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Engineer (Chair Suit)

by Monkey Boy

Look, Prometheus was a horrible movie. I wish it wasn't. I was really excited for it. The initial trailer, with its callbacks to Alien, gave me chills. I avoided spoilers whenever possible.

And then I saw it.

And it was horrible. You just can't convince me that a movie is "good" in which a geologist with cave-mapping robots gets lost in a cave. I refuse to believe that a film is "good" in which a biologist approaches a hissing, cobra-like penis-worm as though it were a tame housecat. The behavior of characters in the film repeatedly yanked me out of my suspension of disbelief, and though the film covered some intriguing ground and introduced some thought-provoking ideas, it ultimately fell flat.

That doesn't mean there weren't some shining moments. For example, Michael Fassbender's David the android was a joy to watch. We also got to see more of the "Space Jockeys," though your mileage may vary as to whether that's a negative or a positive. Prometheus established that the skeletal, elephantine "Space Jockey" as seen in Alien was in fact a humanoid in a suit, and NECA gives us two of these so-called "Engineers" in their first series of figures from the film. We'll get a David in a later series, but for now your choices are the "Chair Suit" (the more familiar Space Jockey) and the "Pressure Suit" which reveals the Engineer's facial features.

As an Alien fan, even my intense dislike for Prometheus couldn't stop me from snatching up the Chair Suit figure. There's just something about having a Space Jockey action figure, even if it's not from the original film, that makes me feel all giddy. Now, this isn't the Space Jockey I grew up with, not quite, but the sculpt is very accurate to the way the Engineers looked in Prometheus, thanks to Kyle Windrix and Trevor Zammit (the latter of which you might recall as the sculptor behind NECA's Gremlins line). The sculpt is full of those skeletal H.R. Giger-iffic details, and there are ribbed and ridged elements all over.

The torso of the figure is covered with a softer plastic body-suit, which allows the elephantine trunk of the helmet to fit within the "sternum" area of the ribs while still allowing the head to move freely. There's another somewhat rubbery piece that covers the hip joints, and there are hoses connecting the head to the shoulder, the "ribs" to the "back" and the thighs to the lower back, but the hoses are flexible enough that they don't restrict movement.

There's not much paint to speak of, as you can surely tell just by looking at him; the figure is mostly a dull silver dry-brushing over a black base. However, its simplicity doesn't mean it's not extremely well done. The coating is nice and even, and it really lets the details pop. The lenses of the helmet get a glossy black coating.

One thing that may surprise some is just how well this figure can move! Though most of the joints are hidden or at least well-integrated into the sculpt, his movement is scarcely hindered at all. His neck is a balljoint, as are his wrists and ankles. His shoulders, elbows, and knees are all pegged and hinged. His torso has a balljoint hidden under the outer shell, his biceps have a peg joint, and his hips are pegged and hinged with a thigh peg joint right under them (think of the way Marvel Legends thghs used to be done). Given the complexity of the sculpt, one might think his movement would be limited, but he can spread his arms wide, bend his elbows 90°, and achieve a full sitting position.

Sadly, the Engineer's helmet isn't removable and he gets no accessories, though this can almost certainly be chalked up to the fact that the figure stands a massive 8½" tall. Look at that thing! Indeed, shots of future (smaller, more human-sized) figures have shown some pretty cool gear.

It's strange to be so enamored with a figure from a film I disliked so much. But this guy's great. He'll look great next to your Alien figures, and his size, sculpt, paint and articulation are all enough to merit picking him up.

-- 10/13/12

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