They don’t make ‘em like they used to.

Cartoons, video games, comics: for us 80’s and 90’s babies, older is better. I’m sure my dad would say the same thing, how The Beatles were better than any band since. I have to admit I tend to agree with him. I can hardly see myself at 80, sitting on my porch and looking out into the sky and humming, “Like a G6…”

Even movies were better. For instance, they don’t seem to make properly pulpy, R-rated science fiction movies anymore. And by properly pulpy, R-rated science fiction movies, I mean Paul Verhoeven films.

If you’re not familiar with Verhoeven, he’s the director of one of the worst films in existence, Showgirls, as well as one of the best suspense thrillers ever, Basic Instinct. He is also the director of some of the most entertaining action movies ever. They are currently re-making his Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle, Total Recall, but he’s also known for Starship Troopers, a film based on the Robert Heinlein novel of the same name.

Perhaps the best known film under his belt is Robocop.

Robocop is set in the Detroit of the near future, where greedy corporations have superseded government and allowed the city to go to pot. Crime is everywhere and the police are helpless to stop it. The government, broke and desperate, privatizes the police force. The corporations answer to complaints of dangerous conditions, low pay, and inadequate equipment is to field a cybernetic unit that can literally “tank” for the human officers and do all the shit work they can’t.

Despite its graphic violence (the film initially got an X rating before they agreed to tone it down), the film spawned a moderately successful franchise, from a syndicated TV show, cartoons, video games, etc. I remember there were toys of the character, but since the original movie was rated R-18, it didn’t have a big pre-teen following. Fans had to be contented with the toys from the 1990 cartoon, Robocop and the Ultra Police which had a decidedly different demographic.

These days though, nostalgia hounds now have several choices for Robocop merchandise. You can get statues and busts from Sideshow Collectibles. Hot Toys has a $130.00 version that is fully articulated and accessorized. Personally, I don’t really like the big scale figures. Not having any space in my place for the kind of displays you need for a 1/6th scale figure collection, I’ve been waiting for something along the lines of a 1/12th scale toy. They had a McFarlane Robocop in the Movie Maniac line sometime back, but I never did see it on shelf.

And that’s where NECA comes in.

This is their 7” Robocop figure, released last year and finally appearing here in the Philippines last month. I got mine in Toy Kingdom for about Php 1,200.00, but if you can stop by a 2Rats branch (Greenhills Shoppesville), they’re likely selling it for about Php 900.00.

NECA already came out with a Robocop figure a couple of years ago: an 18” monster that had electronic lights and sounds, but this one is of a scale with the NECA Predator and NECA T-800. That compatibility wins out over size and action features. This version is just about the same size as the Schwarzenegger figure and a little shorter than the Predator, making it just the right size for both the NECA collection, and my superhero collection.

Robocop vs. Batman, anyone?

Ok, so I forgot to take a photo of Robocop vs. Batman, but you get the idea.

If there is one thing that NECA has going for it, it’s their sculptors. The dudes that crank out these pieces are among the best in the field, especially considering they’re working on a small scale. Kyle "Tankman" Windrix, the sculptor responsible for this figure, spent 4 years at McFarlane Toys before he joined NECA. Since he started, he’s been leading the way in NECA’s movie line of toys. He’s partly responsible for those awesome Predators figures, and the lovely xenomorph figures we got from the AVP line.

Robocop is no different. As I don’t have any other Robocop figure to compare it to, you’ll have to settle for me telling you that he looks pretty damn near the original model:

Original 1987 Movie Poster of Robocop

The proportions and the details of the figure look very close to the image of the character from the film, right down to the tiny pistons on the back of his calves. The face is near enough to Peter Weller’s (the actor who played Murphy, the man who would eventually become Robocop), but honestly, you can’t really tell with half his face covered.

