It is time for another installment of our ongoing series of nostalgia laced toy reviews. I enjoy doing these as it is a fun way for me to look back fondly at memories while doing something fun for the site as well. This time with another of my all time favorite properties, Gremlins. As an all time classic, Gremlins has grown over the years to become one of the most beloved 80’s properties and has produced quite a number of notable collectibles from various companies. My own personal history with the franchise goes all the way back to 1984 when it was originally released in theaters. I don’t have the best recollection of which theater I saw this in or who took me, but I definitely remember that I loved it and was hooked on any Gremlins merch I could get my hands on, as there was an abundance of fun items out there for us little kids.
Gremlins merchandise is nothing new, as I write this I find my memories coming back full force of all the neat items I had as a kid. I remember my older sister taking me one day to this store on the corner of 37th ave and 82nd street in Jackson Heights, NY. I remember that I didn’t want to go to the store because I at 4 years old deemed it “girly” and didn’t know why she would take me there. I cannot remember the name, but it was very similar to a Hallmark store, well little did I know that she brought me there so that she could surprise me with my very own Gizmo plush doll by the company Applause. I know she probably barely remembers that, but it is a moment I will always hold near and dear. and that Gizmo easily one of my favorite things I had as a kid. I was still just 4 years old when Gremlins was released in June and would not turn 5 till that October. So you can bet that he came everywhere with me, I had in him my backpack when I went to school, took him on car trips, and I would even tuck the damn thing in next to me when it was time to go to sleep, I treated him like he was real. I still actually have him. One of the few plush dolls I kept from my youth. It has a great deal of sentimental value so I never could get rid of it.
That plush Gizmo was a hard act to follow, but many companies tried their damnedest and I racked up a few fun things in the process. There was the LJN PVC three pack that featured cool PVC versions of Gizmo, Mogwai Stripe and Gremlin Stripe. The LJN Water Hatchers that came with a Gremlin cocoon and those little foam versions of stripe and gizmo that expanded in water. One of the most unique things from those days were Colorforms, which were essentially like static cling sticker playsets. I must have played with the Gremlins set for hours. It doesn’t seem possible but I always had a blast creating my own pictures or scenarios with those things. It really was a very creative concept, that while not very “exciting” it was still fun to have all those gremlins “stickers” and be able to set up your own pics with them like a comic book you were in charge of. These were all great items that I remembered fondly, but aside from my Gizmo, the other piece de resistance was the 13 inch Stripe Gremlin figure. This thing was just badass and at the time was the closest anyone would get to having an actual Gremlin in your home. I will say it had these glossy almost glass like eyes, that as an over imaginative 4/5 year old I swore would be moving and following my every move. As cool as it was to have him in the day, I wasn’t so thrilled with him at night. I wasn’t scared of Gremlins, but at night the street light creeping into my bedroom window would illuminate his face and shine on his eyes just enough to scare me. I remember one particular night I was awoken to the sound of a scratching sound in my room, which led for me to yell for my parents as I swore it was Stripe coming alive to get me, they eventually came into my room to discover a posters tape had grown weak on the wall and the breeze from outside was cause it to move and scrape against the wall. Still to this day one of my most vivid moments of childhood fear. I was frozen. Of course, morning would come and I would be running around the house with Stripe just the same.
Fast Forward 6 years to 1990 which saw the release of Gremlins 2: The New Batch. The New Batch being a plethora of different Gremlins with much more individual personalities running amuck inside a Manhattan Sky Scraper at 101 Park Avenue ( a popular yet non descript building I know well that has been featured in multiple films from The Secret of My Success to The Avengers). The film was a departure from the Spielberg-esque original, yet still delivered plenty of memorable scenes and creature effects. Most notably a scene where the Gremlins break into a genetics lab and begin to drink serums which in turn give them different attributes and mutations. Everything from electricity to vegetables and animal species such as Spiders and Bats. The results are wonderfully realized by Rick Bakers effects work and all fans of the film remember these creations fondly.
