REVIEW: NECA's Pacific Rim 18" GIPSY DANGER
A Big Pacific Rim Collectible For The Big Pacific Rim Fan...
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Even though I own several NECA Quarter Scale action figures, I still can't get over just how big they are. 18 inches big. That doesn't sound all that grand in writing, but seeing one of these figures in person - especially displayed next to smaller figures (which is about every other toy out there) - is a real eye opener. NECA's latest license to receive this towering toy treatment is Pacific Rim kicking off with the film's starring hero robot, the Gipsy Danger. While the Gipsy Danger is not even close to being true "Quarter Scale" (it'd be a 65 foot tall toy!) - it's still 18 inches big. The Gipsy Danger looks great alongside NECA's other Quarter Scale offerings (Predator vs. Jaeger!) and truly commands one's toy display. Fully articulated, the 18" Gipsy Danger includes twin chain blades and a cool light-up feature and retails for around $84.99 (act now if you want one, many retailers have already sold out!).
Like previous NECA Quarter Scale releases, the 18" Gipsy Danger arrives in an equally large closed window box. This is the type of packaging that gets you all warm and fuzzy inside; just bursting with anticipation to hold the massive toy inside. While I'm more about the figure inside, the box art isn't half bad either. In case the large robot visible through the window pane didn't tip you off, NECA made it pretty obvious that this is a Pacific Rim collectible by prominently placing the movie logo across the bottom and the Jaeger's name right above it. The light-up LED function is also mentioned and thankfully NECA did not include a "Try Me". I know how important that feature is for retailers in letting their customers test a toy out, but I absolutely despise the fact that a million grubby little hands touched (damaged) my purchase. The back of the box shows off NECA's amazing 7" Pacific Rim series, along with an action shot of the Gipsy, chain swords ready for battle. What I found most peculiar was the small logo that reads "Super Massive Heroes". At first I thought this might be a new brand name for the series, seeing that the 18" Gipsy doesn't really fall under NECA's "Quarter Scale" series, as most fans call it. But then I remembered that an 18" Knifehead is on the way... and we all know the Kajiu weren't "Heroes". Ultimately I think it's just a catchy sell point... but why is hero plural? That means more than one! Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but man, I'd die for an 18" Cherno Alpha. Heck, make the whole Pacific Rim figure line 18 inches, because quite frankly, THIS scale is where it's at.
Picking up an 18" NECA action figure is like picking up a newborn child. It's a life-changing experience, at least from a toy collecting point of view. You'll never look at an action figure the same way again. The biggest downside is that these figures take up some serious space. Unless you live in a mansion, collecting an entire series of your favorite characters in this scale would be problematic. "Honey, why is there an 18" action figure in the pantry?" (I joke about that, but I actually knew someone that had 3 3/4" Star Wars figures everywhere in his house, including his kitchen cabinets!) With this scale one must be very selective. Seeing that I'm a huge Pacific Rim fan and lover of robots, NECA's 18" Gipsy Danger was a must-have. This thing reminds me of an old jumbo Shogun Warrior... only much more detailed and articulated. In fact, aside from their size, it's NECA's newfound attention to detail and articulation that really defines these figures from anything else on the market... including their own past 18" releases.
Sculpt-wise, everything on the smaller Gipsy Danger figure is here, only now in greater detail. Armor panel lines, all the nuts, bolts and pistons - everything stands out much sharper and defined. Where NECA's Quarter Scale Predators are basically over-sized versions of their smaller brethren (still an amazing accomplishment!), the 18" Gipsy Danger's sculpt actually benefits from its larger size. The 18" Gipsy is like a whole new figure compared to its smaller counterpart.
And it doesn't stop with the sculpt. The paint apps and deco on the 18" Gipsy elevate it a new plateau of realism. NECA wisely used the much cooler battle-worn paint scheme of Series 2's Battle Damaged Gipsy Danger for their 18" Gipsy; all the weathered armor, claw marks, dings and puncture holes looking incredible on this scale. The neatest paint details are those that couldn't even be applied to the smaller figure. These include actual yellow/black warning stripes, tiny insignia such as "GN006" stamped on the upper forearms, and an awesome nod to WWII bomber nose art - a retro pin-up girl on the Gipsy Danger's right chest plate. NECA even added the gold honeycomb-like visor on the Gipsy's head in what appears to be a sticker applied beneath a clear plastic covering. Too cool. Also of note is the awesome color pop of copper and brass on all the pistons that brings out all the mechanical detail. The color contrast works really well against the Gipsy's dark battleship grey armor and gun steel inner machinery. I'm looking over the figure now as I write this and can't stop myself from geeking out. So much detail to absorb and take in...
