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by yo go re

NECA seems to be having some trouble with the Gremlin half of their Gremlins line - the mogwais are doing okay, but Toys Я Us is apparently slow to support the big evil monsters. Of course, my local TRU has always been pretty awful when it comes to Gremlins; it's hard to claim you've got slow sales when you don't stock enough product, and the little you do sells through fast. Sorry for the off-topic opening, but man, these toys are good, and we want as many of them as possible.

Lenny is, of course, the big dumb goof who palled around with George - together, they homage Of Mice and Men, but you probably already knew that, thanks to the countless references to "George and Lenny" in movies and tv. "Which way did he go George, which way did he go?" That characterization, by the way, is fashioned after Lon Chaney's portrayal of Lenny in the 1939 film - well, Lon Chaney Jr. Meanwhile, Lon Chaney Sr. was in The Phantom of the Opera, another movie referenced in Gremlins 2! Keeping it in the family!

While most of the Gremlins share molds to one extent or another, Lenny's body is almost entirely new sculpting. The reused parts are limited to the hands and legs/feet. If NECA can do a one-off like this, it gives us more hope for our much-wanted Veggie Gremlin in the future!

The most obvious new piece is the torso - where other Gremlins had potbellies or minor muscles, Lenny is totally ripped! It's also longer than all the other torsos, making him appropriately taller than the rest. His upper arms don't have any spikes poking out near the shoulders, and the ridges on the underside of the forearms are smaller than usual. So in general, the arms are smoother and less threatening - and then you turn him around and he's got spikes on his back that would even make Mohawk jealous! You could grate cheese on his spine and tail.

Of course, his head is entirely new. His ears droop downward, just like they did when he was a mogwai, he has big round eyes (with no spikes on his eyebrows) and prominent buck teeth. He retains a very childlike appearance, helped in part by those teeth: while the other Gremlins get fangs, his chompers remain square.

The paint's quite nice. Lenny is more brown than most of the other "named" Gremlins - only Brain is more toasty. The main app is a muted, gray-ish tan, and he's covered with black speckles. There are two distinct white stripes that run all the way down his back, and are outlined in black - features carried over from his mogwai form. His eyes are yellow with green irises, and his deep, Steve Buscemi-like eyelids are a very dark brown, nearly black. The inside of his mouth is a burnt umber or bister. His finger- and toenails are half light, half dark; was that really what they looked like in the film, or was this supposed to be a paint blend?

Lenny doesn't have any accessories, but he is wearing a polka dot necktie. That's, uh... huh. It's not exactly a memorable piece for him - he only wore it for about 30 seconds when he and George were watching The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, and George was wearing one at the same time - but what else could they have given him? The apron and chef's hat are probably more memorable, but cost-prohibitive. And if they hadn't given him anything, we'd probably be complaining about that, instead. Fortunately, his head is mounted on a balljoint, so if you don't like the tie you can pop the head off and remove it.

Toys Я Us really needs to step up and give more support to NECA's Gremlins line, because these toys are terrific - and though he may not seem it, Lenny is among the best of them. In a toyline built around reusing as many molds as possible, he's almost entirely a unique sculpt. He's a core part of the Gremlins 2 "cast," so to speak, so you know you've gotta have him!

-- 04/06/13

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