Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Knifehead (Battle Damaged) (Pacific Rim) (NECA)


Knifehead was the Kaiju way back in Series 1 of NECA’s Pacific Rim toys. Way back then, I surmised that he was going to be the movie’s “Starter Villain. You know, heavily-merchandised, looks intimidating, and is beaten at the end of Act 1 to establish the hero’s cred. I was totally wrong. Knifehead shows up after the Jaeger program is already an unqualified success, and promptly qualifies it. The biggest Kaiju on record at the time (though he’s only like five feet taller than Trespasser), Knifehead takes on Gipsy Danger, piloted by brothers Raleigh and Yancey Beckett. And whereas previous Kaiju behaved like unthinking, dumb animals, this one shows some strategy – playing dead, using his pointy nose to disable Gipsy’s weapons, and directly attacking the cockpit. The heroes win, but at the cost of Yancey’s life, most of Gipsy’s functionality, and Raleigh’s career. After Knifehead, the Kaiju seriously step up their game, and by the time the movie picks up properly, there
are only four Jaegers left.


Knifehead’s design is reminiscent of everybody’s favorite internet darling, the goblin shark. He’s got the nose and teeth, at least. His design is also very reminiscent of a few classic Kaiju, such as Guiron or Bagira. And aside from all that, he’s just really cool. I really like the design of this big shark dinosaur beast, even among the other Pacific Rim Kaiju. Seeing a toy finally doing the character justice is something I really want to see – so the more Knifehead, the better!


Last summer, NECA released their first wave of Pacific Rim toys. The lone Kaiju included, Knifehead, was small and had limited articulation. Moving frward, NECA decided to try to improve on this in future waves of figures – and, for Series 3, they promised an improved upgrade. To further differentiate it from the older sculpt, this one is “Battle Damaged” – Knifehead took a pretty bad plasma blast about halfway through the fight, and the toy’s paint job reflects that. So let’s see how they did!



Knifehead’s clamshell package really has its work cut out for it, even more so than Trespasser’s. This figure is gigantic, and it feels like the plastic is straining, barely able to contain its gigantic schnoz. That said, it holds the toy in pretty well, and aside from the size difference, is the same as previous Pacific Rim packaging.


SCULPT: ****

Fun factoid: Knifehead, Trespasser, and Scunner all share the same body. The only real differences between them are the head, dorsal decoration, and colored patterns on their bodies. It makes sense for NECA to make these guys early, re-using parts and saving costs as the Pacific Rim line builds equity. So I absolutely expected Knifehead and Trespasser to share a lot of parts. As it turns out, they only share limbs. Their torsos, although similar, are quite different. Knifehead is simmer and less wrinkled, with his skin looking a little more armored and less like a rhino’s hide. It is also interesting that, despite the unique torso piece, Knifehead’s body does not have any sculpted-on damage. Yes, he was visibly cut up in the movie, but keeping it this way opens up the opportunity to produce a non-damaged Knifehead with the same sculpt in the future.


Of course, Knifehead’s knife head is a big drawing point for the figure, and his head was pretty good on the old figure. That said, this one is even better! The knife is just as detailed as it should be, though it is less sharp on the bigger toy than the smaller one (awwww). Certain details stand out better now, such as the tiny blowholes on top of his head (he spouts water from them in the movie), But Knifehead’s mouth is the biggest change, as the old toy had an awkward jaw and teeth that were not fearsome enough. This one has a great set of sharklike teeth, so fearsome that they are one of the first things you will notice about the toy. This is a good thing, considering how much focus there was on his teeth in the movie.


The inside of his mouth is appropriately sculpted as well, and even includes Knifehead’s thick, crazy tongue! His mouth looks good with or without the tongue, as NECA has given him a great throat sculpt. Also, his jaw is now designed to look natural whether open or closed, as opposed to the broken neck wattle that the original sported. The only possible complaint is that, when he mouth is shut and you look from beneath, you can see the paint from the inside of his mouth showing through. But this is minor, and the color fits the rest of his scheme.


Size-wise, Knifehead is about eight inches tall, very wide, and very deep – this is a massive hunk of plastic, and it feels bigger than it is. The dorsal decoration on his back looks more natural than it did on the other figures of this type, though it is still just as oddly added-on as in the film.


PAINT: ****

This Knifehead is “Battle-Damaged!” In the movie, after he got shot and played dead, he bled pretty heavily for the rest of the fight. Kaiju blood is luminescent and blue, which made for some awesome glow-in-the-dark effects during the fight. It’s also highly toxic, and “Kaiju Blue” did almost as much damage as the monsters themselves! Knifehead has a pretty generous application of blue, painted with two or three different shades. Most of his right side is bloody, as is the right half of his face, with a few more apps around the left corner of his mouth. It is bright, stands out, and doesn’t look bad – I was worried that it would detract from the figure, and while I would love a non-damaged figure, this paint job really gains my seal of approval. It’s also kind of interesting how it is mostly concentrated on one side of his body, so you can turn Knifehead around and pretend that he is unhurt.


