Sunday, October 29, 2023

The ABCs of 31 Days of Toy Terror: Zarak from Dungeons & Dragons by NECA


  Since we've made it through all 26 letters of the alphabet I've got a few days to do some random stuff. Today my frightening figure selection is Zarak from NECA's Dungeons & Dragons toyline. 2023 has been a huge year for Dungeons & Dragons toys! Hasbro released has released figures based on the 1980's cartoon series and figures based on the film and various novels and manuals in the Golden Archive collection, Super7 has ReAction figures based on vintage artwork, and NECA has started a line based on the vintage 1983 LJN toyline. The first two figures came out at the beginning of 2023 (Warduke and Grimsword) but I initially skipped them as I don't really have any nostalgia for the LJN toyline. I never owned any except for a Bugbear and an elf I found at a yard sale as a kid and I'm not sure I ever even knew the line existed (I wasn't born until '83). When I saw Zarak, though, I was immediately tempted. The vintage figure is just OK, but NECA's take on this Half-Orc Assassin is incredible. This year for my birthday I went with my family to an incredible toy shop (Needless Toys & Collectibles in Lincolnton, NC) and was given the chance to pick a few things out. Zarak was one of my gifts and, wow, I'm absolutely loving how devious he is! He's cool, sneaky, and really quite creepy, too. Let's check out Zarak after the break...

The Facts:

Height: 5 1/2ths inches

Articulation: Swivel/hinge ankles, swivel/hinge knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, balljointed mid-torso, swivel/hinge shoulders, double swivel/ hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, balljointed neck, and a barbell jointed head.

Accessories: 7 interchangeable hands, 2 portraits, collar, 2 daggers, potion, sword, and a grappling hook.

Non-Scalper Price: $38- $43 dollars

The Positives:

* Zarak comes packaged wearing his hood and collar but I've taken that off to start. He's a small guy, only around 5 1/2 inches, but he's wearing some very impressive clothing and is outfitted with lot of lethal gear. His outfit is a really nice mixture of black and blue, looking like something dyed a certain way to help blend into shadows. It's kind of like a tunic or robe that has a seam across the middle, where it closes. Across his torso are some belts with a variety of pouches and gear, including two sheaths n his left hip. The belts aren't removable but they are separate pieces with lots of small painted details. 

* Zarak's headsculpt might be my favorite action figure portrait of the year. It's just so eerie and life-like. There's something about it that reminds me of Lubdan the Leprechaun, which is absolutely a positive thing. There's so much character here. The teeth and wicked grin, the way the eyeballs are so bulgy and looking to the side; it's all just perfect. 

* Here's a shot of the back of Zarak, showing off more pouches for storing his wicked little goodies and a loop for his grappling hook. More on that in a moment!

* Zarak has a large collar that fits over his neck. It pairs nicely with his hooded head, giving him a very sneaky appearance. This is definitely the way to go if you're looking to capture the appearance of the vintage toy. I love the shape on his hood!

* Zarak's second portrait looks to have the same head but the hood isn't removable, so it really adds some shadow to his face. This is ideally the default way to display hi, though I wouldn't blame you if you preferred the unhooded head. 

* While Zarak is shorter than the other figures in the line, his articulation feels just as good. I've purchased a few NECA figures this year and I've been very impressed by how sturdy and durable they feel along with how well thought out their joints are. The joints seem very sturdy. Zarak is just really fun to pose, particularly because he has so many accessories to interact with. 

* Zarak comes with seven swappable hands that you can change in and out easily. You've got a pair of fists, a pair of gripping hands, a pair of open hands, and a right hand designed for griping his sword. 

* Let's take dive in to all of the cool accessories that Zarak comes with. First up is a healing potion. Yeah, being that he's a rogue/ assassin, you'd think this might be a poison but it absolutely looks like a healing potion. It's red, bubbly, and comes in a glass vial with a cork. Of course, the container is actually plastic for the toy, but it's a fantastic accessory. 

* NECA has also crafted a short sword for Zarak and it's pretty wicked looking. It's based on the blade Zarak is carrying on the painted image on the vintage card back, but made a little bit larger. It looks really sweet and seems like it'd be a decent weapon when Zarak finds himself in direct combat or for pulling off some sneak attacks. It's a good, solid blade with quite a few nice paint applications. There's even a drybrush effect to make the blade look weathered. 

* The dagger are another item that showed up on the vintage card art and in licensing art but that the figure didn't really have. Well, he came with one dagger, but not two luxurious daggers like this. They're perfect for stabbing, throwing, and coating in poison for assassination jobs. 

* Both daggers can store in this really nice double sheathe attached to Zarak's belt. They slide in easily but stay in place securely. 

* The vintage Zarak has a robe coiled on the back of his belt, but it's just a sculpted detail. NECA's Zarak actually has a full fledged grappling hook. It has four prongs and an actual string, giving you another tool to pose with Zarak. Something tells me he's fairly adept at using this as an improvised weapon.

* Coil the rope and you can have the grappling hook simple hang from the loop on the back of Zarak's belt. How convenient, right? 

   Zarak is incredible and definitely one of my absolute favorite figures of the year. Besides having just a wonderfully lifelike and creepy portrait, he's just a fun figure to mess around with and comes loaded with some very cool accessories. I wasn't even planning on collecting this line but the villains have definitely appealed to me. My figures are currently on display with my The Worst  Ultimates and Figura Obscura releases but I might put them with my small Mythic Legions. Zarak is a pretty versatile guy and an Epic figure. Definitely one of my most recommended figures in recent memory.

This is the first figure of Zarak I've reviewed.


  1. I've been dying to get the updated LJN figures I had as a kid but have only grabbed Warduke so far because he's a badass. I think the evil sorcerer is coming and I'll have to grab him too. I had Zarak and this is a damn fine head sculpt.

    1. Yeah, Zarak is just eerily realistic for some reason. I love him and I never owned any of the regular figures.

  2. OOooh! This is awesome! I rebought the original Zarak last year as a self Christmas present, as I lost my original toy....this version is now on my want list!


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