All posts tagged NECA

I’ve been on the Poppies Judging Panel (under media) for the last couple of years, I’ve contributed to a list of nominees from various categories to determine which toys/collectibles/props were the best for that particular year, where the judges decide and the people also get to decide. I really enjoy being a part of that as it’s great to see the sometimes varied results between industry and public.

However, it got me thinking that I’d like to do my own list of toys I thought stood out to me the most in 2016. Because with many people voting sometimes you don’t get to see your favorites get the number one spot.

Firstly, I have imposed upon myself the condition that the toys must have either been bought or reviewed by yours truly, if that hasn’t happened, then they don’t make the list ( so no Hot Toys Deadpool, even although I technically did buy it when I was in Japan, it was for a friend and not for me.) Secondly, I’ve tried my best to keep the list as varied as possible, even If I really didn’t buy a lot of new toys this year (I did, in fact, buy plenty of old ones) and thirdly, if I didn’t buy the toy but either my father or brother did and that makes it technically in the same house as me, it’s still up for consideration.


I’d also like to make the following honorable mentions:


Hot Toys AOU Quick Silver

Takara Tomy MP-30 Ratchet

Hot Toys Terminator Genesis T-800 Guardian

Takara Tomy MP-11NT Thrust

Mattel Defining Moments Ric Flair




TEN – Mattel Emma (WWE Basic Series 65)

This might be a bit of an underwhelming choice for number ten spot on what should be a very important list of the best of the best toys of 2016. But after going to the WWE’s NXT event here in Sydney and seeing Emma sitting on the toy store shelf when out and about with my family and passing on her, when a second chance came up to buy her from my local hobby store, I didn’t think twice about it.

I do love my wrestling figures and I do love purchasing the occasional toy based on an Australian actor etc. (Thor comes to mind right now) and after having a bit of a play with the figure once I got home and teaming her up with Zac Ryder (her current real life boyfriend) I was pretty happy with the figure.

It’s a fun figure, with plenty of play value and a great head scan to match her current gimmick perfectly and that was enough for her to score a spot on the list, sometimes it’s nice to be able to buy a toy you do not have any real desire to own, but find plenty of things you like about it after your purchase. (Impulse buying be damned!)

NINE – NECA Private Vasquez (Aliens Series 9)

NECA are slowly but surely lifting their game and doing a great job with the licenses they have, putting out a great number of figures and strong offerings in plenty of different scales, one of the few NECA figures I did buy this year was Vasquez to go with Hicks and Hudson. It was no easy feat to track her down either. I was over in Japan in November and tried my best to find her (being released just recently before I left) But had no luck what-so-ever.

That was until one of my last days there where I decided to check out a few stores in Akihabara that I normally pass by. I found a store with her, but they only had the display one left, then I asked if they would sell me said display stock, to which the clerk said “yes” (or in this case hai!) I did have to buy her as a set with the albino Aliens warrior but why not, sometimes you have to make compromises when out hunting.

Once back in Australia I was able to have a good look at the figure and a bit of a play and could see why I had trouble finding one, it’s one of NECA’s better figures they have made in a while and as of this writing the best Vasquez figure to date by any company, Strong likeness, great articulation and excellent accessories make for one kick ass figure!

EIGHT – Fujimi Kumamon Bear (Ptimo Series 002, Plastic Model Kit)

It’s not that often I buy a model kit, but from time to time I do make the exception. The Japanese character mascot Kumamon, created by the government of Kumamoto Prefecture to increase tourism, its popularity exploded in 2011 and he started appearing everywhere. I had seen this bear around during my travels in Japan and I’m always on the look out for Japanese mascot or character toys which are quality toys or action figure versions of the character.

Upon visiting my local Lala Port shopping centre and hobby store contained within, I noticed in their case shop section, they had this particular Kumamon bear for sale (already assembled too), so, of course, I bought it straight away! ( If I have learned anything from my travels in Japan, it’s if you see something you want, don’t hesitate to buy it or someone else might buy it before you do!)

