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At the time of this review’s writing, word of the third film following the exploits of Bill S. Preston Esquire, and Ted “Theodore” Logan has
already been made official last year, so….the timing kinda works, I guess! ….Go me?
Packaging - ***
While I like this packaging and artwork, for some reason it does not do for me everything I really feel like it honestly should.
Yes, it holds the figure and accessories securely (even has a few twisty ties holding the arms down, and I‘m not sure how necessary they were), yes it takes full advantage of the movie scenery it has the rights to use--in the process lifting a key moment directly from the movie to “introduce” the figure to us--but for whatever reason, when looking at it head-on….for some reason I get a feel for the tone that…the movie went for in that scene, and I’m not sure if that was intended by NECA or not.
It almost feels like it’s “just there”; not in a bad way or anything, but that it just is.
The reason I give this category the score that it does is because they were clearly trying to take full advantage of that “introductory scene”, and I think they did it fine, but whatever the “reeling us in” factor was meant to be for it…just isn’t working as well as it should, for me.
The sides and back of the box feature the name of the movie, and pictures of the figure. Truthfully, I…kinda would’ve wished they would have gotten an actual image of William Sadler, as opposed to just the toy--and I think that too isn’t helping with the score, but so be it; in fact, the reason I really wish they would’ve gotten it is to show just how well they nailed the sculpt!
Sculpting - ***1/2
With NECA’s 8” cloth-outfitted figures, it would mostly be considered a lot of buck reuse in this category, since it appears NECA uses this scale to produce lines they may not be as likely to see as much of a demand for--or aren‘t likely to find as much reuse for in terms of character variations, resulting in more of a “universal” body, as opposed to the more personalized individual sculpts done in their 7” scale lines.
Exceptions are, of course, made--without question--in terms of head sculpts. The head sculpt on this figure is admittedly what drew my desire to “come out of retirement” in terms of action figure reviews from the get-go, and the reason for this is….how incredibly spot-on the likeness is to actor William Sadler, who portrayed the Grim Reaper.
From the moment I saw the head-sculpt with that wide-eyed look, I knew I not only had to own it, but I had to review it. The sculpt depicts Sadler’s likeness perfectly as the Grim Reaper; the wide, foreboding eyes--wide eyed and yet still sunken and reserved, the serious--yet almost condescendingly smirk-like--scowl of his lips, the inflection of his cheek bones, the otherworldly-looking ears….it’s all there!
So you’re probably wondering, why not the full 10/10, right? Simple: we already know that it’s one of those figures with the “universal” 8” buck, which means whatever is sculpted really has to stand out; the head sculpt definitely has it….the hands and feet do their job I guess, but nothing about the latter really jumps out at ya over it; they’re there and they serve their basic purpose.
Yes, the head sculpt does just fine to carry the purpose of the figure, and it got me excited enough to want me to do a review of it, but one aspect of a figure can only carry a figure so far; it did it phenomenally, yes, but to earn that perfect score, I have to see a lot more than everything resting pretty much on one specific thing standing out “head and shoulders” above everything else.
Speaking about not being “head and shoulders” above the rest, the figure is actually *slightly* shorter than Bill and Ted. Um….he was slightly taller than both of them. So yea.
Paint - ****
Outside of the paint work on the included accessory, there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of actual paint application on this; I mean…it’s possible some extra coats could have been added to the head, but I’m under the impression that this figure was essentially molded in the color used; the only real paint applications are on the eyes, and the lips.
Ohhhhh they nailed it with the eyes, ever so perfectly…and I’m not referring to just the black around the eyes and on the lips either, no no; I’m referring to the actual eyes.
See, a more common process I notice being applied to the world of “higher end” toys these days is to do a very life-like paint job on the eyes, but the kicker is….I don’t normally see that standard applied to scales lower than 12-18”…but they did it here!
Now, granted, obviously they couldn’t go all-out on the paint application realism for a figure this scale, and still keep it at a reasonable price point, but it looks like they somehow took advantage of “tricks” to give off the illusion that they did. I confess I’m quite reminded of the way much of the architecture and “effect” work around the Disney parks is done, to pull off a visual trick so flawlessly to the visitors, and I assure you the attention to said attempt goes neither unnoticed nor unappreciated. Something about the paint work on the pupils of the eyes…the more closely you look at it, the more you can tell it’s not “perfect”, but….again, the same applies with the “effects” at the Disney parks; if you’re looking for the flaws, you’ll find them. Simply looking at this figure, and noticing the attention to it, you wouldn’t at first--or even a few glances further--even consider something is done with such artistic creativity, but it is. To quote Plinkett from Red Letter Media “you didn’t notice it, but your brain did”.
