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Review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Wave 2
Luca, Koba & Caesar

NECA
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wave 2 action figures from NECA

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Introduction

While the entire movie making industry tends to go with the 'safe' bet whenever possible and remake, rebrand, reboot and retry old ideas, the results are often unfortunate. That's not to say it's impossible for them to be good, and there have been a number of remakes that have been great, some even better than the originals.

I usually approach remakes and reboots with guarded optimism. But when they announced they'd be doing prequels to one of my all time favorite franchise's - the Planet of the Apes - I was worried. Very worried. We'd already seen Tim Burton take a shot and miss by a mile, so the odds were not in their favor.

But my worries were misplaced. The first two films, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, may not be quite the epic classics that the originals were, but they are excellent movies in their own right, and can stand firmly on their own without damaging the overall Ape-lore.

NECA picked up the license to do figures, and started with the looks of the characters from Dawn. The second series has been shipping for a few weeks now, and includes another Caesar and Koba (both were in the first wave), as well as the big guy, Luca.

Expect to pay around $18 - $20 for these, depending on the retailer, and they are available both online and at your local Toys R Us.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wave 2 action figures from NECA

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Packaging - ***
NECA sticks with things that work - clam shells work. The packages are attractive, and certainly sturdy enough to hold up to shelf and storage wear. Removing the figure and replacing it with something else is difficult as well, making them ideal for security on the pegs.

They did up the number of twisty ties this time though. The first wave only had one around the waist, but these added two more around the arms. I blame the twisty tie union.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wave 2 action figures from NECA

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Sculpting - Koba, Luca ***1/2; Caesar ***
These are three very pissed off primates, and their head sculpts provide a clear indication that you're about to be ripped apart.

Luca does come with a standard, slightly grumpy ape portrait initially, but I suspect most people will shift him to the rampaging, angry head sculpt for permanent display.

All the fur and skin work is excellent. Koba has quite a bit of damage, and the detailing is well done. The teeth and interior of the mouth is done very nicely on all three, and there's a lot of emotion on display in the expressions.

I don't think the likenesses are quite as strong with Koba and Caesar this time, however. Koba is borderline, but Caesar looks off to me around the nose and mouth. It doesn't help that he has a very obvious seam around the jaw that's distracting and unattractive.

All three characters stand great on their own as well, and it will be easy to find a good pose with a solid center of gravity.

These are done in a 6" scale, with Caesar and Koba just over 6", and Luca towering over them at almost 7".

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wave 2 action figures from NECA

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Paint - Luca, Caesar ***1/2; Koba ***
Of the three, Luca has the least amount of detail work. He has no damage, and his face has less variation in color and tone. His eyes are nicely done in both heads, and I like how both are looking slightly off to the side in the grumpy version. They aren't *quite* perfectly straight, but it's close.

While the sculpt is a little disappointing on Caesar, the paint quality is top notch. The eyes, skin and hair all look terrific, with clean lines and almost no slop.

Koba takes the hit here, at least for me. In person, the face and body are too wet and shiny, almost like he just got out of the shower. The paint work on some of the damaged fur/skin isn't quite as good this time either, holding him back from a higher score.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wave 2 action figures from NECA

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Articulation - ***
The sculpt does restrict quite a bit of the articulation, but they've done their best at finding a way to get key poses.

Both Caesar and Koba stand upright quite well. You can get a little hunch out of it too, matching the generally poor posture of the apes in this film. Getting a lower pose is tough though, since the ball hips and knees can't bend nearly far enough.

The ball jointed necks work fantastic though, allowing a lot of tilt and lean action with the head. This is really important, and allows you to get the most out of the screaming portraits.

The arm articulation is the most troublesome. The elbows and wrists are very restricted by the sculpted fur, making it tough to get some of the gun poses you're going to be after.

Luca might be the biggest, but his articulation actually works the best. Part of this is due to the softer rubbery lower torso, which allows the ball hips a greater range. Once again, his neck works fantastic, and the restricted elbows and wrists aren't as critical since he doesn't have a weapon.

While the articulation is restricted, you'll have no real problem getting good stances that they can maintain.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wave 2 action figures from NECA

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Accessories - ***
There aren't a ton of extras here, but the number and general concept follows the first wave.

Caesar and Koba both have an extra set of hands. They come wearing a set of relaxed hands, and have an extra set of gripping hands for the weapons. Swapping these can be tricky this time - the fit is tight, and the hands are made from a very hard plastic. You might want to use some hot water on the hands to soften them up enough to making swapping safe.

Both Caesar and Koba also come with one gun. Koba has an automatic weapon like the one he took from the humans, which fits nicely in the provided hands.  Caesar has the sawed off shotgun, and while he can hold the grip easily, the articulation doesn't allow for decent double handed poses. Holding it up over his head is your best bet.

Luca has the best accessory - an extra portrait. It's his only accessory, as he has no other hands, but regular readers know how much I love the extra head sculpts.

Swapping the heads is relatively easy, certainly easier than swapping the hands this time around. The extra head has a snarling, screaming expression, and if you ever see a gorilla looking like this, run. He's not smiling, and he's not happy to see you.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wave 2 action figures from NECA

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wave 2 action figures from NECA

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wave 2 action figures from NECA

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Fun Factor - ***1/2
These guys are a lot of fun, with decent articulation and accessories. The classic apes won't appeal to every kid, but these are sure to be a hit.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wave 2 action figures from NECA

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Value - **1/2
At most places, you can pick these guys up for around $18 each, although I believe $20 is the standard retail. That's a couple bucks below a lot of the current 6" collector's lines like Star Wars Black or Game of Thrones, keeping them in that average ball park.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wave 2 action figures from NECA

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Things to Watch Out For -
Swapping the hands can be tricky - hot water will come in very handy.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wave 2 action figures from NECA

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Overall - Luca ***1/2; Caesar, Koba ***
NECA has become THE company for 6"-7" scale movie figures, and their work on both the classic Planet of the Apes and new prequels has been outstanding. There's been the occasional misstep, but the overall impression is one of quality and consistency.

If you already have the first Koba and Caesar, you might skip these. The only real addition is the guns, although getting the screaming Caesar portrait is a bonus.

It's Luca that everyone will want, allowing you to add a gorilla to the mix. I suspect he'll disappear quickly, while the other two may hang on the pegs for awhile.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Koba, Luca ***1/2; Caesar ***
Paint - Luca, Caesar ***1/2; Koba ***
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - Luca ***1/2; Caesar, Koba ***

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wave 2 action figures from NECA

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has them for $18 each.

- Entertainment Earth has the set of three for $53.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
NECA has been doing a terrific job with the monkeys this year, including wave 1 and wave 2 of the classic apes, and the first wave of the figures for Dawn.

And the new film hit the streets on blu-ray a few weeks ago, coming in this cool bust from NECA.

A couple years ago, Hiya Toys did their version of Caesar and Koba from Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Other Ape related reviews include:

- Hot Toys did a few excellent apes based on the original films.

- Sideshow did a Premium Format figure of Dr. Zauis.

- I reviewed Sideshow's Ape Marauder and Enforcer, Zira and Cornelius, and both the regular and exclusive versions of Dr. Zauis.

- I also looked at a couple of the smaller figures for the bad remake.

- here's a guest review of Sideshow's General Ursus, Caesar, prisoner Taylor, Astronaut Brent, slave Brent,

- and the first guest review ever done at my site, way back over 13 years ago, was on the Medicom POTA figures.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wave 2 action figures from NECA

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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