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Figures and Speech: Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman, 1990 Raphael, and Bonus Bill Paxton

Figures and Speech: Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman, 1990 Raphael, and Bonus Bill Paxton

Welcome to Figures & Speech, Nerdist’s regular column by, for, and about grown-ups who still play with their toys but might want to know more before they buy. From product reviews to informed editorials, these are most definitely the articles that’ll make you want to strike a pose. Click all images to enlarge.

In a felicitous quirk of timing, International Women’s Day saw one of the coolest female superhero figures ever show up at my door. I don’t think it was any kind of Reptile Day as well, but a brooding turtle showed up beside her. Both are the latest NECA quarter-scale action figures, and serve as reminders that, as cool as nerddom thinks ’80s movies were, the early ’90s gave us some pretty amazing stuff too.

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For my money–and NECA’s too, I suspect–there hasn’t been a better live-action Catwoman than Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns, and it’s a great loss to cinema that Warner Bros. waited so long to do a Catwoman spin-off film that it morphed into something entirely non-canonical with Halle Berry. Unlike the Danny DeVito Penguin, this Catwoman design did get a figure in the original Kenner movie line: it was one of a handful of original sculpts that came out towards the tail end, as Kenner began switching over to animated-style toys. And I was hugely excited to find it at the time, but it was so small it barely looked like Pfeiffer.

Unlike this one. Behold:

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NECA’s Catwoman comes with two heads: regular and battle-damaged. The battle-damaged one marks the first time I can remember them working with rooted hair, and it is perfect. It really looks like Michelle Pfeiffer is furious with you. The more “normal” head looks less like her; I think it’s going for a more subtle expression and that maybe the paint job isn’t quite capturing it. It’s fine, but you’ll probably want to use the battle-damaged head more.

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And that’s because the body is also battle-damaged: it’s bursting at some of the seams, with actual threads hanging out, an above-and-beyond level of detail that other companies would likely not have even thought about.

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The claws on her hands are also separate pieces, and might come off. I’m not sure they’re supposed to, but at least one did on mine and had to be put back in. So if you want her extra damaged, implying that a claw or two remain sunken into Batman’s flesh, you can do that.

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Catwoman comes in a box that has snow deco and cat-scratchings printed on the clear plastic–it looks like it’s trying to create the effect of her having fallen in said snow.

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In yet another cool bonus detail, the top of the box features a store window design you can use to recreate one key scene.

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As is standard with NECA quarter-scale figures, to get her out of the box, you’ll have to all but destroy it. The de-nubber tool Bluefin sent me to help with model kits proves adept at cutting twist-ties, however, which makes this easier.

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I got excited at the description on the box saying that the figure includes a stand. Would this finally be a NECA Q-scale I don’t need to buy one separately for? Unfortunately not. This is the stand:

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It’s a disc with a footpeg. You don’t need it, and you will probably want a doll stand if you plan to put her on a shelf. She also comes with extra hands, her signature whip, and a taser.

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Both of her holding-hands are right hands, so she won’t hold both weapons at once.

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The choice is yours. The whip has a bendy wire, all the way through, so you can position it any way you’d like.

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Catwoman’s articulation is great, possibly the best on any NECA figure this scale, though her clicky hip joints click so loudly you’ll be terrified you’ve broken her at least once. She has a ball-jointed neck, shoulders, wrists, mid-torso hidden under her corset/waist, hips, and ankles; elbows are double-hinge AND double ball, while knees are double-hinged.

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Seriously, how GREAT is that face?

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But perhaps the ultimate seal of approval is this…

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Now, about Raphael. Because he uses the same base body as Donatello, a lot of what I already said about Donnie still holds true. The packaging is similar, of course, but altered as needed.

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His extras are similar: alternate hands, a pizza slice, and two weapons. Because Don only had the one bo, he got a retromutagen ooze cannister. Raph lacks that, but comes with two sai.

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Two sai, two sai, hush hush, eye to eye…

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Did you know movie Raph has a scar on his face? While the body is mostly identical to Don’s, it’s more beaten up. His rear shell shows battle-damage from being hit with what looks like many blades.

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They have spots in different places, but otherwise similar coloration.

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30 points of articulation are boasted, and that seems about right.

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Raph is lacking in one respect: he doesn’t have hands that can hold the sai knuckle-style. This one comes close, but not quite a cigar…

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NECA would probably argue that if he didn’t do that in the movie, their figure doesn’t have to, which is fair, but they go above and beyond so much that it’s a minor disappointment.

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The inner mid-torso ball joint on Raph gets more movement, as he lacks Don’s shoulder strap. Because it’s a loose joint, his inside-shell torso has a tendency to hang forward and look down, though it’ll stay up if you push it all the way back. But the side-to-side range gives you the option for more action poses, like so:

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“He ain’t heavy, he’s my..”

“You’re heavy, dude! Lay off the pizza!”

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Finally, though it did not come as a review sample but as a purchase, I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that in light of Bill Paxton’s tragic passing, there is an action figure of him available on Toys R Us shelves right now.

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NECA originally sold two different versions of Hudson, but this one comes with both his looks.

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Ironically for an actor who is so often low-key, each head represents his most exaggerated facial expressions.

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If you want one, they are still available at Toys R Us.com as of this writing.

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Raphael will run you around $100, and Catwoman $104.99.

Images: LYT for Nerdist

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