NECA Nightmare Before Christmas
Jack and Vampire

Coheteboy beat me to the review of the new NECA Nightmare Before Christmas toys (my review will go up next week at Poop Shoot), but he's splitting it up into two reviews, because there's so much to say!  Let's here it, CB...

My friends, it is time for much rejoicing, for I have not been this happy about a new line of toys since Palisades introduced The Muppets! NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association), who has shown much promise with their Ghostbusters toys, have literally outdone themselves in their latest assortment of "Reel Toys". NECA's movie related toys are fully articulated, unlike McFarlane's film-accurate but stiff action figures.

For a full decade, fans of Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas have wished for GOOD toys from this holiday classic. Several companies delivered (JUN planning) while many others failed. Tomy of Japan offered a line of small figures without articulation last month, but finally, NECA has answered the call for film-accurate and fully articulated action figures.

Series 1 are: Jack Skellington, Sally, The Mayor, and The Vampire. Since these figures are so great, I must separate them into two reviews.

Packaging - ***1/2
NECA has followed the example of their competitors and encased their releases in the sturdy clamshell cases. Which means that you'll need some scissors before you tackle the many twist-ties that accompany each accessory. On the front of each clamshell is a sticker with the character name and a list of all included accessories. The blister card enclosed is refreshing because they're unique to the character, though they share the same general design elements. The packaging is very low-key but it actually looks rather nice that way. 

Sculpting - ****
All across the board, the sculpting is FANTASTIC. When I say that these toys are film-accurate I mean they are FILM ACCURATE. It does help that these toys are based off larger figures seen in the movie, but that actually heightens the appeal of these toys. 

Both Jack and The Vampire are captured precisely as I remember from the film, with great expressions on each. This is simply amazing, guys. 

Paint - ***3/4
While there aren't too many colors on these specific characters, NECA still did a smashing job. Actually... they did an EXTRAORDINARY job, right down to Jack's white stripes on his suit. There is no bleed anywhere and all of the colors are dead on. Even Jack's bony fingers have detail!

Articulation - Jack *** 3/4; The Vampire **
Alright here's where the toys start to differ. The Vampire has very few points of articulation while Jack has an ASTOUNDING amount for such a skinny figure. 

Let's start with The Vampire, who only has five points of articulation. But of course, he doesn't really do much in the movie anyway. Vampire has a ball-joint head, which can be snapped on and off, for starters. Then he has bendie arms with articulated wrists at the end. The bendie arm is a novel concept but I feel that they could have been a little bit stronger. It's rather difficult for Vampire to hold any poses. You can see how weak the arm is especially when holding the umbrella. 

Jack, on the other hand is pretty much perfect. On my count, I counted about 21 points of articulation. There's ball jointed upper neck, ball jointed lower neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps, swivel elbows, rotatable swivel wrists, ball-hips, cut thighs, and swivel knees. Quite impressive. So why doesn't he get a perfect score? I personally think he would have been perfect if he had articulated heels, at least so he could point his shoes in different directions for even better poseability. The elbows also would have been a lot cooler to have had double points of articulation, giving him even more range. Right now, he can't touch his face, which would have allowed for some amazing poses.

So how do the joints hold up? Pretty darn well! I'm suprised at how tight Jack's joints are, for being such a tall skinny figure. I'm very very very impressed.

Accessories - Jack ****; The Vampire ***
Following in the Palisades tradition of giving just about everything, the accessories packed in with the figures are great toys in their own right. Fantastic sculpts, paint, and in some cases, articulation! Jack Skellington comes with his loyal ghost dog companion, Zero. Zero has an articulated neck and a removable clear base. The rest of Jack's accessories include a stand, two pumpkins, and a jack-in-the-box Christmas present. As much as Jack comes with, I can already think of countless other possible accessories that Jack can come with. Different removable heads would have been fantastic.

The Vampire has only two accessories: an umbrella and scary teddy Christmas present. While he comes with so few things, the scary teddy is definitely one of the coolest accessories! Scary Teddy himself has neck articulation and a removable clear stand to be displayed on. 

Fun Factor - ****
If you love the film as I do, these fantastically sculpted figures with great articulation and accessories will sure to please. 

Value - ***1/2
I myself paid close to $10 each for these figures from a private dealer, but even for $11.99-12.99 retail really isn't bad at all. These figures are all rather large so don't let the price point hold you back. You won't regret it!

Overall - ****
Even before I've seen these toys, I knew I had to have them. I think the photos themselves should be enough to sell these toys. Fantastic sculpts, plenty of articulation (aside from The Vampire), and great accessories make this one of my favorite new toy lines of the year. I'm eagerly awaiting series 2... if there is one!

Packaging - *** 1/2
Sculpt - ****
Paint - *** 3/4
Articulation - Jack *** 3/4; The Vampire **
Accessories - Jack ****; The Vampire ***
Fun Factor - ****
Value - *** 1/2
Overall - ****

Where to Buy - 
I found the entire set at a private retailer for close to $40, but you should be able to find these at retailers such as Hot Topic for about $11-12.99 or Suncoast and Tower... or wherever you've seen NECA toys sold.  Online options include:

- CornerStoreComics has the set for $44, or each figure for $12.  They also have some of the re-issued original figures.

- Killer Toys has the set of four for $48.95.

Keep scrolling down for more photos!

Figure from the collection of Coheteboy.

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