Man of Steel 1/4 scale figure

Man of Steel 1/4 scale Superman by NECA

NECA has produced some really cool 1/4 scale action figures this year for a wide variety of licenses, breathing new life into the scale and the style. I loved their 1966 Batman, as well as their Iron Man, and  Tonto from the Lone Ranger, so I was anxious to check out the Superman from Man of Steel.

This guy is currently available at Entertainment Earth for just $65 if you don't mind a dented box. He was originally $85, and there's a black suited version coming soon.

Packaging - ***
He comes in a big window box, with little wasted space or materials. That's always a plus, and it's nice to see the whole figure that you're actually getting.

This is one of those figures where you'll want to have your wire snips handy. I lost track of the number of big twisty ties holding this guy in place, and was glad I was able to simply cut through them. If you don't have a pair of snips, invest in some - twisty ties aren't going any where any time soon.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Man of Steel 1/4 scale Superman by NECA
Man of Steel 1/4 scale Superman by NECA
Man of Steel 1/4 scale Superman by NECA
Man of Steel 1/4 scale Superman by NECA
Man of Steel 1/4 scale Superman by NECA
Man of Steel 1/4 scale Superman by NECA
Man of Steel 1/4 scale Superman by NECA

Sculpting - **1/2
I'm a tad torn on this one. The work on the body, especially the texturing on the new suit, looks great. But the head just isn't cutting it for me.

It's Cavill alright, but the jawline, nose and forehead are so sharply defined that it's bordering on caricature. There's also an odd thing going on with the expression. He's got a very Clint Eastwood/Man with No Name squint that just doesn't seem to fit the character, even in this grittier film. As portraits go, it's not the best we've seen them do in this scale, and is a bit of a disappointment.

But as I said, the detail work on the body, especially the suit texture, is really quite nice. As advertised, he's quarter scale, standing ??? inches tall.

There are two sets of hands, one set of fists and one set of open 'flying' hands. The open hands are a little oversized, and I'll discuss in the Accessories section the problems I had with swapping them.

Paint - ***
The overall paint job is solid work, with most of the areas clean and consistent. The skin tone is the only exception, as it varies from neck to head.

While the eyes are clean, they are also wonky. The left eye is drifting off slightly, not quite lined up with the right. That always bugs me, and on a figure this size, it's way too obvious even in person.

Articulation - *
The articulation is one of the big improvements that NECA has made with these 1/4 scale figures over their releases of the past. Rather than a few cut joints, they have a design more similar to a standard action figure.

Unfortunately, this is also where this figure fails. The joints are here - they just don't work as expected.

There's a ball neck, and it does tilt and lean a bit. Not a lot, and you'll never do a full flying pose, but it's decent enough.

There's ball shoulders, pin elbows and knees, a cut waist, an ab-crunch. hinge hips, cut thighs and biceps, pin/post wrists, and even pin ankles and a half foot pin.

All these joints are at least a little restricted, some much more than others. The ab-crunch is almost immovable, as are the ankles.  The half foot joints aren't much better, and the wrists aren't just restricted - they are so tight that it's very, very hard to swap the hands safely.

The entire figure is made from a very hard, heavy plastic (with the exception of the cape - more on that in a minute). This plastic is so hard that it's very brittle. I managed to break one of the half foot joints and one of the wrists, and it didn't take a whole lot of effort.

Even ignoring the breakage, it was almost impossible to keep him standing. The ankles are weak, allowing the heavy figure to fall forward easily. The ankles also don't bend backward, making it tough to find a good center of gravity. Keeping him standing was a frustrating experience.

Articulation is not the most important category for most figures as long as it works as intended. But when it works this badly, it overrides all the good will the other categories can muster.

Accessories - **
There's not much here. I already mentioned that there is a second set of open palm 'flying' hands, and that's it. These hands require heat to swap, and even then, you have to be extremely careful.

Outfit - ***1/2
While this is largely a sculpted figure, I included this category because the cloth cape is just so damn well done. It deserves to be called out and acknowledged on its own.

The outer layer is a soft, muted red material, while the interior is a shiny nylon. It is permanently attached at the shoulders, and it lays just about perfectly over and down his back. 

The stitching and cloth is very high quality, and it is the high point of the overall figure for me.

Fun Factor - **
While I'm a huge fan of this scale for kids, the problems with the articulation and lack of accessories hurt the play value as well.

Value - *1/2
This guy was originally $85. With the other quarter scale releases from NECA, I've given a good score in this category, because you're getting what you pay for. The issues with this guy hurt that however, pulling him down a full star off average.

Things to Watch Out For -
Breaking a joint - they are very brittle. The biggest risk is wrist pegs of course, but I'd e careful with every joint.

Overall - **
I have to say I was quite surprised by this figure. After Bilbo, Tonto, Iron Man, Captain America and the 66 Batman, I was expecting a similar level of quality.

As you can tell, I was disappointed. The sculpt and paint are reasonable, and I love the cape. But the articulation kills it, making the figure a tough one to recommend.

If you do pick him up, make sure you take extreme caution with the joints. Don't swap they hands without using a hair dryer or hot water, at least the first couple times, and work carefully with the other joints.

Sometime in the next couple weeks I'll be looking at the 89 Batman in this same scale from NECA, and I have my fingers crossed that things return to the higher level of quality I've come to expect.

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

Where to Buy -
Entertainment Earth has this guy as cheap as $64, if you don't care about a mint box. They also have the black suit version coming soon, but for the usual $85.

Related Links -
Other Man of Steel products include the very cool (and very expensive) Jor-El from Hot Toys, as well as the 6" Movie Masters Jor-el, who goes along with the Superman and Zod.

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Man of Steel 1/4 scale Superman by NECA

This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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