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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Rufus action figure
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

NECA and Shout Factory
Date Published: 2016-09-23
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 2.5 out of 4

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Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Rufus action figure by NECA

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Introduction

There are films we remember fondly from our childhood because they were wonderfully crafted movies, with terrific writing and acting, that even our youthful brains could appreciate.  Think Back to the Future, or Ghostbusters. Then there are those that might not have been all that great, evident in their lacking when we view them as adults, for which we still harbor a nostalgic love. I bet you can think of plenty that fall into that category.  And then you have Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure...I'm not quite sure where to put this movie.

There's no doubt it's a stupid movie. And there's no doubt that it's funny. It was the start of a career for Keanu Reeves, and arguably George Carlin's best movie role. Carlin played Rufus, a time traveler sent back to ensure the two morons, Bill and Ted, stay on the right path that leads to the creation of a future Utopian world.

Shout Factory has just released a new two film blu-ray set of the original film along with its sequel, Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. You get some nifty extras with this special release, including a newly designed lithograph print, a Wyld Stallyns guitar pick, a couple Bill & Ted stickers, and the subject of tonight's review - an action figure of Rufus, done by NECA.

This whole set cost $80, and is available through Shout Factory. Don't worry, Rufus won't be lonely - NECA is also releasing a boxed set of Bill and Ted, due in the next month.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Rufus action figure by NECA

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Packaging - *
The box looks cool, designed to mimic the time traveling phone booth in the film.  You could use the interior as a backdrop, or keep the whole thing on the shelf for display.  The packaging is largely collector friendly, so there SHOULDN'T be any reason to damage anything.

Here's where we run into a major issue. The most important, most critical, top job of any package is to ensure the contents are safe. That's pretty much Packaging 101.  The smaller accessories - his glasses, the book, and the album - are held in place with a piece of VERY sticky, very strong tape. That's not uncommon. Of course, most of the accessories that use this technique are small...and plastic.  In this case, the album cover is not.  It's paper, and it's very much stuck to the tape covering it. When I pulled the tape up, the album came with it, and when I tried to separate the two, it became obvious that doing so would tear the front of the cover. That's a massive fail on the part of the package design.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Rufus action figure by NECA

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Sculpting - ***
Rufus was played by George Carlin, a fast talking time traveler in a great looking suit. You can see a head shot here. The portrait is much better than the sort of work you'll see with many of the Mego nostalgia figures, like these from Figures Toys, and that's great. While other companies have been trying to merely tap into the nostalgic factor of the old Mego style, NECA has been trying to up the game a bit with their 8" cloth figures, creating something that's reminiscent of Mego, but with some modern sensibilities. The sculpting is one of those more modern aspects.

That's not to say this is Hot Toys level work by any means.  It's still a stylized, slightly caricaturish portrait, and the heavily textured skin goes over the top.  The shape of the head is good, and the detailing in the hair and beard are great, but it's still more of a close approximation to Carlin than a dead on match.

The one area of sculpting that falls short is the doodads on his suit. The sculpt is much rougher, and the pieces are generally out of scale by quite a bit.

The figure stands about 8" tall, and will fit right in with the other figures in this market. I've included a photo near the end of the review with a couple others from very different licenses and different companies to give you some idea.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Rufus action figure by NECA

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Paint - ***
I was most surprised by the quality of the paint, particularly with this style of figure. It's quite realistic, thanks to a clean application. The eyes are straight and even, the hairline has a subtle transition, and even the eyebrows and beard are decent. It's not perfect - there' still a little slop around some of the edges, particularly with the eyebrows and beard, but it's appropriate quality for the price point and style.

In fact, if I were only going off the head, I might be tempted to add another half star.  However, there's also the painted accoutrements on his suit, and these are much weaker. The silver is gloppy and thick, hurting the overall look of these plastic pieces.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Rufus action figure by NECA

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Articulation - ***
The underlying body is not as nicely articulated or designed as say, the new One:12 Collective series from Mezco, but it is a big step up from the majority of Mego-esque versions currently available.

One of the big advantages is in the ball jointed neck, where there's a fair amount of tilt and lean action, as well as the ability to look up and down. Most Mego style bodies simply have a cut neck joint, greatly limiting the natural look of any pose.

I didn't strip him all the way down, but I believe most of the joints - shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips - are rotating hinges. They have a decent range of movement, and with the pin knees and ankles as well as a rotating waist, he can take a fair number of poses, some quite dynamic. The body doesn't really allow for particularly flowing or natural stances, but you can get close.

