There is now an Alien arms race between NECA and Bandai

alien-1979

NECA has been hitting on all cylinders with their Aliens figures recently, offering super-articulated versions of everyone’s favorite xenomorphs. But this month also sees the release of the S.H.MonsterArts Alien from Alien vs. Predator, courtesy of Bandai’s collector-oriented division, Tamashii Nations. I’m hoping to get my hands on one to review in the near future.

There is one thing that’s always bugged me a bit about NECA figures: the 7″ scale. Why don’t they produce figures in the more popular 6″ scale? I don’t know for sure, but NECA started their Reel Toys line in the early 2000s as both a competitor and a complement to McFarlane Toys’ Movie Maniacs (which had started closer to a 6″ scale but then soon crept up to a 7″ scale, probably to allow for a bit more detail). In those early days, NECA wanted to appeal to Movie Maniacs collectors, so they went with the 7″ scale to make sure those collectors would feel comfortable placing their Reel Toys figures alongside their Movie Maniacs. Eventually NECA had produced so much of their own product in the 7″ scale that switching to a 6″ scale would risk alienating their own fan base.

To get back to Bandai, I was initially intrigued by the prospect of S.H.MonsterArts Aliens and Predator figures. I knew they would likely be in an actual 6″ scale, and would conceivably offer even better articulation than NECA (albeit at three times the price). But I was disappointed when the first two S.H.MonsterArts Alien and Predator figures were based on the two worst films of either franchise – Alien vs. Predator (the Alien) and Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (the Predator). While I still plan to get both figures – mostly to sate my curiosity more than  anything else – I’m not particularly fond of those designs. So it seemed that NECA would remain my one and only place for figures from my favorite Alien films.

But then Tamashii goes and announces this – an S.H.MonsterArts “Big Chap” from the original Alien.

http://tamashii.jp/special/alien/

The tail alone has eighteen individually-articulated segments. At 180mm it’s exactly seven inches tall, which makes it in proper 1/12th scale with lines like Marvel Legends, Star Wars Black, and the upcoming Funko Legacy Firefly. The NECA Aliens are nine inches tall, but I’d certainly sympathize with any collector who thinks the NECA stuff is close enough and doesn’t feel the need to drop $60 on a figure just to have it be slightly more in scale.

And that’s the obvious difference here – this thing will cost as much as three NECA figures. It has a bit more articulation, extra hands, diecast parts, and it’s in a 6″ scale. So the question is, is that worth an extra $40 to you? I’m sure there will be plenty of reviews to help you make up your mind.

There is another potential catch, too: as of right now, no U.S. release date has been issued for this figure. It’s possible there may not be one; NECA may own the U.S. rights to produce Alien toys, and something like that happened with the S.H.Figuarts Iron Man and Hasbro. If that turns out to be the case, you’re talking about international shipping fees on top of that $60 cost.

That said, I’m not sure that will be an issue. I don’t think NECA has the master U.S. toy license for Alien/Predator. And Tamashii probably wouldn’t have bothered creating a special English-translated page if they weren’t planning a U.S. release.

Finally, one important thing to remember is that whatever Bandai ends up producing, it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever see any Colonial Marines or Dutch. And that’s where NECA’s dedication comes in.

Thanks to the Fwoosh for the heads-up.

Comments now closed (15)

  • I've gone sour on NECA due to lack of their quality control, so I'd have more faith paying tons more for the (probably) superior product.

  • From my experience, even if quality control is "supposed" to be higher on Bandai stuff (and for good reason, given the higher price; but I've had my problems with both companies) and even if the price isn't such an issue for me (Amiami and luck with customs puts them on the 30-35€ range), I chose the NECA Aliens over the MonstersArts ones.
    For one good reason. In my mind, the Xeno is a massive and frightening beast whose only real opponent is the Predator and the only one who can look him in the eye. So having a bunch of figures towering over the other ones I own is exactly what I'm looking for.
    Plus, the Xeno is always lurking, crouching, squatting, almost never standing straight up. And given the height of the Bandai Xenos, having them crouching makes them look puny and ridiculousy cute, even in front of the Batmen, Samus and other non-NECA more 6'-ish opponents.
    Plus, the Die-Cast part is a bad choice for me, it totally spoils the poseability of the tail as we could see in the reviews.
    So, bigger, cheaper, almost equally well-made and many different Xenos ? NECA is my way to go.

  • I may well get this purely for the fact it can do the iconic "bend over"

  • Yeah, I went ahead and pre-ordered this guy from BBTS this morning. Eighteen points of articulation in the tail? I'm in! Plus, the whole thing just looks like the best depiction of the original Xenomorph that's been made thus far. I still might pick up NECA's version, too.

    • I suggest you look at the numerous Alien Warrior MonsterArts review. The die-cast part at the end of the tail make the joints pretty useless since they're too weak to bear the weight. It'll probably be the same with the original Xeno. :)

      • I'll have one of my own soon and will be able to report on any issues with the tail.

        Still plan on getting the '79 one. But then, I'm just going to get both NECA's and Bandai's.

        • Got NECA's yesterday. It's pretty much the same as the Warrior, so, excellent. My only complaint would be the translucent dome. Couldn't find one figure (in more than a dozen they had at the shop) where it covered all the skull tightly and nicely. So it looks like the Xeno is wearing a helmet in the worst cases. :p And it sometimes is very smokey, so it looks grey instead of translucent.

  • Wake me up when Bandai starts making the human characters from Colonial Marines.

      • They might, if their Kenner Predators are anything to go by. Square Enix is producing a couple of the Xenomorph breeds from A:CM as well, so it's not completely outside the realm of possibility that someone might eventually follow up with the Marines, WY PMCS, etc. Frankly, I think the PMCs actually look more interesting than most of A:CM's USCM characters, who lose some points with me for their inexplicably anachronistic (in a sense) Oakley boots and goggles and SOLAG gloves.

        An O'Neil with Smart Gun would be straight-up awesome, though.

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  • I know for some it's sacrilege, but I wasn't so happy with Hot Toys' ALIEN and ALIENS offerings. The rubber on the Aliens Warrior got tacky within a couple years, the straps and thin bits on the Marines broke if you breathed on them, and the Nostromo crewmembers were awesome, but with so much rubber, I was afraid it would get sticky and gooey like the Warriors did. The Aoshima 6" figures were awesome looking but incredibly fragile and broke so, so easily. And I felt the Medicom and HT Big Chaps were too "anime" in person. In photos they looked great, but when I got them home, they just felt a *little bit* too stylized. I know not everyone had the same experiences, and I'm being very picky, but this is what happened with mine. I sold them off a long while back in hopes of getting some money back and buying a MIB 18" Kenner, but now with all these options, I'm probably going to try Bandai's, and the NECA ones are so cheap it's not a big deal to try out a few of those as well.

  • The Alien and Predator figures are getting a U.S. release.

    Amazon has Big Chap along with Alien Warrior and Wolf Predator available for preorder.

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