Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
June 27, 2019
NECA Toys: Some (dis)Assembly Required.
Category: Toys

Don't get me wrong -- NECA makes gorgeous action figures. They're pumping out spectacular-looking releases from properties near and dear to my heart: TMNT, Terminator, Alien/Predator, and Godzilla among them. Heck, I often pick up NECA's pieces even when I'm not familiar with a property. The toys just look that damned good, and I love adding new NECA figures to my collection.

But I really don't understand how anyone but fairly competent customizers (or collectors who never open their figures) can be satisfied with NECA products, since it seems like 8/10 figures require significant attention to fix some problem. Like, even beyond the typical heating of joints required to get a given NECA release moving. (Which, btw, is a thing I can't ever recall having to do with a Playmates TMNT figure. Just saying.) For example, the 1962 Godzilla I recently bought had one of his hip balls glued stuck -- even though it was clearly intended as a point of articulation -- and so I spent a good deal of time prying apart that joint and sanding away the excess glue within and lubricating the joint to ensure smooth motion and then reassembling the figure, all to get it to move how it should have moved right out of the box.

Today I spent as long working on Dutch (from the new Alien vs Predator Dutch/Linn 2-pack), since his bicep swivel was stuck fast and the peg looked like a clear breakage risk. When I disassembled *that* joint (again, not quite as easy as it might otherwise have been, particularly with all the wires in the way), I found that not only did the mushroom peg (on the shoulder ball, pointing down into the bicep) have significant flashing and notches on the bottom (that may/may not have been intentional) that prevented it from turning smoothly, but that the hole in the bicep was waaaaaaay too narrow to even make sense for a peg of that size. I suppose a hard plastic peg might have been fine there, since it presumably wouldn't be as susceptible to tearing, but the soft peg on Dutch just wasn't flying here. So I dremeled and refit and dremeled and refit and dremeled and refit (because I didn't want to go too far and give Dutch a floppy arm) and also cut flash and notches off the peg. At length I ended up with a Dutch whose bicep turns freely, but I imagine he's a rarity among these figures in the wild (and I imagine that someday eBay will see at least a few one-armed Dutch figures on the market).

Oh, and my Chrysalis Alien (also from the AvP line)? For some reason the piece where his tail connects to his body is entirely unpainted. It's less annoying since that part wouldn't be visible in most poses anyway, but it's still kind of irritating? I'm thinking I'll paint it -- the color likely won't be a perfect match, but it'll ease my frustration a bit. And since the painting technique required is drybrushing, this too is a fix that needs a modicum of customizing ability.

Heck, even when I'm compelled to contact NECA for things I *can't* fix (and things I'm less confident I can fix to my satisfaction) -- and let me be clear, NECA has always come through on the CS end -- the solutions require customizing skill. Frex, when their 1987 'toon TMNT SDCC exclusive set shipped, there were a lot of (justified) complaints about the wonky eye paint on the Turtles. NECA responded by sending out replacement heads to folks who requested them -- again, awesome gesture -- but hoooooly crap those are the most difficult headswaps I've ever done and I actually know what I'm doing. (It's so difficult that to date I've only done Raph; Leo and Mike still need the treatment. Don's eyes were satisfactory IMO, so I didn't need a new head for him.) I can't imagine the frustration a non-customizer would feel during that undertaking.

But then again, it's possible that someone who doesn't customize might not notice these issues and/or wouldn't care as much? So Godzilla's leg is basically a swivel. So Dutch's bicep doesn't turn. So this Chrysalis Alien's tail piece is unpainted. I guess that's just how they're supposed to be? Meh. I guess that's how I am with things I can't fix, too (eg my broken sunroof, which I actually did read about how to fix... but a 10+ hour job on an automobile frame sounds beyond me, and obviously it'd cost more than I'm willing to pay). But a toy -- that I can fix. Pass me the hair dryer and paint.

(Also, an annoying thing? Toy reviewers these days NEVER comment on these issues. It's entirely possible that the review samples they get simply don't have them -- if I were a company, I'd probably handle review samples first to make sure they were on point -- and it's likely true that at least some reviewers just don't notice. But often it seems like reviewers don't want to say much bad about products for fear of poisoning the Free Toy Well. Like I've watched two Chrysalis Alien reviews on YouTube where -- as far as I can tell -- both figures had the unpainted piece, yet somehow it goes unmentioned. Incidentally, both of those reviewers *broke the figure on camera*. Still positive reviews, and they seemed more bothered by their breaking of the toy on camera -- and thus alerting viewers and therefore NECA that this toy might Have Some Problems -- than that the toy broke.)

-posted by Wes | 8:33 pm | Comments (0)
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