The swarm is growing! Besides the hordes of zombies you need to worry about in Left 4 Dead, you also have to keep especially alert for the cues of the special infected. The one special infected that always seems to get the straggler, or grabs the last person alive sprinting for the safe house is the Smoker. You hear the cough, but you never know where he actually is until it’s too late. The Smoker is a tall, thin, disgusting infected that is designed to ruin your day.
NECA appears to be taking full advantage of their license to make Valve figures and collectibles. They have done and are working on characters from all across Valve’s properties, and building a very diverse collection. The Smoker is now the second figure from Left 4 Dead, he proceeds the Boomer that came out earlier this year. The Boomer was one of my favorite figures this year too, so the Smoker has a lot to live up to. Does he compare to my Boomer friend? He fits right in and makes himself at home.
The Prometheus line got me really excited because of the towering figures at a great price (I’m used to paying $20+ for heavy reuse figures, just so you understand). I kind of knew the Smoker was tall, but until I opened him I didn’t realize how tall he actually was. The Smoker stands at about the same height as the Prometheus Engineers, and if you have an Engineer you know they stand a little over eight inches tall. He also dwarfs the Boomer in height certainly not in width.
Our Smoker has the horrific detail you have come to expect from a NECA release. Much like the Boomer he has a huge growth coming out of his chin. This growth extends up the side of his head, creeps over to his shoulder, and then all down his left arm. There are tongues growing out of the tumors in all different lengths. He has a really long one coming out of the back of his head. The back-of-the-head tongue has a wire skeleton and bendy rubber so it is able to be posed. The two tongues you can plug into his mouth are made with the same material. I’ve tried but I do not think the tongue in the back of his head is removable, if it was it would provide a middle option to his long and short tongues.
The Smoker has a crazy amount of articulation, and a lot of it is really well hidden. The biggest surprise to me was the ball jointed neck, I really didn’t expect that part of the figure to move with all the sculpted tumors around it. His legs have a great range of motion and the hip joints are hidden by a soft rubber overlay to cover the hip-balls. The only complaint I do have is my hip joints went loose really quick. After posing him a few times his legs started flopping all over the place. This is counter-acted a bit because he has a really solid base with adjustable feet to keep him standing. His ab crunch is also hidden by the soft rubber shirt.
His paint turned out great as well. My observation is they seem to be using a glossy paint on infected parts and exposed guts, and then a more matte paint over clothes and regular skin. It’s easier to see on the Boomer because more of his body is matte because it is normal skin, but his polyps and exposed guts are all glossy. Same works with the Smoker, but since most of his unclothed parts are tumors they come out glossy. The matte works really nice though on his jeans because they really look like jeans … the texture mixed with the paint is quite amazing.
The release of the Smoker marks Left 4 Dead as the first game that has gotten a second figure from NECA thus far. Until the Team Fortress 2 figures come out this will leave Left 4 Dead as the most represented property from Valve (if you don’t want to count the Portal Gun Replicas and mini Turrets). The Boomer is one of my favorite figures of the year (on a side note, most things I have bought from NECA this year have felt like figures of the year; this is going to be a huge problem when I actually have to figure out THE “Figure of the Year.”) and the Smoker comes in pretty high as well.
The nice thing about the Left 4 Dead figures is that you can use them with other properties and they work just as well. I think they would go well with Resident Evil, if Capcom would get back to merchandising their property and adding new stuff. They are worlds better than the garbage Walking Dead stuff McFarlane is putting out. Even if you are just a fan of unnerving realistic clothing detail then you want to get these guys because you will be amazed. Pick up the Smoker at Amazon for around $20, that’s how much I paid at FYE who also is carrying these and other NECA stuff.
Feel free to check out my Boomer review I did earlier in the year, he’s quite a cool figure and this is a very awesome set of toys. I hope they plan to reveal another special infected at Toy Fair in February.