As most longtime toy collectors can recall, NECA's The Nightmare Before Christmas toy line was one of the most expansive and consistent toy lines in the recent years, covering almost every character related to the film in NECA's signature high-quality fashion.
Sadly, the line's Sixth wave marked its end in 2007. Since, there's been a bit of a lull in full-on Nightmare action figures, mostly being replaced by dolls and static models and the such. Sure, there have been some neat offerings by companies such as Revoltech, ReAction, or PlayArts, but none have come near the level of comprehensiveness NECA achieved.
That is, until 2016, when Diamond Select stood up as the first true challenger to NECA's Nightmare legacy. DS seems to be aiming to cover the movie's vast array of creatures, and though the results thus far have been... mostly hideous... I can say I'm excited by the concept alone that there will once again be a mainstream Nightmare series that could have the potential to outrank NECA.
Sculpt - 5/5
Nightmare's villain, Oogie Boogie, is nothing more than a burlap sack supported by a legion of nasty insects - so, naturally, his onscreen incarnation is as loose and weightless as the movie's medium of choice, stop-motion animation, would allow. The figure captures his fabric's folds and textures phenomenally, looking practically authentic from a distance. Even smaller details such as the individual stitches and wide holes along his seams are present.
His face is totally spot on, particularly his expression. Though I usually prefer my articulated figures as static as possible, Boogie's angry, open-mouthed look can convey a good variety of emotions, such as mid-song, a dastardly tease, or even an evil grin. As can be seen through his mouth, below his face plate there is an underlying pile of mushy, clumped bugs, which looks just as grossy formless as it did in the feature. This is a really great point of detail that, as far as I know, no other articulated Boogie has captured.
This toy comes in at about 9" tall (which is, sadly, not in-scale with the vast majority of Jack Skellington figures), and is surprisingly heavy, weighing in at over a pound. No rotocasting here, this baddie is a solid brick of plastic.
If I had to point out any flaws, I'd say that first; his slightly slated, forward-pace feet are a bit odd, maybe even hindering to which poses will look natural. Not bad, as they do give some more life to the toy, but questionable. Second, I think his head is too big for his body. It's hard to say, seeing as Boogie is, again, relatively indefinable when it comes to how his proportions align, but compared to some images of the actual puppet I think there's a discrepancy. It's minimal enough to not really matter, though.
Articulation - 3/5
Most physical Boogie representations have been either totally plush, mostly unarticulated, or static, mainly because adding articulation to what is essentially a living bag is a tricky task. Though with some creative engineering, the task could be nearly perfect (perhaps underlying joints hidden by various plastic shells, a la S.H. Monsterarts?), DS' work is acceptable considering the character.
There are four points; a ball-joint head, two hinged arms, and a ball-joint midsection. Though minimal, I think the choice of joint types allows the figure to acheive a bit more than it may seem on-paper. Still, added points such as a jaw hinge, ball-joint arms, or moveable feet would've been really nice. What's there is serviceable, and can reach some nice poses, but probably not all it could be.
Side note, as far as I know, this is the most articulated toy of the character currently available. For those interested in more 'collectable' action figures such as this, that aspect immediately ranks this version above all others.
Paint - 5/5
To emulate the fabric texture present all across the toy, there are a variety of washes and sprays to emphasize the looseness of the material, all generally either dark brown or off-white. This works extremely well; not only making his detail work stand out extremely well, but making him look nicely weathered. Even smaller details such as the dark stitchwork or shadowy lip-folds have been painted specifically.
His insect innards are the sole dash of neon color present on the toy, being surprisingly intricate for such a minor aspect. There's plenty of colors and variations in the mix, making him look just as nasty as ever. I especially like the itty-bitty eyes paired here and there through the mush.
Fun Factor - 3/5
Being extremely sturdy, Oogie's ideal for fans young and old. The added face-revel gimmick is really smart, and a clever way to add in a selling point without adding too many bells and whistles. However, the smaller than expected scale and limited articulation can make him a bit less enthralling than one may desire. He looks very nice, but isn't really perfect as a toy.
Overall - 4/5
Even though there are some areas where improvement wouldn't have been impossible (and could've easily bumped up the quality), it's hard to fairly accuse DS of not delivering a great toy. Oogie Boogie looks spot-on, has really high quality paint, and despite looking akin to any number of collector-level figures, will only cost you somewhere around $25. It's hard to say no to what may likely be the best figure available of this specific character.
Compared to it's most obvious competitor, NECA's 2006 offering, this one immediately comes out on top, with far prettier paint and more useful articulation. However, as a final note, I sincerely hope DS eventually reissues this figure with his far more iconic neon green coloration (which NECA did use). I'd adore it all that much more with such a cool palette.