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T-1000 (Galleria Mall/Pescadero Hospital)

Terminator 2
by Monkey Boy

NECA's basic philosophy seems to be summed up by the three R's: reduce, reuse, recycle. As in "reduce" the number of figures in each series to around two or three, "reuse" as many parts as possible between figures, and... "recycle"... uhm, ideas from McFarlane? Yeah, that's the ticket. If they have a favorite word I'd place a fair bet that it's "mileage"... they managed to stretch their Alien vs. Predator: Requiem figure line over three (or was it four?) series by releasing what was basically the same Predator figure half a dozen times and changing some combination of the headsculpt, accessories, and paint apps.

They seem to be keeping the same modus operandi for their Terminator 2 line of figures. Most of their figures so far have been versions of Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800, or a re-release of their Cult Classics Endoskeleton. It makes enough sense; Arnie had several different looks throughout the film and the figures' sculpts have all been changed to reflect the movie accuracy of specific scenes when it comes to clothing, accessories, and level of "battle damage" **COUGH**unlikeMcFarlane**COUGH COUGH** sorry. With their third series of T2 figures, however, we finally get someone for Arnie to face off against. While the Endos were certainly baddies, Schwarzenegger never directly faced off against one unless you count some kind of internal struggle (because...he looks like an Endo under his skin... get it? Euhhh...).

A more advanced Terminator, composed of mimetic polyalloy, a liquid metal that allows it to take the shape and appearance of anyone or anything it touches. The T-1000 is sent back in time to assassinate John Connor. Disguised as a police officer the T-1000 tracks John to the local shopping mall and makes his first attempt on John's life.

That somebody to fight is none other than the T-1000, the main antagonist of T2. Played with stony brilliance by Robert Patrick, the T-1000 is widely considered one of the greatest and most terrifying villains in film history. He is cold, emotionless, and seemingly unstoppable, and Patrick nails the mood with his icy stare and stiff gait. R-Pats (no, not the Twilight guy) has gone on to do some other stuff, ranging from decent (The X-Files) to uhhh... not so decent (The Marine), but chances are if you show somebody a picture of this guy's mug, they're most likely to recognize him as the robotic menace made of malleable metal who terrorized John and Sarah Connor.

Under direct orders from John Connoer, the T-800 sets out to rescue Sarah Connor from Pescadero State Hospital where she has been institutionalized for 10 years. Armed with a Winchester Shotgun the T-800 fights off the liquid metal T-1000, shooting him point blank in the torso and head. The T-1000 heals before their eyes and resumes his relentless pursuit.

NECA has released two T-1000 figures in their third series, along with two more Arnie figures (including one from the Universal Studios "Battle Across Time" ride, which is novel if nothing else). However, since they are pretty much the same figure, we've decided to combine them into a single review, since really there's no way anyone is only buying one of these figures. See, NECA has gone out of their way to make you miss out on some key goodies unless you bite the bullet and get them both, at which point you can mix 'n' match your ideal T-1000.

The overall sculpt of both figures is identical except for the head and lower arms: the Pescadero Hospital (PH) gets some metal blast holes on his torso from when he was shot by the T-800, but these are separate pieces that have been glued on). The sculpting duties have been handled by the always amazing Kyle "Tankman" Windrix, who continues to laugh in the face of his former employer, McFarlane Toys. You'll perhaps remember that McFarlane Toys released a Movie Maniacs version of the T-1000, but while you had the choice of various states of "battle damage" (either blown the hell up or hole-through-face) you weren't given the option of having a standard, un-messed with T-1000 in his police officer disguise.

This is corrected with NECA's Galleria Mall (GM) figure. It's the standard "I'm just a friendly cop" version of the T-1000, and Kyle has absolutely blown me away with his sculpting. The face is Robert Patrick, complete with steely glare, angular features, and spiked up hair. I remember seeing the prototype photos of this figure and thinking there was no way the final product would look as good, but in the end it does. This is a perfect portrait of Robert Patrick, and in the 7" scale I really couldn't imagine it being any better.

The rest of the body is a standard cop uniform, not overly wrinkled, with a nicely sculpted badge and even nameplate that says "AUSTIN". Pretty impressive that it's readable, given that it's only a few millimeters wide and probably a millimeter high. He's got a pen in his left pocket, and a separate glued-on belt with his walkie-talkie and gun holster. The sculpt really shows off the contrast between the physique of Robert Patrick vs. that of Arnold Schwarzenegger. While he's tall and imposing, his build is much slimmer than Arnie. However, he still manages to look frightening and formidable.

There is one little clue on the GM figure that shows that the officer is not what he appears to be. He is in mid-step, and his right foot appears to be a bit stuck: there's some silver goop stretching from his boot heel that allows the figure to stand level. It's a nice little touch to show that this is more than just a figure of a creepy cop.

Both figures feature utilitarian but satisfactory paintjobs: flat black for the uniforms, silver for the badges, buttons and buckles, and a glossier black for the belts and boots. The head sculpts are painted well, and the hair appears to be brown dry-brushed with a bit of gray to show the onset of middle age.

The silver used for the "liquid metal" bits is about as shiny as painted silver can get, which is pretty accurate to the film. While the CGI "transforming" metal parts always looked very reflective, the metal seemed less so when solid shapes were formed from it.

Continuing the NECA trend of upper bodies that are quite mobile combined with fairly static lower bodies, both figures have a balljointed neck, balljointed shoulders, balljointed elbows, a peg waist, and, interestingly, balljointed ankles. Since my T-800 figures are quite prone to shelf-diving, it's nice that NECA has given these guys ankle joints that will allow their feet to be firmly planted. GM T-1000 also gets balljointed wrists, while PH T-1000 has no hands to speak of.

The figures' heads and lower arms are where you'll find the differences between them, but since just about everything is interchangeable, it really seems like this is meant to be a single very customizable figure. GM comes with the standard Robert Patrick head, while PH comes with two battle damaged heads: one is split in half with a liquid metal gooey center, while the other is in the process of reforming itself. The heads pop off very easily and can be shared among both bodies.

In a very cool move, Both sets of lower arms are also detachable at the elbows. GM has "regular" arms, while PH has the curved metal spikes that the T-1000 uses to open elevator doors and grab onto things (like cars). GM has several alternate hand sculpts, including a set of open hands and gun-holding hands. The latter can be used to hold the included pistol, which can also fit in the working holster on the belt. Finally, GM gets a "pointing" right hand, where the index figure has been transofrmed into a solid metal eye-spike.

With three, different heads, two different sets of lower arms, and five different hands to spread between battle-damaged and unblemished bodies, there are loads of different looks you can get for your T-1000. While it does seem like your typical NECA cash-grab to make you buy two figures, there's really no way all these interchangeable parts could have been included with one figure. Of course, if NECA had included GM's solid head and PH's metal arms in with the same figure, it would have been a no-brainer which one to buy. As it is, NECA knows how to tug on our purse strings. However, once you have both these figures in hand, it really is quite fun to assemble the different parts in a Mr. Potato Head-esque fashion, and it's more than worth it to add such a great representation of such an iconic character to your collection. Even if you have to buy it twice.

-- 07/24/10

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