Barbecue's Show & Tell #6: S-Mart Ash
"Army of Darkness" was the first film in the Evil Dead series that I ever experienced. I was staying at my grandmother's house for awhile during the summer of 1999 and was going through boxes of old VHS tapes that various family members and friends has left in my grandma's basement after a large yard sale. I found some real gems that summer, including a VHS copy of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (I had only ever seen "Temple of Doom", "The Last Crusade", and the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles), "From Dusk 'til Dawn", and of course, "Army of Darkness." Both of those films are in on the list of my top 5 favorite films of all time (Raiders is #1, "Army of Darkness" is #4) and I spent much of that summer watching them over and over. Since then I have become not just a huge fan of the Evil Dead series (and splatstick in general) but also of the pinnacle of acting and manliness that is Bruce Campbell. As a toy collector and an Evil Dead fan, it just makes since that I would pick up Evil Dead action figures, right? Take a look at this excellent S-Mart Ash figure from my collection after the break....
NECA released this figure as part of the sixth series of their Cult Classics line in 1998. Ash was definitely the standout figure of the wave, although he was released alongside Michael and David from "The Lost Boys" and the Hare Krishna Zombie from "Dawn of the Dead." This wasn't the first Ash figure ever made, however, now was it even the first S-Mart Ash figure ever made. Back in 2005, Palisades released a series of 1/18th scaled Army of Darkness figures. While the first series was sold in two packs, the second series was sold blind boxed. One of those series 2 blind boxed figures was Ash in his S-Mart outfit. I purchased quite a few of the series 1 packs from a Suncoast Video clearance sale but found that they broke far too easily (often right out of the package) and thus never put in the effort to obtain series 2.
If there's any action figure company who consistently continues to push it's self to produce better product, it's NECA. Whether it's sculpting, articulation, or accessories, NECA always seems willing to push themselves to the next level. Just look at the head sculpt of this Ash: it's very good, but compare it to the head sculpts of the newer Ash figures from the Evil Dead 2 line. There's a lot of innovation going on in that company. While S-Mart Ash is an excellent figure, there are still some issues with the figure that might frustrate you if you decided to go and pick up the figure in light of the strides that NECA has made. I'll try to point these out as I go through and look at the figure in more depth.