Updated: May 12
Review : Blue Xenomorph Warrior (Battle Damaged) NECA, Aliens Wave/Series : Series 12 Released : December 2017
Pros : The mid-explosion head is fantastically realised
Cons : The figure is very specific in looks and will have some limit to shelf appeal
We know that the initial plan for Series 12 of NECA's Alien range was that it would be either Kenner or Alien Resurrection based. There seemed to have been a late turnaround so NECA could finish their 30th Anniversary releases by giving us four figures from the 1986 Aliens movie.
The new Series 12 wave was made up of tweaked or repainted figures and included Ripley and Vasquez with variant outfits. The other two figures were Xenomorphs and to give some variety these were repacked versions of the battle damaged Aliens as originally released in 2013.
In this review we are taking a look at the Blue version of the Damaged Xenomorph Warrior.
Series 12 uses the standard clamshell packaging and it carries the 30th Anniversary circular logo on the front card insert. This "may" be one of the last times we see the clamshell as NECA have alluded to moving to boxed packaging for the Alien line in 2018?
As a movie release the figures comes with both backing card and the two side inserts, and these side inserts carry very impressive shots of the figure itself.
The rear of the packaging shows a further shot of the figure in a diorama background alongside Hicks & Hudson. The text talks about the plot of Aliens (1986) and is the same text as used on Series 12 Ripley - and on previous Aliens releases. The bottom section of the card back shows the also available figures from the series - Vasquez, Ripley and Blue Damaged Xenomorph.
As the packaging design uses a slim magazine type paper as the inserts, sandwiched by the plastic packaging, there are issues with warping and creasing - particularly if the packaging gets warm.
You have to cut the packaging to access the figure, and the Xeno slides out strapped into a second inner tray. We still have twisty ties in use which does take some time to remove carefully to then free the figure.
Out of the box, and the Xeno is just as impressive and gruesome as any of the previous Xeno releases. While the Brown version has a couple of stick on acid damage sections, this Blue variant takes the damage to another level by essentially showing the skull as mid explosion. Within the blast of acid you can see the inner jaw flying in one direction and pieces of skull and jaw in another.
We then get a second piece on the lower part of the chest. These are pretty realistic in that it looks as though the figure has been frozen at the point of impact from a pulse rifle or the auto-cannons.
The figure is a complete re-use from 2013 and with damage it was originally packed with Hicks, an undamaged version was released in Series 2 in the same year. If you compare this side-by-side with either of these 2013 versions and other than some slightly different paint application there is no significant difference in sculpt but we do get upgraded articulation on the fingers.
The whole piece is coloured in a glossy black colour and the blue is then added as a dry brush to bring out all the exposed details such as the ridges on the skull and the piping and tendons.
With no head so to speak, this version of the Xeno does lose the articulated jaw. The head itself remains articulated and is ball jointed and can rotate to the side and look up and down within the constraints of the extended shoulder blades. There is a further ball joint in the trunk of the figure and this is much more wide ranging in movement allowing the Xeno to be twisted and leaned and therefore it does support crouching poses.
The thin arms are really maneuverable with ball jointed shoulders and a rotating double jointed elbow which can bend back almost on itself. The arms end with a pivot wrist which rotates and can bend to 90 degrees. The NECA team have transposed finger articulation onto this version which means the two fingers on each hand will bend on a pivot.
Legs on these earlier Xeno's are a touch restrictive at the hips but there is a ball joint here that can get the hips up to a crouching position and they can also swing out sideways. From the hips you then have double jointed knees and an ankle rocker and an articulated toe piece.
Standing the Xeno is very dependent on the tail, and this is a rubber piece over a metal armature so it can be posed and holds in position. The tail then becomes the third point of contact for standing and creates the balance needed for full upright stance. You can also bend the legs into a crawling position - as seen in the scene when the Aliens are crawling in the roof space.
I have a feeling both versions of the damaged Xeno's will hang around a lot longer than the Ripley & Vasquez figure. They are very specific in terms of their look and would fit only into a "mid-action" diorama with someone firing at them. While I appreciate the innovation to do something different, these are figures that are 5 years old and still easily available on the market via the 2-packs. Had NECA managed to work out how to do removable damage - then I think these would have flown off shelves.
The Blue Xeno takes the battle damage to a much bigger and better place than the two stuck on acid blasts on the brown version. That being said it also further restricts the figure in terms of display as essentially this is a dead Xeno that is about to collapse to the floor with its head a pile of mush. While some collectors will love this in a diorama, others would prefer a basic undamaged version. Had NECA found a way to make this with alternative parts - swap out head or stick on damage - then I think both camps could have been covered.
I score the Blue Damaged Xeno a 3 out of 5.