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Harry Potter: Half Blood Prince
Harry, Ginny, Draco and Mad Eye Moody

Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA

I have a confession - I haven't seen Harry Potter: The Half Blood Prince yet. It's not because I don't want to, but as a huge Potter fan, I really want to see it in IMAX. With the delayed release to IMAX due to the conflict with the IMAX run for Transformers 2, my viewing pleasure has been delayed as well.

NECA has released their first series of figures based on the film, which has just started shipping from online retailers and is also available at Toys R Us. This series includes another Harry, Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley, and Mad Eye Moody. But is it really Mad Eye? Hmmm...

These come in two packaging configurations. The one's I'm reviewing here came as two packs from an online retailers, with Ginny and Harry together, and Draco and Moody as the second two pack. However, the figures released at Toys R Us come in single pack clamshells. Both the two packs and the single packs have the same accessories.

These retail for about $14 at Toys R Us, and you can find them online for around $14 each as well.
Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA
Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA
Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA
Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA
Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA
Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA
Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA
Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA
Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA
Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA
Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA
Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA
Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA

Packaging - **1/2
It's some pretty plain stuff, but the clamshells are nice and sturdy. As long as you're able to handle a knife without stabbing yourself, you should have no trouble getting into the package. The graphics are fairly dull however, and the great expanse of plain behind the figures doesn't do much to call them out.

Sculpt - Moody ***;  Ginny **1/2; Draco, Harry **
While all four of these figures were a bit more articulated than I'd expected, they are still bordering on Nerd Hummel status. That means that the main pose that was in the mind of the sculptor as he or she worked had better be a good one, because it's pretty much the only (or at least best) one you'll get.

Of the four, I like Mad Eye the best. I think he has an even better sculpt under the paint that I'm giving him credit for, but when the paint is weak (more on that in the next section) it can be difficult to discern the true quality.

The detail work on his hair and scarring is quite good, and the costume looks quite realistic for the scale. The softer rubber coat can be slightly repositioned in some poses, and his size and girth fits in well with the overall scale of the line.

I'm not sure what's exactly up with Harry, but I will say this - they got the glasses right. It's so difficult for companies to get glasses in scale (even with larger figures like the recent Sideshow Toht), but NECA seems to have just about nailed it here.

Alas, that's all they've really nailed from the neck up. I assume his expression is supposed to imply resolve or determination, but instead it looks like he just caught a whiff of Hagrid after a beans and cabbage lunch. The nose is way off, and the face is a bit too aged, even for Half Blood Prince. The hair is nicely detailed, but without the glasses on, I'm not sure I'd even recognize who this is supposed to be. Think 30 something Harry Potter cosplayer, and you're on the right track. Better yet, think love child of Harry Potter cosplayer and Robin Williams, and you'll be dead on.

From the neck down, he's not bad, and the action pose works well enough. My big issue here is the sculpted right hand, which is supposed to hold the wand. Harry's wand has the more ornate and thicker handle, and there was no way to get it into his hand without hot water...or damaging his thumb.

There's also some re-use here from the previous wave. The legs are identical to the pair used on the Order of the Phoenix Harry, and what's worse...so is the right hand. The OOTP Harry came with the Prophecy Orb, which fit in this sculpted left hand. Here there's nothing to go in the hand, and the empty, slightly deformed, clutching pose just isn't working here.

Ginny is another sculpt largely hurt by the gloppy paint. There might be a very pretty, very accurate head sculpt under there (and I bet a two up version of that sculpt, with proper paint, would look much better), but it's lost here. She has a slightly odd, unattractive hair line, with eyes that are a little too wide set.

Draco suffers from the same aged appearance as Harry, looking more like a 30 year old version of himself. He also has an egg shape to his noggin' that I don't recall from any photos of the actor. Again, if you popped the head off the body, I doubt you'd recognize who this was supposed to be.

Even with those issues, Draco's biggest problem is with his legs. They are very long and stilt-like, particularly in person. It's not as obvious in photos, but you can get some idea of what I'm talking about in the group shot. He almost looks like a circus performer who's afraid of heights, so his stilts are only about 6" tall. In person, this gangliness is all the more obvious due to the sculpted pose of the legs.

A personal pet peeve of mind is figures that can't stand on their own. Oh, I understand if the sculptor is going for some extremely dynamic pose, and the only possible way to keep the figure up is with some sort of support. But if the figure is just standing there, then it better be able to stand there, sans stand.

That's the case for Harry and Malfoy, both of whom stand fine on their own, but not the case for Ginny and Moody. Mad Eye can stand if you get the center of gravity just right, but oddly enough, this is easier without the cane in the intended pose. In Ginny's case, I couldn't find any way to keep her standing without either heating up her legs to reposition them, or using the stand.

Paint - Moody, Draco **1/2; Ginny, Harry **
As has often been the case the last couple years, the real downfall here is the paint ops.  NECA has had some troubles with various factories, but things were looking up recently. Unfortunately, they've taken another turn in the wrong direction.

Over the entire set of figures, there's one consistent problem - gloppy, thick skin tones. On both the hands and faces, the pale skin (and they are all very pale - I had to back off the exposure on the camera to keep them from blowing out), is thick and heavy, hurting any potential the sculpt underneath might have had.

