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Power Arm Terminator

Terminator 2
by yo go re

If nothing else, he can always drum for Def Leppard.

Power Arm Terminator has many interchangeable weapon arms for battling his enemies! His spike arm can inflict heavy damage! His grabbing arm holds his foe in a crushing grip! Finally, he comes complete with a Phased Plasma Rifle to deliver the final blow!

NECA, never ones to pass an opportunity to sell fans something fun and get more mileage out of the expensive molds the company has already paid for, has added Terminator 2 to their lineup of Kenner-inspired figures, joining (so far) the ranks of Predators and Aliens. The '90s may not have been big on screen-accuracy, but they sure knew how to throw together some weird, memorable designs.

Of course, as a kid, it was the more tame things that appealed to me. I wanted to have the plainest Predator, the plainest Alien, the plainest Terminator, etc. No matter the line, I went for the "default" version of the character. Which is how I ended up with...


...the Techno-Punch endoskeleton! Yeah. Though the back of that figure's card definitely also promoted Power Arm Terminator's bare-armed, pink-shirted antecedent.

This figure is made entirely from existing molds. The shirt may be neon pink, but it's the same mold NECA's been presenting to us since the beginning, with the chest twisting slightly to the right, causing big directional wrinkles where it's tucked into the pants. The legs are the articulation-added ones that showed up on the "Ultimate" T-800 release, and although the last time there was a Terminator with anything resembling bare arms, it didn't even have elbows, NECA has since had the opportunity to sculpt some Arnie arms that have all the required joints. And also a watch, because Terminators have places to be and they like to be punctual. The vintage figure had the left arm fairly torn up, revealing the endoskeleton beneath, but that would have taken new tooling.

The head, too, is an existing piece. Just like the old arm was ripped up, so too was the face - half the flesh was gone, revealing just a silver skull. There's no NECA figure with that kind of damage, so they picked the one closest: the extra-damaged head that came with the "Final Battle" T-800, featuring as much visible endo as possible.

The accessories are what makes this figure. Or would, if... well, we'll get to that. Power Arm Terminator's 1991 gimmick was that his left arm was removable, and could be replaced with one of two big metallic options; 28 years later, there's just one arm with swappable hands. The arm is designed with huge pistons that absolutely look like something Cyberdyne would build, and just generally has a martial, weapon-ish look. The optional plug-ins are a pointy spear tip and a pinchy claw. The claw has three joints - one at the base, and another in each finger - and both it and the spear swivel where they plug into the arm. There's a bit of a bicep swivel, and then what's supposed to be a shoulder balljoint.

Poor plastic quality and bad quality control mean that many, many, many of NECA's Power Arm Terminators are having their shoulder joint snap the first time to try to move them. It may not be as bad as that infamous BtAS Catwoman, but it's close. Try to move the metal arm at all, and off it comes in your hand. That's not good. And even worse, trying to get in touch with their customer service has gotten nowhere. If you look closely at the main picture at the top of this review, you may notice that the arm has been lashed to the body with a twist-tie.

Termie does include the Phased Plasma Rifle mentioned on the card, but not the grenade launcher that shows up in a lot of the other promo shots. That's okay, the old toy had neither - its spear-arm was a launching thing, not a static piece.

This figure is a fun design, suggesting that a desperate T-800 cobbled together an emergency weapon when he lost his regular arm, and the sculpt of it is great. But the fact that the manufacturing is so shoddy (and that it's not like you could easily get a replacement) means that we have to recommend you just leave this one on the shelf. It's a NECA toy that's a firm "don't buy."

-- 05/09/19

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