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  1. #1
    Rex Tremendae Majestatis
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    Default The Three Amigos! McFarlane, Aoshima and NECA aliens review!

    Intro



    And here it is!

    The long awaited (yeah, right) comparison of the three major Alien 1/12 scale (9”) figures!

    Back in the day, when McFarlane first released their MM5 Alien and Predator Boxed Set, I thought I was in heaven. Finally, after so many years, a highly articulated, beautifully detailed figure was about to hit the stores. As prototypes became production pieces, the elation was somewhat diminished by glaring inaccuracies in the sculpt and somewhat idiosyncratic choices in paint apps. But, hey, this was the first shot at making a highly detailed and articulated figure of this character, so I was willing to accept what was given me.
    A few months down the road by mere chance I spotted the Aoshima figures. I couldn’t believe it! Another figure of my beloved Alien! And this one looked more accurate and even more articulated to boot. In hand the figure was somewhat less thrilling, but it still was an amazing piece and edged the McF effort in my personal taste.
    Long years passed, but there never was another shot at the iconic title monster of Ridley Scott’s classic Alien in “action figure” format.

    Until now.
    Because, as you all know, NECA has released their take on the Alien. Strike that, not their take. This is basically as faithful a copy of the “guy in a suit” as we’re ever going to get in action figure format.
    And to celebrate this, I decided to make a pictorial review and comparison of these three fabulous figures for your (and my own) enjoyment.

    *cue “Hey Boy, Hey Girl” by the Chemical Brothers*
    Heeeere we go!

    (I figure I'd better cut this up into different posts)

  2. #2
    Rex Tremendae Majestatis
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    Overall

    First impressions are always important, as is the overall appearance and accuracy of a figure (at least for me). So how do these three fare?

    McFarlane
    Hey, it’s a kick ass figure! No doubt about that. It looks menacing, it looks mean, it looks like it’s going to turn you into sushi!



    The gaping mouth, the odd proportions of the body, the dynamic pose of the hands, the translucent nature of the figure itself, all combine to make this figure visually stunning and truly alien.

    Aoshima
    A completely different monster, this figure looks much more poised.



    The first impression is very toy-like and the eyes are immediately drawn to the odd edge around the dome and the grinning face, but the overall look is much closer to the creature, or rather the “guy in a suit” look. The proportions are much closer to the real thing, which satisfies the soul of the purist.

    NECA
    The looming menace becomes a reality! All your dreamy nightmares have come true.



    Everything’s here. The figure looks fantastic at first glance! The gruesome teeth, the weird six-fingered hands, the tail rising between the legs in that menacingly sexual way, it’s all here to send shivers down your spine.




  3. #3
    Rex Tremendae Majestatis
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    Sculpt/Detailing and Paint apps

    McFarlane
    It’s no fluke that McF set a new standard for sculpting and toys when they first started. And you can see it here quite perfectly.











    The detail is crisp, every curve is well made, every tendon is wonderfully fleshed out. The daring color palette chosen by McF works wonderfully with the sculpt. The slightly translucent nature of the figure helps accentuate every detail, the silver wash highlights the sculpt and the orange flecks give it a strange stopping power. Everything works very well together.

  4. #4
    Rex Tremendae Majestatis
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    Aoshima
    The cleanliness of the sculpt and detailing is not Aoshima’s forte. The way the joints are built into the figure is very telling of their approach, where functionality was more important than aesthetic.











    The detail looks a bit soft on this figure, especially on the all-important head. The teeth are very basic and the skin on the figure is lacking texture in general. Coupled with the very basic paint apps (the figure is presented in molded black plastic with some airbrushing in tans, browns and grays on top), it makes for a very toy-like appearance.
    (NOTE: the figure pictured here has been repainted, for the original look, head here: http://www.geocities.com/hgdivision/aosreview1.html and check out my review of the Aoshima and McFarlane figures from a few years ago!)

  5. #5
    Rex Tremendae Majestatis
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    NECA
    NECA is one of those companies (along with SOTA and some others) that owe their current existence to McF. The types of figures, the attention to detail, the sculpting, it all comes from McF’s pioneering ways. And it seems the pupil has become the master.











