The spotlight shifts back to James Cameron’s classic sequel for the latest wave of Aliens action figures from NECA.
NECA has been celebrating the big 30th anniversary of James Cameron’s Aliens for a while, and they’re keeping it going with the brand new twelfth series of Aliens action figures. The new lineup features all new versions of Ellen Ripley and Pvt. Vasquez, as well as updates of the “battle damaged” Xenomorphs originally released in Colonial Marine two-packs in the early days of this long running series.
What this wave lacks in originality, it makes up for in quality. This Ripley variant– in her powder blue jumpsuit and bomber jacket– effectively completes all her major looks in the film. The portrait is wonderful, bearing a great likeness to Sigourney Weaver, and NECA ups their articulation game with the figure’s double jointed elbows, perfect to replicate the hands-on-hips pose Ripley is striking in so much of the promotional imagery for the movie.
Ripley comes packed with a pulse rifle, along with a new blast effect which connects to the muzzle. This piece offers a cool new display option for the gun, though unfortunately it attaches via a small peg that plugs into a hole in the barrel of the rifle… a hole not present on previous guns.
Vasquez returns to the toy line as well, now in her BDUs instead of Smart Gun gear. This means we get a new portrait without headgear (borrowed for the Kenner Vasquez earlier this year), as well as some cool new flourishes like the knife with leg sheath, pistol with holster, and another pulse rifle, also with blast effect.
There’s some great new painted details on this version of Vasquez which make her a welcome purchase. She includes her teardrop tattoo, a bit of deco sadly lacking on her first release, as well as the “LOCO” marking scrawled on the back of her shirt. It all adds up to a significantly different look for the Marine… and one she’s wearing during many of her most iconic on screen moments.
The battle damaged Xenomorphs have been out of production for a while now, so I’m glad that NECA has reissued them. The sculpts remain very strong, especially on the blue tinted drone captured in mid-head explosion. It’s a visceral, nasty bit of sculpting that conveys a great sense of motion and energy beneath the gore. The brown drone is closer to standard, with a few acid blood spray effects glued to an otherwise neutral figure.
What’s notable about both Xenomorphs is the new tooling NECA has added to them, which increases the articulation while also adding an overall durability and ease of motion lacking in the older figures. This pair can be posed much easier and more naturally than the previous versions, and small changes like the hinged fingers and knee swivels go a long way to open up the posing options.
My only problem with the new Aliens is that NECA did not revise their battle damaged parts at all. It’s more forgiveable on the brown Alien, but having an identical exploding head on the blue figure hurts the ability to army build this guy. Having a different exploding head, or even swapping the colors of the two battle damaged sculpts, would have helped make them feel more unique and buildable. Still, the film’s titular creatures always sell very well, and these figures should be well received based on their long-time absence from toy aisles. The newly redesigned body is remarkably great, and it’s making me eager to get my hands on the upcoming “ultimate” Alien Warrior as soon as possible.
Aliens Series 12 will be available at most NECA-friendly retailers, but they made their debut through NECA’s Alien Club, shipped with three more pop-up dioramas exclusive to Club members. The dios are awesome, featuring a bright and vibrant color scheme that works perfectly for the Kenner inspired figures they’re menat to display. These last three displays connect to the previous three, forming a complete 180 degree environment packed with stylized elements based (ever so loosely) on Cameron’s movie, as well as Kenner’s iconic toy line. It’s a great added bonus accessory, one that also pays homage to the Kenner line on its own (the concept is borrowed from a European exclusive Kenner released in the early 90s).
If you missed them through the NECA Alien Club, you should be able to find Aliens Series 12 at Toys R Us and other retailers soon. Between this wave, the brand new USMC weapons pack, and the upcoming Hadley’s Hope two-pack, NECA is doing all they can to make this a great time to be an Aliens collector!