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T-800 (Final Battle)

Terminator 2
by yo go re

Series 1 of NECA's Terminator 2 line featured three T-800s: an Endoskeleton, Pescadero Escape, and Man or Machine. Series 2 followed suit, with another Endo, Cyberdyne Showdown and the subject of today's review, T-800 (Final Battle).

- After escaping Cyberdyne, the T-800, Sarah and John Connor are pursued by the T-1000 into a steel mill. The Terminators engage in violent hand to hand combat causing the T-800 to sustain critical damage.
- Now missing his left arm and operating on limited power and capacity the T-800 staggers to Sarah and John's rescue and fires his last grenade into the T-1000 causing it to explode and fall into a vat of molten steel.

This figure (almost) duplicates McFarlane's Movie Maniacs 4 T-800, putting another notch in the "NECA redoes Todd, but does it better" belt. Now, clearly part of that is that it's been a full decade since the McFarlane Toys version, and toymaking has naturally advanced in that time, but that's far from the only reason this version trumps that one.

For one thing, this figure actually has a likeness. You'll recall that Arnie's burgeoning political ambitions hamstrung McToys' effort, leaving their toy with a face that was 90% Endo, 10% legally unidentifiable skin. On this figure, the sculpt is about more than looking like Schwarzenegger: it also has to show all the damage his face has taken while fighting, both the large scrapes around the eye and the smaller holes that pepper the cheeks and neck.

"Battle damage" is really the order of the day with this figure. The other three T-800s have been (mostly) unblemished, while this one is beat all to hell. It was NECA's first chance to show off a messed-up Traminator, and they really went for it. His left knee is torn open, revealing raw flesh and a giant metal hinge. Holes in his right glove reveal silver where the knuckles and fingertips have been uncovered. There's a massive hole in his chest, so you can see the steel plate beneath it, and his right arm below the albow is just a tangle of pipes and wires. Like all NECA's T2 figures, this is based on a specific scene - it's just that this is a scene that's slightly later than the one McFarlane chose to depict. When the T-1000 trapped his arm in a giant cog, "Uncle Bob" had to rip it off to free himself.

In addition, the figure includes an alternate head with even more damage than the first one. All the old wounds are there, but now half his face is gone, so what you see is the shiny metal skull beneath. This is what McFarlane's T-800 was supposed to look like, before they had to butcher it, and accurately portrays what it looks like in the film after being bashed with a girder.

His only other accessory is the M79 grenade launcher he'd been carrying around since the desert. It gets a unique sculpt, with a broken stock - it snapped when the T-1000 knocked it across the room. Showing a good attention to detail, the bandolier that, on other figures, was full of grenades is empty on this figure. After all, he only had one shot left by this point, so of course there's no ammo in there!

As much as we've complained about the articulation on these figures, it seems important to remember that it's much better than Todd gave us. The T-800 has a balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, a swivel/hinge right elbow, balljointed right wrist, swivel waist, swivel thighs, a swivel in the left shin, and a little bit of wiggle room in the ankles. His ruined arm also swivels where it comes out of the shredded sleeve, but you may not count that. The paint apps are mostly good - I picked this one based on how the two heads looked, and in return got sloppy skintone around the holes on the left arm. It's a tradeoff. There's also some grey spillage on his hair near the scalp wound, but you can only see it under the camera flash.

There's one thing missing that would have really made this figure awesome: an extra arm. Let us pop the destroyed arm out at the shoulder and replace it with a normal arm, so we could use this figure to cover the entire steel mill fight, from the tuck-and-roll through the front door to the dip in molten metal at the end. We've already got two heads covering both looks, so why not give us two arms, as well? Well, the real-world answer is that T2 Series 3 included "T-800 (Steel Mill)" as a separate figure, so NECA effectively doubled their profit by simply not including the arm here. That means more use out of the expensive mold, more chance of the figures recouping their costs, and more money in NECA's pockets to fund the next round of awesome figures. With that arm, T-800 (Final Battle) would have been a great figure; without it, he's merely good, merely a version of the Terminator that's straight from the film and that we've never had before.

-- 12/01/11

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