I was very impressed with it once I had it in hand, multiple mouths and eyes that can be changed out as well as a good amount of articulation makes Kumamon very posable. It’s pretty much a perfect example of what I would want from a mascot toy.

SEVEN – Hot Toys Scarlet Witch –  Age Of Ultron VER. (MMS 301)

I’ve already reviewed Scarlet Witch last October, so if you want to read about my thoughts on her, check out the review here. I wasn’t expecting to like Scarlet Witch that much, but after having her in hand and having fun taking pictures of her for my review she won me over. I haven’t bought too many Hot Toys figures this year, but she is definitely a standout for me, the excellent head sculpt and outfit coupled with great articulation and accessories, for Hot Toys first release of this character she was a home run.

SIX – Takara Tomy Laserwave (Transformers Masterpiece series MP-29)

Like Scarlet Witch I don’t actually own this toy, my brother does. However, he’s still up for consideration and deserving of being ranked number six. As far as Takara Tomy’s Transformers Masterpiece Series is concerned after a shaky start they have now hit their stride and are releasing numerous and quality toys from the G1 series, that have been designed to match both the cartoon and toy, almost perfectly. Laserwave is a solid addition to the line, even if a lot of fans complain about the height and colour of the toy, in hand, it’s an amazing figure and it’s great to get more Decepticons to help fill out the ranks. Laserwave comes with only a few accessories compared to other releases, but in my opinion, he’s still value for money (third party can GTFO).

FIVE – Hot Toys Stan Lee (MMS 327)

I had fun tracking Stan Lee down when I was over in Japan, I didn’t think he would be so hard to find, yet somehow he was. I ended up picking him up from Osaka’s Entertainment Hobby Jungle of all places and even more surprisingly for a good price (20,000 Yen) MISB. (Still cheaper than Australia by at least $100 after currency conversion!)

Then I went to Toy Sapiens and they had plentiful Stock, but the price was not worth it, (28,000 Yen) and I managed to spy one more in Akihabara for around the same price I paid in Osaka so at least I didn’t feel ripped off.

Another figure I have in hand but am yet to review (see what happens when you wait until November to make a lot of purchases you’ve been holding off on!)

This figure is truly a work of art, especially the head sculpt and as you know with Hot Toys that is one of the most important aspects of their figures. The amount of detail is amazing and it’s an excellent likeness to Stan Lee, for me this is easily one of Hot Toys best efforts.

You also get a number of accessories and various hands, but the best part about this figure is it’s potential and by that I mean for funny photos or posing with your other Marvel figures, much like Deadpool he’s comedy gold and that’s what makes him so great as the possibilities are endless, just think of it as an extension of the cameos the real Stan Lee makes, the figure is just that fun.

FOUR – Mattel Harlem Heat – Booker T and Stevie Ray (WWE Elite Series 46)

I’m going to lump these two figures together because they are a team and they are both from the same series. When Mattel announced these figures I was excited, being a WCW/nWo fan from the 1990s, the more WCW era figures Mattel makes, the happier I am.

I knew there was a good chance they weren’t going to stuff them up, they had already made Booker T when he was in WWE so at least we weren’t going to get that version of him again. I was really hoping we were going to get just what I thought we would, classic WCW era Harlem Heat figures. Mattel have done an excellent job and even taken queues from Toy Biz with the singlet top construction. But the most important part is they both have the same tights design and same colour tights, so they actually look like the legendary team that they are! (which Toy Biz, unfortunately, didn’t do)

From head scans to the details on their costumes these figures are near perfection, they even have new torsos and they are both different torsos for each figure too. They come with some different bandanas/hats and sunglasses to complete the look. I couldn’t ask for anything more from Mattel which is why these guys are so high on the list, they are executed exceptionally, easily some of Mattel’s best work in 2016.

