Sunday, April 1, 2012

For Fans Of Labyrinth, The Jareth The Goblin King 12” Talking Figure Is A Great Find!

The Good: Exceptionally well-detailed, Decent sound chip, Good accessory, Good collectible value
The Bad: Poor balance, Poor articulation
The Basic: NECA released a 12” Jareth The Goblin King figure with a talking function that is legitimately cool, even if it is not perfect.

As my regular readers know well, my wife is a big fan of the film Labyrinth. A few months ago, I finally got around to reviewing the Toy Vault Plush Worm from Labyrinth (here!). Ironically, quite a bit of time before I picked her up the Worm, I got my wife the 12” talking Jareth The Goblin King action figure. So, today, I figured that it was time to actually devote the time to considering the cool toy that my wife fell in love with when I gave it to her so long ago!


As the name implies, the 12” Jareth The Goblin King figure is a 12” tall (exactly) rendition of David Bowie as Jareth The Goblin King from the film Labyrinth (reviewed here!). At 12” tall, the figure is cast mostly in hard plastic, with some intriguing soft plastic accents. The figure has Jareth the Goblin King in his iconic brown and blue cloak, swirling around him. The cloak, which has three layers (but is molded together) is removable and is made of a soft plastic that is flexible, but still stiff enough to support the figure should the balance be compromised! The outer cloaks are molded to look tattered and somewhat worn (as well as creepy, as the outer one has what looks like a spine on it!), while the innermost one is blue and regal. The heavy cloaks attach to the back of the 12” Jareth The Goblin King figure through two pegs on the back of the shoulders. The cloak may be slipped off easily enough, but is a little harder to get back on.

The main body of the figure is molded with at least as much detailing as the cloak. For anyone who has ever seen Labyrinth, the Jareth The Goblin King figure is instantly recognizable as David Bowie as Jareth. The figure has the boots, tights (with distinctive bulge!), leather-looking shirt with the ridiculously high collar and Jareth’s gloves. The facial sculpt is thin and looks enough like David Bowie as Jareth to please fans, though the cheekbones and chin are not cut as dramatically as I would have liked to make the connection undeniable. The molding for the hair, though, is where NECA really excels. Jareth The Goblin King has spiky dirty-blonde hair and the 12” Jareth The Goblin King is appropriately molded with that hair. The soft plastic spiked hair of Jareth looks very cool and is flexible.

NECA got the coloring all right on the hair as well. The roots are dark and the sandy hair gets lighter the longer it gets. The entire figure is masterfully colored. The collar has black accents that look like a decent brocade and the chestpiece even has metallic-looking accents that are accurate to the pictures from the movie. The only place the coloring is less than remarkable is on the face. NECA has a monotonal color for the skin tones, so Jareth the Goblin King looks a little unreal, which is somewhat silly considering how well the rest of the figure is molded and colored.


As a 12” figure, it is somewhat surprising that Jareth The Goblin King comes with only two accessories. Jareth comes with a replacement right hand and a crystal ball. The two accessories work in conjunction with one another. By popping out Jareth’s fist, fans may press the gloved hand of Jareth in that has his fingers arranged to cradle the crystal ball. The color and style of the accessory hand matches perfectly the other hands.

The hand is designed to cup the 3/8” clear plastic ball, much like the one the Goblin King used for auguring in Labyrinth. The hand does not hold the sphere securely, but it is easy enough to balance the accessory there.


The biggest problem I have with the Labyrinth 12” Talking Jareth The Goblin King figure is the lack of decent playable functions. This Jareth figure has pretty poor balance, especially without his cape on. The figure tips over very easy if one does not have it outfitted with the heavy cloaks.

This Jareth also has mediocre-at-best articulation. There are simple swivel joints at the top of the boots, wrists and elbows. While the head appears to have a ball and socket joint, the collar and hair prevent more movement than slight simple turns of the head. The shoulders, however, have full range of motion from ball and socket joints that are only inhibited by the cloak.

The real playability function that is cool, however, is the sound function. There is a button on the back of the figure that turns the power on and off. By pressing another button on the figure’s back, the toy plays one of four lines of dialogue (with background music) directly from Labyrinth. The sound chip is very cool and the dialogue is presented loud enough to be heard easily, making it a decent display piece. I know my wife’s favorite clip has Jareth telling the person activating the toy to go back to their room, so this has a lot of novelty to it, even if there are no figures of Sarah to interact with this one!


NECA tapped into a real niche audience with the 12” Jareth The Goblin King figure. These are exceptionally hard to find online and already their value is already about twice what it initially was. I suspect that this figure will remain at the $100 range in the secondary market, but it is hard to imagine it appreciating more than that. As a result, it is a great investment figure for those who come across them cheap, but most likely at the peak market price for those who can even find it now.


Fans of Labyrinth and David Bowie are likely to get a kick out of the 12” Talking Jareth The Goblin King figure and as it remains one of the very few Labyrinth products on the market, it is unlikely NECA will be making a better version of this pretty cool figure any time soon.

For other television or movie figures, be sure to check out my reviews of:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Captain Benjamin Sisko figure
Angel Spike Plush Concept Puppet
Twilight Edward Cullen Barbie doll


For other toy reviews, please visit my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the toys I have reviewed!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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