NECA continues its strong support for the Gears of War line with a new Damon Baird figure based on the latest sequel, Gears of War: Judgment.

Damon Baird is often the smartest guy in the room. The problem is, he knows he is, and isn't afraid to let everyone else know. As a fan-favorite character in the Gears of War video games, Baird has typically taken a back seat to Marcus Fenix. With Gears of War: Judgment, Baird was placed front and center, even if he was joined by frequent squadmate Augustus Cole. To commemorate the occasion of Baird getting his own game, NECA saw fit to give the wise-cracking smart-ass an all-new action figure.

Baird has been immortalized in plastic before, with a few different figures from NECA based on his appearances in previous Gears games. This new Baird sculpt puts all the others to shame. That's not something that's easy to do when it comes to NECA figures, as the sculptors there often cram an insane amount of detail and articulation into every figure. Baird is no exception, and sports some 30 points of articulation beneath dinged, dented, and highly-detailed COG armor.

Oddly enough, this new Baird is actually shorter than the original sculpt from way back in 2009. As strong as that figure was four years ago, looking at the two side-by-side shows just how far NECA has taken the line in that time. Top to bottom, Judgment Baird is a near impeccable figure. The face is stoic, and provides a much truer likeness to the game. While the older Gears figures certainly had a great deal of armor detailing, there's a lot of intricate work on this new Baird that really makes you feel like he's just popped out of your television screen.

The layers of armor Baird is protected by are easily visible, and have a distinct feel from one another. The pants have nice texturing to give them a different look than the leather pouches and straps elsewhere on Baird's body. The heavy body armor is shiny and new, but still shows signs of battle. The wear on the glove knuckles gives a hint of how well worn all of his equipment is. Factor in the removable screwdrivers (Baird is an engineer after all), and the wonderfully rendered military insignias adorning his getup, and it's easy to see how this lone figure could be considered the best in the line to date.

There are a few small issues with the Baird figure though. His left hand is clenched to be able to hold the screwdrivers, but that means it's not open enough to hold the Retro Lancer properly. Die-hard fans who want the figures to pose just right will be a bit disappointed by the way the gun has to float above Baird's left hand. Additionally, his abdomen is way thinner than his waist, which allows for much easier movement, but provides a noticeable gap. It is however a small concession to make to allow for more poseability.

As Baird is one of our favorite characters, we might be a bit biased in claiming NECA has outdone itself with this latest figure. It's hard to argue with the detail and articulation though. The Gears of War line has been monumentally successful for NECA, and with finished products like this Baird, it's not hard to see why. We'd offer that it will be tough for NECA to top a figure of this quality again in the future, but if the Gears of War: Judgment Baird is proof of anything, it's that NECA is consistently finding ways to out-do itself.

The Gears of War: Judgment Damon Baird is available at toy and specialty stores now for ~$20.