Monday, October 16, 2017

31 Days of Halloween - Spooky Toy Review – Alien: Covenant Neomorph from NECA

By Dave


Maybe you liked Alien: Covenant. Maybe you didn’t.



Whatever your feelings about the movie, there’s no denying that there were some cool new creature designs and interpretations of one of the most well-known movie monsters of all time. I knew going in that NECA had the license and would be producing new toys. They were super-secretive about them, too. If they released images before the movie was actually released, it wasn’t by more than a week.


While my personal opinion is that an overabundance of Engineers killed the Prometheus line before its time, NECA seems to think it was the human figures and I suppose they’d know better than me. Whatever the case, if you were hoping for Danny McBride or Katherine Waterston figures, or an updated David, it seems you’re out of luck. This line is all aliens, all the time.

Consisting of only three releases – this Neomorph, a Xenomorph, and a creature pack – the Covenant line is one of the most conservative I’ve seen from NECA’s Reel Toys line (of which the Aliens line is itself a subset). In all honesty, it’s exactly as much as I want from the movie.

The updated Xenomorph looks neat, but didn’t seem like enough of a change from the Aliens Xenomorph for me to review. The creature pack had a lot of shelf dazzle, but once it was opened there was a good bit of disappointment inside, so I’m not sure if I’ll review that or not.

This guy, on the other hand, was entirely new and didn’t prompt me to roll my eyes and wonder why I buy so many 7” NECA figures.

I don’t really do that. Much.

I first ran into the idea of a white Alien when NECA released their prototype (or concept) Xenomorph from Alien. I’m not sure I was aware of the pale variety prior to that. While I wouldn’t have wanted that to be the movie version, it is a striking design and without context seems creepier to me than the standard darker hued creatures. I appreciate that we got to see a variation on this look in action in Covenant and it was just as disturbing as I’d imagined.


FIRST GLANCE

This thing basically looks like Chatterer from Hellraiser had a baby with a Xenomorph. Unfortunately the first things I noticed once I opened this guy were some leg problems. The left hip joint is highly visible and ugly. My first thought was that the thigh piece needed to be rotated, but I couldn’t get it to move.

The right lower leg is warped from the package, which seems to be a feature of almost every effing mass market toy I buy nowadays. They’re all made of cheap, rubbery plastic that bends like frigging spaghetti noodles. This is a big part of why I’m looking to higher-end figures lately.

Otherwise the Neomorph looks good and creepy.


PACKAGING

For some reason NECA has started splitting their packaging between their usual clamshells (which I hate) and these window boxes (which I love, but have to acknowledge as possibly kind of wasteful).

The window boxes look better and don’t present as high a risk to personal safety.
Seriously – have you ever sliced yourself on the edges of a clamshell after cutting it open? It sucks.

The graphics on the box are gorgeous; reminiscent of David’s drawings from the movie. The window gives a nice view of the creature and slyly conceals its jacked-up legs.


The back features more drawings of the Neomorph with a synopsis of the movie.


The bottom has creator credits printed on it, which is always nice to see.

Overall this is a very attractive and classy package – far more visually appealing than the clamshells.


LOOKS

The design of the Neomorph is a bit of a middle ground between the Deacon from Prometheus and the xenomorphs we all know and love. It’s actually a bit reminiscent of Stan Winston’s design for Pumpkinhead.


Speaking of heads, the default one on this figure is horrifying. The sculpt captures all of the nasty, fleshy feel of the design and the paint just enhances it and makes it nastier. The mouth design on this thing is a frigging nightmare. On this default head the familiar Xenomorph jaws are protruding from a stretched, fleshy mouth hole. The detail of the stretched, distended lips is almost nauseating.


The figure’s body resembles a regular xenomorph, but with a layer of pallid, sickly flesh on top. This thing truly looks diseased. Rather than the tubular dorsal protrusions we’re used to, this creature has a series of spines. They’re a little more solid than I expected, which is good.

The Neomorph has a tail like every other Alien, but much shorter. I’m not crazy about where it meets the torso because it looks sort of stuck on, but it seems to be the design of the creature and not just the toy. The tail is rubber over a wire armature, but doesn’t have a whole lot of flexibility. That’s okay because it’s so short there’s not much it could do anyway. The sculpt and paint are excellent and blend very nicely with the rest of the figure.


This design seems to have proportionally longer arms, which makes it even creepier looking. The elbow joints are a little unsightly, but at least the connection is painted and sculpted to match the arms. The hands are sculpted for the dual purposes of menace or support. They look great.


That hip joint is terrible. I can’t figure out why it looks so much worse than the right one or how it might have looked better from a construction standpoint. It’s just bad. I haven’t seen these in stores, so I have no idea if this is an isolated instance or if it’s common to every Neomorph release.

The warped right leg is also bad, but that’s the fault of cheap plastic and poor interior package design. Plus, unless you’re a weirdo that’s just going to stand this guy upright rather than in an action pose, it doesn’t matter too much.


ACCESSORIES

The Neomorph comes with a newborn Neomorph and an alternate head.


The newborn is basically just rubber and doesn’t stand up worth a damn. The sculpt is great and the paint – while perhaps a bit overboard in the blood department – looks good. This little guy does the trick visually, but functionally he’s just going to lay on your shelf looking lame.


The alternate head features a closed mouth that basically looks like a butthole with teeth, which is even more disturbing than the mouth with the extended jaws. The heads are tough to swap because there’s no way to securely grab hold of the figure with those spines sticking out of its back.


FUN

If you’re going to make your figures out of cheap, crappy plastic that’s going to get jacked up in the package, you had better at least give them good enough articulation to compensate for the mangled limbs. Like, say, ankles that swivel and pivot.

Not so much here. It’s really difficult to get this guy to stand upright thanks to his wonky leg. And yeah – I know a heat gun can fix that, but as I’ve said many times I abhor having to perform maintenance on a brand new frigging toy.

The head doesn’t have great range thanks to having only one joint – the connection point – at the base of the neck. It doesn’t have nearly the up and down pivot of other Alien releases, which stinks because these guys run around on all fours. They should be just as poseable as the Dog Alien (which wasn’t actually poseable enough) and able to look straight ahead while doing so:


Despite that, this figure does have a sold range of movement. The double-jointed knees and elbows work well and the hands swivel and pivot. The abdominal joint helps with the prowling pose, but not enough.

While I can’t do as much as I’d like with the Neomorph, it’s still solid and fun to play around with. The extra head is nice – as opposed to a variant figure – and I like the baby, despite its uselessness. I’m looking at it as an extra.


OVERALL

Like most NECA Aliens the Neomorph has some shortcomings. More than most, actually. But it is possible to find some good poses that make it shelf-worthy. A great sculpt and sickly paint job make this one a must-have for me, even if it isn’t perfect.

3 out of 5

Buy a Neomorph from Amazon and help Needless Things pay the bills!:


If you enjoy Aliens, berserk androids, or Needless Things, you might enjoy SupportPhantom.com. Huge thanks to our killer Patrons Zack, Gary, Lucas, and Beau!

No comments:

Post a Comment