The second series of action figures based on everyone’s favorite horror/comedy is upon us and, in typical NECA fashion, they look fantastic and are tons of fun to play with. While Series 1 included two awesome iterations of Ash (you can find Bill’s in-depth review here), Series 2 introduces the film’s most memorable baddie, Henrietta Knowby, and rounds out the collection with “Hero” Ash, which depicts the character’s most iconic visage – complete with chainsaw hand, sawed-off shotgun, and torn up shirt. Let’s take a deeper look at the new line along with NECA’s SDCC exclusive Hero From the Sky Ash figure.
As amazing as the first series’ figures were, the “Hero” version of Ash will likely be the fan favorite — not only due to its killer sculpt, but because the piece features Evil Dead’s lovable protagonist at his most badass. Modeled after our hero’s appearance in the final act of the film, Ash’s trademark blue work shirt has been torn nearly in half, his face is sliced in several places, his chainsaw hand is firmly in place, and a shotgun sheath is securely fastened to his back. But a cool-looking model can only get you so far as other manufacturers’ less posable iterations of the character have demonstrated in the past. Luckily, NECA packs their figures with enough articulation to enable you to pose them any way you can imagine. Hero Ash benefits from a ball-jointed head, shoulders, elbows, knees, wrist, and ankles. The chainsaw wrist, hips, and thighs all feature swivel-joints and there’s even a joint in the upper torso for good measure.
Looking more closely at the physical design of the figure, it’s clear that NECA continues to outdo themselves with the amount of precision detail they put into their work. Each fine line and wrinkle in Ash’s pants is painstakingly applied and then accentuated with subtle paint highlights. They also applied the shirt over the existing figure, leading to a very believable sense of depth and dimension. Of course, since this Ash’s shirt is torn apart, you can also now see the lovingly detailed and colored chest hair absent from the first series. The textured sheath, realistic-looking wood stock on the sawed-off, and individually sculpted teeth on the chainsaw blade are all impressive, as is the stellar paint application that gives a look of filth and grime to the figure’s clothes and skin, but the immediate focal point of the figure is always going to be that great facial expression. Perfectly capturing that look of shocked cluelessness that only Bruce Campbell could convey, NECA’s decision to go with really expressive, animated face was the perfect choice.
While this figure includes only the chainsaw appendage, the arm can be detached just like the “Farewell to Arms” version. So, if you’re so inclined and have picked up both figures, their limbs are interchangeable. Hero Ash comes packaged only with his shotgun (which can be easily cradled in his free hand or sheathed on his back) and the fantastically creepy possessed deer head from the cabin wall in the film. The deer head actually looks great and has its own ball jointed neck so you can rotate his head in any number of positions — the only drawback being that you will need some decent double sided tape or other adhesive in order to hang it up somewhere.
The “Hero From The Sky” variation of this figure was distributed exclusively at San Diego Comic Con and is largely similar to Series 2’s Ash with a couple key differences. Most notably, he comes with a beautifully sculpted rocky base with one peg to hold either foot in place. Also, he is painted with a for muted, washed-out palette, likely to simulate the hazy, sand-filled opening sequence to Army of Darkness. The paint job also includes a nice grey streak in Ash’s hair, but unfortunately no color in the chest hair.
Then we have, Henrietta, a stomach-turning figure with a disturbing amount of detail. The possessed and rotting corpse of Henrietta Knowby is presented here with an insane sculpt that may actually be more intricately designed than the bodysuit used in the film. Large pockets of flesh have decomposed leaving orifices of varying depths behind, exposing muscle and sinew underneath. The color is spot-on film accurate and the tattered remnants of clothing installed over the figure’s body really complete the package. You will be floored by just how good this toy looks.
Similar to NECA’s recent Claptrap figure from their Borderlands line, Henrietta includes a base and stand — not because she can’t stand on her own (she certainly can) but to replicate the infamous scene in the movie where she hovers around the room while on the attack. The base here is much more sturdy and well-engineered than the Claptrap one however, with the peg extending far enough into Henrietta’s back that there is no danger of her falling off of it. The only thing that could have improved the package would have been the addition of some detail to the base itself – perhaps modeled to look like floorboards from the cabin. A minor complaint seeing as the figure will steal all the attention anyway.
In addition to the standard, human-like head (complete with gaping mouth and blood-stained jaw) the figure also comes with an interchangeable head modeled after the grotesque transformation that Henrietta makes in Evil Dead 2. The extended neck is bendable so you can twist it into whatever position you desire and it just looks fantastic. I keep going back and forth on which head I like better and simply can’t decide…which will likely result in me purchasing a second figure to display her both ways (damn you, NECA!) The second head looks exactly as it does on screen, right down to the hollow eye socket and tuft of white hair. The stop-motion model used in the movie simply lent itself very well to NECA’s talented sculptors and the results are utterly mind-blowing.
With articulation to spare and by far the best likenesses of the characters to hit the market, both series of NECA’s Evil Dead 2 figures are absolute must-buys. NECA proves time and time again that they’re on top of their game in providing pieces that are as much a work of art as they are an action figure. Keep an eye out for these at your local Toys “R” Us or comic shop — or just order them online but, especially if you’re a fan of the source material (and who isn’t?), do yourself a favor and grab them ASAP.