THREE- Takara Tomy Inferno (Transformers Masterpiece series MP-33)

I already knew this particular figure would be somewhere in my top ten, even from the prototype pics I knew Takara were going to make something special, it wasn’t until I had him in my hands, no less than two days until I flew out of Japan (Thanks, Amazon JP!) that I knew this was an amazing figure.

Upon opening the box, the quality and detail blew me away, I was most impressed with the size of the fire truck and then I transformed him, the transformation is a joy and really well thought out, I love the fact that the whole ladder hides inside Inferno’s back!

He looks just like the animation model and much like previous mp releases you get a number of accessories, to cater to toy and cartoon version of Inferno, personally I’ll be keeping him with cartoon head and toy truck parts as I think that’s the best of both worlds and it’s nice that’s an option! I’m finding it very hard to find anything beyond minor nitpicks to be negative about. Takara Tomy have done an excellent job and had a great year as far as their Transformers Masterpiece line is concerned, in my opinion, and another case of third parties GTFO.

TWO – Hot Toys Black Widow – Civil War VER. (MMS 365)

Yet another figure I put off purchasing initially upon release or even pre-ordering, after the two sub-par head sculpts for Black Widow I wanted to make sure Hot Toys did a good job and didn’t stuff it up.

Thankfully they didn’t, this is their best Scarlet Johansson head sculpt to date. They’ve had a lot of attempts, but this one suppresses them all quite easily. Coupled with excellent rooted hair and a plethora of accessories this figure is almost the definitive Black Widow from Hot Toys, they’ve come a long way with the body suits as well and I think the material used works well not hindering the articulation too much and hopefully won’t deteriorate over time.

I was really impressed with this figure out of the box, I’m sure some collectors are suffering from Black Widow fatigue, but seeing this is my first purchase of a complete Black Widow figure (Winter soldier doesn’t count as I sold her as soon as I received her) besides buying a loose head sculpt, I was quite pleasantly surprised. This is easily the best Black Widow so far, it will be interesting to see how Hot Toys plan to top it.

ONE – Bandai Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (SH Figuarts)

Out of the three released turtles (Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael), it was just too hard to choose just one, so like Harlem Heat they are together as a team.

I had fun hunting all three of these figures down while I was over in Japan, it’s definitely a great feeling going from store to store on the hunt and ultimately being rewarded.

Bandai normally does a pretty good job with their SH Figuarts releases (the Monster Arts figures come to mind about now)  and when these cartoon versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were announced a lot of people were excited, me included. The sculpting is spot on when compared to the 1980s cartoon.

With plentiful articulation and metal shins and feet these figures are extraordinary, not to mention the numerous accessories and additional head sculpt for each turtle, Bandai have really set the bar high and come out tops against anything Playmates and even NECA could hope to achieve with their TMNT figures in my opinion (NECA really need to include some more accessories with their 1/4 scale offering, plus it seems like they are still using cheap and brittle plastic for their 1/4 scale figures joints, if the pictures and stories are to be believed, but they are still head and shoulders above Playmates).

So that sums up what I thought about the figures I purchased in 2016, sure there were a few big names missing and my opinion might differ greatly from yours, but like I said, this list had a few particulars to make it a little different from the standard “best of 2016 list” with the upcoming Poppies everyone can have their voice heard loud and clear about which figures were the best for this past year.


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This page copyright 2016 Mike’s Toy Blog. All rights reversed.


The Predator is one of my favorite movie monster designs. I really love the original design by Stan Winston from Predator and to a lessor extent Predator 2. I always liked the end scene in Predator 2 when Danny Glover’s character Mike Harrigan is surrounded by the other Predators from that clan after killing the City Hunter Predator. The uniqueness of each Predator’s design I feel inspires me to try to make my own Predator figures.

