So there may be no reveals of anything classic movie-era related coming out of New York Toyfair this month but its always nice to get something unexpected (and with no agonising waiting time) appear from nowhere.
Even having played a similar trick with their extremely popular left-field release of a 7″ tall Keaton Batman ’89 figure, it still seemed unlikely in the extreme that NECA could afford Superman similar treatment – they even said as much on Twitter and besides, didn’t Mattel have the license??
So imagine the surprise when a perfectly formed little cousin of their monster 1/4 scale pops up on the NECA website alongside an equally unanticipated Adam West ’66 Batman.
Released in conjunction with WB as a DVD Incentive (apparently the only way they were granted permission to do it) these beauties literally flew off the shelves of TRU’s all over the country and soon became the dream item of your favourite auction site’s opportunist. As for those of us across Europe desperately wanting that hole in their childhood filled too, ‘screw you’ seemed to be the prevailing attitude as this was to be a Stateside promotion only with no worldwide release pending.
Luckily for SUPERMANIA, friends and fellow SuperFans would come to the rescue and send a pair over the pond for the collection.
In hand, the figure is somewhat of a marvel but, as is common knowledge by now, their QC is abominable. The stories of limbs snapping off like toothpicks are 100% true and the chances of finding one with without a careless paintjob were slimmer than finding one at all.
NECA got many things right. The headsculpt (always a contentious issue) is superb, and the cloth cape mounting is the best on any Superman figure to date. The packaging is a delight (scaling down the 1/4 scale to even better effect) instantly making this the toy you always wanted to open at Christmas.
Naturally its not all good news. While the decal for the cape shield is a good effort, the chest logo is just as awful as the Quarter scale (where there was no excuse either) and the focal point for the worst of the paint QC. The proportions are also slightly odd, skinny arms, narrow shoulders and short legs compounded by the thinnest belt rendering on a Reeve Superman figure so far (even Mattel got this right). The boots go some way to making up for this but when its posed (providing you didn’t snap both legs clean off) he appears slightly bow legged.
As SUPERMANIA was one of the many infuriated by having the figure broken within seconds releasing it from the package, the decision was made to customise it, the results appearing above. Thankfully this figure needed little in the way of adjustment to make more movie-accurate. Printable fabric patches took care of both under-par shields (first/third pics) a little work with a craft knife added a parting to the hair (repainted to match Reeve’s hairline for the Donner years, second pic). and taking an iron to the cape (careful with this!!) made all the difference. It was finished with gloss coat on the belt and satin on the boots. Posed against the Hot Toys diorama (which the scale is far better suited to) and posed appropriately the result speaks for itself.
SUPERMANIA wished to thank James Sawyer (of 1989BATMAN.com and SuperFan Brian Adriaansen for their kind assistance with this post..!!
Despite repeated denials on the subject when the question of the possibility of a smaller scale Reeve Superman figure was posed by SUPERMANIA on Twitter, NECA have surpassed expectations by not only producing this all-new 7″ figure but having in the shelves already.
Part of an exclusive promotion (similar to their Keaton Batman figure DVD tie-in a few years back) by Warner Bros. to boost DVD sales, this limited-edition figure is one of three (Adam West Batman and Heath Ledger Joker scaled down from their respective 1/4 scale versions) available online and selected branches of TRU.
Famed for their constant interaction with fans it would appear NECA have heeded some criticism from fans regarding some of the inaccuracies of their recent quarter-scale release (especially the headsculpt) and have delivered a superb package worthy of any collectors inventory.
While the likeness is improved beyond measure by the flattening of the hair and broader face, the figure appears skinny overall and the chest shield (bottom pic) is still an embarrassing afterthought. Minor quibbles with what is the most elegantly presented figure in any scale to date with a beautiful box (top pic) and sporting a fabulous cloth cape (third pic) this is a serious contender for the best Superman action figure to date.
Due to restrictions of the promotion this figure is frustratingly limited to the USA at present with no word from NECA on whether or not the run will be extended or indeed make it overseas. The apparent indifference from NECA regarding availability paired with QC issues reportedly arising from the first batch (breakable limbs and poor paint apps) may have left a poor first impression but overall this release should be cause for celebration for fans of the classic Superman Movies…
Thanks to TOYARK for the quality pics – read their review here…
From the NECA website;
“We still believe a man can fly… Decades after its release, Christopher Reeve iconic portrayal of Superman: The Movie in the 1978 remains the definitive version. Working closely with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Warner Bros, we are deeply honored to present this new 1/4 scale action figure of the hero as generations have known him.
Superman stands over 18” tall and features the authorized likeness of Christopher Reeve. The figure comes with a tailored soft fabric cape and interchangeable hands. Highly poseable and movie-accurate, this is a must-have for fans of every age. Ships to retailers in May!”
Highly anticipated and unveiled only yesterday at the New York Toyfair, flourishing US toy company NECA, having already capitalised on vintage WB/DC Batman properties, finally came through with their long-hinted Superman figure in quarter scale.
Presenting the fourth contemporary action figure (discounting statues) based on the likeness of Christopher Reeve (top pic), NECA will be the first to release the largest to date at a whopping 18″ tall due to be released this May.
Cautiously optimistic since the announcement from last year’s NY Toyfair and encouraged by the company’s output and constant interaction with fans through their Twitter account, SUPERMANIA is typically as frustrated with the prototype shown (second third & fourth pics) as it is elated.
For something apparently approved by the Reeve estate and WB, its galling that something that claims to be Movie Accurate (that term again!) has obvious issues in the forehead area (where the towering hairline makes the hair itself appear disproportionate) and the now standard free (juvenile) interpretation of the chest shield detract from a figure that gets so many other details right. Indeed, among the positives are the rendering of the boots, (managing not only to achieve the correct cuff widths but even incorporating the correct seams) passable representations of the screen seen costume colours, correct cut of the shorts and a correct length cape. The likeness, though suffering from slight cross eyes in the prototype (top pic) has great merit with the nose, cheekbones and lips possibly the best attempt since Hot Toys 1/6 version.
Of particular note is how NECA have listened to their fans and gone to considerable effort to mask the articulation in this figure (always difficult in a ‘skintight’ suited body) having wisely excised the abdominal joint that became such a distracting eyesore on the Adam West Batman figure.
As ever, one hopes for intervention and some amendments being made before the figure goes to production (and, refreshingly, for NECA this would not be a first) but as of right now, one can foresee this item being popular in its own right and of infinite potential for customisation. SUPERMANIA will keep you informed…
Thanks to TOYARK for the pics taken from the show…