Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Holographic Engineer (Chair Suit) (NECA Toys)


Look, I actually liked Prometheus. Even when acknowledging all of its errors, I liked it. I posted about this once before, when I had no clue what to put in Life In Plastic. But anyway, this isn’t an article about the movie, it’s a review of one of the toys!


Earlier in the year, I reviewed the Deacon on Poe Ghostal’s Points of Articulation, and it has been over half a year since then before we saw any more Prometheus toys at retail. NECA had a plan for Series 3 that involved Drs. Holloway and Fifield, but economic realities ruined that. To my understanding, the Space Jockey engineer sold very well, the regular Engineer sold so-so, the Proto-Xeno Deacon sold pretty well, David the Android sold poorly, and the big two-pack with a battle-damaged Engineer and the giant penis squid did not sell very well at all. The end result is that Prometheus Series 3 is the last we will hear from that movie, and it consists of “holographic” repaints of the two Engineer sculpts, matching a particular scene from the movie. They also come with the ampules – those metal jars full of mutate-everything black liquid.


The Space Jockey was always one of the most fascinating mysteries of the original Alien movies. Dan O’Bannon had a Lovecraftian approach to the universe, where aliens would be unexplainable and incomprehensible. Of course, that doesn’t mean it was not obvious what happened – the alien piloting the ship got infested with the chestburster, obviously. But what was it? What were they like? Alien gave us an unknowable, terrifying universe. And then Prometheus came along, and redefined the Space Jockey as part of a race of big humans. The philosophy changed to, “No matter how far you go in the universe, you can only find yourself.” I honestly liked the unexplained idea more, but I can still get behind the Engineers. Yes, they are a typical alien-origin plot tool, but they only made us because they needed some bio-weapon test subjects.


Even though these are repaints, I picked up the Chair Suit – I love the Space Jockey, I found the paint job fascinating, and I really wanted one of those ampules. As the original Engineer came out just before Nerditis began, I never properly reviewed it. I have interspersed a few photos of the original “Space Jockey” Chair Suit Engineer in this review, and you can honestly take he review as covering both figures.



NECA knows what they’re doing with clamshells. They make them big enough to protect the figure, not so big that they waste space, and thin enough to be opened without cutting one of your own arteries. The graphics on the packaging are nice, and the back contains the general Engineer blurb from the previous release.


SCULPT: ****

The Chair Suit Engineer is a really fantastic piece of work by NECA, whether you are talking about the original or this repaint. It stands roughly 8″ tall (it’s in-scale with 6″ or 7″ figures), and is a very solid, heavy piece of plastic. Much of the torso is covered in rubber to keep certain parts from scraping (like the “trunk”), but the rubber seems to be durable. As is expected, the figure contains every detail from the movies. The big issue is in construction.


Use of flexible rubber on plastic toys is sometimes hit and miss. The old Lord of the Rings figures tended to crack and rot, as have some of Mattel’s offerings. NECA seems to have found a good mix, at least for the time being – we’ll know for sure in a few years, but so far these figures hold up. And both flavors of Engineer are durable in general, with the Holographic one containing just a little more flexibility because of the differences in translucent plastic quality.


PAINT: ****

The way that Prometheus did its holographic “ghosts” was different than in most science fiction. Rather than just making them translucent blue, or maybe blurred, or maybe with static and scan lines, these holographs were pixellated, looking like ethereal spirits as they ran around. The effect looks impossible to put into plastic – they have no body – but NECA certainly tried. The Holographic Engineer is cast in translucent blue, with bright blue “starry” speckles covering the sculpt. In some lighting, it looks like a spray can accident. But in just the right light – directed spotlights, dim lighting, or broad daylight – you can see the effect! Some of my photos here have it, some do not, but I am impressed at how close they came to the special effect.


Aside from that, the engineer is a cool blue, and is just pleasing to the eye. Some of the internal pieces for his joints are solid blue, but I assume that is for durability purposes. The plastic isn’t extremely transparent – you have to work to form a light pipe – but it does allow light to shine through.



The Engineer has a ball-jointed head, torso, and hands, and ball-and-socket shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles. These are very basic, but absolutely nothing in the sculpt gets in the way, the joints are tight and solid (on both of my Space Jockeys), and they exhibit excellent range of motion. Despite having fewer joints, this guy moves better than any Masters of the Universe Classics figure! The Holographic Engineer also maintains a great center of gravity, so you can indeed put him in the only pose he had in the movie – running! The holographic recording had them running away, you see.


And if you’re feeling sassy, he can shrug, or sit and cross his legs, or tap dance, or whatever you want. The tubes on his head don’t even impede articulation all that much, though they do give an upper limit for head rotation.



The original Chair Suit Engineer came with nothing, which was a crime. The Holographic repaint, however, comes with one of the best accessories of he year – one of the ampules of evil black ooze! The accessory is a simple canister which opens to reveal a set of four bottles. he whole thing is painted well, whether it’s the weathered exterior of the ampule or the slimy stuff inside.


If I had a complaint, I would say that the bottles needed to be cast in translucent green in order to match their appearance in the film, but it is a minor quibble. Also, they are kind of small, and I almost wish we got two with each Engineer. You kind of need a crowd of these things.


VALUE: ****

At roughly $20, you are getting a big, solid figure with film-perfect detail. It’s also a Space Jockey, which is awesome! The Holographic repaint is just as good, and stands out on the shelf if you pose and light it properly. I’ll also point out how awesome those ampules are. Yay, mutation!



Nothing that I can see. Everything about this figure is solidly-built, and the pain job allows for variety.



These may be showing up in comic shops, but my guess is that you are going to have to go on-line. I shopped at eBay on NECA’s own store.



Both versions of the Space Jockey are fantastic, and I found myself loving the holo one more than I thought I would. It looks great in-hand, and I hope I got that across in these photos.


Okay, okay, Prometheus defense time. Yes, the scientists wer emorons. But you know what? of course they were! Shaw and Holloway were starry-eyed dreamers (Holloway was a jerk), Vickers had Daddy issues, Fifield was clearly a stoner, and I have no clue what was wrong with idiot-biologist, but… yeah. These were people who were generally good at the technical aspects of their job, but terrible in real-life situations. I would have greatly preferred if the film had given us intelligent protagonists who still died, though.


And the complaint about how “Nothing was explained,” and “the Engineers were confusing?” Guys, it’s explained in the movie. A character literally looks right at the camera and says, “This is a military installation. They made us to be test subjects. Oh nooooo!” Seriously, can you get any clearer than that? Engineers clearly work on the long game, taking who-knows-how-long to breed their bio-weapons, so they don’t mind seeding random planets with life only to poison it later. I had no trouble understanding this. The movie isn’t perfect, but it is really beautiful, and it engenders a lot of interesting discussions. I like it overall. I also like this toy.

By the way, guys, this is officially the 1000th post published on Nerditis!  …woah…


4 responses to “Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Holographic Engineer (Chair Suit) (NECA Toys)

  1. HI,

    While I am not a collector of Action figure, I really love your Blog. this article is great and Well done on the 1000th Post!

    Please keep up the excellent work. I whole hearty agree with your comments on Prometheus. I love that film, faults and all and I can’t work out why it has some many haters. I get the plot. its not that hard, just not told to well. great post and thats for efforts over the last 1000 posts!

  2. Pingback: Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Engineer Vs. Trilobite (Prometheus) (NECA Toys) | Nerditis·

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