NECA has made a lot of predator figures by now and that makes it a little easier to put together a custom one. This is my first custom NECA Predator which I’ve nicknamed ‘Gremlin Predator’ mainly due to the green skin pattern and mask design. I’ve got at least one more custom Predator in the works, which I’ll post when it’s finished

This custom uses parts from a couple of Predators: Guardian/Gort, P1 and Borg/Lost. I repainted the armour brown with a metallic dry-brush to bring out the details. I’ve quite happy with the results.

NOTE: since taking the photos I’ve also added the Predator 1 bone necklaces to help add a little bit more character to the figure.











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Check out my previous NECA Predator custom/repaint HERE.

This page copyright 2014 Mike’s Toy Blog. All rights reversed.


I’m slowly growing a small NECA Predator collection. After buying the Lava Planet Predator I picked up a few more. But top of my list was the original Predator. Unfortunately no perfect version existed, as the only version I could find, made in that translucent plastic, was the version that came with dutch in a two pack and it was “battle damaged” so after replacing the armour needed and a little bit of repainting on the actual figure, I just needed a new head.

I managed to snag a classic predator with open mouth off eBay (Thankfuly not a cheap knock off from china as eBay is swamped with them!) and after a few washes, paint touch up, dry brushing and a clear gloss coat, it matches the new body almost perfectly. Just goes to show the power of good paint application!











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NECA has been making 6-8 inch Aliens and Predator figures for a while now, and a Dutch figure has been in demand for a long time from fans. We did get one from Hot Toys a while ago, but now  NECA is bringing us a whole stack of 7 inch figures with series 9 of their Predators line they have released two more Dutch variants along with a Predator variant.  One such variant being Jungle Encounter Dutch.


Name: Jungle Encounter Dutch
Line: Predators
Manufacturer: NECA
Released: 2013
Price: $25.00 AUD
Scale: 6.9 Inches in height
Accessories: one assault rifle, one pistol, one knife.


I’ve slowly been getting back into the small scale action figure scene, mainly thanks to Mattel with their WWE wrestling figures and now also thanks to NECA with their ever expanding range of Alien and Predator figures. I recently reviewed their Lava Planet Predator update and was quite impressed by it. I knew about Dutch and his many variations but was trying to hold off from buying one. I finally caved in and bought one and once again I’m pleasantly surprised.



One of the most critical aspects about this figure is how close Dutch will look to the source material and how close Dutch will look to Arnold Schwarzenegger. NECA have pulled this off quite well and I was very impressed with the likeness of this figure, there’s no mistaking it for anyone else other then Schwarzenegger, in his 80’s glory. The work on the chest and arms is excellent too; not to mention the pants, boots and tactical vest are great. There are many nice details and folds sculpted that all look nice and natural. I was really blown away by how at this scale the figure is really just that good.



The paint on this figure is top notch, NECA have hit this one out of the park. The flesh tones are created by first using a base cast in a white and ever-so-slightly translucent plastic with flesh washes over the top. These washes really bring out the detail and help to make Dutch look as life like as he can get for the price and size. The ‘camo’ on the face looks great too and the pattern on Dutch’s pants is amazing! His tactical vest is cast in black, which is fine as it doesn’t harm its appearance too much. One thing is that the paint apps on the face can be a little hit and miss, so you still have to pick one up in person to make sure you get one you like, but besides this, it’s still a great job by NECA.



Dutch comes with a lot of articulation. Enough to get all the poses you would want out of him without too much trouble, as you can see from the photos I could get a good number of action poses from Dutch, he’s pretty much a dream to pose. The articulation for Dutch is as follows: ball jointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, ball joint wrists, ball joint chest and waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel/hinge knees, top of the boots swivel 360 degrees and ball joint/rocker ankles. NECA are doing a great job giving us a good balance of articulation that works with or is hidden by the sculpting. None of Dutch’s joints look odd or unnatural either.



