Big thanks to super-fun site The Toy Box for bringing this figure to my attention!
As I commented on the above linked post, I remember this figure coming out back in 2002, but at the time I was hoping we might get a character from a different movie, like Dr. Phibes or Nicholas Medina. The Raven isn’t my favorite Price vehicle.
2002 was a very different time for NECA, the company we now know as the masters of toy horror. Their Reel Toys imprint (which this figure is a part of) had just launched and didn’t have the multitude franchises it does today. There was a focus on more obscure and classic horror. I’m actually struggling to recall what their first offerings were.
That was also the year that Randy Falk joined NECA and brought several former McFarlane Toys employees with him. It was the start of a huge shift in pop culture and genre action figure business.
I’m pretty sure this Vincent Price ended up being a sort of one-off item, because I don’t believe NECA released any more Vincent Prices or sixth scale figures in this style (if I’m wrong, let me know).
Dr. Craven comes in a pretty nifty box. It’s not a fancy panel box or anything, but the window is shaped and the graphics look great. It offers a big opening with a clear view of the contents.
It does, however, have the look of something destined for the Suncoast clearance section.
The first thing to consider is that this is not the same kind of toy as Sideshow or Hot Toys’ sixth scale figures. It’s more like a big, clothed action figure.
As a matter of fact, it’s basically just a 12” version of NECA’s current line of 8” retro figures. Now that I’ve realized that I would love to see this redone in that scale.
The head sculpt isn’t photorealistic, but it’s great and recognizably Vincent Price. I don’t need everything to be the digitally scanned dot matrix whatever stuff that looks like a tiny version of the actor. I like a little artistic license from certain toy lines, and for whatever reason I like it best with horror toys.
NECA seems to have varying levels of paint app quality – perfect, great, good, “did a child do this?” – and there’s no telling which lines will receive which level. I’d call this Vincent great, which falls in line with the aforementioned 8” retro figures.
The body has all of the articulation you’d expect from a figure like this. It can do pretty much anything you see the actor do in the movie. The only frustration is that the head has a single limited ball joint at the base of the neck and is fairly restricted.
One of the main reasons to pick up a figure like this is the soft goods clothing. When done well, soft goods provide an entirely different aesthetic from standard action figure releases and can make a fairly simple figure – most sixth scale figures have essentially the same body under varying clothes – seem high class and extravagant. And if there’s anything a Vincent Price figure should be, it’s extravagant.
Though there are several well-done pieces of wardrobe, the coat is certainly the centerpiece. And it’s super weird. I’m guessing coats with this sleeve situation were a real thing back in Ye Olden Times, but I had never seen anything like it before. It has a full-length set of sleeves with fur trim at the cuffs, but there are cutouts at the elbow with additional fur-trimmed cuffs.
Presumably this is an indoors/outdoors situation, where the full sleeves are to keep warm outside while the elbow holes are to facilitate puttering around the house. I haven’t seen The Raven in years, but I’d guess the functionality must be on display at some point for NECA to have included it.
Otherwise the coat is excellent. The fabric looks like a small-scale velvet and drapes nicely. The fur is quality stuff and doesn’t come off or get all fuzzed up.
Under the coat the figure is wearing a long shirt – almost like a nightshirt – with a belt and black trousers. The shirt is a fancy satin-type material that hangs just as nicely as the coat. Oftentimes the biggest issue with soft goods is that they don’t drape or hang properly on the figure because of the small scale. Hasbro’s Jedi robes have often been an example of this. None of the clothing on this figure has that issue.
There’s a nicely detailed brooch on the shirt. The belt is fine, but a little on the cheap side. Mine doesn’t want to stay fastened, but through some miracle of physics it also doesn’t fall off.
The trousers are fairly unremarkable except for the sassy cuffs. The white piping is a great touch on the unusually-shaped legs.
The boots fall a little short of the quality of the rest of the wardrobe. They could have come straight off of an old GI Joe figure. It’s not a big deal at all, but they’re noticeably less fancy than everything else. If the box hadn’t been so clearly factory sealed I’d almost wonder if someone had pulled a switcheroo.
Dr. Craven comes with a raven and a hat.
The raven is very basic, but honestly didn’t need to be much more than that. The sculpt is excellent and there are little dots of red paint on its beady eyes. It’s not amazing, but it’s fine.
The hat, on the other hand, is bizarre. Much like the coat, I’m assuming this is some weird product of the era. It’s neither fez nor ushanka nor beanie. It’s this weird sort of brimless, tall fedora. And it looks way too big for the figure. It only sort of fits on his head. This item will be going in the junk drawer.
For thirty-five bucks this is a beautiful figure. You’re absolutely not going to find anything at this scale and level of quality for that price these days.
Actually, that’s the running price for those 8” retro figures, so there you go.
If you’re at all interested in owning a sixth scale Vincent Price, I recommend you hit up your favorite online retailer ASAP, because I have a feeling if word gets out these could become quite rare and skyrocket in price.
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