Updated: May 12
Review : Lambert (Compression Suit) NECA, Aliens Wave/Series : Series 11 Released : July 2017
Pros : the alternative head is awesome, and the Compression Suit sculpt is a proven winner
Cons : not many, providing you can look past what is essentially a repaint with two new heads
Series 11 of NECA's Aliens series is a real mishmash of figures taken from three different sources of the Alien Universe. Lambert is the only figure who originates in any of the movies, with the other figures coming from the world of comics (Defiance Xenomorph) and the 1990's Kenner Toys (Blue Warrior).
Lambert has been floating around for a while in teasers and previews - it is brilliant to therefore get her in hand and to expand the original 1979 crew by another member.
Lambert arrives in the standard clamshell packaging. Being an Alien release the header is the bold "Alien" 1979 text against a dark backdrop. The blister front has a green hue and illustrations of the Alien eggs. The name Lambert is printed in white text with the sub title "Compression Suit". I guess we shouldn't read anything into that subtitle in terms of other versions of Lambert arriving - we know from Dallas that just because NECA sculpts a head, it doesn't mean numerous outfit releases?
The side art panels are back with images of the actual figure printed down either side, NECA seems to be reserving these solely for the movie releases now.
The blister pack reverse repeats the Alien logo on top of an image of Lambert against a backdrop of the Alien ship. There is then a short section of text which summarises and sets up the plot of Alien rather than any bio details for Lambert. THis same text has been used on all the 1979 Alien figures to date - Kane, Ripley, Dallas and the Big Chap.
The final part of the rear is the "Also Available" section which shows head shots of the three figures in Series 11 - Lambert, Defiance Xenomorph and the Blue Alien Warrior.
Whilst not as bad as some of the other recent releases - the paper used for the inserts is very thin and is prone to creasing and warping inside the pack. I have a theory that the side panels in this one have helped keep the backing piece in place - but if you are keeping your figures on card then watch out for this, and avoid keeping the figure near any heat which may warp the packaging further.
The blister has to be cut open to access the figure, and she slides out in an inner tray surrounded by the helmet and accessories. As with most NECA releases at present - she is strapped in securely with a multitude of twisty ties.
Lambert comes out of the box with her neutral head in place. This is a decent likeness to Veronica Cartwright. In many ways it is not a traditional NECA head sculpt as it lacks any expression at all - in recent years NECA have become very adept at capturing the mannerisms and looks of characters from the movies.
The head is well painted with a base skin tone and then depth and shadow added. The eyes are neat and blue and the lips picked out without looking like they've had deep red lipstick applied. The hair doesn't quite capture the style Cartwright had in the film, the parting is too central and the hair is very dense - whereas Cartwrights style around the fringe and over the top was quite wispy. It is painted brown with lighter brown dry brushing over the top.
We have of course seen the Compression (Space) Suit before - it originally made it's debut in 2014 with the Kane figure. That being said the Suit is a thing of beauty that perfectly captures the look and feel of that bulky prop suit from 1979.
There is so much detail in the sculpt you will find yourself surprised for the first few weeks as you inspect the figure. The basis of the suit is a ridged puffy material - but that texture changes in places, particularly around the joints where it turns to a webbing type material. Over the suit are various straps and panels - with the "Cricket" pads being the most visual around the lower legs.
There are some metallic sections like the two shoulder pads - filled with sculpted detail - and the chest plate. The rear suit pack has its own valves to regulate the air flow and pipe work that snakes upwards and will connect to the helmet when we get this on later.
The scheme of Lambert's suit is blue with a light blue base tone and darker elements in places. The panelling is then cream and the metallic sections a bronze colour. Detailing is amazing with washes on the suit to dirty it up and some green washes on the metallic to make it look like it is corroding. Various decals are also in situ including on the characters rear, the back pack and of course the nameplate on the chest piece.
You would assume, from such a bulky sculpt, that articulation would be virtually non-existent. There are no obvious joints as you inspect the figure. And yet the suit will surprise you in terms of how far it can actually move.
