Series 14 of NECA's Alien series returned us to the Alien movie series, and for the first time brought us to the 4th film in the franchise - Alien Resurrection. The wave gave us a new Ripley figure (reviewed here) as well as the Resurrection Xenomorph and the Newborn Alien.
Series 14 continues the blister pack format of packaging for both Ripley and the Alien, although the Newborn does move to a box due to its size. The design is as per usual with a thin gloss paper insert sandwiched between the blister and the back. The front of this makes up the header with Alien Resurrection logo, and the cardback behind the Ripley figure. Round the back we have an image of Ripley 8 and a short synopsis of the Alien Resurrection plot.
"_TWO HUNDRED YEARS AFTER HER DEATH, MILITARY SCIENTISTS ON BOARD THE USM AURIGA ARE ATTEMPTING TO CLONE ELLEN RIPLEY IN ORDER TO EXTRACT THE XENOMORPH QUEEN EMBRYO THAT WAS IN HER BODY WHEN SHE DIED. AND ON THE EIGHTH ATTEMPT, THEY SUCCEED. CONTAMINATED WITH RIPLEY'S DNA, THE QUEEN GIVES BIRTH TO A GROTESQUE HUMAN/ALIEN HYBRID CALLED THE "NEWBORN," WHICH ESCAPES, FORCING THE CREW INTO A DESPERATE RACE TO DESTROY IT AND THE OTHER CLONED ALIENS BEFORE THE SHIP REACHES EARTH"
This plot text is the same as the other figures in Series 14, it is not character specific. It is also a bit odd in that it talks about the Newborn escaping and forcing the crew into a race to destroy it. In actual fact it is the Warrior Aliens that escape, forcing the crew of the Betty to try and escape the ship before it crashes? Under all of this sits a "also available" segment detailing all three figures in Series 14.
There is a second paper insert that wraps either side of the blister, creating two gorgeous art panels up either side with images of the figure in one of NECA's excellent diorama's. This then also wraps to become the name plate for the figure.
The figure can only be freed by destroying the blister, one of the downsides of this design. Once out the figure is strapped into an inner tray with clear ties. These can damage the figure so cut them carefully to release Ripley. Be careful also with the accessories - these are taped over to stay in place and the tape can remove paint if taken off too roughly.
Paint & Sculpt 3/5
This is yet another great sculpt of Sigourney Weaver, and also captures the mean and moody look of the Ripley 8 clone as seen in the movie. The skin is cast in a glossy texture making it look sweaty, a perfect fit for the figure in terms of what we see in the movie. The downside to this method is a lack of any definition in the face and it can leave the eyes and mouth look like they are floating. NECA are not yet employing face print technology so the eyes do not look overly realistic close up.
The hands are painted with dark green nails as also seen in the movie, and for some reason the palms look blushed and red. Ripley 8 has her number tattoo on her left arm which is applied as a decal. On my figure there are also three markings on her right arm. I cannot find any reference to these nor remember them from the movie - I suspect they are paint errors where the brown from the outfit has leeched onto the arm.
The outfit is well replicated with a leather look throughout and plenty of sculpted and painted detailing such as the buckles and fasteners on the jacket and the boots, as well as the knee pads.
Ripley 8 is well armed, starting with a Draco Double Burner combined Pulse Rifle / Flamethrower. This is a very nice piece, cast in a hard plastic with lots of detailing across it and paint work to match. It has a flexible strap attached at the right length to go over Ripley's head and shoulder and to hang neatly in a firing position.
The weapon slots into Ripley's right hand. The fit is very tight and getting the trigger finger in place is hard work - particularly when you consider the vulnerable wrist joints as we will see shortly.
The second weapon is the Lacrima 99 Shockrifle, and this is just as well cast and coloured as the Draco. We have a more metallic silver finish to this weapon with darker grey and gunmetal added around the grip and barrel.
Once again a flexible strap can be slung over the figure shoulder.
Getting Ripley to hold this one is quite a bit tougher than the Draco as the grip is wider and there is a bigger gap for the trigger finger to bridge.
Ripley also comes with her basketball, although technically he wasn't wearing the exact same outfit in the scenes where she met the crew of the Betty while playing Basketball.
To hold the ball we have to swap out both of Ripley's hands. These are are on very thin and brittle pegs at the wrists and they are very easily snapped or pushed inside the arm. I suggest warming up both hand and wrist gently prior to swapping these over to reduce the risk.
The basketball is very well done with a texture in the sculpt like a real ball. The hands are shaped around the ball so they can hold it without looking like they are floating above its surface.
Ripley has 14 points of articulation, and that is quite telling in term of where NECA are with articulation compared to their peers such as Hasbro or McFarlane who delivery 16-18 on most releases.
Head : ball joint neck
Body : waist swivel
Arms : ball joint shoulder, single rotating elbow, wrist peg swivel
Legs : ball joint hips, single rotating knee, ankle rocker
Straight out of the pack and Ripley has one leg longer than the other causing a slight lean when posed in a neutral position. The ankles will also need a hot bath to free them and get them moving.
The neck joint is very loose and the head wobbles, thankfully kept in check by the hair piece. The waist joint is stuck in place also on arrival and takes some teasing to get it moving.
The arms give enough movement to hold the weaponry sufficiently and the basketball. There is enough strength in the arms to hold the basketball outstretched.
The legs allow some wider stances, but no kneeling positions as the knees do not even bend to a 90 degree position.
This is the first NECA figure I have reviewed for some time, and it is interesting how much other companies have moved on in that time. Where as NECA face sculpts used to be the best at the price point, I now see flaws after seeing what Hasbro can do with their face print technology.
The articulation too is poor for a figure range that is now pushing £30 a pop, and there are a lot of quality issues like the paint spots on the arm, wobbly neck joint and stuck joints elsewhere on the legs.
I am still a huge fan of NECA and their Alien range in particular, and Ripley 8 is a stunning figure that looks brilliant alongside the other releases from the past 6-years. What is evident is that the NECA prices are going up while the figures are not progressing in quality or functionality and that is disappointing.
I score the Ripley 8 a 3 out of 5 overall.