EXCLUSIVE: Making of NECA’s Classic Apes Figures

APES WEEK! Behind the scenes with NECA‘s sculpting guru Randy Falk — and his good friends Cornelius, Dr. Zaius and Gorilla Soldier!

Within the next couple of weeks, NECA’s first wave of Classic Planet of the Apes figures will be hitting stores and online retailers. Not fast enough, if you ask me. They’re 7-inch scale and retail anywhere from about $15-$30 each, depending on where you look. Anyway, here’s an EXCLUSIVE look at the original, raw sculpts and prototypes of these figs, which will soon adorn the Ape City of my home. Plus, a MIGHTY Q&A with Falk! (And don’t forget to enter our NECA Dawn of the Planet of the Apes action-figure contest HERE!)

Is that you, Dr. Zaius?

Is that you, Dr. Zaius?

Dan Greenfield: There has been wave after wave of classic Planet of the Apes figures over the years and judging by the pictures, these look to be among the very best. How were you able to achieve such accuracy? Can you describe the process?

Randy Falk: We approached Apes like we do any of our retro or classic licenses. We take a comprehensive look at what has come before and what was done right or wrong and what characters and subject matter has been covered or ignored. We also study everything, it’s like cramming for a test. We get the Blu-rays, books, DVDs, scour the Internet for reference and original costumes and just compile as much material as we can so we are prepared to tackle our sculpts and create the best possible version of each character, to make something definitive that exceeds all that has come before and sets a new bar or new standard for accuracy and authenticity in the world of Apes collectibles.

Cornelius, you're looking mighty pale.

Cornelius, you’re looking mighty pale.

How long does it take to go from initial design to hitting the shelves?

In the case of Apes about 9 months or so from basic concept and design then sculpting, paintmasters, production, package design, all that. It’s like making a baby – 9 months.

Ape in a box!

Ape in a box!

Why these three characters, specifically?

The holy trinity of the original film as far as I am concerned, just makes the most sense. It covers the major Ape story beats and one of each class (Chimp, Gorilla, Orangutan), that is important and something I wanted to represent in the first wave especially.



Will they come with any accoutrements?

Yes, Cornelius has a scroll, Zaius has a scroll and a cane, and the Gorilla Soldier has a rifle, a club an extra hand and his bandolier.

What other characters can we expect to see and how soon until a Wave 2?

General Ursus for sure, Zira, and we’re looking at jumping around from the various films, not following a linear or chronological path. We are going to reveal more at SDCC in a few weeks.

The finished product

The promo shot

Were you a Mego kid?

Totally, 100 percent. They were my first action figures as a kid in the ’70s. All the DC and Marvel stuff was dear to me, along with Apes and other assorted TV licenses. Mego did everything back in the day and I collected it all. Now, as an adult, aside from the traditional NECA action figures, I am developing something special in the Mego realm as well, which you will know more about at SDCC.

Hmmm... does this mean I'll be back?

Hmmm… does this mean I’ll be back?



Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Those look amazing. I really love the detail on the soldier Ape’s eyes. Neca should make every one of the main characters, and give us a few surprises too. Milo maybe. Or Galen and the from the tv series regulars. Too bad Roddy McDowell isn’t still with us to comment on the figures and the newer movies.

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  2. Eric’s right! I was just thinking about Roddy the other day. I think he’d be more pleased with NECAs figs than any that’s ever been done. Finally a Corneilus figure that actually looks like Corneilus. I hope you do something really special with Cesar from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and I hope for a couple of mutants from Beneath the Planet of the Apes! Ahh you guys are making me Ape crazy now! My OCD is kickin in, time for me to refill my Zoloft!!

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