    Detail is simply fantastic on this figure! The sculpting is solid, recreating every detail, every texture of the skin, the mechanical bits and the bones on this creature. Everything is crisp and perfectly outlined. The paint apps are minimalist but surprisingly effective, only major drawback being the paint apps under the clear dome. Not as striking a palette as McF’s, but a very effective one nonetheless, and it does convey the “biomechanical” philosophy of Giger very well.

  6. #6
    Rex Tremendae Majestatis
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    Posability/Articulation

    McFarlane
    It’s a difficult balancing act, that of sculpt vs. posing and McF’s figure gravitates towards sculpt. And then screws it up with the articulation!





    Anybody who knows me knows I love articulation. But there’s intelligent articulation and not-so-clever articulation, and it all has to do with how and where it is placed. McF made a great sculpt, but erred in almost every aspect of articulation! The cut joints mid-thigh and mid-biceps destroy the flow of the sculpt and the cut joints on wrists and elbows allow for only a couple of sweet spots. The ankles are superb, as well as the knees and shoulders, but due to the way the sculpt was designed and the nature of the other (cut) joints, there are very few poses, other than the pre-sculpted one, were this figure looks really good.

    Aoshima
    It’s no secret where Aoshima’s priorities lay when they designed their figure. This one’s all about articulation.





    These poses don’t really showcase the range of movement of this figure, but again we come to the point of useful, intelligent articulation. Aoshima applied some very novel ideas, like the hinged upper ribcage, the articulated feet and the complicated shoulder joints, but they don’t seem to work that well in the end. The lack of cut joints over the biceps severely impairs posability around the arms. In the same manner, the hinged feet aren’t that useful due to the lack of articulation in the ankles. The knees (very ugly by the way) have a fantastic range of movement, as well as the hips, but the lack of decent ankle articulation negate the whole effectiveness of these great features. Again, the impression is more of a toy.
    Still, it is a highly posable figure and achieves beautiful menacing and looming poses.
    (NOTE: for better info on the figure’s original articulation and articulated jaw head here: http://www.geocities.com/hgdivision/aosreview1.html
    Hell, that review was probably better and more fun than this one!)

    NECA
    Here’s where NECA has really moved beyond what McFarlane did or is doing.





    This figure is really a fantastic example of how to design a pre-posed figure and then put articulation into it - clever articulation. Knees and elbows have a decent range of movement, the cut joints on thighs and biceps are placed so as to not disturb the flow of the sculpt, but retaining a great deal of movement, the double-ball jointed neck and torso offer great posability and the working jaw is a wonder of ingenuity! I found this figure had the best balance of the three, i.e. it was the easiest to pose and play around with. Both the McF and Aoshima figures tend to be very unstable when posed. Kyle (AKA Tankman) really found a great pose for this figure, a pose that allowed for articulation and great balance while looking very dynamic and true to the source material. Seriously, I think this is the work of a great, mature sculptor who really understands the nature of both the original design and of “action figures”.

  7. #7
    Rex Tremendae Majestatis
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    Accuracy

    No need to go into it here, I’m sure all who have a passing knowledge of the original Giger design will agree that the NECA figure is the most accurate by far after seeing all these pics.
    But let’s just say that the McFarlane alien is clearly meant as an interpretation, whereas both the Aoshima and NECA figures went for accuracy. I suppose that the Aoshima figure being much more toy-like is a question of design and philosophy.

    Final thoughts

    I love them all. How can you not? They’re aliens!







    Seriously, I’m a fan of the movie and the creature, and I appreciate each for what it is. Before the advent of the NECA figure, I was a lot harder on the McFarlane effort, because it was so blatantly inaccurate. Now that I finally have my highly posable, incredibly accurate Alien action figure, I can look back on McF’s and Aoshima’s versions and simply appreciate the fantastic innovations and designs of these figures. And go back to drooling over NECA’s.

    Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!

  8. #8
    Super Freak
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    Great review.

  9. #9
    Super Freak
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    Yea I agree. But I still like the Mcfarlane one. It looks more like a threatening Xenomorph. I prefer that over man in the suit look.

  10. #10
    Freaked Out!
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndIessRAlN View Post
    Yea I agree. But I still like the Mcfarlane one. It looks more like a threatening Xenomorph. I prefer that over man in the suit look.
    I totally agree with ya there!

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