The head, of course, is ball jointed and can spin and look up and down. The shoulders - hidden under those bronze panels - are ball jointed and can be raised up to not quite 90 degrees from the body. While these shoulders also rotate, you won't want to raise them any further or risk damaging those shoulders. The elbow joints are very well hidden - but they are there and can get a small bend into the elbow as needed. The wrists are also jointed on a pivot.
The most useful joint is the torso one, this again is disguised beneath that chest plate. The movement here is very extensive with the top part of the body able to rotate and lean backwards. Forward leans are sadly blocked as the chest plate hits the lower control box and blocks movement.
The legs finally are jointed at the hips and knees - again with the joints really well disguised. Lambert will never sit or kneel, but there are some good wider stances and poses to go after - and this is not a figure you need worry about falling over thanks to her bulk, weight and a set of solid ankle rockers.
Remember at the start when I was surprised over the neutral look on Lambert's face? Well the alternative head is the complete opposite, and here you can see how brilliantly the NECA team are able to capture a character's look from points in the movie. This is the first time a second head has been included with a Compression Suit figure and it gives you an alternative look for the character with its cream headpiece.
It is the look on Lambert's face that is fantastic, a look of terror is captured forever in the sculpt and for me there is no choice in terms of which head you would have on display. Painting here is even better than the first head with the cheeks given a rosy tone and the eyebrows painted to match the furrowed brow. The teeth are also showing and painted with the white enamel against the pink gums.
Swapping heads is fairly easy, they pop in and out pretty easily - a little heat may ease them along if they are resisting.
The helmet can be fitted with either head in situ. If you are using the standard head then the helmet can be slid over the top by angling it to the side and then sliding it over. If you are using the alternative head then you will have to remove the head and then position the lower section of the helmet into the neck piece. Then add the head, and finally position the top section.
The helmet design is brilliant also with its clear perspex through which the head sculpt is still clearly visible. Paint scheme is the same as the other metallic parts with an overall bronze look and some green corrosion added in places. The top light has a yellow painted lens and there are some coloured buttons round the back just above where the piping connects.
The piping from the back pack we touched on earlier is a soft rubber and is designed to slot into corresponding connections in the helmet. Slot the thinner piece in first and then the larger piece goes over the top of this into a groove and into a slot of its own.
As we mentioned, the suit is identical in every way to that used on Kane and on Dallas (pictured above). I have no issue with this considering he suits were made by the same company in the movie and are a standard issue for the crew. Even the fact Lambert is (obviously) female doesn't really make much difference as the suit is so bulky that any physical differences are obscured.
One criticism we levelled on Dallas at the time was a lack of weathering on his suit which was very clean. The same cannot be said of Lambert as there is a dirty wash over the suit to weather it and add dirt and grime.
The first accessory is a bit of an odd one - it is the flashlight that originally came with Kane. Now in the movie, Lambert does not have one of these - although logic says she did have access to one.
That being said its a decent piece with top handle, silver connection at the end and a fuzzy white lens. It can be forced into both hands, but fits better in the left. Any sticklers for detail and accuracy can leave it off and drop it in the spares box.
The second accessory is a gun. This can be seen throughout the Compression Suit scenes strapped to the side of all three of the expedition. it does beg the question if these were available why were the Nostromo crew so poorly armed later on in the movie? Anyway, I digress. The gun is cast in black with silver drybrush and some red detailing to either end. The gun is designed to sit in the right hand with a trigger finger that lines up to the trigger. When not in use there is a loop from the belt through which the gun can be slipped and secured - it takes a bit of playing with to get it in position.
Lambert completes the trio who were involved in the expedition to the Derelict ship. And out of the three she is the superior figure benefitting from a brilliantly designed body sculpt and articulation . Issues from previous figures like sticky paint and lack of weathering have been fixed and the overall paint job is top notch. The release also goes one step further with two head options - the second scared version one of the most expressive and realistic sculpts I've seen from NECA or indeed anyone in this scale and price bracket.
The figure has no flaws what so ever, and is so impressive I am going to say it has even exceeded by expectations and score it a 5+ review.