Thursday, April 20, 2023

Action Figure Review: ALF (Alien Life Form) from ALF by NECA


   I'm back from vacation and ready to rock! I've got a ton of cool stuff piled up to review but today I'm starting with a figure I've been really, really excited for: ALF! I vividly remember watching ALF as a very young child and I even had a stuffed ALF, so I was pretty excited when NECA announced last year that they were releasing an ALF action figure. ALF was a pop culture juggernaut at the time and he's definitely a character who's just so lovable that you can't help but want to have him on your shelf. While NECA will really take a deep dive into lines that sell well, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Predator, and Aliens, I love when NECA offers up these unique characters from pop culture who no one else is going to make. ALF (real name Gordon Shumway) is a fantastic figure loaded with cool accessories. Face it: Before this release you didn't even know that your action figure collection needed a representative from Melmac on your shelf, did you? Let's take a look at the old ALFer after the break and see if he's still got it...

The Facts:

Height: 5 5/8ths inches

Articulation: Swivel/hinge ankles, swivel/hinge knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, balljointed mid-torso, swivel/hinge shoulders, double swivel/ hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, balljointed neck, swivel/hinge lower jaw, and a swivel/hinge upper jaw/head.

Accessories: 7 interchangeable hands, shirt, cat sandwich, soda can, sunglasses, picture, bag of slime balls, popcorn, and a CB radio. 

Non-Scalper Price: $38- $43 dollars

The Scale:

* I honestly didn't even consider this, but what scale is ALF exactly? While in the show ALF was usually a puppet controlled by puppeteer and comedian Paul Fusco, in scenes where ALF was actually walking around he was portrayed by Michu Meszaros, a performer and stuntman who was 33 inches tall. So ALF is pretty short, just around 3 ft. How tall is the figure? At 5 5/8ths inches he's definitely taller than ALF should be if you want to get technical. Personally, I'm A-OK with this and probably wouldn't have been as interested in a smaller ALF figure. 

The Positives:

* NECA has done a fantastic job with ALF. While the likenesses of alien and monster characters are often easier to capture in plastic than regular humans, articulation on furry creatures is sometimes difficult. ALF looks excellent, though, and the blending of his articulation and his sculpt really works quite well. There's a lot of detail in his fur, including some excellent, subtle paint effects that add a nice layer of depth to it. 

* The portrait is incredible and really captures ALF's likeness. The oversized nose that kind of looks like a croissant, the solid black eyes, the expressive eyebrows, and that cool hairdo definitely capture the old ALFer well. There's plenty of sharp details and little paint applications to add texture and depth to the figure. So many, in fact, that I'm almost inclined to say that this version of ALF looks more "realistic" than the puppet version from the show. 

* Besides having a balljointed neck, ALF also has swivel/ hinge joints at his lower jaw and near his upper jaw, meaning you can get a lot of facial expressions out of him. Make him laugh ("I kill me!"), contort his face, whatever you want. It's like having the real Gordon Shumway living with you!

* Here's a shot of ALF from the back so you can see his fur and his funny little tail. 

* I love ALF's feet, too. They're funny with interesting, rounded toes. He even has sculpted pads on the bottom of his feet, kind of like a dog. 

* Despite being shorter with stubby limbs and a rounder mid-section, ALF has some really well designed articulation with an excellent range of movement. He just looks like he's ready to have some fun. I know I've been having a lot of fun posing and messing around with ALF. He fits in anywhere and while many of his accessories are more designed just to sit around as props rather than fit in his hands, he's still great fun to mess around with. He feels really durable, too. Probably the sturdiest NECA figure I've ever handled. 

* ALF comes with seven hands that you can swap out easily to give him different poses or allow him to interact with different accessories. There is a medium grip left hand, a tight grip right hand, a pair of hands with extended pointer fingers, a larger left hand grip, and two open palms. The pegs feel pretty sturdy on these and the hands all swap fairly easily.

* NECA always does a fantastic job with accessories and ALF comes loaded with lots of goodies. Most of it is stuff he can eat since eating seems to be one of ALF's favorite hobbies. First up is a can of soda. It kind of looks like a Pepsi can, but it's not. The colors are reversed and it says "Fusco" rather than Pepsi. This is a fun little nod to the Paul Fusco, the man behind ALF, and ALF looks fantastic toting this beverage around. 

* Next up is a bowl of popcorn. Seriously, look at the detail on this popcorn. NECA can take something so basic and really turn it into a pretty cool accessory. There's not a great way for ALF to hold it, but you can kind of put it wedged between his hands. Or have him in front of a table with the popcorn nearby as a snack. 

