THE AFJ REVIEW: NECA ROCKY III CHAMPIONSHIP BELT ROCKY
THE AFJ REVIEW: NECA ROCKY III CHAMPIONSHIP BELT ROCKY By Jarrett Kruse The Italian Stallion is back courtesy of NECA and he’s never looked so good. I was born the year that ROCKY won Best Picture and by the time I was five, I knew everything there was to know about the Philadelphia Southpaw. I […]
THE AFJ REVIEW: NECA ROCKY III CHAMPIONSHIP BELT ROCKY
By Jarrett Kruse
The Italian Stallion is back courtesy of NECA and he’s never looked so good. I was born the year that ROCKY won Best Picture and by the time I was five, I knew everything there was to know about the Philadelphia Southpaw. I remember my Dad taking me and my brother to see ROCKY III in 1982 and it completely changed things for me as Rocky entered the 80’s. Not only was Stallone my favorite actor, he was taking on Mr. T who within a year would go on to become one of the most recognized celebrities on the planet.
Now, we have the Rocky figure we have been waiting for with the Championship Belt Rocky from the epic movie poster for the threequel. In a streamlined new package, NECA gives us a new version of Rocky with all new deco based on the movie poster. The famous Championship Belt Rocky with an all-new sculpt and accessory with amazing new detail.
It was only a few years ago that NECA was producing the hard clamshell plastic J-Card figures that quickly became very hard to find. I would show up at Toys R Us just five minutes too late missing finishing the wave. I would head to my local LCS to fill out the gaps in my ROCKY collection. However, soon, they were nowhere to be found except on eBay for an exorbitant amount. While 98% of the time I scoff at eBay scalpers prices, I had no issue forking over $40-$50 for a NECA ROCKY figure. Why? A) Because its NECA and B) Because its ROCKY.
Just four short years later means it is now ROCKY’s 40th Anniversary Celebration and NECA smartly mapped out their plans for the icon’s return. The blood, sweat & tears that went into these figures was completely on display for AFJ’s visit to the NECA workshop. Seeing the unpainted sculpts and the incredible ingenuity that this company puts into their product made me actually beam with pride that the Junkies managed this Almost Famous style peek behind the curtain at what makes NECA, NECA.
First up, the new packaging is much more “shelf-friendly” than the old hard bulletproof plastic. With this first wave, you can easily take the figure in and out of its box without any fuss. If you are a Mint on Card guy like me, I still was able to take the figure out and photograph it, then return it to its cardboard home without incident. The box design is sleek and shiny with the globally recognized outline of Rocky with his hands up in the air stenciled in gold on both sides of the box. Easy to photograph and easy to pit Rocky versus Clubber, their was a whole lot of functionality to these figures without worry of breakage. What I love is that their is so much in the way of form too.
All four figures from top to bottom passed all of my muster tests. The paint job is stellar and you almost feel guilty paying just $19.99 for this when some other figures in that price range look like they were painted by a blind toddler. This does not give that, “made in a sweatshop” vibe but rather feels like four separate but whole pieces of art made my craftsman that have put their time in in the action figure industry. Randy and the NECA gang epitomize everything that is great about our hobby. If something is even slightly off, it is not leaving the shop with the NECA emblem on it. The articulation is all there but they do not knock you over the head with it. By that I mean that this wave does not overcompensate on a feature that although we love, has just enough without going overboard. I really think that the Junkies that are all about the articulation in their figures will love these as much as their figures with 40 POA.
The facial sculpts are so dead on that I already am daring to say that this wave will be in my Top 10 of 2016. Even the “first match” Rocky figure in the gold shorts where Mickey is not in the ring with him, captures a sort of lost and vacant look on Stallone’s face. He just wants to punch his way back to the locker room to take care of Mickey. Somehow they managed to nab that emotion in plastic form all the while capturing the absolute ferocity of Clubber Lang, the “Southside Slugger.”
I will admit it, I am still on a NECA high since my tour last month and the first ROCKY wave could not have arrived at a more perfect time. These are *must have* figures for the Junkie in your life and the buzz around just how good they are is spreading. Three Toys R Us’ in one day and only two figures left in stock. I like to do my due diligence on the figures I review and actually see how the marketplace is reacting to such a high end figure set at such an affordable cost. ROCKY is life. It is the get back up, “is that all you got?” attitude that we all need to have when life throws us for a loop. These figures from NECA encapsulate the heart of a champion that started 40 years ago.
Celebrate 40 years of the phenomenally successful Rocky saga as well as the recent Creed movie with NECA! We’re relaunching our Rocky action figure line, with a mix of all-new figures and sold-out favorites for those who might have missed out.*
Series 1 focuses on Rocky III, in which Rocky Balboa fights and is beaten bloody by Clubber Lang, losing his world championship. It debuts a brand-new Rocky figure in black trunks based on posters and promo art for the movie, which comes with an incredibly detailed championship belt accessory. The assortment also includes three re-issued figures: two versions of Clubber Lang in both black and blue trunks with unique head sculpts, and a gold trunks version of Rocky.
Realistic sculpts feature the likenesses of actors Sylvester Stallone and Mr. T. These 7” scale figures are fully articulated and ready to take their one-in-a-million shot at the dream.
*Special window box packaging both celebrates the 40th Anniversary and preserves the value of the original releases for collectors.