we should expect from a company as great as NECA. I cannot wait for 2013!