It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Okay, okay, it is waaaaaaaay too early for that kind of thing. Celebration and festivities for Annual Gift Getting Day should not commence until after you have fattened yourself up a little on turkey and pumpkin pie. Be that as it may, I really dig the holiday season for a lot of reasons. I enjoy seeing family (some in small doses), the chill in the air and watching my favorite holiday movies. Now, I might not be keeping with a lot of traditions out there when I list some of my favorite Christmas movies as Die Hard and the Nightmare Before Christmas, but I also enjoy some of the standards like many of the old Rankin/Bass stop motions. My favorite holiday movie though, the one that I love to watch without fail? Gremlins. Yup, I have absolutely loved the Gremlins for as long as I can remember and this year I get to watch BOTH movies with a few new little green friends. I know I have been gushing about NECA’s re-energized Gremlins line since Toy Fair, and if you read our Mogwai First Look you will see that they have delivered. You will also know that, as much as I enjoy the little cuties, I am really in this for the green terrors. Yes! So, for your perusal we have this look at the new Gremlins Series 1. Am I going to need every single and even barely identifiable unique Gremlin from both movies? Damn straight.
As I am sure you can probably guess, I think Gremlins is a perfect movie. It has humor, drama, scares, special effects, great characters and adventure – I really cannot ask for more from a movie. The sequel is a massive departure and is a hilarious look at the idea of sequels, but it also brought us a TON of unique and colorful Gremlin personalities. Back before NECA’s first run at the franchise came to a sudden (and sadness-inducing) halt, we got great representations of Mohawk and Brain from the New Batch, but some of my favorite guys did not make the cut. Well, in one fell swoop NECA has knocked out three of the big ones that I have been wanting since before I even knew I wanted them: George, Daffy and the second incarnation of the Flasher.
As a fan of the sequel, it has been important to me that we at least got the four first Mogwai in their cute and Gremlin form and we are now half way there in the Mogwai category with George and Lenny and three-fourths of the way there in Gremlin land with the previously-released Mohawk and now George and Daffy. The best part is that you need not have even an elementary grasp on fractions to know that all of the rest of the parts will be filled in for this crew over the next two waves. NECA is getting things done and doing it in high fashion with some incredible sculpts that you have come expect from their house. Big credit goes to Chris Gawrych and Trevor Zammit for the sculpts and Randy Falk for leading the project. I do appreciate the fact that it looks like they will be harnessing a base body system where appropriate with this line too. As far as I am concerned, that means a better chance more characters in the future. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves and check out each one of these naughty boys individually.
I am sure I am not alone when I say that, as a kid, Daffy was easily my favorite Gremlin from the New Batch. I am also sure that that is exactly how the director/producers intended it. Let’s face it, he is cute (even as a Gremlin), funny, googly-eyed and, even in his most “dangerous” scene as the demented dentist, he always seemed pretty harmless or the Gremlin that “might be a good guy”. Well, even though the Gremlin version does not share the movable eye feature his upcoming Mogwai figure will feature, NECA nailed the likeness. He has just the right amount of google-eye to him and his maw is gaping with a near-audible crazy laugh. Really, you can practically hear him say “Is it safe?” – go head, listen for it. You hear that? Pretty awesome, yeah? He also has his weird hairdo thing going on, and that one was always a head scratcher to me as a kid. Far be it from me to try to justify design or logic in a Gremlins movie but I always thought the little spiky doo-dads were a strange translation from Daffy’s zany Mogwai quaff, but NECA got it just right. All of the paint work is solid on this figure, both from a qc and accuracy perspective. The Gremlins of part two had much more diversity to them from the first movie and many had a lot of very definable traits to make them unique. Daffy was probably the most bright green of skin of all of the Gremlins, which is appropriate and he was also unique in that he had “freckles” all about him. The dots are done with just the right amount of intensity so while they are most certainly noticeable, they are not overpowering.
As you can see in the pictures, the paint applications are very complex on these figures and while they are mostly one overall color at a quick glance, there is a lot going on. There are a lot of subtle tints and shades of green, but also yellows, browns, reds and blacks throughout the entire body. Aside from the requisite lack of paint on the actual hinges of the elbow joints, the body from the neck down is pretty flawlessly painted. I don’t see any bleeds or slops that send me into a pickle on this particular figure and considering how many applications are on this guy, that is pretty damned good. I would be selective about my figures though if you are buying at a brick and mortar – invariably when dealing with figures that have such heavy paint jobs, the quality can vary even figure to figure so just be on the lookout for some variation as it is bound to be out there. The paint on the head is also [essentially] flawless and I am a particularly fond of the shading in the ears. I have just a touch of slop in the right eye and since that is the most noticeable spot for paint mess, I am going to call it out, really though, this is not going to be a common thing and I did not even notice it until I started looking at the up-close pictures. Again, just pick the best one on the peg and I think you will be fine; at any rate, I think the paint work on all three of these figures is more solid than the first series of Mogwai, but we aren’t dealing with a lot of white paint either.
