Last year. NECA launched two different lines of figures around the Planet of the Apes license. One followed the modern movies, specifically Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, while the other was devoted to characters from the classic POTA film series. Unsurprisingly, the Dawn line ran its course quickly, once the movie was released, but the Classics held on, delivering two waves of figures and a Toys R Us exclusive two-pack.
What did the future hold, though? NECA had grand aspirations for the line, with the intention to incorporate other iterations of POTA into a singular line, such as the short lived TV show, but consumer demand, it seemed, just wasn’t there. And so, we reach what may very well be the twilight of this amazing, criminally short-lived toy line. Because NECA at the very least managed to release the third wave of figures as a box set, exclusive to San Diego Comic-Con and Toys R Us stores.
This new set features General Aldo, the ambitious villain from Battle for the Planet of the Apes, as well as Caesar and a Gorilla Soldier as they appeared in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Aldo is a great addiiton to the line, as one of the more iconic bad guys in the later films. He shares much of his body with fellow Gorilla General, Ursus, but sports a unique portrait in the likeness of Claude Akins, and a new dagger weapon, complete with a sheath that connects to Aldo’s sash.
Caesar and the Gorilla share an all new sculpt, depicting the prisoner-like jumpsuits worn by the apes in Conquest, and it’s a great sculpt. The chest and pelvis both feature soft rubber overlays which are pliable and cover their respective articulation points, which gives the figures way more poseability than it would appear at first look. The naturalistic forward lurch of the chest works to the characters’ benefit, while the rest of the articulation allows for lots of posing options.
Both figures feature all new portraits, with Caesar sporting a solid likeness of Roddy McDowall, while the Gorilla gets a generic yet identifiable headsculpt. The jumpsuit is sculpted very well, with lots of organic wrinkles and folds that add to the realism, while not inhibiting the articulation. The Gorilla includes a variety of weapons, including a riot shield, a cleaver, and a knife. Caesar, meanwhile, includes an assault rifle, as well as chains for his neck and shackles for his hands, to depict him either pre- or post-revolution.
All three of these figures are great additions to the POTA collection, and with luck NECA will find a way to keep the line going. We’ve seen prototypes of Julius and General Urko, so even if it’s only those two new Apes, this line would at least be a little more complete. But as it stands, NECA’s intention, according to product manager Randy Falk, was to release the action figures he always wanted from these movies. And with a set of toys this well done, it’s hard to deny that the toymakers have accomplished their goal.