Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Action Figure Review: "Rocky IV" Rocky Balboa w/ Bloody Spit from NECA's "Rocky"

 NECA has long been know for putting out 6-7 inch scaled action figures based on various film licenses with exceptional details and likenesses, but it's only been in the last few years that NECA has started adding more articulation to their figures. Prior to the Dutch figures from Predator, perhaps the line to benefit the most from NECA's wicked combination of exceptional sculpting and enhanced articulation was the Rocky line. Based on one of the greatest movie franchises of all time, NECA has truly given us some fantastic action figures.  I included this line in my top ten list of the best toy lines of last year and I am still incredibly impressed by the figures. While out at a record store that also sold action figures, I came across the Bloody Spit version of Rocky from Rocky IV and knew I had to grab it.  Apparently it was available last year some, but I certainly never found it.  This is a very scene specific figure and captures Rocky taking a powerful punch from Ivan Drago right in the face. It's a unique figure that captures one specific moment in time beautifully.  Learn more, but first I must break I mean you'll have to stay tuned after the break.....

      Rocky comes in at just a little under 6 3/4 inches which not only puts him in scale with most of your other 6-7 inch NECA Reel Toys, but also puts him nearly perfectly in scale with other Rocky figures. Stallone's not the tallest guy out there, so Clubber Lang measures in a tad over 7 inches (factoring in his mohawk) and Ivan Drago measures in just a bit over 7 1/4.  It may not seem like it, but his figure towers over Rocky, just like Dolph Lundgren towered over Stallone.  What's super cool about the Rocky figures is that they're in the nice realistic style that NECA does so well. Want to have Rocky and the gang hang out with other 80s icons like Corporal Hicks, Robocop, Dutch, the Predator, and the Terminator? NECA lets you make those dreams a reality!
Rocky has hinged toes, ball jointed ankles, peg/post knees, peg/post thighs, ball jointed abs, peg/post shoulders, peg/post elbows, ball jointed wrists, and a ball jointed head.  You can easily put Rocky into any boxing pose that you could imagine and he looks eerily natural. The joints, while plentiful, are also very integrated into the sculpt. While you might imagine that a figure of someone only wearing boxing shorts would have lots of visible joints, you'd be wrong here.  The ball jointed mid torso joints really enhance the lifelike movement of the figure, and the ball jointed head gives you the motion you need to show Rocky taking a punch from the mountain of man that is Ivan Drago.  The only joints that are inhibited in any way are the thigh joints. The trunks are made from a stiffer material so Rocky can't lift his legs to do any ninja kicks or anything.  But hey, this is Rocky, not Kickboxer.

The sculpts on all of the Rocky figures are amazing, and this version of Rocky is no exception. Had any other company released these figures, most likely we would get the same body sculpt for most of the characters. Not so here. Not only does each boxer in the line have a unique build, but this Rocky has a unique sculpt from my original Rocky figure. NECA even accounted for Stallone's change in physique from Rocky toRocky IV.  All of the veins and musculature are perfectly captured.  Really, really detailed work. In terms of the head sculpt, I'm not sure that beautiful is the right word to describe it, but it certainly is impressive. His hair, the structure of the face, the closed eyes, and the bloody spit flying from Rocky's mouth are captured expertly like a still image taken with film.  Oh, and the boxing gloves and shoes are also recreated with amazing detail.  

     To further complement the exceptional sculpt, NECA has also given this figure an excellent paint job.  Actually, before they gave the figure a good paint job they nicely molded the figure in an excellent plastic that matched Rocky's flesh tone.  There is a nice mixture of the appropriate color tones with some translucency, and a touch of glossiness that really replicates human flesh well.   When it comes to the paint, I have two complaints. First, some of the stripes on the shorts are a little messy. Second, the interior foot pegs aren't painted.  Those are the only complaints I have with the figure. Everything else is done well, such as the blood splatter on Rocky's chest or the tiny "Tuf-Wear" print on his gloves.  I was looking at tons of film stills of Rocky IV to check for costume accuracy and I believe that NECA nailed the shorts perfectly. I seriously spent about 20 minutes looking at pictures, and that was entirely too much time, so you're welcome. 

 Rocky doesn't come with any accessories. I'm not even sure what I'd give him. He certainly can't hold anything with his boxing gloved hands.  Maybe the robot he gives to Paulie for his birthday?  Actually, maybe that could be a SDCC exclusive.  Heck, I'd make whoever NECA put out in this line, including Spider Rico and Frank Stallone. 

   NECA truly makes some of the best action figures on the market right now. They pick licenses that I care about, focus on making all areas of a figure great, and always seem willing to try something new and different.  So much of modern action figure making is about shortcuts, whether it's constantly reusing bodies, sticking to only the newest brands, or constantly rehashing the same characters in different scales.  The way that NECA looks for ways to innovate their figures reminds me of what companies like McFarlane, Resaurus, Palisades, and others were doing in the late 90's/early 2000's- finding ways to constantly push the envelope to add in just a bit more detail, a bit more articulation, or a more clever accessory.  Rocky is an exceptional figure that manages to capture a powerful scene from Rocky IV in plastic.  I have no problem that it's so scene specific because it just looks awesome in person.  If you're a fan of the Rocky franchise or simply enjoy action figures that do something different, give this figure a look.  You'll be glad you did.  It'll fill gaps in your collection.

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