Cult Classics 5 Medieval Ash

Jin Saotome is back tonight with a guest review of the new Medieval Ash from Cult Classics series 5 - take it away, Jin!

Hey there everyone! Itís review time and tonight Iíve got my sights set on one of the more anticipated Cult Classics figures (for some), Medieval Ash from Army of Darkness. Now Iíll admit Iím one of the bigger Bruce Campbell/ AoD/ Sam Rami fans, but try and look at my review without thinking Iím biased. I wasnít expecting to be wowed by this figure because I know NECA doesnít give us much articulation and finished products never look much like the prototypes. To quickly fill those of you in who donít know who Ash is, heís an S-Mart department store clerk (house wares) whoís been sucked back in time and ends up questing for the Necronomicon, called the book of the dead, to help defeat an undead army looking to take over the knightly kingdoms of man. Sound campy? The movie was, and made that way on purpose, soon gathering a huge cult following in the years to come. We got an Ash figure from McFarlane toys years ago, a 12Ē Sideshow version, and the little, teeny army builder figures from Palisades. So how does this figure fare? Letís find outÖ 

Packaging - ***1/2
Clamshells are good. Clamshells with original movie poster art, attractive header, wonderful bio on the back, and properly displaying the figure in all its glory are GREAT! On the left you have a near-exact image of the original Army of Darkness theater poster blended in with the background, Ash cockily standing atop his thrashed car with his Shelia clinging to his leg. You get a nice header down below with the actual figureís face describing whatís included, and of course the nifty bio of Ash on the back. However youíll need a knife to free him and clippers to get those plastic twisties off. Other than that, itís classic packaging weíre use to from NECA.

Sculpting - ****
Hot holy hell in a handbasket! You can instantly recognize this is Bruce Campbell, no guessing like you did with the Movie maniacs one. NECA has perfectly captured his pronounced Ďbuttocksí chin that defines Bruce better than any other company has. The hair looks wonderful and the soft plastic strands that hang over his face donít look too thick. His eyes are very pronounced as well, not inset at all like most eyes on a figure. All the cuts on his face are in exactly the right place too, I snagged an old image of him from the movie and matched them up. Bravo NECA!

Ashís whole body is textured to look like fabric while his cape has a different fabric cross-stitch look to it. Lift up the cape and you can see his shotgun sheath thatís permanently attached to his back. Itís done in yet another texture, leathery looking and with the ties and buttons on there. Iím particularly impressed with his pants! They have a perfect wrinkled look and the pockets on the side actually have depth to them, pooching out as well like they do on real pants when you move your leg. Thereís defined seams on the outside and inside of the legs all the way down to the cuffs.

Ashís trademark mechanical right hand is wonderfully sculpted and looks just like it did in the movie, plenty of texture and detail to the armor plating on the fingers and gauntlet underneath. Thereís even a tiny hinge on the underside!

Why does Ash has a cellphone clip on his bandolier? After checking tons of movie screenshots I found that yes, thereís actually some sort of forked clip on there that serves no purpose that I can remember, but they decided to sculpt it on. Thatís dedication to authenticity! 

The only nitpick I have with the sculpt is with his left hand. Thereís a tiny seam running from wrist to thumb, and all the way down his index finger like a glove would have. Itís not flash, but a groove and looks fairly obvious at certain angles because of the wash applied to it. Itís not a huge issue and I didnít even notice it till I started looking over the figure for this review.

Paint - ****
Four stars, four stars. While some of the other Cult Classics figures fall short, Ash exceeds in the paint department. The skin tone on his face, the stubble wash, and cuts in his skin are incredible. It looks like the prototype head on the package art with the one exception that he has more of a blushed tone between his eyes and on his cheek. This however adds to the lifelike look and is perhaps the first time where the paintjob on the actual product looks BETTER than the prototype! I really wasnít expecting this. And his eyesÖ holy smokes, these are the coolest eyes Iíve seen in this scale. Bruce, er, Ash is cautiously looking off to the right slightly and you can make out all the sections of the eye, right down to the tiny white reflections in the upper left. They really bring the figure to life!

His shirt and pants are well painted with airbrushed shadows and brushed on highlights, very Ď professionally done and with zero slop. The gauntlet hand is done with two different types of metallic paint with the palm-plate cover a lighter color. His left hand has a watch thatís been expertly painted and even the little hands are on there, one big and one little. His fingernails look realistic and arenít too light. The bloodied gouges on his shirt are done well and the surrounding blood looks soaked-in, not heavily slopped on. Plenty of dirt and mud cake his pants and boots, sitting in all the right places as if he had just tripped and fallen in that mud-puddle! 

