Say what you will about Gremlins 2 - there's absolutely no denying that it's fun!
The movie accepted the inherent goofiness of evil little monsters, and decided to run with it rather than
forcing it to be serious. Things really got going when the Gremlins invaded the Splice of Life lab - while some were drinking brain serum or electrifying potion, others were keeping things simple. For instance, a random little Gremlin (with the strangest eyes you've ever seen) picked up a beaker of acid and, ignoring the warning label clearly printed on the side, threw it in another Gremlin's face. The one who got splashed immediately pulled a mask out of nowhere and started playing the Phantom of the Opera.
Below the neck, this is (mostly) the same body
as the Flasher Gremlin - right down to the pattern of the spots on his skin. If the Gremlins had removable heads, you wouldn't have to pry the coat off Flasher to have a plain vanilla Gremmy.
It is a very nice sculpt, to be honest. The chest is mostly smooth, and there are large plates on his legs, but the most detail can be found on the back. There are tons of small, sharp scales back there, and they give the toy a really cool texture. But you know, now that I'm looking at the back? It would be cool if NECA did a "wet" Gremlin, with a group of gross little pustules on his back, with even tinier Gremlins inside waiting to burst out. How awesome would that be!
Everything about Phantom's head is new. Yes, of course
he has his delightful Two-Face scars on his left cheek, but it's more than that. His neck is longer than Flasher's, his ears are a different shape from any of the others (bent down and far more wrinkled) and he has real rooted hair, though htat didn't show up until later in the film, when the Phantom of the Opera parallels became stronger. In the film the tip of his nose poked up more than it does on the toy, to better homage Lon Chaney's iconic 1925 make-up.
The Phantom Gremlin comes with the acid beaker, even though he never had it in the movie. That's okay, because as strange and distinctive as the Acid-Throwing Gremlin was, he's still not likely to ever get a toy. The figure's right hand is molded to clutch the beaker gently.
We also get the Phantom's mask. The jawline isn't quite accurate, but that's the only bad thing we can say about it. The mask is shaped perfectly to fit over the spikes on his face, so he can wear it with pride. It even has a detatchable rod that plugs into the side so he can hold the mask in his hand. Remember how we said this was "mostly" the same body as the Flasher Gremlin? The left hand has been slightly retooled to accommodate the stick - there's a gap in the bend of the fingers designed specifically to hold it. Sadly, while he has the standard Gremlin articulation, it's not enough to allow him to use the stick to hold the mask up to his face.
The Phantom Gremlin is sort of a hybrid design: when he first had the acid thrown in his face, he didn't have any hair;
and when he had hair, he was also wearing a tiny black tuxedo - again, in reference to Lon Chaney. Now, a full tux would have looked really out of place with the rest of the line, but we do kind of wish they could have done a black softgoods cape for him. It would have looked nice with the mask and hair, but still allowed them to reuse the existing body. This is still a nice toy - that would have just added a little extra coolness to the final product.