Toy Review: NECA’s Walmart Debut Illustrated King Kong and Batarang

What do King Kong and a 1989 Batman-style Batarang have in common? They’re both available exclusively at Walmart right now from NECA, though they’ll find their way to wider channels shortly. (Walmart’s website, sadly, is a nightmare for collectibles, serving primarily as a portal for scalpers.) Aside from that, they arguably couldn’t be more different. The Batarang is a prop replica authentically styled after the movie, while Kong…isn’t. Ostensibly called an “illustrated” variant, he’s supposedly (and non-legally specifically) based on vintage painted posters. Unofficially, he most resembles a vintage cover from Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, which explains why the new deco is largely head and shoulders only.

Kong’s psychedelic/warpaint look also loosely resembles the mutant gorilla action figures made by Kenner for Congo, but no need to go there. It overall mimics a kind of lighting scheme, as if an orange light were coming from the left side, and a blue one from the right. To the point that when viewed in profile, he only shows one color or the other.

In both shades, the brighter wash color brings out the fur detail in the sculpt. The original, much darker Kong figure, less so.

RELATED: NECA Teases Dinosaur Figures Inspired by King Kong

Viewed head-on, on the other hand, Kong looks like an acid-trip vision. Or so we’d imagine.

The base figure is the same as before, with two heads and alternate palm-shot/fist hands. Side-by-side, however, the two Kongs look different enough that fans of ape figures generally will want both.

The original King Kong figure made our best of year list. The new version is no less cool, but maybe more so if weird color and “lighting” schemes particularly appeal. Expect him to retail for around $24.99, which is rapidly becoming the norm for 7-inch figures with interchangeable parts. (NECA initially coined the term “Ultimates” for such things, but multiple toy companies use that term now for the same kind of thing.)

The Batarang prop is a much better deal. It’s a mere $13.96 if you can find it.

As much as we love Frank Miller’s tiny, death-by-a-thousand-cuts Batarangs, or Adam West’s massively oversize blue Bat-tool, Michael Keaton’s 1989 Batarangs are the best. NECA’s plastic replica is solid, and folds four ways, first in half and then into quarters.

On the offchance some reckless kid tries to throw it, the folds are such that they’ll hinge open mid-throw and not get anywhere near a target. One imagines a “real” version locking in place.

The only real “get what you pay for” aspect is the stand, made in the kind of thin plastic that product trays for larger items get rendered in. It’s thin enough one could physically tear it by hand, and the movie logo totally unpainted. But for $14, multiple paint apps will not be a thing. Prop replicas rarely come so affordable for average folks, so snap it up if that’s your fandom.

Check out more images of Kong and the Batarang in our gallery below. Will you buy either one? Let us know in comments.

Recommended Purchase: NECA King Kong 7IN Action Figure

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