This body also skips the internal bands that we often see with the Mego style, and that means the joints are much tighter and far less likely to get floppy over time.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Rufus action figure by NECA

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Accessories - ***
He doesn't have a ton, but he has three nice items.

He had some pretty funky shades in the movie, and these are reproduced in proper scale here. They fit on his face cleanly, and are not too over sized for his head. They are a little big, but it's more evident in macro photos than in hand.

There's also a book, the Circuits of Time. They've done an solid job copying the look from the film, and again, scale is reasonable.

I've already mentioned the final accessory - a Wyld Stallyns album. As I said, I couldn't remove it lest I tear the cover, but I did include a shot further down in the review of it stuck in the package.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Rufus action figure by NECA

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Outfit - **
Here's where I'm a bit disappointed, because NECA has been doing a pretty good job with the outfits on the majority of their 'retro' 8" figures.  For example, check out their Dream Warriors Freddy. While it's not the sort of attention to detail and tailoring that we are seeing with the One:12 Collective, for the price (half or less of the One:12) the quality has been very good.

The outfit consists of the black shirt, swinging silver leisure suit, and black overcoat. If you know this style of action figure, you know the tailoring is going to be a weak point. It's part of the kitsch. But NECA has actually done a much better job with the tailoring with many of their 8" retro figures, and I was surprised by just how oversized and baggy the suit and over coat are.  The quality of the materials is great, the stitching is great, the final look is awful.

One of the worst areas of offense is the collars on all three layers. Large, thick, and difficult to work with, getting a layered look that isn't pretty ridiculous is impossible with this guy. The clunky oversized silver pieces don't help any either.  There are actually three 'buttons' on the silver jacket, and they have plastic loops on the back to be attached to the cloth with a tack stitch. But there is no thread - no stitch. Instead, they appear to be glued in place, and one dropped off moments after I removed him from the package.  You can see it in the photos when he's wearing the over coat, and you'll notice it's gone in other shots.

While I get that the outfits are supposed to be a bit baggy and goofy looking, this one is too far to the extreme for my liking. Of course it's going to blend with the Bill & Ted, so the final situation may be just fine for you.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Rufus action figure by NECA

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Fun Factor - ***
While there's some issues overall with the figure, it's still a fun toy thanks to the decent articulation. Rufus isn't much fun by himself, but add him to the Bill and Ted figures (with a good phone booth that's in scale), and you'll have a great display.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Rufus action figure by NECA

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Value - **1/2
Regular readers know that a **1/2 here is an average score, and does not effect my personal Overall in any direction, either up or down. 

Most fancy pants double movie blu-ray releases with lots of extras run at least $30. You're getting several other extras (most notably the 18"x24" print) that are easily worth $20, potentially $30. That puts this figure in the $20 - $30 range, at or below the average cost for most of the regular release 8" retro figures from NECA. If the suit was just a little less over the top, I'd be willing to go another half star just based on the math.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not much. As I mentioned, the buttons on the suit coat are glued on, so be careful when handling them. And if you get lucky and the album cover hasn't yet gotten stuck to the tape, do what you can to avoid it.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Rufus action figure by NECA

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Overall - **1/2
If you hate the nostalgic Mego style, then you're going to hate any of the retro figures, period. It's just not going to be your thing.

But if you like them, there's some great releases out there. NECA has been impressing me with the 8" Retro line in general, and the head sculpt and paint work were both nice here.  But the costume is just too baggy and over sized, even for a retro figure, and the damage to the album cover along with the button needing to be repaired ended up hurting the figure overall.

BTW, you get extra nerd points if you know where the telephone booth in the final photo came from.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - *
Sculpting - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***
Accessories - **1/2
Outfit - **
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - **1/2

Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- If you're looking for Rufus, Shout Factory is the place to go. The full package with all the extras will cost you $80.

- doesn't have Rufus of course, but they have the Bill and Ted pre-order for $60.

- Entertainment Earth has Bill and Ted for just $55.

- or you can search ebay for a deal on Rufus.

Related Links -
Nope, haven't covered any other Bill and Ted swag.  And nope, haven't covered any of the NECA 8" figures.  I've covered similar figures from other companies, but not NECA.

You should hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Rufus action figure by NECA

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This product was loaned for the review by a collector. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2000 - 2016, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved.