NECA's Alien range has reached series 4 and after bringing us Marines and Xenomorphs to date, this year we are getting the star of the Alien franchise, Ellen Ripley.
Sigourney Weaver has been reluctant in the past 36 years for her likeness to be used in Action Figures and it sounds like it has taken a lot of work from NECA to get her agreement on a sculpt and as fans we must thank them for bringing Ripley to the 7" scale.
Series 4 contains the standard 3 figures, all from the 1979 Alien movie, and these figures are the usual mix of new sculpt and some re-use of parts. The series contains both Dallas and Ripley in their Nostromo space suits which re-use the sculpt from Series 3 Kane. The 3rd figure, and the one we are reviewing here, is Ripley in flight suit.
Despite a movement to cardboard box packaging recently, NECA have kept these Alien figures in the clamshell packs with the usual artwork panels on the front, both sides and the rear of the figure. Using a green and black theme there is a very nice 35th Anniversary logo built into the front panel within the Alien Egg. The artwork is very dark, but is taken from actual atmospheric shots of the figure. On the rear is a paragraph of blurb about Ripley and her situation in the Alien movie, and then leads on to show the other figures in this series.
Once unpacked the inner box contains Ripley, her flame thrower unit and a Jones the Cat.
In hand the sculpt on the figure is very good, but is one of those that looks better from certain angles and in certain lighting. You can see that in the gallery below where some of the side on shots do look off, but then the front facing shots are a decent likeness for Sigourney Weaver.
The hair was probably an area where the margins of error to get it looking natural and accurate were quite small but the sculptor has done really well. Like Bishop in S3 the jumpsuit looks quite plain at first glance, but once you start inspecting it there are a wealth of little details including zips, pockets, straps and texturing. I was very impressed by the ribbing and strapping on the rear of Ripley which could quite easily have just been skipped in the sculpting process. Body proportions are nicely done and having played with a photo'd the figure from numerous angles I haven't found any significant complaints with the sculpt.
Painting has always been pretty good with NECA save some issues recently on S3 with tacky finishes. Ripley is nicely detailed across the jumpsuit with some level of wash to bring out the highlights and textures. There is a lovely Nostromo logo on either shoulder, but be careful as this is placed right on the joint so when you raise her arms the logo does withdraw into the body so is at risk of rub and wearing over time. The shoes, like the flight-suit, look quite plain but have got a decent detail up close and the paint picks this out really well.
The face is painted with an almost glossy skin tone, which does give her a sweaty look. The eyes and mouth are detailed, but on mine I did have a slightly misaligned right eye. The hair is quite dark, but does seem to have slight wash to bring out the depth
NECA are never going to do extensively articulated figures, and they do have a nice balance between sculpt and basic articulation. With Ripley her head moves slightly, but is essentially locked stationary by her hair. The arms raise up to just under 90% and can rotate back and forth. There is then an elbow joint and a wrist swivel.
There is no chest or waist articulation, so the next articulated area is Ripley's hips. You can't move the legs too far at the hips, she will never do the splits, but there is enough their to get the legs into a couple of positions. The knees bend and there is a rocker on the ankle to get her stood straight - which like Bishop before her is not overly easy particularly when you add the flame thrower. My Ripley didn't have fully drilled peg holes on her feet which was strange, but I have confirmed with NECA that this is a factory over-site and she should have these.
The Flame Unit is nicely done and includes a main piece with two gas canisters, a nozzle and a strap added in and all painted different colours and shades. The whole thing has then been washed to give a grimy used look. Ripley can hold this reasonably easily, either one handed or by using that arm articulation to get a two handed hold on the weapon. The strap goes easily over the shoulder but you will need to play around a bit to get it to sit naturally as the hair doesn't allow it to go right against the neck as it would in real life.
Jones is a very nice addition, and I was surprise he is not just a static sculpt but has one point of articulation, a moveable head. He is sculpted into such a pose that his legs are quite close together and his body is ever so slightly arched as though rubbing up against a leg - which am sure was the plan.
So is this a good debut for Ripley? Absolutely. There is not a lot you can find to fault on this figure. Sculpt and paint are there, articulation is enough and my only niggles are the stability. Not quite enough for that elusive 5 out of 5, but certainly a very high 4 out of 5 from me - and I would urge any Alien fan to snap her up before she disappears from shelves.