The new Ultimate Edition Dungeons & Dragons line from NECA is finally here, and they are kicking it off with Warduke and Grimsword. I have been champing at the bit for this line, and this first series definitely does not disappoint.
2023 is already off to a pretty great start for all things D&D. The Hasbro animated line has started, there is a MOVIE coming out, and NECA is releasing figures based off of the vintage LJN Advanced Dungeons & Dragons line from the 1980s. We have known about this line the longest, and frankly, it is the one I have been looking forward to the most. Don’t get me wrong, getting the whole cartoon crew in figure form is a dream come true, but fleshing out the entire LJN vintage line-up is on a completely different level.
All of those vintage figures have such cool designs (I mean, I have never met anyone who didn’t think Warduke is totally badass) and working through all of the characters of various looks, shapes, and sizes is definitely something I want to do. NECA seems perfect for this task, and if Warduke and Grimsword (and the upcoming Strongheart and Zarak) are any indication, this is going to be so much fun.
The designs of these figures pay loving tribute to the impeccable original designs, and bring modern sensibilities that all make sense. The enhanced sculpting is something we expect from NECA, and it all really shines here. Additionally, the articulation scheme makes good sense and elevates these to a super-articulated level. All elbows and knees are single joints, but these both can reach just about any pose I was hoping for.
I want to give a specific shout out to the box illustrations, as they are done by Daniel Horne, who is just perfect for this. He has been working with NECA on the TMNT x Universal Monsters line, too. I am most certainly keeping the front box flap from all of these.
I gave most of my thoughts during the FwooshCast Live stream this past weekend, so you can check that out below, but I will also share some quick thoughts and lots of pictures.
This guy is just absolutely massive, and that heightens his characterization for me. If you watched Game of Thrones, Grimsword is now the D&D equivalent of Ser Gregor the “Mountain” after he becomes all zombified. To me, Grimsword is absolutely ruthless and nigh unstoppable, and his armor red/yellow eyes all give good support to that.
Like I said, this guy is HUGE, so as NECA moves through the vintage line-up, I will be interested to see how they tackle the larger figures like Northlord, as they will be absolutely massive. I am here for it.
The snake theme on this guy is just great, and mace and shield might just be the best part of it.
Yes, Grimsword is awesome, but Warduke is the one we are all here for, yeah? I know many of us have been waiting on a true modern update to this character for a long time, and NECA has delivered. I think just about every facet of this update is pretty perfect, and you can tell there was a lot of love put into this design.
Warduke has a few more embellishments than Grimsword, and his two daggers are a good example of that. Additionally, he now has sheath on his back for his sword, but be careful, it is VERY snug trying to get the sword in there. Not that Warduke would ever sheath a sword, heh. The flame effect is a very nice addition, too, and it works within Warduke’s characterization quite well. Again, be careful with this, I would strongly advise heating up the flames before putting them on the sword.
Now, all we need is series two to hit some Strongheart can take on all of these evil-doers, and then the next assortment to be announced. I like how series two pits a good character vs an evil character, so I would throw in for Elkhorn and Kelek next, but I also REALLY want Mercion, too. Well, I want all of them, so I hope this line is a smashing success.