Dutch comes with his M-16 assault rifle with grenade launcher attachment, a pistol and combat knife. All these accessories look great; the assault rifle is the stand out for me seeing it pretty much oozes awesomeness; the pistol is nice to have, but I don’t really recall Dutch using it much in the movie. The knife unfortunately can’t really be used by Dutch at all, as his hand can’t really hold it properly – best to leave that one in its sheath.



My main complaint is that Dutch wants to fall over every now and then when I’m not looking. This is a typical NECA problem with their figures and sometimes it can get frustrating having one fall over and take out other figures in front of it (The Predator 2 preds and Corporal Hicks love to do this). This is a problem they really need to work on and the other one being their production control on their paint apps – I would love to be able to order NECA figures online, but the risk of getting a horribly painted figure is too great, so I have to resort to buying them in person where I can. There are a lot of companies that can get this right, it’s a shame NECA still struggle with this as it can really hurt the figure big time, especially seeing these figures are aimed at collectors, not kids.



I purchased my Dutch figure for $25.00 AUD from a great store here in Sydney called ‘Anime at Abbottsford’. I was happy with the price and I’m friends with the owners – Bradley and Hansen (they even went upstairs to check if they had any extra figures as the one on the shelf had a bad paint app on it and found two more to choose from!). If you are able to, please check out their store as they really go all out to help you and have excellent customer service. With that said, $25 was good deal for a NECA figure here in Aus.



This figure was a slow burn for me, as far as purchasing it goes. I knew it existed, I knew it was good, but I didn’t want to pull the trigger on it straight away. Now that I have it, I’m glad I did get it as it fills a void on my shelf of small scale action heroes. If ‘Predator’ is one of your favourite movies, then there is no other choice then to go out and buy this figure ASAP. It’s just that good. NECA deserve a pat on the back for this one and it’s good to see them really pick up their game of late. The figure isn’t without its issues but overall it ticks all the boxes for me. It makes it very hard not to go and pick up a Rambo too now to compliment Dutch!



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NECA has been making 6-9 inch Aliens and Predator figures for a while now, and with series 10 of their Predators line they take a look back on previous offerings with a modern update. NECA has decided to release three Predators based on the Kenner Predator line from the early to mid nineties. Tonight I am looking at the Lava Planet Predator update.


Name: Lava Planet Predator
Line: Predators
Manufacturer: NECA
Released: 2013
Price: $18.99
Scale: 8.5 Inches in height
Accessories: one sword



I’ve stayed away from small figures for a long time and by small figures I mean 6-8 Inch movie license type. When these were coming out, I was heavily into Hot Toys and still am to this day. You can’t beat Hot Toys at anything right now. Therefore I never fell into that hype people were putting on NECA’s stuff because, quite frankly I couldn’t see what the big fuss was about, seeing the figures in person, the main thing that killed it was the horrible paint apps that 90% of their figures have, also using cut joints for the groin articulation is never a good idea. But there are people who still persist and say they are great. I could see that they were finally improving their articulation and sculpting with the Rocky line etc.

To me that just looked like mincing Hot Toys on a smaller scale. So now we come to their Predators line, Which started off just making McFarlane Toys style Predators and now is slowly moving towards what they should have started to make to begin with, which was great articulation that is thoughtful and in some cases well hidden with good sculpting and great paint apps. Well, the paint apps still have a long way to go, but everything else is steadily improving.

What finally made me bite the bullet was the retro Kenner Lava Planet Predator. I’m a fan of the Kenner line and this update by NECA looked really good. So I placed my pre-order and now the Predator is finally here, so has my opinion of NECA’s products changed? Let’s find out!




If NECA have one thing going for them it’s sculpting. They always succeed in that category and considering the size of their figures to continually make detailed and well proportioned figures is always a plus. The Lava Planet Predator is mainly reused from previous Predator 2 releases. But that’s not necessary a bad thing, because that basic Predator body is very well sculpted. You have everything you would come to expect from a predator figure: body armour, cloak netting, dreadlocks etc. There are a few new parts – mainly the mask, wrist blade and a long cable/tubing from the wrist gauntlet to the back armour. All these new parts are done quite well and are just as detailed as the rest of the figure. The new mask is what really captures my attention the most, it looks very much like the source material and is really detailed with plenty of groves, ridges and fine detail.




