Tuesday, June 3, 2014

NECA Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Action Figure Review

We're a about a month away from the release of the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but the action figures for this movie have been popping up in stores for a few weeks now.  For today's review we will be taking a look at series 1 of these figures from NECA.  The set includes the characters Caesar and Koba, both chimpanzees, and Maurice an orangutan.

These detailed action figures come straight from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the highly anticipated sequel to 2011′s Rise of the Planet of the Apes!
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.
Series 1 contains movie accurate, articulated versions of Caesar, Koba, and Maurice. The figures stand approximately 6″ tall and come with interchangeable hands and character-specific accessories.
(click on pictures to enlarge)
(From Left to Right) Maurice, Caesar, and Koba

Sculpt:  The sculpts on all three figures are very impressive. The look of skin and hair is rendered wonderfully throughout the bodies.  I think it's important to note that Caesar and Koba each have completely unique sculpts.  At first glance they look like they might share a few parts, but that is not the case.  Koba's hair is a bit longer and more unkempt as well as there just being more of it.  Koba has hair on his hands and caked mud on his feet whereas Caesar does not. Koba also has some well detailed scars on his torso. Maurice may have my favorite sculpt, the way the hair seems to hang from his body and the sculpt of his face just looks so real. From what I can tell from the trailers, they are all very true to their on screen counterparts' appearances.

Each figure has an extremely authentic appearance that looks natural in a neutral position or action pose. The two chimps are very well balanced and aren't too difficult to place in a standing position but Maurice don't fair as well.  He required a delicate touch and a lot of small adjustments to stay up right.  It's a little easier if you get at least one hand on the ground along with both feet.
Verdict: 9.5/10 - There's really nothing to complain about here.  They should probably even be a 10, but I like to reserve that for something truly amazing.

Scale:  This line is scaled at 1/10 (7 inch) scale and fits in perfectly with many of NECA's other lines.  The figures themselves are about 6 inches tall, which is consistent with the fact that they are meant to be a little shorter than the average human.  They done't look all that out of place when displayed with some 1/12 scale lines either, so if you wanted to have a Star Wars / Planet of the Apes crossover, you're in luck.
Verdict: 10/10 - All 3 are scaled perfectly.

Paint:  As usual, NECA's paintwork compliments the sculpt wonderfully.  The hair on all three apes is rendered in colors that give them depth and clarity.  The flesh tones are a perfect contrast to the colors of the the hair and transition from one to the other without any awkward bleed. Overall they once again seem to match their onscreen versions exactly. This extended to the war paint on the two chimps as well.  A lot of care was taking to make this paint look like it was applied by the apes themselves.  As good as it looks, I would definitely like to see some versions in the future without the war paint.  Then they could just stand in as typical chimps rather than be character specific.

Verdict: 9.5/10 - The paint is really quite excellent.

Articulation:  There are a whole lot of points of articulation on these figures.  Unfortunately, the range for many of these points is not nearly as good as it should be, which is a shame, because until now these figures were nearly perfect. There was a similar issue with the Godzilla figure, but in that case the character doesn't need as much mobility.  These are apes, so they should nimble!

What we ended up getting are elbow and knee joints that don't bend much more than 30 to 80 degrees at best, a neck joint that doesn't let the heads do much more that look back and forth, and a torso joint that only allows for a little bit of twisting.  If you were hoping to have these apes crouched forward with their knuckles resting on the ground, you're out of luck.  I understand that these characters are meant to be evolved to be more "human", but from what I've seen in the trailer, they are still quite capable of animal-like movement.

Here's the break-down of what you get:
  • Ball-jointed neck
  • Ball-jointed torso
  • Double swivel shoulders
  • Swivel biceps
  • Ball-jointed elbows
  • Swivel wrists
  • Double swivel hips
  • Ball-jointed knees
  • Swivel Ankles
Verdict: 5/10 - Plenty of articulation, just not enough range.

Accessories:  This is the one category where all is not equal.  Caesar and Koba each get four (technically three) items each, where as Maurice only gets one.  That one item is a book...  A small book...  That doesn't open…. Yeah, not very exciting. If I had to come up with at least one nice thing to say about this accessory it's that it at least fits in his hand well and doesn't fall out very easily.

The chimps fair much better.  Both Caesar and Koba have two halves of spears that can be assembeled together to make really long spears. Koba's spear is about 11 inches long and Caesar's is just under 9 inches, but each is sculpted uniquely and painted beautifully.

Both also have an extra set of hands.  Each figure has a set of gripping hands for holding their spears and also a set of open hands with slightly curled fingers. The real shame here is that they were not made using the same type of joint as the feet. That way, the spare hands could also be used as the feet, so you could have the apes hanging or griping things with their feet.

Verdict: Caesar and Koba 8/10, Maurice 3/10 - What you get is really nice, but in the case of Maurice, it's just not enough.

Overall:  It's a real shame that the articulation wasn't better on these, especially since everything else was near perfect.  Still, I'm really happy to have these in my collection and I recommend them to anyone that's a fan of the movies or just likes really great action figures.

Verdict: 8.5/10 - These figures look great on display.


Check out Kevshiro's review of NECA's ED-209 HERE
Check out Brunpuppies' review of NECA's Gozilla HERE

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