Updated: Mar 28
The NECA 40th Anniversary Series of Alien figures were announced originally as 3 waves of 3 figures, and have since been extended with a 4th wave of figures. The Anniversary line re-released and tweaked older Alien figures from NECA as well as filled a few key gaps such as Brett and Parker in Series 2. Series 3 added a further new figure in the shape of Ash, as well as revisiting Kane - now with the likeness rights for the John Hurt head. Series 3 was originally planned for 2020, but was pushed back into February 2021.
The Alien line from NECA has predominantly been packed in clamshell packaging to date, with a few recent Ultimate items then boxed. The 40th Anniversary line changes direction from both of these with a window box based on the original Kenner packaging from their 1979 Alien release. This uses a blue background with a black trim and the same logo from the Kenner box with a Big Chap on a red shaped background above a white text ALIEN logo.
The figure window is bordered on three sides and wraps the top flap of the box. The Alien log cuts into the base of the window and below this is the character name and the NECA logo, and this too is inspired by the Kenner logo.
The right hand spine carries the 40th Anniversary logo and character name, while the left hand has an image of the figure topped by the Kenner Alien logo and with another 40th Anniversary logo beneath the image. There is a further figure image on the back along with some generic background text for the movie - rather than the figure.
"IN SPACE, NO-ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM"
"IN A REMOTE REGION OF THE GALAXY, THE UNITED STATES SPACE TUG, NOSTROMO, CARRYING A CARGO OF MINERAL ORE, MAKES ITS RETURN JOURNEY TO EARTH. THE SHIP'S CREW - FIVE MEN, TWO WOMEN AND A CAT - ARE AWAKENED FROM THEIR HYPERSLEEP CHAMBERS WHEN MOTHER, THE ON BOARD COMPUTER, MONITORS A STRANGE TRANSMISSION. ACCORDING TO COMPANY LAW, THE CREW MUST INVESTIGATE ANY SIGNAL INDICATING POSSIBLE INTELLIGENT LIFE. WHAT STARTS AS A ROUTINE SEARCH MISSION QUICKLY ESCALATES INTO A NIGHTMARE OF UNIMAGINABLE TERROR WHEN THE CREW DISCOVERS AND BRINGS ABOARD AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFEFORM."
Under this background text sits a checklist of the other 8 figures in the 40th Anniversary series. These are shown as head shots of each figure but are not shown in a Wave order.
The figure sits against the red inner colour of the box, there is no cardboard insert. The tray slides out by means of the top flap and the figure is held into place with a variety of twist ties which will take some time to unravel. The accessories, which are plentiful for Ash, are covered by a second plastic tray piece and are taped into place.
The likeness to Ian Holm as the Ash figure was initially revealed and then teased in promo shots was certainly excellent, but as is often the case the mass production version looses some of that magic and what we get is a slightly dialled back likeness to Ash.
The head itself is perhaps a touch too wide and rounded and the features are less defined as those we saw on the promo artwork. The paint job doesn't help either with very dark rings painted around both eyes - although the skin tone and the shade variations around the chin and mouth are excellent.
Ash is presented as seen in much of the movie wearing his blue uniform with red pinstripes and a white undershirt. The colouration of the uniform is perhaps a little darker than what we see on screen - although lighting in different scenes does adjust the colour of the suit considerably across the movie. The suit is sculpted with various folds and creases and with pockets and badges.
The main body is cast in the blue base plastic with the other elements such as red piping and gold lapel badges painted on top. There is no wash or weathering to enhance the uniform or bring out the details of the sculpt. While I appreciate Ash was always clean and well presented vs the worn and weathered look of the crew, he does come across too clean and sterile alongside the other NECA figures. The uniform is finished with a Nostromo badge on the right shoulder. Ash is wearing a pair of trainer type boots which come with sculpted laces and ridges around the soles. There is what appears to be a very light wash on these to weather them slightly, although the factory was very overhanded on the left boot of my Ash figure with a large unsightly splodge.
Ash is packed with a number of accessories, including the laser scalpel and medical clamps and instruments he uses to try and remove the face-hugger from Kane. There is also the rolled up paper he uses to attack Ripley and a glass of white liquid - presumed to be milk in the movie, but most likely some fluid to replenish the android.
