Friday 8 March 2019

Toybox REVIEW: NECA Bride of Chucky Ultimate Chucky & Tiffany

Release Date: December 2018
RRP: $58.99

It's no secret that the Child's Play/Chucky series is my all-time favourite horror franchise, and while NECA's Ultimate Chucky figure from 2017 certainly scratched my itch for a good quality action figure, I was still left wanting more. Because as great as the original Child's Play films are, my all-time favourite instalment in the series is 1998's Bride of Chucky. It's completely trashy and its follow-up film is something that should never be spoken of again, but damn is it a fun movie. So I was ecstatic to hear that NECA would be continuing their popular toy line with a Bride of Chucky Ultimate Chucky & Tiffany 2-pack – bringing the Lakeshore Strangler's murder-fetish girlfriend into the fold alongside a new version of Chucky that reflects the major changes to his design brought about in the film.

Even before you get to the figures themselves NECA's Ultimate line is all about presentation, and the packaging of this two-pack really reflects that. Admittedly you can't top the genius of packaging the original Ultimate Chucky figure in a near movie-accurate Good Guys doll box, but NECA have still done a fantastic job here. This glossy black book-style box features the instantly recognisable Bride of Chucky movie poster on the front flap, with numerous images (as well as a short synopsis of the film) of the figures printed on the back. It's a pretty standard practice for figure boxes, but NECA really do go above and beyond here – every picture has a background to give it more depth, and they're all framed with a stitch pattern that mirrors how Tiffany repairs the damaged Chucky doll that was ripped to shreds at the end of Child's Play 3. The inside flap features another nice big image of the pair, as well as revealing a huge transparent window that shows off both figures and their plethora of accessories.

This version of Chucky is an extensive remould of the original Ultimate Chucky, featuring all new head sculpts and a reworked body which incorporates all the tears in his iconic dungarees and jumpsuit. Sure the other Chucky figure had its own sewn-up head sculpt (based on 2013's Curse of Chucky) but it was a much cleaner figure overall – this one is far more dirtied up and bloody in comparison. There's also a huge difference between the head sculpts, which just goes to show how much the doll changes between instalments even if you don't really notice it as much watching the films. The paint job on the body has also been reworked slightly to not only use a darker shade of blue for the dungarees, but to also have slightly different colour pattern on the jumpsuit.

Tiffany on the other hand is an all-new mould, and NECA have done a great job giving her the same loving treatment they did to the Chucky mould. The texturing detail is especially sharp on this figure due to the number of materials involved in her onscreen outfit, with soft textured plastic used for the leather jacket and impressive detailing for the dress top. The lower section of the dress is entirely fabric, which not only works far better for posing but also gives the figure a more doll-like charm that certainly doesn't go amiss. But just because they're hidden doesn't mean the legs underneath are completely without detailing, with boots, garter and tights moulded to an impressive level given the figure's relatively small size. The main paint application is the Chucky heart tattoo just above her left breast, which is a little difficult to photograph but perfectly applied. Then finally there's the head sculpt, which has its own selection of fantastic paint apps for both the face and hair.

Despite the makeover it's still pretty much the same Ultimate Chucky figure that's under there – not that this is in any way a bad thing. The mould sports a ball jointed head, ball-hinge shoulders and hips, swivel-hinge elbows, hinged knees, ball jointed wrists and foot swivels just for that extra little bit of balance support. As I said in the review of the previous release – it doesn't sound like a whole lot but it's enough to make a great Chucky figure that moves like a stilted doll/animatronic. The joints are a little stiff at first and will cause a bit of paint flaking (as if they've been painted over), but after a bit of working they should be fine and any paint that flakes off will be excess rather than from essential areas. The articulation combined with the sculpt just give the figure so much presence, and Chucky looks bloody brilliant in any murderous pose you throw him in.

As the base bodies are pretty much the same, Tiffany's articulation is identical to that of Chucky's even though you can't see what's going on with the legs unless you lift up that dress. But on the plus side, this actually makes balancing a little easier since you don't have to worry about the feet not being perfectly flat. Since the arms of the jacket aren't connected to the body shoulder articulation is unimpeded by the soft plastic, making Tiffany just as manoeuvrable as Chucky. Again, this is another great figure that nails the doll-like movement in any pose.

Two great figures are one thing, but what really makes this the "Ultimate" package are the accessories. Once again NECA have done their best to include almost everything that appeared in the movie – from the most prominent pieces all the way to minor inclusions. First off we have two additional Chucky heads with different expressions, an alternate angry Tiffany head, six additional hands (two pairs for Chucky and one for Tiffany), the Heart of Damballa medallion (complete with metal chain), two shovels, two pistols, two knives, an axe and a bottle of champagne. Word of caution the alternate Chucky heads will be extremely difficult to pop on the joint straight out of the box, but a quick blast of hot air should soften the plastic up enough that they'll fit on without any issue from there on out. All of the accessories are really nicely detailed (the champagne bottle and Heart of Damballa especially), and provide plenty of different posing and display options for you to choose from.

The accessories are so ranged that they even expand outside of the Bride of Chucky film! Also included are a turkey baster and a container featuring Chucky's "seed", which the pair use to artificially inseminate Jennifer Tilly in 2004's Seed of Chucky. Never did I think I'd own a container of doll semen as a toy accessory, but I guess here we are. The last thing I want to be reminded of is that Seed of Chucky is a film that exists, but major props for NECA for really going above and beyond with this accessory count.

But it don't stop there either! Finally there are alternate head and arm parts to transform Tiffany into the doll's original look prior to her dramatic makeover once Chucky had transferred her soul into it. It's not a perfect likeness as the heart tattoo is still on show, but the alternate parts are almost enough to make it feel like an all-new figure. The head even has a netted fabric veil, which goes nicely with the other soft goods used on the Tiffany sculpt. Changing the head is just a simple ball-joint swap ala the other alternate heads, but changing the arms is a little more involved as it also requires removing the jacket prior to plugging the new arms in. There was a little paint flaking in taking the arms off, but as was the case with moving the joints for the first time it seems to have been excess flaking off rather than rubbing on sections where it's immediately noticeable. While these parts probably won't get much use unless the buyer is getting multiples (after all, who'd display this over Tiffany?) but the parts being included just show how expansive NECA are with these "Ultimate" releases.

NECA's Ultimate range has definitely made its name as an essential toy line for any horror fan and the Bride of Chucky Ultimate Chucky & Tiffany two-pack is another winner. The new Chucky sculpting is enough to make it a perfect companion piece to the earlier Ultimate Chucky figure (and if like me you prefer the sewn-up look for the character, the far superior version), Tiffany oozes that same quality and the accessories are so expansive that they even extend out of the very movie the set is representing. Owning 1:1 scale dolls might be the dream for diehard Chucky fans, but these figures are the perfect palm-sized alternative and I hope NECA don't stop here. A Seed of Chucky set I could live without, but a Cult of Chucky three-pack (with severed "original" head thrown in for extra measure)? That I would 100% be behind.  

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