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Ultimate Ash

Ash vs Evil Dead
by yo go re

This toy was a total surprise - though in a different way than ususal.

"Ash vs Evil Dead" follows Ash, the stock boy, aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. When a Deadite Plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons - personal and literal. Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its "Evil" grip.

Ash vs Evil Dead is a Starz original series set in the continuity of the original three Evil Dead films. It's funny and gory and everything you'd want it to be. When NECA announced they'd be making toys based on it, we couldn't wait! And then they announced they'd be releasing this "Ultimate Ash" version, "to satisfy demand for classic look Ash from the show many missed out on." Wait, what? I was still prowling TRU weekly waiting for the figures to show up, but the announcement of this figure was the first indication that the original ones had been released at all. Surprise!

There were two versions of Ash in the initial line - one wearing his Value Stop uniform, and the other in a more traditional costume. Since this is the Ultimate release, he neturally goes with the version more fans would want, the version that looks the most "Ash-y": brown pants, blue shirt. Of course, Ash has let himself go since his college days, so the body is much thicker and chunkier than any previous Ashes, and much less prone to getting exposed via stylish rips in the clothing (the first episode of the show, in fact, reveals that he wears a girdle to keep everything in place). He's got a series of straps over his shirt, but those are to hold his shotgun holster in place, not his gut.

Each of the two standard Ash figures came with an extra head with an alternate expression - since this is the Ultimate Ash, he comes with all four heads! The normal one, aka the one he's wearing in the package, is a plain, squinty look, and really shows that Ash Williams has not aged as gracefully as Bruce Campbell has. In fact, he kind of looks like a cross between Ronald Reagan and Mitt Romney. Except no one in their right mind would vote for someone who slathers on this much self-tanner, right?

The second head features an angry look, gritted teeth, and a cut on the right cheek. The third still features the cut, but looks slightly calmer (and, oddly, a bit like Stephen Colbert). And the fourth sees his mouth open in a yell. They all have orange skin, dyed black hair, and a touch of gray at the temples. The likeness(es) really capture the aged Ash from the show, so either Bruce Campbell's face has gotten easier to sculpt as he's gotten older, or NECA's artists (Kyle Windrix and Jason Frailey, according to the package) have continued to refine their skills.

Speaking of improvements, Ash's articulation is tops! Remember the last Evil Dead toys, where even having swivels in the legs at all was more than we expected? Well forget that, friendo, because this Ash blows right by the old one! Balljointed ankles, swivel/hinge knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, balljointed waist, balljointed left wrist, swivel right wrist, double-swivel/hinged elbows, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed head. Outstanding! There's even another balljoint for the torso, but being under the PVC shirt limits it a lot. Not that that matters, since the rest is all so good.

And hey, accessories! Of course he's got accessories! For instance, his chainsaw! Can't have an Ash without a chainsaw! And a shotgun for the holster on his back - it's a sawed-off model, this time, and his left hand is posed to hold it. Since a chainsaw isn't appropriate for the workplace (or for, y'know, railing random skanks in the bar bathroom), the set also includes his normal wooden hand. That's not just slang for a prosthetic, by the way, it really is wooden: he claims it's carved from rosewood by Italian artisans. In reality, he probably stole it from a mannequin.

We also get his new mechanical hand, and since it fits over his sleeve, we also get an "arm stump" to replace his usual arm. Want to remove the hand and plug in the chainsaw? Well, you can't do that, thanks to the sculpted wires that stretch from the back of the hand down past the wrist - so NECA included a second cuff without those, so you can plug the saw into that. And then, for some reason, a photo of his car. "The Classic." Swapping the elbows is a little tough, since the joint wants to move when you push on it, but the connection is secure.

Whoever stocks my local TRU is famously bad at their job, so I really shouldn't be surprised that the Ash vs Evil Dead figures never showed up. But thanks to NECA releasing this Ultimate Ash, I got an even better version than I would have otherwise.

-- 11/11/17

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