NECA had a particularly impressive 2015 with some awesome releases like the first ever 7" Ripley figure from Aliens AND the Power Loader. It was therefore going to be interesting to see if they could match this in 2016.
We need not have worried as NECA had us covered across 2016 in all of their key licences.
First off, Rocky was back! With the original releases virtually impossible to find, collectors were overjoyed when NECA announced they would release at least four waves of four figures, a mix of new and re-release figures covering the first four Rocky movies. 2016 saw the first wave hit shelves based on Rocky III. Three of the figures were straight up re-releases, not that there was anything wrong with this considering how awesome the Clubber Lang and Rocky figures were. The fourth figure was a tweak and was based on the promotional poster for the movie, with Black shorts and the Title belt - brilliant! And it is this figure that is my first pick of four NECA figures in my 2016 Top 10.
Over to Terminator next, and here the line has moved on from single releases to existing almost exclusively now in the Ultimate range. 2015 saw us get the key Terminator 2 figures, where as 2016 was certainly the year of the original 1984 Terminator movie. The first was the Tech Noir Nightclub T800, an awesome sculpt of the young Arnie which obviously borrowed from the original release but still stood out on its own with the swap out head and arm options. My favourite though, and my 2nd NECA choice, is the Police Station Assault T800. This figure was THE iconic T800 with the biker jacket, turned up collar, array of weaponry and of course those trade mark sunglasses.... I'll be back!
2016 saw NECA add a lot of new licences and figures. We saw the return of Ash in his new TV show incarnation from Ash vs The Evil Dead. The retro figures also went from strength to strength, with Bill, Ted and Rufus arriving - most excellent!
But of course for NECA their big two licences are Alien and Predator...
Predator fans got a wealth of Alien vs Predator figures, with all new bodies and articulation. There was also the teases in 2016 of the Ultimate Predator figures, something to definately look forward too in 2017.
And for Aliens, well wow! The first big news was that Newt figure, although a wave of anger soon followed when this was initially going to be an SDCC exclusive. Thankfully we've seen NECA work their magic to put Newt into a revised 2-pack with Ripley, sadly this didn't hit UK shores in time for this years review. If Newt wasn't enough, NECA pulled out all the stops to negotiate the likeness for Vasquez AND Frost to be made, significantly increasing the Marine population. Frost is good, but Vasquez is stunning - and is my 3rd NECA pick in the Top 10.
We stay with Aliens for my final choice. Not only did NECA give us new Aliens figures like Frost, Vasquez and Newt - but 2016 was also the year they moved to Alien 3 releases. A new Ripley, complete with shaved head, arrived in summer alongside the Dog Alien. The Dog was a re-release, but to add some variation the cases did include a greyer finish Dog Alien. The third figure in this Alien 3 wave is my final pick for the Top 10. It is also the first figure to ever receive a 5* review.
The Weyland Yutani Commando played a minor part in the movie, appearing very late in the film and not doing much other than flanking the new Bishop as he tried to persuade Ripley to not kill herself and the Alien Queen she was carrying. Despite this, the figure is stunning. It does what many figures and figure companies fail to do, line up a brilliant sculpt with a great paint job AND strong articulation. The commando carries a level of detail beyond its £20 price point, like the sculpted face under the mask and the swap out eye pieces to give the figure variant looks.
The Mephitsu Archives Top 10 Figures of 2016