Toy Review: NECA Upsizes and Up-Details the Classic Kenner Rhino Alien
Before Todd McFarlane started shaking toys up in the ’90s, toy lines based on licensed properties didn’t necessarily concern themselves with being accurate. Batman came in multiple colors, Luke Skywalker got Schwarzenegger pecs, and Aliens…well, springboarding off the concept of the dog alien in Alien3, they all became hybridized with other animals. Bull Alien, Gorilla Alien, Scorpion Alien et al accompanied space marines who bore the lightest possible resemblance to the movie characters. NECA, who own the Alien toy rights currently, have long since made every onscreen canonical xenomorph. So lately, they’ve moved on to the old Kenner figures, but with the opposite approach. What if the ’90s “toyetic” designs were given a more realistic makeover to look the way they could have appeared in a movie? The latest, and biggest, is the Rhino Alien.
Originally, the Rhino Alien was a resculpt of the series 1 Bull Alien, as yet unmade by NECA. Recast in translucent plastic, with armored limbs and horned head, it re-used the head-butting action gimmick. Because it’s beating the bull to the punch, NECA’s version is an all-new sculpt, and the largest Alien figure they’ve made in the 7-inch scale that isn’t a queen. Unlike the original rhino, this figure is designed to look like a threat both on all fours and standing up. And in the latter stance, it’s just shy of a foot tall. (The comparison figure in the photo is a McFarlane figure, also 7-inch scale.)
It retains the translucent plastic, albeit with more black exoskeletal highlights. Though it does look more natural standing fully erect on hind legs, it goes down to four with some skillful readjustment of the limbs. No head-butting gimmick here, but the cranial dome is removable, hooking over the skull at the back.
Articulation is less than on some xenomorphs, but needs to support a bigger body. It has a hinged jaw, ball neck/shoulders/hips/mid-torso/wrists, double-hinge with ball joint on top elbows and knees, hinge middle fingers, hinge and side rock angles. Also, the inner jaws can extend quite a distance.
Retailing around $40, this xeno packs the extra heft and height to feel worth the upcharge. Presumably if NECA gets around to a Bull Alien, they can reuse the torso while tweaking limbs and head.
The figure includes a pack-in mini-comic that’s a reproduction of the original Dark Horse edition from the Kenner figure. It mostly features new-for-the-toy-line character Atax insulting the android Bishop by comparing him to various appliances, all as they save another Newt-like girl from a Queen’s hive. Here, new buyers can get a look at the original Rhino Alien toy design. Which was considerably more compact.
One does not have to be an Aliens collector to appreciate this big beast. Fans of monsters in general will find it looks good against anything similar.
The H.R. Giger creature design is a classic that never gets old, but at times, as the movies have found, it can get overly familiar. Tweaks like this rhino design have a way of reminding us just how creepy and threatening the fictional creature is, even when viewed in just a slightly new light. And even if not every variant xenomorph is an affordable addition to the collection, this one’s unique size, sculpt, and design makes it extra-desirable. And while Alien movies are known for their gore, this gives that word a whole new meaning.
Will this big guy lead the charge to your collection? Tell us in comments below.
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