Player Select: Left 4 Dead
If you’ve ever watched a horror movie and thought, “Don’t open that door!” or “Watch your back!” or even “Check your corners,” then it may have been the Boomer you feared. Making his debut in the original Left 4 Dead game in 2008, he also marks the first of NECA’s action figures as a result of their partnership with Valve. This guy can spew pheromone-laden vomit at you that calls the zombie horde, and works as a double-whammy in that if you shoot him while he’s near you, he will explode and cause the same reaction. The key is to shoot him from as far away as you can.
Therein lies the rub, as this guy (at least in my experience) loves to hang out in small rooms, around corners, and generally any place that makes him difficult to see from afar. He’s a pus-filled landmine in a game full of nasty customers and I am just honored to have something so disgusting on my shelf.
The package is the same clamshell we’ve come to expect from this level of collectible, especially from NECA. I like the art, but I think the text steals the show. Instead of just saying who or what the Boomer is, they also give you tips on how to dispatch one. Awww thanks, Randy!
I always appreciate when NECA takes the time to include the credits on the packaging. It always makes me feel like they give a crap about the art of their collectibles and give credit where credit’s due.
Oh, gross. Just…gross.
This guy is just a mess; from head to toe he is disgusting. His design, however, is not only well-executed, but also well-sculpted and painted. The shoe-less feet coupled with the sweatpants and the lack of torn clothing a la the Incredible Hulk tells you this guy was already begging for a cameo in Se7en long before his appearance in the game. The designers didn’t even bother to bloody up his feet at all, meaning he probably didn’t have the energy to run when the shit hit the fan. He didn’t even try to fight, poor guy.
The various boils and pustules are absolutely sickening, with gradient pinks and red irritation leading up to the wounds as well as a nice gloss over the most distended part of his pus-filled belly. Yuck. The paint work looks great. There’s slop where there should be and straight lines that don’t bleed. On the whole, I’m very satisfied with the paint quality.
Jason Frailey’s sculpting on this figure is fantastic, but as always I have a favorite part. Well, in this case I have two. Firstly, the socked feet are just stunning. The ridges in the material of the socks allow just enough depth for the paint wash to really grab hold, but the entire shape of the foot underneath this detail is just lovely, with some curve to the ankle to show the weight of the character.
The hands are also fantastic, combining superb sculpting with paint designers Wardell and Trapp’s gradual deep browns to create a truly grotesque representation of a chubby, grimy zombie hand. The fingernails add to the monstrous nature, being elongated and even a little sharp, almost beastly.
The body also includes a second torso that allows you to display the Boomer as he would be post-mortem. Well, post-post-mortem. Post-zombie. Whatever.
To swap the pieces, you just need to give a slight tug on the torso of the figure and he separates at the waste. There doesn’t appear to be a lip to the peg or anything, it’s just held on by friction. Once exchanged, you get a nice look at what’s left of his intestines, swimming amidst the gore and what I assume is Boomer Bile remaining in his tummy. It’s a great addition to a piece that might not otherwise have any accessories.
The Boomer is a chunky munky, to be sure, but he actually isn’t as bad off in the articulation department as I thought he’d be. For instance, how many toys in this range do you have that can stand flat-footed and touch the ground? I can barely do that and I’m a friggin human being!
The Boomer features a ball and socket neck (at the base), hinged jaw, swivel-hinged shoulders, swivel-hinged elbows, ball and socket wrists, ball torso, swivel waist, ball and socket hips, swivel-hinged knees, and ball and socket ankles. From the feel of movement between the upper and lower torso, I would say it’s probably a double-barbell ball and socket joint, but I can’t be sure without disassembling him.
The biggest hampering on the figure is in the hips. They actually have a decent spread, but I had a little trouble getting them forward and back. To be honest, it doesn’t bother me much because the guy’s not supposed to be moving like a Jockey or Spider-Man anyway, but it might bother some. I find that rotating the hips and working with the knees will help achieve some poses and since the legs are pretty cylindrical anyway, it’s not easily noticeable if you fudge it a bit.
The arms have a nice spread and the feet are those wonderful ball and socket joints that NECA just knocks out of the park, able to keep your Boomer flat-footed in most poses.
I’m not sure if it’s intended, but if you so choose, you can remove the jaw at its hinge since it’s just a friction joint. Inside, you can see the details of his mouth, complete with a dried-up, withered tongue. The pegs that hold the jaw in place actually look similar to the boils on the rest of him, so it’s a good way to add some variety to your shelf if you wanna army-build. A little clear red Tamiya on the chin(s) would go a long way to make this guy look even viler. The hinge adds a lot of personality to your posing, but be aware that the further down the head is posed, the more difficult the hinge is to use.
This is where it gets difficult. While you can purchase him online for roughly $21.99, Boomer here cost me 22.99 at TRU. I was thinking that maybe it was their crazy price-hiking shenanigans that NECA is typically immune from, but he really is just that expensive.
As you can see, he’s right in line height-wise with NECA’s Ash figure, so he’s not that big…vertically. However, comparing these two figures in terms of width, you can see where that extra money goes. I’ll give you the belly, which is hollow. Past that, the legs, arms, and head, all appear to be solid pieces of plastic. There’s no getting around that this guy is a chunky bit of toy.
NECA usually charges 12 to 18 dollars a figure on a sliding scale apparently based on size. Personally, when NECA was chastised for hunching the Gears of War Boomer to the point he looked much smaller, I was on the side of “I’ll pay more for a larger figure if it’s worth it.” Now that we’re facing the reality of that decision, I have to say I stick by it. I still can’t believe NECA toys aren’t 20 dollars a pop for standard-sized figures. I’ll admit I was taken aback by the price when I saw it, but having this guy in hand, I really do feel like he’s worth the 23 bucks. True, he’s only got the one accessory, but it’s very large and appropriate to the character. I’d have loved a bottle of Boomer Bile, but since there are no human figures on the horizon, I don’t suppose it’d serve much good.
For those of you waiting for Deadites, this guy works as a nice foil for Ash until Henrietta arrives. Alternatively, he’s just a nice, big, nasty-ass zombie for your shelf. It’s not competitively priced, but in my (total NECA fanboy) opinion, the quality is worth the extra cheddar. The only thing I’d say to watch out for is paint. The quality seemed pretty consistent across the board, but there were different levels of gloss and paint variations so no two figures looked exactly alike. So in the batch I saw, the paint was good, you just have to pick the version you like best. Easy-peasy.
NECA’s latest releases are really pushing the boundaries of what I expect from the company. This guy could easily have been solid from the neck down and most people wouldn’t have batted an eye. Instead, they gave us a well-articulated monster with an action feature that really shows what the company can do when they’re given license to run wild.
This is one of those times where NECA’s dedication to their product creates an action figure that looks FAR better than its source material. The character model looks excellent, especially in motion, but the folks over at NECA have crafted a toy that is truly disgusting and bizarrely fascinating. Your friends will love it, your wife will hate it, your cat will try to befriend it and take over the world.
The Boomer is a great addition to any Left 4 Dead, horror, or action figure fan’s shelf. If you can swallow the price, I highly recommend this collectible. He’s just damned cool.
Thanks for reading and as always, it’s just a toy. Open the darned thing.
If you like zombie action figures, make sure you check out Newt’s review of Mezco’s Attack of the Living Dead Jake.
If you just like video games in general, go take a look at Newt’s awesome Custom Karnov action figure.