By delta_ass 0 Comments
Third and final Jaeger: Striker Eureka. "First and last of the Mark Fives." Though hopefully, NECA sees some good sales for this one so they might go back and give us the fourth Jaeger, Crimson Typhoon. I understand why it wouldn't make financial sense to go and make 18 inch versions of obscure ones like Horizon Brave or Tacit Ronin, but it really hurts to see my shelf with three of the hero Jaegers. There's an obvious hole there waiting to be filled. (that's what she said!)
Striker is the largest, by mass, of the three NECA figures. His head is about on equal level with Gipsy Danger's, while his jetpacks make him the tallest by a hair. This is probably oversized compared to the movie version, where Striker looked to be about a head shorter than Gipsy's tall lanky form, emphasizing its short, powerful bulldog-esque physique.
An interesting new wrinkle is the fact that Striker's two large fin-shaped jet thrusters on his back come separately, so some assembly is required. At first, this seemed an impossible task. Striker, just as the other NECA Jaegers before it, is mostly made of tough vinyl. So you see the male plug on the jetpack, and it doesn't slip comfortably into the hole on the back. I was jamming and jamming on it for a while before giving up. So like, I was totally about to start bitching about how this vinyl bullshit was screwing up the figure, just like Cherno, when I went online and looked up a youtube review and found out that you're supposed to use the hairdryer technique to soften up the hole so the plug goes in easily. And lo and behold, on the back of the box... there's some instructions to do just that. Doh, what a fool I was. So... just a note to anybody else: it's not a design defect, you're just meant to heat up and soften the hole. Lesson learned.
Here's a closeup of the detail on Striker. It looks really good, especially the molded detail on top of the cockpit. It's all film accurate and doesn't look warped the way that some vinyl features on Cherno did. Overall, I feel like they really learned from their mistakes on Cherno and got the quality control to where it needed to be. The feet are also flat and firm and plant perfectly on level surfaces. Really good changes after the last figure. The cockpit itself is rather large, so you don't get super good articulation with head movement. Side-to-side movement is good, but that's about it. There's no looking up or down.
One thing you definitely notice right off the bat is that Striker is by far the least weathered of the three Jaegers. There's some battle scrapes here and there, but for the most part this looks like a factory fresh model. I think that's okay though, since Striker is the most advanced Jaeger in existence and so it logically makes sense that it'd have taken less damage than the war-weary Cherno and Gipsy.
While I'm really happy with the detailing on the figure, there are some design quirks that could've been worked on. The large wrist blades flip out from the arms and you can have them deployed just like in the movie. However, there's nothing that snaps them into position, they're simply operating off of friction, so if you're careless and bump the blades accidentally, you can just swing them into overlapping arcs, which looks bad. I just wish they'd made some sort of wrist stopper there to keep them from colliding into each other.
While the problem with Cherno's joints were that they were way too tight and constricted, NECA seems to have gone to the other extreme for Striker and made shoulder joints that are way too loose. Once again, instead of going for pricier ratchet joints (those are the ones that go "click click click" when you rotate the joint and are some of the strongest joints in action figure design) NECA went for cheaper ball joints that mainly rely on friction against the socket. This means that all too often, the arms of Striker will just fall down and droop. And you look at Striker's arms, and they're big and long and heavy, like a gorilla's arms. There's really no way that loose shoulder joints are gonna be able to support elevated arms like these in the vast majority of poses that you can think of. I've gotten them in some poses in these pictures by toying around with the arms for a while and finding sweet spots to relieve the stress on the joints, but it's not ideal by any means. Elevated arm poses are going to be a constant problem.
Another tricky thing about the figure is that the big finned jetpacks on the back are somewhat weighty and noticeably shift Striker's center of gravity backwards, resulting in a much more funky, top heavy figure than either Cherno or Gipsy. So you really need to check the balance and be sure of the pose, or else a slight loosening of the leg joints anywhere will either send it falling backwards from the weight of the jets, or forwards onto its face. I've already had it fall off the table once, thank god it's made out of tough vinyl and my floor's carpeted.
Here's how it looks with the light up feature. The top of the cockpit lights up, along with the lights on the chest. It's way way less bright than what you get with Cherno's lights, and feels like more of a nice warm glow than some crazy strong floodlights, which is nice.
There's a few problems with Striker, but its presence as a display piece is pretty damn impressive. Unlike with Cherno, they really got the details right and it all feels like a quality factory run. The loose shoulder joints and top heavy nature of the torso slightly detract from the playability, but it's not bad enough to stop me from recommending it.