After the release of the Ultimate figures of Stripe, The Gremlin and the Gamer Gremlin - the next addition to the line from NECA is the Flasher Gremlin, as seen in the Dory's Tavern scenes of the movie before the Gremlins head off to the movies. The figure was released in Summer of 2020.
The Flasher Gremlin utilises the same packaging as the other Ultimate Gremlin releases with a sky-blue colour around the edges and an adjusted movie poster on the front of the box - changed from the original to now show the Flasher Gremlin bursting out of the box.
The rear of the packaging includes a selection of promo images from NECA demonstrating the various contents of the Ultimate Flasher Gremlin set. The short text piece at the top of these is the same as the other releases, and is a short synopsis of the movie
"A gadget salesman is looking for a special gift for his son and finds one at a store in Chinatown. The shopkeeper is reluctant to part with the "mogwai" but sells it to him with the warning never to expose it to bright light, water, or to feed it after midnight. All of this happens and the result is a gang of gremlins that decide to tear up the town on Christmas Eve."
Being an Ultimate release, the front flap of the box is hinged and held in place with a Velcro tab. The panel opens up to reveal the Ultimate Flasher Gremlin within, and with a further image of the Flasher in the iconic pose on the reverse of the front flap.
The box opens from the top or bottom flap and the inner tray slides out within a cardboard surround with a smoky blue design. The various accessories surround the Gremlin who comes wearing his coat and hat. The Gremlin is held in place by a number of elasticated ties. These are not easy to access being very tight against the soft goods coat - so the easiest option is to access from behind and cut them with a knife or scissors.
Our Flasher Gremlin is the same base figure as used in the other generic Gremlin releases, and it is very well done in terms of capturing the reptilian features and the mischievous head sculpt. The textures are brilliant and the paint apps around the body then pick out both a base green skin tone, and the highlighted tan areas around the ears, chest and down the arms.
The eyes are glossy and bright, but sadly my review figure has a miss-paint on his left eye that seems to be missing some of the yellow.
The coat is soft goods and tailored for the Gremlin with a belt that ties around his waist. Like a lot of clothing at this scale, it looks a little odd in places. NECA have done a good job in the cut and colour of the coat, even getting the shiny inner lining and added scaled buddy.
These Ultimate sets do come with a raft of accessories, and the Flasher Gremlin gets plenty of options to use on display - and all of them can interchange and will work on other Gremlin figures.
We start with four part smoked cigarettes that are cast in hard plastic with the orange filter, white body and thinner ash end piece. These sit into the articulated mouth, although I have struggled to get more than one in the mouth as once the teeth has gripped one, the others seem to slide out a they are not held in place.
Our Gremlin also comes with a glass of beer that is designed to fit into his left hand. The glass is a clear plastic and the beer is a painted piece that fits inside - allowing you to display the glass full or empty. While the beer is not directly aligned to the Flasher Gremlin, it provides other options for other Gremlin looks in Dory's Tavern.
Moving on to the coat, and the key to this being the "Flasher" Gremlin is the ability to open up the coat and hold it open in that flasher pose. The coat is unfastened by way of the belt which includes a scaled belt strap rather than just being tied.
With the coat unfastened, each side can be stretched out in the flashing pose. What is difficult is having the hands grip the coat - something that NECA do not even seem to have achieved on the promo images. While there is a pivot at the wrist to bend the hands in, both don't really have a "grip" that can hang onto the coat. Thankfully the coat has sufficient rigidity to hold the position so with the hands propped (my effort below is very poor) the right look can be achieved.
If you want to remove the coat, you have to remove the hands of the Gremlin - which is best done by heating the joints and popping them off. There is nothing on the box or instructions on doing this, but there is no way the coat arms will go over the hands while in situ.
The Fedora hat that comes fitted to the Gremlin in the pack is a great piece. It is cast in softer plastic with a good shape and a neat and simple paint job with the lighter central band. On first look it doesnt sit too well on the head, but on closer inspection there is a notch on the back of the hat that is designed to slide onto the back of the head of the Gremlin and then drop down the front which itself then locks over the eye brows via the other two cut out parts under the rim - this creates a sturdy fit for display.
The glasses, as worn by the Flasher, are not so great. They are cast in quite a rigid plastic to enable them to hold their shape and be translucent on the lenses. They do however require bending outward to get the arms of the glasses around the larger head of the Gremlin. This creates an immediate stress point at he thinnest point at the bridge of the glasses and mine lasted just a couple attempts at fitting - and then they snapped. This left me without the iconic image of the flasher in coat, glasses and smoking his cigarette. This issue is one that I've seen on other reviews and in various product reviews for the item, so it is a flaw in the design and execution rather than an isolated issue and my fat fingers.
With items like the Fedora, the set moves beyond the Flasher Gremlin look to other patrons of Dory's Tavern and that brings in a lot of different display options. The next set of these are for the card playing Gremlin with his visor and bow tie.
