Never underestimate the power of nostalgia, especially among horror toy collectors.
For the 10th wave in its 7-inch Alien figure line, NECA is releasing three figures based on designs that originally appeared in Kenner's Aliens toy line during the '90s. The three designs are the Queen Facehugger, the Gorilla Alien, and the Mantis Alien. Click below to read more about these designs and how NECA has once again taken something old and (for the most part) make it feel brand new.
Of course, NECA has performed plenty of redesigns of Kenner figures before now. In fact, many of its recent Predator figures are based upon Kenner Predator figures from the '90s. What NECA did in those cases were to take its impressive sculpts of the many Predator designs from the movies and made some changes to them (e.g., different coloring, different armor and accessories, slight sculpt changes, etc.) to line up with Kenner's designs. Reusing pre-existing sculpts saves on production costs, but it has also resulted in NECA taking some very goofy-looking action figures and making them look like creatures that might actually appear in an actual live-action Predator movie. Judging from this first set of Kenner-inspired Xenomorphs, it looks like this principle also applies to NECA's Alien figures.
Of the new set, I think the most underwhelming is the Queen Facehugger. All NECA did here was take its Queen Facehugger sculpt from Alien 3 and made it larger. If it were up to me, I would have instead used the Trilobite figure sculpt from NECA's Prometheus line and add some details from the Queen Facehugger to make something different for Alien figure collectors.
Kenner's original Queen Facehugger (above) and NECA's updates (below).
As its name suggests, the Gorilla Alien is a bulky figure with a thick chest and long, powerful arms. What it looks like NECA did was to take the torso sculpt from the Alien and Aliens Xenomorph figures and added new arms and head. While the head's "crown" design in impressive, I particularly like the dome that can be removed to reveal the Gorilla Alien's skull. This feature is a nice callback to the removable dome feature from Kenner's 16-inch Xenomorph figure from the late '70s.
Kenner's original Gorilla Alien (above) and NECA's update (below) with removable dome.
For the Mantis Alien, it appears that NECA added an Alien Queen mouth sculpt to a redesigned head, and then added newly sculpted limbs and abdomen to the Xenomorph torso sculpt. I particularly like this figure, because its praying mantis features complement the Xenomorph's insectoid design. In comparison to Kenner's squat and ungainly Alien Mantis figure, NECA's version looks slim and intimidating; with the numerous ball joints in its legs and pincers, I'd wager that this figure is probably one of the longest in NECA's Alien line when its limbs are completely extended. However, I would've used the mouth sculpt of the Predalien from Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, since the extra mandibles from that design would have worked well with this figure's arthropod theme.
Kenner's original Mantis Alien (above) and NECA's update (below).
Here are some additional pictures of NECA's newest Xenomorphs.