Sunday, September 11, 2011

(Reminiscing) Resident Evil 4 Series 1: Leon S. Kennedy (without coat) Action Figure

Flavor Text:

"Oh shit...."
None.  Just one main picture of the actual figure (in this case, Leon) that takes up more than half of the back of the package.  The remaining bottom space is used to show [four] pictures of the other Resident Evil figures from "Series 1" which include: Ada Wong, Chainsaw Ganado, Verdugo, and Leon S. Kennedy.


"Damn paparazzi!"
I remember people complaining about how strange Leon's face looked when he was first released.  His hair sculpt does make him look like a lead singer of a boy band.  But is it really that bad?  It depends on the angle.  You could place a scaled guitar accessory in Leon's hands and he will definitely look like he's rocking the joint.

One of the things that used to bother me was Leon's "hunched over" look coupled with his pre-posed arms.  This really limited the number of poses Leon could do.  That said, Leon is in that pose most of the time in Resident Evil 4 (video game).  Not to mention that most figures during that time had a limited amount of articulation as well (for a 7-inch collector figure line).  Leon looks great when posing with his handgun, but otherwise looks extremely awkward without it.

My biggest problem lies with Leon's inability to hold most of his accessories.  His pre-posed hands need to be "tightened" a bit more, at least just enough so that his weapons won't wobble around (especially the sub-machine gun) when placed in his right hand.  Either that or have the grip of Leon's weapons be thicker. However, I believe NECA designed him with a "looser" grip so that Leon can actually grasp the shotgun accessory.  Also, what's up with that "opened palm" left hand?  Is Leon gonna have to smack a bitch?  Or perhaps do the "talk to the hand" bit?

Without a doubt, NECA is well known for their attention to detail, and this figure is no different from the rest of their offerings (at the time).  The "leather" straps around Leon's upper body is extremely well sculpted.  I especially love the sculpt of the sidearm holster which is under Leon's left arm.  Unfortunately, his handgun accessory doesn't stay for long and eventually falls out.  The other holster strapped around Leon's right leg is a little "squished" for some reason, but it can hold the handgun pretty well.  The only thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is Leon's right hand where one of his fingers has some sort of cyst growing out of control.


Leon S. Kennedy is articulated with: ball-jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders, swivel biceps, swivel wrists, swivel waist, and swivel ankles. 

The amount of articulation on Leon is pretty standard back then as it is even now with the exception of a few ball-joints here and there.  However, an "ab-crunch" joint would've definitely improved this figure a lot.  Since this was NECA's first foray into the Resident Evil world (and probably because they were given a limited budget), collectors like myself should consider themselves lucky to even have a Resident Evil figure in their hands.

My only question is this: why bother adding articulation for the ankles?  More specifically what's the point of having articulation in his left ankle when the sculpt of his jeans limits any movement?  The right ankles swivels quite nicely, but the left ankle slightly budges.  I would've kept that money and put it towards another area.

That said, I would love to see NECA redo some of the their previously released Resident Evil figures and give them even more articulation (and improve some of their sculpts), like they've done with their Gears of War line.

Paint Application:

Most of the paint application on this figure is pretty spot on.  A few stray marks here and there, spots here and there don't detract from the overall value of the figure.  However, as others have mentioned, when you look underneath Leon's nose, you'll notice that NECA actually painted Leon's nostrils!  It really looks... distracting, but it's not noticeable when you place him on the table.  Just try not to look underneath Leon.  You've been warned.

The main thing that bothers me about this figure is the color of Leon's pants.  I do recall Leon wearing dark blue jeans, not black.  So why has NECA given Leon a pair of black jeans?  Strange, isn't it?  So much for video game accuracy...  (Actually depending on what light you're using, you will be able to notice that Leon's jeans are dark blue or at least they're not absolutely black).

Either because the sculpt of the right hand or (most likely) due to the plastic material of his handgun, the "flesh" paint inside of Leon's right hand is easily scraped off revealing the black underneath.  Maybe NECA should rely on using softer rubber-like material for their weapon accessories (like they did with Resident Evil 5's Sheva Alomar's handgun).


Couldn't find all the accessories for the photo shoot
Leon comes with: a knife, handgun with laser pointer, shotgun, sub-machine gun, 3x grenades (2x regular and 1x incendiary grenade), and a health spray.  Of the eight, Leon can only (barely) hold two, which are [thankfully] guns.

"What... what is this?"
The sub-machine gun (SMG) accessory is a joke because there's no way Leon can hold onto it.  Even the slightest movement will cause the [useless] SMG accessory to fall right out of his "kung-fu" grip.  Leon can't grasp any of his grenade accessories, unless you lay them on the "open palmed" left hand flat, which looks ridiculous.  As you can see in the above photo, I managed to shove in the health spray accessory into his "handgun" grip.  Because most of the accessories are relatively small, they're also easily lost (grenades and health spray).  It would've been really nice to have a place to hook or insert the grenade accessories on Leon's belt.

You know what they say about people who carry really small knives...
Probably the most shameful is that Leon can't hold onto his trusty knife!  If you've ever played Resident Evil 4 (video game) you'd know that Leon can use his knife to either conserve ammo or show off his awesome knifing skills.  His deadly skills with the knife also plays a pivotal role during his first encounter with Krauser later on.  The problem with the knife accessory is the handle is way too small and Leon's pre-posed right hand grip is too loose.  The blade could also be a bit longer and bigger.  At least the knife accessory fits nicely in its leather holster!


This figure comes in a really bulky clamshell, which you'd think protects the figure and the package itself really well, but it doesn't.  Due to the sheer size, I think NECA decided to use really thin plastic because it really doesn't do a good job of staying together and is easily dented and scratched.  The backdrop of the packaging is of the church surrounded by a graveyard with strange Ganado symbols.


It's been quite some time since I purchased this figure, so I no longer remember how much I paid for this bad boy.  However, you can look online now and see how inflated the prices are.  For some reason though, Leon (with jacket) costs way more than Leon (without jacket).  Strange, huh?  Maybe that rocket launcher accessory is really something...

Additional Information:

Product Development
Randy Falk

Art Direction/Paint
Ed Repka

Kyle Windrix

Oliver Brig

Asst. Paint
Karin Simeone

Adam Smith

Nicolle M. Puzzo

Brian Roll

Licensing for Capcom
Marc Mostman

The Good:

* Finally a Resident Evil figure from the popular "Resident Evil 4" video game (thank you, NECA)!

* Pretty amazing detailing job done by the NECA crew.

* Facial sculpt of Leon S. Kennedy is pretty "video game" accurate!

* Figure made from very durable material (dropped this sucker a few times, not on purpose, I swear)!

* Love the inclusion of the ball-jointed articulation.

The Bad:

* Mostly useless accessories.

* Limited articulation (but that was pretty standard back in the day).

* Strange articulation in certain places.

The Ugly:

* Most of the accessories don't fit in either hand.

* Retailers trying to milk Resident Evil enthusiasts by creating artificial "demand" by hiking prices between the Leon S. Kennedy (without coat) and Leon S. Kennedy (with coat) even though these were available 50/50 per case!


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