Today is Valentine's Day, so it just makes sense for us to review something romantic.
In need of an excuse for why Ripley could (spoiler) be infected with an Alien Queen embryo, but there
was also another alien running around, Alien³ came up with the concept of a "royal facehugger," one capable of implanting a queen chestburster in one victim and a standard chestburster in a second, the idea being that the standard drone will protect the queen until she hatches and reaches maturity. It's a neat idea and adds a new wrinkle to the xenomorph's life cycle... and then the scene in which it appeared was cut from the film. Oh well!
But apparently Kenner had been given the heads-up about the creature, because the same year Alien³ was released, a "Queen Face Hugger" showed up in Series 2 of their Aliens line. Coincidence? Well, considering all the differences in the size and design, "yes, probably." But either way, now NECA has given us an update.
NECA's Queen Facehugger is much more like the movie's scrapped prop than the old toy ever was. It's functionally just an oversized facehugger, though setting it apart is the webbing between its legs, barbs
on its front feet, spines on its tail, and thicker, armor-like skin all over. The old toy kind of looked like a crab or something. And despite the name, it didn't even hug faces! It was large enough to grab a person's entire body (presumably to hold them still while regular facehuggers came over and glomped them. Nor did it have the usual belly-vagina mouth - rather, a set of jaws (with fangs!) were present at the "nose" end of the body.
It's nice that this update keeps a sculptural nod to that, even if it is now non-functional. In fact, none of the Kenner toy's
action features have survived: not the moving mouth, not the retractable tail, and not even the legs clamping shut around a victim. All eight legs here are balljointed at the "knee,"and the tail is bendy. The legs seem fine for now, but if you ever have to take this toy off display and put it in storage, they seem like they could easily get warped.
While the original figure came with no accessories (other than the pack-in comic that named it a "Giant Face Hugger Alien"), NECA has seen fit to include a second, smaller version of the beast - the Beta Queen Face Hugger. Why? Because that's the size the Royal Facehugger would have been in the movie, and now they can reuse this mold for an Alien³ creature pack. This one has no articulation, just a bendy tail. Both sizes are a vicious-looking red and black, and their leg-webbing is translucent.
I didn't have a lot of the Kenner Aliens figures, but oddly enough, three of the ones I did have were the Gorilla Alien, the Mantis Alien, and the Queen Facehugger! NECA's entire first batch of homage Aliens came right from my old collection, which is apparently a surefire way to separate me from my money. Now, go celebrate V-Day by hugging somebody's face.