Gremlins Series 1

There's been a flood of new toys in the last two weeks, so much that I can barely keep track.  So it takes a lot for a set of figures to leap out at me, and stand apart from the crowd...the new Gremlins figures from NECA managed to do it.

These are just hitting the Media Play/Sam Goody/ Suncoast type stores right now.  The retail there isn't cheap at about $12 each, but they are nice and hefty.  Fans of the film have been looking forward to these, and they'll be pleased.

There are four Gremlins in this assortment.  There's Gizmo of course, and Stripe, but also Brain and 'Poker Player'.  Each comes with a variety of accessories based on the film.

"Congrats - you're the one millionth Kwick-E-Mart customer!"

Packaging - **
In most of my overall scores, packaging doesn't play a major role.  But it still counts, and it was the one area I was a little disappointed in here.

The art is adequate, but not exciting.  Each package does showcase the particular figure though, and the green is a nice difference from the usual red, yellow or blue.

Sculpting - ****
When NECA started getting 'real' licenses - things like Hellraiser and Gremlins - people had all kinds of nasty comments.  Many of the Toddites said that if McToys had gotten the Gremlins license, they would have done a superior job.

I'm here to say that the proof that NECA is now a player is in these figures.  Could McToys have done any better?  No.  Just as good, sure.  But the level of detailed sculpting and design style is exceptional.  From the bloodshot eyes of Stripe to the cutesy look of Gizmo, NECA nailed it.

Gizmo will be the least favorite of this set, sorry to say.  He's just too cute.  He's also smaller than the rest, which is to be expected but likely to cause value grumbling.  He's very hefty though, with a lot of plastic packed in to a small package, and the sculpt on his fur works well.  This is how the 12" Ewoks from Hasbro should have looked.

The other three are all sporting excellent sculpts.  There's a ton of accurate detail in the clothes, skin, and faces.  The hands are sculpted to hold the accessories, at least reasonably well, and even with the tiny feet, they all stand fine on their own.  You'll have to play around with the legs a little to find the sweet spot, but once you do they'll stay up on the shelf with little problem.

The figures are about 7" - 8" tall, although Gizmo is closer to 5".  There's a couple photos at the end of the review showing Gizmo with Stripe, and one showing Stripe with Kermit and Apu for scale comparisons.

Paint -****
One of the advantages of figures with lots of browns and greens, lots of wash, and lots of wrinkling, is that there is less trouble with clean lines between colors.  There are some bold colors here though, particularly in Brain's clothes and in the faces of each Gremlin, and they've done an excellent job keeping the borders between colors neat and clean.

There's also no overspray or glopping, and I'm very impressed with the detailing on the faces.  I didn't even notice the bloodshot lines in their eyes until shooting the photos, but it's that kind of detail that gives the overall impression of accuracy.

Articulation - Gizmo **1/2; rest ***1/2
The three evil Gremlins sport plenty of articulation - neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hips.

Gizmo has less articulation due to his stockier build.  He has waist, elbows and a ball jointed neck. The neck joint works best, and allows him a wide range of motion up and down, side to side.

All the joints were tight, with little gapping and are very unobtrusive.  The articulation is just about right on the evil Gremlins, giving you enough to get them standing on their own, and to hold the accessories in various ways.  Gizmo is light, but it's understandable considering the design of the character.

Accessories - Stripe ****; Poker, Brain ***; Gizmo **1/2 
The number of accessories varies quite a bit from figure to figure.  Gizmo comes with three Gremlin furballs and a pair of 3D glasses.  He can't actually wear the glasses, but the furballs are made from a nice soft, squishy plastic.

Stripe is on the opposite end of the spectrum, with a ton of movie junk food.  He has six different candy bars, and a huge bag of popcorn, all with great stickers.  The stickers are complete right down to the lists of ingredients on the back.  They stick fairly well to the plastic, but there is a little wrinkling in some areas.

Stripe also has one saw blade, not something you want your evil Gremlin in possession of, if you can help it.

Poker Player and Brain fall in between.  Poker Player has his tinted visor, one card that fits nicely behind his ear, and a hand of cards that he can hold.  He also has a pile of chips, popcorn, etc. that are all molded together.

Brain is the largest of the figures, and has only two accessories, but they are great accessories.  The first is his book on the history of civilization, and the second is a Erlenmeyer flask, containing a unusual looking fake fluid.  I really like both of these accessories, although Brain can't easily hold either one.

I wish we had gotten some of the more 'adult' accessories, like booze and smokes, but I suspect that the licensor wasn't keen on the idea.

Value - **1/2
The only negative here is the price.  It's a little higher than I'd like to see, by maybe two bucks.  That's going based on the $12 that Suncoast etc. is charging.  Major retailers like Target or Toys R Us aren't carrying these, but if you can find them for $10 or less you can add another star.

Overall - Gizmo ***; the rest ***1/2
Gizmo gets hurt in the overall score because he's a) too damn cute in general and b) is a smaller figure with fewer accessories.  He's a great sculpt with excellent paint ops though, and your Gremlins collection really isn't complete without him.

The other three are excellent, and at a couple bucks less could have been four star figures. I'm particularly happy with Stripe and all his ultra-cool accessories, but Brain and the Poker Player are great additions to the collection as well..

Where to Buy - 
I picked my set up at my local comic shop for $50.  He cut me a deal since I was buying all four, but they were $15 each otherwise.  On-line:

- Killer Toys has the set for just $38, or the figures individually for just under $10.  That's a much better price than the local Media Play!

- Time and Space Toys has the plush ones listed at $20 each, but don't have a listing for the smaller figures.  You might want to give them a call.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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