Ashley J. Williams is my guy, my hero.
Thanks to Bruce Campbell’s irresistible charm and charisma Ash is that rarest of commodities in the horror genre – the good guy that’s the center of the franchise. For three films and thirty television episodes, the mad and gruesome story of the Necronomicon and the Deadites revolved around this unsophisticated yet lovable chump.
I own a lot of Ash figures. Rarely can I resist the temptation to buy a new one, even if it’s part of a line I don’t necessarily collect or a scale that isn’t on my shelves. Heck, I’ve got an Ash bobblehead and I can’t stand bobbleheads. I see a halfway decent Bruce Campbell likeness and I am compelled to open up my wallet.
Which, by the way, is a Necronomicon wallet.
Mezco’s One:12 Collective is by far my favorite line of action figures, but I’ve tried to stick to comic book characters. I didn’t buy Jason or Michael Myers and I don’t plan to get Freddy, even though he’s my favorite horror icon. I bent the rules with Alex from A Clockwork Orange just because he seems like he’d be a great villain in the worlds of Batman or Judge Dredd.
I had to have Ash, though. Initially I was reluctant, but in the end the fact that my favorite action figure line was going to have one of my favorite characters was too much for me. I had to have it. I had to know if this would be the best Ash ever or another “almost got it”.
Was it worth it? Read on and find out!
Mezco has streamlined their One:12 boxes over the past year or so and I’m okay with that. They’re still easy to deal with and protect the figures and accessories quite well.
The outer slipcover has an eye-catching, ominous graphic on the front with product images on the back. It’s taken me time to figure out, but I finally realized why I mostly prefer screenshots to pictures of the figure – I will never have the fancy-pants dioramas that these companies use for these pictures. They pay experts to build little dioramas of things like the cabin, which makes the figures look even cooler. Then I open it up, put the figure in my crummy cardboard backdrop thing and feel bad about myself.
I might be exaggerating a bit, but you get my point.
Anyway, the packaging is easy to open and the figure and accessories can go right back in if you so desire. It’s a great system, as it should be for a high-end collectible.
I’ve discussed the difficulties inherent in making a great Bruce Campbell figure before, but since the old Needless Things is still in the process of being imported after three months (and yes – it is still actively processing; it hasn’t just stalled out) I’ll go into it again.
Unless you’re staring at Bruce Campbell from 1987, your adult brain is likely creating a very inaccurate image of what he looked like then. I know when I think of Ash from Evil Dead 2 I am actually picturing a sort of amalgamation of how he looked in the three movies. My mental image of Army of Darkness Ash is pretty solid and due to it being recent and to Campbell being on TV pretty consistently for the past decade I know what he looks like now. But the Chin from 1987 and earlier gets a little fuzzy.
This has led to me being kind of harsh (and slightly wrong) about previous likenesses on Ash figures. I’m not saying they were great and they certainly don’t live up to what we’ve been seeing from NECA for the past couple of years, but they deserved more credit than I gave them.
I say all of that because at first glance and without the aid of a direct reference, this might seem like one of those “not quite right” figures. But it’s damn near perfect. NECA’s might look close to this good if they had better paint apps, but even then they wouldn’t have the fantastic plastic that NECA uses for human flesh – an almost translucent material that is as close to skin as I’ve seen on a toy. Other companies use a similar product, but Mezco does it best.
The default head is a smirky face. The likeness of the sculpt is spot-on, but the paint is where it really dazzles. Each feature has its own gloss and color. The eyes glisten, the eyebrows are soft, and the cuts have a fresh look to them. The hair is tousled and looks matted with sweat. The stubble is the best I have ever seen on an action figure.
Ash’s body is one of the more slender builds, almost closer to Harley and Wonder Woman than Batman. This makes sense because Ash is just a dude.
For the most part this figure has the same articulation as other One:12 releases – the single head joint at the base of the neck has very good range, the upper abdomen twists, the waist is a sort of ball joint, the hips are ball-jointed and have thigh swivels, knees are double-jointed, wrists are pegs on hinges.
Where Ash is different is in the shoulders, elbows, and ankles.
The shoulders are simpler and don’t have quite the same range as some of the other figures. It’s fine and I barely noticed it during photography, but they’re pretty basic. The elbows are single-jointed like the female figures. Again – not a huge deal because they still have a pretty good range and there weren’t any poses I wanted that I couldn’t get.
I think these differences are mainly aesthetic due to Ash’s ripped shirt, which exposes the left shoulder and elbow, parts you don’t see on most other One:12 figures. Ash’s abdomen is also visible and has some nasty-looking wounds sculpted in with a tremendous paint job on top.
