Freddy Vs. Jason

A lot of figures released each year are highly anticipated - it's the nature of collectors. But when I say the two pack of Freddy vs Jason from NECA, based on the hit film of the same name, was highly anticipated, it's like saying The Passions of the Christ is a little religious.  Both Freddy and Jason have been done before, by no less than two different companies.  Could NECA live up to the past work, and bring some of their own special brand of excitement to the license?

The film these are based upon was actually a decent flick, as slasher flicks go.  My biggest concern was how they'd come up with a plausible reason for Freddy and Jason to be in the same film, and then for them to duke it out.  While it wasn't Shakespeare, I was happy to see it wasn't just a modern Godzilla vs Rodan.  Of course, since neither of these guys can die, the battles tend to seem a tad pointless after awhile, but there can only be one gorilla in the jungle I suppose.

Jason's face was never shown in the film.  But there was a face under the mask - you can never be too careful - and NECA worked with the special effects production company on the film to capture the actual appearance.  This is fans first real chance to see what Jason looked like in this film!

This set should be hitting retailers within the next week at most, and retail for between $20 and $25, depending on the store.  This will be another of those specialty retailer items, fighting for space at your local small store.

Packaging - ***1/2
The figures come backed in a large window box, both in attack positions facing forward.  The base is easy to see, and blends in nicely with the graphics and color of the package.  The die cut front looks great, and overall, it's top notch work.  My only complaint - and you knew I had to have one - is the huge number of twisties.  Okay, I suppose this is the evil we must bear to have the figures so well positioned in the box, but you better have your wire snips handy when you open this thing up.

Sculpting - Jason ****; Freddy ***1/2
As I mentioned earlier, Jason has his 'real' face on under the mask, and it's quite the gruesome visage.  But what did you expect - Brad Pitt?

Since you never get to see the face in the film though, you'll have to take NECA's word for just how accurate it is.  There's certainly no lack of detail and realism, and giving us the actual face is a great touch for this set.

Jason's body is appropriately scarred and damaged, and he has a good heft.  The hand sculpts work with the possible poses, and the overall leg sculpt allows him to stand fine on his own, even without the included stand.

Freddy is also highly detailed and butt ugly, but I did have a couple minor issues with him.  The detail work on the faces and heads is amazing, although there's not quite as much difference between the three heads as I'd expected.  At the end of the review I have a shot of all three heads next to each other.  The hat fits best on the head he comes packaged wearing, but it can fit on the other two heads if you'd prefer.  All three heads can fit on the body as well, because they all have a post, but I wish the one with the magnet (intended to be carried by Jason) had left off the post.  It would have looked far better hanging in his hand without it.

The body details are great as well, although a little more damage to the body here would have looked great, especially considering the abuse he was taking during this part of the movie.  But my only real issue with Freddy's sculpt is one of scale - he seems slightly too big in comparison to Jason.  There was a major difference in size between the two characters in the movie, but the difference here doesn't seem quite as pronounced.  That might not be a bad thing - making Freddy more shrimpy here may have thrown off the entire look.  But it's tough to tell what the best call was without seeing any alternative.  But if you compare these two figures to the prototype shots, you'll notice that there isn't as big of a size difference between the two as there was then.

While the details are great on Freddy, especially his heads, my favorite work is on his gloved right hand.  The fingers don't move, so the pose they chose for the blades was critical.  They did a great job though, and the glove is one of my favorite aspects of the whole set.

I shot a couple photos with these two by the fishtank set from McToys.  I couldn't open the set - it belongs to my older daughter, not I - but I thought it would be helpful anyway.  These two are larger than the McToys versions, in a 7" scale.

Paint - ****
There's not a lot of color variety here, but even with the drab browns, reds and grays, NECA has produced an eye catching set.

Most of the complex work is on the faces of course, where the eyes, teeth and skin have to be perfect.  There's no slop, and everything is clean and neat.  Or as neat as a couple of hacked up, bleeding, undead freaks can be.

The paint work on the bases is also good, especially the flame effects.  One of the advantages of the flames is that they add some much needed color to the otherwise monotone palette.

If I had to pick on favorite piece of paint work though, it would be Jason's mask.  The dirty brown, along with the rub marks on the red designs, give it a tremendously realistic look, even in this scale.

Articulation - **1/2
These are more statue than action figure, but they have a decent enough number of joints to allow for some variety in the poses.

Jason has neck, shoulders, wrists, waist, ankles and a cut left elbow.  The joints are tight, but workable, and he stands great on his own.  The arm articulation isn't extensive, but I did find it pretty easy to pose him in a number of decent ways.

Freddy has neck, shoulers, wrists, waist, ankles and cut joints on both elbows.  Again, none of the articulation is exceptional, but it all works.  The neck joint is a little loose, since his head pops off pretty easily (and has a nice bloody stump), but it's not a major issue. 

Accessories - ***1/2
Both figures come with a burning dock base, and they can be used separately or together.  The flame effects work good, and the pegs are positioned well for their feet.

While Jason doesn't require his stand, Freddy most certainly does.  His right foot is posed in a half step, so getting him to stand independently was almost impossible.

There's also a small, separate Freddy vs Jason plaque that you can put any where you feel the desire.

Jason's mask is removable, so I suppose that counts as an accessory, and he has his trademark machete.  For some reason, the back half of the machete is covered in blood, but the edge is not.  His right hand is also swappable, and the second hand has a magnet in it to hold one of the three Freddy heads.  The hands swap easily, with little chance of breakage.

Freddy has the three heads I mentioned, all of which fit in the body.  He also has his hat, and his flaming section of dock.

Fun Factor - **
These aren't for your average six year old, and they aren't really built for lots of play.  They are intended for display purposes, so there's not a huge fun factor.  Still, I'm doing my best to remember to include this category in most reviews these days, just in case you were considering giving these to the kids to fight against Batman.

Actually, Jason is a better toy than Freddy, since he has far fewer pieces that could easily break.  The only risky area is his hockey mask straps.

Freddy is much more easy to damage, especially his blade fingers.  These are nice and stiff, unlike some earlier attempts, but are therefore easier to break.

Value - ***
You can expect retail to be between $20 and $25.  I'm grading these on $20, and you can adjust from there depending on what price you find them at.

Considering that one of these would probably run about $10 at your local specialty retailer, a price of $20 seems more than appropriate.

Overall - Jason ****; Freddy ***1/2
I had to split up the overall, simply because I like Jason quite a bit more than Freddy.  Freddy isn't bad, and part of the problem is the look of the character in this film, but Jason is just about perfect in sculpt and paint as you can get.

Here's what I'm going to write in a note for you to take home to your mommy - McToys has nothing on NECA at this point.  While you can easily debate whether one version of these figures is slightly better than the other based on personal preferences, you can't deny that these are as every bit as good as any McToys Movie Maniacs in sculpting, paint, articulation and accessories.  

That's not to say NECA has blown them away - that's a tough one to pull off, as McToys is a leader.  But NECA has certainly pulled even, and now much of the competition will be over licenses, and not quality.  With the excellent work by Mezco on the Hellboy figures, the field for great looking figures has just gotten more competitive.  That can only mean good things for the collectors.

Where to Buy - 
Specialty retailers and on-line shops should be getting these as we speak. On-line choices include:

- Southern Island has the set for $25.

- Killer Toys also has them listed at $22.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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