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NECA: Dungeons & Dragons Strongheart and Zarak First Look

If you have not been paying attention to the NECA Dungeons & Dragons line, you are truly missing out. The second series is just now starting to ship, and for me – Strongheart and Zarak are two of the best figures of the year.

Dungeons & Dragons has been enjoying a bit of rebirth in the action figure scape. Hasbro has been focusing on the classic cartoon, as we as the new movie, but NECA has been giving their attention to the fondly-remembered action figure line of the 1980s. So far, these have easily been favorites of the offerings, as these series release, the figures are getting better and better. It has been a bit slow going out of the gate, the first series landed in January, but with the showing of Elkhorn at SDCC, hopefully things will be picking up.

That said, this is already shaping up to be a fantastic collection. Warkduke has been one of my favorite figures of 2023, and the fact is, he has been bested here. You can tell the team at NECA has been building on their experience, and for me, Strongheart is the best of the bunch thus far, and a real example of a premium-grade figure by today’s standards. Zarak as well, and he offers a new form to the line that is already seeing dividends with the reveal of the previously-mentioned Elkhorn. Plus, he has a much character as any figure I can think of acquiring recently, and he is going to be able to find his way into many current lines and feel right at home.


The good paladin finally brings some heroic flare to the line, and he does so in fine fashion. The detailing of sculpt and paint are what you should expect from the line already at this point, and the final result is really stunning. Strongheart is the iconic knight, and his armor and mail have come to life like never before. The blue accents and shimmering cape (soft goods and wire-framed) give a valiant feel, but man – when you drop the guard of the helmet over his face, he turns in to a certified badass.

The adaptation of the all of the classic notes have been handled with care and respect, but everything has been brought forward. The helm wings are now more practical, as is the articulated plume, and the material choices have allowed for most all of the articulation to move forward with little hinderance. Additionally, along with his classic sword, Strongheart also gets swappable hands, a shield, dagger (that can be kept in the sword sheath), and a war hammer for when it suits his need. In short, he is well-outfitted for a noble knight.

I do wish there was a hook or spot in the figure to store the hammer, and that his right grip hand had an up and down joint to better wield his sword, but those are small in the overall scheme of awesomeness in this figure. Even if you just need an iconic knight, or another member of your Mythic Legions, this figure will NOT disappoint.


The treacherous half-goblin assassin is a fan-favorite, and one of the most memorable figures of the vintage line. Towards that end, I think he will be one of the absolute favorites of this new line as well. NECA’s Thomas Gwyn, who happens to be handling a good deal of the sculpting duties on this line, has a particular affection for Zarak, and the care really comes out in this figure. There is more personality in this guy than most people you meet on any given day.

Like Strongheart, Zarak has all of the classic trappings of his LJN figure, but all of the details have been blown out and expanded upon. His black (with dark blue highlights) and red outfit, matched against his green complexion and bright blue hood really make him stand out. His squatter build is not denied any of the articulation of his taller line mates, and his collar armor is a separate piece that can be maneuvered around the articulation, or removed entirely if it suits you.

Zarak now carries two daggers, as well as a short sword, grappling hook (for climbing AND strangling), and potion bottle. He also gets swappable hands AND an alternate head without the hood. This is a cool inclusion that can give him a different look, OR give way to some army building possibilities if you are inclined. I do wish the expression was different on the alternate head, but it’s not anything to get upset about. You can already see that much of Zarak will be used as the base for Elkhorn, and that will give the latter some much needed stature as the vintage figure was pretty tiny. I am glad for that.

If you are D&D fan, you better be collecting this line. If not, you can still get in on it early because it is one of the best things going right now. There has not been a figure released thus far that I do not love, and you can tell there is a tremendous amount of care that goes into these. But I want them ALL. The entire vintage line-up as well as the “lost” wave NECA did in the vintage style last year. We know Elkhorn is next, but I would love to see Mercion, Paralay (Melf), or one of the wizard join him. Hopefully we will see them soon.

If you haven’t done so yet, you can order Strongheart and Zarak from BBTS, and they even have Warduke and Grimsword in-stock, too. Go get ’em.

*Thanks to NECA for sending these early samples along for a First Look