Another issue of contention with the old figure was its mouth. Knifehead v.1 has a flesh-colored mouth with a pink tongue. In the movie, those were all blue. Glowing, too. With this figure, the inside of his mouth is the same combination of blues as his blood, only mixed to be as bright as possible. His lips are pinkish, but they were that way in the movie. His tongue is glossy blue, darker than the rest of the detailing in a great contrast.


His body is more of a charcoal gray than Trespasser’s muddy tones, with a light blue wash that tints him and brings out some of the blood details a little bit. His bioluminescent piping is in yellow – swirly yellow stripes cover Knifehead’s body, just like in the movie. The stripes look great, although I admit that they are a little too thick to match his appearance in Pacific Rim. They should be about two-thirds that width to be truly accurate, but it’s good enough to work.



Knifehead has ball-and-socket shoulders, secondary shoulder, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles, ball-jointed head, hands, secondary hands, and waist, a hinged jaw, a bendy tail, and an articulated tongue. Yes, that’s right – his tongue! You can pull it out when his mouth is open, or push it back in when closed. However, mine was kind of stuck – you know how it is, where the paint and plastic stick together a bit. So I had to rub it back and forth for some friction and warmth, use a pair of tweezers for a better grip, and then finally pull it in and out until it was loosened up.



Okay, okay, jokes aside, the tongue is nice. It is a little hard to manipulate, though, and your best bet is actually to pull it out of his mouth entirely. Just keep tugging on it, and it will pop out of his mouth quite nicely. Then work it back in to loosen his throat’s grip a little bit – it will fit back in just fine, and you will also gain the option to leave his tongue out if you want. This looks great, too. And hey, more ways to display!


As for everything else, Knifehead’s articulation is leaps and bounds above his first version. The only flaw I can think of is that, because his arms are now ball-and-socket joints instead of straight hinges, you can no longer bend them as sharply at the elbow. This is too bad, as he did a lot of elbow-bending in the movie, but I am totally fine with it. Likewise, the folds of his neck make his head less of a true ball joint, though you can turn and rotate it pretty well otherwise. Essentially, Knifehead’s articulation is the same as Trespasser’s, and a tremendous improvement on his series 1 figure.



Nope. Nada. None. Zip.


VALUE: ***1/2

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.




Knifehead is a pretty durable figure, but he is kind of top-heavy thanks to his snout. I have heard reports of figures taking a face-dive off the shelf and breaking their head, so watch out for that. Make sure that he is stable, and not facing the edge of your shelf. The huge wedge formed by his head could be a great target for damage.



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. Try Big Bad Toy Store, too.



This is the Knifehead we should have gotten last year. The figure is huge, impressive, fantastically detailed, exquisitely painted, and overall awesome. The only complaints left are minor – thick yellow piping, limited elbows and neck, and that odd jaw issue. It’s a great toy, and if Trespasser hadn’t already restored my faith in the line, Knifehead surely would have done it all by himself. I do hold out hope for a non-damaged version somewhere down the line, but this figure will easily suffice. He even looks great next to his tiny older version – Knifehead & Son could be a great sitcom. Knifehead is one of the most memorable Kaiju in Pacific Rim, and he certainly is the most-merchandised. It’s great to get such a quality toy of him in this line, and I applaud NECA for updating their figure so well.


4 responses to “Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Knifehead (Battle Damaged) (Pacific Rim) (NECA)

  1. Nicely articulated review – I’ve been on the fence about these figures but your pics definitely make them feel like a missing piece to my action figure collection.

    Also, I’d be very appreciative if you could send me a reply e-mail giving more info about that impressive dio setup! Thanks again!

    • It’s actually cobbled together! I used buildings from Monsterpocalypse and the Godzilla Crush Set, mostly, though there is an Empire State Building from a Safari toob. For the ground, there are some Mage Knight Dungeon tiles, and the bases/diorama pieces from some McFarlane Dragons and the Creech. The water is a blue plastic shopping bag, since it has the right texture. I also bolstered the ground/floor with pieces from the SIlent Screamers Knock Renfield (his floor), and some of the old McFarlane AVP (floors, again), the Diamond Select Metaluna mutant (more debris), and the blue water tower came from an old Fantastic 4 toy.

  2. Pingback: Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Scunner (NECA Pacific Rim) | Nerditis·

  3. Impressive! I really like the design and set up for the diorama as well. I’ve read all your Pacific Rim reviews. Hope you continue to review the new ones that come out, including Axehead, Knifehead 3.0, Tacit Ronin and Gipsy Danger 2.0 =) looking forward to that from LifeInPlastic! E-mail me if you wanna chat!

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