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by yo go re

NECA really made their name in the collector community by landing the Hellraiser license, and they followed that up with the equally unexpected Gremlins. The line was small, only four figures, but very well made. A fifth Gremmy showed up in Series 1 of the Cult Classics figures, but he commands high prices on the secondary market. NECA isn't above re-releasing a figure that needs it, though.

Perhaps the most evil and sadistic Gremlin, Mohawk begins his reign of terror in the Splice of Life laboratory. Mohawk helps to mutate a new batch of Gremlins into a mob of genetically altered nocturnal terrors, waiting for their chance to escape the Clamp building.

"Evil and sadistic" is right! Apparently the writers of Gremlins 2 have confirmed that Mohawk is the reincarnation of big bastard boss from the first movie, Stripe. That's why he seems to have it in for Gizmo from the very start, even hanging around to torment him after getting monster-fied and all the other Gremlins go off and start having wacky adventures in the Clamp building.

I remember seeing the Cult Classics 1 release of Mohawk a fewtimes, but you know why I never bought it? Because I, sir, am an idiot, sir. I didn't realize he was a new release. I thought he was just a repaint or something equally foolish. (Foolish on my part, not on NECA's.) I was 100% wrong, because there isn't an inch of this guy that was used before. He's noticably bigger than Stripe and the Poker Player, so he doesn't reuse their shared body. The sculpt is uncredited on the new packaging, but it's lovely work. The scales are generally smoother than those on the Gremlins from the original film, but he's far from undetailed. The upper arms and legs are particularly spiky, and a curved ridge of spines follows the edge of the scapula.

Mohawk gets his name from the dorsal fin that starts on his head and runs all the way to the small of his back. He has matching fins on his chin, forearms and calves, but they're not quite as big. The red and black fin is a separate piece - actually, two separate pieces: one for the head, one for the spine. The one on his head fits easily enough, but man oh man, is it ever tough to get the one on his spine to stay in place! It just doesn't want to fit snugly, and so tends to fall out. You could glue it, but then he'd be harder to store. Tip for getting it to stay: put the bottom in first, then stretch it up to the top.

The Gremlins 2 Gremlins were larger than their Gremlins counterparts, so Mohawk stands 7" tall at the top of his spikes - though the Gremlins toys don't fit into any existing scale, this does make him the same size as the Brain Gremlin, as he should be. His colors are mostly greens, rather than Brain's brown and tan, so there isn't as much contrast in his design. However, that does allow the red and black fins to stand out. Watch out for the black paint around his mouth: it varies from figure to figure, and you'll want to pick out the one you like best.

Mohawk moves at the hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck. Other than the shoulders - swivel/hinges - all the joints are plain swivels. Unfortunately, he suffers from what Rustin long ago dubbed "NECA arm": the swivel joints that form his elbows are nearly perpendicular to the arm itself, so the joints serve little purpose. Compare his elbows to Brain's, which are at a 45° angle - Brain can have his arms either straight or bent, but Mohawk's arms don't have the same ability. It's not the worst we've ever seen, since there's at least some bend, but it's a handy example. On the plus side, the bottoms of his feet are flat, so he's more stable than Brain is.

In addition to simplified packaging, the "Cult Classics Icons" or "Hall of Fame" or "Greatest Hits" or whatever these things are actually called come with fewer accessories. The CC1 release of Mohawk had two beakers and a really cool lab table base - this release only has one beaker, filled with the blue arachno serum. It's the same piece Brain came with, but in a different color. The plus side to the reduction in accessories? The figure retails for only $10, which is less than the figures cost new - and that was how many years ago? It's nice to see a toy company offering this kind of economical choice.

At one point NECA had plans to release a box set of Mohawk in his final Spider-Gremlin form, but that never came to be. It's a real shame, too - that would have been awesome. Actually, all the crazy Gremlins 2 designs would have been cool. The Bat Gremlin, the Electric Gremlin, the Veggie Gremlin... especially the Veggie Gremlin. Sure, they're silly, but they're just made to be toys! I need to make friends with Tankman or somebody else at NECA and beg them to customize me a Veggie Gremlin. It's great that Mohawk has been re-released for those of us who were too dumb to get him the first time, and even better that you can get today at prices from a decade ago.

-- 10/20/10

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