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Ultimate Flasher Gremlin

by yo go re

In today's market, the more re-use a company can get out of existing tooling, the more chances they can take with a license - things that are a little more expensive or have a little more niche appeal will have a chance if the molds can be used to sell us more than one thing. Nobody does this better than NECA.

A perfect example is the regenesis of their Gremlins line: they created one mold and are releasing it over and over with different accessories and themes. Christmas carolers, Olympic swimmers... and one that actually takes the place of two figures!

The entire body of this toy is identical to the one we reviewed before, so for all the pertinent details, go read that one. This review is mainly going to focus on the differences - aka, the accessories.

This is technically the "Ultimate Flasher Gremlin," so you can already tell one of the figures it's going to replace. The Gremlins 2 figure had a PVC coat, but this one gets softgoods - much easier to get it off the figure this way! It also means you can close the coat and not have to have him exposed all the time. And that he can have more than one pose! Really, it's a better choice all around.

The coat doesn't fasten in any way - it has buttons, but they're just decorative. Fortunately, since its sash is similarly softgoods, you can actually tie it at the waist like you would a real trenchcoat. To complete the look seen in the film, he has a pair of dark wraparound sunglasses (Sorry to report I broke mine, which is why I don't have a picture of him wearing them to show you.)

So that's one figure; what's the second? Well, let's look at a few more accessories: a red visor with a black strap, a hand of cards, and a pile of poker chips, cards, and popcorn. That's right, we've now got an Ultimate Poker Player! It's not completely film-accurate, since the visor should be green and he can't hide any extra cards behind his ear, but the idea comes across just fine. And besides, there were other ones at the table wearing this kind of hat, so now you can use this one and the old one to build a bigger diorama. And we've still got more accessories to go!

One of the Gremlins used fuzzy little hand puppets he found somewhere; this set includes one of those puppets. It looks like a cross between a bear and a bee [a bugbear! --ed.], with flappy arms, little antennae, and a snout with a pink nose. It's sculpted with a plush texture, and can swap onto the figure's wrist if you remove the hand. When another Gremlin got annoyed by his antics, he bonked the Gremlin with a big mallet; this set includes that mallet. Or maybe it's the one used by the Gremlin who was standing up on the pool table, playing it like croquet? Could be either!

There are four cigarettes included - are they just meant for the Flasher (who smoked one) with a few spares, or are they supposed to represent the one who was sitting at the bar and had three sticking out of his mouth? Is the glass of beer intended for the Smoking Gremlin, or the Poker Player? Or maybe another? The actual "beer" part of the mug is removable from the glass, so you can decide if he needs a refill or not. There's an alternate right hand, curled to hold the glass or the hammer or the cards or what have you. And we're still not done!

Remember we said the Puppeteer Gremlin annoyed one of his fellows until he got hit with a hammer? Well, the one he pissed off is sitting there moping like a crime noir detective, nursing a scotch and wearing a fedora. This set may not have the drink, but we do get the hat. Did the Humphrey Bogart Gremlin wear a bow tie, too? The scene's dark, so it's hard to tell, but the toy definitely comes with a tie for him - just pop the head off and slip it around the neck. And then give him a cigarette, because Bogie likes to smoke!

After NECA took over Loot Crate, they introduced "Loot Launcher," basically a Kickstarter-style crowdfunder: if enough people back a certain Crate, it'll get made. While the TMNT movie Force Ghost Splinter(?) reached its goal, the "Dress Up & Play" Gremlin did not. Much to my chagrin. But here's the thing: nearly every accessory that would have come with that figure is available with this one! The only things missing are the pieces of the "Flashdance" Gremlin: legwarmers and a baggy sweatshirt. Literally everything else is here! Good deal!

This may technically be called the Ultimate Flasher Gremlin, but "Ultimate Dorry's Tavern Gremlin" might have been a better name; all the accessories are taken from that scene, and you can definitely make more than just the Flasher. In fact, between the Flasher Gremlin, the Poker Player, the Bogart Gremlin, the Puppeteer Gremlin, the Croquet Gremlin, the Beer-Drinking Gremlin, and the Smoking Gremlin, you could buy seven copies of this one figure and have them all set up as different monsters. And then buy an eighth to make it a totally plain version, too. This is one diverse Gremlin!

-- 12/31/20

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