There is a chill in the air, the days are getting shorter, and December is just around the corner. You know what that means, right? Yep – it’s Gremlins season! Sure, Christmas is on the 25th, but since Gremlins is the consummate Christmas movie, that means I get to enjoy watching it for the next month or so. Better still is that NECA has just released a well-timed new Target exclusive figure – Santa Stripe! Oh, and a new little Gizmo, too!
I have said on multiple occasions that I absolute adore Gremlins, and NECA’s action figures are a dream come true for me. Admittedly, that make me a bit of an easy mark when it comes enjoying this line, but the recent product NECA has been producing has been so, so good, and it is that quality that has gotten me to get all of these releases, and often times, multiples for my display. Getting all the character Gremlins from the film(s) seems like a given, but with the last few releases, NECA has given me figures I didn’t even know I needed – Gremlins based on publicity ads used to market the original film. This Santa Stripe joins his previous iteration in Olympics togs and the Back to School Gremlin as perhaps the funnest releases of the year.
Just having Stripe dressed as Santa Claus makes so much sense in the context of the movie, it was almost a, “duh” moment when NECA revealed it. I mean, the Olympic and Back to School versions were digging deep into the Gremlins lore, but even though the is based on another print ad, the Santa/Christmas theme is 100% on brand for Gremlins. Sure, we have the Santa hat and theme in the line already, but seeing Stripe decked out in the full red regalia is so natural, and it makes you think that, since you could not show all of the Gremlins’ Christmas Eve shenanigans in one flick, this probably actually happened at some point during that fateful night, right?
As was the case the with the BTS outfit, the tailoring on this new Santa suit is really, really great. The faux velvet material brings a shimmering quality to the red sections, and they fit Stripe the way a Santa suit should, and without limiting much, if any, of the articulation. Gremlins don’t really have a “bowl full of jelly” belly (one in particular does have a bowl full of beer belly) to fill out the suit in proper fashion, so the bit of bagginess is held together by a properly cinched belt that offsets the fuzzy white trim in perfectly traditional Christmas fashion.
The matching hat and beard are actually one sewn-together piece which helps the functionality and effectiveness of both parts. For one, it keeps them both on snugly, but it also makes both look natural. The hat doesn’t just sit nonchalantly on the head, it looks secure, like it can survive a night of destructive hijinks around Kingston Falls, U.S.A., and the beard looks like a fake beard held on the chin with the an elastic band, just as it should. I know those might seem like forgettable points, but as someone who has had a lot of run-ins with poorly-executed soft goods, it is refreshing to have something that works so convincingly. In fact, the crooked Santa costume on a Gremlin works much better than if it was perfectly rendered via sculpting, so that adds to the effect.
Stripe also comes with a cloth bag that any other self-respecting fake Santa would fill with wrapped presents, but what a Gremlin would obviously use to lug around a poor unsuspecting Mogwai. Which, of course, is also included in the form of a Gizmo pack-in figure that I like quite a lot. It is much smaller than the Mogwai figures we have gotten in the line in the past, and it only has a few (but useful) points of articulation, but the scale to Stripe is pretty much 100% on-the-nose for my eyes, so this is going to a be a really useful piece for me for the Gremlins display overall, not just for this particular set. I LOVE my Mogwai figures to be sure, and I know their size helps carry things like more detail and articulation, but for pictures and things, this little Gizmo will be very nice to have. It makes me think about getting a Billy via the NECA soft goods line at some point as this Giz would scale very nicely with something like that, too.
That said, Gizmo fits in the cloth bag and he can hold the included candy cane as well. He seems pretty cheery, so I suppose even a Mogwai and a Gremlin can get along for a bit when it comes to spreading holiday cheer, so I am betting this set is going to be a popular one for the holidays. I normally integrate new figures into my display pretty quickly after they arrive, but this set is going to be a part of my Christmas decor this year, and for every year going forward. I mean, if you are even a casual Gremlins fan, you know a Santa Stripe will look amazing hanging out in your nativity scene or hanging from a branch on the tree, so you need to totally do it. DO IT!
I know that Randy has said that focus is going to kick back over the the G2 crowd next year (starting with Greta), so if this is the last G1 Gremlin we see for a minute, I think it is an excellent way to go out. It is finishes off the “ad” series nicely with a timely release, and the Santa costume is rendered perfectly, so it is a big winner for me. Like the BTS Gremlin, this one is exclusive to Target, but it is already sold out to buy via their ONLINE site, so you will need to get to the store so he can hang out for the holidays.
*Thanks to Peter and the team at NECA for sending along this piece for feature!