Three cool characters from the new game: Subject Delta, Big Sister and Little Sister...
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Back in November, NECA treated BioShock fans to a spectacular preview figure of the Big Daddy Bouncer, the iconic poster child of the award-winning video game (Read our review HERE). Now, just in time for the release of the eagerly anticipated sequel - BioShock 2 - NECA unleashes the first full wave of action figures; new and familiar faces from the underwater city of Rapture.
Released last month prior to BioShock 2's February 9th debut, this new round of 7-inch scale action figure collectibles stars Subject Delta, a Big Daddy prototype you control in the game; Big Sister, a gangly new game menace; and Little Sister, one of the freakishly adorable harvesters of ADAM. Both Subject Delta and Big Sister are being sold to fans as solo-packed figures, while Toys"R"Us is offering an exclusive Big Sister/ Little Sister 2-pack.
So far, the Toys"R"Us exclusive is the only way to obtain the cute Little Sister, though NECA has announced tentative plans to release a Little Sister 2-pack, featuring two distinct figures, at a later date. For those in Europe, a promotional Little Sister can be obtained from select merchants selling BioShock 2. This rare figure is not for retail sale and not available in the U.S.
PACKAGING: Like Big Daddy, the first wave of BioShock 2 figures come clamshelled for safe and secure delivery. These are attractive BioShock 2-themed packages, with graphics and fonts taken straight from the game. Each distinct figure includes an insert featuring character art from the game that wraps around the right corner of the clamshell. The inserts add some nice depth to the packaging and makes identifying these figures a snap. Fascinating bios on the back further defines each character, while preview pictures tempt collectors with past and upcoming figures.
SCULPT: During my conversations with NECA's Head of Product Development, Randy Falk, I could tell that a lot of love and devotion went into making their BioShock 2 toy line. That excitement clearly shows in these new action figures; exceedingly cool collectibles that display some of NECA's finest work to date. While it certainly helps if you are a fan of the game's exotic steampunk designs, there is no denying the attention to detail that went into these figures.
Like the Big Daddy Bouncer, Subject Delta radiates retro-futurism. It's a diving suit that at a glance looks antique and familiar, but then warps your perception with an array of peculiar attachments. The huge drill for a right arm is one clear giveaway that this hulking creature is not from our historic past. The wicked weapon, which is interchangeable with an alternate "human" arm included with the figure, is executed with a hyper-realistic sculpt. Chips and dings in the rigid plastic go a long way in making the device look worn and used, while subtle pits on the tool's surface convey the appearance of strong metal.
The intricate maze of detail on the figure - minute wing nuts, riveted bolts, buckles and gauges - will have you gawking for hours, but it is the free sculpted accessories that really make Subject Delta explode into 3-D. That extra visual oomph comes partly from a sheathed knife (not removable) and a dangling dive weight on his chest, both of which come already attached to the figure. Two hoses and an air tank assembly wrap up the eye candy. The gear, packed loose with the figure, secures firmly via peg and hole and looks spectacular once in place. You will need to take an extra bit of time observing the hoses and their connections though, as each is unique to both sides of the helmet. Illustrated instructions on the packaging would have helped here, but overall the process is pretty straightforward and painless.
I confess to not being immediately drawn to the design of Big Sister. However, after further study of the character's game art, and now actually owning the figure, I can say that the spindly creature has really grown on me. For me it's all about the leg braces. The odd mechanisms, combined with her bowed legs, give the false impression that the Big Sister is crippled, when in actuality she is extremely agile. Again, NECA has sculpted the braces as separate pieces affixed to the figure, breathing extra three-dimensional life to the sculpt.
It's worth noting here that while the Big Sister looks delicate, the plastic used in her construction (as well as Subject Delta) is incredibly tough and durable. This is most evident in the thin harpoons protruding from her wrists; the plastic here is stiff, but not brittle. Other great details on Big Sister include a striking getup of "leather" straps and buckles, an unusual helmet that resembles a demented webcam, and an air tank/cage contraption that you must plug into her back. The latter is pretty neat; the cage allows you to place a Little Sister in it, while the tank features some whimsical Little Sister artwork of a school of stick fish and a cute "family" portrait.
