Toy Review: Alien 40th Anniversary Wave 3 by NECA

Ian Holm and John Hurt aren’t entirely strangers to being toys. Holm was Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s first Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Hurt became an action figure as Doctor Who’s War Doctor. But for forty years, neither agreed to license their official likenesses for Alien toys. Holm’s Ash did originally get a Kenner prototype for the 1979 line that got scrapped, but when Super7 finally released it, they could not depict him on the package. As for Hurt’s Kane, numerous toy companies got around the likeness issue by simply making a toy of him with a facehugger covering any distinctive features. Including NECA. As with Sigourney Weaver’s holding out for many years, much can probably be attributed to the actors not seeing the difference between adult collectibles and toys for children.

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But for the 40th anniversary, the NECA folks were determined to score the likeness rights to every crew member of the Nostromo. And in the end, they got them, perhaps because both actors have passed. Ash and Kane, the final holdouts, just got their first actor-likeness figures, as part of a “40th anniversary” that’s entering its third year.

Part of the strategy to sell pesky humans involves including a xenomorph figure in every wave. Waves one and two created new color variants, but for wave 3, it’s just the basic. Fans have seen this figure before sold as an “Ultimate,” but this version saves $5 by not including the egg or chestburster. Plus old-school fans might prefer the classic ’79-style packaging, previously used on the quarter-scale version.

Kane uses the same Nostromo spacesuit body that several other figures in the line use, including Dallas, so the previous review of that, and its inherent articulation limits, still stands. The facehugger head and the melty helmet visor came with a previous release of the figure as well. So what’s new is the Hurt likeness, and, well, it’s good. As one would hope and expect.

A re-viewing of the movie suggests that the helmets on these figures maybe ride a little high on the head. Though knowing Randy Falk at NECA, he almost certainly has reference materials that prove otherwise. Therefore, it’s likely a difference in perception. Nonetheless, it’s a real one.

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One thing to note with Kane is that unlike Dallas, his head is too big for the opening on the lower helmet. It must be popped off to get the helmet fully off, if that’s a display goal. Though honestly, why would anyone not display this with the Hurt head? It took work behind the scenes to get that head, and the other one existed already. The body also sports a more detailed paint job, with particular attention to the green copper oxidation highlights on the “metal” parts. Kane comes with his movie flashlight and what looks like a laser gun, which he really ought to have used if it were present.

Ash is the new figure in the bunch, and he comes loaded with accessories and alternate hands to hold them. From his surgical tools, to a beaker, to rolled-up paper, he’s equipped. And then there’s the alternate severed head…

The severed head likeness gets the edge, because the digital faceprint on the other just seems a bit off. It’s like Ash is wearing too much makeup, and eyeliner in particular. That said, the double-neck joint really works on this particular figure for that “head about to fall off his shoulders” look.

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Here’s a breakdown of the rest of Ash’s articulation. Disc/pin ball shoulders. Double ball-jointed elbows. Hinge and peg wrists. Ball hips. Disc/pin ball knees. Restricted hinge/pin ankles. Something under the torso that doesn’t effectively work because his torso is contained by a one-piece body cover. Not that anyone wanted to pose Ash doing crunches. He’ll take every pose he ought.

This third wave has sold out at most online stores, so actual physical retailers seem a better bet. However, Entertainment Earth does plan a restock of wave 2, and offers preorders for the final wave 4 (Ripley and Lambert in spacesuits, plus a xenomorph in a lighter gray to mimic H.R. Giger’s drawings). So a restock of wave 3 ought to come next, for the patient collector. On eBay they hover around $30-$40, if patience is not your virtue. (Superhero Hype is part of Entertainment Earth’s affiliate program, and earns fees based on purchases made through our links.)

It’d be cool if NECA could give the original Predator the same treatment one day. Odds don’t seem to favor that, however. Carl Weathers, like Hurt and Holm at one time, seems oddly inconsistent about which toy rights he will allow.

Check out many more shots of the Alien wave 3 figures in the gallery below.

Recommended Reading: The Making of Alien

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