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Bat Gremlin

by yo go re

For some reason, Toys Я Us' buyers (the people who actually deal with the toy companies and decide what the store will or won't carry) think that Mogwais are better investments than Gremlins. So NECA ends up making waves of fuzzballs that never appeared in the movie (which, of course, my TRU never carried anyway), and doesn't get to make the titular monsters who were actually on-screen! We can't get the She-Gremlin who famously makes out with Robert Picardo, but we can get Rick Baker concepts no one's ever seen? Thanks, Obama.

click to embiggen

But that doesn't mean NECA gives up. They keep fighting to get us the Gremlins we want. A few years ago it was the Spider Gremlin, and this year it's the Bat Gremlin.

The Bat Gremlin's packaging is a little flashier than the Spider's, mainly by virture of us being able to see the figure inside this time. Since they weren't able to include the church spire he perches upon, NECA threw us a bone by designing the box to look like said roof. The only thing that would have been better would be a fold-up version of it printed on the backdrop.

There's no assembly required here - the Bat Gremlin is complete right out of the package. His body is noticably smaller than the other adult Gremmies, but that's not necessarily wrong: in the scene where he sprouts wings and flies away, he's standing next to Brain, and they appear to be the same height; however, Brain has his, uh, "ethnic group's" typical squatting stance, while the transformed Bat Gremlin is standing with its legs straight; they're the same size due to posture, not morphology, and we'd be willing to bet that was the exact scene NECA was looking at when designing this toy.

Besides, look at him: he's got a new pair of wings and a new pair of arms even larger than the standard Gremlin limbs! He didn't eat anything after drinking the bat serum, so all that mass had to come from somewhere. Imagine his normal body shrinking as his wings sprout and grow; and after all, the lighter he is, the easier it will be to fly. For NECA's part, however, that means every scaly little inch of this beast had to be a new sculpt - no reused pieces! There's a ridge down the center of his torso, and his (non-winged) appendages look almost atrophied: his scrawny little arms are held in front of his chest, and his feet actually have the toes close together instead of splayed wide. He has all the usual Gremlin anatomy, just redesigned for a bat. Plus, you know, wings.

His head gets reformatted, too. His eyes are squinty, his ears curl down more, and he appears to have only one giant nostril. His mouth opens, revealing his tiny teeth and all the expected anatomical details - ridges on the roof, bumps and wrinkles on his tongue, a uvula - as well as flaps of skin in the corners of his mouth.

The new body comes with new articulation. Bat Gremlin has balljointed ankles, swivel/hinge knees, balljointed hips, balljointed wrists, swivel/hinge elbows, balljointed shoulders (on both the plain and winged arms, though there's a spot on the sculpt of the left wing-shoulder that really looks like it was intended to be a slot for a hinge), balljointed neck, swivel head, opening jaw, and hinged ears. You read that right, hinged ears! You can fold them down over his eyes! The winged arms are also bendable, which we can only tell because of the flexible wire holes that run down the insides.

The wings span 18", which is wider than the box - in order to fit inside, the tips are folded back in the tray, so it will take a little while for them to resume their normal shape after you take him out. His overall colorscheme is brown, rather than green, making the membranes of his wings very dark indeed. There are the usual speckles of color - white or gray spots surrounded by irregular black areas - all over, and an even darker brown, nearly black, along the arms and extended fingers. His belly and the insides of his arms and legs are almost yellow, though the yellow on his back just reaches a dead end when it gets to his head - no fading between colors. His eyes are red with yellow irises and black slit pupils, while his ears and mouth are a vibrant (if pale) pink.

Sadly, we do not get a vial of bat serum, despite it being the same mold as the brain serum and the spider serum - after all, he'd already finished it and disposed of the bottle by the time he sprouted his wings. Hoever, he does have something else, something new: a translucent flight stand! It has a 3⅝" x 2⅞" platform, a curved support arm, and a C-clip to fit around the Gremlin's waist (or a larger figure's thigh). You do want to be careful, because the plastic of the C can snap, and then it won't be of any use for holding up figures. So work it on and off the figure gently.

The Bat Gremlin is one of the most memorable mutations in the movie, and shows that NECA is still doing its best to get these crazy beasts into our hands. And if they want to get some more use out of these expensive molds, maybe they'll do a version cast entirely in grey, to represent him when he got dunked in concrete and hardened into a gargoyle.

-- 06/25/16

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