First shown case-fresh over a year ago on SUPERMANIA, Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse 4″ General Zod action figure returns to Planet Houston having endured the full custom treatment.
Now somewhat more worthy of the ‘Highly detailed and authentic’ promise of the packaging, the discerning adult collector would surely appreciate the subtle cosmetic changes made to match this figure to his screen counterpart as shown in Superman II (and perhaps more literally in the Donner Cut)
In fact as custom mods go, this was a relatively simple task as the sculpt for the scale is rather magnificent and only diminished by a stock paintjob. If anything the challenge here was to find a paint that would replicate the metallic maroon finish of the actual costume trim and boots (the boots themselves now residing at Propstore, click here for the story). When Mattel correctly emulated this detail on their great 1/6 scale Movie Masters figure in 2010 it was met with derision as the costume was generally perceived to be jet black. There would be no such ‘mistake’ with this later release.
Having tested dozens of colour combinations salvation would come in the form of nail polish of all things – a perfect balance of colour and shine applied to the appropriate areas – (top pic) only betraying hints of the maroon (second pic) just like the original costume on film.
With only a few more embellishments (chest hair and silvered temples) the figure was finished and photographed against the perfect backdrop of the Hot Toys Superman figure and the result when compared to the factory version speaks for itself.
The Superman figure from this line is next to receive the custom treatment but is typically a far more complex and intricate job – look out for him in a future post..!
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…