We are getting close to it being that season again! That’s right, it is almost GREMLINS season, and it is the most wonderful time of the year. You can have your A Christmas Story and your It’s a Wonderful Life, but I will gladly take Gremlins as my traditional holiday viewing, and will watch it as many times as I can during the month of December.
Thankfully, the good people at NECA feel the way I do about Gremlins and continue to give us some damned amazing action figures in support of that cinematic opus. Over the past year or so, they have been supporting the original film with vigor and have amassed some really impressive releases in that time. It is no secret that I love their Ultimate Gremlins, as well as Stripe, and the Gamer Gremlin, but I have to say, these two new “Winter Gremlin” two-packs might just be the most fun. What I have always called the “Caroler” Gremlins, these four mischief makers were pivotal to the Mrs. Deagle demise plot, and central to one of the most memorable scenes in the entire movie. While I have seen the movie hundreds and hundreds of times, it still strikes me that a scenario can be so hilarious to the viewer, and so horrifying to the old bag involved, and that is peak Joe Dante direction.
The timing of these guys is perfect, and while there are some things that will be familiar to you from some of the recent releases, there is certainly no shortage of new parts and pieces to fully realize these guys in accurate fashion. The first generation Gremlins being what they are, with the exception of Stripe, all of these guys are pretty much the same in terms of looks, and their clothes and accessories are what set them apart from each other. I know that the second movie offered a lot more variety in terms of individual looks, but the “replicated” idea from the original is something I actually really enjoy because it gives a lot of focus to the antics and some of the personalities of the Kingston Falls trouble makers.
I really like this new G1 base, and everything from the sculpting to the articulation makes this base the best one going. It also makes sense that NECA gets its mileage from it, and for all of the releases we have seen in the past year or so, it has done its job quite well. So, if you have the Ultimate Gremlin, or Stripe, or the Gamer, you basically know what you are getting in terms of construction. I will say that the joints are smoother than with the Ultimate Gremlin, so heating or working joints was not required for any of these guys. Plus, even if you are not into the caroler looks, these dudes are perfect bases to add any previous accessories or implements.
Speaking of the accessories, I love every single thing that is included with these sets. Not only do you get the parts to recreate the carolers perfectly, but there are a few other nods to other parts of the movie included as well. A couple of candy canes are always welcome because Gremlins love candy, but I am so happy to get the gingerbread cookies the original five go after in the Peltzer’s kitchen. You get one full cookie and one with the head already devoured, so get ready to tell these dudes to “get out my kitchen” right away. These things are scary accurate, and while I would never admit to how I know, I can assure, they definitely do not taste like gingerbread cookies. At all. Other than that, they are great.
The big draws that helps make these guys unique are their winter clothes and music books. The music ledgers are printed on some pretty solid paper stock, and there is some discoloring on the outside to give them a bit of a worn look. Music is also printed on the inside (not that these bois need it), so that is a nifty touch. At first I thought it would be challenge to get these guys to hold the books, but it really isn’t. You can manipulate the fingers around the pages in a way that helps to grip and in a natural way that resembles the actual screen reference. I think for a lot of people, these guys will be set up like they were outside of Mrs. Deagle’s house and then have them remain that way, so it is great you can recreate the scene accurately.
The hats and scarves are the coolest things, though, and NECA really nailed the looks of each of the four Gremlins in striking detail. I have seen these figures in person at SDCC this past summer, and I thought that the scarves were soft goods until I actually got these in-hand. That is a MAJOR credit and compliment to the sculptors because these are NOT soft goods, just really, really detailed plastic pieces that have all of the natural texturing and folds to make them very realistic; I am very impressed by this. As you know, there are two sets: the Target-exclusive set has white and red hat and the blue hat Gremlins, and the other has the earmuff-wearing guy, and the one with the newsboy hat. That last one has always been my favorite of this group, even has a kid, and the hat turned out wonderfully. I mean, all of them did, and the texturing on the blue hat is insane, but there is just something about that newsboy hat that puts it over the top.
The red and white stocking hat sits on the head as it does onscreen (and if you check the movie, it is just sitting on there) so NECA got that little detail right. They also hid “NECA” into the stitching on the top (cheeky NECA!) so this guy fits alongside your “Fail Guy” game and “Brad Bites” candy. The blue knit has probably has the most sculpted detail and it makes the mass of blue a lot more interesting and eye-catching. The earmuff guy is probably the least visually interesting due to just having those and no scarf, but the sculpt and shape of the earmuffs fit the screen and hang low on the head. Which brings me to a VERY important point: ALL of these hats and earmuffs fit these guys extremely well and stay put so they do not easily fall off. I know there were some stability challenges in the past with hats and popcorn buckets, but all of these are solid, stay put, and are made of a softer material to fit the form of the head and adhere. This is a very nice improvement.
As I said, NECA is doing a really great job in covering off lots of the “main” Gremlins from the first movie, these four just might be my new favorites. Now that these guys are in the bag, getting the “ski mask” Gremlin and a few others from my Top Five remain the priority, but I am in for all of the Gremlins releases they have for us. An exciting new avenue is via the newly-acquired Loot Crate “Loot Launcher” campaign going on right now. This is for a “Dress Up” Gremlin that features clothes and accessories to create many of the characters from Dory’s Tavern. This is a MUST HAVE set for any Gremlins enthusiast, so get over to the site and BACK THIS PROJECT now.
Don’t sleep on these two sets because they are very well done, and a heck of a lot of fun. You can order one of the sets at Dorkside Toys now, but the other is exclusive to Target, and should be hitting the stores, as well as the website very soon. This is the exact type of cheer you need for the holidays, so get ready for some caroling of the highest quality, Oh, and if you really want to set the mood, here is a video that will certainly help:
*Thanks to Randy, Summer, and all of the cool folks at NECA for making these guys a reality, and for sending these sets along for a look. We really appreciate it!