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T-1000 (Steel Mill)

Terminator 2
by yo go re

Having apparently exhausted all the various permutations of Terminator 2's T-1000, NECA has now moved on to... a slightly different set of permutations.

- A more advanced Terminator, composed of mimetic pollyalloy, [sic] a liquid metal that allows it to take the shape and appearance of anyone or anything it touches.
- Pursuing our heroes from Cyberdyne Systems they battle one last time in a steel mill. The T-1000 tortures Sarah, urging her to call out for her son when the T-800 reappears to save Sarah, John, and the rest of mankind.

The liquid metal T-1000 took a lot of different disguises during the course of the film [actually three: John's foster mother Janelle, the hospital security guard, and Sarah Connor; that's it. Oh, and a checkerboard floor. --ed.] but his default mode was of course the skinny little police man. But though it may have been a "default," it wasn't just one continuous look with no changes - he didn't always go back to the same set of clothes. NECA did a bang-up job on the first design, so now they're starting on the second.

Above the waist, this figure is the same as the other T-1000s. Since we've already discussed that sculpt at length before, we won't repeat it here. We will say, however, that the likeness isn't as good. How is that possible, when it's the same mold? Apparently it's just a matter of the paint apps. The previous figures had an eerily accurate face, and this one just doesn't.

The differences come in below the waist. Up until now, all the figures we've gotten have been wearing patrol officer pants, and had a little dollop of metal under his heel. Since this figure is taken from a scene after he impersonated the motorcycle cop, he's wearing knee-high boots and has white stripes sculpted down the outside of his legs. To further set him apart from the old figures, the position of the legs has been swapped: it's now the right leg that's stepping forward, not the left. Rather than having the ankles be balljoints, so on the other figures, there are swivel/hinge joints in the top of the boots.

The legs are shared with the "T-1000 (Motorcycle Cop)" figure, of course, but the boots aren't: this one gets unique feet! And the particularly amazing thing about that is that they're not even based on anything seen in the theatrical version of film, but rather in a scene restored for the director's cut. After being frozen and shattered, the T-1000 was having trouble controlling its mimetic abilities, absorbing the properties of anything it touched; the boots on this figure are sculpted with a diamond plate texture, and painted silver. It's a feature that absolutely would not have been missed by anyone if they'd failed to include it, so the fact that it's here is just gravy.

Like all the other NECA T-1000 figures, this one includes what Monkey Boy refered to as "Mr. Potato Head parts" - you know, interchangeable bodyparts to mimic his shapeshifting abilities. First of all, since this is the "Steel Mill" figure, he has two hands with finger spikes: the left hand's spike is long, so it can drive through Sarah's shoulder, while the right spike is shorter, to threaten her eye. Unfortunately, both fingers have been warped terribly by their time in the tray. Remember what it used to be like trying to buy a Wolverine from ToyBiz? With the bent claws? It's like that, but worse. Not so bad that you can't fix them with a bit of hot water, but straight out of the package they're a mess.

We also get a second head specific to the steel mill fight. When the T-1000 reached Sarah Connor, she shot him in the face with her Remington 870 Police Combat shotgun. When he turned back to face her, a giant hole went all the way through his head. The sculpt on this head looks exactly like the Stan Winston-designed prop, right down to the direction the eye is looking. Superb!

Many fans have (rightly) grown tired of seeing the same basic figure released over and over with just a few different accessories, and so may feel safe in passing on another "plain" T-1000. But he does have a new set of legs, a unique pair of boots and two spike-hands we haven't seen before, and that's more of a difference than some of the other figures have been able to claim.

-- 12/09/11

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