This is the worst on Draco, and the least problematic on Moody, but it's present on all of them. Some other issues are specific to each figure - Harry has a sweaty, glossy paint job on his face as well as funky lips, Moody has an oversized iris and pupil on his one good eye and awfully yellow hair, and Ginny has some weird eyebrows - and these all bring their scores down even further.

I can't overemphasize how important paint is to every figure, every collectible, every toy. Kids and adults alike have little patience for sloppy, bad paint. Great paint can elevate even a weak sculpt, and bad paint could run even Michaelangelo's David. That's probably why he didn't paint him.

Articulation - Moody ***; Harry, Draco, Ginny **1/2
This was the surprise category for me, since these are little more articulated than past releases.

All four have a ball jointed waist that allows forward, backward, and side to side tilting, along with the obvious ability to turn. This joint works better on some than others, and with Moody, was critical to aligning his center of gravity.

Moody also has a ball jointed neck, down inside the torso, NECA pin shoulders, cut elbows, and pin/post wrists. The wrists allow for quite a bit of movement as well, making the tricky 'resting on my staff' pose possible.

Below the waist, he has cut joints at the ankles, but the pants make these pretty much useless.

Malfoy has the same basic articulation, but it was less useful. I was surprised that I could actually get several decent poses out of Moody, since he was clearly intended for one very distinct and unique stance, but I wasn't able to get as much out of the other three. Draco's right shoulder doesn't come down as close to his body either, making a relaxed pose impossible.

The shoulders on Harry and Ginny don't have that problem, and they have pretty much the same articulation. Ginny gets a cut joint at the top of each leg (although this did nothing to help keep her standing), but no ankle joints. If Harry has ankle joints, they are useless due to the tight coverage of the long paints.

Accessories - **
Each of the figures comes with one accessory and a very basic, plain display stand.

Moody has his walking stick, with carved head. The carving is a little soft though, and the very dark brown paint obscures most of the detail that is there. It's about the right scale and height though, and is critical for the intended pose.

Harry, Ginny and Draco each come with their wand. These wands are all different, and are based right off the movie versions.

And that's it. Considering the price point, that's much too light.

Fun Factor - **
With limited articulation, these aren't really intended for a whole lot of 'fun'. If you're looking for something for a kid that loves Potter, you're better off tracking down the old Mattel figures, or hunting up the Popco versions.

Value - **
Most figures run $14 - $15 these days, so it's not the price itself that pulls this score down slightly. Most figures that run that much include more, and tend to be better looking, so this is more of an indication of what you're getting for the price.

Things To Watch Out For
If you're picking them off the shelf, you might do better on the paint operations.

Also, getting the wand in Harry's hand is problematic, so you may want to heat it up first (the hand) in some hot water before attempting it. Just remember that the thumb is easy to damage no matter how you do it.

Overall - Moody **1/2; Draco, Harry, Ginny **
There's been a torrid on again/off again relationship between NECA and the gods of paint for the last couple years, and it looks like they were definitely on the outs this time around. I think that these figures had some potential, even with the specific sculpting issues of Harry and Draco, but the paint is just not letting any of the good show through.

Moody is clearly the figure of choice in this series, and he's worth picking up to compliment the earlier releases. But Harry is a very easy skip, and only the completists and hard core fans are likely to pick up Ginny and Draco this time around.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpting - Moody ***;  Ginny **1/2; Draco, Harry **
Paint -  Moody, Draco **1/2; Ginny, Harry **
Articulation - Moody ***; Harry, Draco, Ginny **1/2
Accessories - **
Fun Factor - **
Value - **
Overall - Moody **1/2; Draco, Harry, Ginny **

Where to Buy -
Toys R Us will have these in stores. Online options include:

- CornerStoreComics has the four for $53, or a two pack for $27.

- Entertainment Earth has the set of four for $57.

- so now you have to hit ebay.

Related Links -
Other Potter collectible reviews:

- other figures from NECA include the OOTP series 3, the first series of figures, along with the first series of OOTP, and the series 2 Snape released early at Borders.  Also from NECA in this scale is the very cool Hagrid.

- the busts from Gentle Giant have been hit and miss, but there's plenty of them, including Ron and Ginny, the Lupin's, the Weasleys, the light up Harry, Cho Chang, Luna Lovegood, Draco Malfoy, Merperson mini-bust, Voldemort, Hagrid and Mad Eye Moody, Ron and Hermione, Snape and Dumbledore, Dobby and Dementor, and a guest review of Harry and Sirius.

- in a smaller scale, there are the 3 3/4" figures that are the UK exclusive from Cards Inc, or if the US collectors want an alternative in this scale, check the small versions of the NECA OOTP figures, exclusive to Borders in a three pack right now.

- there was the guest review of the Tonner dolls.

- Gentle Giant also did a statue of the Hungarian Horntail, and the Riddle Grave.

- the Noble Collection has done some nifty wands.

- just case you forgot how bad some of Mattel's figures were, here's Extreme Quidditch Harry and Dueling Club Harry.

- and if you're looking for a slightly different Hagrid, don't forget the Mattel version

Discussion:
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Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score converted to a five star system for comparison: 2.65

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Harry Potter action figures Half Blood Prince by NECA


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

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