Daffy also utilizes a shared base body that makes up most of George and parts of the Flasher as well. The good news is that it works really well. I have never had any type of diversion to part reuse in action figures, as long as it is done well. In fact, it often brings about a nice amount of consistency to a line that I seem to crave more and more. The fact is, across these three particular Gremlins, when it comes to variations of body type, there is nothing distinguishable enough to me that would warrant the extra cost of making them completely unique, even if the the Flasher has a slightly different upper torso. That is just a personal opinion, but I think it also speaks to the quality of this base.
Now, let’s face it – I don’t think there are many people out there that require their Gremlins to be as articulated as their Spider-Man figures (I know there are some of you that do though) so there is actually a good amount of articulation in this base, actually a GREAT amount, much more than I originally anticipated. The head/neck articulation is located at the base of the neck, this allows for some fluid head movement as well as interchangeability from figure to figure. The body also features partial ball shoulders, partial ball elbows, spinning ball wrists, partial ball hips, single knees and partial ball ankles. Seriously. I realize that, on paper, that might not seem like an excessive amount compared to your superheroes and whatnot, but that is a TON of articulation for a little Gremlin and and all of the points work very well for Daffy and George and pretty well for the Flasher (but more on that in moment). Honestly, I am not sure of a Gremlins pose you aren’t able to get. The arms are most certainly movie two arms as they are incredibly long in proportion to the body so if you are putting together a Gremlins basketball team, I have a strong post man for you. I might be selfish for saying this but, I like this new body so much I actually hope that NECA will update the old Mohawk figure with this new base.
Finally, all of the Gremlins come with something that the Mogwai figures were lacking – accessories! Yay! I remember the first run of Gremlins has some great accessories like popcorn and candy bars, and while these three don’t have the quantity, they certainly come with required pieces. Daffy includes his New Year’s Eve party horn that you can actually get to stay in his mouth as well as his near-trademark Groucho glasses. The latter stay on his head really well and the lenses are spaced so you can actually see his eyes through them. I suppose it would have been cool for Daffy to have a dentist drill and some scrubs, but maybe that is viable variant territory for him down the road. Overall, I am very pleased with this figure and I have a feeling that he will probably be the most overall well-received figure in this series. I might consider getting a second figure just to put one in my office at work as he will definitely appeal to the more casual Gremlins fan.
As I said in our Mogwai First Look, while Daffy was my favorite Gremlin as a kid, the George and Lenny combo has taken over as my favorite nowadays. I think they are the most subtly expressive of the original four and they are the perfect foils for each other, even literary tributes aside. Plus, they remind me of my twin dogs – one is big and happy and kind of dimwit while the other is small and crafty and can be a crank. While George is essentially the same figure as Daffy from a construction standpoint, you would never really even notice or care to bother about that just by looking at him. Like I said, reuse is a good thing when it is done correctly.
Even as goofy and boisterous as Daffy’s head sculpt is, George is the exact opposite in his crusty and crotchety expression that would turn even the newest milk positively rotten, and that’s the way I likes it! George is most certainly my favorite figure from the first Mogwai series and I think that, overall, he is my favorite here as well (though the difference from least favorite to most favorite is completely negligible). The thing is that, until Lenny gets here in the next Gremlins series, I don’t think he can even be fully enjoyed yet. Coffee and cream and peas and carrots and all that, you know. They go together like rama-lama-lama and so forth.
The funny thing about George is that, at first glance, I thought for sure he was too green in comparison to his big screen look. Honestly, I think it is the white of the card back that was causing me to think that at first as I checked and the coloring is pretty spot-on. He is not as vibrant as Daffy, but he is not as muted as Lenny is supposed to be. He is, well, an appropriately sour color of green and as you move to the middle of his body from his head or feet, he lightens up a bit. His patterning is not as distinct as Daffy in terms of shape or color change, but it is distinct and fully present in the figure. I do have to say though that, maybe even more than Daffy, the paint on his head is really fantastic. It is intricate in the airbrush effect, but the pointed detail on his little eye spikes is right on and washed a little more shiny just for added effect. I also really dig his eyes, they are darker with yellow accents, almost as an inverse to Daffy and they really accentuate grumpiness in his expression. His mouth and bulbous lips are probably the most defining features on his face though and they are disgustingly accurate. The shape of his mouth matches his furry counterpart and while he certainly looks as though he is mugging, his lips are well positioned to purse his trademark cigar…
Which is surprisingly included! I have to say that I when I first saw the prototype pictures from Toy Fair I was resigned to the fact that his cigar would be lost as the TOY would have to kowtow to current standards of political correctness. Well, Gremlins are anything but PC and so glad this made it in. I would be scrambling to find a suitable substitute or fashion a half-assed custom like I had to do with my poor Nick Fury figure, but I am relieved that it won’t be needed. Sure, it is his only accessory, but it is so badly needed and I am surprised it made it that I don’t need any other accessories. +1 NECA.