All of these are accessories are intricately detailed, but herein is the issue as to get this level of detail they also come with a fragility due to the slim and hard plastic involved in getting them so detailed. The white clamp broke immediately out of the pack and I didn't really risk many of the others in a lot of posing - I think I will put them away until I find a desktop or similar to lay them out upon.
The alternative hands included in the set give you a total of three right hand options and two left hands. They swap in and out relatively easily and the pins are more robust than some of the older NECA figures which reduces the risk of damage. The hands themselves are designed with a varying width of grip from finger tips for the medical instruments to a wider grip for the rolled up paper piece.
The hands are all very stiff with practically no flexibility in finger. Don't try and force them or the fingers will break, or at least heat them up first. The glass is one that I struggled to get Ash to hold.
The other accessory for Ash is the severed head covered in the white android internal fluid from the scenes after he is incapacitated by what is left of the crew. The head sculpt on this severed piece is different to the one on the figure with a slimmer nose and slight differences in the hair line. Although it is covered in android blood, it is for me a better likeness than the included head.
The head android blood running is a 3D effect within the sculpt of the head, but not perhaps as pronounced as we saw on the original revel figure at Toy Fair 2020, although that was a larger size prototype that has been reduced in size to the 7 inch scale for production. The paint job of the android blood has gone from a natural flow on the prototype, and promo shots as used on the box, to horizontal white lines that are a little too unnatural and look patterned.
Ash has a total articulation count of just 15 points of articulation, this is just under standard for the Alien figures from NECA.
Head : ball joint neck
Body : nil
Arms : ball joint shoulder, bicep swivel, double joint elbow, wrist pivot
Legs : ball joint hips, single joint rotating knee, ankle pivot
The main missing joint on Ash is the waist/torso joint which means there is no movement across any of the main trunk of the figure. In actual fact, the waist joint is present from what I can feel. But it is rendered static by the way the figure has been designed with a rubbery over coat making up the chest and hips of the uniform.
The other joints do not fare too well in terms of mobility. The double joint arms may as well be single jointed as the upper half of the joint is hidden and blocked behind the sleeve of the uniform so the bend is just past 90 degrees but no further. I did think initially there was no bicep swivel to help rotate the arms, but upon a hot water bath I found it is also tucked away up the sleeve and will rotate the arm as required. Disappointingly, the white paint around the arm joints is already flaking after just a handful of arm movements - it will not stand up to much more.
The legs are not viable for anything other than upright stances. The knees are single joint only so there is no sitting or kneeling poses, and the use of the crotch rubber sleeve means that while looks are preserved - upper leg motion is also held in check. The leg joints are all very tight and audibly squeak in protest when moved.
The figure is difficult to stand as the cut of the ankle rockers is not far back enough to get both feet flat to the floor. With no waist or torso joint able to offset this, the figure is prone to falling backwards from most poses.
Ash is certainly a figure hugely anticipated in the long running NECA Alien line and signifies the fact all the main crew members from the 1979 classic now exist within the NECA line in either their flight suits or space suits.
Sadly, Ash is not quite as visually impressive as the promotional images and the likeness to Ian Holm has been lost, particularly thanks to the over heavy lining of black paint around the eyes which is distracting.
You cannot knock NECA for the quantity and accuracy of their accessories and Ash comes with a good amount of options. The issue is that with full accuracy comes the use of brittle plastic and smaller components and again this is a NECA figure with parts that break right out of the box. I also cant seem to figure out what hands correspond to which pieces, and the hands themselves are so stiff that there is little flexibility in holding any of the items. The Ash head is a however a thing of beauty and a better likeness to Ian Holm than the one that comes attached to the body.
I never expect huge articulation from NECA figures, and Ash himself doesn't need to do anything dramatic in posing. I do however expect the joints to work, and sadly even after a hot water bath the joints on Ash do resist massively and squeak when posed and are tight enough to rub paint on the arms with just the first movement. The ability to stand is another expectation, and the ankle rockers do work against that with Ash prone to falling backwards - particularly as the body cant be adjusted at the waist ball joint to lean into the pose.
I am pleased to add Ash to the Alien crew, and cant wait till all of them are presented in their on-board flight suits. But considering the NECA prices in the UK has now exceeded £30 and pushing £35 at some retailers - there are some value for money questions to be asked.
I score the NECA Alien 40th Anniversary figure of Ash a just above average 3.0
About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...
action figures, reviews, review, articulation, neca, alien, 40th anniversary, ash, android, xenomorph, face hugger, nostromo