NECA Player Select
Legacy of Kain

Video games and action figures have had a long history together. The theory has always been that if you love a video game, you'll love little plastic versions of your favorite characters from that game. That's the theory, anyway, although in practice the outcome has been much less predictable.

NECA is jumping into the video game arena with their Player Select line. The first series consisted of Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, Agent 47 from Hitman, and the figure I'm reviewing tonight - Kain, from Legacy of Kain. These have been out for a few weeks, and we should be seeing the much anticipated Kratos figure from the second series of Player Select any day now.

Kain has had several games, including the very successful Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver II. He's a vampire, but not in the traditional modern sense. Instead, he's old school, God-like, and lives in the fictional realm of Nosgoth. He's a sort of anti-hero, with a few qualities that make him less than likable at times, but the games are a very popular series.

You can find him (and the other two) at stores like Hot Topic and Spencers. Expect to pay around $15, depending on the retailer. 

Packaging - ***
The packaging has several very nice photos of the figure, and also includes a great insert card with excellent artwork. I used the insert in a couple of the photos, because I liked the church window look so much.

Otherwise, it's a fairly standard clamshell. I do have to commend them though on not wasting space or packaging materials. These clamshells are only as big as the absolutely have to be, which is a plus in my book.

Sculpting - ****
If you like lots of detail in your figures, you're going to enjoy this one.  From the gnarly skin texture to the finely sculpted leather, he's a work of art from head to toe.  At least for under fifteen bucks.

He's in a fighting mode, with an extreme expression that actually works with a guy like this.  The small teeth are nicely done, and even his chest wound looks realistic and painful.

The figure is stuck in a single pose, since there's very little articulation, but I like the pose he's been given.  I also think that folks will like this pose in general better than the sculpted poses of figures like Voldemort or Leonidas.  I know I do.

The soft rubber cape is sculpted in a flowing, dynamic way, and yet it's small enough to not interfere or over power the general appearance of Kain.

He's in a 7" scale, and fits in fine with other NECA 7" lines.  Since this guy can easily be considered larger than most normal humans, you could put him with other 6" figures (depending on the characters) and he'd fit in as well.

Paint -***1/2
Small details - like the very cool eyes - are nicely done, but some of the body suffers from the over wash syndrome.  There's a wash on his hair, a wash on his body, and even a wash on the clothes.  It's not as bad as it could be, believe me, but it is a bit more than some folks might like.

This heavy wash means that some small details are lost or softened.  The teeth, for example, aren't as sharp or clean looking as you might want or expect, and the hair detail is somewhat washed out.

My favorite paint work here is the aforementioned eyes, along with the metal looking shin armor.  Combining the pock marked texture of the sculpt with a dark wash that isn't over done makes them appear quite realistic.

Articulation - **
NECA has been skimping on the articulation for awhile now, so it's no surprise that Kain has as little as possible.  He does have a ball jointed neck, which saved them from losing another half star in this category even if it is fairly restricted by the hair.

He also has ball jointed shoulders, jointed on the torso side only, cut joints at the top of the gloves, and ball jointed wrists.  

He finishes off with a cut waist (which is actually a ball joint, that can lean and tilt but can't hold any position that way), and ankle joints.  Yep, that's it for the legs.

He does stand well on his own though, and the sculpted 'battle' pose is fairly decent.

Accessories - ***
Kain comes with two accessories - his flaming right hand, and his ass kicking sword.

The sword is particularly nice, with an excellent sculpt on the hilt and a funky curved blade. It's nice and thin, yet made from stiff enough plastic to avoid any wilt or bend. It fits just fine in his left hand, although you might have to bend his fingers a bit to get it in there in the first place. EDIT - some folks have managed to pop the end of the hilt to place the sword in his hand.  Mine is definitely not popping off and is probably paint stuck, but give yours a try.

The right hand pops off (with some effort) and the alternate hand pops on (again with some effort). The hand looks quite good, and the flames coming from the fingers are well done both in sculpt and color. They are translucent of course, but with just the right amount of reds, yellows and oranges.

Fun Factor - **1/2
Kids that love the game may find themselves drawn to this figure. He's a great sculpt, even if the articulation is quite limited. He could make for a fine villain in any set of 7" scaled action figures, and even could match up against a lot of 6" lines, since he's the kind of character that can tower over others and still look in proportion.

I'd keep the sword away from the little ones though. The dog isn't going to be all that amused by being poked with this thing.

Value - ***
These should run you around $12 - $13 each at most retailers, although Spencers and Hot Topic will be more. At that price you're getting a solid value with Kain, considering the swappable hand and very cool sword. While not all the figures in the series so far are worth this much, Kain is priced about right.

Things to Watch Out For - 
I had a little trouble getting the sword into his hand, and actually managed to pop off one of his nasty fingers in the process.  A little superglue put it back in place, but take your time. 

Overall - ***1/2
If you like the basic sculpted pose, you'll really enjoy this figure.  If you're looking to pose him in some other way, you can forget about this one.

The sculpt is keeping this figure higher than a three star figure, outweighing the low articulation score for me.  He really does look terrific, even with the slightly sloppy paint job.  Add in the very cool sword and flaming hand, and you have a great combination.

I thought the other two figures in this first release were much weaker, especially the Lara Croft.  I'm hopeful that Kratos turns out as good as the prototype photos promised.

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

Where to Buy -
I picked this guy up at a Hot Topic, but not all HT's have them on the pegs. Online options include:

- YouBuyNow has them for $12.99 each.

- Amazing Toyz is out of this guy, but has the set of three for $35.

- Dark Figures has him for $15.

Related Links -
Other recent NECA releases include Harry Potter series 1 and 300 series 1.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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