Tron 2.0

Remember the 80's? Sure you do - it hasn't been THAT long. In 1982, a movie called Tron hit the theaters. This was back when Disney was actually doing a few Sci-Fi flicks, like The Black Hole and this film. There was also the hit arcade game of the same name, and now, deep into the 20 year cycle of nostolgia, Tron is back.

It's coming this summer as a new game, and who knows what else may lie in the future. Here's the official back story on Tron 2.0 from the official website:

20 years ago, an artificial intelligence known as the Master Control Program (MCP) threatened to take over an unsuspecting world. Only Kevin Flynn, a computer genius, stood between the MCP and rest of humanity. Flynn was digitized into a parallel universe inside the computer, where the MCP pitted programs against each other in gladiatorial combat on the arena known as the Game Grid.

With the help of a security program known as Tron, Flynn ultimately defeated the MCP and returned to the real world.

20 years later, Alan Bradley, creator of the original Tron program, has finally replicated the technology needed to successfully digitize a human being into the computer. The secret lies in Ma3a, an artificial intelligence program sophisticated enough to hold within its memory the complete genetic makeup of a human being, and the correction algorithms required to safely restore one to the physical world.

Unfortunately, Alan’s company is on the verge of a corporate takeover. Future Control Industries (fCon) has learned of Alan’s discovery and is interested in the technology for their own nefarious purposes. By digitizing specially trained hackers codenamed DataWraiths, fCon plans to infiltrate the world’s computer networks from the inside.

When Alan suddenly disappears under mysterious circumstances, his son Jet, a talented young computer programmer, enters the world inside the computer in search of answers. He discovers a sinister plot spinning out of control that threatens to corrupt one reality and forever transform another.

Finding his father is paramount, but getting out alive is equally important. To do this, Jet must find within himself the strength to come to terms with his very different father, as well as overcome the otherworldly adversaries encountered in this strange but fantastical world of Tron.

Sounds interesting, and the figures from NECA are already on the shelf. There are four in the first wave - Jet Bradley, ICP Kernel (the generic
henchman, called IC Regular here), J.D. Thorne (the bad guy), and Mercury (the hot chick). They are selling for $12-$13 at specialty stores. I have
a couple places listed at the end of the review where you can find them on-line.

Packaging - **1/2
The standard bubble/backer packaging, with fairly basic graphics and text. It won't win any sort of packaging of the year awards, but it's fairly compact and sturdy.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The only reference material I have as to whether this are on model or not is the official game site. They look very good compared to those images, but until the game hits it's a little tough to call.

Ignoring accuracy to the source material though, these sculpts are extremely nice. There's a ton of detail on every figure, particularly around the suits, and the head sculpts are appropriately 'digital' in appearance. I really like the lava like sculpting of Throne, but the detail work that went into the bodies of the other three are highlights as well.

The IC Regular has another nifty physical feature. There are many clear areas throughout the body, particularly around the joints, and his waist is a clear plastic rod, giving the upper body the appearance of floating above the lower body. The design works pretty well, and overall he looks much better out of the package than I had expected.

Paint - ***1/2
All the paint ops are great, with no slop or inconsistencies. There's plenty of room for error too, particularly with the detailed body work, but the lines are clean, there's no bleed, and there's great use of color. The yellow on Thorne is my favorite, and it's bright, clean and consistent. It looks great offset with the darker colors, and matches the screen character well from what I can tell.

Articulation - IC Regular , Bradley ***1/2; Throne, Mercury **1/2
This varies by figure quite a bit, but overall the articulation is acceptable.  Bradley and the IC have neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, knees and ankles.  The ball joints at the shoulders are somewhat limited in their range of motion, and the hip joints are pretty much standard V-crotch style, but overall this level of articulation is solid.

Thorne and Mercury aren't quite as good, although still decent.  They have neck, cut shoulders, elbows wrists, v-crotch hips and knees.  They both are missing the waist and ankles.

The joints are all very solid, and the figure quality is quite high.  They aren't likely to break under normal use, or even serious play.

Accessories - Thorne *1/2; Mercury, Bradley **1/2; IC Regular ***1/2
Every figure comes with at least one accessories. One is consistent across the series - a display stand with a  Tron 2.0 sticker. The stand is fairly basic, and using the sticker rather than sculpting or paint drops the value somewhat. The figures all stand fine on their own, but the stands will let you do some poses you couldn't otherwise.

Unfortunately, Thorne only comes with the stand, which is what puts him at the bottom of the pile.

IC Regular and Bradley both have the now classic Tron disc. They are painted to represent the character, and have great sculpting. They both have pegs that attach to the left hand of each figure in an appropriate location, and look great.

IC Regular also has a clear/red shield that snaps on his right arm. It is well designed, and fits nicely. On top of that, it looks great!

Mercury has a 'digital' staff, called a glow rod, and it fits in either or both hands easily. Her wrist articulation really gives you a lot more opportunities to pose her with the rod in a variety of ways. It's made of a translucent blue plastic, with some detail sculpting and painting on the surface.

Value - **
Ouch. I've found these at local stores for $12 (Gamestop) and $13 (Media Play). That's a mighty high price, considering what you're getting. I slam DC Direct for $13-$15, and the run sizes there are extremely small. If these figures were in the $8-$9 range, they'd be perfect, and you could add another star or star and a half. It would also help if the game was already available, because then demand would be higher at this point.  But that's not NECA's fault - the game has been delayed now several times, and probably won't be out until August.  It was originally scheduled for now, and the toys are right on time to the initial plan.

Overall -  ***
The only thing that hurts these figures for me overall is the price. Some of the figures are superior to others - I think the ICP Kernel is my favorite. But as a series they are solid, with great sculpting, excellent paint, and good accessories and articulation.

While the timing and price on these might be a bit off, they do bode well for the Hellraiser figures.  NECA has proven that they can produce good sculpts and paint ops with decent articulation, and this makes it more likely that the later figures will be of this same quality.

Where to Buy:
So far I've found these at Media Play and Gamestop locally. On-line:

- Entertainment Earth has the set of four for $60.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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