On August 10, 2013, we learned that we were not alone in the universe. “Trespasser,” a massive, four-armed nightmare, rose from the sea and attacked San Francisco. Six days and three nuclear bombs later, we finally brought it down at the cost of five cities. In Pacific Rim, Trespasser, aka “Axehead,” was the very first Kaiju to come out of the rift. No advanced warning, no knowledge about aliens. Just another typical day in San Francisco when suddenly a 300-foot-tall monster straight out of your worst nightmare rises from the sea. For the next six days, it rampages on a scale never before imagined. That moment went by really quickly in the movie, given just a few seconds and a couple of narrative lines, but it’s really quite effective. The few shots we got of Trespasser were from street level – imagine being there for that. Not a goofy Godzilla movie, but this terrifying thing the size of a mountain destroying everyone and everything in front of it. Now, realize that this was before the Jaeger program – no giant robots, no anti-Kaiju defenses, nothing. The US military threw everything they had at it, and couldn’t even make a dent – in the end, it took three nukes to bring the beast down. How would it feel being a soldier, running into the fray, knowing full well what was going to happen?
Pacific Rim was an awesome movie, even though every single nerd complaint applies to it. Over-reliance on CGI? Check. Too many humans, not enough monsters? Check. Setting backstory given in flashback? Check. Hackneyed, flat characters? Check. Illogical premise? Check. Monsters that all look alike? Check. And yet, somehow, it’s awesome – we nerds love it, unlike every other movie that commits those sins. The thing is, it’s just a really fun, fun movie. What it does, it does well enough to be enjoyable despite its many sins.
My review of Pacific Rim Series 1 was one of my rare negative reviews last year. Granted, the figures weren’t terrible, but NECA Toys had spoiled us so much that the Pacific Rim series just seemed lacking. They were under-articulated, improperly sized (Knifehead was too tiny), and even featured incorrect paint apps. There are lots of stories about how this happened, ranging from basic budgetary concerns to Wal-Mart giving the orders. I do not know which is true, but NECA did promise to fix the issues in the next waves of Pacific Rim toys.
I didn’t pick up any of Series 2, but Series 3 has managed to catch my eye enough to give them a whirl. Series 3 is divided into two waves – one for Jaegers, and one for Kaiju, because the figures really are in entirely different scales. Series 3’s Kaiju Wave has Trespasser and a new, remade Knifehead.
I got Trespasser first, and then after giving the figure a quick evaluation, snagged Knifehead, too. Ole’ Knifey will be showing up here soon. And hopefully, Cherno Alpha will rear its non-head, eventually. But let’s take a look at this figure!
Trespasser’s clamshell package really has its work cu out for it. This figure is gigantic, and it feels like the plastic is straining, barely able to contain it. That said, it holds the toy in pretty well, and aside from the size difference, is the same as previous Pacific Rim packaging.
Trespasser is big. Huge. Gigantic. Enormous. He’s about eight inches tall, but extremely wide, thick, deep, and whatever other synonym you can think of. This is one big hunk of plastic! He towers over the Jaeger figures, which makes sense. Although the movie’s implication is that Kaiju started out small and then got bigger over time, Trespasser has long been listed as the same size as Knifehead – 300 feet tall, and “The biggest Category III ever!” So the first monster through the gate was actually really big. Fun thing about that – according to the movie, Kaiju are put together on an assembly line and made from cloned material, so even though their shapes vary, they do share a lot of general design themes. But three in particular actually share the same body, essentially being only head swaps. Trespasser, Knifehead, and Scunner are identical except for their heads and dorsal fins. Axehead, Knifehead, and… Bullhead? But there you go. A lot of Trespasser’s body is going to play double duty as the knew Knifehead, and also likely the upcoming Scunner figure.
Trespasser is big and bulky, with a thick leathery hide. All of the folds and wrinkles are realistically placed on his body, with good texturing even in odd spots like the armor plating on his legs or the bony gap in his wrists. His arms are long enough that he could walk on all fours if he wanted (and he does in the video game), and you can just imagine that a claw swipe would do more damage than his axe head. It is interesting to note that this isn’t just a scaled-up version of Knifehead’s body. NECA has access to the CGI models from the movie, and they chose to sculpt the body from scratch again, so the details look appropriately crisp.
Trespasser has a big, bulky dorsal fin on his back. It protrudes much more than Knifehead’s and follows his general “axe” theme, but also looks odd and almost out of place on him. This is not a fault of the toy, it’s actually part of the original design that NECA faithfully reproduced. Yay them!
