Monday, October 30, 2017

31 Days of Halloween - Spooky Toy Review – A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors Quarter Scale Freddy Krueger from NECA

By Dave

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors isn’t just my favorite Nightmare movie, it’s one of my all-time favorite horror movies.

Stay tuned for the Dream Warriors Dragon Con panel, coming soon to the Needless Things Podcast.

While I am pretty much always a merchandise chump, it gets even worse when Freddy Kruger and this movie in particular are involved. Here’s a recent example:

I need a new office chair. Mine is probably fifteen years old and just isn’t very comfortable, not to mention the fact that it’s falling apart. I could easily get a really nice new chair that would last possibly a decade or so for under $250. But I don’t want to spend $250 on a freaking chair.

I don’t want to spend a hundred bucks on a chair.

Last Wednesday Death Waltz records released a vinyl box set of the scores from the first seven A Nightmare on Elm Street movies:


It’s incredible and I want it. And I really had to think a lot about whether or not I was going to order it.

Obviously that is stupid and ridiculous.

It’s also ridiculous that I bought this quarter scale version of a figure that I already own, especially given the issues I had with the original. Overall it was good, though; just not perfect. But as soon as this one showed up in Toys R Us I wanted it. I knew I didn’t need it, but I’d look at it with its bent up front door and crazy security wires (not pictured, obviously) every time I stopped by. It was a giant Freddy from Dream Warriors and it was something I didn’t have. And didn’t need.

On top of all of that, I already have the 18” Freddy that McFarlane released sometime last century (probably for the obscene MSRP of $39.99). It’s barely poseable and the sculpt isn’t as realistic as this one, but it does have a voice chip and is still undeniably badass.

At one point I thought it had been sold – we’re talking about a few months, here – and I was annoyed that I hadn’t bought it. I felt good about not spending the money, but bad about not having this Freddy. Then, the other day, it was back in the new collector’s section. 
Apparently they had just moved it while they were redoing things. I grabbed the huge box, held it up over my head in victory, and ran to the cashier before anyone could stop me.
Maybe it didn’t go exactly like that, but you get the idea.


FIRST GLANCE

Whatever else you might say about them, NECA’s quarter scale figures are big and impressive in person. The paint, in particular, is excellent and all of the sculpt stands out so much more than on the 7” scale stuff. This figure has weight and presence.


PACKAGING

Freddy comes in a massive window box with a cut-out door on the front that opens to reveal Freddy and the (sparse) accessories. Toys R Us has to put security devices on things at this price point, which is dumb because there’s literally no way someone could sneak this out of the store. As a result the door has been bent back from people actually wanting to see the product inside but not being able to open the door fully thanks to the security wires.


Side Note: I asked about a discount for the damaged box, but the lady said that NECA products are basically on consignment in Toys R Us stores and they can’t do that. That explains why new product is so sporadic. I’ve known for a while that a NECA rep puts their stuff out, but I didn’t realize that it wasn’t even part of TRU’s regular inventory.


The box has a bunch of broken mirrors on the back that are a callback to a scene in the movie, as well as a brief synopsis. I still hold out hope that we’ll get figures of the actual Dream Warriors one day (we won’t).


The bottom of the box features creator credits for the figure, which is one of the coolest things NECA does.


LOOKS

I always have trouble finding Robert Englund in the likenesses on Freddy toys. Sometimes it’s just differences in the makeup – Freddy’s look varied greatly from movie to movie and Englund’s face comes through more and more as the franchise goes on – but sometimes I feel like the shapes are just a bit off. This one really nails the profile, but from the front it isn’t quite great.

Otherwise the head is nauseatingly wonderful. We’re all so used to Freddy’s burned appearance by now that we just take it as what he looks like. But this figure does a good job of reminding me that he’s covered in twisted, melted flesh. The sculpted detail of the burned skin is incredible and the glossy paint on top just adds to the realism. It almost hurts me to look at it.


The other details of the face capture Freddy’s haunting visage, even if it isn’t overwhelmingly Englund’s. The eyes are set deep into their sockets, with sculpted ridges to suggest his skull. The dark, sunken flesh around the eyeballs is gruesome. Freddy’s rictus grin is well done, with each nasty tooth sculpted and painted.


In order to look impressive in the box, the figure is packaged with the “Chest of Souls” option attached. This is where having the larger scale really matters. Each of the faces has character and a specific expression and the paint is next-level stuff. On the smaller figure this feature was troubling, but here, at ¼ scale, it’s downright disturbing. My only complaint is that the colors don’t seem to match the head quite right, but it’s subtle and not something that’s going to bother me on the shelf.


The knit and wear on Freddy’s sweater is also more noticeable here. There’s so much fine detail in the knit and the holes and dangling portions work very well. With a fantastic clean (filthy) paint job on top, the trademark red and green sweater looks the best it ever has in toy form.


