Review : Chief Hopper
Wave/Series : McFarlane 7"
Released : March 2018 (UK)
Price : £16.99 - £19.99
Alongside Eleven, McFarlane chose Chief Hopper as the 2nd figure to launch their Stranger Things 7" line. While most of McFarlane's 7" figures in recent years have come window boxed, the Stranger Things figures played to the retro feel of the show and its 80's setting and the figures were sold carded on very retro rounded corner cards. The artwork too was 1980s in styling with the tram line border and the movie poster backdrop.
The figures are presented in the blister to the bottom left of the card. Above this is the character name, in this case Chief Hopper, and to the right at the bottom is the Stranger Things logo. The Netflix log sits top and central breaking that tramline border, and just round from this is the McFarlane badge - and this to is a throwback to the early days of McFarlane rather than the more modern logo.
Carded figures are designed both for that retro feel, but also to appeal to collectors to keep the figures carded and displayed in their packaging. To that end I do not understand the decision to use the same depth as blister on Hopper as they did on Eleven. That means the figure doesn't actually fit in its normal state - so to make him fit the feet have been bent inwards.
The look is awful and at first glance I thought my figure was broken. Would I have picked this up in a store if I didn't know it was a deliberate move?
Having done some research I haven't found any other examples of this online, so it may be a batch problem or something that has been done at the factory. We've reached out to McFarlane for clarity.
The card reverse also has a retro feel with pictures of the current figures (Hopper and Eleven) and a checklist of the other figures coming. The card we have is a European design and the text is repeated in French and Italian in certain places.
The blister has to be ripped to be opened, and inside we have the figure sat into an inner tray. There is one twisty tie round the waist and this isn't your usual tie, this is both elasticated and twisted - so its even harder to remove. Either side of Hopper's head is his revolver and coffee mug. And sat into the back of the insert is a Stranger THings figure stand.
Unlike Eleven, Hopper has no issues standing for display or for our photos' We have still however dropped him onto his stand. This is again a clear stand, with a yellow tint. The Stranger Things logo is printed on top and there is one single peg which attaches to Hopper's right foot - there is no peg hole on the left foot.
While Eleven was a truly spectacular sculpt, I am less impressed with Hopper and he has certainly lost a lot of the likeness we saw in prototype images. He has also lost an alternative head which was shown early on and is presented with one head with the Sheriff hat fixed in place.
Positives on the head sculpt include the eyes and the use of shading to pick out the features. The beard however is too thick and lumpy and the hair and ears are very basic - as though they are from a different (cheaper) figureline all together.
The rest of the body, the Sheriff Uniform, is well executed. The shirt is a pale beige with a crisp Police badge and nameblate on either side of the chest. On one shoulder is the US flag, on the other a very clear decal that reads Hawkins Police Department. There is even a pen tucked into his pocket.
The colouring is one tone on the shirt, so no weathering. Round the back, disappointingly, is some scratches and damage - an issue I've had on both Stranger Things figures so far. Are McFarlane cutting cost on paint or are the figures/accessories being too tightly packed.
The trousers are a darker shade of beige and these are weathered with some darker patches washed in to dirty them up. We finish with Hopper's shoes which are brown with beige soles - painting here is less than tidy with the lines between the sole and shoe very messy in places.
Hopper has 13 points of articulation, but while the quantity of joints is good for a sub £20 figure - the quality is pretty poor. I am going to start with the horrific crotch joints. The legs work similar to the T-Joint Diamond use on their Selects. But the way its been executed is awful and the whole crotch looks like it has shattered into various piece. It is bad enough then closed, but open it up to widen the stance and it looks awful.
Down from this we have single jointed rotating knees - the joint that they've spun round to make him fit the blister. The ankles also have a joint, but it really will only rotate.
Arms are ball jointed at the shoulder, but with a visible peg that shows through at the front. The elbows are done in same way with a visible peg and these bend to about 90 degrees as well as rotating. Like the ankles, the wrists are pegged and rotate
The final joint is the head which sits on a ball joint to rotate and pitch up and down. Again this is an ugl y joint when viewed from the side as it sits very high under the ears.
Accessory one is a Revolver. This is cast in a slightly softer plastic, but has a good level of detail around the chamber and down the barrel. It is painted in silver with a black grip with silver screw in the centre.
It fits into the right hand with a flexible trigger finger which can be angled into the trigger, but only behind it - not so that it is going to pull the trigger to shoot.
When not in use the gun fits into the working holster on Hopper's belt. This is a nice tight fit.
Hopper also gets his coffee mug. This is cast in a harder plastic and looks ceramic with a good shine to the finish. To hold it you put the slim handle into the left hand and then sort of twist it around until it holds in place. It is not the most natural hold for a mug, but once positioned and thanks to the elbow articulation it does look OK.
While these figures are listed as a 7" scale, Hopper actually stands a bit taller at 7 and a quarter inch tall. This makes him look a little tall against NECA figures, but pretty similar to a lot of the Select figures from Marvel or indeed Gotham and Ghostbusters.
He scales well to Eleven, and I hope that the scale accuracy is retained for the duration of the series.
Pricing is keen on these figures, and you should be able to get Hopper under £20, perhaps lower if you go with buying him and Eleven as a package. For that price I can forgive the limited articulation, but not the ugly joints they've decided to use - they undo a lot of the good work on the looks of the figure. While the uniform is impressive, the head sculpt on Hopper is not as strong as Eleven. There are also quality concerns when you see a figure come straight out of the pack with scratched paint. And I am sorry if you are a MIB collector on this line as those unnaturally bent legs in the blister would drive me mad every time I looked at it.
Hopper is the lesser of the two releases to launch this Stranger THings line and I am going to score him 2 out of 5.