Toy Review - NECA's 7-inch Christopher Reeve Superman
In a world with the internet…there aren’t too many surprises these days. And yeah, if I want to wax nostalgic, sure I’d say I miss it. When it comes to the actual practice, though, well, I have to thank the good folks at NECA for yanking off those rose-colored nostalgia glasses, smacking me upside the head and yelling “DAMMIT MAN! You’re a toy hunter! You like as much of a heads up as you can get!”
On October 28th, NECA announced that, like their previous deal with the release of the 25th anniversary edition of the Tim Burton Batman blu-ray, they would be releasing a wave of 7-inch figures that would either come free with the purchase of various DC related films or be available exclusively at Toys R Us. These figures included a Heath Ledger Joker from The Dark Knight, Adam West as Batman, 2 massively huge Heroclix pieces (Batman and Superman) and the subject of this review, Christopher Reeve as Superman. There were 2 ways to get these figures, either at Toys R Us as mentioned above or directly from Warner Bros’ E-Bay store. At first, I didn’t worry too much about it. I’d found the Michael Keaton Batman figure they produced for the aforementioned anniversary blu-ray (which, upon reflection, I totally should have picked up for myself…one down side to Bat-fatigue, I guess), so I imagined that I’d be able to find this Superman figure no problem.
Then the E-Bay store pre-orders sold out prior to the 11/7 scheduled release.
Then, sightings at brick and mortar Toys R Us stores started popping up on 11/2…again, still well before the announced 11/7 release date and not even a full week after the announcement.
That’s when I sprang into action. I rushed to the Toys R Us that I had scored the Batman those months ago…nothing. Oh, the figures had been there, but only an Adam West and 2 Superman Heroclix remained. I grabbed the Heroclix as a consolation…but now…now there was panic. I sent pictures of the figure I was looking for to friends and family all over the country. The manhunt was on. And for a week and a half…nothing. As luck would have it though, I finally did manage to score one…then, for reasons we’ll address later on in the review, I managed to find two more. With the quest at an end, I can happily tell you my opinion…and whether or not it was worth all the hassle.
The figure is very much a scaled down version of NECA’s ¼ scale Christopher Reeve that has already been out on the market for some time. The articulation is identical, as is the method in which the ab crunch is achieved. The joint for it is actually underneath the rubbery plastic that forms the tunic/chest of the figure…and it functions surprisingly well! While we’re on the topic of articulation, it’s got all the standards, shoulders, ball jointed head (this Superman can look up…not all the way up, but you know…hair…) elbows, ab crunch, waist, hips, knees and ankles with rockers. Oh, there are boot cuts too. And I forgot the wrists…both cut and hinge. The elbows and knees to that trick where there’s a swivel joint along with the hinge so as to attempt to replace any kind of thigh/bicep swivel. Typically, I’m not crazy about that kind of joint, but with NECA’s stuff, I don’t mind it so much. These are figures that are generally more for display than play. As such, you want to break up the mold/sculpt as little as possible. That said, while there is a fair amount of range of motion in the joints that the figure does have, there really isn’t much there for real dynamic poses. Granted, you’ll likely not miss it, as one of the things that made Reeve’s performance so great and believable was his underplaying the part, avoiding such dynamic poses.
QA ISSUE #1 – Be VERY careful when using any of these joints. Whether it was a fluke in the plastic or maybe some paint had dried and thus locked up the joint, but when freeing up the joints, upon coming to the hip, one of poor Superman’s legs just snapped off…no excessive force, mind you. The joint seemed to be doing what it was supposed to, then just…crack. Given the quest like nature of this particular hunt, surely I can be forgiven for [No, we’re not letting you reveal that. – Ed.]…right, let’s just say I didn’t respond well. So, luckily, I happened to find a Toys R Us that had 5 of the bastards sitting right on the shelf. Sure, while I’m sympathetic to anyone that may want/need their own mini-Christopher Reeve, I for damn sure wasn’t going to settle for my recently broken one…so I snagged 2 of their 5.
QA ISSUE #2 – In my glee, I neglected to check out the paint jobs. Sure, the Superman you see in these pictures moves just fine…but someone had a little too much to drink when painting that S [AND IT WASN’T ME…thank you very much. – Ed.].
To switch gears to the sculpt…my goodness. When I bought the ¼ scale figure, the likeness was good, but only really looked right with the head slightly down. Not so with the 7-inch figure. This really is a mini-Christopher Reeve for your collection. And, thankfully, someone else must’ve been put in charge of eye placement/painting this time, because he can look at you dead on without having to tweak his head this way or that. The sculpting of the figure also tries to take into account the texture of the fabrics used on the suit…and this meets with varying degrees of success. It works for the boots and the trunks…but for the bits in blue (so, you know, most of the figure) I think I’d have preferred it to be a bit smoother…just one of those instances where they went for the reality (and they’re to be commended for it), but the perception might have been the better way to go.
Accessories, there are flying hands that you can interchange with the fists that the figure comes initially equipped with. These also have hinges, so you can have Supes giving the old “Seek Help” if you wanted to [But seriously, why would you??? – Ed.]. One thing to keep in mind though is that both sets of hands appear to be made of light blue plastic (like the costume), then painted over in flesh tones…and using the hinges too much (or just once for that matter) is likely to reveal some of that blue plastic. So, flex at your own risk!
Lastly, as with their 7-inch Batman, Superman has a cloth cape. While it looked pretty bad in the pre-release pictures I saw, in hand it looks just fine…and I have to admit that it makes me miss quality soft goods in action figures. Hasbro’s making good strides in this with their Star Wars Black figures…if only Mattel or DC Collectables would incorporate it!
So, was he worth the hunt? Well, as a huge Superman fan and the fact that it was Chris Reeve’s portrayal that got me into the character, I’d say hell yes! The quality of the sculpt is truly amazing. Sure, there are nitpicks and yeah, better articulation might have been nice, but what is there is done very well…with special shout outs to how the ab crunch was handled and the rocker ankles! And if you’ve already got NECA’s Keaton Batman (either movie accurate or NES version), then he’s definitely a must buy. If you’re looking for something for extensive posing, this probably isn’t for you.
One last thing though…NECA, how about a little more warning next time, huh?