Updated: May 12
Review : Grid Alien (Alien vs Predator) NECA, Alien Series Wave/Series : Series 7 Released : March 2016
Price : £19.99 - £22.99
NECA's Alien series has finally reached the 2004 Alien vs Predator movie, and cleverly NECA have aligned both their Alien and Predator series to release figures from the movie around the same time - so not only do you get your Xenomorphs here in Series 7, but you can pop over to Predator series 14 and 15 and get some Predator's to face off against your Aliens.
The Grid Alien arrives in the NECA clamshell packaging, and for the first time this is resplendent in AvP livery. The top header has the blue neon abrieviated AvP logo, and underneath the Alien vs Predator sub-text. The insert card contains a big cut out of the Alien head and the card reads "Grid Alien".
Like the more recent releases, NECA have abandoned the side inserts which used to contain atmospheric shots of the figure.
On the card back, is an image of the figure and a basic plot summary for the AvP movie. For those unfamiliar with the film or the Grid Alien origin there is no explanation of how the Xeno came to look this way, and this is a shame considering the write up that went on the back of the Series 7 Concept figure. For those who don't know, the Grid Alien went head to head with a Predator armed with a laser net and came away with the grid pattern across his dome.
Out of the pack and the Grid Alien stands 9 inches high. Although you would suspect a re-use somewhere on the figure, considering all the prior Alien figures NECA have at their disposal, every part looks to be brand new. Both the Grid Alien, the one we are looking at here, and the standard AvP Xenomorph share the same sculpt in essence and that sculpt is absolutely amazing - as we have come to expect from NECA.
Each element of the exoskeleton is really intricately detailed and very crisp and well defined. The head grid pattern is actually sculpted not just painted and as you run your finger over the dome you can feel the grid damage. Having seen this on the dome my one criticism on the sculpt is that this isn't carried forward onto the shoulder pieces where the damage is just painted.
Articulation on the Alien Xeno's is getting better and better, and on the Grid Alien there some more improvements. The head is articulated half way down the neck rather than at the base of the dome. This means Grid Alien can look left and right as well as up and down, a much wider range than any of his predecessors. The arms remain ball joined at the shoulder and like the Concept Alien the elbows are joined with a joint and a swivel. Down to the hands and you will find more improvements with the new pegged hand and now joined fingers. This joint moves the middle two fingers together and allows the Grid alien to present either a clenched hand or open palm.
The torso joint, in my opinion, is becoming one of the most critical joints on these Alien figures. By adding in a torso joint with a wide range of movement has opened up posing considerably with my favourite being where the torso is twisted to one side as though the Alien is turning to face a new victim.
The improved ball jointed hips are also making standing much easier, supported by the double jointed knees and rocker ankles. Grid Alien still needs help from the tail for support, and what a tail this is - much bulkier than its predecessors with a wicked looking barb at the end. Because of its weight the tail is also heavier which then acts as a counterweight to the figure and further supports standing poses. I would go as much as stating that this is the most articulated and pose-able Alien Xenomorph to date, and you will have a blast posing him in a myriad of positions from crouching to running to attacking - I've even seen a fellow reviewer hang him upside down in some kind of Spider-man pose. Many of these action poses will need a support stand, and NECA themselves are adding one of these to their range later this year.
On first review I thought that the jaw articulation had been withdrawn, but I can confirm it is still there although unlike others it is quite tough to move and the inner jaw is difficult to get out - you will probably need to employ some tweezers or similar.
Paint application starts with the all over shiny black colour and this is made up of a number of layers and washes which bring out all these sculpted details on the exoskeleton. The grid damage is painted in a rich green, although as I mentioned earlier it looks much better on the dome where the damage is sculpted vs the shoulders where it is just painted.
It is worth noting at this point that my figure came packed funny which had bent one of the rear protrusions - you can see this on the pictures. For me it adds character so I am not overly bothered, but I can confirm after looking at other examples of this figure that this is a one off.
Putting this damage aside as it's not a wider issue, then the Grid Alien is practically perfect. Articulation is moved on another level with this release, the paint is awesome and the sculpt is world class - this new AvP Xeno sculpt is my new favourite. I score Grid Alien a 5 out of 5.