Wednesday, June 26, 2013

NECA Aliens series 1 Alien Warrior 2013 action figure review

Aliens, it's the movie redefined sci-fi horror for a lot of us back in the 80's when it was released. That terrifying Alien from the first movie was now multiplied by the hundreds! NECA has tackled the license before with great results and here we have Aliens series 1 with the Alien Warrior, Hicks, and Hudson. I'm still waiting for the two Colonial Marines but let's take a look at the 'army builder' of this wave, the Xenomorph Alien Warrior.

Right off the get-go you know you're in for a treat because if it's one thing NECA is known for it's sculpting monsters/aliens/creatures of all sorts. The Alien Warrior's sculpting is top notch. Every ridge, boney protrusion, and claw is rendered in amazing detail. The headsculpt is the best I've seen for a Warrior and I have to say it it rivals the Hot Toys and Revoltech by being more movie accurate with the larger cheek bones and incisors/molars that lock together when you close its mouth. The tail is bendy and sculpted wonderfully as are all the tubular and pipe designs. The feet seem to be a new design, less actor-boot like and more bestial with splayed toes.

Articulation is AMAZING. Double jointed elbows/knees allow the Alien Warrior to crouch, stretch, hunch, and even crawl. The hips are socketed so that they remain covered but can get more than a 90 deg angle upwards. Ball jointed wrists and side-step ankles are even better. But what about the crawl? Unplug the center spike from his back (it's not glued, just a pop-in type) slide the head back on the slider under the skull, and tilt it back. His head can lay nearly straight back and looks great for that ceiling-crawl-scene towards the end of the movie. Its mouth also opens and inner jaw slides out when it's feeding time!

Paint work on the Warrior is straight up movie-accurate, the brownish black ones we see for the first time that start coming out of the walls. The base black plastic has nice dark gray shading and light brown highlights that translate into a smooth transition instead of a muddled mess like some Aliens in the past. A shiny wet gloss was applied with nice silver teeth and a grey-white inner mouth. There's no slop but then again we're getting highlights on raised surfaces so it would be hard to tell if anything did stray from the design.

 I'm inclined to say there are no true 'action features' about the Alien Warrior because opening mouths are usually tied to articulation. However inside the mouth is his little inner mouth! It's not spring loaded and it's kind of difficult to tug it down and outwards but it looks good once its down and tucks neatly up inside when the mouth is closed. The tail is also bendy and can be wrapped around other figures or used to help balance the Warrior. Scale is large or this guy, he's taller than a Predator who in turn is taller than a human like Dutch or Hicks, so the Alien really has some presence at over 8" tall. Fortunately all his joints allow you to get him down into hunches so he doesn't look like a giant.

So what's the verdict here? I've owned every domestically released Alien/Aliens figure made aside from the giant Kenner original one and have held/posed the import ones including the snap-kits, Hot Toys, Revoltech, Aioshima, Halcyon, etc. This is my favorite Aliens Warrior BY FAR because the sculpt, articulation, paint, sturdiness, and 'army builder' feel of it all works together. And by army-building I mean to say NECA has a black/red Genocide 2-pack being offered and the battle-damaged ones/different colors we'll be seeing in wave 2 and hopefully 3,4,infinity that this line deserves. Head over to Amazon and pick up the Alien and the Colonial Marines with free shipping or our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store to snag sets and singles as long as they have them in stock. And now it's time for more pictures!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Iron Man 3 Assemblers Striker Iron Man action figure review

The incredibly popular Iron Man movie series has spawned some pretty neat looking movie armors. Striker Iron Man is one of the new suits that you actually see in the movie's final battle and is a construction suit of sorts with two jackhammer arm attachments. We now have a figure of him and it's part of the Assembler series where you can mix and match all four limbs and heads of the figures to create different combinations. Packaging is the same as all the other Assembler figures and you may miss the new series if you don't look closely as they're just now hitting. How will Striker strike you as a figure? Let's find out.

Sculpting for Striker Iron Man is pretty decent. The head looks detailed with the armored tech plates on it as does the chest with the arc reactor partially protected by the breastplate sections. The arms have large jackhammer units permanently attached there and while the sculpt is a little soft looking they still look pretty dangerous. Unfortunately these aren't the super detailed super articulated Iron Man 2 movie figures as Big Retail has dictated to toy companies they want lower a lower unit cost and they had to cut just about every corner there was to cut. Still the legs/feet look neat with their knight-armor scaled sections and large heft to them.

Articulation is immediately disappointing as is the case with all the Assemblers so far with one exception that I'll get to later. Striker has a ball head, ball shoulders, T-crotch hips, and thaaaaat's it. We're back to 1980's articulation folks and it's that way with all of the Hasbro/Mattel movie-themed 'kids lines'. His head is the only thing that can give him personality when posing and since his jackhammer arms are slightly bent they can't even be aligned for a punch. Striker's jackhammers are glued on to the arms so in theory a customizer could tear them off and affix them to other more articulated arms.

Paint application is general mass-market quality with some sparkly darker gunmetal sections, green ports, and the bright yellow arms. The black caution stripes are cleanly applied as is most everything but there's some bleed or transparency to the yellow here and there. Striker's base plastic is a really nice dark silver which feels the same as what the Iron Man Legends figures are made of.

Action features for this line are "25+ interchangeable armor combinations" according to the package. The head, arms, and legs are all easily removable and can be swapped among the figures. However because this is a kid's line the legs and arms come off very easily and will do so just posing him. You also get two extra arms and two plug-on missile attachments. The missiles are nice looking and could be used for anything. They plug on to the arms, legs, or back.

The accessories are those two arms and the missiles. One of the arms looks like a Gatling wrist cannon and the other one looks like a Plasma blade from the Halo series and even has the crackling energy around it. It also has an elbow joint. Yep. Why only one arm? It allows Striker (or whoever you affix it to) the extra posing options but no other limb does. The arms have paint bleed from the black/white/gold contrasting paints especially the Plasma-arm.

So what's the verdict here? If you're building a movie-themed Armor Vault he is one of the onscreen suits you saw and standing still looks pretty neat. I actually like the fact you can swap everything out and 'customize' your looks. But the lack of joints really kills this line especially since here we see they can add them. If you're looking for Striker to customize his parts onto a better body you can snag him from Amazon pretty cheap along with other new Assemblers like the cool looking Crosscut Iron Man. Hasbro, if you're listening, we would buy the hell out of these if they were only decently made (or just make a 6" line for us!) because these designs are just eye candy.