Toy Review – Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning Ultimate Roy Burns from NECA

Who would’ve imagined the phrase “Ultimate Roy Burns” would ever be used, let alone the cause for so much excitement among Friday the 13th fandom?

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’ve been a fan of Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning from the start. First of all, I didn’t even see the movie until long after it was released. I was later on the game on Friday the 13th than I was A Nightmare on Elm Street, I think because I found Jason scarier than Freddy. I’ll have to sit down and think about it someday, but I remember a very real apprehension about watching the Friday the 13th movies.

I did not like Part V the first time I saw it. Or the second or third, probably. It was only a couple of years ago that I finally was able to put aside the fact that ***SPOILER*** Jason isn’t really in the movie. This was a very dumb thing to get hung up on, especially for someone who likes Jason Goes to Hell as much as I do.

A couple of years ago I picked up the Blu-ray set of the eight Paramount Fridays and had a little marathon. I ended up liking all of them a little more than I remembered (except for Part VIII, which I still think is trash), and finally came around to the fact that A New Beginning is pretty darn good, despite having the least likeable cast of all of the movies.

Replacing Jason Voorhees with Roy Burns was not a bad idea. Within the context of the insane Friday the 13th universe and timeline it’s actually one of the less ridiculous things that has happened.

The movie has great kills, Tommy Jarvis’ continuing story is pretty good, Reggie is fun (they should have brought him back at some point), and Violet’s dance scene is one of my favorite things in the whole franchise.

The funniest thing about Roy is that he’s so obviously not Jason, but for some reason his likeness and mask have been used on a lot of merchandise over the years, so a lot of people don’t even realize he isn’t Jason. I have a Friday the 13th shirt that is clearly meant to sort of represent the franchise as a whole, but the image on it is Roy.

So now NECA, one of the best toy companies on the planet, has released an action figure immortalizing the Jason-who-wasn’t, Roy Burns.

Will it take years to appreciate NECA’s Roy or is he a hit right out of the box? Read on and find out!

THE BOX

One thing I forgot to mention in my review of Michael Myers from Halloween II is that NECA’s new Ultimate boxes have built-in cardboard hang tabs rather than the plastic stick-on versions of previous releases.

I think they’re ugly and I don’t like them. They get banged up at retail and since they’re part of the box your package is technically now damaged. Of course, it’s absolutely stupid for me to care about this because I open everything and throw the boxes in the trash. The only real reason these new tabs bother me is because it often takes me a while to get around to opening NECA’s stuff and the tabs get in the way of stacking them up.

So to make that unnecessary paragraph shorter; new tabs, doesn’t matter.

Otherwise the boxes are the same great boxes. The front flap features the image from one of the movie posters that, in retrospect, is a very suspiciously generic hockey mask. This flap opens to reveal a window where the figure and accessories are visible against a printed backdrop. You’re going to have to take my word for it because I forgot to take a picture with the flap open.

The back has images of the figure recreating scenes from the film. These are all arranged in a cool way that is reminiscent of a VHS box or maybe even a feature from Fangoria. There’s also a synopsis for the film.

The box’s verbiage is coy about Roy despite the fact that he’s right there on the back, unmasked. Nowhere does it say “Roy Burns” or “Fake Jason” or whatever you’d refer to him as.

There’s a list of credits on the bottom of the box denoting people who worked on the figure. I think it’s excellent that NECA does this.

DSC_0775THE TOY

After years of similar-looking Jasons, it’s pretty exciting to get something different.

Roy wears coveralls rather than a shirt and trousers. There are a few pieces that are shared with the aforementioned Michael Myers, but most of the parts are new for Roy, the most important being the torso cover.

NECA is getting better all the time at lowering the profile of the improving articulation and one of the ways they do that is by concealing it underneath rubber or soft plastic coverings. While that’s not really practical for parts with deep bends like arms and legs, torsos work fairly well. Roy’s torso piece has tons of sculpted detail, including a nasty gash across his midsection. The gash has plenty of blood painted on around it, while the rest of the piece has a dark wash to match the rest of the figure’s coveralls.

I’m a little conflicted about that wound. It looks great and adds some more visual flair to the figure, but it squarely places it depicting the end of the movie, and most of the included accessories precede that, obviously. I can’t honestly say it bothers me or that I’d even prefer a non-wounded Roy, but the ideal solution would have been a front piece that was somehow replaceable. Obviously that’s a ridiculous desire, but these are the things I think about when I review figures.

The openings where the arms and legs meet the torso are important for two reasons – if the gap is too big it spoils the profile and if the colors and materials don’t match it spoils the look. Fortunately the points where the figure is joined together look as good as they possibly could. The seams on the fronts of the legs are noticeable, but compared to Marvel Legends or DC Multiverse figures they’re barely there. I think the only superior figures are ones with soft goods, and that’s a whole other level of figure and craftsmanship.

Let’s talk about Roy’s butt.

