NECA's Terminator licence saw its first figures in 2009, and from then through to 2012 it saw NECA turn out some awesome figures from the first two Terminator movies. As with any licence, the bulk of the figures were of the main character - the Terminator itself as played by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In 2015 NECA is returning to the Terminator licence, however this time it is doing it within their Ultimate format. The Ultimate format appears to borrow some elements from Far East figure companies like Figma, where they release figures which include a quantity of interchangeable parts so that the collector has a range of "looks" that they can achieve to display their figure.
The Ultimate T-800 arrives in a boxed packaging which is a world away from the standard clamshells that the 2009-12 range utilised. Unlike the Endoskeleton (not an Ultimate figure) that arrived ahead of this figure the Ultimate T2 has now window through which to see the figure, but rather a front flap that opens via a Velcro closer so you can view the contents. I am not a MIB collector, but if I was I wouldn't be a huge fan of this packaging format. Although very attractive, it could just as well be an empty box on display unless you found a way to prop the front flap open.
The box is essentially a gloss black in colour and is accentuated with a blue steel trim and flashes. The imagery on the front is of Arnie from Terminator 2 as opposed to the actual figure itself. Both side panels see a repeat of the Arnie image and the Terminator 2 : Judgment Day text is emblazoned down either spine. The rear contains actual images of the figure, with three of its "looks" illustrated. There is also a paragraph of blurb detailing the plot overview for T2. Inside of the front flap is a full size image of the figure in an atmospheric blue lit shot which looks pretty impressive.
The figure slides out of the box in an outer cardboard tray which is coloured to match the blue/black colour scheme. Inside the inner perspex tray is the figure itself, two alternative heads and a quantity of weaponry which we will cover as we move through the review.
Let's start with the figure as it comes out of the box, and this is essentially the Cyberdyne showdown Terminator with its bandoleer of grenades. The sculpt is perfectly done and you can tell NECA have had a number of years and licences to capture Arnold's body shape and features. The body starts with a grey vest onto which is added a seperate leather jacket piece. The jacket is extremely well detailed with zips and fasteners and a number of bullet holes across both the front and the back. The jacket works down to the hands which are gloved. The trousers are again a leather look and include two zip detail at the boot area and the figure is finished in the black motorcycle boots.
Considering the figure is essentially one colour, black, the paint application is really well done with washes and highlights to bring out the folds in the fabric. All the zips and buckles are picked out in silver, and without a hint of paint bleed or splashes.
The three heads all reflect a slightly different look. The first is the plain undamaged head that is the one we saw originally on the Cyberdown Showdown figure. There is then a head with the sunglasses as originally included on the Pescadero Escape and the Battle Across Time. The final, and most detailed head, is the battle damaged version where sections of the face are blasted away to reveal the T-800 Endoskeleton underneath. This is the one we got on the Steel Mill figure. All three heads are really well done, capturing Arnie's look and expression from the movie. All are really well painted with a base skin tone and the battle damaged in particular has a lot of realistic paint apps around the damage and down into the silver Endoskeleton skull and that iconic red eye.
When I first saw the heads were solid pieces with the neck, rather than the usual ball jointed head that pops onto the neck, I was concerned about movement. Thankfully even with this type of joint the head can rotate a full 360 degrees and can also look up and down. The arms are on ball joints and can just about sneak out to just under 90 degrees to the body. They can also be raised above his head. The elbows both bend and swivel and along with the swivel wrists it allows the T800 to hold all three of the larger weapons with both hands if you wish.
Unlike a lot of modern figures, NECA have put in a waste swivel and this allows the figure to stand side on when being posed. The hips have a good range of movement and if you did want to sit Arnie down he could sit or kneel. NECA always do an awesome job of disguising joints, and the knees on this figure are a prime example with the joint designed into the folds of the trousers so that it is almost invisible. Neither knee bends a full 90 degrees, but again who wants T800 Arnie bending down or crouching. The final articulation is within the boots which are on rockers to allow the T800 to stand flat footed.
Outside of the heads the figure comes with a small armoury. The bandoleer is removable and pops off over the head if you don't want it on display. The shotgun (my favourite) fits snugly into the right hand and can be held in a two handed pose if needed, as can the grenade launcher. The hand gun fits in the right hand only and is a bit "meh" compared to the others. They all however pale into insignificance with the mini-gun which comes with its own ammo bag that slings over Arnie's shoulder.
All of this adds up to a near perfect figure and with it you can replicate almost all the looks from the T2 movie. The only real look missing is the man or machine look which would have needed the jacket to be removable and with two alternative arms - I can live without these. Picky me would maybe have liked alternative flesh coloured hands for the Pescadero look - but sometimes you can have so much choice.
Ultimate T-800 can walk away with nothing less than a perfect 5 out of 5 score. Packaging aside, there are no flaws what so ever with the figure and if this is the benchmark for future Ultimate Terminator figures then I am really excited for what is yet to come.