He is appropriately thick around the chest, just like he should be. After all, you have to remember that this was a guy in a suit. In previous iterations, he’s suffered from sculptors wanting to make him thinner than he was on screen, more aesthetically pleasing. Personally, I love the thick middle. It’s so… angas. As if he’s screaming at perpetrators, “Here I am! Shoot me!” He doesn’t duck. He walks right up to you (you being the bad guy), takes your gun, waits for you to break your hand punching him in the stomach, and then reads you your rights.

The only glaring omission in terms of sculpting is the lack of the nubbin at the top of his hydraulic cylinders.

Sadly, action figure is plagued by the other stuff. There are two areas that NECA has constantly been called on: their paint, and their quality control.

Paint on Robocop is pretty meh. The best I can say for it is that it’s serviceable. He’s got three main colors basically: the silver, the black, and the flesh tone for his face. There are some subtle highlights on his chest with some blues and pinks mixed in, but other than that he’s pretty plain. They didn’t even bother to give the legs a faint wash to bring out the seams in his armor.

The biggest problem area is the face. Every single piece I’ve seen has flesh tone slopping over from his cheeks and chin onto the black of his helmet. Every single piece. If you’re a stickler for perfect paint applications on your figures, good hunting, dude.

Which brings us to quality control. I imagine that there’s a reason that NECA continues to use the same factory for their lines (probably costs) but paint is not the only area that is affected by this choice. I’ve read several reviews that say that not all of the helmets are pushed down all the way (the helmet is a separate piece from the head): the nose still pokes out the bottom. Mine doesn’t have that problem, but I can see the bottom of his nose plain as day under the visor.

Another issue is the plastic of the legs, which is soft. Like DC Universe Classics, figures in the package with this kind of plastic are prone to warping. You’ll need to be careful you don’t get one that has a bent leg. Also check the pistons at the rear of the leg. The one I got has severely warped cylinders so the rod can’t move up and down smoothly. It hampers articulation and makes you think you’ll break the thing if you use his ankle joints.

Lastly, beware of missing pieces. The hydraulic assembly on the back of his legs is made from 2 separate pieces, the cylinder and the pistons. The thin rods of the pistons are tiny, while the cylinders are only lightly glued to a small tab on Robocop’s calves. Mine fell off soon after I opened it. In addition to those small pieces there’s also his gun and his extra hand to check.

Since we're on the subject of his gun, the Auto-9 looks awesome. It's scaled properly, but I still get the feeling it should be BIGGER. It' looked much larger on screen. Maybe it's because Robocop was always pointing it at the camera so the perspective made it look huge in comparison. Still, the sculpting is pretty nice and accurate. No paint applications though.

His other accessory is an extra right hand: a fist with a data spike extended. If you've seen the movie, you know this is the way he accessed information from computers. He also used it to stab people, which was good for a laugh or two. While it's a nice include, I can't help but be afraid it's gonna break at any moment. It's not as soft as the rest of him, so it's probably prone to breakage.

While I love the accessories, I think they could have done better. I for one would have preferred a removable helmet rather than the data spike hand. It would have been nice if we got to see Weller's blank face behind the mask. Also, I really miss his holster. In the movie, his right thigh would open to reveal a cavity where the Auto-9 would slide into. It was an awesome sight, but NECA has failed to include it here.

Still, you have to remember that this is a figure that retails for only about $20.00 US. It's not like the upcoming Figma release that can go for $50.00 or so, making those extra includes viable.

The photo above shows about as good as it gets in the articulation department. His shoulders don't arc out very far, and his elbow hinges are very limited. He's got no thigh swivels, so lunges are out of the questions. Then again, you never saw him doing those in the movie, did you. What he has is enough for most of what you'd expect Robocop to do.

In the end, I am pretty satisfied with the NECA Robocop. He's sturdy, solid, and well constructed. The sculpting is nice, and the accessories, while not many, are appropriate and good looking. His price point is also a good plus. If you can afford the Figma or the Hot Toys version, then you shouldn't be reading this review.

Really the biggest sticking point is the quality control. You really need to accept that you're going to have to find this thing in the wild, then spend a half hour choosing the best one. It's a crap shoot if you order it online. If paint and warping are big problems for you, I suggest you give this one a pass.

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