From behind those leg seams are near-invisible thanks to them being formed around the pockets on the coveralls. It’s a small detail, but it’s the sort of thing that NECA clearly looks at and thinks about and executes well.

In these pictures this torso piece stands out a bit from the glossier arms and legs, which are plastic. Trust me when I say that in person and especially on the shelf you won’t even notice this minor difference in materials.

The figure has NECA’s newly-designed double-jointed elbows. They blend into the profile very nicely and are far more functional than they initially appear. The elbows themselves are an entirely independent hinged setup, so there’s less restriction from where they join the arms. As you can see from the accessory pictures, this allows for an almost human range of motion. I don’t have many other action figures that could hold those hedge clippers properly.

The hands are mounted on pegs that are, in turn, mounted on swiveling hinges. Their movement is somewhat restricted by the overhanging sleeves, but I’ll be honest – I prefer this over the joints sticking out and looking goofy. And I can absolutely achieve every pose I need to with the design as-is.

I’ve mentioned this in every recent NECA review, but I’ll do so again because NECA’s old way of designing feet is one of my least favorite action figure designs of all time – Roy’s boots are hinged at the ankle and swivel so keeping this guy upright and stable is not a problem in any of the poses you can manage. And the whole assembly is sturdy plastic, so you won’t get that NECA Lean over time.

Finally, there’s Roy’s defining feature – his big ol’ goofy head.

Roy’s mask is distinctive in that it has two blue triangles on the cheeks rather than the red “V” on the forehead and red marks (sometimes) on the cheeks like Jason’s. NECA has created an amazing, tiny version of the Roy mask. The shell has actual holes rather than sculpted divots, which is great. The shape is excellent and conforms to the face underneath perfectly. There are several paint applications to create a worn, aged look  and the blue markings are just the right shade.

The straps are sculpted and painted with seams. The rubber is just flexible enough to stretch over the head and keep the mask snug, but not so thin it will snap over time (I think).

Underneath the mask, Roy’s goofy face is surrounded by the headpiece he wears to look Like Jason. I have no idea where he got it or if he was secretly an FX guy. Whatever the case, NECA sure did nail this look. The sculpt and paint on both his human face and the headpiece are immaculate. It’s not just that this is an excellent likeness of Dick Wieland, who plays Roy, but that it perfectly achieves the look of his head stuffed into the mask. Granted, he looks a bit more lively here than he does when he’s finally unmasked in the movie, but I’m okay with that.

DSC_0773THE STUFF

Roy comes with – deep breath – a meat cleaver, a flare, a knife, hedge clippers, a machete, a branch and leather strap, and an alternate hand. He also apparently includes a railroad spike that I either lost or threw out with the box. I’m not gonna lie – I am not terribly upset about it.

In my opinion this is the most interesting assortment of weapons that a Friday the 13th figure has come with. The knife, machete, and cleaver are all brand new and are essentially tiny prop replica quality. I’ve mentioned NECA’s improvements on their figures, but they’ve been killing it in the accessory department, too.

Pun definitely intended.

These implements of terror are practically photorealistic, but are also sturdy. Nothing feels too brittle or fragile. I wasn’t overly concerned about breakage while I was posing and taking pictures.

The flare is fun. The smoke and spark effects are sculpted and painted nicely. I won’t display it, but I like that NECA put the effort into producing it.

For me the best pieces here are the hedge clippers and the stick/strap combo. They’re so specific to Roy’s movie, but they’re also incredible in execution.

Obviously without a victim and a tree the stick and strap are sort of weird, but they’re so well done. If you don’t know, in the movie Roy throws a leather strap around a guy’s head while standing behind a tree, then uses a stick to twist it until the guy’s head basically pops. It’s a creative kill and one that’s specific to Roy, as Jason probably would have just grabbed the guy’s head and squeezed it.

The two pieces that make this device are beautifully crafted. The strap has the appearance of leather with a metal ring attached to either side. The rings slide onto the stick, which is by far the best toy stick I have ever owned. Roy can then hold the apparatus appropriately, though I’m pretty sure the strap isn’t long enough.

It doesn’t matter.

The hedge clippers are a bit simpler, but just as impressive. They look fantastic and actually open and close. Thanks to the figure’s excellent range of motion they can be held in any position, ready to stab downward or simply cut normally.

Even though I’ll only be displaying the figure with one of these weapons, I’m delighted that NECA put so much effort into the assortment.

DSC_0810THE VERDICT

It’s crazy, but Roy might be my new favorite Jason figure.

It’s not that this is the best representation of Jason or the franchise, obviously. It’s that the figure has such a unique look and great set of accessories. Also, it feels like some of NECA’s most advanced and very best work as far as their horror lines go. This is, indeed, an Ultimate Roy.

This isn’t just an excellent NECA figure, this is a contender for Figure of the Year.

If you’re not a fan of A New Beginning, go give it another chance before this figure becomes scarce. You might decide you need a little Roy on your shelves, too.

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