* ALF definitely comes with one of the strangest accessories ever: A somewhat annoyed looking cat wedged between two slices of bread. Actually, that sounds like the description of the special of the day at a Melmacian diner. Anyways, ALF always wanted to eat cats and there was definitely a scene in the show where he had a cat between two slices of bread. It wasn't Lucky, so this cat looks different. Gray with white. The detail is excellent, as it the paintwork. It's pretty funny, too, especially knowing ALF.

* Flip the cat around and not only can you see the tail but you can also see the detail on the top of the loaf of bread. It's pretty impressive for an accessory that's really intended to be a joke. Remember that the planetary motto of Melmac is "Are you going to finish that sandwich?"

* Another staple of Melmacian cuisine is the slimeball, which apparently comes in a variety of flavors including slug, squid, and wild cherry. NECA included a full bag of slimeballs for ALF to feast on and they look appropriately green and slimy. Maybe Rodney the cockroach is hiding in the sack?

* ALF also comes with a photo of his girlfriend, Rhonda. The image is taken from the show, from the episode "Help Me, Rhonda". Rhonda appeared on the animated series as well, but she looked very different there as she sported a pink mohawk. I'm not sure if this framed picture ever really appeared in the show (I couldn't find any images of it) but it's a fun extra. 

* This picture frame is another great example of the crazy level of detail that NECA puts into their accessories. Not only does it have a stand like your average picture frame but it even has the clasps on the back of the frame which keep the backer in place.

* The coolest accessory included with this figure is probably Willie Tanner's shortwave radio. This is an incredibly detailed piece complete with a microphone attached to it. The detail is really impressive and there are some very detailed  and super sharp paint applications. ALF used this often to try to contact other Melmacians as well as contacting various earth personalities. 

* Flip the radio around and you can see all of the various ports and such on this piece. It definitely reminds me of the backside of computer monitors from 20 to 30 years ago. 

* The microphone is attached via a flexible, but not removable cord, and is attached to a base. It can be removed as well. This is just a really fun and well done accessory, and it's not something you probably have many of in your collection. 

* ALF wore many different types of glasses and sunglasses, but NECA included one of the more basic pairs. They're pretty nice looking and fit on his head well. They slide over one ear and between his stylish hair to stay on nice and secure. Having the sunglasses on just makes ALF that much more fun to mess around with. Ready to party? No problem!

* ALF starred in two different animated shows, ALF: The Animated Series and ALF Tales, as well as appearing in the animated 1990 special Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue which featured ALF alongside many memorable personalities such as Slimer, Garfield, Michelangelo, the Smurfs, the Chipmunks, the Muppet Babies, Daffy Duck, George Bush, and Barbara Bush. Anyways, in the standard animated series ALF wore a shirt. Since it was set on Melmac, this was a way to differentiate ALF from the rest of the Melmacians. It's a really nicely fitted piece with the cool springs and sprockets design. It closes via a Velcro strip hidden under the sewn on buttons. 

The Negatives:

* ALF can hold the microphone for the radio, but be very careful with it. It's a tight fit in his hand, so take your time and be careful. It feels like it could be a fragile piece. That's less of a true "Negative" and more of a warning.

* Alf's glasses do fit him well but it's very tough at first to get the left temple of the glasses through the space between ALF's left ear and his hair. I actually had to use a small, thin pick to make a bit more space so I didn't risk breaking the temple of his sunglasses, so do be careful. 

   I'm really, really pleased with ALF. Whether or not you've know that you needed an action figure of Gordon Shumway in your collection, when you see this guy you'll know that he's what your collection has been missing. ALF is such a fun figure with multiple display options and a really nice assortment of impressive accessories. You really should be able to have a lot of fun with this guy as he's perfectly poseable and is a lot of fun in any kind of display or setup you can think of. He's got shades, snacks, a beverage, and an expressive headsculpt with the ability to change his facial expressions a bit, all of which makes for an Epic figure. 

   This is the first figure of Gordon Shumway, better known as ALF, that I've reviewed on the site.


  1. Awesome figure and the sculpting and detailing are outstanding. Definitely a must in any collection, especially an 80s collection.

    1. NECA did a really fantastic job here. I really don't know if they could really reuse this sculpt much, either, unless they just included different outfits for him and different accessories.

  2. Yeah, he's super neat. And I'm definitely keeping him out of the Masters of the Universe room. Battle Cat, Panthor, Duplicat, Chief Carnivus.... too many temptations for him!


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