Mint in Box – Conan the Barbarian figures by NECA Toys Part One!
Besides the original Star Wars trilogy, there’s no other movie(s) that mean more to me than Conan the Barbarian. Consider me a lucky kid as I saw this movie when I was six or seven and it has stuck with me, not only for nostalgic purposes, but because it’s still one of the best action/adventure movies ever made and made me an instant fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Being a Canadian living in Ontario, CITY TV used to be able to license and show movies quite often and they’d show pretty big blockbusters. I saw Ghoulies, Porky’s (Shhhh, don’t tell my parents), and other shows just from CITY TV on channel 7 when I used to live just outside Shelbourne.
Either the movie started and I taped it (I could work the record player, the tape player, the TV and the VCR by the time I was 2, according to my parents), or my mom taped it for me figuring it wasn’t going to be as bad. Yeah, CITY TV still cut out quite a bit, but there was still blood, guts, some nudity, and graphic violence all around. Didn’t bother me, though, as my mom sat with me during films and explained the difference between what’s real and fake, respect, and trying to be a good person early on, so TV or pop culture violence was never an issue.
I had Conan the Barbarian memorized from that VHS tape. Every word. Every mannerism from Arnold, ever battle scene -it was emblazoned in my head. That goes for the soundtrack, too. Argue with me all you want because I won’t back down, the soundtrack for this movie is the best soundtrack ever composed for a movie. Basil Poledouris wrote music that matched every scene and brought the goosebumps out of your skin. I can listen to this whole soundtrack and the movie can play in my head, no problem. Never heard it? Shame on you. Here’s a link:
Before I even feature the toys, I’ve got a copy of the of the original soundtrack on vinyl, a more complete score on CD AND an extended edition of the movie that they still have yet to release on Blu-Ray (and I refuse to purchase until this movie is in this complete form). I know they have a 3 CD set out now that covers the movie completeley front to back and while I’d love to grab it, $75 US (what it seems to be going for) is just too much when I need to grab a 180 gram reissue on vinyl.
On to the toys: NECA grabbed the license in the mid 2000s (I think) and the released a small amount of figures based on the Conan character. I don’t have the info as to why they only got the likeness of Arnold for this line, but I’m sure it’s all tied up with things I don’t know anything about when it comes to movies and producing anything with someone’s likeness. Add having to pay the movie company or any screen actor’s guild on top of it all, I’m sure it was a gamble. If anyone from NECA or any other company actually reads this and would like to provide me some insight, I’d really appreciate it.
After this whole diatribe about my love for this movie and the soundtrack, I have to get to the figures. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves but add a little bit of insight. The figures didn’t sell well enough to continue (from what I’ve read), but I’m f’n thankful for what we got because as a long time He-Man fan, this is something I would have cherished as a child. Hell, I love them so much but can’t take them out of the packaging because I can’t afford to buy ones on the aftermarket to display (not to mention, I was lucky enough to find these in my town for the high prices I paid for them and what I had to resort to on Ebay).
Conan – Bronze “Statue” San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) Exclusive – 2008
I am so lucky to have this figure as SDCC figures go for crazy money on the aftermarket and as time goes by, some prices just keep getting more ridiculous (Star Wars Black Series Boba Fett, anyone?). I have no idea why, but I walked into one of our Ontario indie record stores, Sunrise Records, and they had this. I paid $35 for it, but I don’t regret it. The main difference between this and the regular edition is that it’s more of a statue-like representation rather than the regular character colours in the film. I’ll also mention that the figures in this line are approximately 7″ tall.
What I really liked about this, and many NECA products, is that they give props to those that work on them on their packaging.
I find with this release, you can see that the sculpt is a good likeness to Arnold, but without the colour, it doesn’t come off that way. I still really like this release but the edition with the actual paint apps is more to my liking.
Conan comes with his sword which, by the way, has some of the most amazing detailing in any accessory I’ve seen. He also includes a unique stand.
War Paint Conan – (Series 1) 2008
This figure is based off of one of the most important parts of the movie – The Orgy scene. Yeah, it sounds dirty, but I mean, the cult of Thulsa Doom needed to live it up in excess, right? Conan was pissed about almost getting offed by Doom and was out for revenge. After being left for dead, the pose of this figure represents his “I’m going to fucking kill you all” look that made one of Doom’s main henchmen look and just say, “you!”
Suffice to say, you knew shit was on and an epic battle to rescue the King’s daughters took place while the soundtrack and backing characters rocked. If there was only one Conan figure to ever have – this may be it.
Again, the back of the package looks great and shows the figure close up and posed. I love when companies do this as they should represent what you’re buying, although many figures on packaging are still based on prototypes. For this figure, I don’t see any decline in quality.
I think the face scupt of Arnold here is spot on and the textures and details in the accessories, the necklace and the paint apps are pretty close to the actual movie. The blood isn’t over the top and provides the perfect amount of detailing needed to portray this section of the film.
You HAVE to love that this figure come with a severed head and hand that you saw come out of the soup the followers of Thulsa Doom. The sword, once again, has magnificent detail (as do the head and hands), and the pillar is just another excellent bonus given to us to make this figure really stand out with the scene he’s representing.
Pit Fighter Conan – (Series 1) 2008
Making figures of Conan while he was a pit fighter is a no-brainer. In the film, Conan has a few different costumes and weapons he uses against his opponent, so it is easy to be able to produce some different variations of the character from this part of the movie.
The figure is packaged as the others, and for MIB collectors such as myself, I love that you can see the figure clearly and also have the figure posed well on the back of the packaging.
This figure also gives a short bio and gives props to the people that helped create the figure and get it in our collections.
I love the costume and hair on this figure but I was never entirely sold on the face sculpt. Arnold’s face does seem long, but then there were sections in the movie were it looked very long as well. I think there’s also just a little too much dirt on the face for my liking.
You still have to applaud that with all the excellent work on sculpting the figure and the costume, NECA still included a free flowing necklace – and not just either forgetting to add it or sculpting it to the costume or the body.
The figure comes with two axes and the hands feature the armour/hands that have the knives/mini spears that he uses to finish off some of his opponents. I love the attention to detail on the straps and buckles that are to hold them in place. As far as I can tell, the gauntlets are not removable.
I’ll be back later in the week with my look back at the Series 2 and 3 figures (unfortunately, those series only featured on figure each). Thanks for reading!