The Little Sister surprised me as the star figure of this assortment. What I thought was going to be a small, static sculpt ended up being a highly articulated, well-designed 3 1/2-inch tall toy. She comes highly recommended by herself, but she is also a must-have figure to compliment your other BioShock 2 action figures. She is a great companion piece to the Big Daddy Bouncer ("Mr. Bubbles!") and Subject Delta, and unless you want your Big Sister walking around with a big empty cage on her back, I suggest you pick up the Toys"R"Us exclusive 2-pack. As mentioned earlier, NECA may release a Little Sister 2-pack down the road, but why wait and take the chance of missing out?
PAINT: With their Gears of War action figure line, NECA pretty much perfected paint apps that mimiced weathered metal and leather. With their BioShock 2 figures, NECA hones their craft, realistically capturing the look of tarnished copper and bronze, blackened steel and tough and rough leather. To break up this gloomy cool color palette, eye-popping splashes of yellows and reds for the visors, lights and valves are used to great effect. While far from necessary (and probably too costly to do), the use of translucent plastics for the helmet visors and lights would have been very cool. As is, the paint apps on these BioShock 2 figures impress like a high-end collectible; an amazing accomplishment for a $14.99 toy.
ARTICULATION: For those fearing that these would wind up being plastic statues, fear not! NECA is pulling out all the stops on this line, packing each figure with plenty of useful articulation.
Subject Delta - This solid standing figure features ball/hinged shoulders, hinged/swivel elbows, hinged/swivel wrists, a very nice ball-jointed waist to make up for lack of head movement, swivel thighs, hinged/swivel knees and ball-jointed feet. His drill can also be rotated if you so desire. Overall the most well-articulated figure of the bunch.
Big Sister - Stars a slight ball-jointed head (swivels side-to-side great), ball/hinged shoulders, hinged/swivel elbows for awesome harpoon attacks, ball-joint wrists, ab crunch joint at the waist, cut upper thighs, ball mid-thighs, hinged knees and hinged/swivel feet. Getting Big Sister to stand properily can be a bit tricky due to her tank/cage top-heaviness, but it can be done with proper posing of the ab crunch joint. Her leg braces are pretty cool too; while a separate sculpt, they are encorporated into the knee articulation for a neat mechanical look. With extra care, some dynamic bent knee action poses can be achieved (see pic above).
Little Sister - Features ball-jointed head, ball/hinged shoulders, hinged elbows, ab crunch joint at the waist, as well as hinged upper thighs and knees. Despite having itty bitty feet, standing Little Sister is actually pretty easy. Her soft plastic skirt allows for some great leg movement, perfect for having her posed atop the shoulder of Subject Delta or Big Daddy Bouncer.
ACCESSORIES: As previously mentioned, Subject Delta comes with both a drill arm and alternate "human" arm. While the latter can be used to create a more relaxed, humanoid appearance, my money is on another use: the ability to grip the rivet gun packaged with the Rosie figure in Wave 2. The only other figure to include an accessory is the Little Sister. She comes with a syringe that resembles a gas pump nozzle for extracting ADAM. Given the bulk of these figures and the very nature of the game, the sparse selection of accessories is appropriate. If I had one suggestion it would be to include Plasmid effects for Subject Delta. These would be translucent plastic hand attachments that mimiced the game's elemental power blasts, such as fire, electricity and ice. Again, I'm sure it was a matter of keeping costs down, but it'd be a cool feature to see nevertheless.
COST & OVERALL IMPRESSION: I'm not sure how NECA manages to do it, but the solo-packed BioShock 2 figures retail at a affordable SRP of $14.99. The TRU exclusive 2-pack is also fairly priced at a SRP of $19.99. For robust 7-inch action figures as expertly sculpted, painted and articulated as these, those prices are a true value.
I haven't started playing BioShock 2 YET, but owning these figures in advance has me beyond excited to dive in. Big Daddy Bouncer may be the most iconic character to BioShock fans, but Subject Delta and Big Sister are soon to join that club. These are really creative character designs captured flawlessly in figure form. Whether a fan of the games or great sci-fi, NECA's BioShock 2 figures are sure to please.
For more images of these new BioShock 2 action figures, CLICK HERE!
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Samples Courtesy of NECA