Bear with me here. My favorite “Alien” design is the one from Aliens. That’s solely because it’s the first film of the series I was exposed to, it’s my favorite, and because it’s awesome.
Those who argue the more psychologically-creepy design from the first Alien is superior have a strong argument too, given its smoother, phallic-shaped head.
But ever since I was a kid, I’ve been seeking the perfect Aliens action figure. Nothing existed until Kenner’s Aliens line in the early 1990s. The best regular Alien in that line was the one from the Aliens vs. Predator 2-pack; it was based on the first film’s design.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, we finally got a few six-inch scale Aliens. All three examples I’m about to mention followed the same pattern: an Alien from the first film was released, followed by a retool with a new head and other new bits to create the version of Aliens. Three companies went through this identical process:
- Aoshima (1st film) (Aliens)
- McFarlane Toys (1st film) (Aliens)
- and most recently, NECA (1st film) (Aliens)
Overall, I believe the NECA Aliens figure came the closest to being my ideal Alien action figure (they did make the most changes). But it, like every other Alien figure above, had a problem: quality control.
I owned the Aoshima figure; it broke in half. I owned the McFarlane figure – the tubes tore off and the figure broke in half. And NECA? One figure’s head broke off, the “cords” on the neck tended to snap, and one figure I owned had a bent head. Worst of all, the arms were designed in such a way that the separate ridge on the arm would bend and inevitably break if you bent the elbow in too often.
The NECA figure also has a very awkward V-crotch that limits posing, rather than ball jointed hips. Ultimately this figure is so close, and yet so far. NECA has promised “an all new Warrior figure, with removable limbs, fully articulated, and about 9″ tall” in 2013 to go with their upcoming Aliens Marine figures. Perhaps then I will finally get my ultimate Aliens figure.
In the meantime, I must admit that the best Alien figure I’ve ever owned is the one from a movie I’ve never even seen: the Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem Alien Warrior.
By all accounts, the film is dreadful. Given the pain I experienced watching Alien vs. Predator, I never bothered to even try AvPR. But it did have one virtue – the Alien design for the film was the first post-Aliens sequel to base its creature design on the Aliens version and not the original film, using the rough carapace.
I don’t know whether a concerted effort was made to give this figure good articulation, or whether the Requiem design simply lent itself more to it. But the Requiem Alien features a ball jointed head, hinged jaw, swivel shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, a ball jointed torso, ball jointed hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, and hinged ankles. It also had a very flexible bendy tail that holds its positions well.
All the articulation works well and, most importantly, it isn’t hindered by easily-broken cords or ridges. The only problem I’ve run into is that some of the joints do get loose over time. And while the lack of ball jointed shoulders is mildly disappointing, it’s balanced by the fact that the nothing on the figure has ever broken.
There’s really not much in the way of paint work – mostly the figure is molded in black with a lot of brown and silver highlights. But the end result seems somehow more organic, consistent, and vaguely slimy-looking than the other NECA figures.
I would definitely prefer a figure based on the Aliens design, but this figure works as a kind of slightly caricatured version of that look.
For now, thanks to its overall quality and poseability, I think the AvPR Alien Warrior remains the unlikely champion of the 1/12th scale for figures based on the Alien franchise.
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