Let’s get one thing out of the way first:Â Prometheus is not a good movie. It’s a bloated, pretentious, incoherent mess of a film.Â However, I thought the aesthetic aspects of the movie were great, and that’s where this figure comes in.
I had high hopes for Prometheus. I’ve been a fan of theÂ Alien franchise since I was eight or nine years old, and one of my favorite mysteries of that universe was the story behind the so-called “Space Jockey” (Prometheus calls them “Engineers”) in the chair on the derelict spaceship.
This unexplained and yet crucially important part of the Alien universe was so compelling to me. What was that thing? Was that long nose the trunk of an elephantine alien, or simply a breathing mask of some sort? Why was its bio-mechanical body, particularly its ribs, so similar to those of the xenomorph? What was that giant cannon-like structure it was sitting in, and why did he seem to be organically fused to it?Â Prometheus promised to answer some of these questions.Â And it did, I guess,Â but in an at best incomplete and at worst completely unsatisfactory way. And it was really poorly written, too.
But no matter – I’m not here to review the film. The fact is, regardless of how it got here, I now have an action figure of the Space Jockey – something I’ve always wanted but never imagined I’d have. Now that I’ve got him, I can imagine he’s whatever I want him to be.
NECAÂ was kind enough to send along samples of its twoÂ Prometheus figures released so far. This is a review of the Engineer in his Chair Suit; yo go re of OAFE will be reviewing the Pressure Suit Engineer in the near future.
Packaging: The Engineer (Chair Suit) comes in the sort of packaging we’re accustomed to. The graphics and colors inside the clamshell look great, and there are some images from the film, as well as an introduction to the film’s plot, on the back. The best thing about all NECA packaging, of course, is that everyone in the design process receives a credit.
Design & Sculpt: The Engineer was sculpted by NECA’s go-to guy for all thingsÂ Alien andÂ Predator, Kyle Windrix, and Trevor Zammit. NECA always offers great sculpts, but it seems to me they go the extra mile on their movie properties, especially these two, and the Engineer is no exception.
The sculpt is amazing. One thing that should always be appreciated about this sort of figure is the texturing – it’s very well-executed here. There are also a number of small rubbery tubes, and while I always worry they might tear or break, they seem to have been designed with just the right amount of slack. I’m sure they could still tear, but you’d have to be doing something dumb with your collectible toy for it to happen.
The figure stands 8Â¼” tall, which is just about in line with NECA’s usual scale for its figures, which tend to run a bit taller than the 1/12th of Marvel Legends or DC Universe Classics. In the film, the Engineers are between 7′-8′ tall.
Of course, an important thing to remember is that this is a sculpt of the Engineer from Prometheus, not the actual Space Jockey from AlienÂ (who would have stood nearly twenty feet tall and was completely fused to his chair).* It’s very close to the Space Jockey, but it’s definitely not identical (and not, y’know,Â fossilized.)
Plastic & Paint: The Engineer is mostly composed of hard plastic except for the torso. The “rib cage” going up to the back is made from a more rubbery material that goes over the main block of the torso (like armor on a MOTUC figure) and allows the figure’s ball jointed torso and the trunk of its ball jointed head to move relatively freely.
It’s hard to tell what color it was molded in (I’m guessing dark gray/black), but the entire surface of the body has a fantastic dry-brush that gives it a look of burnished iron. While well-executed, there’s not a lot of variation here, which means there’s also no places for slop or other painting errors.
The head lacks the silver highlights and has a rougher, more organic look, though the eyes are glossy black, in keeping with the design.
Articulation:Â I’m not exactly sure what adventures one might take a character like the Engineer on, but he’s very well-equipped for them. As mentioned above, the head and torso are on ball joints and can move freely thanks to the rubbery plastic used for the torso.
The Engineer also has ball jointed shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, ball jointed wrists, ball jointed hips, hinged knees, and ball jointed feet. It’s a ton of articulation, though much of it is a bit limited by the sculpt.Â The most disappointing joints here are the hips; due to the V-crotch shape of the pelvis, they can’t really be moved directly forward.
Still, it’s a lot of articulation, and the ball joints at the head, shoulders, wrists, hips, and ankles allow for a good variety of posing and adds a lot of character to the figure.
Accessories: None – which is a bit disappointing, though I’ve been trying to think of an appropriate accessory and can’t come up with anything. It’s a large figure, too, so the lack of an accessory isn’t surprising. Plus, even without an accessory, the figure will run you $20-$25 ($19 at BBTS), which isn’t bad at all when you consider the figure has an entirely unique, detailed sculpt and lots of articulation.
Quality Control:Â The rubbery torso armor was evidently molded in white, because I found a few tiny spots where the paint had flecked off. This was easily corrected with a black Sharpie, but I imagine excessive use of the torso and head articulation might cause this to happen more often. For an adult collector figure like this, it’s not too problematic given how well the armor is executed. Just use common sense when handling it.
Overall: This is NECA at its best. Whatever you think of the film or the character, it’s been perfectly executed here. As a fan of the originalÂ Alien if notÂ Prometheus, this was a figure I would have bought even if NECA hadn’t sent me the sample. The design is just that cool, and NECA made one hell of an action figure out of it, going above and beyond when they probably could have gotten away with half this amount of articulation.
Where to Buy:
*Fun fact:Â while working on the originalÂ AlienÂ and searching a design for the pilot of the derelict spaceship, Ridley ScottÂ told painter andÂ AlienÂ art designer H.R. GigerÂ to just design something likeÂ this imageÂ from Giger’sÂ Necronom V. It’s really rather impressive (and also creepy) how well Giger’s weird art translates to three dimensions. To read more about the fascinating pre-Prometheus development of the Space Jockey design, check outÂ this website.
- Product Development – Randy Falk
- Sculpt – Kyle Windrix, Trevor Zammit
- Paint – Jon Wardell, Geoffrey Trapp
- Prototypes – Adam Smith
- Packaging – Chris Longo
- Photography – Stephen Mazurek
Cool figure, I have not picked him up yet, but I know Toys R Us has them for $15.99.
I'll be keeping an eye out for him, I could be tempted. Did anyone else get the feeling that Prometheus was like 60, 65% of a prequel? Almost, but not quite? Like the Transcontinental Railroad not meeting in the middle, it and Alien don't line up quite right…
Oh, that's exactly what happened. Director Ridley Scott said as much. It was originally going to be a much more direct sequel, then he pretentiously pulled back so he could emphasize his shitty "ancient astronauts" concept instead.
We still got some awesome action figures out of it, though!
I think I'm sold on this, your review has convinced me.
I'm with you, the film was a massive disappointment to me but I have been toying with the idea of picking this up because, well, just look at him!
I can probably do without the helmetless version though.
For me that's the Space Jockey's head, not his helmet.
I've been looking forward to this is figure and I'm glad to hear it came out so well. It's definitely creepy looking enough to add amongst other monster and alien figures, specifically the ones from NECA. Straying from the Alien-verse a bit, this guy face to face vs a Predator will look very cool.
Man, I'm glad NECA sent you a sample, & that this is a good figure after all. I was on the fence about getting him, if only because I find NECA so hit & miss. Is Big Chap the NECA version as well? Whatever the case, did you review it? Would love to read that too.
The Big Chap is the NECA version. They're redoing him next year though, and I suspect that will be a much better figure. The one in the comparison pic has a lot of problems with articulation and QC that I suspect the new one will correct.
Good to know, & thanks