Friday, July 6, 2012

NECA's Night Fighter Robocop

Though I never saw Robocop as a kid (thanks, over protective Dad!), I was still into Kenner's tie-in line and the spin off Ultra Police that were added later. Though I only ever owned ED-209 due to said Dad's fear the caps packaged with the figures would turn me into a pint-sized pyro, there was always one basic figure in the old Kenner catalogs I drooled over; Night Fighter Robocop. This nineties-tastic figure was cast in glow in the dark plastic with metallic blue highlights and a swap out chain gun arm. Obviously, the stuff little boys' violent dreams are made of. Fast forward to 2012 and toy giant NECA owning the Robocop license. So far, there have been standard, battle damaged and spring-loaded hip holster variations utilizing the same basic figure buck with new paint and or gimmick. Fresh out the gate however, is a Toys R Us exclusive that may make a few old Kenner fan boys swoon. Say hello to Night Fighter Robocop, 2012.

I have to talk about the packaging here because it is a great homage to the classic card style and features a very nice version of NECA's logo designed to resemble that of Kenner. The character portrait is drawn well enough, but still a little rough so that it fits the style of old school packaging art of the time.

The insert in the front of the clam shell features the yellow and red grid pattern present on the classic line's packaging as well as the character's name, role and special abilities. Unbeknownst to me, glowing like a light bulb is the number one method of fighting crime after dark. The best thing about the packaging however, is a line mentioning that no caps are included, another reference to the old Robocop line where everyone came with a roll of caps.

Out of the package, he looks pretty good. NECA's sculptors seem to have to captured every teeny tiny detail in the suit; Murphy here is covered in panels, rivets, joints and wires that faithfully recreate the movie prop. What blew my mind is that across the band of his helmet and front of his left thigh, etched in tiny letters is the legend "OCP POLICE - 001" This detailing is practically lost on the glow in the dark plastic, but as this basic mold is used for four different Murphy's, it undoubtedly shows up better on silver. Still an amazingly small detail most other companies wouldn't bother with.

As mentioned, the sculpt is nice and crisp, closely resembling the character's movie appearance. The head sculpt is simple but effective with a stoic, neutral expression that again nicely captures his cold, impersonal manner after being rebuilt. It almost looks like the top half of the helmet is removable, but sadly it is not. it would have been a cool feature to remove the upper half and reveal Murphy's scarred visage, but with costs of tooling and all...

Articulation is generous if a little stiff, but this is Robocop we're talking about. He features ball joints in his neck (at the shoulder instead of the base of the skull interestingly enough) chest and hips, pivot and swivel shoulders, swivel waist and forearms and lightly ratcheting elbows, knees and ankles. Some of these, like the elbows, are a little limited but he can hold and aim his gun and stalk mechanically forward, pretty much all you see him doing in the movie anyway.

In a cool little piece of engineering, NECA has made working ankle pistons that are hinged to be able to move with his legs. The glow in the dark plastic lets you get a good look at the little cylinders sliding up and down as you move his feet, a very nice touch.

Night Fighter Robocop comes with two accessories, the first being his heavily modified Beretta 93R pistol. Cast entirely in black, it fits in his gun hand a little loosely but should stay stable as long as you're not in earthquake country. Sadly, this figure doesn't use the spring loader holster version of the mold so he can't store his pistol, but he can be posed with it hovering over his hip like he's in the middle of drawing it. His left hand is molded in an open palm so he's only ever going to be a righty, which is fine since a big part of his character is how he uses the pistol, but I do wish it were in a slightly less neutral pose.

His other accessory is an alternate right hand with the data spike seen in the movie extended. The hands pop off smoothly and the spike itself is surprisingly hard and pointy, perfect for stabbing into the eyes of your other toys.

There is an area I have issue with on this figure and that is the paint. Night Fighter Robocop uses only a single color in the black seaming between the joints of his armor and on his visor, but as the picture above shows, it has a tendency to bunch up around the shoulder joints. After taking him out and rotating the shoulders a bit, I was disappointed to see large flakes of paint coming off. This doesn't ruin the look of the figure, but it would have been nice if it were a little more durable. Robocop also appears to have a very light black wash over the glow in the dark sections, but considering the uneven distribution and spottiness of it, I'm not entirely certain this isn't just slop paint dirtying the figure up. If you're going to grab this guy, take a good look at his mug first because that seems to be an area where the black spattering was most prevalent, I passed on a couple samples until I found one with a mostly clean face.

Paint issues aside, I can't really fault this figure, he's an awesome sculpt paying homage to an awesome classic figure and we all know I love glow in the dark toys. Poe Ghostal had a few words about Night Fighter Robocop, mainly lamenting the lack of metallic blue highlighting and gun arm, and while I see where he's coming from (and Poe, I totally agree both those things would knock this guy out of the park), I think NECA did pretty well for a quick exclusive that would tug at nostalgia collectors. Hell, I almost want a second one just to leave in package for display! Night Fighter Robocop will run you sixteen bucks and is of course only available at Toys R Us, but if the six or so on shelves when I was there is any indication, he's not such a hot item that you'll miss your chance if you don't grab him at first sight. And while you might not love him the first time you set eyes on him, I have a feeling he'll grow on more than a few of you just as he has on me.

"Your move, creep."
Added bonus glow pics!

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