Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Crimson Typhoon (NECA Pacific Rim)

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In 2013, NECA Toys released their first Pacific Rim wave with three figures – Gipsy Danger, Knifehead, and Crimson Typhoon. Of the three, the Crimson Typhoon Jaeger quickly sold out, and soon saw secondary market prices in the triple digits! NECA Toys saw this, said, “That ain’t right,” and rereleased the figure (along with a few others) to help drive the cost down. So this review isn’t a year late – it’s out again now!

CrimsonTyphoon-Kneel

Crimson Typhoon was one of the last four remaining Jaegers in the movie after the program had been scrapped. Piloted by Chinese basketball-playing triplets, it was a three-armed cyclops robot with kung-fu buzzsaws. Absolutely nothing in the world can be cooler than that last sentence.  Of course, since it wasn’t a bland robot piloted by a main hero (Gipsy Danger and Striker Eureka), it got wrecked the first time we saw it fight. Otachi, the acid-spitting scorpion-tailed flying Kaiju, took out the cockpit and smashed the pilots into jelly. But before that moment, you got to see it take the “Thundercloud Formation” fighting stance and pull off a couple of cool moves!

CrimsonTyphoon-Ocean

Originally, Crimson Typhoon was to be piloted by quadruplets, but Guillermo Del Toro was not able to find any for the movie. Using triplets instead allowed it to be three-armed rather than four-armed, giving the mech a far more unique design. It is clearly the least-huminoid of the Jaegers, wht with the cyclopean head, three adms, and digitigrade legs. If anything, it reminded me of an old, obscure SNES game, Xardion. One of the mechs in Xardion was Alcedes, a strange, red, four-armed staff-wielding robot that looked more like a monster than a Gundam. Interesting parallel. But hey, it’s time to look at the toy, so let’s go!

CrimsonTyphoon-Packaged

PACKAGING: ****

Crimson Typhoon’s packaging is virtually identical to the clamshell the original had. Take that, secondary market?

 

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SCULPT: ****

I like monsters. I like robots. Robot monsters are thus A Good Thing. And in a world where the heroes pilot boring, plain robots, any attempt to include a monstrous one is heroic. Thus, the fact that Crimson Typhoon is a one-eyed three-armed tiger-legged monstrosity is awesome! It’s kind of the same in every franchise – even in Gundam, the interesting mobile suits only get used by the bad guys and blown up. Hopefully the folks in charge of the Pacific Rim sequel will notice how much attention Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha got, and give us more coolness in the future.

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Unlike the first series’s Gipsy Danger, Crimson Typhoon is a really detailed figure. The armor plating on its chassis is smooth, but every look we get at the robot’s workings underneath show a complex machine. Take a look at those pistons by its neck, or the mechanisms in its shoulders! The hands lack their buzzsaws, but are quite good for what they are. This does raise an interesting question – it takes one pilot per arm, right? Are our arms piloted by half of our brain? Does Goro from Mortal Kombat need two brains/four lobes? Eh, who knows.

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The legs are an interesting, albeit likely overlooked facet of this figure. Crimson Typhoon has a digitigrade stance, which means that its movements aren’t 1:1 with the pilots. Human knees and ankles don’t bend that way. But this helps sell the inhuman nature of the Jaeger. Remember that line about how we created monsters of our own? This one actually looks like a monster!

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PAINT: ****

Crimson Typhoon is red. Because of the red Chinese. It’s also got yellow highlights… again, because of the PRC. Absolutely nothing is stereotypically Chinese about this thing’s appearance except for the color – no football pads, no nuclear reactor, no nothin’… but man, that color scheme would make Mao proud. Bahahahaha!

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Anyway, the paint is just fine – it even looks a little weathered. The pantograph stamps with its name, insignia, and other art are also very well-done, helping to sell this thing as a gigantic vehicle. Crimson Typhoon fits right in with other figures in the line, its paint job clearly surpassing Gipsy Danger’s in detail and cleanness.

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In fact, I’d put this figure on par with Cherno Alpha – and the big deal was how fantastic Cherno Alpha was when compared to the first series. But Crimson Typhoon looks just as good, and can stand with its Russian compatriot!

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ARTICULATION: ***

Crimson Typhoon has ball-jointed hips, waist, shoulders, and left hand, hinged elbows, knees, calves, ankles, and right hands, and a swivel head. This may seem like a lot, and it technically is (it’s better than just getting swivels for the arms), but it’s not perfect. It’s very close to being where it needs to be but it just isn’t there. The legs are actually really good, and you can put a huge amount of personality into this figure’s posing with them, but the legs aren’t the real complaint about this figure.

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It’s the arms, really. Ball joints all around would have made them insanely good – or even just ball joints in the hands. The hinges limit display options, and it’s extremely difficult to get the figure into its “Thundercloud Formation” pose. Possible, just odd. Still, despite all of these complaints, the articulation is pretty good for what it is. And it is better than the other two figures in the first series, so there’s that. We toy collectors are spoiled.

 

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ACCESSORIES: N/A

None of the Pacific Rim figures have come with anything, although the next Gipsy Danger will include a boat. To be honest, Crimson Typhoon could have used alternate buzzsaw hands.

 

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VALUE: ****

Considering how much the original release costs on the secondary market, $20 for this figure feels like a steal.

 

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THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Aside from usual quality control – always make sure that a figure is in good working order – take care to make sure that his leg joints do not become weak under his weight.

 

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WHERE TO BUY:

You can find this guy at Toys R Us! And barring that, go look online, but watch out for a good deal!

 

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OVERALL: ***

The big problem with the first series of Pacific Rim figures was that they were almost where they needed to be. Knifehead suffered the worst, Gipsy Danger was kind of bland, and Crimson Typhoon? Actually, Crimson Typhoon is a pretty good figure, except that its articulation isn’t quite there. Sure, it’s flexible and posable, but the range of movement you want from those arms is lacking. The Jaeger didn’t get to do much in the movie, but the toy should have allowed you to take more of its poses.

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That said, this is a good figure. To be honest, we have all been spoiled with articulation – for most other companies, it would be more than okay. And just on its own merits, it is a fun toy. I, a grown man, have spent a while just fiddling with this robot, and that’s what they’re there for! Many props to NECA for rereleasing it and making it affordable!

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3 responses to “Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Crimson Typhoon (NECA Pacific Rim)

  1. Great review. Nice to see companies react to market demand with something other than glee at shortages. Also I have a minor nitpick.
    “Human knees and ankles don’t bend that way”
    Digitigrade = walking on digits (toes). If you walk on your toes you are walking this way. Most critters with this posture have much longer feet (so their ankles appear where our knees would be) and much shorter legs than humans do to take advantage of the posture, so it looks wrong when we do it, but we can do it. Their ankles and knees aren’t bending differently than ours it’s just the proportions that are different.

      • I still think you’re confusing a toe pad for a foot. When you talk about mammals the skeletons are identical in everything except proportions and how much range the joints have. Bats use their hands for wings. Dolphin use their feet for a tail. The amount of difference all fits within a 0.01% genetic variance. It’s pretty impressive.

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