For a franchise with only a single (living) human character, the Portal series sure has a lot of oddly endearing artificial characters. From the psychotic, yet sympathetic GlaDOS to the oddball personality cores (SPACCEEEEEE...) to the innocent Companion Cube you burn alive, the cold machines of Aperture Science are frequent sources of humor and pathos in lieu of other fleshbags to interact with. And of course, one of the most amusing pieces of killer hardware you encounter are the murderous yet extremely polite Sentry Turrets.
In my travels today, I stopped off at ye olde local comic shop (in this case, Jetpack Comics) to see if there was anything interesting about and they had some of the brand spanking new Portal 2 Sentry Turret blind box figures by NECA/Wizkids.
The box is simple but hilariously tongue-in-cheek. The entire package is made up to be as if the turret within is a full-sized death appliance, this side showcasing a schematic and handling instruction icons to ensure your turret is not damaged in transit.
The opposite side features a diagram of positioning turrets in the home and blurbs about not using the turrets as home security systems and the fact that you may want to invest in an ANOTHER home security system to defend you from them as they tend to go rogue. The second paragraph is legal text removing any responsibility on the part of Aperture Laboratories if things go horribly, horribly awry. Both sections are hilarious and written perfectly to match the cynical wit and sarcasm of the video games.
The back of the box reveals the ten different color schemes the turrets come in. There are technically twenty figures in total as each paint scheme comes in both a "neutral" mode and an "attack" mode with guns extended. Some of the designs are pretty awesome, Sunburst, Clouds and Desert Camo being a few of my favorites. Really though, they're all pretty awesome looking. Except Table. Apparently there was an online poll to decide the tenth pattern in the series and Table won. Seriously? There was an awesome Hawaiian Shirt design that looked like a turret version of Dennis Nedry. But I digress, my point is that half the reason I decided to buy one was the paint schemes. I wanted an attack mode turret in a cool color scheme and boy did I get one.
Leopard Camo. Attack Mode. CROWN.
I won on all fronts. I'm not 100% certain as the series just came out this month and none of the official documentation I can find mentions chases, but I'm pretty sure it's safe to say this is a chase variant. A giant leopard spotted, crown sporting sentry turret known as the Animal King shows up in the second game during an in game slide show and later during the closing credits while you are treated to an opera performed by levels and levels of turrets stored within the Apperture Science facilities. Apparently, The King is also a chase version of the standard Leopard Camo figure.
The Animal King is cast in a hard plastic that makes me worry about him breaking a leg if he takes a fall, with the crown made of a softer PVC. The sculpt is excellent, perfectly capturing the in game look and featuring some pretty intricate mechanical detailing on the inner workings of the gun panels. The only negative is an obvious seam that runs vertically up the turret. For the main body, this is fine since there is a seam between the plates there in the games, but this one also unfortunately runs directly across the eye, ruining the effect. The sculpt features no articulation, but other than unfolding, the turrets don't move much anyways so I'm perfectly OK with this.
The turret stands just under three inches tall at the top of the body housing, the antenna and The King's crown adding a little height in this case. He's a bit too big for menacing your G.I. Joes and Star Wars figures, but should be perfect for apologetically shooting at your DC Universe figures, or better yet the Gordan Freeman figure NECA just recently released. I should note that the whole "tripods aren't structurally sound" adage rings true here as The King will topple over on any surface that isn't perfectly level. I don't know if mine just has a slightly warped leg or if this is a design flaw, but a stiff breeze can knock this guy over.
Paint detailing is nice, the leopard print is sharp and there is no slop that I can see. A great little detail is systems readouts printed in the recessed open sides of the turret's body. These spots are hard to photograph since the gun panels are angled and real close to the body, but the left side features live ammunition warnings and an incredibly tiny block of text I can't possibly read while the right states armament & elect then gives a status report of the fusion cores. All of this printing is miniscule and put in a super tiny, pain in the ass spot on the figure so I'm suitably impressed at NECA's effort.
Even though this started as a total impulse buy (damn my weakness for blind boxes!) I'm ultimately quite pleased with The King here. It certainly helps that I pulled a chase version I didn't know existed going in, but the clean sculpt, excellent paint work and sheer variety would make me recommend you snag one anyways. A minimum of 21 different styles (and who knows how many other chases) is a tantalizing enough reason to grab a blind box, the fact that I only paid a mere five bucks for this guy is just icing on the cake (sorry.) While I can't guarantee that other retailers will be as cool as Jetpack, you should absolutely get one or two (or a dozen!) if you can find them at a decent price or happen to be a fan of Valve's other most popular series.