Next up, we head to the company who has the American Harry Potter toy license, and a whole slew of other impressive licensed properties, NECA.
Toy Fair Report: NECA: NECA is a toy company which relies mostly on pop culture licenses for their main income. This year NECA announces new figures for a couple of their existing licenses: Harry Potter and Player Select. In addition, they announced a ton of attractive new licenses, led by Gears of War and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There’s a lot to talk about, so here we go.
HARRY POTTER: As millions around the world proved last year when the final book was released, Pottermania is alive and well. As the movie buzz ramps up and we get set for the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this November, it’s time to check in on NECA’s amazing popular and incredible looking line of our favorite Boy Wizard and his friends and enemies. The Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix line draws to an end with the release of Series 3. There are only three figures in the assortment, but two of them are some of the most amazing sculpts in the line. Series 3 consists of Harry in casual clothes, Bellatrix Lestrange and Lucius Malfoy. Bellatrix has a picture-perfect likeness of Helena Bonham Carter. The Lucius Malfoy figure comes with his cane, which his wand is removable from. In addition the figure also includes his Death Eater mask. The Harry figure also comes with the prophecy orb. These figures should be on shelves soon if they are not already available. Also be a lookout for new re-releases of the Order of the Phoenix figures with backdrop diorama display stands, which should also be available soon.
Next up for the Potter license is the release of the 2nd Series in the “Saga” line, consisting of figures from earlier movies. The tentative line up for Series two mixes figures from the Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire movies. This series also includes one of the fan’s most-requested figures. The tentative line-up is: Mad-Eye Moody, Fred and George Weasley, 2nd Year Harry in School Robes and the long requested Richard Harris Dumbledore figure. The small prototype versions of these figures were not ready in time for Toy Fair, but the larger scale prototypes were and all I can say is WOW! I wanted the Richard Harris Dumbledore figure pretty badly before I saw it. Now that I have seen it, I MUST have it!
NECA has also confirmed a box set of Dumbledore’s office from Chamber of Secrets that will come with 2nd Year Harry, Richard Harris Dumbledore and Fawkes the Phoenix in addition to various accessories. Finally, NECA revealed they are already hard at work on Half-Blood Prince figures, and have mentioned Ginny Weasley as one of the new characters. More information on the Half-Blood Prince line will be available later this year.
GEARS OF WAR: This is a HUGE license for NECA to have signed. Gears of War is one of the most popular games of all time on the X-BOX 360 video game console. Epic Games’ Gears of War thrusts players into humankind’s epic battle for survival against the Locust Horde, a nightmarish race of creatures that surface from the bowels of the planet Sera. The story unfolds as a ragtag group of soldiers, Delta Squad use every last ounce of strength to survive the onslaught from the forces of evil, which begins on the historic Emergence Day. A third-person shooter of epic proportions, Gears of War pits humanity against the deadly Locust Horde. The first series of Gears of War figures feature four figures based on characters from the game. The line-up for the first series is: Marcus Fenix, Augustus Cole, Locust Drone and Locust Sniper. NECA was also showing off and absolutely incredibly sculpted “headshot” Locust figure, but details of its release have not been announced, except for the fact that it will NOT be part of the regular assortment, but rather some sort of exclusive. Again, more information will be coming soon.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: This line has been generating a huge amount of buzz ever since its announcement. This line is based on the original comic book, which means the characters are not color-coded, but rather all have red bandanas and belts. Figures were shown of the four turtles, in addition to the unveiling of April O’Neill and Mouser figures. This looks like it is going to be a fantastic new property for NECA and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this line. Series one, featuring the four turtles, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael is scheduled for release next month.
THE PRINCESS BRIDE: Yes, one of the biggest cult movies in recent memory is getting the action figure treatment at last. Well, at least one character is anyway. NECA has announced a 7″ Dread Pirate Roberts figure. The likeness is a dead-on representation of actor Cary Elwes and it is a truly remarkable figure. NECA is negotiating for the likenesses for more characters, but no other announcements have been made. The Dread Pirate Roberts figure is set to release in April.
AVP-R: NECA’s continues their Aliens vs. Predator line with figures based on this year’s movie. With series one and two already out, the spotlight is now on series three. Series three will consist of Mouth Open Predator and Stealth Predator. The clear Stealth Predator figure is truly spectacular. This figures are due in stores in May.
CONAN: Not much information on this one, but it is definitely worth mentioning. NECA has acquired the rights to make figures based on the Conan movies starring Arnold Schwartzenegger. The only prototype shown was of Conan, but more details on this line should be released soon. I will say, the prototype is stunning, especially the face likeness.
THE EXORCIST: NECA has announced a license for the classic horror film, the Exorcist. The only product shown at Toy Fair was a figure of Regan in her “spider-walk” pose. The Exorcist line is due to hit shelves in June.
BEETLEJUICE: NECA has announced yet another new license. NECA will produce figures based on the film Beetlejuice. Only the one prototype in the striped suit was shown, though NECA has also confirmed a figure of Beetlejuice in the red tuxedo is in the works. The Beetlejuice figures are due to start releasing in June.
That does it for NECA. I’m really looking forward to seeing what NECA comes out with this year.