The ankles are a bit better than some other One:12 releases. I can’t quite tell what the joint is, but it has more range than most of my superheroes’ feet. They still aren’t as good as the Dark Knight Returns Batman, but they’re solid and good enough for “dude in hiking boots”. And those boots look incredible. The socks protruding from the tops are a nice touch, too.
Ash’s clothes are screen accurate and fantastically scaled. The shirt and trousers look like the right materials and are cut and drape properly. They’re also detailed with just the right amount of gore. It’s a little harder to see in pictures, but the trousers are splashed at the top, too. It would’ve been super weird if it just cut off at the belt line.
Ash’s torn shirt is a neat effect, with the hanging portion subtly attached to the trousers to keep it in place. The exposed threads look big and a little funky, but there really wasn’t a way around that that I can think of.
Ash’s belt and harness are made from a stiffer plastic than I expected. As a matter of fact, I was a little surprised they weren’t an imitation leather material. I shouldn’t have been, as other similar constructs in the line like Wonder Woman’s harness and Deadpool’s gear were plastic, but for some reason I hadn’t expected it.
Whatever the case, they look great and stay put during posing, which is probably why they are this material. They look leather-like but are functional at twelfth scale, which is what’s important. The buckles and rings and straps are all nicely detailed. The shotgun holster on Ash’s back is a little bulky, but it does its job. I was really impressed by the hook on the chest where Ash attaches the chainsaw starting cord. Obviously it had to be there, but it looks great.
Note: It’s just now occurring to me that the handle for the pull cord is very distinct and prominent on the chainsaw. I can’t imagine there’s actually a string and a mechanism to wind/unwind it, but I didn’t even check. I’m going to have to take a closer look.
Ash comes with a stand and armature, two alternate heads, two alternate hands, a severed Deadite head, a severed hand, the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, a chainsaw, and a boomstick.
Yes, I know we didn’t hear “boomstick” until Army of Darkness, but when you have the opportunity to use “boomstick”, you do it.
Sadly, this Ash is the absolute worst Ash I own as far as wielding that boomstick goes. The gun itself looks fantastic, but the figure’s wrist and hand don’t work quite well enough to create a natural shotgun-holding pose. “Good enough” is the best you can get. I don’t understand why they didn’t sculpt the hand at more of an angle, but they didn’t and this is what we’ve got.
Ash’s severed, Deadite-possessed hand looks amazing. The wounded end is gnarly and it’s remarkable just how much disdain and undead sass the artists managed to sculpt into that salute.
The Necronomicon looks like it should. The sculpt of the cover is gross and off-putting, as it should be. This isn’t the best Book of the Dead I own, but it’s darn good and gets the job done. One plus is that it’s made out of a sort of rubbery material, so it’s unpleasant to hold, also as it should be.
The Deadite head – or Henrietta, to be more precise – is well done. It’s hard for me to get too excited about it, what with an entire Deadite Henrietta from NECA on my shelf.
One of the alternate heads is Deadite Ash, the other is a more wounded and definitely more concerned Ash. They both look amazing. The paint is simply remarkable. The beat-up head in particular is almost creepy in how much it looks like a little human head. And this is hands-down the best Deadite Ash I’ve seen. It looks a little weird on the body with the Deadite-ness just ending right at the base of the neck, but it’s still a fantastic evil head.
I’d also like to give Mezco props for how easy it is to switch heads out on their figures. They pop on and off easily, but stay put well.
The stand is the usual Mezco deal – a nice logo on the base with a removable peg to accommodate the included armature. It all works well and the joints are quite sturdy. Several of my One:12 figures are suspended using this armature and have been for months or even a couple of years. Not a one of them has drooped or changed position. That is some excellent engineering.
Finally, Ash’s chainsaw is excellent. The sculpt is clean and defined and the “metal” and “plastic” parts have their own distinctive silver and red glosses, respectively. The spatter of gore looks very natural and is distributed well across the weapon.
The chainsaw fits snugly onto the figure’s arm after you have removed the hand. This is probably my favorite version of how the chainsaw works with the figure. It feels very sturdy and the blade(?) is thicker, so if it falls over it won’t snap like the one from McFarlane did.
It’s hard for me to say that I prefer this Evil Dead 2 Ash to the ones NECA released. They almost feel like entirely different categories of toys. Those have tons of accessories, a separate (and more accurate) Deadite Ash, and complete figures of Henrietta and Ed to hang out with.
But if I could only have one Evil Dead 2 Ash, I think this might be the one. It looks absolutely fantastic and is a bit more fun to play with than NECA’s products. That’s not a knock against them, it’s just that One:12 figures are a whole other class of toys. For costing three times as much or more, they should be.
I will say this, though – my all-time favorite Ash is NECA’s Ash vs Evil Dead Ultimate figure. It is utter perfection. If you skipped it, track one down now and thank me later.
Be sure to join the discussion in the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group!