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Hellraiser

The National Entertainment Collectibles Associaton (NECA) has been around for quite awhile, doing bobble heads, snowglobes and various other pop culture items.  Over the last year though, they've jumped into action figures in a big way.

When people heard they had gotten the Hellraiser license, there were mixed emotions.  People were excited, because this was a license they'd been hoping for forever, but they were unsure how NECA would handle it.

The wait is over, and the figures are hitting the shelves!  NECA decided to do at least one figure from each of the six films - Pinhead was necessary of course and was in every film, Chatterer from 2 (1 and 6 as well), CD from 3, the Chatter Beast from 4, the Wire Twin from 5, and Stitch from 6.  There's also a Marz Distribution Wire Twins with a Torso accessory (that's two Twins with the Torso).  And there's also a pewter painted Pinhead exclusive at the San Diego Comic Con this summer.

Retail is around $10.  Of course, that always depends on where you shop, and I've included some suggestions at the end of the review.

NECA is also launching a website devoted to the movie, appropriately called Hellraiserthemovie.com.  It's not up yet, but should be within the next couple weeks.










Packaging - ***
With my new love of clamshell packaging, regular bubble/cardback packages just don't seem as good.  Still, NECA does a nice job with these.  There's a large photo of the character on the front, and the back had an excellent run down of just who the character is, something missing from many packages these days.  This is very useful for some of the lesser characters like CD.  The graphics are as attractive as the text is useful, so this is solid work all around.

Sculpting - Pinhead, Chatter Beast ****; Chatterer, Stitch ***1/2; CD, Wire Twin ***
I'm not surprised that the level of detail and quality of the sculpt seems to vary quite a bit across this line.  Some of the designs simply lend themselves to better interpretations than others.

Crucial to the overall line is Pinhead.  He's the most wanted character, and the one people are going to focus on predominately.  One of the most important aspects are his 'pins', and early comments from people seeing photos has been that these pins are too big.

I'm here to tell you that's not the case when you see it in person.  Photos, especially close ups, give you a look at the figure not in scale with reality.  And yes, in many photos the pins look too big.  But once you get it in your hands, you'll realize they couldn't possibly be any smaller and still be plastic.  They are as thin and tiny as they could have made them, and in person they look great.  The scale is an issue of course of the material used, and the plastic is soft yet stands straight.  I wouldn't play around with the pins too much though, as they feel like you could break them off by bending them too much.

The rest of the sculpt on Pinhead, and especially the Chatter Beast, is excellent.  Both look like the source material, and have tons and tons of surface detail.  The skirts on Pinhead and Stitch are done in a very soft rubber, glued at the top and bottom, and that makes them look even better.  It gives it an almost cloth-like appearance, and I'm betting it saved on the cost as well.

Pinhead also has several additional 'tools' included on a string.  These are not removable, so I'm counting them here, although they are of the same quality and appearance as his accessories.

Chatterer and Stitch both have great head sculpts, and the detail work on their bodies is excellent as well.  Stitch has some human intestines hanging out in front of her robes, sort of like a belt.  Very twisted!  CD and Wire Twin aren't quite as nice, but part of that is simply a design issue.  Poor CD is just the dopiest character in the entire Hellraiser universe, and I can't imagine the other Cenobites not making fun of him on a regular basis.

Wire Twin's overall sculpt is okay, and her head sculpt is quite good.  The lower score for her is due to the lack of real detail on her inner stomach.  The exposed areas don't have quite the realistic appearance that you'd hope for.

Paint - Pinhead, Chatter Beast, Chatterer ****, Wire Twin ***; Stitch, CD ***1/2
There's plenty of detail on all the figures, even though black is their personal fashion choice.

The paint application on every head sculpt is clean, neat and well done. There's plenty of gore all the way around, and areas where the skin is splayed open, like the back of Chatterer or areas on the Chatter Beast, are painted a realistic and consistent red.  Pinhead has a ton of paint detail of course, especially around his face, eyes and mouth, but there's not a single splotch or miscue.  I'm particularly impressed with the silver paint work on the wires used to stretch the mouth and skin on Chatterer.

I did find a few minor slops on some of the body details, and the Wire Twin's intestines don't have the realistic paint details of the exposed areas on other figures.  Still, overall the paint application does a great job of highlighting the sculpting.

Articulation - Chatterer, CD ***1/2; Pinhead, Stitch, Chatter Beast ***; Wire Twin *1/2
This is a category that the poor Wire Twin falls far short of the rest of the line.

