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Battle-Damaged Robocop

by yo go re

NECA's plan to redo and improve every licenese McFarlane Toys ever touched continues apace.

Part man,
Part machine,
All cop.

The future of law enforcement.

Released on July 17, 1987, Robocop was set in a "near future" where Detroit was a failing city, bankrupt, over-run with crime and with police duties being handed over to private corporations. So basically, it's that rarest of creations: a science fiction story that has actually come to pass right on schedule.

McFarlane Toys made a Robocop back in 2004, and it was the best Movie Maniac figure the company ever produced. Then last year NECA revealed they would be making a Robocop of their own, and I had a whole wishlist of features for it. They didn't happen, so I didn't buy, because I already had a perfectly good Robo, didn't I? Now, however? Now NECA's come out with something worth upgrading to.

Robocop may have been the star of the movie, but he wasn't a boring, invulnerable hero: his ass got kicked. Hard. By the end of the movie his once-gleaming chassis was a dented, bullet-riddled mess. McToys did make that version of Robocop, but only as a 12" figure, so it doesn't really count. The body has been almost completely remolded, so don't think this is just a matter of throwing some oily paint apps on the existing figure and calling it a day. The only parts directly shared with the old figure are the feet and gloves - yes, even the black section in the center of the body has been slightly reworked. The damage isn't exactly identical to what we see in the film, but if you compare the toy to images from the set, you can definitely see the parallels.

Compared to the Movie Maniacs Robocop, NECA's is shorter and slimmer. He just reaches the 7" mark, but the proportions are better overall. Todd's Robocop had an oversized bobblehead, but NECA's is closer to the mark. The tiny bit of exposed face is better, too. Sadly, we still don't get a Peter Weller likeness: NECA couldn't get past his agent.

Though the overall figure is smaller, his chest is actually larger than the last version. How can that be? Because Todd's was too small. The details of the sculpt are truer to the film, as well. However, the legs look too thin. What we really need are the McFarlane legs and the NECA torso. The paint on the battle-damaged prototype looked more like someone had thrown mud at Robo than that he was injured, but the final production is much better. His "wounds" appear to be surrounded by dirt and grime, or perhaps he's leaking oil. The specific applications vary from sample to sample - thicker on some, blotchier on others, slightly higher or lower on the next - so you'll want to look at them in the store and pick the version you like best.

Robo gets a lot of articulation. He has hinged ankles and knees, balljointed hips, swivel waist, hinged balljointed torso, swivel forearms, hinged elbows, swivel/hinge shoulders and a swivel/hinge neck. That's more than the Movie Maniac had, so put another one in the win column! The arms feel like they're too far awy from the body to be screen-accurate, but that was clearly done to provide a slightly wider range of motion. Ditto the hips, which can look gangly if the shadows don't fall in just the right way.

The figure comes with his gun, of course, and it's bigger and has better details than McFarlane's shrimpy version did. Of course, remember that McFarlane's version was even put to shame by the Mez-Itz gun, so it would be hard to do worse. He also has a second replacement hand, with his fingers folded down to reveal the silver data spike that allows him to interface with computers and to stab Red Foreman in the neck like Wolverine. The forearms pull off at the swivel joint, thanks to a large sturdy peg, and swap out easily. Casual fans won't care about the spike, but true fanboys will be glad it's included.

Battle Damaged Robocop is packaged in one of the standard clamshells, but the design of the insert is actually very cool. It's clearly unique to this figure: designed by Chris Longo, it features very little text and no photos, just graphic design; the front looks like Robocop's battle-danaged chest; the rear looks like his back. It's a very simple execution, but at the same time there's no mistaking what figure the package used to hold.

NECA's Robocop is better than McFarlane's, but there's still room for improvement - which is why, if you had the Movie Maniac, you didn't really need to upgrade. But the battle damaged version undoubtedly offers something new, so at last you have the impetus to buy.

-- 07/22/12

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