Following on from the release of an Ultimate Gizmo from Gremlins in 2017, NECA turned to the Gremlins themselves in 2019 developing a new articulated base body for the creatures. The NECA team would go on to release three Ultimate sets in 2019 - an Ultimate Gremlin, Gamer Gremlin and this release of the Gremlin's ringleader, Stripe.
Stripe is packed in the standard Ultimate closed box packaging with the front art based on movie poster artwork from 1984 with Stripe bursting out of the movie poster itself featuring Gizmo and scrawling "We're Here" on the top in red. The colour theme for the box is a pale blue and this is used on the two side panels with the Gremlins logo in dark blue running down them.
The back of the box gives us images of the Stripe figure presented in a movie film strip design that covers two thirds of the rear box. Above this sits a short movie premise for the film
"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 to never expose him to bright light, water, or to feed him after midnight. All of this happens and the result is a gang of gremlins that decide to tear up the town on Christmas Eve."
The figure can be revealed by way of an opening flap on the front of the box that is secured by a Velcro fastening, The inside of this flap carries another image of the figure with his chainsaw against a smoky blue background. While this Ultimate box format is well established, it does not lend itself to displaying the figure easily in box and I am still unclear on the purpose of the additional flap other than to display additional artwork.
The figure itself is accessed via top or bottom flap of the box and is packed into an inner plastic tray that then sits in a cardboard tray that uses the same smoky blue design as the front image. The various accessories surround Stripe in the box with tape used to hold in the circular saw blade and twisty ties holding in Stripe around the legs, arms and waist.
NECA always deliver fantastic sculpts, particularly on monsters like the Gremlins and Stripe is no exception. The head sculpt is spot on with the raised eye brows and realistic red eyes. The mouth too is fully detailed with individually sculpted teeth set into a pink gum.
Round the back we have the hair that gives Stripe his name and this is less impressive. It is soft goods and glued onto the head with the lining hanging loose down the back - it reminds me of the fur pieces you used at school to make pictures. The hair is very easily ruffled and will need constant shaping back into the right shape, it also sheds very easily.
The body is well proportioned with elongated arms that end in wicked claws and stubby legs. The paint job is neat and enhances the reptilian skin with a deep green base colour and lighter beige markings and panels.
The concept of the Ultimate Series is to provide a base figure and a wealth of accessories that can be used to create different looks/scenes from the movie. Stripe has three individual parts that are all taken from the final showdown at the end of the movie in the Kingston Falls Department Store.
We start with the circular saw blade as used as a throwing star weapon in the DIY department. It is well recreated in scaled plastic retaining the hook of the teeth - without being sharp - and the cut in and central hole. It is coloured in a metallic silver.
The central hole looks to line up with one of Stripe's claws to create a grip position with his thumb holding the other side. This makes it quite secure in the single set of hands that come with Stripe.
Accessory two is the Skateboard that Stripe uses to get around inside the store. This again is scaled well to the figure and includes real grip tape on top and moving wheels. The bottom section includes wood effect grain and you can even see the bolts and pivots of the wheel brackets.
Stripe is not the easiest to stand and unless you use his hands for a counter balance you will need a foot peg stand or similar to pose him. Therefore balancing him on a skateboard is not easy - and to maintain the realism, NECA did not put peg holes on the deck of the board which would have helped massively.
The final, and biggest accessory, is the Chainsaw piece. This is cast with a yellow body and black blade with various company and safety markings applied to the motor and blade. The blade has sculpted teeth and chain and there is even a lead and plug at the other end other machine.
You will need to manoeuvre the grip of the chainsaw into Stripe's hand and then pose the other hand up and into the second handle behind the guard. Once done so the chainsaw will hold in place, but if you pose it extended too far it will overbalance Stripe - a stand is even more a necessity with the chainsaw poses.
As we have heard, standing and posing Stripe is not easy considering the proportions of his body and trying to balance that huge head and ears on such small legs and feet. A stand is definitely required.
He comes with 20 points of articulation in total and nearly all of them arrive in a stuck position. Stripe, and the other Gremlins, needs heat treatment before you start posing and needs handling with real care considering the amount of breakages I've seen shared online.
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 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 Stripe's legs in anything other than the neutral pose.
The Ultimate Stripe from Gremlins is more or less exactly as I expected from NECA. It is a brilliant looking figure apart from the hair - which takes some work to keep it as it was designed. The accessories are relevant and accurate to scenes from the movie. And while there are loads of joints on the figure, they are provided with the aesthetics taking priority so many do not move as extensively as we'd perhaps first expect.
It is a shame that a figure like this arrives needing some treatment in hot water or with a hairdryer, something more casual collectors or those not familiar with NECA may not know and I can understand now having handled this figure and posed him over a week or so how things will break all too easily.
I will give NECA's Ultimate Stripe a total score of 3.5
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, ultimate, gremlins, stripe