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Review of Fenrir Greyback - Harry Potter action figure

NECA
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 2 out of 4

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Harry Potter Fenrir Greyback action figure by NECA

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Introduction

Early reviews are in, and they're mostly positive for Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows Part 1. Fans of the books knew this first half would be heavy on the exposition - there's simply a lot to explain and tie up, leading into the action of the second half.  I don't know about you, but I'll be doing it up in IMAX on opening weekend.

NECA keeps cranking out the figures in their 7" series, and have released a new Harry, another Snape, and one new character - Fenrir Greyback. I found all these (plus the 18" talking Harry) at my local Toys R Us, where the display for the film merchandise takes up one of the coveted front positions.

I only picked up Fenrir for now - I already have a couple Snape's and more than enough Harry's - but I make break down and complete the trio if they end up on sale closer to the holidays. Finding these on line is a bit tricky, so your best bet is the local Toys R Us.

Harry Potter Fenrir Greyback action figure by NECA

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Packaging - ***
Nothing exciting here, but it handles the basics well. The clam shell keeps the figure very safe, and is far less prone to shelf wear. That means the interior card art stays nice and crisp, with no wrinkling or bending.

The art is a tad plain, but the logo follows the style of the latest installment. There are photos of all three figures on the back, so the only personalization is the small name card in front.

Harry Potter Fenrir Greyback action figure by NECA

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Sculpting - **1/2
I suspect there might be a decent sculpt hiding under the paint ops someplace, but it's very hard to tell.

The head, with it's slicked back hairstyle, has a sort of odd shape to it. The snarling expression works well, but it's hard to tell what's supposed to be hair and what's supposed to be wrinkles, even on the head sculpt.

That problem gets worse on the chest. I think it's clear that the weird texture on the chest is meant to be hair, but they used a brown wash, not a dry brushing, to highlight the sculpt. This results in it looking like a skin condition rather than a need for waxing.

I do like the outer coat, which has a nice textured sculpt and is made from a soft, thin rubbery material.

The stance is designed for conflict, and he remains upright on his own quite easily. The left hand is sculpted in a gesturing pose, while the right holds the wand nicely. He stands about 6 3/4 inches tall with bent knees, fitting in pretty well with the rest of the NECA series.

Harry Potter Fenrir Greyback action figure by NECA

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Paint - **
Bad paint can play Hell with even the best sculpt, and I suspect some of that is what's going on here.

The paint work is sloppy all around, and not sloppy in that Mcfarlane-esque sort of way where it's intended to add realism. Here, it's just plain sloppy.

The hair line is a bizarre conglomeration of brown and skin tone, mixed in haphazardly around the sculpted hairs. Brown flecks spot the face, and I've already mentioned the atrocious job on the chest hair. Other small details, like the buckles on the coat, exhibit weak edging and errant strokes.

There's also a distinct difference in the face skin tone and the chest/hands. The faces on all the figures I saw were much lighter, almost like he'd been hit in the mug with a powder puff of white makeup. This difference doesn't show as much in photos, but in person it's truly distracting.

I picked the best one I could find out of about a dozen on the pegs, too. Others have far more splotches and even worse hairlines.

It's not all bad though - I do like the work on the mouth and teeth. This is a guy in serious need of a Sonic Care toothbrush.

Articulation - **
This is almost a Nerd Hummel - just enough articulation to get him into one or two poses and that's it.

The ball jointed neck does allow for some tilting, but nothing extreme. It will give you the chance to add a little personality to the basic poses, however.

The shoulders are cuts, with no ability to move outward from the body, just forward and back. The wrists are ball joints, but the sleeves restrict them a bit. The left elbow is a cut joint, allowing the lower arm to turn inward and outward.

There's also a cut waist and cut joints at the top of the boots, and stands great on his own.

Harry Potter Fenrir Greyback action figure by NECA

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Accessories - **1/2
There are technically two, but only one is going to count for a whole lot.

That's his wand, done in scale and with a sculpt that looks very close to the real deal. Fenrir doesn't have a particularly complex wand, however, so matching it was a bit less of an issue.

There's also a plain black display base. There's a foot peg on the base to attach the figure, but he stands great on his own with little chance for toppling over, so the odds you'll use the no frills base are pretty slim.

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Fun Factor - **1/2
If you can get past the lack of articulation, you may find some fun here. Let's face it, he represents some Voldemort muscle, something we haven't seen a lot of, and gives a nice fighting counterpart to the other heroic wizards released so far. Kids who are the right age to love the movies AND still love action figures may find him more fun to play with than we'd expect.

Value - **
Mass market action figures have climbed past $15 each to $16, $17 and more. With little articulation and few accessories, this figure is a tough sell at that kind of price point. Throw in the weak paint work, and I suspect a lot of people will be putting him back on the peg after they have a look.

Things to Watch Out For -
Take your time picking these out on the shelf - while none of the ones I saw were great, there was still quite a wide variety in quality, especially with the paint.

Harry Potter Fenrir Greyback action figure by NECA

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Overall - **
I've been pretty disappointed with the last couple waves of Potter figures from NECA, and it's largely due to the weak paint work. I suspect there are decent sculpts hiding under the slop, but the paint is so egregious that you have a hard time seeing past it.

If the paint ops were up to snuff, these figures would be a nice alternative for folks that can't afford or don't want the other two solid collectibles based on this license - the Gentle Giant busts and the Noble Collection wands. Coming in at half to a third of the price, they could certainly be a better bang for the buck - but not with these sort of quality issues.

If you spend some time searching through the pegs (you should have a pretty good assortment to choose from - at my store there were about a dozen of each character), you may manage to find one that will at least be good enough for you to take home. Most folks won't find it necessary to buy Snape or Harry, but with Fenrir being a new character, he's a pretty important add.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - **1/2
Paint - **
Articulation - **
Accessories - **1/2
Fun Factor - **
Value - **
Overall - **

Where to Buy 
Finding these on line is a bit tricky, so your best bet is to hit the local Toys R Us, where you should be able to pick them up for around $15. You can search ebay for a deal as well.

Related Links -
I've covered a ton of Harry Potter items:

- previous action figures from NECA include Half Blood Prince Harry, Ginny, Draco and Mad Eye Moody, 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.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page to find a ton of other Harry Potter collectibles reviews, and in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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Harry Potter Fenrir Greyback action figure by NECA

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

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