NECA 7″ Cherno Alpha

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Cherno Alpha – the fan-favorite Russian Jaeger of Pacific Rim, whom like fellow Jaeger Crimson Typhoon, got the short end of the stick on-screen.

Not gonna lie, I’ve never really been fond of this Jaeger design since its release. I didn’t really see the appeal of a giant nuclear reactor in place of a traditional head, but for some reason Cherno quickly became a fan-favorite for its design, pilots, home country, and sheer badassary. Rumor has it that it’s based off the Zaku II of Mobile Suit Gundam fame, but I fail to see the resemblance, minus the somewhat green color scheme, and apparently the nuclear reactor head is also inspired by Doc Brown’s Mr. Fusion Reactor from Back to the Future.

Cherno Alpha

Admittedly, I really only got this Jaeger to flesh out my current collection. As I mentioned, I wasn’t very partial to its design at first, and when it did arrive I hardly checked it out, preferring to dote on the Coyote Tango that came in the package with it.

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So funny as it is, I really didn’t explore this figure or even check it out that much before immediately sticking it in the display case with the rest of its Jaeger brethren. Yeah, that’s how little I cared for it, despite actually paying for it…gives new meaning to buying for the sake of collecting huh? Either way, I only really got a good look at this figure when I took this photoshoot, and it sure as heck surprised me…

As far as detail goes, it’s nothing remarkable – same fare as most of the other Jaegers that have come before it. I’m really digging the red accents throughout the figure, little markings that read “Cherno Alpha” in some stylized font. Something I really liked is that little black wire/tube on the back of the hips, very well done.

The paint is more green in person, but has a dirtied metal look to it. Overall very solid and well-done, I dig it.

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This was the part of this figure that shocked me the most when I was playing around with it for the photoshoot – its articulation is mind-blowing for a Jaeger.

By Jove this thing can move! Cherno Alpha is by far the most articulated Jaeger NECA has produced, and it doesn’t even have a head! I am most impressed. I believe a lot of this comes less from the figure design and engineering and more from the actual Jaeger’s original design. As one can see, the legs are very unobstructed, with the waist and hip area being pretty bare.

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Cherno’s “head” can…turn. Kind of. I didn’t even expect there to be a joint under that big ‘ol nuclear reactor, but it can swivel a bit independently from the torso. When doing so, however, it does limit the shoulder articulation, as the big clunkiness of the reactor sides will get in the way of the shoulder joints.

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The lower arms can rotate, allowing for some more variety with punching poses, and the elbow goes a little under 90 degrees for a bend. The waist is very free-moving, being on a single giant ball joint that allows the upper body to swivel and turn in just about any direction independent from the legs and waist.

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But the most amazing and mind-shattering thing about this figure by far – IT CAN KNEEL…!!!

NECA, I knew you had it in you.

The legs have a pretty insane range of motion thanks in large part to its unobstructed design. But the fact that NECA was able to shove enough articulation in there for Cherno to not only kneel, but kneel naturally and look so damn good while it’s doing so, is a feat to be commemorated.

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It quite seriously kneels better than ‘most any figure I’ve come across. Considering the fact that most Jaegers that have come before it have been little more than statues, this really is a big deal.

The joints are actually all very satisfyingly tight, and in the legs we see mostly Revoltech-style connections, such as the hips and knees. The ankles are rather unique though; the long hinge peg that extends from the lower leg ends at a ball joint in the actual foot, allowing for the possibility of wide stances and quite the far ankle bends.

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Cherno does not, unfortunately, come with any extra accessories, weapons, or add-ons. The figure is bare and solid right out of the packaging. To compensate for this though, NECA does manage to do its trademark tools for combat right – the Tesla Fists.

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In-film, Cherno’s fists sport a spring-like action, apparently augmented by hydraulics or some such. The effect is actually replicated on the figure, surprisingly enough. While they don’t actually pull back and spring forward (which would be damn cool) the fists themselves do slide forwards and backwards, and are actually removable. They do normally lock in the open position, but can be slid off fairly easily if desired.

The fingers can also articulate, a first for a Jaeger figure. While it is really only the three fingers that are linked together that move, it does manage to create a nice effect of an open hand. The thumb doesn’t articulate though.

Gotta say, with Cherno’s burly design and the personality of the Jaeger in-film, it’s hard for me to come up with poses that suit the Jaeger. I can mess around with its articulation all day and have it do handstands, but actually figuring out positions that it would realistically pull off is rather difficult for this one. I know for sure it’s going in the display case kneeling though; too awesome to go to waste.

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I gotta say – I really underestimated both this mecha and its figure incarnation. Despite not paying very much attention to it when I first bought the figure, it’s definitely one of my best Jaeger buys yet. Speaking of which, I do realize that I’ve been comparing Cherno to the previous Jaegers who have come in figure form throughout this entire review, but it really does trump them all in several vital areas.

I also do admit that the design has grown on me; I dig it a lot now, and have a newfound respect for the mech. Almost as though NECA made sure to do Cherno right for its pretty massive personal fanbase. Given that fact though, I’ve seen it selling like hotcakes in stores; poor Coyote Tango, who was released alongside Cherno Alpha, has ended up being a shelfwarmer. I imagine NECA has wised up by now on the demand for these Pacific Rim figurines, so hopefully we won’t suffer from the stock shortages and crazy price hikes that plagued Series 1 & 2.

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