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Penny, Doo Dah, and Brownie - Gremlins
NECA
07-04-14

Brownie Gremlins action figure by NECA


When a film becomes a hit - and then a classic - it's usually due to the excellent direction, writing, and acting.  With the now classic Gremlins, it's not.

That's not to say all three of those aspects aren't great.  Joe Dante is a fine director who did some of his best work here.  And as far as I'm concerned, Fast Times at Ridgemont High made Phoebe Cates a permanent favorite. But while all the usual suspects did their jobs at the top of their craft, Gremlins is really a movie all about, and stolen by, the title characters. Take that, Godzilla.

Word is a remake is in the works. No need to get too excited yet, since they've been discussing this for years, either as a remake or as a sequel, and nothing has come of it yet, but it is true that the chatter has intensified this year. While I have nothing against sequels, prequels, remakes, re-adaptations or reboots per se (too often people want to hate them right up front, when in fact they can be done well), I think this is the wrong property for it. To do a property justice, there needs to be something you can do to improve on the original. With a movie like Gremlins, there simply isn't. It's not that deep of a story, so better actors won't add a whole lot. And CGI Gremlins? No thanks.

I will be happy to keep buying action figures based on the original Gremlins designs, however. NECA seems happy to oblige, at least for one more series. Mogwai versions of Penny, Doo Dah and Brownie are currently shipping, and will cost you about $13 each or so, depending on the retailer.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Penny Gremlins action figure by NECA
Doo Dah Gremlins action figure by NECA
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Penny Gremlins action figure by NECA
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Doo Dah Gremlins action figure by NECA
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Brownie Gremlins action figure by NECA
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Doo Dah Gremlins action figure by NECA
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Penny Gremlins action figure by NECA
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Doo Dah Gremlins action figure by NECA
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Doo Dah Gremlins action figure by NECA
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Doo Dah Gremlins action figure by NECA

Packaging - ***1/2
I like clamshells, although collector friendly they ain't. You'll need a sharp blade to extract the little bugger, but this type of packaging is very resistant to peg wear, storage damage, or store theft.

The insert has the spooky shadow of an evil Gremlin, and I like the simplicity of the design.  The large bubble also shows off the figure nicely, for the MOCer's in the crowd.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The sculpt improved this time around, with a little better detailing in the fur on the torso. If you remember, I complained about the almost smooth texture on Haskins and Stripe, but here we get a little more definition in the hair. It's not quite at the same level as the face and limbs, but it's decent, and actually makes sense - there'd be more flattening and matting of the hair on the chest.

I love the detail work on the faces, especially Penny. The fur texture looks great, and they've done three slightly different pairs of ears as well, adding some more personality.

I did knock off slightly here for the deep set eyes. This is necessitated by the moving eyeball function, but it's a tad extreme.

These are about 3 1/2 inches tall, and all three stand great on their own.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint work is clean, with a nice fading transition between the fur colors on all three Gremlins.

Brownie is my favorite in this category, because he's so unique in terms of color. The tiger stripes on Penny are interesting as well, and even Doo Dah has enough variation in his pattern to make him stand out on the shelf.

The eyes are very sharp and clean as well. There's the occasional stray mark here or there on the fur, but it's the exception rather than the rule.

Articulation - ***
These have quite a bit of articulation considering the chubby design of the source character.

There's a very good ball jointed neck, and you should have no trouble tilting and leaning the head in very realistic ways. Both ears are also articulated, allowing you to include a bit more personality to every pose.

The moving eyes feature is still here of course, but it's not as bad as in previous releases. It's been my sore spot with this line so far, but they've done a much better job this time getting the eyes to a) move together and b) stay in one place. They still track off slightly from time to time, but if you play around with it a bit you'll get much better results.

The arms have ball shoulders, cut elbows and cut wrists. The legs also have ball hips, but these (like the elbows and wrists) really amount to cut joints due to the restrictive nature of the sculpted fur.

You won't get any fighting stances out of them, but that's not in their nature.  You will get some very cute looks, and the improved eyes are a big plus.

Accessories - Bupkis
Sadly, none of these three comes with anything extra. I wasn't a bit surprised, since none of the mogwai have had any accessories so far, but it's still a smidge disappointing. Of course, some of that disappointment is offset by the pleasure of getting a decent action figure for less than $15.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
While they don't have any accessories, the decent articulation makes them a ton of fun to play around with.

Value - ***
While the lack of accessories is a bummer, the $13 price point (or so, depending on where you pick them up and if you buy the set), is pretty good right now. With the Marvel Legends and Star Wars Black running $20, finding something this good for quite a bit less is actually refreshing, even if they are a little lacking in the extras department.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing.

Overall - ***1/2 (3.5 out of 4)
The action feature - the moving eyes - has been an annoyance with the previous three series. They tended to track poorly, and it was difficult to get both eyes looking in the same direction. When you did, it was tough to keep them there, as the slightest bump would send one rolling off in a weird gaze.

That seems to be much improved this time around. You still have to play with it - the eyes bounce around as you move the roller on the back of his head - but you can get them to line up without too much trouble. Once in position, they also stay quite a bit better, and you can always re-insert the included plastic tab to keep the eyes where you have them in a slightly more permanent way.

The quality of the sculpt and paint are also there this time around, and all three are visually interesting variations on the mogwai look. If I were only picking up one, I'd go with Brownie, but it's tough to skip any of these darling little devils in waiting.

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

Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Entertainment Earth has the set of three for just $37.

- CornerStoreComics comes in at $40 for the set.

- Big Bad Toy Store is at $40 as well.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Other Gremlins I've reviewed include the cuddly versions of Haskins and Stripe, the evil versions of Lenny and Phantom, the Mogwai versions of George and Lenny, gremlined out versions of George, Daffy and Flasher. And don't forget that NECA started with these years ago, and before that they did one in their Cult Classics line.

Discussion:
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Brownie Gremlins action figure by NECA


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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