Much like the original toy, this figure is cast in translucent red plastic, so paint is kept to a minimum; I love the clear red plastic! It looks awesome and really makes the figure stand out from other predator figures in the same series. What paint we do have is mainly used on the armour and a little on the body itself. The armour paint is mainly metallic red tones, which look quite nice and don’t get too lost in the overall red colour of the figure. There is a small section of grey armour like the original toy. I would have preferred they didn’t do this, as the prototype of the original Lava Planet Predator from Kenner had the predators armour all red. Although it’s only a small section, I feel it ruins the overall look just a little bit.

There are also black and yellow markings on the predator’s body just like the original toy. These look great and are neatly applied. They have added a few more markings then the original, but what has been added looks fine and doesn’t take away from the figure. Black has been used for the “cloth” parts of the figure with sliver also used for the bands on the dreadlock. Almost all of the armour has a black wash to help bring out those details and it works quite well to do so.




Here is another category where NECA shines. This is now a standard base for NECAs Predator figures and it is a very good base at that. The figure has the following articulation: Ball jointed head, Shoulders are ball and socket as well as the elbows. Hands are ball jointed. The waist is a single ball joint. Hips are ball and socket joints, the knees are double hinged and finally his feet are ball joints too.  The range of poses that can be achieved is quite extensive! You can get a lot of Predator style stances without too much trouble. I really like the base body, NECA have done an excellent job making it be able to do all that you would expect from a good solid base body. One nitpick is that the sculpted cloth restricts the posing of the legs a little bit.

I am very impressed with the articulation on the shoulder cannon. For something so small you get a staggering amount of motion from it. It almost steals the thunder from the base body in my opinion! The wrist gauntlet can also be extended out a short distance too; this is a nice touch and adds a little something extra to the play value.




This figure only comes with one accessory and it’s a sword that comes with the Predator 2 Elder. It’s not necessary a bad accessory considering they could have given us nothing. It is well painted and made of a fairly soft plastic. It fits into the Predator’s hand with hardly any effort and it a nice addition for added play.




One complaint I have with this figure is that some of the dreadlocks were pinned between the neck and the head straight out of the box. They aren’t too deformed once I freed them, but little things like this don’t help when you know NECA have pretty bad quality control at the best of times. One thing I would always look out for with NECA figures is the ankles quickly becoming loose and the figure falling over. All recent NECA figures bought by myself, or my brother have had issues with staying up right and that is not even after much posing! All versions of Dutch and Hicks have had issues, thankfully not Hudson yet. But for someone like me who I would call a “new” customer, it’s not leaving a very good first impression. NECA must really try and get on top of this problem as soon as possible.



Big Bad Toy Store is where I purchased this bad boy from, at a low price of 18.99 + shipping. Great price, seeing if I had waited and paid retail price here in Australia, it would have be double that. So the lowest price possible is always the way to go.



This is my first NECA Predator figure, and while it has a few small issues, overall it is great! Much like some of my recent and small NECA purchases I feel they are finally stepping up to the plate and making the medium – small scale movie action figures that are expected in this day and age from collectors. I really like this figure because it does a great job in capturing a time where toys were not all serious and you were able to have fun with the product put out and take it in different directions, but it can still relate to the movie licence that the figure is from. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the original Kenner Predators (like me) or anyone who is a fan of predators in general and wants some variation on their display shelves. I really hope NECA can continue to bring us a nice mix of direct movie version Predators and homage’s as well as original ideas too. They are doing a great job so far and I hope they can continue to do so.



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Check out my previous review of the Kenner Lava Planet Predator here.


This page copyright 2013 Mike’s Toy Blog. All rights reversed.