Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gears of War 3 (Series 1): Anya Stroud Figure Review

Flavor Text:

"Anya Stroud:

Former "Control" Dispatcher for Delta Squad, Anya is now a frontline fighting Gear herself.  Defending the remnant of humanity has forged her into a tough and capable warrior ready to tackle anything that comes her way."


Kinda looks like Cameron Diaz... weird, huh?

For those who haven't played any of the Gears of War video games or read any of the novels, the storyline mainly revolves around the COGs (Coalition of Ordered Governments) and their fight for survival against the vicious subterranean Locust Horde.  I haven't played the Gears of War 3 (video game) mainly because I don't own an XBOX 360  (I love my PS3 dearly, thank you very much).  However, with the pictures of Anya plastered on all three sides of the clamshell packaging, I have a pretty good idea what she's supposed to look like in-game.

The textures and detailing of Anya's armor is just amazing.  The colors of the outfit and sculpt of various accessories (that are permanently sculpted onto her body) look accurate.  The sculpt of the weapon accessory (bloodied Lancer) is also a really nice touch.  I just noticed that there is a folded-up "handle bar" on the left-side of the Lancer which you can unfold (a nice surprise addition to the overall design of the Lancer weapon accessory) allowing yo to recreate their [secondary] bloody "chainsaw" attack.

I really like how NECA is no longer placing the "NECA 2011 Made in China" stamp (that stamp is now placed less noticeably on the back of Anya's weapons pouch on her right hip) on the soles of the figure's feet.  Just like they did with their recent Isaac Clarke figure (from the Dead Space 2 video game), the soles of Anya's feet are detailed.

I love how Anya's right-hand is sculpted to actually grip the Lancer weapon accessory tightly enough and that her right finger fits in the trigger "area" perfectly.  Before I forget, I just love how NECA handled the overall sculpt of Anya's body.  Even with the heavy armor surrounding her, you can still see the outlines of her feminine charm.  I hope this much articulation and level of sculpt continues down the line for the rest of their female action figures (Lara Croft anyone?).

While Anya's facial sculpt is somewhat similar to the video game version, there are two things that could've improved the overall look.  The biggest problem is that Anya is cock-eyed (this may be due to the paint application).  The only other problem is that this Anya looks like she forgot to apply some makeup.  The in-game pictures of Anya shows her at least having some "eye-shadow" or the like which improves her overall look (now I know why women apply eye-shadow). 


Stretching after a long battle or posing for a magazine?

According to the packaging, Anya has "30+ points of articulation".  Let's see if I can count them all: ball-jointed neck, 3 separately articulated moving parts (for each side) that make up the ball-jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel-hinged wrists, ab-crunch joint, swivel waist, swivel-hinged hips, double-jointed knees, swivel calves, hinged ankles, and hinged toes.

The only problem with this figure is that some of the joints are a bit too loose for comfort.  After a while, the arms will fall down due to the [weapon] accessory's weight.  The ab-crunch joint is too loose to a point that Anya just ends up slouching due to gravity.  Also the swivel waist joint couldn't move most likely due to the paint application, so that took some time before I could get it to move (at all).

Paint Application:

Props to the individual or groups of people involved in the this department.  This is a great example of NECA's ability to get things done right the first time.  A little eye-shadow or a little jab of makeup or whatnot on Anya's face would make this the perfect female figure ever created by these talented group of guys (and gals).  The "blood splatter" paint application of the chainsaw-part of the Lancer weapon accessory is just great.


While this figure only comes with one Lancer weapon accessory, you won't hear any complaints from me in this department.  With all the detailing and articulation that is present in this figure, and the price, you can't get nor find a quality figure that packs this much of a punch anywhere else in this market.

I also think it's a very nice addition to include a peg on the Lancer [weapon] accessory so that it could be plugged into the back of Anya's armor without much difficulty.

The handle (grip) of the Lancer is thick enough to fit into Anya's pre-posed right-hand.  Her hand is pliable enough so that the stiff handle of the Lancer can slide in without (too much of) a hitch.


Anya comes in the typical clamshell packaging NECA's figures are known for.  It shows off most of the figure with the weapon accessory visibly placed on the top-right side of the packaging.  The background design of the packaging is nice and colorful, undoubtedly taken from the video game cover of Gears of War 3.  The front window packaging (at the bottom) shows a portrait of a serious-looking Anya posing with her Lancer (?) with her name in bright-blue color on the left-hand side.  The surrounding sides of the packaging show more pictures of the sexy Anya as well.


I pre-ordered Anya through for a total of $15.99 (not including tax and shipping and handling charges).  I've got to tell you though how I noticed jack up the prices of the Gears of War figures almost a few weeks before Christmas (what a real nasty business practice).

Additional Information:

There's a "chase variant" of this figure that comes packaged with a "pink-colored" Lancer.  If you're lucky enough to find one in the stores without having to resort to eBay or any other online store, good for you.  Otherwise, expect to pay premium prices for essentially the same figure with a different paint scheme on the Lancer [weapon] accessory.  However, I think it's cool that NECA throws in something extra like these "chase" figures.  It makes collecting a bit more exciting (and challenging).


Product Development
Randy Falk

Neobauhaus Studios

Jeff Richard

Jon Wardell
Geoffrey Trapp

Adam Smith 

Stephen Mazurek

Chris Longo


Epic Games, Inc.

Character Concept and Game Art
Epic Games development team

Figure Art Direction
Chris Perna

Product Development
Cliff Bleszinski
Mike Capps
Rod Fergusson
Chris Mielke

Additional Feedback
Pete Hayes
Kevin Lanning

The Good:

* The highly anticipated Anya Stroud figure is finally here!
* Extremely articulated and highly detailed figure!
* Video game accurate sculpt.

The Bad:

* Very loose joints.
* Needs some additional paint application on Anya's face.
* Please fix the cock-eyed look!

The Ugly:

* The long wait it took to finally get this figure in my grubby hands!
* Retailers "upping" the price for last-minute shoppers.