It’s been almost a year and a half since Pacific Rim hit theaters, but NECA’s toy line is still going strong. A sleeper hit in 2013, the line has only grown in popularity since then… and NECA has followed suit by releasing more figures, delving deeper into the Pacific Rim archives, and improving upon some of their early figures with some much-needed upgrades.
The latest wave of Jaeger figures follow suit with this trend, with the release of a lesser know, new Jaeger Tacit Ronin, along with an all new, totally overhauled Gipsy Danger, who’s bigger, more detailed and packs in much more articulation than its predecessor. There are still some slight drawbacks to both figures, but overall, each makes for a very welcome addition to this awesome toy line.
Tacit Ronin doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time in Pacific Rim— he’s only featured briefly in the prologue at the beginning of the film– but he has kind of amassed a fan base all the same, thanks at least in part to his classical anime design. Tacit is unique among the Jaegers as being much less humanoid than many, with his bird-like head, hock joint legs and truncated torso. The design works well on its own, but what I find coolest about this Jaeger is how elements of his early Mark I design would go on to inform the later Jaegers we spend more time with– the legs on Tacit are echoed in Crimson Typhoon, as is the unique chest shape in Striker Eureka.
As far as figures go, Tacit Ronin is pretty cool. His design is solid, with a decent amount of articulation. His head and shoulders feature a nice range of motion, and his twin arm blades can telescope in and out of his forearms, which is a cool little action feature to include. Tacit’s hips are interesting, featuring two ball sockets on each hip. This maintains the accuracy of the mech’s design, but definitely limits the hip motion on the figure, which hurts his posing options, despite good knee and ankle joints.
The paint apps on Tacit are great, with the same weathering effect we’ve seen on past Jaegers to make him feel realistic and part of this expansive, lived-in world. I like how this Jaeger’s white and red deco mirrors the Japanese flag, his nation of origin, and the weathering keeps the predominantly white figure from looking too plasticky or toy-like.
Gipsy Danger has already had a few toys at this point, but NECA decided to abandon their previous sculpt and deliver an all-new version in this latest assortment. The result was worth the effort– this Gipsy is bigger, making him much more scale accurate in relation to other Jaegers and Kaiju, and the detail on this new sculpt is truly stunning.
Every plate and armor segment and piston is perfectly rendered here, making this just about the most detailed Gipsy toy we’ve seen yet… but the iconic silhouette of the character remains, as well. And the paint is fantastic, with a very controlled wash grounding the figure in a sense of realism than simultaneously out;lines and highlights all the intricate details of the mech’s body.
One of the big hopes with this figure was that the new articulation pattern would be a step up over the fairly static earlier Gipsy figure. This is a tough one to address, because while there are certainly a greater number of joints on the new Gipsy– and some areas feature a dramatically improved range of motion– others are still limited, even more so than the old figure.
Let’s break down the changes– The new figure’s neck is double jointed, meaning it moves much more efficiently in its cradle around the shoulders. Likewise, the new shoulder joints are great, with the inhibiting shoulder pads now being separate pieces that move with the arms, instead of against them. The elbows are hinged with a ball socket going into the forearm, which is good but would have been more effective if reversed (to provide more lateral movement at the elbows). The wrists are ball jointed, as are the ankles. The knees get double joints which work very well, while the hips get a very tight ball joint that still offers very little range of motion. Gipsy can move his legs forward and back– there is a cut joint at the thigh which helps move the leg armor out of the way of the hips to increase range– but the hips still feel very static and stuff to me… even more than the old figure.
While the articulation was a disappointment with the new Gipsy, the sculpt remains stunning, some truly next level work. And NECA has packed in a bunch of cool extras which make this new Gipsy an even more enticing purchase. We get an alternate set of fist hands, which plug onto the wrists very easily. This allows for lots of display options with the Jaeger’s hands open or closed, which is always a welcome feature in my opinion.
The real star of this Gipsy, though, is the freighter ship accessory. For the first time, this Gipsy toy can re-enact the iconic scene from the film where he uses a boat as a freaking bat to bludgeon an oncoming Kaiju. The freighter is fantastic, loaded with detail and maintains a perfect sense of scale…it also features some pinching and damage on one side that makes it incredibly easy for Gipsy to hold, and thanks to the great range of shoulder and elbow movement, the Jaeger can effectively hold the boat as a weapon, just like in the movie!
As a huge fan of the young property, I couldn’t be happier to see Pacific Rim going so strong in toy form. NECA has done a great job with this line, creating a whole series of awesome looking Jaegers and Kaiju. Many of the stumbles we’ve seen in these figures are based on limitations of the character designs, as opposed to any toy engineering issues, and I think NECA has found a healthy balance between screen accurate character design and enough articulation to make these guys fun to play with.
We’ve got more Jaegers and Kaiju coming in the first few months of 2015, and I’m hopeful that NECA will keep going strong with this line for a long time to come!