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Etched Pennywise

It (2017)
by yo go re

Seven young outcasts band together to battle an ancient, shape-shifting evil that emerges every 27 years to prey on their town's children.

Okay, so not only is this figure based on an idea we put forth two years ago, the bio on the back has taken into consideration our feedback from the last review. It's nice, every so often (and as we prepare to enter our 18th year of existence), to be reminded that we're not just shouting into the void, here; that there are real people out there who read the idiot words we write; and that the world is slightly different after we write those words than it was before.

Also, we've got another idea: NECA should start sending us one of everything they make. (Hey, as long as we're being delusional, we might as well go for broke, yeah?)

This figure is, as you might expect, the same sculpt as NECA's first Pennywise - they've since done a second with different heads, and a third with giant insect arms, but this mold is the original. It comes with two of the initial heads: the smiling one and the calm one; nothing with any crazy fangs or anything. [Correction: the smiling head is similar to the old figure's, but not identical; the hair and the cracks on the forehead are different, making this a new sculpt --ed.] So for all the info about the sculpt, construction, and articulation, we invite you to go read last year's review - this one is going to be about the paint.

Black and white figures exist in a spectrum from clean and controlled at one end to muddy and sloppy at the other. Penny may not be a perfectly stark figure, but he's definitely closer to the "good" end of things. The base figure is nice gray, with the hands (which come from the "bug arms" figure) done in a lighter shade to make his gloves stand out from the rest of the suit. There's a black wash seeping down into all the sculpted lines and wrinkles, and a white drybrushing to create highlights on the raised bits.

If that's all NECA had done, it would still be worth it. But they went one better. As seen in the woodcut print that inspired this SDCC exclusive, Pennywise is lurking at the edge of a crowd, sticking to the shadows. To simulate that, the figure gets darker paint on its right side than on its left - a touch that might look like a mistake at first glance, but is an intentional bit of artistry. Whether it will work for you is another question, but the toy came out exactly the way NECA envisioned it, and when you start posing him, it really does start to work nicely. You find yourself subconsciously turning the figure to favor one side over the other, utilizing the paint as an enhancement of your display/pose, rather than an impediment - it's not something to be ignored, it's something to be embraced.

This is an exclusive, so the accessories are more sparse than usual. We already mentioned the one alternate head, but he's also got an alternate left hand - specifically, the "pinching" hand designed to hold his balloon. Now, knowing that, can you guess what else the figure includes? We knew you could! The surprising thing is that he gets two balloons: one red, just like the existing toy, and one grey with black crosshatching to make it look like it belongs in the woodcut. Why the red one, then? Uh, make up your own excuse. Maybe it's to shock whoever is looking at the image? If you had a book open to an olde-timey black and white engraving, and part of it suddenly turned to color, you'd certainly be alarmed at the very least.

So far all the 2017 It figures have come in dark packaging, but this one breaks the trend. The box is white, with black lineart inspired by the woodcut seen in the film - not the same art, just close enough to look the same unless you're actively comparing it to a screenshot. The art is embossed, and the film's logo is done in red foil. The tray behind the figure is almost entirely black, probably to make the gray stand out better.

This figure may not be exactly what we suggested, but then, neither was Ultimate Freddy Krueger and I certainly bought that, so getting this Pennywise was almost a foregone conclusion for me. I'd have liked a little more "black and white TMNT" style than what we got, but this stands out from the other Dancing Clowns NECA has released, and makes a striking image on display.

-- 08/01/19

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