It is really going to be something for me to be able to assemble the original four Gremlins from the New Batch after Mohawk has set alone for so long (Brain is cool, but not an OG). More so, it almost feels as though George is only half way finished since his hetero life mate is still waiting in the wings. Luckily I find this figure to be so entertaining that he alone can tide me over until his sweet and dull-witted friend can join him. When that day comes there will be much celebrating (Gremlins style of course) so hopefully NECA is going to push these series out a fast pace.
Okay, raise your hand if your favorite gag in the history of the Gremlins franchise is seeing poor Kate get flashed? Yep, all of you – that is what I thought! In both movies and in multiple cities the poor girl cannot catch a break, I love it! While this is the Flasher from the second movie, I will be requiring the Flasher from Dory’s Tavern as well from the original. When it comes to classy Gremlins, the Flasher ranks right up there at the top, and the only way to make an instance of flashing more classy is to do it in a fine pair of aviator glasses (like the Groucho glasses, they stay on really well) and cigarette – both included! Woop!
Now, way back at that Toy Fair that I keep referring to, there were a couple of generic Gremlins shown as well (one in green and one in brown) in NECA’s booth and it appears that this figure is actually the green version all trussed up in his trench coat and glasses. Makes sense, the Flashers were never unique past, you know, the flashing so I hope that those two “army builder” figures make it out there at some point. As it stands, I own about 8 of the Poker Player Gremlins from the original line for building purposes so I would be all over those. Anyhow, back to the figure at hand, he is the generic green Gremlin and he share the same base body with Daffy and George. His paint pattern is not quite as intricate as the other two, but it is most certainly there, despite being mostly covered by the coat.
Speaking of the coat, I will get this out of the way right now – you CAN remove it. It is not easy, but it can be done and once you do, you have a regular old generic Gremlins 2 Gremlin. Like I said, it is really no picnic getting the coat off and while I probably will pick up a couple more just to have a few generics, I hope NECA does release him on his own. However, if you leave the coat on as intended, the figure will not get a whole heck of a lot of movement. It seems as though the plastic is soft enough to move, but there is just so much of it and the sleeves are attached at various spots that it is nothing doing. It is kind of a shame and if I could change one thing about this first series, it would be that. The coat does look great though and as you can hopefully see from the pics, it is sculpted and painted beautifully.
So, if he was able to move just a bit better in his coat, the Flasher would probably be my favorite figure in this bunch. Really though, I would never even dream of posing him any other way, but it would be fun to be able to close and open the coat for the full effect. As it stands, my wife is going to get really tired of me putting this guy in the bathroom while she is in the show so she can step out and see him in all his glory. The Marvel Select Watcher figure has been doing that for years to great success, but I think some new blood is needed at this stage in the game and I have not gotten a worthy figure in all that time to foot the bill, until now.
It has been a great year for me in terms of action figures. I mean, there has been a ton of stuff that I have absolutely loved since January, but these three little jerks might just be right at the top of my list. I am so glad this line is back so at the very least, NECA would be getting the Fwoosh Comeback Line of the Year award if such a thing existed. But they are so much more than that as they continue the tradition started so long ago by Stripe, Mohawk and the gang as being some of the best translations from screen to plastic I have ever seen. The sculpting, the paint work, everything just works so well together and they even get some accessories to really seal the deal. I REALLY hope this line continues to be successful and I cannot recommend that, even if you have a passing fancy towards these figures, you run out at get at least one of them just to try them out. I promise you will fall in love, and even if you somehow don’t , there is no arguing against owning a figure of the Flasher Gremlin. Just knowing that he exists makes this world a better place. So, NECA, I am here with my wallet willing offered for slaughter – make them and I will buy them! I cannot wait for the next series, but get on that horse and get us the mugger, Greta, Veggie, Bat and all the rest. My new best pals and I cannot wait for our Gremlins movie marathon next month. It is good to have them back!
*Thanks for reading and thanks to NECA for sending George our way!