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Sarah Connor

Terminator 2
by yo go re

You know, eventually we're going to get to the point where the only old McFarlane figure NECA still needs to re-do is an actual Spawn.

Three billion human lives ended on August 29, 1997. The few who survived the nuclear fire of "Judgment Day" lived only to face a new nightmare: The war against the machines.

In their effort to eliminate all remaining humans, Skynet sent two Terminators back through time. Their mission: to destroy John Connor, the future leader of the human resistance. The first was programmed to strike at his mother Sarah Connor in the year 1984, before John was born. It failed. The second was to eliminate John when he was just a child. As before, the Resistance was able to send a lone warrior to protect the boy. The only question was which one would reach him first...

McToys made a Sarah Connor in Movie Maniacs Series 5, and while it was pretty good by their standards, those are their standards - so, you know, a focus on the sculpt to the detriment of everything else. A few useless joints mean nothing! Anyway, here we are 14 years later; enter NECA and their "Ultimate" line.

Much as with Bob Johnson, NECA has never made a non-Ultimate Sarah Connor. They milked the hell out of the T-800 and the T-1000 (and our T2 collections are better off for it), but Sarah wasn't part of it. Who knows, maybe they didn't have Linda Hamilton's likeness at the time. They certainly do now! In fact, rather than following Todd's lead by releasing variants, NECA just gave us her three main looks all at once. Viva la interchangeable heads!

In the package, her head has a ponytail, her black cap, and her sunglasses; the first alternate keeps the hair pulled back, but loses the hat and the shades; the other has her hair hanging loosely over her shoulders. Those are the same three options McFarlane Toys gave us (with the difference that her glasses were removable), but in order to get them all, you would have had to buy the figure three times.

That said, removable glasses would have been nice here. The picture on the front of the packaging shows that she wears the glasses with no hat, and the fact that she most famously wears the hat while attacking Miles Dyson's house at night should tell you that she wears the hat with no glasses. Between these two cranial accessories she has four different combos (h/g, nh/g, h/ng, nh/ng), but the toy can only do two. Removable glasses would have eased this deficiency, though they may have ended up too bulky on her face.

The figure was sculpted by Adrienne Smith, and it's looking great. All three heads have the same spot-on likeness, though the way the hair frames each of them makes them feel like they're displaying different expressions. Since a "Pescadero State Hospital" Sarah wearing her jammies wouldn't be the most exciting figure in the world, she's all decked out in her tactical gear: combat boots, black pants, green-grey tank top and a black load bearing vest. Let's compare this figure to the Movie Maniac, with the actual movie costume as the barometer.

The sculpt isn't as "busy" on NECA's version: the wrinkles in the pants are less exaggerated, and the weave of the shirt only runs vertically, as it should, not criss-crossed. There's a texture on the pants - it's smaller than it should be, but so shallow you can only see it under strong, direct light, which is better than the striations on McFarlane's. In fact, it's like McToys got the textures of the shirt and pants swapped. The pockets on NECA's thighs should be a little more around to the front of the legs than on the outsides, and she's missing the seams or gussets or whatever those are above and below her knees. One point in McToys' favor, though? This version doesn't have the bandage on her shoulder.

But NECA kicks all the butt when it comes to articulation! Sarah has a balljointed head and waist, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, balljointed wrists, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge knees and balljointed ankles. McToys boasted about 12 points of articulation, but only about five of them really did anything - this Sarah can actually move her limbs around in verious interesting ways, not just stand stock still or turn to the side slightly.

And so that her poseability doesn't go to waste, she comes with a bunch of weaponry. Like the McFarlane toy, she has a customized Detonics 1911 ServiceMaster .45 pistol, a Colt Commando carbine rifle, and a knife. The rifle doesn't have a removable silencer, but the wrist strap on the knife is soft PVC so she can actually hold it this time. The tac vest is a separate piece, but it's not removable. Trumping the MM5 toy, she also includes the Remington 870 Police Combat shotgun she took from the SWAT van - the stock actually unfolds from the top! Fun! Now, her elbows aren't quite flexible enough to allow her to tuck the guns against her body realistically, but you can get close. Why no holster for the pistol, like McFarlane had? Because NECA gave her the belt she wore in the movie, not one they made up.

We're not without complaints when it comes to Ultimate Sarah Connor, but none of them are major faults - she blows McFarlane Toys' version away. In fact, speaking of which, this figure makes me retroactively wish I'd gotten the long-haired variant from Movie Maniacs - I'd use NECA's as the real Sarah Connor, and McFarlane's as the hasty imitation.

(Though an exclusive "T-1000 Sarah," with a big metal blast in her chest and feet that look like floor grating, would be an awesome way to reuse [most of] these molds, NECA!)

-- 05/23/16

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