Pacific Rim Monster

Pacific Rim
Kaiju: Knifehead
7 Inch Scale
By: NECA
$15.99

One of my all time favorite Gamera kaiju is the knife headed monster, Guiron. His wacky design and downright insane concept just add a lot of fun to the Gamera franchise. Guillermo Del Toro may have been a fan as well, as it seems like some of the more bizarre Gamera-esque kaiju designs have slightly permeated into Pacific Rim. The most obvious is the monster simply known as Knifehead.

Kaiju Monster
NECA have cranked out a figure of him in the first wave of their new Pacific Rim toy line. Knifehead has the distinction of being not just the first, but also the only kaiju in the line thus far. He’s also figured prominently into the advertising for the film. While we have seen glimpses of other monsters, Knifehead like Jaeger Gypsy Danger, has seen the most commercial screen time.

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As the only giant monster in the line thus far, Knifehead offers us a rare look at what the designs for Pacific Rim may hold and also gives us a good indication on how NECA plans to deal with these unique monsters. Is this figure a home run? I think you’ll be surprised to find out this guy is made by NECA and not Trendmasters.

Packaging:

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The package is identical to the other figures in the series in regards to being a clamshell. What’s odd about this card is just how HUGE it is. It makes you think that the toy inside is going to be gigantic.

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The card is the biggest of the series and is almost the width of three Gypsy Danger packages. Sadly, when you open him up, he feels absolutely tiny as a result. He’s actually SMALLER than the other figures. I hate to see all that wasted plastic. It’s his namesake head that accounts for the giant packaging.

Sculpt/Paint:
As with the other figures in this line, the sculpting is quite nice. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve seen a lot of giant monster toys in my day or just because there’s less color here to highlight it, but the sculpt, while good, likely won’t impress you as much as the other figures. Robots require a lot more intricate design, I suppose.

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Make no mistake, it’s still an excellent sculpt. In fact I’d say it’s probably 100% accurate. He has a lot of different textures as well, including a slightly rubbery “shell” and tail. It helps make him seem monstrous.

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As much as Knifehead owes his design to Guiron, it’s hard not to see a bit of Zigra in there as well. As I mentioned above, I definitely think someone working on Pacific Rim was a fan of the Daiei monsters. They just have that Gamera feel about them.

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The mold lines are a bit more noticeable though, as a result of the different materials used. It doesn’t detract from the figure much, but it’s just more obvious. Again, it’s not a huge knock. Robots can hide articulation better.

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The paint work is minimal, but the bright yellow streaks on his body are really nice looking. They give the figure a certain visual pop that I can appreciate. Otherwise he’d be pretty devoid of color. No complaints on the paint in general.

Articulation:
Yet again, the articulation is frustrating. This time it’s not a matter of the design getting in the way, it’s just that NECA didn’t feel like putting much articulation in Knifehead. This figure immediately reminded me of a Trendmasters toy because he’s not much more articulated than some of my kaiju from Trendmasters.

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The shoulders and hips are just simple cuts. No ball joints here. He does have hinges at the elbows and knees.

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Knifehead has 4 arms, but only the main two are articulated. I honestly expected at least some swivels on the smaller inner arms. Not sure why those don’t have something.

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You can’t move the head at all, but his jaw is articulated. The design doesn’t really allow you to have a “closed” mouth, just two levels of open.

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The tail is made of a bendable rubber with a wire inside. It’s pretty stiff and not particularly poseable.

Accessories:
Bupkis.

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Value:
Knifehead takes a hit here because he’s far less articulated than Gypsy Danger. Then again, Knifehead has much better range of motion in his joints, so I don’t know which is worse. At the end of the day, he’s a fine little figure but he certainly doesn’t conjure up thoughts of how most modern NECA figures are. The paint and sculpt are good, but he feels like a figure from the mid 90’s in terms of the articulation.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpt/Paint – 8
Articulation – 6
Accessories – N/A
Value – 7
Overall: 7

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Knifehead moves better than Gypsy Danger, but his relative basic articulation and overall basic design definitely adds to the unevenness of NECA’s Pacific Rim figures. Perhaps NECA is a victim of their own greatness, as it’s hard to compare a figure like this to their awesome Gremlins toys and not be left wondering why more wasn’t done here. Overall it’s a nice toy, but it’s not a knockout by any means.

Gamera versus Knifehead
On the plus side, he fits in okay with all my other Trendmasters monsters and he’s just the right size to fight my Chogokin Gamera figure. Perhaps this could be Toto’s version of Guiron?! Sure beats a sushi knife!

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