REVIEW: The Hateful Eight Retro Series
On Christmas Day, 2015, Quentin Tarantino’s highly anticipated film – The Hateful Eight – debuted in US theaters. The Western mystery hit a few snags along the way, including the leaking of the original script back in 2014…and subsequent cancellation of the movie by Tarantino. Then there was a police boycott due to some of the director’s comments…and the realization that they mistakenly destroyed a priceless, vintage Gibson guitar during filming. But through it all, The Hateful Eight was both a critical and (somewhat) financial success.
It was somewhat surprising that NECA announced an 8-inch tall retro styled series of collectible figures based on a rated-R period film that was going head to head with Star Wars at the box office. Though, I can’t think of a Tarantino film that hasn’t achieved cult status. And cult status usually means that there are collectors who want toys based on the license.
NECA’s lineup features all eight (main) characters from The Hateful Eight. That includes the following folks: Major Marquis Warren (The Bounty Hunter) – Samuel L. Jackson; General Sandy Smithers (The Confederate) – Bruce Dern; Joe Gage (The Cow Puncher) – Michael Madsen; Sheriff Chris Mannix (The Sheriff) – Walton Goggins; John Ruth (The Hangman) – Kurt Russell; Oswaldo Mobray (The Little Man) – Tim Roth; Bob (The Mexican) – Demián Bichir; Daisy Domergue (The Prisoner) – Jennifer Jason Leigh.
While I’ve seen some places describe the figures as being similar to retro Mego styled action figures, I feel the similarities come from the scale and the inclusion of tailored clothing. NECA’s figures are solid plastic with multiple points of articulation. And each figure includes an accessory – mostly guns – that can be held (or in the case of the guns…holstered).
I like that the sculptors went with a rough look on this series. The characters are straight out of a gritty Western film, so it’s somewhat fitting. And the likenesses are all visible from the face sculpts (yeah…Tim Roth looks like Tim Roth). Some folks might prefer the well manicured sculpts of a lot of the 1/6th scale figures we see on the market, but those types of details are difficult to duplicate at this scale and price point. Plus...these are marketed as Retro styled, and folks in the 70's and 80's weren't finicky about sculpting.
Where The Hateful Eight series shines is the clothing. The outfits are well produced and much more attractive than sculpted clothes. For example, there’s no way you’d be able to replicate the coat worn by The Hangman in plastic. Couldn’t do it. I would have even liked it if some of the hats were produced as part of the removable outfit (although scaled down hats are – like eyeglasses – always difficult to get correct).
Finally, the packaging is fairly minimal with a similar The Hateful Eight themed window-front box for every figure. The back, though, does have the character’s image from the film. Also, I almost missed it, but there’s a unique check mark for which one of the eight characters the box belong to.
Positives: The clothes on this series are spectacular. I like the rough sculpting appearance.
Negatives: Michael Madsen’s long face makes his head seem out of scale with the other figures. Is his face really that long? Also, The Little Man’s leg was twisted (you can likely see in the photos above) making it somewhat difficult to pose the figure.
The Hateful Eight Clothed Action Figure Series
Figures: Major Marquis Warren (The Bounty Hunter) – Samuel L. Jackson; General Sandy Smithers (The Confederate) – Bruce Dern; Joe Gage (The Cow Puncher) – Michael Madsen; Sheriff Chris Mannix (The Sheriff) – Walton Goggins; John Ruth (The Hangman) – Kurt Russell; Oswaldo Mobray (The Little Man) – Tim Roth; Bob (The Mexican) – Demián Bichir; Daisy Domergue (The Prisoner) – Jennifer Jason Leigh
Material: Plastic articulated figures with tailored clothing
Dimensions: 8 inches tall
Accessories: The Bounty Hunter – two pistols; The Cow Puncher – pistol; The Sheriff – pistol; The Hangman – pistol, rifle, and pipe; The Little Man – pistol; The Mexican – pistol and knife; The Prisoner – shackles
Edition Size: 3,000 of each figure
Pricing: $339.99 for the set of 8 (currently)
You can pick them up at the following: