Updated: May 12
Review : Defiance Xenomorph NECA, Aliens Wave/Series : Series 11 Released : July 2017
Pros : love the new head and comic accurate inner jaw. He is also painted to fit with your movie Xeno's if you wish
Cons : the stand works, but is awkward and with yellowed plastic. Packaging art is still creasing and distorting too easily
Series 11 of NECA's Aliens series is a real mishmash of figures taken from three different sources of the Alien Universe. Lambert is taken from her appearance in the original Alien film from 1979. The blue Xeno on the other hand is taken from the Kenner line of figures from the 1990's.
The most recent figure from a timeline perspective is the 3rd figure in the wave, the Defiance Xenomorph, who is taken directly from the pages of the Dark Horse Defiance comic book series which debuted in 2016.
The Defiance Xeno arrives in a standard clamshell in keeping with all the other NECA Alien single releases. The backing card is reminiscent of the Alien Defiance comic book ark with a murky image of the Xeno on a cloudy, gaseous backdrop. The header is black and uses the comic book logo - this in itself is a use of the Aliens (1986) logo but in green like the original 1979 version.
There is a front inserted into the blister carrying the name "Xenomorph" over the top of a cut out image of the Xeno from the comic series. This is very similar in style to what went on the Covenant packaging.
There are no side art pieces in this set - something that is now becoming hit and miss within the range and it seems reserved for true movie figures only.
While the front of the packaging was quite dark and with shades of green - the back turns more red with an image of the figure itself highlighted with red warning lights.
The Defiance logo repeats above this figure image, and beneath it is a paragraph laid out like a computer readout. This talks about the premise of the comics with the Defiance Xeno a new strain of Alien capable of reproducing without a Queen.
As we've seen recently, the paper used to print the insert that sandwiches between the blister to create the backing to the figure and the "cardback" is quite thin. This means it is subject to creasing within the sealed blister, especially if exposed to warmer temperatures - a frustration to be sure for MOC collectors.
The Defiance series is set between the events of Alien and Aliens and therefore the design of the Xeno was specifically created and illustrated to bridge the gap between the original 1979 Big Chap and the 1986 Warriors.
NECA are therefore clever in their use of the Isolation Xenomorph body from Series 6 (2016) as that too was designed as an evolution of the Big Chap. The head is a brand new sculpt and is larger and wider than the normal Xeno's with that ridged crest very pronounced.
Using the Isolation Xeno ensures the legs are much stronger and more articulated than the original Big Chap. This helps the body to move from what I'd call "the man in the suit" to the more computer generated Xeno we now expect. The tail remains fully articulated with a wicked sharp tip - although it is sharp only in looks being quite rubbery in hand.
The upper articulation starts at the head which can move forward and backward on the neck while moving from side to side. The shoulders are ball jointed and followed by a bicep swivel. This bicep joint is required as the elbow is a single joint with no rotation, the bicep therefore supports a lot of the arm movement. The hands are jointed at the wrist and can rotate and pivot.
Within the chest is a further ball joint allowing some more rotation of the upper body and being a ball there is forward and backward leaning movements.
The jaw too is articulated and can open. You won't find the usual inner jaw here, but do get a fixed set of secondary teeth - a detail that is consistent with the Xeno in the comic.
The paint application is similar to the Isolation Xeno, but is perhaps more in keeping with how they delivered the brown Xeno Warrior back in Series 1 (2013). The base coat is a glossy black with gradual drybruhing of brown to bring out the skeletal detail, muscles and tubing.
The finish is glossy and that wet-look that we'd expect from a Xeno. The paint job also makes this figure a fit with the standard movie Xeno's, he won't look out of place in a hive display - something you can't often say about the comic or Kenner Aliens.
Posing is always the issue with the NECA Aliens, but they have been getting better over time. The Defiance Xeno comes with a similar stand to the Alien 3 Dog Aliens. This is a two part piece packed behind the figure in the blister. You slot the arm into the stand and can then pose the top claw by means of a joint - which if needed can be tightened by a small screwdriver.
The stand is a pretty horrible yellowed plastic rather than being clear and crisp, while this may be deliberate to fit with the Aliens and the hive it doesn't look the best. Being the same one that came with the Dog Alien, it was never designed for the height and bulk of the Defiance Xeno who will never adopt a "running" position.
You end up using the stand as a prop for one of the legs, and while this works really well it doesn't look the best. You can of course go without the stand and use the tail as the counterpoint to keep the Xeno standing.
I must be honest and say that I was originally going to skip the Defiance Xeno as I am trying to concentrate on the movie releases. Being an Alien X club member I had to order the full wave - and in hand I was very impressed and ended up opening him and he has joined by display alongside the Queen and other Warriors. And that is why this figure will do well, because like the Isolation Xeno he has been released so that he can bridge the gap between comics and movies and fits with both unless you are an absolute stickler for movie accuracy.
The Isolation body has lots of nice improvements, and while the stand is a re-use and not designed for the figure - it does help the Xeno stand for display, despite looking a touch odd.
Considering NECA are still managing to keep their core range at sub £25 here in UK (for now) then this is also pretty good value for money with the size and bulk of the figure. I score it a very strong 4 out of 5.