Ah yes, Autumn is finally here. The time of the year that gives us seasonal depression, the yearly “War on Christmas”, and Toys ‘R’ Us NECA exclusives! Now usually NECA will do one or two fall exclusives, but this year they decided to be bold and daring and go with three from the ever popular Alien/Predator lines. Those madmen! I bought all three and decided to lump them all together for your reading pleasure.
Up first is the Thermal Vision Alien Warrior. Back in the early 2000’s before the AvP movie came out, the PC AvP games included Predators with three different visors in the helmet. Each visor would have a corresponding race stick out like a sore thumb while the other two were hard to see. You had to constantly juggle between the visors to make up for being a walking death dealing machine. One of those visors was “Alien Thermal,” and later made an appearance in the movie when the perspective shows the Predators attacking the Aliens. It’s an exact repaint of the AvP warrior so the only thing new is the obvious “glow in the dark” feature. Protip: It’s been awhile since I messed with a gimmick like this and forgot you have to have the figure near a light source for awhile so it can absorb the light. I was an idiot turned off the lights and said “Huh, it’s broken” before immediately realizing how much of a dummy I am.
Next up is the Alien Genocide 2-Pack featuring red versions of Big Chap and the Dog Alien. NECA previously released other figures based on the really-not-great ‘Genocide’ Dark Horse comic: Red Warrior and Red Queen. They made these two so that people could build a red hive if they do please. It’s kind of weird to see Big Chap in non-black coloring but the Dog Alien looks absolutely gorgeous, and I prefer it over its movie counterparts. Again, not too much to be said about these molds that hasn’t been said before. I did read the Alien Genocide comic so I can tell you that the whole story is about some rich guy and some marines stealing royal jelly for performance enhancing drugs. They end up going to the Xenomorph home planet where two giant hives are fighting each other, and just like 90% of all Aliens comics there is a double cross where the shit hits the fan. Spoilers: The Arthur Suydam covers were nice though.
Finally we have the “Rivalry Reborn” 2-Pack featuring the Celtic Predator and the Grid Alien from AvP. You know that epic rivalry? The one that started and ended within three minutes? Yeah, that one. Jagging aside there are some good updates to this 2-pack. A big complaint about the original Grid Alien release is that he had his tail intact, when he gets the grid pattern burned into his dome the tail is already cut off at the end. This version justifies that by cutting off the end and giving you the tip of the tail as an accessory. Grid is also sporting a translucent dome unlike the original which was solid black. Celtic has been retooled a bit to match the end of their fight (sans giant hole in his head). He sports a mask which has scratch marks, missing his right shoulder pad, and a plasma caster. The accessories are a tad different as he has the standard AvP glave and combi stick but comes with melted wrist blades (from cutting off the tail) and the net that causes Grid’s namesake.
Final verdict? While they are all fantastic, if I had to choose one I would definitely pick up the Thermal Vision Warrior. Personally, I think it’s the best Alien mold with an awesome retro gimmick that will always be an eye grabber. I love the Grid/Celtic 2 Pack, but if you already have both of these figures it might be hard to justify paying $48 bucks for some slight retooling and accessories. The Genocide 2-pack is just repaints of other molds. Which is fine for army builders, but they have no new features besides being a gorgeous shade of red. So if that doesn’t move the needle for you, don’t bother.
I saw the Predator accessory pack and decided to throw this in, as it’s kind of odd to give the pack its own article. I’m shocked that TRU decided to stock these as it straight up has a disemboweled corpse front and center of the box. Then again ‘The Walking Dead’ (a bad show) lets viewers see much worse every week, so whatever.
As mentioned the pack contains:
A very skinned and disemboweled corpse.
2 Different plasma caster energy blasts.
1 Human skull.
1 Xenomorph skull.
2 Skulls with spinal cords, one clean and one bloody.
The corpse is non articulated but super rubbery and malleable. No bendy wires either. The skulls are good for people who missed out on the earlier skull pack-ins (like yours truly). The ones with spines can be held by your Predators triumphantly and the Xenomorph skull can open its jaw which is a simple but nice feature. The big draw for me is the plasma caster effects, but I found out they only fit specific Predators. The blue effect will fit the classic Jungle Hunter plasma caster and SOME of the AvP Casters. The orange one is different, and so far only fits the Cracked Tusk Predator from wave ten. Some aren’t compatible like Lava Planet Predator and Scavage Predator without some finagling. Retrofitting is hard to do so just keep that in mind.
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