Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986) have to be two of the most ripped-off movies in history, but that’s understandable when you look at them – two of the greatest sci-fi horror and action movies, completely genre-defying in their own individual ways. Whereas Alien was a claustrophobic, borderline-Lovecraftian horror movie, Aliens was a big-budget action film, albeit one with a scary bent. I love both of them, and as far as I’m concerned, there is no real debate over which was “better.” They each bring their own strengths to the table. NECA has opted to start a line based on the second movie, which is a first for them – they produced figures for the original film’s alien, and the warrior in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, but not one specifically for this film. The AvP:R Warrior was cool, but it’s been a few years since it came out, and now it’s expensive. They also made a more traditional warrior from Aliens in their Movie Masters line, but that one is getting expensive and hard to find. So after all this time and the incredible success of their Predator line, NECA has finally decided to start on Aliens – Wave 1 includes the Warrior, Hicks, and Hudson, and I was able to find this guy at retail. And since I’m such a crazy Aliens/Predator fan, I think it’s time to take a look!
The aliens in Aliens look different from the alien in Alien. The design is a little spinier overall, with sharper knobs jutting from its back, a bigger stinger on the tail, bony ridges on the forearms, and differently-arranged fingers. The head is the biggest difference, with the original’s smooth dome eschewed in favor of a complex, ridged design. This was actually similar to what was under the original alien’s dome, though that one also contained a human skull. Cameron explained this change as something that happens when aliens mature – their heads harden, and they shed their protective covering. Different adaptations (including the movies) have flip-flopped on this, but most fans just shrug and accept it, because why not? Species variance exists in the real world, too. The changes serve to make the aliens less biomechanical and more insectile, fitting Cameron’s vision of a giant ant hive.
And what a hive it was, with something like a hundred and fifty Xenomorphs running around… though Cameron managed to do it with only six suits – that’s right, you never really see more than six monsters on-screen at once, but the ultimate effect was priceless! Of course, I’m on a budget, so I’ll have to make do with fewer than even that… but anyway, on to the review!
The Xenomorph comes in a basic clamshell with fairly little waste, and a good look at the figure inside. The blurb on the back explains the movie’s plot, with nothing specific about the figure, though it shows all three in Series 1. The figure is held in with a few twist-ties, but NECA knows how to do this without being aggravating. The interior art is nice, but it isn’t a full diorama like with Chell or the Pacific Rim figures.
I thought that NECA’s previous Warrior sculpt was fantastic (the AvP one), but this just blows it out of the water! It’s movie-accurate down to the last little ridge or piece of piping, including the awkward things like the forearm ridges or the pipes connecting its jaws to its shoulders. They also resisted the urge to exaggerate anything – its tail stinger is tiny, just like in the movie.
The figure is mostly made of hard plastic, which thankfully does not feel brittle. But certain things, like the tubing in its back, are made of softer rubber, which will not snap… you know, snap the way that the Tracker Predator’s tusks broke if you breathed on them. I will always be bitter about that. The figure’s waist is also made of rubber, or at least the plastic is covered in a rubber sheath. This helps hide the hip articulation somewhat, and provides a flexible surface to keep the legs from grinding against hard plastic. I hope that it doesn’t rot the way rubber sometimes does on toys, but other NECA figures using this material have yet to go bad – only time will tell! The rubber holds detail pretty well, though.
In many ways, this is the ultimate Alien figure – or at least the ultimate Xenomorph Warrior. There’s just nothing I can say or do apart from praising it, as its level of detail matches even high-end toys! About the only complaint I have is the inner mouth, which seems a little under-detailed but that might just be the paint. For a fun little detail, one of its back spikes is removable – the upper-middle one, which might get in the way of the head’s articulation. Nice detail!
Although it seems that Xenomorphs are typically black, this really isn’t true. In the movies alone, they are black, silver, brownish, blueish silver, or charcoal. In other media, they come in purple, red, green, or whatever else people could think of – the thing is, in the 1986 movie, you never really got to see them in bright, clear lighting… except for that one scene where Hicks shines his flashlight on several. For that brief half a second, you can see that the movie Aliens are colored brown. And guess what? Brown it is! On a side note, NECA has made it clear that they plan to reuse this sculpt as much as possible, and are already planning a set of two based on comic colors – blue and red – so if you hate brown, you can just wait for black or gray or green or whatever.
The Warrior Xenomorph is covered in a brown paint wash, although it also looks like there is some highlighting on specific details. If you look closely, you’ll see it – detail work on its head ridges and ribs, for example, which you can compare to the faded wash on some of its other parts. Some stores (such as Amazon) have taken to calling this the “Brown Warrior,” because of its color. And yeah, it’s definitely brown, but it’s film-accurate, and there aren’t very many other Alien figures with that color scheme… though we did see one twenty-one years ago. In 1992, the very first of the Kenner Aliens included a “Scorpion Alien,” which was just a normal Warrior from the second movie. And it was colored coppery-brown. You can easily pose the two figures together and see – they’re the same! Almost!
