Some of the coolest character designs yet...
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NECA's Gears of War action figures consistently amaze me with each new release. Not only is each series kept surprisingly fresh with fan favorite characters, but ongoing advancements in articulation make posing and collecting these toys a real joy. They just keep getting better and better. Gears of War Series 5 is my favorite assortment yet, a 7" figure wave chock-full of cool sci-fi guns, armor and characters. In stores now, Series 5 includes an all-new hyper-articulated COG Soldier (v.2), gruff COG leader Colonel Victor Hoffman, a helmeted Grenadier Beast Rider, and the series debut of the Boomers, a bigger and tougher class of Locusts, this one armed with the explosive Boomshot.
COG Soldier v.2
The latest incarnation of the COG Soldier features the third and final unique helmet design seen in the video game, Gears of War 2. For fans keeping track, NECA's Carmine action figure was the first, followed in Series 3 with the first COG Soldier. While all three are great looking, COG Soldier v.2 nudges into the lead with his very Stormtrooper-ish headgear and ramped up articulation.
Where previous figures featuring this body type were left standing stiff, the COG Soldier v.2 struts his stuff with newly engineered legs. Like NECA's Isaac Clarke, the new COG Soldier stars hinged/swivel hips for a wide variety of combat stances. Posing this figure is a bona fide blast; from cool crouched hip shots to balanced charging attacks, the new COG Soldier can do it all. The perfect army builder if there ever was one, the COG Soldier v.2 comes ready for action with a Gnasher shotgun and chainsaw-armed Lancer assault rifle.
COLONEL VICTOR HOFFMAN
I sure hope they cast R. Lee Ermey in the upcoming Gears of War movie, because he is the quintessential Colonel Victor Hoffman. In the games I admired the look of the character; an old war hero who wore his no-nonsense attitude on his head with a military cap, not a helmet; A cool blend of modern military and futuristic sci-fi design. However, after reading the second Gears of War book -"Jacinto's Remnant" - I began to truly appreciate the spirit of the character.
It's for these reasons that I really dig this action figure. Aside from the new head sculpt, Hoffman features redecoed Marcus Fenix armor with the addition of several canister-like attachments (grenades?) on his chest and belt. Like the brave men he leads into battle, Hoffman carries a standard issue Lancer.
GRENADIER BEAST RIDER
The Cyclops still holds the top spot as my favorite Locust design, but the Grenadier Beast Rider claws in a close second. It's all about the faceless, one-eyed helmet. NECA's recently introduced Grenadier body (i.e. Series 4's Grenadier Elite) doesn't hurt either.
Less armored than the Drones, the Grenadiers muscle their way into battle with a larger, more ripped physique. Their less-is-more approach to combat reminds me a lot of ancient Roman gladiators. It's an awesome look made sweeter by the aforementioned headgear and the addition of the new Hammerburst 2.0 assault rifle. The only thing that could possibly make this figure any cooler is if NECA made its monstrous steed, the Blood Mount. One can always dream...
New to the Gears of War series is the much anticipated Boomer. The first in a new class of Locusts, the Boomer is an obese creature fueled by rage and hunger. Their larger size makes them ideal for brutal heavy weapons support. The standard Boomer type in Series 5 carries the devastating Boomshot, an awesome new weapon to the series. The Boomshot can easily be held by other figures in the line... at the cost of leaving your poor Boomer gun less. Alas, all previously released firearms look too small in the Boomers mighty grip. NECA really needs to find a way to release more Boomshots so I can arm my other figures with this massive gun.
Standing around 7 1/2" tall, the Boomer stands only slightly taller than the rest of the Gears line, but more than makes up for it in mass. It's not 100% game accurate in height, but the Boomer's incredible sculpt - wicked armor and gun - greatly overshadows this one discrepancy in my book. While not necessary, NECA even addressed the Boomer's size in detail HERE, explaining how extra weapon's tooling needed to be factored in for future Boomer releases. And oh, what Boomers we have coming! Confirmed Boomers include the Boomshield and flail-swinging Mauler, Mulcher-toting Grinder and cleaver-chopping Butcher. A measly inch is a small sacrifice for the wonderful Boomer figures in store for us.
At an SRP of $13.99 each, NECA's 7-inch scale Gears of War action figures are a solid buy. Series 5 impresses with some of the coolest character designs seen yet in the line. Instead of growing stale with multiple color variants, NECA's Gears of War figures are increasingly becoming more anticipated with the rapid introduction of all-new character sculpts. The addition of the hulking Boomer, only one short release from Series 4's just introduced Grenadier class, really shows NECA's devotion to the line and its die-hard fans.
For over 100 new Gears of War Series 5 photos, CLICK HERE!
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Samples Courtesy of NECA