The face of the Alien franchise makes her debut in NECA’s fourth Alien wave. Apparently it took a great amount of work and convincing to finally land the Ripley likeness rights. Now that they have them, NECA has been tasked with the job of breaking the streak of really bad looking Sigourney Weaver action figures. If you’ve seen some of Mattel’s work (Avatar, Ghostbusters) with the actress you’ll know how bad it can actually be. Hell, even Hot Toys wasn’t able to get her right. Can NECA do with Ripley and the Alien action figure series what they did with Predator and Dutch?
Ripley comes packaged in the usual NECA clamshell box that all the other Alien releases came in. This one is specially branded to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the original movie, so of course the entire wave is based on that movie. She comes with two accessories: the flame thrower and Jones the cat. Jones is pretty much a statue but he does have a swivel head, so you can pose him looking in different directions. The flamethrower is built with a plastic strap that you can sling over her shoulder for support or storage.
One thing I did notice when playing around with her is that the hands pop off of the wrist very easy. The hands are connected by little pegs sticking out of the wrist, similar to the ones used on Dante. This got me thinking that it would have been really great if they included a couple of alternate hands for her; even if they were just fists. I find when I do one handed flamethrower poses I have a hard time finding a good place to put that big open hand. Spoiler: Often times I just crop it out! See below …
I’m happy to say that the young Sigourney Weaver likeness is really good! It isn’t absolutely perfect like Dutch’s, but it’s really close. The side profile is especially strong. They went with the painted skin-tones like previous humans in the Alien line. All the facial paint details are in the right places, and there isn’t any bleed or smudging. Actually it’s pretty amazing how clean the paint is all over this figure. Even down to the text on the Nostromo patches on her shoulders. This is probably one of the rare occasions where I also think that the paint on the production piece is better than that of the prototype.
Now the neutral face. This issue is actually something I was just thinking about today when the Hot Toys Scarlet Witch figure was announced. I felt that Hot Toys giving their female figures neutral facial expressions really extenuates their “dead eye” look. My thought was that a more expressive face would probably give the whole figure more personality, and make it look less like a soulless wax statue. However, I also recall that people weren’t overly fond of Hudson’s “game over man” face. Do a figure’s sales suffer if they have a more expressive face? I’ve always preferred the emoting face, but that could just be my thing. What I’m getting at is that I wouldn’t have minded getting a screaming face, or just one that looks more interested in what it’s doing with that flamethrower.
The articulation scheme is about what you would expect from a NECA movie figure. It has really good functionality while not making too many obvious cuts into the sculpt. Some of the two-handed flamethrower poses are a little tough to pull off, but this is partially because of how easy the hands pop out of the wrist pegs. Ripley’s proportions look very good as well. I only mention this because I felt that Bishop in the previous wave had a slightly saggy diaper waist. Ripley’s midsection is very tightly sculpted making it look much more natural.
So I began this review mentioning that NECA took on the task of ending a streak of really bad Sigourney Weaver action figures. They succeeded easily in making one of the best looking Ripley figures ever made. I understand the competition wasn’t necessarily fierce, but they really did the character (and actor to an extent) justice.
The figure has just started hitting stores and online retailers. If you are impatient like me NECA’s Amazon store is always a good way to lock down your figures. At less than $20 a piece MSRP these are a ridiculously good deal as well.