So far we've established that the 18" Gipsy Danger is big, heavy and just loaded with sculpted detail and superior paint apps. This figure can also move, and I'm not talking 5 basic points of articulation. The 18" Gipsy sports all the joints of the smaller figure... and then some. Starting at top we have a ball-joint mounted head, which unlike the 7" figure, can easily be swiveled all around. There's some limitation due to the armored neck collar, but regardless, it's a major improvement. Both shoulders are also ball-jointed, featuring a nice and solid *clicky* ratchet joint. Elbows bend and the wrists are on balls. While not as extreme as the 7" figure, the 18" Gipsy Danger's waist swivels side to side.
New points of articulation that took me by surprise are the two armored panels on the Gipsy's back. Not the huge over-the-head plates, but the two smaller ones located below them. Kind of reminds me of Iron Man and his flight panels. The lower half of the figure is identical to the smaller one, albeit firmer and ratcheted: ball/hinged thighs, hinged knees, swivel feet and a hinge on the broad heels. Speaking of broad, thanks to the Gipsy's splayed feet design, this figure stands incredibly well for an 18" figure. In fact, it's the most solid standing 18" figure NECA has produced. While I do love their Quarter Scale Predators, they make me extremely nervous if not braced against a wall or shelf. Trust me, I've had a few shelf dive (and come out unscathed... THAT'S a well-made toy!) NECA has mentioned that 18" display stands are in the works, but you won't need one for the 18" Gipsy Danger.
Big, heavy, detailed and articulated... what else could you need? How about two attachable wrist blades and a neat light-up feature! The blades for the Gipsy Danger are a must-have. As I mentioned in my Pacific Rim 7" Series 2 review (HERE), these weapons make the Gipsy truly badass. Each almost 9-inch long blade is cast in a sturdy, but somewhat flexible hard plastic and painted a realistic sharp and pointy gun metal steel. Actually, these are quite sharp and pointy in sculpt, making it a little tricky stuffing each blade into the corresponding slot on the Gipsy's wrists. The fit was a tad too tight for mine, a dab of WD-40 needed to help slide the weapons in. Still, I'd rather have a tight connection then one that's too loose. Once in place the Gipsy Danger is ready for any Kaiju threat and looks killer on display. Such an awesome look.
I'm not a huge fan of action figure gimmicks such as sound effects and light-up features. It's one of those things you try out once, utter "cool" and move on. That said, I'd rather have sound or lights over a gimmick that actually hurts the figure's sculpt... like a huge lever on the back for missile firing action. A light feature doesn't impede with anything, so NECA adding it to the 18" Gipsy Danger is no sweat off my back. To enable it, pull out the small plastic tab on the Gipsy's center back, then press the button found on the base of the neck. It's a small, nondescript button that works very well by "clicking" on and off. I hate the ones you have to hold in. This way if you want to turn your 18" Gipsy Danger into a towering nightlight you can. Two points illuminate: a small dot on the forehead blinds in a white light, while the chest reactor glows a brilliant orange. I almost wish the visor glowed instead of the headlamp, but the lit-up reactor is an awesome effect. Certainly one of the better light-up features I've seen, one that makes sense and actually adds more value to an already amazingly priced figure.
I'm not quite sure when it happened (it seems overnight), but realistic high-end 1:6th scale action figures now cost $200+. For someone like me looking for large detailed display pieces, that price has gotten way out of hand and unaffordable. 7 inch figures still fill the bulk of my collection, their $20 price range allowing me to collect an entire series of characters. But if you're like me, 7-inches (or smaller, I'm open to all sizes) doesn't adequately show your passion for a property. Sometimes you need that cool 12-inch figure (or statue) to say "Hey, I REALLY dig this license". But $200+? That's why NECA's 18" Gipsy Danger is such an amazing value. $89.99 for, not 12 inches, but 18 inches of highly detailed, fully articulated action figure just blows my mind. That's probably why the 18" Gipsy Danger is already sold out at most retailers. I'm obviously not the only one that feels this way. Value aside, it's really just a matter of this being a cool (BIG) figure. No question, this is the toy of the year for me.
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Sample Courtesy of NECA