What’s that? You hate Alien 3? Fantastic, that just means more for me! Yes, I will stand up to be counted as one of the few true fans of this flick. Awww, but it sucks because Newt and Hicks died. DEAL WITH IT! Life in the future is a toilet and there’s a long line of Xenomorphs waiting to take a dump into it. And in space, no one can hear you flush. Seriously, though, I dig this movie a lot and it fills my heart with happiness that NECA graced it with a wave of figures. I’ve already looked at the Weyland-Yutani Commando from this wave and today I’m checking out Ripley and the Alien.
We all know the deal when it comes to NECA’s Alien packaging. You get a hermetically sealed clamshell that keeps the baked plastic goodness fresh and hot. I like to poke a little hole in it, insert a straw into my nose and snort the plastic fumes right from the source. Seriously kids, don’t do that. As always, these packages show off the figures beautifully, but they are not collector friendly, which saves me the trouble of deciding whether to keep the packaging or not. Let’s start with Ripley…
As you might have noticed from the package shot, Ripley comes with an extra pair of arms, so there are two display options here. Out of the package she comes with her jacket on and the rest of the fatigues that Clemens gave her. As a sidebar, I’m not entirely sure why her package reads “Prisoner,” because she wasn’t. She was just an uninvited guest there waiting to be picked up by Weyland-Yutani after her escape pod crashed on the planet. Anyway, the details in Ripley’s costume is as excellent as I’ve come to expect from NECA’s figures. You get all the tiny obligatory stitching lines and in this case some nice weathering, including torn holes in the pants. The paint detail is exquisite, from the drawstring on her pants to the individual laces and silver eyelets on her boots.
The jacket includes a sculpted quilted pattern on the back and a hood sculpted in the down position behind her head. There’s sculpted elastic trim around the waist and cuffs of the sleeves and she’s wearing a pair of black gloves. The outfit on this figure is just another great example of how NECA spares no expense when paying attention to the tiniest details.
The portrait here is not my favorite example of NECA’s work with Sigourney Weaver. That having been said, NECA has had a fair amount of experience sculpting her portrait and this is a very distinctive look for Lt. Ripley, especially after her haircut. I don’t dislike it, but there’s something slightly off about it. I think it may be that it strikes me as being a little more stylized than the previous Ripley figures. Still, the paint is sharp and clean and they even gave her a nasty bruise on the left side of her forehead.
The figure’s second look involves pulling off the arms, taking off the jacket and putting the bare arms on. The swap is really easy and you get a cool variant that most other companies would have packaged and sold separately. It’s a profound enough change that this is one of those instances where I’m considering picking up a second Ripley so I can display her both ways, because I really can’t decide which one I like more.
Ripley comes with two accessories: A flashlight and a torch. Both are decent enough extras and definitely fitting for the character and context of the film, but neither are terribly exciting. It’s also worth noting that only one of her hands is really designed to work with the accessories. I can get her left hand to hold the flashlight, but it’s obviously not the intent. Let’s move on to the Xeno!
Awwww, shit! This thing is gorgeous! One of the things I love about this movie is that we’re back to just one Alien against a handful of barely armed prey. Xenos are so bad ass, that unless you’re the creatively bankrupt gestalt known as Hollywood, you don’t need to cram a million of them into a movie to make them scary. The Xeno in this wave was unique in having burst forth from a dog (originally an ox) and this figure is available in two colors: Brown or gray. I went with the brown one, just because I associate this entire movie’s dreary and industrial color palate with lots of browns and rusty oranges.
The design of this Xeno makes it my second favorite in the series, right behind the original 1979 Big Chap. Because it’s birthed from a quadruped, it’s back logs are structured like a dogs’ with the extra joint below the knee and the ankle up off the ground. The other given name for this guy is The Runner, and it’s easy to see why. It also makes him extra terrifying to me, not to mention he has a spear tip on the end of his tail. As usual, NECA packed all the lovely Geiger-esque bits into the sculpt, including the creepy mix of exposed sinews and and bone-like structures. The glossy brown wash brings it all out with striking clarity. If you want an example of a work of art expressed as a $20 action figure… here it is!
Another of my favorite things about this Xeno’s design is the structure of the head. It features the smooth, transparent dome that’s reminiscent of the original Xeno design with a segmented skull visible within. The jaw on this guy is articulated and you can open it up and pull out the secondary mouth.
The articulation is very much in line with what I’ve experienced with NECA’s other Xenos. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, wrists, with dual rotating hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and include double hinges in the knees, and hinges in the secondary knees, and in the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the chest and another in the neck. The tail swivels at the base and is made of bendy material that can take and hold a pose. Overall, my only real nitpick here is that the head does not go far enough back to get him looking forward when he’s running on all fours. But based on the sculpt, it looks like that would have been pretty tough to do.
The Xeno does come with one accessory and that’s this nifty stand to help keep him upright. I was actually pretty surprised at how many poses I could get him into without needing to rely on the stand, although as is the case with most of these Xenos, the leg joints can have difficulty sustaining the weight of the figure in the long term. When I do get a shelf cleared for my NECA Alien figures, I’ll definitely be making use of this one. His feet are also supplied with peg holes, so you can use the regular NECA stands with him as well.
It’s hard to pick a favorite Wave when talking about this line, because quite frankly NECA slams them all right out of the park, but this one ranks pretty high for me. It’s not just because I’m a fan of the film, but because it’s such a wildly unpopular film that it’s surprising NECA risked making these figures at all. Although, it does seem to be performing fairly well at retail. While Ripley is readily available at a number of e-tailers for deep discounts, the Commando seems to be in high demand, particularly among troop builders, and the Xeno (which are admittedly always popular with collectors) can be really tough to find at a decent price. NECA has teased on Twitter that there’s more Alien 3 goodness to come, and I’m rather intrigued to see what that means.