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SDCC 2011 Report – NECA Gremlins and Exclusive Gizmo First Look

So, here is something a bit different that just kind of presented itself due to coincidental timing – Con Coverage and First Looks powers combined! Yeah, I did not come up with cheeky name for it, but when I got home from San Diego with a camera full of pictures and suitcase full of swag I had a peanut butter cup moment and well, you got Con Coverage in my First Look! You got First Look in my Con Coverage! Two great tastes that taste great together! That is kind of hard to type. Anyhoo, we have a few of these coming up in the next week or so but to kick it all off I am going to start with some NECA Gremlins coverage alongside a look at the SDCC-exclusive Convention Gizmo figure. Come check it all out!

You know, I am primarily a 6-inch, super-articulated action figure collector. Your DC Universe Classics, Marvel Legends, Masters of the Universe and Thundercats Classics figures really speak to me – not only because they are properties that I love, but they also make for some awesome toys. But I would never restrict myself to one sandbox in this hobby simply because there is so much great stuff to like. Over the years I have been a passionate fan of the Playmates Simpsons line, the Palisades Muppets figures and various other well-executed lines of properties that pique my interest. Several years ago, NECA brought one of my all-time favorite movie licenses to plastic in the form of their initial, short-lived Gremlins figure line. Whoa boy, I still remember walking into the now-defunct Suncoast store at the mall and seeing those bad boys for the first time. It was a moment of action figure collector joy because, not only was I getting some figures of a property I adored, but the figures were AWESOME. To this day I still stand by my long-time proclamation that the Stripe, Brain and Poker Player Gremlin figures, along with the Reel Toys addition of Mohawk, are some of the best representations of screen to plastic translations ever. The sculpts on these guys are INSANE and so accurate I feel like I should keep my toy room door closed at night for fear of them coming to life and wreaking havoc in my house.

So, you can imagine how crestfallen I was when, well, the Gremlins presence just kind of disappeared from the NECA offerings. It was clear that there would be (at the time) only one dedicated series to the property but the inclusion of Mohawk in the Reel Toys line had me hopeful that they would live on amongst their big screen brethren. Then nothing. No more Gremlins. It is funny because I don’t think I ever really got over that. Sure, I loved looking at them on my shelf, I even bought a few Poker Players to supplement the line-up with some generic film one Gremlins, but I just could not help but long for more. Years passed and I guess I just finally resigned myself to accepting that they were a part of action figure past, when suddenly, some reissues started showing up at Toys R Us. Hope sprung anew!

Fast forward to Toy Fair 2011 and bam – Gremlins mania started up with me again! Look at all of the Mogwai and character Gremlins from “The New Batch”! Yes! An improved Gizmo, a Daffy Mogwai and a Mohawk in spider form were all shown alongside a bunch of new cuties and uglies all scheduled for release later this year and into 2012. As stoked as I was in February, the deal was sealed on Preview Night of SDCC last week when I made it a priority to head for the NECA booth to check out all of the promised new figures in the case. They did not disappoint in their showing and I spent an inordinate amount of time trying not to block their retail line while staring at the beautifully hideous little creatures standing behind the glass. Seeing the new and improved Gizmo in movie two standard and “Rambo” looks next to Mogwai forms of Mohawk, Lenny, George, Daffy and Stripe was a joy. Is that a cocoon back there too? Holy crap, it is! They put that right in the middle as a sort of transition to the REALLY good stuff: the Gremlins themselves. Now, I love my some Mogwai figures, but the Gremlins are what I am really about.

In fact, I am so into the designs and concept of the Gremlins that I want every single one to ever appear in either of the movies with the most remote defining trait to end up in this line. Now, don’t get me wrong, as movies go I much prefer the original Gremlins to the New Batch, but the unique character Gremlins in the latter installment have had me giddy for good toys since I was a kid. I am finally getting plastic representations of some of the most toyetic characters: grumpy George and his troglodyte sidekick Lenny, the bat-shit crazy Daffy complete with Groucho glasses, the freakin’ Phantom of the Opera Gremlin, the Flasher (!) and even the Electric Gremlin were all on display. More than that though, it seems like NECA has stepped up their game on all of them in terms of articulation, paint and sculpt (though I did not know it was possible for the latter two from the initial offerings – wow). They are all wonderful but they present the inherent problem that I have with all lines that I love – they make me want more! I hope these assortments are wildly successful so we can see the likes of the Bat Gremlin, Salad Bar Gremlin and even the gender-bending Gremlin from movie two along with some caroler Gremlins, Bar Gremlins (especially the one in the ski mask) and popcorn bucket hat-wearing Gremlins from the original, just to name a few. NECA, if you make them, I will buy them. All of them.

