Haulathon 2023 has brought some pretty big releases to NECA’s line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures. And I mean big in a literal sense. REX-1 was tall and hefty and the multi-armed clone of Shredder was no slouch either. Those two seem to pale in comparison to Zog, the Triceraton warrior from NECA’s Mirage Studios subline of TMNT figures. Similar to the clone Shredder, Zog isn’t so much tall as he is chunky. He’s not short though as he comes in at around 8″ in height, but he’s quite stocky and pretty damn heavy for an action figure made out of plastic. I said REX-1 was one of the heavier figures from NECA I’ve handled, but I think Zog edges him out. And everything about this guy is thick and imposing, right down to the box. It’s almost cartoonishly big and looks crazy on the shelf at Target, but he’s a big boy and he deserves a big box.
So just who is Zog? Well, he’s an alien dinosaur from the comics who is kind of an ally to the turtles. Not so much willingly, for you see, Earth’s air isn’t conducive to the Triceratons and when they don’t get the right concentration of whatever the air is on their planet they basically start to go insane. I think his brain is literally decaying in the comics to the point where he mistakes Raphael for a commanding officer. It was the Utrom who brought him unwillingly to Earth and he was able to escape to the sewers where he resides for about a year before coming into contact with Raph. By then, his clothing is tattered and so is his mind. The Utrom, being a common foe for the turtles and Zog, is basically a unifier, but a run-in with the Shredder clones ends Zog’s miserable existence prematurely. That makes it rather appropriate that he gets released at the same time as the clones, but if you’re familiar with TMNT, then you know Zog was just the start of the turtles’ involvement with the Triceratons. The interactions that followed tended to be less pleasant.
Zog is our fourth Triceraton from NECA following three in the toon line. The Triceratons are always depicted as bipedal dinosaur creatures resembling a triceratops. They usually have an orange complexion and tend to like being destructive. Zog, is essentially a big, orange, dinosaur in a purple jumpsuit. This is being a NECA comic release means he goes beyond that basic description as he is loaded up with detail. It all starts with the sculpt which is credited to Gurjeet Singh and Kushwara Studios on the box. There’s tons of texture to every inch of this guy. He’s scaly, lumpy, wrinkly to the point where there is hardly a smooth surface anywhere that’s larger than an M&M. And not one of those standard sized M&Ms, I’m talking those little mini ones that come in the tube. He’s sculpted in orange plastic, but there’s a wash basically everywhere to make him grimy and dirty and basically like someone who spent a year in a sewer. There’s some orange paint as a base coat as well because it flakes off of the hinged joints and does reveal a pale orange beneath. That’s basically the only eyesore to be found with this guy as he looks imposing. I love how the jumpsuit has just a hit of gloss in places to create the illusion of a shimmery spacesuit. His sleeves are completely ripped off leaving some cuffs behind around the wrists. NECA did the interior of the “material” black which creates this rich appearance. The other torn parts and the belt all feature cleanly applied paint. About the only thing one could reasonably nitpick is that the black wash is going to appear heavier in certain places and lighter in others. On my figure, the right side of the head seems noticeably darker than the left and there’s a very faint hit of gray near his top, left, horn that I assume was meant for the horn. It’s barely noticeable, but worth pointing out. Overall though, what a tremendously fun figure to just look at.
A big, beefy, dino is not going to move like a ninja, but NECA has a few surprises in store with Zog. First off, the head is likely on a double ball and he can look way up which is cool if you want to try to pose him in a ramming position. He can’t really look down, but you get rotation and some room for tilt. The shoulders rotate all around and the hinge will allow the arms to raise up to about horizontal. We get a biceps swivel and single-jointed elbows which can’t quite hit 90 degrees nor can they really allow the arms to go out completely straight. He’s just too thick. The waist features a ball peg and you get a little motion front-to-back as well as side-to-side, but it’s mostly a rotation point. The ball-socketed hips will let Zog damn near hit a split and they pivot as well on the ball joint. What he can’t really do is kick as the leg will only go forward and back a little. Single-jointed knees can’t bend 90 degrees, but you do get another swivel point there. The hinges in the ankles are really tight and don’t seem to want to allow for much movement, but the ankle rocker works fine. On the rear of the figure is where the tail plugs in and it’s just a hinged ball-peg system like NECA’s Gargoyles line. The tail itself has a real, heavy-duty wire running through it so you can bend it, just be mindful that you’re not putting pressure on the plastic peg when you do. Lastly, we get an articulated jaw. In there is what I think is a first for this line in an articulated tongue. I think it’s basically just a little ball joint because it moves in all directions. It’s pretty damn amusing to play with. Did NECA need to make the tongue articulated? No, but I’m happy they did. Otherwise, he’s pretty basic, but it’s the size and overall presence that’s going to sell a pose with this figure more than range at an elbow or knee. I’ve had no trouble finding interesting poses with this guy and I’m guessing others will say the same.
The accessory load-out with Zog is fairly substantial. He gets an assortment of hands to pummel his victims and comes with a set of fists, open hands, gripping hands, another gripping left hand, and a right trigger finger hand. The gripping hands are interesting as no two hands appear to have the same grip. His left hand seems to be the loosest fit followed by the right hand. The third gripping hand, the other left one, is a really tight grip. The hands don’t have much flex either unless you apply heat. I’m guessing the variety in gripping hands is due to the other accessories. He has two spherical grenades and one that’s a canister. The loose gripping hand can handle the canister while the tighter ones can grip the other grenades by the handle, or whatever that part of the grenade is called. All three grenades are brown with these sculpted wraps on them which are outlined in black. They look fine, but almost comically small in Zog’s giant hands. Zog also has a big combat knife which fits rather well into the loosest gripping hand. It has a handguard on it which is spiked and it looks rather menacing. Lastly, we get a Triceraton blaster which is easily identified by it’s triangular shape. Fugitoid came with a smaller version though this one doesn’t look much bigger in these oversized hands. The gun is well painted and features a strap that’s sculpted in a pliable plastic. I suppose you can loop it over a shoulder if you prefer, but it does slot nicely into the trigger finger hand. The finger just barely gets behind the trigger guard and I’m curious why NECA didn’t just make the gun a little big bigger to not make it so tight, but it’s fine. That’s it for accessories though and I think it’s okay. The only thing I wish he had was some kind of weapon storage. He has these pouches on the rear of his chest strap and I wish they had just gave him a sheath for his knife instead. It probably isn’t how the character was drawn, but I’d be fine with them taking some liberties here. A way to holster the gun would have also been welcomed.
Zog is a massive figure and he comes at a massive price. Well, massive is too strong a word, but I couldn’t resist the wordplay. He retails for $50 like REX-1 which is quite a bit. Is he worth it? That’s going to vary from person to person as there are some collectors out there still angry that Marvel Legends hit $20 years ago (they must be really pissed now). For what you get, I’m finding it hard to be too upset about the price. This is a huge figure with a lot of plastic and a lot of paint. The accessory count won’t blow anyone away, but it’s not as if he’s short-changed either. I just think he looks damn cool and he’s one of those figures I’m having a hard time putting down. I just enjoy picking him up and feeling how hefty he is. The posing is limited, but at the same time it’s still fun. Especially if you have other figures to pose him with. I know some people are hoping for more Triceratons to army build, but I’m kind of hoping NECA stays away. Don’t make me have to decide if I want to army build $50 figures because I don’t know if I can resist. If they’re done as well as this guy then watch out wallet!
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