The visor features a strap that should go round the Gremlin's ears to seat the visor on his head. This is a very tight fit and requires the ears to be fully back and upright to get in place. The bow tie is cast in a softer plastic with a texture within the sculpt that feels quite rough. It comes with a strap with a large piece at the back that I assumed would be a fastener? It isn't, and therefore the only way to put the Bow Tie into place is to pop off the head - again, not covered anywhere in the packaging. Once in place the fit around the neck is very loose and the bow tie hangs down a bit too low.
For card playing poses we get a hand of cards which are really well done with such an intricate card back design on the reverse. These can be slotted into the Gremlins hand for car playing scenes - and these scenes can be enhanced with another included accessory, the stack of chips. This single piece features cards, chips and pieces of popcorn - all painted and decorated. Get yourself a table of some sorts and here is another option for the Dory's Tavern crew.
If cards aren't your thing, then we can go down the croquet route with the inclusion of the croquet mallet that the Gremlins use on the pool table. This is a hefty piece with a wood grain effect in the paint job. It wont fit in the normal hands, so NECA have included an alternative right gripping hand which has to be swapped in for posing with the mallet.
I have left my favourite accessory to the end - the hand puppet. This is a cast plastic piece with a soft toy texture applied to the brown and white fur. To fit on the hand, it has to be swapped out with the hand itself - again this is not covered anywhere in the set. Once in place the puppet can be held up and posed - ready to annoy the Fedora Gremlin as he listens to his Jazz music.
In summarising all the accessories, we have parts in this set for at least 6 different Gremlins from Dory's Tavern - Flasher, Fedora, Puppeteer, Cigarette Smoking Gremlin, Card Player and Croquet player. Every one looks the part, but there are issues with the bow tie and the fragility of those glasses. You will be spoiled for choice in how to display your Gremlin, and when we consider all the accessories now available for Gremlins we could perhaps hope that NECA will perhaps release a vanilla Gremlin in the future to allow us to build our Gremlin host and to use all of the accessories they have designed.
Like other Gremlins in the line, the Flasher is not overly easy to stand up with small feet and a top heavy body. Most neutral posing is fine, but if you extend the arms or lean him forward and backward there will be an issue. There are foot peg holes in the feet to help with an aftermarket stand which will help with stability.
Our Gremlin comes with 20 points of articulation in total, and there was certainly a wider range of movement straight from the box vs the stuck joints on the first few release. I did however still give him the heat treatment to open up the joints and to enable the hands and head to be swapped out with less risk of damage than a cold swap over. These are still fragile pieces and are easily damaged if you do not handle with care.
Head : ball joint ears, pivot jaw, ball joint neck to head, ball joint neck to body
Body : ball joint waist
Arms : ball joint shoulder, single rotating elbow, wrist pivot
Legs: ball joint hips, single knee joint, single ankle joint, ankle rocker
While we have 20 joints to play with, a lot of them have limited range of movement. The head will rotate on the top ball joint and can also be tilted and angled which is quite extensive. The lower neck joint however adds very little extra movement and simply rotate in the torso. The jaw opening is not huge but allows a variation in expression, as do the ears which can be folded back and rotated a touch although most rotation is kept in check by the shape of the head.
The arms are the most mobile of all the body parts but are still held back by the shoulders which cant raise up by very much thanks to the ridges in the shoulders clashing into the torso. The elbow should really have been a double joint to help out - but instead it bends to just under 90 degrees. This is enough to hold and pose the Chainsaw, which I guess is what you want.
The legs as we know don't stand too well without either a peg stand, or by using the long arms as a further point of balance. The hips do not move too much in the hip joint, and then the knee and ankle joints are single direction pivots with only the ankle rocker offering some rotation. You will not have our Gremlin's legs in anything other than the neutral pose.
The Flasher Gremlin is arguably better described as the Dory's Tavern Gremlin providing a slew of accessories to create a multitude of looks for your Gremlin. In fact, there is almost too much choice for the set and a lot of the content you purchase with your (circa) £35 will end up un-used in a bits box.
There is therefore part of me that would prefer NECA to look at vanilla Gremlin releases or single look Gremlins at a lower RRP - a wave of say the Poker Gremlin, Flasher Gremlin and Puppeteer Gremlin at £22 each would have certainly been more tempting for me than this format at a price that is starting to spiral very quickly to £40 and above in the UK.
While the contents are impressive, there are some quality issues with the glasses and how easy they break considering they have to be bent to go on the figure. For newer collectors I would also perhaps like to see some level of instruction included on how to use each part and how to safely remove body parts. I would also have liked to have seen at least an alternative pair of hands that can hold the coat open for the iconic pose that the set is named after.
The base figure is now well established and has been used in multiple sets - both Ultimate and the other releases like the Carollers, Olympics, Back to School and Santa. This is fine as it is a very well done sculpt with great paint apps and with head variations between the Stripe version and the generic Gremlin.
This is my 2nd Gremlin - or rather my son's who is claiming these after they've been reviewed as he is a huge fan. The beauty in them is there variety of display options, and if you treat them carefully they are wonderful display pieces that get better the more of them you have - it is just a pity they don't multiply in water!
I score the Ultimate Flasher Gremlin from NECA a total score of 4.0
About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...
action figures, reviews, review, articulation, neca, gremlins, flasher, card player, puppet, kingston falls, mogwai