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T-800 (Cyberdyne Showdown)

Terminator 2
by Monkey Boy

Okay, I've begun way too many reviews talking about how NECA has been steadily giving us better versions of licenses previously covered by McFarlane, as well as licenses McFarlane explicitly stated it was unable to produce, do I'm not going to get into that again... I will just say that everyone remembers how crappy McFarlane's attempt at a Terminator 2 T-800 figure was, what with its preposing and just enough battle damage to render Arnold Schwarzenegger's likeness unrecognizable.

NECA stepped up to (once again) correct McFarlane's mistake with its own T2 line, now in its second series of three figures. The first set included "Pescadero Escape" T-800, "Man or Machine" T-800, and a retool of NECA's previously released Cult Classics Endoskeleton. The second set features another Endoskeleton (this one with some painted on "battle damage" and a futuristic minigun), a "Final Battle" T-800 (a heavily damaged version that seems like a better version of what McFarlane was going for originally) and a "Cyberdyne Showdown" T-800, which serves as the basis of this review.

- The T-800 accompanied by Miles Dyson and Sarah and John Connor break into Cyberdyne Systems to destroy Dyson's research in addition to those parts left behind from the original Terminator.
- During this mission police and SWAT teams respond to Cyberdyne's security and the T-800 must fight them off while keeping his promise to John to refrain from killing. Armed with a Minigun and a Grenade Launcher the T-800 destroys most of the police vehicles, incapacitating their defenses allowing the heroes to escape.

Unlike McFarlane's T-800, NECA's get a very nicely sculpted Arnie likeness, and some actual useful articulation. But we've seen this Arnie likeness before...in fact we've seen most of this figure before. This is 2009, and you'd be hard pressed to find any toy company that doesn't take advantage of re-using parts, and NECA's T2 line utilizes the practice to an almost insane degree. You've got six figures total, two of which are 100% the same sculpt (which is itself a re-tool of an earlier figure), and the other four sharing about 90% of their parts. Such is life.

Cyberdyne Showdown here gets the same overall sculpt as Pescadero Escape, with the head sculpt originally seen on the Man or Machine figure. Not a bad mixture, but nothing we haven't seen before. The hands are the only brand new bit, featuring a gloved sculpt that works with the figure's main accessory. The head lacks the sunglasses, and while it's a great sculpt, there's something not quite right about the eyes. It's still unmistakably Arnie, and from certain angles it's perfect, but from head on the eyes are a bit off. It may actually be a paint issue, as the only thing I can really come up with is that the figure seems to lack Arnie's steely Terminator stare.

Speaking of paint, other than the head and the gloves, the only paint differences between Cyberdyne Showdown and Pescadero Escape are the color of the figures' shirts and belts. PE has a black shirt, while CS has a grey shirt, and CS's belt has a heavier paint wash on the belt rendering it less obviously brown. For anything else paint-related, I direct you to our review of the Pescadero Escape figure. Ditto the articulation, while we're at it. Pretty serviceable upper body, with balljoints in the neck, shoulders, elbows and wrists. Everything waist and below is a peg joint, which basically means ankles and left thigh and shin, for whatever reason.

Now, since so much of this figure has been seen before, you may think I'm not too impressed with this figure. You'd be wrong. Every now and then there's a figure that just radiates coolness and badassery. While Pescadero Escape was close to such a figure, and was definitely the best T-800 figure in the scale that had been made at that point, it just barely missed the mark. How could it have been better? How about by including a grenade launcher and a friggin' minigun?! Yeah, while PE Arnie got a pretty dinky shotgun as an accessory, CS Arnie is ridiculously decked out with an M134 Minigun, an M79 Grenade Launcher, a belt with grenade shells, and an ammo bag (attached to the minigun via a rubber ammo belt). Pretty snazzy, right? The hands are sculpted to hold the minigun in two hands, but the right can also be used to hold the launcher. While holding the minigun, the launcher can hang over his shoulder by its strap.

The accessories for this figure are taken from the scene where Arnold must fend off the cops during their raid on Cyberdyne headquarters to cover John and Sarah Connor's escape. While they may not be as iconic as Arnie and the shotgun, they are (in my opinion) much more badass. The sculpt of the weapons is pretty great, though the minigun seems a bit small. However, Arnie's a big guy, and it may be that other minigun-toting action figures just have out of scale accessories. I mean, I've never really held a minigun myself, so action figures are my main frame of reference for how big they should be.

So maybe on paper there's not so much to separate this guy from his Pescadero Escape counterpart. 95% same sculpt and paint, different set of accessories. But what a difference a minigun makes. Whereas PE Arnie was a very solid figure, CS pushes the base figure right over the edge of greatness. Plus, you can switch the heads of these figures very easily, so if you bought a Pescadero Escape figure (like I did), you can have your own movie-inaccurate Arnie-wielding-a-minigun-while-wearing-sunglasses. It may have taken us the better part of two decades to finally get solid, accurate figures from James Cameron's sci-fi opus, but this guy totally makes it worth the wait.

-- 11/04/09

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