As for non-brown paint apps, the Xeno’s teeth are silver (movie-accurate! It was one of the things that made them seem biomechanical instead of truly organic), the soft tissue in its jaws is gray, and its inner mouth is light tan. The teeth are clean, the jaws are all right, but the inner mouth is gloopy. I’d say that the jaw paint is also kind of sloppy, and could have been done a little bit better, but the inner mouth is really the biggest problem. Thankfully, it’s a small thing, but McFarlane Toys did a much better job with their Alien mouths ten years ago! All told both details are worth half a star, but the figure really looks great.
Of course, I could just be complimenting the paint because it looks so much like my cat.
The Xenomorph Warrior has ball-jointed head, shoulders, wrists, hips, torso, ankles; double ball-jointed elbows and knees; swivel biceps; hinged toes and a hinged jaw with extendable mouth; and a bendy tail. Now let’s look at the specifics:
The head joint has a decent range of motion, but feels a little restricted by the tubing extending from the alien’s jaws to its shoulders. The truth is, you can still get a lot of poses out of it, but I’d watch those tubes if I were you. As I said before, one of its back spikes is removable to keep it from getting in the way, though that probably won’t be a concern. The jaw took me by surprise – the articulation is completely hidden, and I didn’t realize that the joint was there until I thought about the AvP Alien and how its mouth could open and close. I tested it, and the jaw opened – and the inner mouth popped out, startling me out of my chair! The Alien’s second par of jaws is loose, and slides out on its own. It can be pushed back in if you want without much trouble, though, so it’s the best of both worlds.
The arms are really, really impressive, utilizing rarely-used double elbow joints for maximum flexibility. A nd the thing is, just as with those jaws, all the articulation is pretty much hidden – you can only tell about the elbows if you’re looking for it! Likewise, the ball jointed wrists surprised me, as every other Alien figure before now had swivel wrists. The shoulder ball joints are ratcheted, and pretty tight – my Xeno’s right shoulder is actually too tight, and it took me some time to loosen it, but you’ll be happy to hear that these arms are sturdy. Nothing felt stuck or breakable, either!
The knees are also double-jointed with the articulation likewise hidden, and the ankle joints are extremely strong. The hinged toes are a nice touch, allowing this creature to take a lot of crawling and kneeling poses, or just take a step. The figure does lack thigh swivels, although the ball joints are made to give it a lot of variety. I worry a little about whether the rubber on the Alien’s hips will tear or deform under the stress of moving its legs, but again, NECA seems to know what it’s doing with that kind of thing.
The only loose joint on my figure is one of its hips, but it still feels sturdier than, say, most Predators. The tail is bendy, which always makes me nervous even if it’s okay – though the wire stops several inches from the tip, so you can’t really curl it.
The thing about all this articulation is, I used to think that the old Warrior was poseable – how ignorant I was! NECA first previewed the new Warrior in a crouching pose that’s totally impossible for most figures to take… and hey, it does! No problem at all! This figure is seriously awesome, and I can’t compliment the articulation enough.
The AvP Alien at least came with a tiny bit of ground to stand on – this guy’s got nothing! I would have loved a face hugger or chest burster (I know they have the molds) or something, but… well, nada. The human marines come with gear, though, so the series isn’t a total loss, but it’s disappointing to see how they cheaped out on this one.
It’s a $20 figure with the detailed sculpt and articulation of a $50 figure. If you don’t believe me, just go look at Revoltech. NECA has consistently kept their prices reasonable, and this Alien is no exception.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
I’d suggest watching out for the thin tubes attached to its head as well as the rubber around its hips. I’m also wary about bendies in principle, and some figures might end up with looser joints than others. The hinged jaw pops out of its socket really easily, but it’s also just as simple to put it back in.
WHERE TO BUY:
You can find this figure at retail – in fact, mine came from a Toys R Us! But I’d hurry and snag one before the supply dries up. But hey, if that fails, and you don’t feel like Amazon or eBay, why not try Big Bad Toy Store, Urban Collector, or Entertainment Earth?
Is this figure perfect? No. Is it the best Aliens toy out there? Hell yeah. The level of quality in this thing is really outstanding, and you can just tell how much care and attention to detail went into making it. I hope the Aliens line continues long enough to give us versions of each movie’s beasties, just like what McFarlane got to do. Of course, I’m also hoping that I can find Hudson at retail, and we can’t always get what we want. But yeah, I wholeheartedly recommend this figure – NECA’s just been hitting it out of the park so many times in so many ways this year that it’s unbelievable!