Freddy’s gloved hand is – like the sweater – the best I’ve ever seen it. The leather portion of the glove nails the texture and color. The metal plates vary in color – as they should – and the blades are just the right length and shade of silver. I’m not sure how I feel about the material NECA used. It’s a very soft plastic and the blade on my figure’s index finger was bent badly by the way it was packaged. However, it straightened itself out as I was taking pictures, so I can’t be too upset. I suppose flexible blades that retain their shape (somehow) are better than rigid ones that might break off.


The left hand matches the twisted, melted sculpt of the rest of Freddy’s flesh. The blackened fingernails are a nice touch.


Freddy’s trousers are pretty much par for the course for NECA’s releases. They’re as good as such things could possibly look. The crotch piece is less diaper-like than when NECA first started using this sort of thing. It basically looks good now. The knees are weird and aren’t my favorite, but at the same time I don’t have a better idea.


No, the only real problem with the legs is that the wires used to hold the figure in place inside the box cut into the plastic and left indentations and rubbed paint off. Not acceptable. And yet some portions of the figure were protected with insulating plastic between it and the twist ties. Baffling.


The boots are dirty and worn and look great. I love the extra sculpted detail on the toes that depicts the dents and wear of age.


ACCESSORIES

Freddy comes with his hat, an undamaged sweater piece, and an extra head.


NECA nailed the hat. The shape, aging, and fit are spot-on.

The head has light piping to simulate the cross burning through Freddy’s head at the end. I wish the translucent insert was tinted yellow. I think it would look a lot better. I actually prefer this head to the default head. Fortunately, the hat fits on this head just fine and covers up the cross, so you can just use this one on the shelf as a yelling Freddy:


If you look closely, you can see that there are even burning holes on this version to accompany the cross, but they’re subtle enough that you can still get away with using this as your default. Nice touch, though.


The heads swap out easily once you realize the mounting peg just has a ridge on it and not a ball, so you can simply twist the heads off.

The sweater pieces are the failing that this figure shares with its smaller counterpart. They look great, but don’t fit on particularly well. Both the Chest of Souls and the regular piece leave noticeable gaps around the torso of the figure:


I suspect some work with a heat gun could fix this, but as I’ve said many, many times – I should not have to make adjustments to a toy for it to work properly. Especially not one that costs a hundred bucks.

If the pieces fit properly, they’d look fantastic.

I can’t help but be disappointed that this figure didn’t at least include the syringe hands that the smaller one did, but in NECA’s defense this isn’t “Ultimate Quarter Scale Freddy”. It’s not competing with the “Ultimate” figures, just the other quarter scale ones.


FUN

NECA has come a long way since I reviewed their quarter scale Batman. Freddy feels much sturdier and I wasn’t nearly as concerned about breaking his joints. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t careful, but everything just moves more smoothly. I didn’t have to force any of them.

From my review of the smaller version:

Freddy has ball joints at the head, shoulders, waist, and hips. The knees and elbows are hinged with swivels at the top. The hands are on barbells and have a very tiny degree of motion, but mostly just swivel. Same goes for the feet except that they’re restricted by the trouser legs. Which is fine.

The elbows don’t have a ton of bending range. They can’t even make it to ninety degrees. The knees bend a little deeper, but without ankle joints there isn’t much point.

The head isn’t actually so much a ball joint as a peg on a stick. It swivels just fine, obviously, but doesn’t have a whole lot of range otherwise.

But you do still have a whole heck of a lot more posing options than most other Freddy Krueger action figures, and plenty of interactive accessories. The removable hat is awesome enough, but once you add in the hands and head and chest options you’ve got a veritable plethora of options for playing with ol’ Fred.

Mostly all of that, but with a few differences – this one has a ball joint at the base of the neck, so there’s a lot more poseability there. The hands also have a bit more range, just by virtue of larger ball sockets that are a bit more forgiving before they pop off. The elbows also seem to bend slightly more deeply.


For such a large figure, Freddy has tons of useful articulation and is balanced very well. The accessories that were included add to the figure’s play value, so ultimately this is much more than just a big thing to stand on your shelf.


OVERALL

In the end, I was much more satisfied with the 7” Ultimate Freddy. I like this one. A Lot. But it doesn’t have the voice chip gimmick of McFarlane’s version or the accessories of the small one. It’s cool, but the size is nothing more than a novelty.

Unless quarter scale figures offer something new (like the electronic Predators or Iron Mans) or are characters unavailable in other scales (like the movie Turtles), I don’t think I’ll be getting any more of these.

Having said that, the quality is better than good and if you’re into big stuff, you might dig this Freddy a lot more than I do. I’m going to leave him on a shelf for a while, but he might end up on the “sell” pile.

3 out of 5

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