The figure at this point then has to rely on the paint wash for the sale, with further little details to stand out, and….yeah, they did it, and it looks really nice! In fact, one thing I happen to love about the wash on the head, specifically, is how the Reaper clearly has a look of being “old and archaic” from the front, and to the sides and back, a bit “dirty”….which I think fits quite nicely for the character (and as a result I’m seriously hoping it was intentional).
I do wish the rest of the body had been given as thorough of a wash as the head had been, but hey…at least this category got them the perfect score for that “magic” effect that was pulled off with the head, so y’know…that’s something right?
Articulation - ***
Looking at around 20 points of articulation with ball-jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists, waist, ball-jointed calves, knees, and ankles.
I confess, while I haven’t played around with the joints too much, I noticed certain joints feel much tighter than others…in some cases even to the point where I’m afraid if I “toy” with them too much, they might break (partially since, after getting this figure shortly after it was released, I really haven’t played much around with it since)…specifically the shoulders and the calves.
As a result, the figure feels a bit “unbalanced”, with four key joints giving me unease at the fear they might break if I try to move them around, a few other joints moving around sort of in “middle ground” territory, and the remaining joints moving around like they’ll fall off tomorrow (even though I don’t think they will).
Don’ get me wrong: you can still get some really fun, epic poses out of it….as shown here.
Not entirely sure, again, if it’s because I really didn’t play with the joints too much when I first got it or not, but anyone still looking to pick this up might definitely want to take note of this should they ever happen to acquire it for their own collection.
Accessories - ***1/2
Death doesn’t come with a ton of stuff, but what he does have is pretty vital to the character.
I’m including the signature robe here as I….wasn’t really sure where else to put it, even though the “cloth” outfit is sort of part of a necessary feature for this scale collection of their’s. The robe comes in two parts: a “body suit” portion that--IMO, when just dressed in that, makes the figure look like a monk--and the “hood” portion attachment to it. The robe also seems to have very baggy sleeves for the arms; I know the Grim Reaper is supposed to have very loose-fitting sleeves for his arms, but something to me seems a bit lost in translation between that, and the work on this body suit.
I do find the hood portion to also be a bit of a baggy fit on top of the body suit portion, but it’s not entirely something out of the ordinary, as I’ve heard, from this line’s cloth pieces at this point. It does what it’s essentially meant to do; I’m not gonna praise them to the sky over it or anything, but it serves its basic purpose.
The other accessory is his scythe, and….I confess I never looked too closely at the prop as it was carried in the film, so in checking some screen shots on Google, yeah it does the job well enough; I think the piece looks a little more like they were attempting a slightly age-worn look than getting it completely accurate to how it appeared in the movie, but it’s a minor nitpick, and again…..it does its job “well” enough, especially for the price point.
Overall - ***1/2
Dudes and dudettes, if you are a true fan of Bill S. Preston and Ted “Theodore” Logan-- AKA the Wyld Stallions-- why don’t you own this figure yet?
Ok, ok….I admit it, I’m not a die-hard fan of the franchise either, but I do enjoy the films, and had been waiting for some good action figures for quite some time!
Death was always up there for me as one I was always really hoping would happen, and I’m glad Rufus, and Bill and Ted, also have made the cut so far….even with all 4 pieces being exclusives in some shape or form (Bill and Ted were a Toys R Us exclusive set, Rufus was an exclusive with the Blu-Ray DVD release, and Death was a San Diego Comic Con exclusive), at least we got them all the same.
I’m hoping we might eventually see DeNomolos, Station, the “Good” and “Evil” Bill and Ted Robots, Missy, and the late Clarence Clemens’ “Supreme Being from the Future”….but something tells me I’m asking a lot more than most fans would genuinely care for.
I paid $35 plus shipping for this bad boy (as I discovered, upon finding that I still had the record of the receipt in my email account, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!!!); it was a San Diego Comic Con exclusive, and even a year later now, at the time of this review’s writing--that’s a believable price for a figure like this, especially when you consider the venue.
As of my last checking, it appears the figure has only skyrocketed in value; I just found one that recently sold for $80, so….see if you can find yourselves a nice deal, if you’re ever-so inclined.
Where to Buy
This was an SDCC exclusive so options are limited. Online options include these site sponsors:
- or you can search ebay for a deal.
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