Growing up in the ’80s, movies like “Aliens”, “Predator” and “Terminator” were staples of my sci-fi action viewing. You can’t mention 80’s sci-fi action movies without mentioning 1987’s “Robocop”. I love the dystopian world of this film (and the follow up “Robocop 2”) with its super-violent action scenes and warped sense of humour. Aside from Robocop himself, one of the most memorable “characters” in the first film is a large mechanical beast created by Omni Consumer Products – the Enforcement Droid Series 209, more affectionately known as the ED-209. Designed for urban pacification (and ultimately military service) ED-209 proved to be a bit of a failure. Let’s be honest, a weapon that can be defeated by stairs isn’t going to be much of a challenge to street scum. I was never able to afford one of the horrendously expensive resin model kits of ED back in the day, so Neca announcing a limited edition ED-209 scaled to their 7″ Robocop figure was awesome news and had me all aflutter.
The figure comes in a large, sturdy, collector-friendly box. The front of the box features a painting of ED-209, autocannons smoking, surrounded by empty bullet casings. Both sides of the box have a photo of the figure, while the rear recreates a scene from the movie where ED-209 is confronted by Robocop in the OCP offices.
Inside this box, is… another box. This inner shell has ED securely bound in place with about a dozen annoying twisty-ties. You’ll need cutters or sharp scissors to free the figure. The ties are looped around various sections of the figure’s body and are a real pain to remove. Once freed though, you can slot ED back into the inner box and then replace this in the outer box for safe keeping.
Taking a look at the figure as a whole makes for impressive viewing. ED-209 is a respectable size at this scale. Designed to match 7″ tall human figures, it stands more than 10″ tall with legs fully extended. All the details of the filming model are faithfully reproduced with lots of panels, screws, wiring and other details. The texture on the head faithfully replicates the original shell. Even the bottom of each foot is textured with tread details.
On closer inspection, there are a few small quality control issues. The cap on top of my figure’s left leg extension isn’t attached properly and sticks up on one side. There are a few dimple-like blemishes in the plastic here and there, probably caused by shrinkage during the moulding process. I also wish the leg and gun pod halves were joined together more smoothly. The left leg in particular has a bit of a gap on the upper leg section on mine. The guns are moulded in a softer plastic than the body, and tend to point somewhat outwards instead of fully parallel to each other. I’ve tried bending them straight, but they go back to their out of line position after a while.
The figure is reasonably heavy and stands solidly enough, but yet still seems on the light side to me. It somehow lacks the kind of solidity I would expect from a massive battle robot, especially in a figure of this size. Yes I know it’s a plastic toy, but it really should have more heft.
The paint apps match the mostly silver and black of the original, but again there are a few QC issues. The big black head/face piece suffers from a number of obvious scratches which mar the uniformity of the piece. This is a the central focus of the figure and the scuff marks look terrible. It’s an easy enough fix with a bit of a dark drybrushing, but the figure is pricey, and a patch of cheap plastic sheeting (ala Kotobukiya figures) could’ve prevented this. Mine also has a spot on the left gun pod left by one of the twisty ties rubbing off the paint – again preventable. On the plus side, the gears and mechanisms of the arms are picked out in suitable metallic colours, and there are tons of warning labels tampoed (???) on all over the figure which add to the industrial manufactured look of the piece. Step back a bit from the figure, and it certainly looks like it’s onscreen counterpart.
The articulation is extensive, though necessarily limited in a few places. The head can swivel from side to side, but is blocked a bit by the “hips”. Both arms have a full range of motion, and their armoured covers can flap up and down. The legs swivel at the hips, as well as at the “knee” and they can also be adjusted up and down on the ratcheted piston device at the back. This is a bit stiff, so be careful not to put too much strain on the parts.
There is no toe or ankle articulation, but isn’t essential and probably would have made the figure more likely to take a tumble, so I’m okay with the better support offered by a solid foot. The autocannons don’t feature any recoil, but the missile launcher can pop up into firing mode. I was only able to get it one rocket up though.
The ED-209 doesn’t come with any accessories, but you have to ask yourself: what does a big, stompy enforcement droid really need? A teddy bear? You do get a sound feature, however, this is probably one of the main disappointments I have with the figure. The sound seems to have been sampled directly from the movie, and not very well at that. It’s indistinct and tinny, and really, I could’ve lived without it. The feature is activated by pressing a button on the right side. For some reason this is an added piece that sticks out of what should be a blank panel, when slightly above this are two bits of round button-like sculpting that easily could’ve done the job much less obtrusively.
Considering the price I paid (around a grand with shipping and taxes) I would’ve liked the overall quality to have been a bit higher. The figure comes off as somehow seeming cheaper than it really is. The construction and finish could have been better, but is no doubt at least in part due to the limited production run of the piece. Still, despite its flaws, Neca’s ED-209 is one impressive piece of plastic. It really looks the part and ultimately, I’m glad to have this iconic robot in my collection.