Review: NECA Series 4 Dallas in Compression Suit.

  • Manufacturer: NECA
  • Released: 2015

It would appear that Captain Arthur Dallas was a lax and negligent operator of Weylan Yutani’s aging commercial vessel, the Nostromo.  Among his indifference to a variety of responsibilities you can number these instances:   He was quick to breach quarantine regulations that permitted an hostile organism to be permitted on board the ship. He denied permission to conduct repairs to the vehicle prior to lift off; and like much of the ship’s equipment, most of the compression suits in use aboard the vessel were outdated and should have been replaced long ago.   It was just a matter of time before this man’s casual attitude to important details would one day come back to penalise him and ultimately proved to be his undoing.

Today, let’s take a look at one of those compression suits, shall we?  They already appear to be obsolete when Dallas became the current Captain of the vessel.  Replacing those antiquated pieces of equipment aboard the Nostromo should have been a priority for the new operator when he was commissioned the responsibility for the vehicle.

NECA’s 8 inch tall Captain Dallas is one of three ALIEN series 4 action figures released in 2014 celebrating the movie’s 35th Anniversary.  Here the good Captain is wearing the compression suit he used to explore the derelict spacecraft found on an uncharted moon.  The bulk of the figure itself is more or less a reissue of NECA’s earlier Kane figure wearing similar attire.  In this regard it’s a competent re-use with the necessary changes put to good use.

I’ll be investigating the Kane figure at a later date but both of these items are undeniably very closely related in terms of sculpts.  For that matter, NECA have achieved excellent mileage with compression suited figures over the years.  In addition to both Kane and Dallas, both Ellen and Amanda Ripley have each also been released wearing their own versions of the suit making a total of 4 released to date.  It’s a good thing then that the suit is well detailed and is given adequate variation across each character to be unique and identifiable.

Let’s get on with the description of the figure and start at the top of the full body compression suited Dallas.  The well detailed figure is blessed with the critical element of having the actor Tom Skerritt’s bearded likeness applied to its face.  Captain Dallas face is the only part of his body not covered by the suit.  Even here, most of his head is covered by the snoopy cap that we see him wearing in the movie which leaves little more than his face being the only area of skin to be exposed.  That alone is enough to determine who is inside the suit upon close inspection.

The likeness to Tom Skerritt is terrific and this detail needed to be accurate, otherwise this could easily just be anyone in a space suit.  Acquiring the rights to use Tom Skerritt’s likeness was obviously critical in making this item a reality at all despite it being such a small component in the overall presentation of the figure.

Much of the suit is covered in fine details ranging from armored shoulder pauldrons and oxidised chest plate to an abundance of cross-weave stitching and quilting that looks remarkably like cricket shin pads and gloves.  It effectively captures all the features of the screen version of the suit from the oxygen cylinders mounted on its back to the various items of equipment strapped to the arms and waist.  It’s a well appointed suit and matches the onscreen item very well.    Other fine details upon the figure include straps and belt buckles along with the United States Tricentenial patch displayed on the figure’s butt.  Though, I’m not too certain about the placement of this last item; then again, I’ve never checked out Dallas’ butt before.

Dallas particular suit is dominantly presented in a generously warm rose petal pink and finished with red and white detailing.  Metallic parts are bronze-like in appearance with oxydised highlights providing an aged quality to the suit indicating that the equipment has seen a lot of use and is probably decades old.  This instills an impression that the compression suit looks well used and is probably substantially out of date at the time of ALIEN.  It certainly does look primitive by the standards set by the suits as seen in the prequel, PROMETHEUS.

Especially the helmets which appear to be weighty, almost like something out of Jule’s Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  These anachromistic looking helmets are embellished with tiny details throughout the metalwork.  The suits would probably be considered worthy of museum pieces at the time the movie takes place and this ambience of hybridised sports gear and samurai armor as originally designed by Moebius translates well in this action figure.  The name ‘DALLAS’ is marked clear and legible on the center of the chestplate thus easily identifying the wearer successfully and this tiny, tiny feature emulates the Pump Demi font seen on the backs of crew jackets and at this scale, that’s an impressive piece of detailing.

Despite the thick and cumbersome appearance of the suit you will satisfyingly discover it has a surprising amount of articulation.  It is true that the elbows and knees of the figure are severely restricted by the thickness of the suit’s limbs at those points but the more critical locations such as the shoulders and hips allow a great range of movement to the figure.  Conveniently, the shoulder pauldrons will migrate out of the way to permit rotation of the arms at the shoulders to a respectable degree.

Hands and feet can rotate as expected and do so with ease.  Considering this is intended to be an awkward and cumbersome piece of attire the range of articulation is impressive and well implemented.  It’s a very reasonable and acceptable compromise between the heavily padded detail moulded in plastic and posability.

I experienced no breakages or paint/glue lockages with the figure but felt hesitant to push the articulation to its limits for fear of damaging it due to its cumbersome nature, especially at the elbows and the knees which are points where the articulation is at its minimum.  The general robust quality of the figure should benefit long term display without any use of a stand.

There are 3 accessories included with the figure.  These include the aforementioned helmet, which is best fitted into place by rotating it 90 degrees prior to attaching it.  Then slip it over Dallas’ head and rotate it back into its correct orientation.  It’s easy to do and sits well once fitted in place but is a little looser than desirable once it is in postion.  A pair of hoses from the cylinders on the figure’s back will need to be manually attached to the back of the helmet.  It’s not a big assembly task, just plug ’em into place into the holes provided.  Along with the helmet Dallas also includes a well detailed pistol that has a very brief appearance in the movie and it is best suited to placing in his right hand.  A a flashlight that is adequate in its detail but certainly nothing too impressive is also present and can be held in his left. The hands are both molded specifically to hold each respective item and swapping them around is not really an option.

All 3 of these items are duplicated from NECA’s earlier compression suited Kane figure except, of course, the helmet. Dallas’ headgear is intact without the massive hole in the faceplate created by the facehugger in the Kane version.  There also exists a belt loop on the right hip for stowing either of the 2 hand held accessories.  I found the loop’s usefulness to be inadequate, however, as it was either too loose to accommodate the pistol or in the case of the flashlight, was too tight.  He’ll just have to carry those items, one in each hand as far as I am concerned.

It’s a great figure and an excellent re-purposing of the previous molds.  Kane and Dallas (and Lambert, for that matter) each donned very similar suits in the movie with color difference and chest nameplates being the only distinctive variations which were then not strongly obvious in the movie due to the lighting.  During that sequence it was difficult to determine who was in each suit.

Nonetheless in regards to these items, there’s enough changes in the colour and facial detail to differentiate these action figures from each other.  I feel Dallas’ iteration is the superior treatment of the two mainly because Kane’s face is not visible.  After all, Kane is intended to be unconscious while a slimy ambulatory space booger has its lustful way with his face.  I’ll review that item at a later date as it’s worth a look into.

Score: 8/10.  A great treatment of an earlier sculpt.  Cap’n Dallas face alone adds a much needed component to an already well detailed figure and despite the restrictions of the bulky suit, it possesses a surprising amount of articulation.

Check out more ALIEN action figure reviews on HIDEOUS PLASTIC.