Gizmo

Do you get that I am excited about these? The first series of Mogwai featuring Gizmo, Lenny and George are supposed to be hitting the shelves soon with more Mogwai and Gremlins series following right behind. They really cannot get here soon enough. Fortunately for me, NECA did have an SDCC-exclusive “Convention” Gizmo on sale at their booth to help tide me over and I bought him first thing on Preview Night. I actually got a lot of exclusive on Preview Night but you can ask several people – Gizmo was the first one I opened. So, unfortunately I was not disciplined enough to keep him in the package for enough time to take a picture of him, but I have several pictures of him and his convention swag for you to peruse.

If you are familiar with both Gremlins movies you know that Gizmo underwent a pretty drastic cosmetic change from movie to movie. While he was pretty cute in the first, he got a lot cuter in the second movie and his eyes and ears were exaggerated to give him an almost puppy dog-like look. I am not sure which movie version I prefer as they both have their strong points, but as far as figures go, this new Convention Gizmo (whom the regular and Rambo version will be based from later) is a dramatic improvement over the movie one-influenced version released all those years ago. The likeness is spot-on and by spot-on, I mean SPOT-ON. He looks like he jumped right out of my TV screen. It is the eyes, ears and mouth that really do it and the fact that the first two can actually move is what knocks it out of the park. That’s right, the ears AND the eyes move, but more on that in just a second. The body sculpt has also drastically improved from the first version and while that one is certainly recognizable as being him, this one is unmistakably Gizmo. He is less of a lump of sculpted fur and he is now much more defined in terms of his features – his legs, arms, belly and neck are much more distinguishable than before. The paint also really helps all of the sculpted features as it is very clean and enhances the details of the fur and gives his kinda-icky Mogwai skin a very life-like appearance.

Eye Control

While the sculpt is a definite improvement, where the updates really shine is in the articulation. Wow, does this little guy have a lot, especially for a character that has no real need to be super-articulated. I mean, I would go so far as to call him that, but he most certainly has a lot of very useful and creative points. He has about thirteen points in the following places:

  • Ball neck
  • Partial ball shoulder
  • Partial ball elbows
  • Partial ball wrists
  • Partial ball hips
  • Ball ears
  • Movable eyes

So yeah, he can be moved into several fun poses, probably anything you would want from a Mogwai. The movable ears and eyes though, that is where you get a ton of expression. Move the ears up, and Gizmo looks playful or curious, move them down and he becomes docile, all the way down and he looks scared or concerned. Keen! Then the eyes operate via a roller ball on the back of his head, if you have the Hot Toys DX Joker, it is something like that. The ball controls both eyes and you can really make him look in just about any direction. This was completely unexpected but it adds a ton of value to the figure and I think a lot of people are going to have a lot of fun with this.

Goin' to Comic Con!
SDCC Swag!
Hiding in his WB Bag
Cool!

Finally, Gizmo comes with his requisite Comic Con badge (complete with his name, professional credentials, and Warner Brother affiliation) on a lanyard, sunglasses that clip on to his ear joints (to keep out that warm California sun) and giant Con bag to carry around swag or to take a ride. I have to say that these are fun and completely appropriate accessories but if you want to leave Gizmo plain, you can do that too.

Comic Con and Original
Scale
Fans?

As you can see, I am really psyched about the return of the NECA Gremlins and they are coming back guns blazing. Even if you have not taken notice of this line yet, give it a look. I hope these sell like hotcakes because I want NECA to really go deep into the line now, I will get them all.

These badges are getting harder and harder to get

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5 thoughts on “SDCC 2011 Report – NECA Gremlins and Exclusive Gizmo First Look

  1. This is my favorite collector line of all time! These sculpts look so good that they almost look like they are straight out of the movie! NECA is so awesome! We are getting mogwai AND gremlin versions of three of my favorite characters ever- LENNY, GEORGE AND DAFFY! All of them look fantastic! The Phantom, Flasher and the Electric one look great too! and a mogwai Stripe! all we need is Greta, Bat, Spider Mohawk and Veggie gremlin to basically complete the collection, but I’m so happy with what we are getting. Thank you so much, NECA! and great review!

  2. I was going to skip the Series 1 Gizmo because everywhere I look, he’s listed as a 7″ figure, and that’s just too big a Mogwai for my taste. But your picture with Blue Beetle gives some nice perspective. Clearly he’s not a 7″ figure — I think he needs his ears to even clear 5″.

  3. I’m looking forward to these guys a lot. Gremlins one and two are among my top 10 movies. Like you Veebee, I was stunned and disappointed when Neca never continued a line of Gremlin toys. Bat Gremlin, salad gremlin, the one with the WB tattoo on his chest, I want them all!!

  4. Love it, too bad Gizmo looks hella stoned. It would have been better if the eyes weren’t painted so full.

  5. I bought these last minute at the con (Ron did too!), it was the moveable eyes that sold me!

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