Updated: May 8
Review : Concept Alien Big Chap (Alien 1979 NECA, Alien Series Wave/Series : Series 7 Released : March 2016
Price : £19.99 - £22.99
When the original Alien movie went into production, HR Giger's iconic Alien creature was initially conceptually planned to be an off white, translucent colour. Following a number of technical issues with bringing this creature to life the colour ended up being changed to the dark colouring we are all used to seeing today.
NECA have always sought out opportunities within their licences for figures that many of us would not expect to see, and the Concept Alien Big Chap is a perfect example that they have added for release in this wave 7 of the Alien series.
As with all the Alien figures to date, the Concept Big Chap arrives in a sealed blister pack with the header containing the bold white text Alien logo, and an insert at the bottom of the card which specifies it's name as Xenomorph, and in brackets "Translucent Prototype Suit". The figure is also presented with a sticker on the front blister which identifies it as a Concept Figure.
Round the back is a full length image of the actual figure, and over the top of this is a couple of paragraphs that explain the origins of the creature/suit. Across the bottom is the "also available" flash under which are head & shoulder shots of the three Xeno's from Series 7 - Concept, AvP Grid Alien and AvP Warrior.
Out of the box, and the Concept Alien stands 9 inches high and is a very striking piece with the bone colouring bringing out much more detail than you would ever see on the original Big Chap without close inspection.
The sculpt is stunning, with so much intricate detail where ever you look. The crowning glory is the head which has a clear dome and beneath this, and helped by the off white colour tone, you can pick out all the gruesome detail of the Xenomorph skull, with a look that is very reminiscent of the Alien 4 hybrid - which of course was also this pale bone white colour.
Articulation is much improved compared to the original Big Chap release, on who this figure was based and as I will cover in a moment. But while improving on other areas, NECA have still retained the features that work really well, in particular the articulated jaw. This mechanism includes a moveable inner jaw which drops forward and out when the outer jaw is opened. The head moves on the shortened neck, not by much, but it can look side to side - any up and down movement is none existent.
NECA have actually upgraded parts of this figure vs the original Series 3 Big Chap and the first of these improvements will be found down the arms. Te ball jointed shoulders are the same and allow for the arms to rotate round and out with a full range of motion. This is then further enhanced with the same bicep swivel.
At first glance the elbows look the same, but the Concept figure has an enhanced joint which now allows the elbows to both bend and swivel. There is also improvements at the wrist and hand, with the swivel cut on the Concept figure made after the ribbed wrist rather than before and the hands are then pegged so can bend back and forth as well as rotating.
There are also improvements around the main trunk of the figure with the hips in particular widened to incorporate updated ball joints. Down in the legs the thigh swivel has gone and the knees upgraded to a double joint. The ankles have also been tweaked, with more of a ball joint rocker movement - although on my figure this is a little stiff.
Back up in the torso and the chest piece is new, and slimmer and the neck shorter. The torso joint feels and moves a lot cleaner than the original.
The tail remains the rubber over the bendable inner skeleton and is invaluable in getting the figure into standing poses in particular as it acts as a counter point to the legs to keep the Alien upright. The leg joint improvements do also allow more scope for crouching or running positions but I suspect you will need a stand or support to achieve these.
Paint application is really nice, considering it is one finish all over. The base bone colour is washed over with darker tones and brings out that skeletal detail of the exo-skeleton throughout.
There was not a great deal wrong with the original Big Chap figure, but NECA have proved here that they are always seeking improvement and all those new joints and tweaked pieces have elevated the base figure to new heights - particularly when it would have been easy to repaint the old model and call it a concept. Yes the figure didn't appear on screen, but from a franchise point of view it was almost the original Alien and has a place in many collections to represent what it actually is, or just add some variety to a hive of Aliens.
I can find no fault with my concept Alien other than the stability, which has plagued these figures but is more down to their design on screen than the figure. I see no reason why the Concept Xenomorph shouldn't be scored at 5 out of 5.