Trespasser’s head is the other big draw. He’s got a hatchet for a face! The axe isn’t as huge as Knifehead’s Knife, but it is clearly big enough to be a weapon. It’s got great texturing, especially along the side of the blade. But the big thing is his face. Aside from the blade, Trespasser’s head is shaped like a twisted skull, his teeth extending well beyond his lips. His chin is bony and pointed, and his four eyes look absolutely creepy head-on. Trespasser has a psychotic grin like he’s enjoying his job. Now, there is one minor flaw here. To incorporate Trespasser’s jaw movement, there is a tiny gap under his chin. If you close his mouth, angle his head up, and look from below, you can see the inside of his mouth poking out from beneath his chin. But considering the amount of effort it takes to see that, this really isn’t much of a problem.
Despite any initial assumptions, Trespasser is not painted exactly the same as Knifehead. He’s a little browner. Trespasser is overall charcoal-gray, with a lighter gray wash over most of his body. His chest has some brown paint, which could be dirt or the color of his hide. His big axe blade has a yellow wash, which really brings out the details. His teeth and tongue are colored really sharply, and his eyes are bright yellow-orange. They provide an awesome contrast with his body, and add to that psychotic grin of his.
He also has bioluminescent Kaiju Tattoos – yellow piping covering his body and limbs. The big difficulty with this is how articulation would break those lines up, and it does to an extent, but the effect actually is not very noticeable. Somehow, NECA painted him in such a way that it works with his articulation. The inside of his mouth is bright orange, matching his brief appearance in the movie – it looked like he had a furnace in there. In the video game, he can even breathe fire! Now, when his mouth is closed and head tilted up, you can see a little bit of that orange under his chin, but it’s no biggie.
Remember how Knifehead’s articulation was so bad that I surmised it was a tribute to vinyl kaiju toys? Well, NECA promised to fix that problem, and have they ever! Trespasser has ball-and-socket shoulders, secondary shoulder, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles, ball-jointed head, hands, secondary hands, and waist, a hinged jaw, and a bendy tail. This is utterly fantastic – you can put Trespasser in way more poses than poor, poor Series 1 Knifehead. Just the fact that his main arms are no longer swivels, and his secondary arms move at all says something.
That said, it isn’t perfect, and let’s get the negatives out of the way, first. Trespasser’s elbows, despite having a genuine lateral range of motion, no longer bend as well as Knifehead’s swivels. This was unavoidable due to the sculpt, but it does lower his fighting poses. Likewise, it is hard to hold his arms flush against his body. His poor elbow articulation is quite literally the only disappointment I have with this figure, but it’s worth mentioning. So, on the good side, this figure is actually articulated! His bendy tail is very thick, but functions far better than, say, the Prometheus Trilobite. His legs are pretty similar to Knifehead’s, and to feel sturdy enough to hold his weight. The new, improved Knifehead using this body might be top-heavy, but this remains to be seen. And despite my criticism of his elbows, his arms overall do have much better articulation. He can also open his arms wide for a big, warm hug!
Nope. Nada. None. Zip.
This figure retails for $30. That’s a pretty fair price for its huge size, but it is a big enough chunk of cash to hurt.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Most NECA toys have some durability issues somewhere. However, Trespasser took a few dives from the couch on his first day, and is just as good as new. I wouldn’t recommend chucking it around the block, but this is a durable piece of plastic. It’s even tougher than my cat.
I had Trespasser standing next to me on the couch. Hoopy, my roommate’s cat, hopped up, looked at the toy, and then attacked it. However, since couch cushions are not stable, when he hit Trespasser, the figure rocked forward and bopped Hoopy on the nose. Hoopy panicked and ran away, defeated by an inanimate object. That is how tough Trespasser is.
WHERE TO BUY:
These figures are definitely showing up in Toys R Us – they’re even in the site’s system! But you can also pick them up from Amazon or eBay, if you are willing to troll for a good price. You can try Big Bad Toy Store, too.
Even though NECA has been super-awesome lately, my faith in their Pacific Rim figures was kind of limited. Kind of. I still like the old Knifehead, even though it has flaws. So I took the gamble with this toy only to find that it exceeds all of my expectations quite handily. Bam! Faith restored! Trespasser is a really cool design, too – and even though you barely saw him in the movie, what little you got had great atmosphere. I can’t wait for the new Knifehead!