I was a HUGE Defenders of the Earth fan despite hating about half of it. My problem was I loved the concept of Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Mandrake the Magician and Lothar teaming up. Doing so with their plucky kids? Noooo thank you.
I’d reached the point of my cartoon viewing where I was tired of the kid sidekicks that were seemingly on every show.
NECA is catering to fans like me who would have had a complete nerd outrage breakdown if the first Defenders of the Earth wave consisted of Rick, LJ and one of the big four. So it made sense for me to start off with the guy who initially piqued my interest in the series — Flash ahhhhh!
Defenders arrived after the highly addictive New Adventures of Flash Gordon and the Sam Jones-led live action film so I was a huge Flash Gordon fan by that time. I loved the fire engine red outfit with gold accents and the show did right by him so I happily grabbed all of the Galoob figures and can happily recite the words to the theme song with no trouble.
Let’s see if NECA’s Flash will be the Savior of my Collection.
Packaging: NECA slightly altered the old Defenders logo thankfully incorporating Lothar into the mix along with the other three adults. I always thought it was lame on packaging when Lothar got shortchanged so I’m glad to see NECA giving him the appropriate status.
The front features a nice size window showcasing Flash and the accessories with a vintage style drawing of him in action. Over on the left side, Flash is listed as the second figure in this wave.
The side packaging features a smaller portrait of the figure. It’s large enough you’ll be able to make out Flash instead of The Phantom or Ming, but it could have been a bit bigger. I really dig the work on the back with the full rollout of the wave (for now — product developer Randy Falk indicated more Defenders could be in the works). Given the price tag I can see why NECA was hesitant to release all five at once.
There’s some nice shots of the figures and Flash has a well done and detailed bio. If anything, the text is a tad small, but I appreciate the effort to write one up at all. And NECA has its credits for the good folks responsible for this line.
Likeness: For its time, the Galoob line of Defenders was pretty decent. Expectations are a tad higher in 2021 though.
Flash Gordon’s head sculpt looks great. It really captures the essence of the pulp hero with a determined expression, well coiffed hair and a jawline that would make Captain America envious. This is a terrific modern era sculpt of the Defenders of the Earth era Flash Gordon.
The overall sculpt is used from NECA’s DC superheroes from the Alien and Predator two-packs. I was really interested in them so it’s nice to get a chance to see this in person. It doesn’t disappoint with well executed musculature, proportions and authentically streamlined appearance.
Paint: I like the paintwork. Flash’s outfit has a really nice amount of shading and the gold pauldrons pop. The logo on the belt is clean.
I did see a few scuffs and stray marks on the other Flash Gordon since I was able to check out a fresh case, but there was nothing too terrible with any of the figures’ paintjobs.
But NECA made the very questionable call for the paints around the joints. The thick, caked on paint doesn’t hold well at all and starts flaking off almost immediately.
I’ve swapped the hands and moved the boots about 10 times now and somehow there’s still some paint flying off. It was a very odd decision and makes a higher end figure look like it wasn’t well thought out.
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Scale: On the show, all of the adult Defenders seemed to be about the same height so this will be an instance where reusing the same body won’t be an issue.
Articulation: There’s a certain uneasiness in moving this figure around at first. The joints were super stiff and tight. I’ve heard reports of breakages and collectors basically disassembling their Defenders to get them to move smoothly.
I spent a good very cautious half-hour gently moving the stiff joints until they loosened up. Once that happened, the figure moved just fine. I didn’t have a ton of trouble moving Flash at all.
I do wish the figures had a thigh cut to help with some poses. The hip joint moves out somewhat to accomplish some of those thigh cut pieces, but the left hip is a bit stiff.
Flash Gordon has:
- ball-jointed shoulders
- elbow (double-jointed)
- wrist hinge
- knees (double-jointed)
Accessories: NECA gave Flash a solid amount of accessories though at the price point I wouldn’t have complained about a few more extras.
He’s got a laser blaster, which has a pretty cool futuristic design. In another nice perk, it has a fairly lengthy blast effect vast in a translucent blue.
Finally, Flash comes with a sword. The hilt is well detailed and painted. Interestingly, the blade is cast in a translucent yellow so maybe this is an energy sword (i.e. not a lightsaber for legal purposes?).
It’s been a minute since I’ve rewatched my Defenders of the Earth Complete Series set.
Worth it? Flash Gordon goes for the wallet jugular clocking in at $30. That’s not nearly as nice a value as the similar scale McFarlane Toys figures that are $10 cheaper.
Considering this isn’t an exclusive to one retailer, the higher price tag is even tougher to justify.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Collector fanfare for the line seems somewhat split with folks having no QC issues and loving them. My only real gripe is the price point and the flaking paint. Other than that, Flash Gordon lived up to my expectations for this line.
Where to get it? Walmart has an exclusive 30-day window, but they’ll be available to other retailers afterwards.
I’ve casually checked on the stocking since I got mine and Walmart has done a decent job of stocking them so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding them in the Electronics Collectibles section. You can order a full set of the first wave at Entertainment Earth.