Fast Forward even farther to much more recent times and Gremlins popularity is still high as is it’s merchandise. At the forefront of modern Gremlins merch is NECA, the go to company for highly detailed and affordable movies figures. After releasing an early but well received series of figures featuring Gizmo, Stripe and the Poker Gremlin, they followed up with the Gremlin version of Mohawk as part of their Cult Classics series. NECA then returned a few years later with a much more detailed and articulated line of Gremlins and Mogwais based on Gremlins 2 (and some from part 1) These were the definitive Gremlins figures, and led to fans hoping NECA would eventually do the larger sized fan favorites of The Spider-Gremlin and Bat Gremlin as seen in the sequel. Eventually wishes were answered when NECA released a spectacular deluxe version of the Spider-Gremlin. This of course would lead to fans clamoring and complaining for a Bat Gremlin to go with it, a prospect that at the time we weren’t sure if it would happen or not. Well a couple years have passed but NECA finally delivered.
Fans everywhere were thrilled when NECA revealed they would be releasing the Bat figure. Especially given how well the Spider-Gremlin turned out. This one was a must for the collection. The Spider-Gremlin is one of my all time favorite pieces they have produced. So does the Bat live up to that standard? Lets take a look shall we?
As you can see in the above photo the Bat Gremlin lives up to the standards set by the rest of the Gremlins series. It is beautifully sculpted and they did not skimp on the size of the wingspan which measures approx about 15 inches across. Once you pull him out of the box and stretch them out, you will certainly be impressed. The figure also includes a clear “flight” stand which adds a great deal to the overall look of the figure. I almost feel it was necessary as even though he can stand on his own, the wings are in fact quite heavy and I am not certain for how long his legs would support the weight without it. It also just makes for a much cooler display piece this way, giving him a hovering or flying appearance.
Bat Gremlin comes with multiple points of articulation throughout where previous Gremlins figures also have. I am particularly fond of his ear articulation as it can give you a variety of looks and expressions by simply moving them ever so slightly. I also appreciate that they are able to cover his eyes as they did in the film when he first emerges after his mutation. His jaw and wrists also are helpful to getting plenty of expression and personality out of the figures poses. He also has some nice ankle articulation to help with his flying poses.
As stated before Bat Gremlin’s wings are rather heavy, made out of a flexible rubbery plastic. This helps them hold the detailed sculpt and gives the figure a much sturdier feel. The wings only articulation point is where they connect to the shoulders, however from there to the “wrists” of the wings there is a bendy wire inside that will help with posing the wings more, I prefer to keep them open as it seems more impressive that way, though I will say if there is any negative about the wings it is that the connection joint on the Bats right shoulder (his right not ours) is a bit loose possibly from the weight and you can see that the result is one wing being lower than others. I imagine that will not be the case with every figure and it is just something that at times cannot be avoided with mass produced figures.
The paint applications on the Bat Gremlin are extremely clean and nicely done. If I had my way I might have preferred a bit of a wash or some more detailing around the nose/mouth area as its a bit simple there in contrast with the rest, but it still is a quality paint job overall and all the spots that are present are all neatly done as are the eyes which is one of my favorite parts of this guy. The paint apps coupled with the sculpt and articulation really give this guy a good variety in expressions which makes him really fun to photograph.
The Bat Gremlin was worth the wait. NECA has done a wonderful job recreating the look of the puppet from the film. For any Gremlin fan this is an easy decision to grab one of these, for any casual fan, it is a cool and unique figure that comes with a very reasonable price tag given it’s size and detail. It may have taken a while to get him into your Gremlins collection, but now that collection will certainly feel much more complete. NECA continues to knock their Gremlin and Mogwai sculpts out of the park and continue to deliver figures lifelong fans have always wanted, it’s just a shame that getting him wait won’t make him multiply because everyone is going to want one of these.
check out some more of our photos below along with some links on where you can get one for yourself.