Australia’s premiere Jaeger gets a fantastic upgrade as the first figure in NECA’s Ultimate Jaeger series.
We’ve seen a bunch of Gipsy Danger variants released over the course of NECA’s long-running Pacific Rim toy line, but most of the other Jaegers– including the others who share the most screentime with our hero mech– were released early in the line’s run, and have, over the past few years, started to feel a little outdated.
The most glaring examples are Crimson Typhoon and Striker Eureka, whose toys are quite nice, but do not feature anything close to the articulation and sculpt and paint details we’ve seen on later Jaeger releases. NECA is addressing this issue, starting with Striker, who gets an entirely new sculpt as the first release in the new, higher-end Pacific Rim Ultimate collection.
Ultimate Striker’s new sculpt packs in a lot of detail not seen in the previous figure, but it’s the paint work that really makes this new figure come to life. The tampo effects, such as Striker’s model number stamp and the bulldog insignia on its chest are perfect, and the subtle washes that cover the figure head to foot lend a perfectly realistic, worn, and lived-on tone to the figure. Striker’s articulation is also ramped up from the older toy, and now includes just as much articulation as Gipsy 2.0, giving this new toy a dramatically increased range of motion.
But the coolest thing about the new Striker Eureka are its accessories, all of which are coming to the Pacific Rim toy line for the first time, ever. Striker features a removable chest plate and an alternate version of the part, with the outer panels drawn back and Striker’s six rocket launchers exposed. The figure also includes three removable rockets, each with a flame trail of varying length, which can plug into any of the six launcher holes on the figure’s chest. The effect is, in a word, awesome, and it opens up so many more great display options for the figure.
In addition to the swing-out arm blades (which are sturdier and move more cleanly than the previous figure’s weapons), Striker also includes the nuclear payload used by the Pan Pacific Defense Corps to detonate the Rift in the film. This accessory plugs into a small hole on Striker’s back, and fits snugly between the Jaeger’s massive back fins. The payload is rendered in the same colors as the Jaeger itself (aside from the big, yellow hazard sign adorning one side of it), and even the individual cartridges within the payload device are separate pieces held in place by a small ball and peg.
The new Striker is packed in a five-panel window box, which will look very familiar to anyone who has collected NECA’s Ultimate or Retro Video Game figures. Striker’s box is pretty cool, with key art of the Jaeger from the film on the front panel, an inner panel revealing blueprint schematics for the design of the robot, and a window which display the figures and it’s awesome accessories very effectively.
I was really hoping the second figure in this lineup would update the stiff and sort of limited Crimson Typhoon, but as was announced at Toy Fair, we will actually see Gipsy Danger as the follow up to Ultimate Striker Eureka. Striker is really great, and the accessory-heavy Gipsy promises to be a solid addition, especially for anyone who skipped the last few Gipsy 2.0 figures, but I’m holding out hope this toy line has enough juice left to bring the Chinese Jaeger to the Ultimate line. While there’s still a number of (likely cost-prohibitive) Kaiju I’d love to see NECA tackle, an Ultimate Crimson Typhoon would effectively complete the Jeager lineup, leaving us with a full roster of highly articulated, super poseable, and completely cool-looking mechanical defenders. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to appreciate the great new Striker Eureka figure available now. If you’d like to do the same, the Jaeger is available at specialty retailers and Toys R Us.