Updated: May 12
Review : Brown Xenomorph Warrior (Battle Damaged) NECA, Aliens Wave/Series : Series 12 Released : December 2017
Pros : Brilliant sculpt of the iconic Alien Xenomorph
Cons : Damaged parts are not removable, they make the figure very specific in terms of display
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 Brown 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. The skull starts with the silvery teeth and then the head flows back with the ridged skull,piping and musculature tendons.
The damaged parts on this figure are around the trunk of the figure and are made up of two translucent dirty green "explosions" which are glued onto the figure. 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.
I had hoped these pieces were removable so I could amend this release to a standard brown Xeno - a figure that hasn't been too easy to obtain in recent years. Sadly they are well and truly glued in place - am sure you could remove but I don't know what would be left underneath that would need repairing. With NECA's ability to retrofit items to figures/accessories like their current firing FX pieces it would have been nice on this version of the Alien to have the parts snap on and off giving collectors an option for display.
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 brown 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.
The first element of articulation we will look at is the jaw which remains articulated so the lower jaw can be pulled down to open the mouth. Inside we have the inner jaw and this can be pulled out to expose it.
The head 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.
This is a brilliant looking figure, he is just too specific in term of the damaged parts. The execution of paint and sculpting is brilliant, even considering the sculpt is 5 years old. The articulation was ahead of its time, and the only reason we can downplay it now is because we've seen even better joints on figures like the AvP Xeno's and the recent Covenant figure.
I award the brown battle damaged Xenomorph a 3 out of 5.