Saturday, 5 April 2014

FLASHBACK REVIEW! Freddy vs Jason -- NECA Jason Voorhees

Company: NECA
Year: 2004

Scale: 7” (?)

In 2003, a film was released that horror fans had been waiting years for – Freddy vs Jason. Opinions on it vary wildly, but it was reasonably successful at the box office and was, if nothing else, an entertaining piece of trash cinema. A part of me is still quite disappointed that the oft-discussed Freddy vs Jason vs Ash never saw release on a cinema screen.
One piece of merchandise that was released in its wake was a 2-pack from NECA featuring both the titular characters, complete with a semi-diorama of flaming timber floorboards (from their fight near the end of the film). 19-year-old me was a huge fan of the film, so I picked up this bad boy as soon as I could afford it. 
Freddy’s head has been lost to time (which consigned the rest of him to the bin) but Jason has stayed tucked away in my parent’s garage for almost ten years. Recently I pulled him out, thinking that there might be some good photo ops for him, now that I own a bunch of NECA figures. But how does he hold up to modern NECA standards?   


It has been a long, long time since I watched any of the Friday the 13th films, so I don’t recall whether this is a particularly accurate sculpt. It certainly conveys the vibe well – Jason was less elaborate-looking in this film than he was in some of the earlier releases, and I don’t see any details leaping out at me as “wrong”. But the first thing you’re likely to notice about Jason is that he’s BIG. Ostensibly in 7” scale, Jason towers over a modern Predator. I know he’s meant to be a tall guy – but not that tall.  
NECA went the extra mile and made the mask removable. I couldn’t tell you how accurate the head sculpt is beneath the mask – I don’t remember ever getting a good look at his unmasked (adult) face in any of the movies (except perhaps Friday the 13th, Part 2? It’s been years since I watched any of them…). However, it sure is impressively ugly -- and he kind of looks like a pirate…


As for articulation? Well, there’s not a lot by modern standards. His neck, right shoulder, left shoulder, left elbow and waist all have cuts in them, rather than hinges or swivels. He’s more than a statue, but not much more. This didn’t bother me at the time, of course. I preferred sculpt to articulation (still do) and the only massively articulated figures I knew of at the time were Marvel Legends – most of which seemed shockingly ugly, 700 points of articulation or not – who wanted a Jason like that?
Now we live in a different era, where you can have good articulation and a good sculpt working in tandem (and to be fair, a lot of those old Marvel Legends figures actually looked quite good). By these standards, Jason would be totally unacceptable to many. But he’s a product of his times, and judged on those standards I think he holds up pretty well.      

Jason comes with two accessories – his machete and his iconic hockey mask. As mentioned above, his mask is removable. Time may be fogging my memory here, but I seem to recall that that it was actually magnetised, to attach to Freddy’s claws. The level of detail in the sculpting and paint is admirable, and although I’m careful with my stuff, I’m still quite impressed that the cords haven’t snapped over the years.

The machete is okay, but not great. It’s cast in black, with a thin silver line drybrushed on the edge of the blade. There’s been a little bit of warping over the years, but nothing major.  And it would work just as well with almost any other similar-scale figure, such as Dutch or one of the Predators.  

When I bought this guy, I was amazed at the paint work. I knew that McFarlane and NECA could produce some great stuff, but I’d never owned any before, so I hadn’t really seen it up close. Ten years later, it’s certainly not bad, but perhaps seems a little basic by modern standards. Part of this is the colour scheme of the character – this iteration of Jason didn’t really lend himself to flashy paintjobs. It’s no Dutch or Lost Predator, but it doesn’t embarrass itself by comparison.   

Back in 2004, this two-pack retailed for approximately $60AUD, but I picked it up on sale for $30 at Electronics Boutique (now EB Games) – still a lot of money for a poor uni student at the time, but good value nonetheless. I miss the old days when EB had far too many toys and would eventually just mark everything down to crazy prices. But on that basis, I can definitely understand why they stopped stocking toys for years!  

This is also indicative that NECA’s prices really haven’t risen too drastically over the last 10 years. The average figure retails for $34.95AUD, though smart shoppers can often find them for around the $29.95 mark.  
From a sculpting perspective, Jason still holds up quite well, and paint is still well within the acceptable range. Articulation will be the big factor that prevents people from seeing him in a positive light. So I wouldn’t recommend going to any real lengths to track him down, but he’s a good snapshot of a particular style of collector’s toy in the noughties.

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