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T-1000 (Liquid Metal)

Terminator 2
by yo go re

When the company was still around, Palisades was the undisputed king of the Summer Con Exclusives. They may have not invented the idea (MAC was already doing it in the late '90s), but they unquestionably shaped it into the form we recognize today. Since Palisades closed, though, no head has worn the crown. There have been a few stewards, but like Denethor, they're just keeping the throne warm while we wait for the true king to be revealed. They're not quite ready to pull the sword from the stone yet (if we can mix our fictional king metaphors for a moment), but NECA always makes a strong showing.

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. In addition to rapid shapeshifting, the T-1000 executes near-perfect mimicry and rapid recovery from damage. Furthermore, it can use its ability to quickly liquify and assume new forms in innovative and surprising ways.

One of the old standbys for creating an exclusive is the mono-color release, but surprisingly, that isn't something NECA usually does. The closest they've come until now was Bronze Conan, and even that had some fairly complex apps. But don't mistake this for some cheap corner-cutting ploy on NECA's part, though: there's a good reason they did what they did, and there's more going on than you might think.

The liquid metal T-1000 is the same mold as the "Galleria Mall" T-1000 - ie, the "plain" one. You know, no hook arms, no bullet-hole blooms in the torso, and definitely no split head. It may shock and alarm you to hear that none of the quality on the figure released just a few months ago has been lost when it comes to this exclusive. He still has the realistic-looking shirt, the pen in his pocket, the stunningly intricate badge and the "AUSTIN" nametag (in reference to producer Stephanie Austin) on his right pocket. Great attention was paid to the wrinkles: on the shirt, they're all on the front, because you bend forward; on the legs, they're all on the back, behind the knees. Of course, he still has the separate, glued-on belt with the walkie-talkie, holster and other various pockets. But everything looks different due to the new paint apps.

There are four real times the T-1000 reforms completely, going from silver homunculus Silly Putty to Cleveland native Robert Patrick: it happens twice in the steel mill, but this figure definitely doesn't represent either of those times, because by that point, he was wearing duplicating motorcycle boots, not dress shoes; before that it happens at the Pescadero State Hospital, after he Gloops through the roof of the elevator and runs after the retreating police car; the first time, though, was after he crashed a truck into a bridge abutment and walked calmly out of the flames, and it seems like that scene is the closest match to what this figure gives us.

Usually when a company does a solid-color exclusive, it's just molded in that color - that's how they save the money on such a short-run item. Order up a batch of whatever color you prefer, inject it in the molds, and put everything together. That is specifically not what happened here. Yes, the entire figure is silver, but it's all paint. Molding something from metallic plastic leaves visible flaws within the figure, and it still wouldn't look as good as this does. This figure was molded in grey plastic - take a look at the balljoint when the head is off, and you'll see its natural color - and every inch of him was painted the color you see now. It's an even coat, and isn't rubbing off at all in the joints.

Monkey Boy already praised the stunningly accurate likeness the T-1000s have, and it's the same here. Sometimes you'll see figures that rely on paint to sell a likeness (see, for instance, the PotC Will Turner figures, none of which ever looked like Orlando Bloom), but even in flat silver, this face is clearly Cleveland's own R-Patz. If you think it's weird that we keep mentioning Cleveland, well, just know that if you lived anywhere around the Mistake on the Lake in 1991, all you ever heard was how Robert Patrick was from there. He actually grew up in Bay Village, a suburb out to the west. It's pretty far away, about as far to the west as Euclid is to the east. Hell, it's twice as far from Cleveland as Parma, but can you really blame the area for trying to claim him? It's like that old SNL "Real World" sketch, where Mike Myers kept shouting "I'm from Dublin!": nobody's going to know (or care) where Bay Village is.

Since this figure was made from the "Galleria Mall" tools, it has the same accessories: five hands and a gun. There are two "relaxed" hands, two "trigger" hands, and one right hand with a finger spike. They pop out easily at the wrist, swappable thanks to the balljoints. The gun fits in his holster, but it's still silver - remember, complex machines were beyond its ability to copy/create, so the gun it carried was taken from the officer it killed. The gun should be painted black, like the one the other release comes with. Eh, minor complaint, and easy enough to handwave.

The Liquid Metal T-1000 rates incredibly high on our perfect con exclusive checklist. It offers something you can only get here, but all the change has to do with the paint rather than unique accessories. They added silver foil to the packaging, too. But if you can't get this exclusive, it's not like your collection will be incomplete - yes, it's straight from the film, but an inconsequential moment designed only to show off the special effects. Basically, if you get the figure, you'll like it; if you don't get it, you won't miss it. That's good work; more companies should follow suit!

-- 08/28/10

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