Tiny details include the D-rings on his boots painted and even the single button on the shotgun sheath, which is covered by the cape yet painted on with care. The clasp on his cape wasnít painted silver but still looks just as nice in a dirty grey. Maybe he had some pigeons sitting on his shoulderÖ

Articulation - ***
If you were expecting a Marvel Legends style Ash youíre going to be disappointed because thatís not NECAís style. However Iím not upset with the choices of articulation and whatís there works really well. Ash has a great ball-jointed head with plenty of range, especially the side-to-side tilt. He has ball shoulders, cut elbows, cut wrists, a cut waist, and cut ankles. The cut elbow on the left doesnít give you too much range, but the right one does a good job of allowing you to give him a good variety of holding-things poses. The feet really can only be in one position or heíll fall without the aid of his base. Iíll echo Mikeís statement that the ball-jointed neck is the pinnacle of these figures, breathing life into them. Without it, Ash would of gotten two stars instead of three.

Accessories - ****
No Chainsaw?!?!? Thatís the first thing people are saying when they pick up this figure and notice his trademark chainsaw hand-attachment isnít there. But ah, Neca went for total movie authenticity here. At this point where Ash dons his blue tunic and horse-blanket cloak, he doesnít put the chainsaw on his hand (or lack of) and uses the mechanical hand for the rest of the movie. Had they done the torn-shirt version when he first showed up, then the chainsaw would have been a necessity. 

What Ash does come with is an absolutely beautiful alternate Ďstretchedí head where in the movie the Necronomicon books opens up and sucks him in, and as he escapes his facial-features are stretched. That look is perfectly captured with the alt head and I laughed when I put it on the first time, it looked so cool. The paint on it seems a bit orangey tho, and doesnít perfectly match up with the regular head. Tho once itís on you really canít tell and it could be the lighting from the fiery vortex inside the Necronomicon he was being sucked into.

Ash also comes with the Necronomicon itself, bound in human flesh, written in blood, yadda-yadda. Well hell (oops, pun) this thing looks just like how it did in the movie, right down to the teeth on there! The binding looks great like stretched flesh, painted with an aged look. The teeth are painted too, a nice bone color. I wish NECA gave us different copies of the book because in the graveyard scene Ash finds multiples. One flies, one bites, and one has the portal in it that stretches his face. Ah well, maybe NECA will make a graveyard boxed set with the altar and all the different books eh?

The Boomstick looks, well, just like a shotgun. Itís sculpted with great detail and a nice wood-grain paintjob. It doesnít cock open however but Ash can fit his index finger perfectly inside the guard and on the trigger, the gun looking great in his hands. The last accessory is the cool graveyard base complete with tombstones, skull, and those horrible skeletal hands that beat the tar outta him. Itís painted with the same detail as everything else, and thatís top notch. Ash doesnít need the base to stand but it helps.

Fun Factor - ***
If your kid knows who Ash is, then pat yourself on the back, you rule as a parent! Ash is in several video games and comics now, so if they havenít watched the movie kids could still recognize his character and have fun with him. Tho heís not super articulated, heís still durable enough to fight off Skeletor. For us grownups, weíll have fun posing him on our desk and swapping heads. Heís more of a static-pose figure like the other Cult Classics but still fun to mess with.

Value - ***
Eleven to fourteen bucks is the staple for these figures but for the amount of detail, attention to movie authenticity, and overall baddass character, I didnít even feel the bite. Youíll end up paying more than that for the Movie Maniacs figure on Ebay and way more for the little Palisades feller. Army of Darkness has a cult following that shows no sign of stopping and Iím very tempted to keep a few of these for friends or future investments. Youíre getting a strong license here.

Things to Watch Out For:
Check your paint job! I ordered one from hot topicís online store but also saw two instore later, each with varying paint jobs. One had way more blush on his face particularly the nose as if he had been hanging around with Robert Downy Jr. for the night. Another had really dark blood patched on his shirt. So make sure you snag a good one. Other than that, nothing else.

Overall - ****
Yeah I could of given him the three and a half stars and called it another Cult Classics figure, but Ash here stands out. Itís rare when a figure impresses me more than the prototype and doesnít let me down in expectations. It feels like the time waiting and money spent were worth it. Not even Ashís accessories had problems and while he didnít come with the chainsaw, I can understand and respect NECAís decision not to include it. 

Army of Darkness fans are gonna love this figure and heís defiantly Ėthe- Ash figure to display on your desk or shelf. I hope NECA makes a larger version of this figure or some sort of boxed set. The AoD license is a strong one and an Ash vs Evil Ash set would rule! If youíre a fan, donít pass up this figure, thatís all the warning I can give ya.

This is Jin Saotome saying thanks for checking out the review and look forward to more! 

Packaging: ***1/2
Sculpting: ****
Paint: ****
Articulation: ***
Accessories: ****
Fun Factor: ***
Value: ***
Overall: ****

Where To Buy:
Online options include:

- CornerStoreComics sells singles at $13, the set of four for $44, or the set of five at $55.

- Time and Space Toys has the figures at just $12 each, sold individually!

- Alter Ego has a case of 14 figures for $167, if you and some friends are looking to go in together. That's just $12 each.

- YouBuyNow has the individual figures at $13 each.

- Killer Toys has the singles for $12 - $14 each, and the set of four for $49.

- Amazing Toyz sells singles at $13 each, or the set of five at $55.

Figure from the collection of Jin Saotome.

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