Chatterer and CD have the most and best articulation, although due to some of the sculpting, the range of motion isn't everything you'd hope for.  They both have neck, shoulders, cut biceps, wrists, hips, knees and ankles.  CD also has a waist joint.

The ankles, wrists and cut arms are the most crucial, since they allow for some good posing and the ability to stand in several different ways.  The knees are helpful, but the leg sculpts make them a little less useful than you might first guess.  But these two have enough articulation to make most folks happy.

Pinhead, Stitch and Chatter Beast aren't quite as flexible.  Pinhead and Stitch have neck, shoulders, cut elbows (or biceps), and wrists (or forearms).  All the joints are well hidden whenever possible.  Pinhead also has a waist joint.

Chatter Beast has back hips, neck, shoulders, a cut joint on both front legs about half way down, and his left front paw.  He can't take too many poses, simply because of the sculpt, but you can get him to do a variety of things with his chew toys.

Wire Twin is the big loser in this category.  She has neck (but don't turn the head too much, or you'll damage the 'wires' running from her chin to her chest), shoulders and wrists.  There's no waist or leg articulation of any kind.

All the figures stand just fine on their own, and that's good since you're going to want to combine their stands to form the Lament Configuration.

Accessories - CD ****; Chatter Beast, Stitch ***1/2; Chatterer, Wire Twin, Pinhead ***
All the figures come with a decent share of accessories, although some look better or are better scaled.

CD makes up for being such a goofy character with the most accessories.  He comes with four tools and two CD's, along with his base.  There's plenty of blood on the tools, and all are pretty well scaled to the figure.

The Chatter Beast has two chew toys - an arm and a head - along with his base.  The arm and head are excellent sculpts, with plenty of gore.  The marks on the arm fit perfectly with the teeth in his mouth.

Stitch has three knifes - two attached to her belt, but are removable unlike Pinhead's extra tools - and a face vise.  I couldn't find any way to actually use the vise though.

Chatterer has two chains, one typed with scythe-like weapons, the other with a hook.  The scythe's are a little out of scale, and don't fit particularly well in his hands.  I also have no idea what to do with the extra hook, but I'm sure you could be imaginative.  He has the stand as well.

The Wire Twin has an extra right hand that can hold her knife, and another short chain with a hook.  She also has her base.

Finally, Pinhead has his own small Lament Configuration, and a bloody tool.  He has the three tools on his belt, but they aren't removable, and he comes with his piece of the larger cube as well.

The big attraction here though are the bases, which is an unusual thing.  Usually figure stands are simply nice to haves, but here they are the best part of the accessories.  Buy the line of six figures, and you will be able to connect the bases into your own large size cube.  It looks excellent, and there's plenty of detail and excellent paint ops on each base.  There are three different bases, so that only each opposing side of the cube matches.  This was a great idea on NECA's part, and is likely to mean more sales of CD and Wire Twin than they might otherwise have had.

Value - Wire Twin **1/2, Others ***
While not a fantastic value, these are certainly at just the right price point.  You are getting great sculpting, decent articulation, and depending on the figure, plenty of accessories.  These compete extremely well with McToys figures at $10, and many retailers are now charging $12 and $13 for McToys.  Do your best to find these for $10 though if you can, since the value drops at $12 or more.

Overall - Pinhead, Chatter Beast, Chatterer ***1/2; CD, Stitch ***; Wire Twin **1/2
All of these figures are pretty nice, although it's easy for me to say that the Wire Twin is the least attractive of the set.  Most folks are going to harass poor CD as well, but let's not forget that he has both the most accessories AND the most articulation.

Pinhead and the Chatter Beast are excellent looking figures, although the lower score in articulation keeps them below a four star figure.  Chatterer might be my favorite, but I would have liked to see slightly better accessories.  Overall, this is a great line, and will look great on the shelf with your Movie Maniacs.  If you're into the films, you should be pretty happy with the assortment, especially Pinhead and Chatterer.

Where to Buy - 
I haven't seen them at bricks and mortar stores yet though, although I suspect places like Suncoast, Media Play and Spencers will be getting them in.  On-line: 

- Our brand new sponsor, Time and Space Toys, has the set for $60 plus shipping.

- Aisle Sniper has all of them listed, including the Wire Twins exclusive.  You can buy the set of six for $72 plus shipping, and the exclusive is $20.

- Entertainment Earth has a set for $80 plus shipping, but they have it listed as SEVEN figures, so you get two Pinheads.  I have no idea why.

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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