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Review : Jareth, The Goblin King (NECA, Cult Classics - 2008)

Labyrinth didn't do particularly well when it was released in 1986, but has since reached cult status. In 2008 NECA turned their attention to Labyrinth for a stand alone range of figures, badged under the Cult Classic Umbrella.

The first release was that of Jareth, The Goblin King, and he would be repeated in a variant costume 2-pack alongside Hoggle. Sadly, the range never went any further and we have so far been deprived of Ludo and Sir Didymus.

As it is Halloween, it is a perfect time to have a look at the Goblin King himself.

Jareth comes in the larger blister pack that Cult Classic collectors will be familiar with. The card has the figure blister on the right with an insert at the base of this blister showing a head shot of David Bowie in character and the character name. The left hand side contains the full graphics starting with the Cult Classic logo that runs over a larger head shot of Bowie holding a crystal ball of Sarah. The panel ends with the Labyrinth logo.

Flip the box round and the rear of the card is taken up mostly by an image of the head of Jareth, this time the image is the figure itself. Behind Jareth are images of Sarah, Ludo and other characters from the movie, and to the left is a short paragraph covering the plot of the film.

Once opened Jareth is a fair weight in your hand, and he stands a touch over 7" tall. Cult Classic figures will never have any significant articulation, and Jareth has just a few points of movement - the widest being at the elbows to amend the position of the hands. The legs are fixed completely, and the only other hint of movement is in the head which moves a tad to either side.

To counteract the lack of articulation, what NECA do so well is design a figure to come straight out of the box in the iconic pose you remember from the film.

The sculpt on Jareth, and bear in mind this figure is now 7 years old, is stunning. The face isn't quite a perfect match for David Bowie, but it does capture elements including the angular cheek bones. The hair is sculpted in individual strands and this gives the volume needed and has it flow down in the right proportions.

It is the outfit though that out-shines the head sculpt as it is just covered in detail and varying textures. We start with the cloak which starts with a brown shiny collar and down into the shoulders with almost a skeletal design. Where this finishes, the larger cloak emerges. This is cast in a transulcent material that whips round the figure at both side and is tattered, almost like a cobweb.

Under the outer cloak is a bold blue under cloak which starts to add a streak of colour to the figure. Beneath this and the top of Jareth is an intricately designed shirt with more high collars and decorated in a number of goblin symbols. The trousers start with that famous cod piece and are skin tight down to a pair of slim boots.

Paint applications are perfect, with each element of the outfit decorated in a different colour and then washed and drybrushed and the detail picked out. The face is quite flatly painted, but the eyes and mouth are done well and the thick eye brows add to the look. The hair has loads of depth having been done in a darker finish first and then brought through to the sandy final colouring.

The only accessories that come with Jareth are his crystal ball and an alternative right hand. The first hand, the one that comes fitted, is shaped to hold said crystal ball, while the other is a closed fist. They swap over reasonably well, but I wouldn't recommend doing it too often.

My one criticism with the figure I picked up (after a number of years searching) is that the left hand is in the wrong position and is also fixed in place - and no end of heating and twisting can persuade it to move.

Jareth is one of those bitter sweet releases. A stunning figure, but one that if you didn't buy it in 2008 will cost you quite a bit more now, and that is assuming you can find one as there are very few on the secondary market. It is also one of those figures that you get and wish that the range had carried on a little longer to get more characters out to fans.

As always with Cult Classic releases, I will be rating him vs his contemporaries of the time. Yes, the articulation is severely lacking vs modern NECA releases, but he really doesn't need it The sculpt is as good as anything on shelves today, and the paint applications are near on perfect.

Jareth avoids the Bog of Eternal Stench and walks away back to his Labyrinth with a respectable 4 out of 5.


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