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Gipsy Avenger

Pacific Rim: Uprising
by yo go re

Let's get right to it:

There, that was the #1 thing you wanted to know about this figure: how it (and, by extension, the entire Diamond Select line) will integrate with NECA's Pacific Rim toys. Now we can start in on the actual review.

Gipsy Avenger honors the heroic legacy of her namesake as the flagship leader of the Mark VI fleet. More than just a Jaeger, she is a symbol of hope to millions.

Honestly, Pacific Rim may be the unlikeliest film to get a sequel since Trainspotting. Yes, it was a good flick, and much more clever than it had any right to be, but it didn't set the world on fire - as we once said, you tend to forget it exists unless you're actively watching it. But it got a sequel, and the sequel got toys. That part is less surprising, considering the original movie's line was one of the most successful things NECA had going. This time DST has the North American license, and gave us the opportunity to review the figures.

This Gipsy is clearly a design evolution of the last Gipsy: she's a skinny blue bot with an orange turbine in the chest and yellow eyes. Of course, those are just the broad strokes. The eyes, for instance, are no longer just a visor, but now a Y-shaped panel set into the face. The head is broader and flatter, with no panel behind it this time.

Avenger is taller and thinner than Danger was, but that makes sense: not only is she three Marks better (Mark VI vs. Mark III), but that's the design path every real-world piece of technology takes, too. Okay, maybe not specifically "taller and thinner," but general refinement to be sleeker. Ford's been making Explorers since 1991, but the modern incarnation looks nothing at all like the original, y'know? So there's still a bulbous chest on top of a narrow, segmented abdomen, and legs that terminate in feet with smaller "toes" sticking off the sides, but it all looks even more futuristic than it did before. And, like, look at the flaps behind the shoulders: last time they were just curved panels, but this time they're separate devices made from multiple pieces with their own unique shapes. If Gipsy Danger was a WWII plane, Gipsy Avenger is a fighter jet.

The colorscheme is carried forward from Gipsy Danger. She's mainly a dark blue, with a little bit of red highlighting, though it's such a dark shade that it isn't immediately visible - not the way the bright orange of her two turbines is. The yellow eye slit is a bit pale and washed out, but the way the silver insigniae are all scraped up and faded is really nice.

Gipsy Avenger stands about 8½" tall, making her about an inch taller than NECA's toys. According to official specs, Avenger is 268 feet tall, eight feet taller than Danger; so yeah, this toy should be taller than the old one, but not a full inch. Still, given the choice between "too big" (DST's toys) and "too small" (Bandai's Tamashii Nations) when it comes to fighting robots, I'm going to err on the side of size.

The articulation, though, could stand to be tightened up a little - Gipsy doesn't want to stay standing for long, because her joints are a little floppy. She moves at the ankles, knees, hips, torso, wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders, and neck. That doesn't sound like an excessive amount, but the knees are doubles, there are extra balljoints in the shoulder pads (awesome!) and the hips are a style of joint I've never, never seen before. Seriously. It's like a swivel/hinge and a balljoint in one. A peg extends into the pelvis, creating the swivel joint; there's then a hinge in the hip, as you'd expect; but, rather than just attaching to the leg like a normal joint would, it terminates in a large ball that the leg then plugs onto? At that point, why bother with the swivel/hinge part of it at all? Maybe it's not actually a balljoint, and is another hinge joint, just shaped like a ball? Whatever the case, it's something DST made up, and its range of motion is great. And it holds well! It's just the lower half of the knees and the torso that conspire to keep tipping Gipsy over.

Diamond's plan for the Pacific Rim: Uprising figures was the same as their other lines: fancy deluxe sets at specialty stores (comicshops and the like) and stripped-down, budget-friendly versions at Toys Я Us. Obviously that's not an option now, so who knows what will become of the basic figures, but the fancy ones are a better value, anyway. Rather than trying to come up with a diorama base or something, they've opted to give the deluxe figures more accessories. What accessories, we hear you ask? Arms! So many arms!

And also a pair of hands. The normal hands are open, but you can swap them for a pair of fists. Just pop 'em out at the wrist. That's just on the normal arms, though: the extra ones have their hands permanently attached. Anyway, arms. We begin with two left arms, both featuring a weapon familiar from the first movie: the plasma caster and the chain sword. Then there's the right arm with the new gravity sling, which is basically just a giant version of Gordon Freeman's gravity gun (because if you're going to put GLaDOS in the first movie, you might as well put Half-Life in the sequel). ["Half-Life"? "Sequel"? Half-Life 3 confirmed! --ed.] Finally, there are the plasma chainsaws lifted from Obsidian Fury. All the extra arms simply plug in at the biceps, swapping easily and staying in place well.

Pacific Rim: Uprising wasn't quite as good as the original, but that's what happens when you lose Guillermo del Toro and Travis Beacham - it was much more "popcorn-y," which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it traded subtlety (as much "subtlety" as a movie about giant robots punching monsters can have) for bombast. Fun and inoffensive bombast, the kind that Michael Bay has never managed to master. The Select figures retail for $25, which is a step up from what NECA was charging three years ago, but that comes with an increase in size, an increase in articulation, and an increase in accessories. Even if the cheaper TRU exclusives had come out, we'd be recommending you go for the one with the extras. The loose knees are annoying, though - they mean Gipsy Avenger will likely be relegated to the rear of a display, where she can lean against something for support.

-- 05/06/18

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