It’s becoming a yearly tradition that I get my new set of NECA x Valve Team Fortress 2 figures. This year left me slightly concerned because the figures were delayed a couple of times and then they disappeared from NECA’s official release calendar. Well color me surprised when a day or so ago I found a snapshot somebody took in Hong Kong opening a case of Engineers and Spies. Then I walked into my local Toys R Us yesterday, and they restocked their NECA section with the latest batch of red TF2 figures. Relief sets in. Two more characters towards that ultimate goal of the entire cast.
I’m going to start with the Engineer because he’s been my absolute most wanted character in this entire series. Did NECA do him justice? Well it would depend on what you are looking for in your Team Fortress 2 Engineer action figure. Firstly, the sculpt is dead on. His sculpt is so good that I would not be shocked to hear that NECA printed it directly from the 3D model in the game. The proportions are great and all the little details of his outfit are captured in this 7″ action figure.
The Engineer has a similar articulation scheme to the previous wave’s Soldier figure. I still have looming nightmares over my Pyro figure falling over and thankfully NECA hasn’t released a TF2 figure with that loose ankle problem since. Our Engineer has reasonable sized feet with tight joints at the ankles so he stands without any issues. The neck and midsection have a surprisingly large range of motion. The only place where his articulation is really restrained is at the elbows. It’s a similar situation to the Pyro where the sculpt of the outfit restricts how far inward he can flex his arm. The cuff is a soft plastic overlay so it is possible to force about a 90 degree angle, but this may cause some paint rub.
On the subject of paint I feel that the Engineer is a pretty big improvement over the last two waves in all ways but one. I remember it being discussed at a NECA office walk through video that stylized figures like the TF2 cast are so much harder to paint because the lines are so straight and defined. It’s easier to get away with paint slop on Predator figures, for example, because those straight lines don’t exist in real life. For the most part all of my TF2 figures have had decent paint, but the Engineer is by far the best so far in that regard. The one problem I do have is that the 5 o’clock shadow is painted on pretty heavy; to the point it looks more like a beard. The Heavy definitely did the 5 o’clock shadow much better. It bugged me in the package a lot more, but like most little things I start to get used to it after a while.
Accessories could be another point of contention for some. If you have ever played Team Fortress 2 you should be well aware that the Engineer’s primary weapon is the sentry turret. The sentry has three phases going from adorable little pea shooter to a giant rotating machine gun with rockets. I’ll assume that the gun did not cost out so he does not come with a sentry. I’m sorry. I’m sure for some that may be a deal breaker.
What he does come with, however, is a wrench, pistol, and toolbox that can open and close. Is that a fair trade off? It’s really up to the individual. Personally I am okay with it. But in the absense of the sentry I think it would have been decent for NECA to include an extra left hand with a trigger finger so he can actually hold his pistol. The pistol can be holstered in his belt pocket, and more than likely that is where it will stay because neither hand can hold it in a “firing” pose. The wrench looks great and his gloved hand holds it just fine. The toolbox is nice and fully functional, so you can store a few things in there like the Spy’s extra accessories.
The Engineer will run you around $20 which is the norm for a NECA regular sized release. I had to pay the “Toys R Us tax” so my Engineer and Spy came to $21.99 each, but I ended up avoiding shipping costs so it’s a wash. He’s a great addition to the NECA TF2 collection and this wave of figures brings us to only three left: Sniper, Scout, and Medic. NECA claims they already have the last three sculpted, so I hope these sell well enough to finish off the cast. I don’t mind only getting two figures per year, but I just like to be sure that those figures are actually coming out and not cancelled. I’ve had my heart broken before!
If you want to grab the Engineer I suggest checking your local Toys R Us as they seem to be the place to get NECA stuff first. If you prefer the online route Amazon has finally gotten some in stock but you may pay a little more.
Oh, almost forgot the in-game code he comes with. It unlocks a Genuine Engineer’s Cap, which you can read up on the different types here.