I think one of the greatest announcements this last year was that NECA had obtained the license to do toys and collectibles for Valve properties. For those not in the know (not sure why you would be reading this if you weren’t) but Valve is the software company founded by Gabe Newell, most known for their amazing software titles, and for Steam their direct download PC gaming service. Valve is a little bit different from most companies as they tend to find people who are doing really cool modifications with games, hire them, and give them a budget to turn that mod into a legit game. Valve is responsible for among other titles Half-Life, Portal, Counterstrike, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, and now DOTA 2.
The first Valve action figure to come out is the HUGE Boomer who is one of the special enemies from the Left 4 Dead series. The Boomer is a large obese man who will spit some really vile puke onto your character. This will alert other undead of where you are and you will have a good minute of killing a horde of attacking zombies that are attracted to his bile. Generally it is common knowledge if you play a lot of Left 4 Dead that a Boomer is probably waiting around most corners to hit you real quick with his vomit. He takes only a few bullets to kill and blows up into a grand mess.
So the Boomer toy not only captures the Boomer “alive” but also the dead version as well by doing a quick torso swap. I’ll concentrate on the living torso as the other one is basically just a big pile of guts and organs. Mr. Boomer has a very awkwardly stature because he is a huge fat guy, the type of fat where the huge belly continues into his pants and forms a bit of a flat over his penile area. His belly sticks out quite far and has growths popping out of it. The paint and detail of this necrotic belly is a thing of beauty, I can’t think of a more realistic representation of a dead fat guy.
Until I got this figure, I never knew the Boomer was wearing socks. I suppose I never thought about it or studied the model in-game enough to notice, but that little detail really stuck out to me. His sweatpants are eerily creepy as well, the texture and color is almost too perfect and the little hole in the back that you can see a little cheek is a gross touch. Since his stomach is so big his shirt bunches up where the belly meets the breast, it also makes a very effective and interesting point of articulation.
On the articulation issue, it is actually amazing how much movement this guy has. They really could have gone the easy route and given this guy really basic or no articulation at all and he would still be great. But he actually has a ton, so much so you can almost get him to touch the ground! Try doing that with your Hasbro Marvel Legends Blob, it is impossible. The only part I think is a bit of a weird choice is the shoulder pad they put on the left arm, it is just one of those things that probably doesn’t need to be there. The sculpt would still look fine without it, and it can make a pose look odd if the arm is up.
They did a pretty creative thing with the jaw as well making it articulated. The articulation is almost seamless too, taking a completely separate piece and making it look like it is part of the sculpt. You can even remove the bottom jaw piece and it looks fine as well. Afterall it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility for a zombie to be missing a jaw. I assume the boomer keeps his bile inside the huge sacks under his chin.
NECA really didn’t cut any corners making this figure, the quality is amazing. Like Valve, they made the best product they could put out. I’m really glad the Boomer turned out so well because it just affirmed that the high quality prototypes NECA put out are going to turn into amazing final products. It’s also nice to see original sculpts and great paint applications that don’t cost $25+ each.
You can get the Boomer at most places, it’s not exclusive anywhere. He will run you anywhere from $19 – $22. If you are shopping online, I suggest checking out Amazon as they have him around $20. But I know they have been seen at Toys R Us at around $22 or so … hard to tell TRU seems to raise prices on a daily basis.
If you are big on the Left 4 Dead series NECA has announced and shown pictures of the Smoker, second in the series. And if you are a fan of other Valve games, Dr. Gordon Freeman from the Half-Life series will also be out in September with the Smoker. Team Fortress 2 figures are also on the way as NECA has shown a Heavy and Demo-Man (not to be confused with the MOTUC character).
NECA promises a good amount of reveals at SDCC, so the Valve universe may be fleshing out even more. Stay tuned, we will let you know as news comes in!