NECA has done some truly outstanding work in their 18″ Mega-Scale. I’ve been tempted by many of the stunning figures we’ve seen in the past, but it was Pacific Rim that finally won me over. Everything about the Jaegers and Kaiju that populate Guillermo Del Toro’s fantastic cinematic universe echo one word above all others– BIG. So translating these characters into huge scale toys makes a lot of sense… and NECA is, quite frankly, killing it.
Their latest release might be my favorite– the Russian Jaeger Cherno Alpha. With his clunky, boxy limbs, Soviet-inspired green and red coloration and iconic smokestack-like head, Cherno was one of the coolest looking robots in Pacific Rim, and despite his unfortunately short screen time, he’s definitely made a lasting impression on many fans. That obviously includes NECA– while I think the game plan is to keep this Mega Scale line going as long as possible, the fact that Cherno is so damn cool looking was certainly a deciding factor in releasing him so early in the line.
As for the figure himself, he is very cool. The 7″ scale Cherno figure was great, but there are intricacies in his 18″ counterpart impossible to realize on the smaller scale. Some cool stuff does migrate over– the extending forearms and clasping fingers from the smaller Jaeger are still in place on the larger scale, but the details of the sculpt are even more intricate. Each of the pistons that cover Cherno’s chest are overlays, adding a dimensionality to the figure that I love, and even the small details– like the corroded and paint-bare left hand of the bot– add both realism and character in a perfect way.
Cherno Alpha strikes a great silhouette, perfectly stocky and very clearly not something that would be easy to move. And yet, despite the chunky, clunky nature of the design, NECA’s figure packs in lots of useful articulation, with a great range of motion. The Jeager features a ball neck underneath his smokestack head, two-point ball shoulders, hinged elbows and knees, hinged fingers, elbow swivels, ball hinge hips, a ball waist and ball ankles. So this sucker is quite poseable, and it’s easy enough for him to assume any number of Kaiju-fighting or city-defending poses.
A few of the joints on my Cherno were particularly tight, especially the barbell-style shoulder balls. They are made of hard plastic, so while they are sturdy, too much direct pressure will likely snap them in half. I heated the softer plastic of the arms and torso under a heat lamp for a few minutes to free up the stuck joints, then my Cherno moved much more freely, without compromising the hard plastic connectors. Aside from the shoulders, every other piece moved perfectly freely straight out of the box, and the huge figure felt nice and sturdy from the moment I opened him.
Like the other Mega Scale Pacific Rim figures, Cherno Alpha features working lights, which are– in this case especially– totally great. Cherno actually sports TWO separate light displays… his torso features an internal light, which gives his chest an awesome, nuclear-powered glow just below the surface. It’s subtle, but a completely wonderful effect. The head also lights up, both in the center and with the two spotlights on his shoulders, and WOW– these are bright! Like, seriously, I used my Cherno Alpha as a flashlight last night. It’s a very well rendered effect, and matches the strength of the spotlights as depicted in the movie. And adding double lights to a figure feels like a new and unique challenge, one I am very glad NECA’s design team did not shay away from.
I love the world of Pacific Rim, and one look at the detail, thought and sense of fun packed into a figure like Cherno Alpha proves NECA loves this world just as much as I do. Every figure they have released in their Pacific Rim collection has been cool, but there’s something about the size and heft of the Mega Scale figures that makes them the crowning jewels of the collection. Gipsy Danger was cool, and the perfect figure to launch this new scale. Knifehead is rad, as well, but as far as I’m concerned Cherno Alpha will be a very tough figure to top. That being said, I can’t wait to see what happens when NECA tries.
Thanks to NECA for this review sample! You can order your Mega Scale Cherno Alpha from NECA’s eBay store or other specialty retailers now.