REVIEW: NECA's Conan the Barbarian Series 2 - PIT FIGHTER CONAN #2

The barbarian is back...

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Using a previously released figure and tweaking it to create an all-new figure is nothing new. Simple repaints are the most commonly seen cases, though some toy makers take it further by swapping out limbs and accessories, as well as adding newly sculpted details. The technique not only saves companies a ton of money (figure tooling is NOT cheap), but if done right, gives fans an exciting new collectible.

In a move to make the most of their licenses and sculpts, NECA has been using this cost-effective strategy on a number of lines with great success. Recent examples include their comic-based Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, amazing Gears of War, and today's review subject, Conan the Barbarian.

Those who read my toy review of Conan the Barbarian Series 1 know that I am a huge fan of the movie and that I was highly impressed with NECA's action figures. My favorite figure of that assortment - Pit Fighter Conan - makes a surprise return in this new wave, this time sporting wicked new hand weapons and a battle helm.

New figure aside, what strikes me immediately as odd is: A) The name of this figure is the same as the original: Pit Fighter Conan. A slight name change, such as Battle Helm Pit Fighter Conan or Pit Fighter Conan #2 would have gone along way in seperating this from the first release. B) Pit Fighter Conan #2 is labeled as being part of Series 2, yet to date, he is the only figure in Series 2. Either more figures are on the way (yes!), or this is the smallest assortment I have ever seen.

Again, just odd observations. What really matters is the new action figure. Pit Fighter Conan #2 is an excellent example of my opening comments: Taking an already incredible sculpt and modifying it into something fresh and exciting. Pit Fighter Conan #1 was my favorite figure of Series 1, and while this one is not quite as remarkable, he still holds his ground as a solid new Conan collectible.

One of the most obvious changes on this figure is the addition of Conan's battle helm. Using the first Pit Fighter Conan's head sculpt, NECA redesigned it to include not only the new helmet, but hair flowing out the back. Other notable modifications include a new fur tunic, grisly blood splatter on Conan's body, and two new bladed weapons.

While not as cool as the gauntlets on the original, these screen accurate "spiked knuckles" still radiate Arnold awesomeness. I'm not a huge fan of Conan's mink coat, but the other extras equal a killer new figure. For the record, it appears that the animal hide jacket can be removed with force, but, for the sake of retaining Conan's look in the film and not damaging the figure, I've chosen to keep it on. Call me a purist.

Battle Helm Pit Fighter Conan also includes the original's sand base and staff, though the two bonus axes are not included with this figure. Articulation, also like the first release, is minimal, with his head and wrists articulated for some slight, varied looks. Like Pit Fighter #1, the limited articulation is easily overlooked; the pose captured here is extremely powerful as is.

These are some rough and tumble times in Toyland. Toy companies are doing everything they can to bring fans the collectibles they want, using cost-cutting tactics, such as producing smaller figures, to get the job done. NECA is to be applauded for making the best of a sticky situation. With their Battle Helm Pit Fighter Conan, NECA has delivered a new 7 inch scale figure with enough cool changes to justify a purchase. While I am sure fans would have preferred an entirely new Conan sculpt or character, receiving ANY Conan figure is much better than none.

For more images of the new Pit Fighter Conan action figure, follow the link below!

Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor

Review Sample Courtesy of

Pit Fighter Conan Photo Gallery
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Jeff Saylor (Editor)
on 02/02/2009
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